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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 17, 1960

REPORT OF THE CZECHOSLOVAK POLITBURO REGARDING MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT, 16 MAY 1960, AND CPCZ POLITBURO RESOLUTION, 17 MAY 1960

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    This includes further orders of weapons shipment to the Cuban revolutionary government under the guise of "special materials." Also included is a short profile on Raul Castro, member of the Cuban delegation, as well as the details of his stay in Czechoslovakia.
    "Report of the Czechoslovak Politburo Regarding Military Assistance to the Cuban Government, 16 May 1960, and CPCz Politburo Resolution, 17 May 1960," May 17, 1960, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, National Archives, Prague, Czech Republic. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115140
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POLITBURO OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA

STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL!

5155/14

Point: Supplies of special material to the Cuban revolutionary government.

Enclosure I

Proposed resolution

Enclosure III

Report

PLEASE RETURN IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING DISCUSSIONS!

Presented by: Comrade F. Krajčír

16 May 1960

Number of pages: 15

It is necessary to return these materials to the Technical Division of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia within one month at the latest.

Enclosure II

Report

On supplying special materials from Czechoslovakia to Cuba.

During his visit to Czechoslovakia in April 1960, Comrade Blas Roca, the General Secretary of the Popular Socialist Party of Cuba, requested the supply of needed equipment and military technology to the Cuban revolutionary government. At the end of April this request was extended to include further technical goods, and presented in Prague by a representative of the Cuban government, Captain Pina. In addition to the supply of special technology, Czechoslovakia was asked to provide technical assistance during the training and preparation of cadres from the Cuban armed forces. The Czechoslovak side promised full support and gave its assurance that it will try to meet the stated requests.

The possibility of supplying Cuba with special technology as well as providing technical assistance was consulted with the Soviet Union a number of times, the most recent being in March 1960. The Soviet government adopted a positive viewpoint on the matter of supplying specialized technology, and with the purpose of agreeing upon a joint course of action sent to Prague in April and May 1960 General Sidorovich, who discussed these matters with the general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the president of the Republic Comrade A. Novotný, and the deputy chairman of the government and chairman of the State Planning Commission, Comrade O. Šimůnk.

On 11-14 May 1960, closing discussions were held in Prague between the Soviet delegation led by Comrade General Sidorovich, and the Czechoslovak side which was led by the director of the main Technical Department of the Ministry of International Trade, Comrade František Mareš.[1] The consequences of the policy to supply specialized technology and offer technical assistance to the Cuban revolutionary government were discussed at these meetings:

The extent of the supplies:

The supplies of specialized technology from Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union cover practically all of the Cuban side’s requests.

However, due to a shortage of the requested types, it will not be possible to supply Cuba with the following: 13 airplanes (model Avia-14), 24 rocket-launchers (model RM-130), and 4 radio satellites with a range of 250 Km. In part, it will be possible to satisfy a request for the supply of 7.62mm bullets for fully automatic gun type 52, and light machine-gun type 52.9mm cartridges for guns type 23/25, and airplanes L-60 in a joint version. The total of unfulfilled Cuban requests numbers about 150 million Kčs.

Of the entire value of requests presented by the Cuban side that reach about 1.016 million Kčs, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union can together supply special technology with a value of about 866 million Kčs, and materials of a civilian character valued at 40 million Kčs (costs at regular rates on other capitalist markets) according to CIF values. Of this, the Czechoslovak share of special technical supplies will number 569 million Kčs (or 66%) and 7.9 million Kčs (or 20% in civilian technology), whereas the Soviet share will reach 297 million Kčs (or 34%) in specialized technology, and 32.4 million Kčs (or 80%) in civilian materials.

According to the agreement with the Soviet representatives, Czechoslovakia will get one-third of the CIF price for the specialized technology from Cuba, so about 190 million Kčs, and from the Soviet Union 15% of the transport costs, so about 77 million Kčs. Thus against the calculated cost of the specialized technology at 569 million Kčs under the conditions of CIF, the Cubans will in total give the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic about 267 million Kčs, or about 47% of the regular rates of specialized technology. At the same time, Czechoslovakia will save on the naval transportation costs, which the Soviets will provide free of charge at about 35 million Kčs.

