Primary Documents - Mario Menocal on Cuba's Declaration of War, 7 April 1917

Mario Menocal Reproduced below is Cuban President General Mario Garcia Menocal's statement on his government's decision to go to war against Germany.

Cuba's declaration followed the U.S.A.'s decision, a day earlier, to enter the war.

Menocal was clear in arguing that both morally and practically Cuba was allied closely to the U.S. and that her interests therefore lay in siding with her against Germany's "implacable aggression" in the present conflict.

Mario Menocal's Statement on Cuba's Decision to Enter the War, 7 April 1917

Cuba cannot remain neutral in this supreme conflict, because the declaration of neutrality would oblige her to treat all belligerents equally, refusing them with equal rigour any access to her ports and imposing on them the same restrictions and prohibitions, which would be in the present case contrary to public sentiment, to the essence of the pacts and moral obligations, moral rather than legal, which bind us to the United States; and would result, lastly, because of our geographical location, in being the cause of innumerable conflicts, the consequences of which it is easy to predict for a friendly and allied nation, and which would prove an inexcusable weakness and condescension for the attitude of implacable aggression unconditionally proclaimed by the Imperial German Government against the rights of all neutral peoples and against the principles of humanity and justice, which constitute the highest note of modern civilisation.

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. V, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

'Billy' was the Australian nickname for a cooking-pot or can.

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Primary Docs