TELEGRAM FROM SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO THE USA ANATOLY F. DOBRYNIN TO THE USSR MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRSCITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
get citationDobrynin sends the results of a meeting between Rusk, himself and the Foreign Ministers of Latin American countries where they discussed questions of security, trade, and the question of the Cuban government in exile."Telegram from Soviet Ambassador to the USA Anatoly F. Dobrynin to the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs" October 04, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF, copy courtesy of NSA; translation by Mark H. Doctoroff http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111603
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The meeting in Washington on the question of Cuba between the Foreign Ministers of the countries of Latin America and [Secretary of State Dean] Rusk which concluded yesterday proceeded, according to information which we received, amidst sharp disagreements. A particularly big conflict arose around the text of the communique. The reception which was scheduled for 6 p.m. yesterday in honor of the participants in the meeting ended in confusion--most of the guests had left, when at 11 p.m. the ministers finally appeared, having been unable to agree on the text of the communique.
The draft of the communique which Rusk proposed was subjected to significant changes, primarily as a result of the criticism from the Mexican, Brazilian and Chilean representatives. There were changes along three main lines, despite the fact that the USA got the "tough measures" it was after.
First, on trade--the USA did not manage to secure recommendations for a total cut-off of trade with Cuba. The three countries mentioned above put up strong resistance to that recommendation, warning, by way of objection, that this would create a precedent which could be used in the future by the USA--in particular against those countries' trade with the Soviet Union and other Socialist countries. Chile, which has the most intensive trade with Cuba, was noteworthy for its insistence on its right to trade with Cuba.
Second, regarding so-called measures of security. The USA tried in the communique to single out the Caribbean Basin region as the most "threatened" by Cuba and in need therefore of its own separate organizational measures. As is known, even on the eve of the meeting plans were put forth for the creation inside the OAS of an independent regional organization for the Caribbean Basin with a membership of 10 countries. However, at the meeting Colombia and Venezuela, in particular, came out against such an organization, even though they were mentioned among the members of such an organization; seeing the opposition to the idea from Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia, [they] feared being isolated from the rest of the countries of South America if they had agreed to be included in an organization of the countries of Central America, the governments of which had long before recommended themselves as lackeys of the USA. For the same reason Mexico refused to participate in such an organization. For a general understanding of Mexico's position, we should note that precisely at her insistence the phrase (the end of the second paragraph of the communique, as transmitted by TASS) about recognition of the principle of non-interference in relations between Latin American countries.
Third, the USA attempt to formulate a point expressing a hope for a quick establishment of a Cuban government in exile also did not receive the necessary support from the biggest Latin American countries.
According to information received from several participants in the meeting, Rusk put much pressure on the meeting. The point of the communique about trade with Cuba, which elicited the most disagreement, was accepted only after Rusk, referring to the mood in the USA Congress, threatened to cut off all American assistance to countries which would refuse to accept that point. In addition to this, Rusk and Kennedy informed the participants in the meeting about the unilateral measures which the government of the USA itself is now considering regarding a maximum limitation on the use of ships of various countries in trade with Cuba.
As indicated by certain information which we are now reconfirming, the following measures were named:
1. American ports will be closed to ships of those countries of which even a single ship would bring arms to Cuba. In essence, this is directed entirely against the USSR and socialist countries.
2. Ships of all countries will not be allowed into ports of the USA and will not be allowed to take on any cargo for the return voyage, if in the past they carried goods to Cuba from the countries of the "Soviet-Chinese" bloc. This refers equally to cargos of military supplies and those of consumer goods.
3. No cargo belonging to the government of the USA (for example, big shipments for "assistance programs) may be carried on foreign ships, if ships of the same owners are used for the shipment of goods to Cuba. This point is directed against "non-communist" countries and allies of the USA, many of whom have now reluctantly given in to American pressure.
4. No American-flag ships or ships the owners of which are American citizens (although ships may sail under a different flag, as is often done) are allowed to ship goods to or from Cuba.
Overall, this is a continuation of the prior unyielding line of the Kennedy Administration towards the tightening up of the economic blockade of Cuba, which is viewed here as one of the most effective means in the struggle with the Castro government and the increase in assistance to him from the Soviet Union.
The first reaction to the meeting in Washington diplomatic circles is summarized as follows: although the USA didn't get everything it wanted, the decisions of the meeting will be used by the Kennedy Administration to the maximum degree for the long-term isolation of Cuba from the countries of Latin America; for the strengthening of all aspects of the struggle against the Castro government. It is revealing that Kennedy today signed a declaration, accepted by the American Congress, to the effect that the USA can use troops in order to "prevent the spread of Cuban Communism to the American continent." At the same time he signed a Congressional bill, giving him the right to call up 150,000 reserves.
4.X.62 A. Dobrynin