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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 15, 1962

REPORT ON US POLICY TOWARD CUBA

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    Report on the US attempts to isolate Cuba from other countries in the Western Hemisphere and their intention to use counter-revolutionary forces and the uneasy economic situation in Cuba to incite an internal uprising against the Castro government
    "Report on US Policy toward Cuba," March 15, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of the Federal Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, File 88497, vol 1. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114513
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On the US policy toward Cuba

On 4 December 1961 the Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved, under the strong pressure from the United States of America, the Colombian resolution to convene a conference of ministers of foreign affairs of the OAS member-states to discuss the question of Cuba.

Despite the pressure from the Americans, six Latin American countries, not counting Cuba, refused to join in this decision: Mexico voted against the resolution; Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador abstained. The opening of the conference of ministers of foreign affairs was at first scheduled for 10 January 1962 at the city of Punta-del-Este (Uruguay), though later it was moved to 22 January.

During this period the USA has particularly increased its activities in influencing Latin American governments and bringing them over to their side. By the time of the opening of the conference of foreign ministers, thirteen OAS member states under pressure from the USA cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba: Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, [El] Salvador and USA.

From 22 to 31 January 1962 in Punta-del-Este was held consultating conference of foreign ministers, where Cuba was accused of breaking its commitments to the OAS, of assisting penetration of communism into Western hemisphere and of subversive actions against the governments of Latin American states.

In convening the conference the US government counted on collecting a two-thirds majority to ratify the adoption of "active sanctions" against Cuba, i.e. Cuba's exclusion from the OAS, breaking of diplomatic relations with Cuba by all the OAS member-countries, complete cessation of trade with Cuba, and a blockade on its trade with other countries. In US opinion, these measures were to bring about an almost complete political and economic isolation of Cuba.

As a result of crude pressure, blackmail and threats to deprive Latin American countries of economic aid through the program of the "Union for Progress", the United States was able to succeed in passing, by two-thirds, a resolution "On removing the current Cuban government from participation in the inter-American system." Six Latin American countries-Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, Chile and Ecuador--where live two-thirds of all of Latin American population, abstained from voting on the American draft resolution.

On 14 February the OAS Council approved the recommendation of the conference of foreign ministers to exclude Cuba from all OAS structures.

By excluding Cuba from the OAS system, the US seek to isolate Cuba politically and economically in the Western hemisphere.

Following the Conference of Foreign Ministers, on 8 February the government of Argentina broke off diplomatic ties with Cuba. Thus, at the present time, out of 19 Latin American countries, only 6 countries have diplomatic ties with Cuba: Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador and Bolivia.

After the conference in Punta-del-Este, internal counterrevolution in Cuba increased its activities. According to information from the Cuban state security the activities of counter-revolutionary organizations inside the country are primarily directed at:

- strengthening of counter-revolutionary groups so that, in the event of a new intervention, to unleash throughout the country organized uprising against the revolutionary government;

- training of new groups for deployment in the mountains and the assistance to the already existing groups;

- supply of the acting gangs with weapons, medicine and food;

-  infiltration of [Cuban] armed forces, militia, and important industrial sites with the aim of blackmailing and carrying out terrorist acts;

- distribution of counter-revolutionary propaganda.

In accordance with the CIA directive, Cuban counterrevolutionaries, both in emigration as well as inside the country, now changed their tactics and focused their primary attention on sending spy groups over into Cuba and on combining underground and legal forms of activity.

In the opinion of the Cuban friends, the US plans following the conference [in Punta-del-Este] consist not only of external isolation of Cuba, but also of resolute activation of activities of internal counterrevolution intended to create economic difficulties in the country and to undermine its defense capability. Recently, more frequent became terrorist attacks in [Cuban] transportation. According to statements of the arrested members of counter-revolutionary groups, the CIA direct their attention mainly to organizing terrorist acts and gathering military and economic information.

Two provinces, Matanzas and Camaguey remain the zones of greatest activity of internal counterrevolution.

