The Ambassador in Cuba (Messersmith) to the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

Dear Sumner: You will not have time to read the appended despatch,24 but you will wish someone to give you the gist of it without delay. To this end, I am sending a copy to Orme Wilson and to Walmsley.

The Cubans declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy without fear and without reserves, but naturally they realize they have opened themselves to attack more than if they had remained quiescent or had merely broken relations. There is, of course, the possibility of attack. The Government realizes the need of some action. I have explained their attitude, which is very good, in the appended despatch. The best way of meeting the situation will be by sending a mission here composed of an Army, Navy, and Marine Corps officer. For many reasons, this should be done without delay. I am sure our people in the Army, [Page 113] Navy and Marine Corps will be prepared to do this. Whether the Cubans will ask us to do it through Concheso, or through me, we will know in a day or two. I suggested to Cortina that in some ways it would be better for them to ask Concheso to take it up with us at home. The purpose of the appended despatch is to give the adequate background and my own suggestions and observations for such help as they may be. My own hope is that the mission will be on its way within ten days and the sooner the better, I believe.

With all good wishes,

Cordially and faithfully yours,

George S. Messersmith
  1. No. 3136, December 17, 1941, not printed.