When compared with the regular rates in capitalist markets the final settlement does present a difference of about 267 million Kčs, yet this is not comparable because it concerns technology which is not usable in Czechoslovakia, and at the same time unsellable in other capitalist markets. All of the specialized technology being considered for export to Cuba comes from a surplus of supplies at the Ministry of National Defense.

The question of the required amount of ammunition will apparently be one of the basic questions dealt with in the negotiations with the Cuban side. It is not possible to fully cover the Cuban side’s requests for 7.62mm and 9mm ammunition from the ministry’s supplies, and the remainder would have to be manufactured. If the Cuban needs are to be covered with at least 10 caliber shots for fully automatic guns, light machine-guns and guns, it would be necessary to manufacture another 116 million 7.62mm cartridges, and 150 million 9mm cartridges in Czechoslovakia. The costs of producing ammunition in this amount would be about 130 million Kčs at going rates. In contrast, the Czechoslovak side would get a total of 47 million Kčs in reimbursement from Cuba and the Soviet Union, though the export value of this ammunition would be 100 million Kčs according to CIF export rates. This means that the manufacture of such an amount of ammunition would be particularly unbeneficial for Czechoslovakia since it would mean a loss of 53 million Kčs in the export cost, not to mention that foreign currency expenses would not be covered in the settlement. Therefore, during negotiations the Czechoslovak side is thinking to alert the Cuban side to the fact that it will not be possible to secure ammunition supplies in a larger quantity than is proposed, and to make them aware of the need to construct a munitions works quickly—something the main Technical Department at the Ministry of International Trade is currently discussing. At the same time the Czechoslovak side will warn the Cuban representatives of the serious problems that would result from storing such a large quantity of ammunition. In the event that the Czechoslovak side should fail to convince the Cuban side of the advantageous proposed solution, it would then be necessary to solve the problem of manufacturing the higher number of ammunition, and therefore also how to decrease the losses that the manufacture of ammunition would bring for Czechoslovakia.

A reoccurring problem, though not as economically burdensome, is the supply of telephone switchboards TU-30 (10 pieces) and TU-20 (200 pieces), which are not possible to get from the Ministry of National Defense’s supplies at the current time, and which it would also be necessary to manufacture.

During the negotiations it will also be necessary to alert the Cuban side to the fact that the majority of the special technical supplies are of a second category, which either means that they were in storage or are used. For this reason it was decided upon with the Soviet representatives that materials of the second category will be sold at 10% less than those of the first category.

The possibility of also supplying spare parts in a 3-year joint venture along with most of the technical supplies is also being considered. Such a supply of spare parts could in a rough outline satisfy the Cuban side’s requests until 1962 or 1963. The question of spare parts for the years 1962-1963 remains unsolved, during which time it will be necessary to acquire spare parts to secure medium and general repairs. Considering the fact that the specialized technical supplies have not been manufactured in either Czechoslovakia nor the Soviet Union for several years now, it would only be possible to partly satisfy the Cuban requests for spare parts after this time if they would be available in storage at the Ministry of National Defense. It is not possible to consider the manufacture of spare parts after 1962 and 1963 for the simple reason that in most cases the required tools and materials are no longer available in the factories. It will be necessary to warn the Cuban side of this problem, adding that the Czechoslovak side will be able to judge the possibility of supplying spare parts on a case by case basis, and that the Cuban side will apparently be forced to acquire spare parts for repairs from a part of the supplied special technology.

Closely tied to the question of spare parts is also the problem of undertaking repairs of the military technology supplied to Cuba. Czechoslovakia will offer to supply mobile repair shops to secure normal repairs. However, it will not be possible to arrange for medium and general repairs in permanent repair shops in Cuba considering the fact that neither the Czechoslovak side nor the Soviet side will be capable of securing the needed machines for such a factory. As an alternative in some cases, it would be possible to consider medium and general repairs on the supplied special technology in Czechoslovak repair factories, and this based on the assumption that the required spare parts will be available.