Internal counterrevolution has recently been focusing its activity primarily on committing acts of economic sabotage both in industry and particularly in agriculture. By preliminary calculations, the counterrevolutionaries destroyed through arsony more than one hundred thousand tons of the sugar cane of the crop of 1962, when its harvesting barely began.

Over the last one and a half to two months only the province of Matanzas alone, the amount of burnt crop is almost half of the total amount burnt by the counterrevolutionaries over the entire Cuba during all the last year.

During the second half of February only there were 160 cases of sugar cane arson.

According to the data of the Cuban leadership, the combined number  of counter-revolutionary bands in the country is around 400 people; moreover, the majority of these are concentrated in two central country provinces--Matanzas and Las Villas [?]. The USA keeps sending weapons for these bands. Besides, the US sends over a significant number of small groups of terrorists with the mission to entrench [zakrepitsia] on the Cuban territory and to start out on a signal from the US CIA [sic] .

The situation in the country gets aggravated by the presence of strong influence from counter-revolutionary propaganda among the small and middle peasantry and urban property owners, by the inability of these strata to improve their situation because of a number of regulations adopted by the government. Another reason for the difficult situation in the country is the weak performance of the Institute for Agrarian Reform (INRA). This institute, while giving a large amount of assistance to farmers, did not bind them with any obligations with respect to the forthcoming crop. Despite the fact that in Cuba for many years there were obligatory appropriations by the state from peasants' harvests, they were completely liberated from them.

For this reason, in 1961 in the province of Havana, farmers sold to the state on average only l/40 of the crop they harvested.

Recently the internal economic situation in Cuba has worsened as a result of the growth of economic difficulties, mostly in the area of providing the population with foodstuff and consumer goods. Due to a number of reasons, in January and February of this year the supply of essential goods to population deteriorated. The food reserve held in storage is extremely negligible and insufficient, to correct the situation substantially and quickly.

The owners of private stores and numerous small shops artificially aggravate existing difficulties: they take advantage of the absence of necessary state controls over the distribution of food, they hide goods, inflate prices, sell [the goods] to friends and deny them primarily to the persons who actively support the revolution.

Continuous shortages in the supply of essential food products provoke certain dissatisfaction among the backward segments of population, and frequently they also begin to spread hostile, counter-revolutionary propaganda, falling prey to various rumors of panic, hoarding up the already small quantities of goods and thus helping to exacerbate the situation with [food] supply.

The exacerbation of the country's economic difficulties is first of all attributable to the continuous growth in domestic consumption resulting from the fact that a broader assortment of food products and goods now became available to sizeable segments of the population, who consume them in large amounts, while they had no such opportunities before. In previous years Cuba covered food shortages mostly through imports purchased with foreign currency reserves. In 1962 purchases of imported foodstuffs sharply decreased due to the absence of foreign currency. In 1957 Cuban exports to the USA amounted to 600 million dollars. On 7 February of this year, US President KENNEDY signed a decree [sic] cutting off all trade with Cuba. This decision by the US government deprives the Cuban government of approximately 20-25 million dollars per year, which were previously spent on the acquisition of foodstuffs and medicine from capitalist countries.

This decision by the USA government will undoubtedly further exacerbate the food situation in Cuba.

Recently the policy of the KENNEDY administration emerged much more clearly: it pursues the goal to incite by any means dissatisfaction with the revolutionary government among the broad segments of the country's population, most notably through exacerbating the economic difficulties and food supply. This is the framework for examining efforts of the ruling circles in the USA to achieve full cessation of trade between Cuba and Latin American countries as well as between Cuba and NATO countries. It is precisely this framework that provides guidelines for the activity of the internal counter-revolution in Cuba.

By implementing this policy the USA tries to create favorable conditions for organizing an internal rebellion, which would be immediately supported from abroad by both forces of the external counterrevolution and by the USA forces through the OAS or in some other form. However, according to the judgment of the Cuban leadership, mass anti-government actions cannot take place in the country.

