837.00/1563

The Minister in Cuba ( Gonzales ) to the Acting Secretary of State

Sir: For the Department’s information, in accordance with circular instruction dated February 19, 1918,18 I have the honor to transmit, herewith, Quarterly Report No. 2, giving a general outline of conditions here for the second quarter of the current year. This report was prepared by Secretary Williamson.

I have [etc.]

William E. Gonzales
[Page 27]
[Enclosure—Extract]

Quarterly Report of the American Legation in Cuba

1. POLITICAL INFORMATION

A. Domestic

(1) On May 10th the National Convention of the Liberal Party met in Habana for the purpose of nominating candidates for the elections of November 1920. Upon General José Miguel Gomez fell the choice for President while Doctor Zayas was named for the Vice-Presidency. The vote was 83 to 8, the preponderance in favor of General Gomez being enlarged by the fact that all but three Zayas members absented themselves from the meeting. Although the Convention was called at the behest of Doctor Zayas in April, he later attempted to prevent its gathering at this time, and in fact issued instructions to his supporters not to attend. He was apparently cognizant of the fact that under present conditions he could not hope to secure the nomination for the Presidency, and was unwilling to fill the place of secondary importance. This hypothesis was borne out the next day when Doctor Zayas refused to accept the candidacy for Vice President. The split between the two rivals is now so broad that it will be difficult to procure any sort of amalgamation between Miguelistas and Zayistas, and the possibility of the two leaders appearing on the same ticket is even more remote.

The Liberal Party held its Convention in spite of the agreement, which it could hardly have been unaware existed, between General Crowder and the Joint Congressional Committee which would invalidate tickets nominated before the calendar year of the elections. Although the Conservatives were to hold their party convention in May, Doctor Rafael Montalvo, whom it was expected they would nominate, requested his supporters to discontinue their political agitation for the time. Through his advocacy of the step the gathering was postponed until, it is to be assumed, 1920. Both parties to all appearances are now reconciled to waiting, notwithstanding such sporadic movements as the launching by the friends of General Emilio Nunez a short while ago of a quiet campaign in his behalf.

The resignation of Doctor Patterson, the Sub-secretary of State, was a disappointment to the Diplomatic Corps, as he was always deemed capable and showed a marked disposition to cooperate with [Page 28] the foreign representatives on any subject which contained a common meeting point. His resignation is thought to be caused by disagreement over certain appointments.

In the light of Cuba’s larger political history the work of General Crowder and his staff cannot fail to be regarded as epoch making. With the task nearing its completion a brief indication of the lines it has followed would not be inappropriate as a matter of record. The original undertaking for which the General came to Cuba, the Electoral Law, is still before the Joint Congressional Commission. Constructive and helpful criticism by that body is aiding the army staff in the final polishing of the law which has as its primary motive the providing of an active electoral register and the establishment of a system of honest elections. The Law should very shortly be ready for presentation to Congress as it has the hearty approval of the Committee.

The Ortiz Census Bill, in the amended form which General Crowder has drafted, provides for a Cuban Director and Sub-Director to be selected by the President from a list submitted by a National Board. The method of procedure of appointment as nearly as possible precludes “politics”. To insure the efficient administration of its functions, the census machinery is to be guided by an American Advisor and six technical experts from the United States. This Bill has passed the House and in its original form the Senate, so that when the thirty days suspension of the Constitutional Guarantees has elapsed on the 11th of July it will go before the President with no obstacle to prevent its becoming law immediately. In this connection it is interesting to note that on the assumption of the bill’s inclusion in the statutes and with the entire approval of President Menocal, Major Harold E. Stephenson has quietly opened offices and in the capacity of advisor has so far perfected the plans and arrangements that the actual work of taking the census may be initiated the moment the law receives its final signature.

General Crowder regards two amendments to the Judiciary Code as of almost equal importance to the larger work of his office. These alterations in the code as it now stands would first of all put Municipal Judges into the category of judges of career, an obviously important step, the more so now that under the new Electoral Law they are to be the tribunal before which election disputes are to be brought. Secondly the appointment of the municipal judiciary is to be safeguarded against political influence.

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  1. Not printed.