Considering the unique situation in Cuba, and at the request of the Soviet side, the first shipment of specialized materials will be sent prior to signing the contract between Czechoslovakia and Cuba. This shipment, valued at about 50 million Kčs CIF, will include 10,000 Czechoslovak 9mm guns, 500 light and 250 heavy machine guns, 100,000 hand grenades and 40 million cartridges. As part of arranging this shipment it is first necessary to send Czechoslovak specialists to Cuba to have them check upon the storage spaces, as well as secure the preservation and storage of the materials. At the same time they would offer a basic lesson on how to use the materials. For the time being the Czechoslovak side would cover the expenses of sending these specialists to Cuba, and once the contract is signed these expenses would be charged within the framework of providing technical assistance.

Principles on which to close the agreement

On the basis of an agreement between representatives of the communist parties of the Czechoslovak Republic and the Soviet Union the supply of specialized materials to Cuba will be realized for only one-third of their CIF price. One-third of the entire value, thus 288 million Kčs would be paid in the years 1960-1969 in ten equal annual installments. According to the agreement made with the representatives from the Soviet Union, the Czechoslovak delegation will press for these payments to be made in a foreign currency, which would yield 28.8 million Kčs annually, and of those 19 million Kčs would go to the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and 9.8 million Kčs to the Soviet Union. In the event that the Cuban side would refuse to pay in foreign currency it was agreed upon that a combination of payments can be accepted, such as: payment in a foreign currency and in goods, including payment in the form of Cuban goods only. Regarding materials of a civilian character, the Czechoslovak delegation will push for a maximum 5-year credit at the full value of goods supplied, which would make the Czechoslovak share of payments about 1.3 million Kčs. The Czechoslovak delegation will request the same method of payment as with the special materials.

As far as the guarantee on the extended credit, a bank guarantee will be requested from the National Bank of Cuba. The credit will be granted at 2% annual interest.

If it were necessary to accept payment in the form of Cuban goods, the Czechoslovak delegation will insist that maximum advantages be provided during the purchase of Cuban goods, and that a suitable sortiment of Cuban goods be presented.

In relation to supplies of specialized materials Cuba will be given technical aid, both in the form of training specialists in Czechoslovakia, and in sending Czechoslovak specialists to Cuba. The Czechoslovak delegation will also press for the maximum technical assistance to be provided in Czechoslovakia, and only the essential bit in Cuba.

The Czechoslovak delegation should be authorized to provide a maximum 8-year credit for implementing the technical assistance in Czechoslovakia. A cash settlement will be requested for providing technical assistance in Cuba.

When realizing the supplies the Czechoslovak side must also arrange for the necessary technical documentation, and it will press the Cuban side to accept these in English because in Czechoslovakia there is no opportunity to arrange for a translation into Spanish. The Cuban side would arrange for the translation from English to Spanish on its own.

On the basis of the agreement between representatives of the communist parties of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the Czechoslovak delegation also discussed with the Soviet delegation the question of the Soviet Union assisting Czechoslovakia in realizing the supply of special materials to Cuba.

There will be an authorized agreement negotiated with the Soviet government, in which the responsibilities of the Soviet Union to Czechoslovakia will be anchored—Czechoslovakia being the carrier of all ties with the government of the Cuban republic, under conditions that will be negotiated between the Czechoslovak and Cuban delegations.

In relation to providing technical assistance to Cuba, the Soviet side will also secure technical assistance to Czechoslovakia both by sending Soviet specialists to Cuba through Czechoslovak channels, and by sending Soviet specialists to Czechoslovakia and granting material assistance. The question of material aid has not yet been fully agreed upon, for the Soviet representatives are of the opinion that the special materials which Czechoslovakia does not have on hand for training be bought in the Soviet Union, while the Czechoslovak delegation is of the opinion that the Soviet side should lend these materials. The Soviet delegation also agreed that if Czechoslovakia would provide technical aid under conditions of credit, it would adjust the payment conditions of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic for these same services. To this end, both sides will still discuss the details of technical assistance to be given by the Soviet Union.