Thus, on 24 February of this year, during a discussion with a KGB resident in Havana, Fidel CASTRO stated that it would be very good if Americans indeed came to believe in the possibility of internal counterrevolutionary coup in Cuba, only to become greatly disappointed afterwards.

Touching upon economic difficulties, CASTRO emphasized that, notwithstanding grave economic difficulties, the Americans cannot count on a counter-revolutionary coup, for there is no such force in the country which could break the revolutionary spirit of the Cuban people and their growing self-awareness. Beside the blockade, CASTRO said, we have to blame ourselves for the economic difficulties now experienced by Cuba, since we have set our agriculture adrift and, because of the lack of experienced cadres, were unable to successfully organize distribution of food and basic goods.

CASTRO informed that at the present time a re-organization is taking place of the entire work of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA), and in order to avoid gave consequences in the future, a rationing system on a number of insufficient products will be introduces in Cuba since mid-March.

Overcoming these economic difficulties, in CASTRO's words, will be one of the most important tasks facing the party and the government in the near future.

In connection with these difficulties, the Cuban leadership has decided to concentrate its efforts on domestic issues and, most of all, on taking all available measures to improve the country's economic situation through better organization of industrial and agricultural production and a more effective distribution of the country's available resources of raw materials and food.

The Cuban leadership understands that the introduction of rationing system will to some extent damage the political prestige of Cuba and will be used by the enemies of the revolution, but there is no other way. The introduction of a rationing system will, to a certain extent, normalize the supply and limit the ability of counter-revolutionaries and shop-keepers to fan out dissatisfaction among the population. In the opinion of the Cuban friends, 1962 will be a far more difficult year for the Cuban revolution than 1961.

The USA government, while intensifying economic blockade of Cuba and efforts to isolate it from the American continent, at the same time plans to provoke the Cuban government into actions which would allow the Americans to carry out a military operation against the Cuban Republic and quickly, in no more than 24 hours, finish off the government of F. CASTRO. With these goals in mind the USA has significantly increased anti-Cuban propaganda directed primarily against the leaders of the Cuban Republic.

The military specialists of the USA have put together a plan of operations against Cuba that has been approved by KENNEDY. According to this plan, the main strike against Cuba would be launched from the American military base in Guantanamo with support from the naval fleet located in the Caribbean Sea. The actions of the ground forces would be supported by the air forces stationed in Florida and Texas. The implementation of this plan is delegated to the war minister [sic] McNamara. The exact date for the launch of the operation has not yet been determined, though they allegedly talk about the next few months.

The USA is using every means to put pressure on Latin American countries with the aim of forcing the remaining six countries to break diplomatic relations with Cuba. The US Department of State is particularly increasing pressure on the governments of those Latin American countries that abstained from voting on Cuba's exclusion from the OAS during the Conference of Foreign Ministers of OAS member-states in Punta-del-Este. Beside it, the USA looks out for ways to present its armed attack on Cuba as a clash between all or most of the Latin American countries and the government of F. CASTRO and with "people's communism." With this purpose in mind, the State Department [worked out?] several scenarios for creating a pretext for an attack on the Cuban Republic.

In the opinion of the Cuban friends, the USA has recently doubled its energy to carry out its aggressive plans for interference and subversive activity against Cuba. Recently, the activities of the US Central Intelligence Agency [against Cuba] have considerably grown in scope. In their opinion, there is escalation in the slander campaign of spreading false rumors of imperialist telegraph agencies. The situation in this respect is very reminiscent of the one that had preceded the previous aggression. The actions of the United States of America both in OAS and in NATO are, in the opinion of the Cuban revolutionary government, part of new plans for subversive activities, interference and armed aggression by the United States government.

Analysis of intelligence information and opinions of the Cuban friends gives the ground to believe that in the near future the USA will not begin an armed aggression against Cuba. They will take all steps in order to exacerbate the economic situation inside the country, provoke discontent with the policies of the government among broad segments of the population, isolate [Cuba] on the American continent, weaken its economic ties with European and Asian countries, and thus prepare conditions for uprisings against the Cuban government.

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