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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 25, 1962


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

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    A letter from Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticos regarding a conversation he had with Anastas Mikoyan. The two discussed mostly the USSR's position on Cuba, to which Mikoyan expressed the USSR's support of Cuba (that it would retaliate if Cuba were attacked), but that peaceful coexistence was still the Soviet's plan to follow for the development of humanity toward socialism and the defeat of imperialism.
    "Letter from Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticos to Fidel Castro re Conversation with Anastas Mikoyan," November 25, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Provided by the Cuban Government for the October 2002 Havana conference (“La Crisis de Octubre: Una vision politica 40 años despues”) organized by the National Security Archive. Translated from Spanish for CWIHP by Chris Dunlap.
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Letter from Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticos to Fidel Castro re Conversation with Anastas Mikoyan, 25 November 1962

Havana, 25 November 1962


Commander Fidel Castro Ruz, First Secretary General of the ORI [Integrated Revolutionary Organization], [Havana] City.

Comrade Fidel:

Here I will inform you about the conversation with comrade Mikoyan last night when he paid a visit to my house. This visit was announced to me by the USSR’s ambassador to Cuba, comrade [Alexander] Alexeiev [Alexeyev], who told me that Mikoyan wished to greet me in the presence of my family.

I thought this was a visit for pure reasons of courtesy, because by way of my presence in the USSR as the Cuban ambassador, I met him and we got together countless times, and I befriended his son Sergei, but Mikoyan quickly began to talk about the USSR’s position with respect to the decision taken on the Cuban problem.

I began to talk about his trip to Santiago [de Cuba] and his return that was barely an hour later, but he immediately jumped to the topic of discussion.

First, he made a long statement, and upon finishing, I indicated to him that I already knew, through reports of the comrades in the Secretariat and by those which he too had learned our points of view. [several lines excised]

Immediately a dialogue developed, the essence of which – and what Mikoyan primarily expressed – are the following:

Position of the USSR with respect to Cuba: “Humanity has been freed from a catastrophic war, and Cuba from its complete liquidation. It must be understood that the situation has improved for Cuba. The missiles accomplished their task. We thought about six months beforehand; then Cuba had no missiles and there was the danger of an immediate invasion. The problem was stopping the aggressors, and this has been accomplished in Kennedy’s promise not to invade Cuba. We must believe this promise. Besides, in the next election, he will doubtlessly be reelected and will need to keep his word. So we think Cuba will not have problems for the next five or six years.”

“If Cuba is assaulted in another way, it must be understood that the USSR will retaliate in other parts of the world in which the Americans are very interested, and other points closer to the USSR. Cuba is far from the USSR and close to the USA. But those other important parts of the world are close to the USSR and far from the United States, say, Laos or Berlin.”

“In Berlin they are in a mousetrap; we have them in a fist. With just some artillery and a few tanks, we will crush them. If not having the missiles in Cuba ceases to be an advantage, (this answer to one of my questions remained unclear, despite my insistence on it. I don’t know if the translator is at fault or if Mikoyan preferred leaving it this way.) we must tally what has been achieved regarding the guarantees not to invade Cuba from the United States. And the USSR does not need bases near the United States, as its missile forces are powerful and precise enough to strike the enemy in any place in the world from within the USSR’s own territory. Recall that Khrushchev said that the precision of our technology permits us to hit a bull’s-eye on a point situated out in the cosmos. However, what was the situation of that military advantage over the United States? Our missile bases in Cuba, having been discovered by the USA and become perfectly known to them. This situation allowed them to destroy the missile bases before they could be used. Therefore, there was not such an advantage.”

And if they had not discovered those bases, do you think that advantage would exist?

“If they had not been discovered, it would be as if they did not exist. The situation would have been different as it would not have produced the crisis. Talking about this point, one can reach the conclusion that Mikoyan tried to indicate that the USSR transferred and installed missiles in Cuba thinking not of using them, but rather as a political maneuver. And that they proceeded to install them in a way that allowed the US to discover them.”

“The moment of liquidating imperialism has not come. The fate of imperialism and socialism is not tied up in a war. This goes against our principles, against all those on which the Communist Party of the Soviet Union bases its fight. Peaceful coexistence is the path to follow for the development of humanity toward socialism and the defeat of imperialism. The ideas of communism are not carried on bayonets. Communism is not imposed by cannon fire or nuclear bombs. Our guarantee or assurance that war can be avoided, that imperialism can be stopped, is in our military strength. It is clear that if we did not have that military power, the situation would be different and we would have war instead.”


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