The Czechoslovak side will secure the technical documentation that must be sent to Cuba with the special materials, and do the same for the Soviet materials. The Soviet delegation reasoned its position by saying that it does not have the opportunity to secure a translation of this documentation into the English language. At the same time it emphasized that with the supply of special materials to Egypt and Indonesia the same practice was utilized, with the Czechoslovak organizations being given the required documentation in Russian, and with the Soviet Union passing on only additions and changes to the documentation. The Soviet side binds itself to paying Czechoslovakia all the expenses related to the translation and preparation of the documentation for the Cuban side. As has already been proven in earlier operations, securing this request presents a difficult and laborious task. It means that all the documentation available in Czechoslovakia and related to the Soviet materials has to be looked over, corrections must be made according to the changes that have occurred, additions must be made, all of these changes must be translated into English and the documentation re-written in English. The extent of this material is about 1,000 books and brochures (300,000 pages). It will be necessary to secure the required number of translators and clerks to fulfill this task.

In relation to arranging the transport of goods, the question of insurance was discussed and in an effort to keep the individual shipments and routes secret, the Soviet side will not insure the goods against war risks. The consequence is that the Czechoslovak delegation must ensure that in the event the materials would be damaged during the transport to a larger extent than is covered under regular insurance, the Cuban side will still be obliged to fulfill its responsibilities, even without receiving the materials.

During the discussions with the Soviet delegation an agreement was also attained stipulating that, should the Cuban side fail to fulfill its payment obligations to Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union will reimburse Czechoslovakia another 15%, so that reimbursements from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics would total 30%, and this from the value of supplies delivered to the Czechoslovak border for export. This reimbursement would be paid through existing Czechoslovak-Soviet accounts.

The Czechoslovak and Soviet sides reached an agreement in that as part of its share, the Soviet side will carry all risks ensuing from the possible failure of the Cuban side to fulfill payments.

Considering that practically all of the supplied materials are of a second category, the Czechoslovak delegation will refuse any requests to provide a guarantee on the supplied goods.

During the discussions the Soviet side stated refusal with having a representative of the Soviet side join the Czechoslovak delegation for negotiations in Cuba and did not recommend the Czechoslovak delegation to come into contact with representatives of the USSR in Cuba. The Soviet delegation also refused to have the needed Czechoslovak specialists be transported to Cuba with the first Soviet shipment of special materials. Thus there is a question of how to best undertake the transport of the rather numerous Czechoslovak delegation. For to secure the storage, transfer and conservation of the first shipment it will be necessary to have about 12 Czechoslovak military experts in Cuba beforehand, who together with the members of the delegation will comprise a group of 25 people. It is probable that such a number will draw the attention of the public. Therefore, it will be necessary to weigh the question of transportation so that the shipments are conducted on a smaller scale and by way of various routes, or consider realizing the shipment with Czechoslovak airplanes of the Ilyushin I1-18.

As for the actual negotiations, the delegation will be led by F. Krajčír and his alternate who also has signing authority, Comrade Mareš, the Director of the Ministry of International Trade’s Technical Department.

5515/60 Strictly confidential!

RESOLUTION

99th meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, 17 May 1960

Re. Point 28: Supplies of special materials to the Cuban revolutionary government (Comrade F. Krajčír)

Resolved:

The Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia

Takes note of the presented report.

Agrees

1. With the government of the Czechoslovak Republic being the negotiating party during the discussions about supplying specialized as well as some civilian materials to the Cuban revolutionary government, including these supplies from the USSR;

2. That due to the unique situation of Cuba, the first shipment of specialized technology should proceed without a contract with the Cuban side;

3. With the granting of an 8-year line of credit at 2% interest for the training of Cuban specialists in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. The maximum amount would be 50 million Kčs, to be paid between 1960 and 1967, and as with the realization of technical assistance and training in Cuba, payment in goods is to be accepted only in the most critical of circumstances;

4. With the signing of these successive documents between the government of the Czechoslovak republic and the revolutionary government of Cuba:

a) Agreement on the delivery of specialized materials with a total value of about 886 million Kčs at CIF rates, including the USSR’s share (USSR 297 million Kčs, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic 569 million Kčs). The Cuban revolutionary government will pay one-third of the CIF price, or about 288 million Kčs, so that two-thirds of the price of materials will come in the form of a gift to the government of the Cuban republic.

This payment equaling one-third of the actual price will be made in foreign currency, or in Cuban goods, and in ten equal annual payments starting in 1960, possibly in 1961, with a 2% interest rate.

