Burke mentioned the draft message after noting that a U.S. warship, Boxer, was to sail to the Caribbean area with a contingent of U.S. Marines aboard for ''routine training'' in early January.
''[Burke] stated that the Marines will be embarked in the Boxer somewhat earlier than anticipated, just to have them ready in case they are required,'' Hayward, the note taker, quoted Burke as saying.
Herter objected and asked that the message to the Atlantic commander be rewritten to take out any reference to troops -- apparently an effort to avoid inflaming the crisis.
''All agreed that the message as modified was satisfactory to send to CINCLANT,'' wrote Hayward, who prepared the summary of the conversation now on file at the National Archives. The message was changed.
As dawn broke over Havana, Smith reported the Cuban capital ``quiet.''
That would change later in the day as crowds ran through Havana celebrating the dictator's downfall.
''Undisciplined groups engaging in destruction, sacking and looting, principally in downtown Habana and in town of Marianao,'' Smith wrote in a cable describing conditions as night fell on New Year's Day 1959. ``Buildings of two Ministries reported looted. Several casinos wrecked with consequent damage to some hotels. Several stores and bars wrecked and looted.''
The embassy asked the State Department to send a commercial or naval vessel to evacuate hundreds of Americans, mostly tourists, stranded in downtown hotels.
Thousands of Americans grew nervous as insecurity spread through the Cuban capital soon after Batista fled. Records show that in the first four days in January 1959, about 12,000 calls flooded the U.S. Embassy's telephone switchboard seeking advice on how to leave the island.
Late on Jan. 1, the State Department advised the embassy that a ship called ''City of Habana'' was to arrive in Havana about noon Jan. 2 to pick up Americans.
Though Cuban rebel representatives initially would not allow the vessel to dock, they later relented and the ship picked up 508 Americans and returned to Key West.
U.S. military forces, meanwhile, were pushing for some type of action. Late Jan. 1, the Defense Department moved two submarine tenders and three destroyer escorts from Key West to near Havana, according to a Burke memo dated Jan. 3. The warships were ordered to remain out of sight, but by Jan. 5 were withdrawn and ordered to return to Key West.
''The possibility was discussed of having U.S. Marines aboard these ships in case the evacuees had to be protected,'' read a note summarizing Burke's memo found among the cables, memos and telegrams on file. ``In the end it was decided not to send the Marines because their movement to Key West and subsequent embarkation would have become public knowledge and the cause of undesirable press speculation.''