U.S. Embargo Set on Arms to Cuba; Shipment Halted
Rifles Ordered by Batista Are Held Up-Rochester Concern Is Indicted
By WERNER WISKARI Special to The New York Times
WASHINGTON, April 2--The United States Government has imposed an embargo on arms shipments to Cuba. Officials said today that it would not be lifted so long as the current tension continued.
News of the embargo came as a Rochester, N.Y., concern and three of its officials were indicted on conspiracy charges stemming from alleged attempts to send arms to the Cuban rebels. The indictment was returned by a Federal grand jury here.
The arms embargo was indicated in a little-noticed statement made available by the State Department about ten days ago. It suspended a shipment of 1,950 Garand rifles bought by the Cuban Government of President Fulgencio Batista.
Rifles Ordered in 1956
The rifles were understood to have been ordered in 1956 before Fidel Castro landed with a group of rebels in Cuba's Oriente Province. No other United States arms shipments to the Cuban regime are now pending, it was reported today.
[The Cuban rebels have succeeded in paralyzing land communications between Oriente Province and the rest of the island.]
In its statement on the Garand rifles, the State Department said:
"In authorizing shipments of arms to other countries under the mutual security program, it has been our consistent practice to weigh carefully those Consigned to areas where political tensions have developed. We wish to be assured, for example, that the arms are destined for uses consistent with the objectives of our mutual security legislation. "
Talks on Embargo Planned
Noting that the rifle shipment had been suspended pending consultations with appropriate Cuban officials," the statement added:
"It would be entirely contrary to our policy to intervene in [Cuban] affairs and we do not intend to become involved."
United States policy has been to sell arms to "friendly" Latin-American countries that are signatories of the Rio de Janeiro treaty of reciprocal assistance provided that the arms are not used for aggressive purposes.
Among members of Congress who have called for a halt in arms shipments to the Batista regime is Representative Charles O. Porter, Democrat of Oregon.
Placing the State Department statement into the Congressional Record on Monday, he hailed it as showing that "we have finally suspended" such shipments, which he described as "identifying us with the vicious police state ruled by Batista."
Reached by telephone today, he expressed the wish that "the Admimstration would stand up and announce its 'policies' instead of forcing us to infer their existence on the basis of reliable but anonymous sources."
In the grand jury action today, the Stanbern Aeronautics Corporation of Rochester and three brothers who control it were named as defendants.
The company and the brothers, Stanley J. Bachman, Jerome H. Bachman and Bernard Sidney Bachman, were charged with conspiracy to violate firearms legislation. The indictment also accused them of attempting to evade the Federal tax on the transfer of firearms and of executing false documents.
In announcing the indictment, the justice Department said it stemmed from information obtained by a Federal grand jury in New York. That grand jury returned an indictment Feb. 13 against Carlos Prio Socarras, exiled former President of Cuba, and eight others on charges of having conspired to furnish arms for the Cuban rebels.
Today's three-count indictment named two persons as co-conspirators. They were identified as Luis Alfonso Silva y Tablada, who also had been named in the Prio indictment, and James L. Gentry, proprietor of the American Aircraft Parts Company of San Antonio, Tex.
The indictment charged that the defendants and co-conspirators would conceal the transfer of firearms to unregistered persons by means of fictitious sales to the Gentry concern.