Included in the agreement will also be some materials of a civilian character originating from Czechoslovakia and with a value of about 7.9 million Kčs, and from the Soviet Union with a value of 32.4 million Kčs.

b) A protocol on granting technical assistance during the training of Cuban military experts in courses organized in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic or in Cuba;

c) An agreement on supplies of equipment for the manufacture of 7.62mm fully automatic guns, model 52, and 9mm guns model 23/25, as well as the relevant ammunition. In addition, this includes the granting of licensed documentation, technical aid connected with building the factory, and a 5-year line of credit at 2% annual interest to be paid between 1961-1965, and to a maximum of 20 million Kčs;

5. With the granting of a loan to a maximum of 30 million Kčs for the supply of civilian planes and sporting weapons of Czechoslovak origin. This would be paid in five installments during the years 1961-1965, at a 2% interest rate; the same conditions apply to shipments of some Soviet materials of a civilian character;

6. With the establishment of an appointed expert official for technical matters as part of the economic section of the Czechoslovak embassy in Cuba;

7. With raising the positions of employees from the Ministry of International Trade’s main Technical Department, and on the suggestion of Comrade F. Krajčír, authorizing Comrade O. Šimůnek with carrying out the relevant measures.

III. Responsibilities of:

1. Comrade F. Krajčír

a) In the name of the Czechoslovak government, to finalize an agreement with the government of the USSR on the shipment of specialized materials with a total value of about 297 million Kčs from the USSR to Cuba, and this under the same conditions on which an agreement between the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and Cuba will be based, provided that:

Through the established Czechoslovak-Soviet accounts, the government of the USSR will provide a reimbursement of 35% of the value of Czechoslovak materials shipped to Cuba, at intervals that will match those of payments agreed upon in the contract between the government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and Cuba,

In the event that the Cuban government does not fulfill its responsibilities, the government of the USSR will, within the framework of the established Czechoslovak-Soviet accounts, reimburse the government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic another 15% of the remaining value of Czechoslovak materials.

b) In discussions with the USSR, have them agree that the Soviet Union will transport the specialized materials originating in Czechoslovakia from the Czechoslovak border to the Cuban port at its own expense.

2. Comrade B. Lomský

a) To satisfy the Ministry of International Trade’s requests regarding the first shipment so that this shipment is at the station Čierná n/T. at the latest by 21 May 1960.

b) To secure the shipment of specialized materials for Cuba according to the contracts signed by the governments of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and Cuba.

c) To secure, according to the requests of the Minister of International Trade, technical assistance both in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and in Cuba.

3. Comrade J. Ďuriš

a) To undertake, together with Comrade F. Krajčír and Comrade O. Šimůnek the necessary confirmations, should any arise from this resolution.

4. Comrade K. Polaček

a) To secure, according to the requests of the Minister of International Trade, supplies of equipment to be invested into the construction of a weapons and ammunitions factory in Cuba, according to the agreement between the government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and Cuba.

IV. The governmental delegation will be composed of:

Head of the delegation, Comrade F. Krajčír, Minister of International Trade.

Alternate boss with signing authority on the relevant agreements is Comrade F. Mareš, Director of the main Technical Department, Ministry of International Trade.

Members of the delegation:

Comrade J. Knytl, employee of the Technical Department, Ministry of International Trade.

Comrade K. Černý, employee of the Technical Department, Ministry of International Trade.

Comrade A. Novotný, employee of the Technical Department, Ministry of International Trade.

Comrade Colonel Srovnal V., employee of the Ministry of National Defense.

V. Comrade F. Krajčír and Comrade F. Mareš are empowered with signing the documents presented in points II and III of this resolution, and with adding to the agreement with Comrade B. Lomský and Comrade K. Poláček by assigning other experts to the negotiations in Cuba.

To be undertaken by:

Comrade F. Krajčír

Comrade B. Lomský

Comrade J. Ďuriš

[Minister of General Engineering] Comrade K. Poláček

Those to be notified: [Premier] Comrade V. Široký

Comrade O. Šimůnek

Comrade L. Jankovcová

Comrade V. David

Documents Regarding Cuban Defense Minister Raúl Castro’s Visit to Czechoslovakia, June-July 1960

07/09/60

First Secretary of the CPCZ Central Committee

Comrade Antonin Novotny

P r a g u e

I was accompanying the Cuban delegation led by Defense Minister Raul Castro. The delegation visited the CF Polepy and wine cellars in Zernoseky, in the Litomerice district. In the CF Polepy as well as in wine cellars, minister of defense Raul Castro spoke out strongly against imperialism, especially against the American one. On the other hand, he kept emphasizing the crucial role of the Soviet Union and socialist countries and their aid to colonial and semi-colonial nations in their struggle for independence and freedom. He stated that if the American imperialists attack Cuba, Cubans would fight to the last man.

The whole delegation was in a good mood when we were returning from Litomerice. I was in a car with Raul Castro and Luis Martino. During the ride, we exchanged opinions on some international and party issues. Raul Castro and Luis Martino were saying that Chinese Communist Party and China in general, who supposedly understood the importance of struggle for freedom in Latin American countries, was doing a lot of work there. It also followed from the conversation that both of them lean towards the Chinese opinions on international issues. Regarding that they said they made their own assessment of J.V. Stalin’s work because he was a great fighter against imperialism. I told them that the CPSU, cde. Khrushchev or our party never said that imperialism would be any different than before, or that it was not necessary to fight against it. I emphasized that we fully support the position of the CPSU and the Moscow Declaration.

They were also saying that neither the USSR nor the CSR know the situation in Cuba well and that we do not understand the importance of the Cuban revolution. They said we could do a lot more work in Cuba than the People’s Republic of China. I told them that the first secretary of the CP CC cde. Novotny stressed when receiving Jimenez (as cde. Krajcir said) that aid to Cuba had to be provided as the first priority, which shows that the CC of our party knows their situation and fully understands it. They rebutted: When Raul Castro arrived in the CSR, some American agencies wrote that he was removed from the function of the defense minister and that Fidel Castro took over that function. Officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs allegedly asked them whether it was true, which means they rather believed American propaganda than them [Cubans].

As for the USSR, Luis Martino said he talked with Soviet comrades ([he] didn’t say which ones) who did not talk about the importance of the revolution and about the measures taken by the revolutionary government; namely they were asking whether Raul and Fidel were of working-class origin, which supposedly means they probably didn’t trust them. At that, Luis Martino emphasized it was not right because Marx and Lenin were not of the working-class origin either and yet they were Marxists.

They also said that Fidel Castro makes many mistakes, personal as well as political (he would for instance lose his temper and strongly stand up against small and middle bourgeoisie, which the Popular Party CC does not hold as correct), and Castro is always criticized for these shortcomings. They further said they were both members of the Party, that Martino has been a member for 23 years, that they did not agree with the opinions of Polish communists after the XX Congress, and that they hold our communist party in high esteem.

Dear Comrade Secretary, I considered it necessary to inform about these opinions before you receive the Cuban delegation.

With comrade’s greeting,

Sejna Jan

Material for the Reception of Raul Castro, the Cuban Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, July 1960

in Brozik salon on the 1st floor on 13 July 1960 at 10:00 am.

C o n f i d e n t i a l !

Printed in: 3 copies

Copy No.: 1

File No. 027. 317/60-6/

Brief information about the current stay of Raúl Castro in the CSSR [Czechoslovak Socialist Republic].

In early morning hours on 27 June, a fourteen member Cuban delegation, headed by Minister of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces Raul Castro, arrived on a special plane. Raul Castro came to the CSSR on an invitation from [Czechoslovak Foreign] Minister [Václav] David at the occasion of the II. National Spartakiade.

At the time of Castro’s delegation’s arrival, the Cuban economic mission headed by Antonio Nunez Jimenez, director of the National Institute for Land Reform in Cuba, was already on a visit in the CSSR as guests of Minister [of Foreign Trade Frantisek] Krajcir. The program of the Castro’s delegation in the first few days was thus identical in some points with that of the Jimenez mission.

On 27th June, the delegations of the both Cuban representatives were accepted by the Minister of International Affairs c. David. In the course of a friendly and open conversation, minister David especially emphasized the international impact of the Cuban revolution and added that it is undoubtedly an attractive example for other Latin American countries. During the conversation, the Cuban representatives compared the revolutionary movement in Cuba with the coup in Guatemala in 1954 and pointed out the mistakes that the Cuban revolution avoided, unlike the movement in Guatemala. Then both Cuban representatives in unison highly praised the aid to Cuba from the socialist camp, and said that the CSSR was one of the top countries in this respect.

After the conversation, cde. David invited R. Castro and N. Jimenez for a dinner, which he arranged in their honor. A friendly and sincere atmosphere from the previous conversation continued at the dinner. R. Castro and his entourage spent the rest of 27th June sightseeing Prague.

On 28th June, Raul Castro visited Orlik to see the dam. During the tour of the dam, an improvised meeting took place of R. Castro with deputy ministers of defense of the PRC and the DPRK, which turned into a very friendly and cordial conversation among the three representatives. (The Cz. News filmed the whole meeting, and Raul Castro asked for 1 copy.) Two more meetings of Raul Castro and the Chinese and Korean deputies of national defense took place in the following days. It happened on 1 July at a small dinner, which Castro set up in his villa for the both mentioned Chinese and Korean representatives. Another meeting was on 3 July in the residence of the Korean titulary, and soon after that also in the residence of the PRC titulary in Prague. In all these meetings, the common platform of anti-imperialist fight of the Cuban, Korean and Chinese people was especially emphasized, and the need to mutually share and use the experience from this fight was signified. At this occasion, first the deputy Defense Minister of the PRC invited R. Castro for an official visit of the PRC, then his Korean colleague did the same and officially invited Castro to the DPRK. Raul Castro thanked [them] for both invitations and apologized that he would not be able to use these invitations at this time; however, he promised to use these invitations during his next trip to Asia or at some other convenient opportunity. During R. Castro’s visit at the residence of the Korean titulary, the talk was specifically about the possibility to open diplomatic contacts between the DPRK and Cuba. Castro then invited the Korean youth delegation to attend the congress of Latin American youth, which was to open in Havana on 27 July. When the Chinese titulary accepted R. Castro at his residence shortly after, he stressed that the Cuban revolution was fully supported by all Chinese people. In conclusion of the conversation, Raul Castro said that the visit of his delegation in Czechoslovakia was very fruitful because it showed where the Cuban people have real friends.

On 30 June, National Defense Minister cde. [Bohumir] Lomsky accepted R. Castro. They then talked about the issue of the origin and development of the guerilla movement in Cuba, strategy and tactics of guerilla warfare, as well as the current condition of the Cuban revolutionary army. The issue of establishing a regular army in Cuba was also discussed in greater detail. This conversation was very friendly, just as the preceeding meetings.

On 30 June in the afternoon, R. Castro and his entourage visited Lidice where he laid a wreath at the memorial to the victims martyred by fascism. From 1 to 3 July, the Cuban delegation was watching the Spartakiade (where R. Castro was the most impressed by the army routine), visiting a collective farm (CF) (CF Polepy and Zernoseky in North Bohemia region), and meeting with already mentioned Korean and Chinese representatives in Prague.

From 4 to 6 July, R. Castro went for a three-day trip to Karlovy Vary [Carlsbad], Marianske Lazne and Plzen. Besides touring factories and various facilities in these cities, R. Castro watched a full-day military program in the Karlovy Vary [military] area (this was already the second demonstration of military training shown to a Cuban delegation; the first one took place on 29 July in Caslav).

Since many titularies from embassies of friendly countries in Prague were interested in a meeting with defense minister R. Castro, visits of these diplomatic representatives are currently taking place in the residence of the Cuban delegation. On 7 July, R. Castro accepted in his villa the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria. The Bulgarian titulary suggested to R. Castro a visit to the PRB, which Castro at that time declined with regard to the current situation in Cuba and his prolonged absence from the country. On the other hand, Castro allowed for a possibility to open diplomatic ties between Bulgaria and Cuba.

Shortly after that, R. Castro accepted the Ambassador of the GDR. This meeting proceeded in friendly manner as well, and the importance of the visit of the Cuban economic mission, led by A.N. Jimenez, in the GDR was stressed.

On 7 July, R. Castro was also accepted by minister of international trade cde. Krajcir who later arranged for him a courtesy dinner.

On Friday 8 July, R. Castro accepted the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Prague. R. Castro showed genuine interest in past battles of the Vietnamese Liberation Army, namely in the fortress Diem-bien-fu [Dien Bien Phu]. They also discussed the possibility of opening mutual diplomatic ties in the near future.

Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 of July were resting days for the Cuban delegation. On Saturday afternoon, the whole delegation saw a performance of Laterna Magica and then in the evening, it split into several groups to spend the Saturday evening and Sunday.

The visit of the Cuban delegation headed by Raul Castro is unfolding positively. Thanks to cordial and open conduct of R. Castro and his entourage, as well as to an openly friendly attitude, which Castro shows towards the CSR, the Cuban delegation is welcomed everywhere with heartfelt sympathy and uncommon interest. The Cuban delegation is expected to stay in the CSR till 22 July when Raul Castro with his entourage is to fly to the UAR [Egypt] for celebration of the [fourth] anniversary of nationalization of the Suez Canal.

With file No. 01783/60

Attachment No. 1

Brief characteristics of Raul Castro

Raul Castro was born on 13 June 1931. He is the brother of the Prime Minister Fidel Castro and one of the most outstanding Cuban revolutionaries. He joined the Fidel Castro’s movement in 1953 when on 26 July, they led opposition groups into an attack against the Moncada barracks and the administrative building of the Batista organization in Santiago de Cuba. This historic date gave name to the whole revolutionary movement in Cuba. Then Raul Castro was arrested and imprisoned until 1955 when he was released in a general amnesty. Afterwards he lived briefly in exile in the USA and Mexico.

In 1956, he returned with an expedition of his brother Fidel to Cuba where they started to organize intensively a guerilla war in the Sierra Maestra [mountains] against the Batista dictatorship. Raul Castro was active as a guerilla and an underground operator under the code name Deborah.

After toppling the Batista regime on 1 January 1959, he entered the capital Havana victoriously alongside Fidel Castro. Ever since the revolutionary government seized power, he has held many top functions. He became minister of national defense on 16 February 1959, and when this bureau was closed, he was appointed the minister of Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces.

Raul Castro has strong influence with his brother who respects him very much. He has a gentle demeanor and likes to act directly, without any formalities. The word is that Raul Castro and his wife Vilma Espin are members of the Popular Socialist Party [PSP] of Cuba. He has a very friendly attitude towards the CSR, which he visited for the first time in 1953 with a delegation of Cuban youth.

With file No. 01783/60

Attachment No. 2

The list of members of the Cuban delegation

Raul Castro Ruz, minister of Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, the head of the delegation

Efigenio Almejeivas Delgado – a police chief

Guillermo Garcia I

Ramiro Valdez Menendez

Belarmino Castilla Mas

Felix Lugones Ramirez

Felipe Guerra Matos

Diocles Torralba

Melquiades Ramos

Marcellino Sanchez Diaz

Juan Bautista Perez

Manolo Fernandez

Luis Mas Martin – personal secretary of Raul Castro

Mariano E. Seijo Torres

Note:

On orders from Raul Castro, a four-member group from the delegation in the CSR left for Cuba on 6 July. There were these delegation members: Felix Lugones Ramirez, Marcellino Sanchez Diaz, Juan Bautista Perez, and Mariano E. Seijo Torres.

Another four-member group is to depart for the USSR shortly. These are: Efigenio Almejeivas Delgado, Guillermo Garcia I, Belarmino Castilla Mas, and Diocles Torralba. This group is to return to the CSR on 20 July and rejoin the delegation, which is to visit the UAR [Egypt].

[1] Director of the Technical Department, Ministry of International Trade, František Mareš became the head of Omnipol at the end of the 1950s. His arrival ended a series of scandals (the incapability of the former Director, Antonín Podzimka, conflicts with the general staff of the Ministry of National Defense, with Minister of the Interior Rudolf Barák, the leak of information regarding a contract with Egypt, and especially the detainment of the Czechoslovak vessel Lidice that contained arms for Algerian rebel mutineers) that had accompanied the Technical Department’s work. After a certain time František Mareš was succeeded by František Langer, another long-time boss of the Technical Department.