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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 07, 1962

MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN MEXICAN FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIAL AND CUBAN DIPLOMAT, MEXICO CITY

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

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    The Cuban Chargé d’Affaires, Mr. Ramon Sinobas, visited the Mexican Undersecretary, Pablo Campos Ortiz. They touched on the following points: Mexico's support of Cuba in the UN General Assembly; economic sanctions against Cuba and the shipment of foodstuffs and other merchandise from Mexico; and Cuba joining the Convention on the Inter-American Indigenous Institute.
    "Memorandum of Conversation between Mexican Foreign Ministry Official and Cuban Diplomat, Mexico City," November 07, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archivo Histórico Diplomático Genaro Estrada, Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, Mexico City. Obtained by James Hershberg, translated by Eduardo Baudet and Tanya Harmer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115277
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MEMORANDUM

Mexico, DF, 7 November 1962

The Cuban Chargé d’Affaires, Mr. Ramon Sinobas, visited today, by prior appointment, the Undersecretary [Pablo] Campos Ortiz. He touched on the following points:

1. He said he had instructions to ask us if we could give him an answer yet to the request his government had made to us for the Delegation of Mexico to give its support in the United Nations, more concretely in the General Assembly, to the Five Points that Prime Minister Castro made known recently, and that are related to the crisis situation that has been taking place between Cuba and the United States.

Mr. Sinobas dealt with this matter with Undersecretary Campos Ortiz in the visit he made to him on 1 November. He did not have with him the text of the Five Points, but he gave it to us that same day in the afternoon in a note.

Campos Ortiz said to Mr. Sinobas that the General Assembly of the UN could not approve any resolution nor make any recommendation about this matter, as it is already being considered by the Security Council. That is set out, Campos Ortiz added, in the first paragraph of Article 12 of the Charter, which he then read. This, he added, because of what the four first Points that Prime Minister Castro’s Declaration includes.

Mr. Sinobas asked Campos Ortiz if we could disclose to him what would be our position would be in the event that the matter was discussed in the Assembly. Campos Ortiz told him that, should that case arise, we would consider the matter, but that for now we could not disclose anything.

With regards to the fifth Point of the Prime Minister’s Declaration, that is the one relating to the Base in Guantanamo – Campos Ortiz continued – we consider that because the Base exists by virtue of a Treaty, the return of it to Cuba should be a matter of negotiation or bilateral arrangement between Cuba and the United States, as long as this is in keeping with the stipulations that the Treaty contains in this respect, that is adjusting to the general applicable principles on this matter. In addition, Campos Ortiz added, given the current state of extreme tension between Cuba and the United States, the North American Government would consider it very unfriendly, not only any effort, but even more still a position in favor of Cuba, that any Government took on this point, as a result of which the Mexican government will abstain from pronouncing on this problem in any way. Campos Ortiz added that in analogous cases, but in other circumstances, the Mexican position has been different; for example, in the recent case of Panama (efforts of the Panamanian Government regarding the Canal) or in the case, a while ago, of the abrogation of the Platt Amendment, that the Cuban Government obtained.

2. The second point that Mr. Sinobas touched upon refers to the Cuban Government’s purchase of 4,500 tons of rice, that were obtained from CONASUPO [the National Company of Popular Subsistence] and of 1,500 tons of beans, that were obtained from the Agriculture Bank. Mr. Sinobas had already informed the Secretary about these transactions. It is now to do with, the Chargé d’Affairs said, their dispatch to Cuba. Since the 3rd of November – he added – the steamship “Bahia de Marriel” has been in Veracruz, but the merchandise has not been able to board given that the Head of the ANDSA [customs agency?—trans.] at the Port, a gentleman with the surname Vega, is not allowing its dispatch because of not having, he says, instructions for it from the seller. In addition, Mr. Vega is requesting that the proper contract of the freight be presented. Mr. Sinobas considers that perhaps there is a misunderstanding in this case, given that the Embassy’s Commercial Counselor was informed that CONASUPO had given instructions for dispatching the merchandise. With respect to the freight contract, Mr. Sinobas commented, he understands that this is not necessary, as the buyer of the merchandise is the Cuban Government and the boat that plans to take it to Cuba is property of the State. In addition, he added, in the previous cases, similar to this one, presentation of the freight contract has never been requested.

Mr. Sinobas added that the loading of a separate box with merchandise consigned to Cuba onto the “Bahia del Marel” has not been permitted either and that it was in the Port on standby for a boat. A customs official said that he could not authorize the dispatch of this box, as he had instructions not to authorize any dispatch of merchandise to Cuba without specific instructions in every case.

Mr. Sinobas thinks that just as in the case of the rice and the beans as in the case of the separate box, it is possible that there has been a confusion caused by what happened recently in the case of Steamship “Teneriffa”, a Norwegian steamship that was not allowed to unload the load that it carried destined for Cuba in Coatzacoalcos or in Veracruz.

Mr. Sinobas requests that, if possible, instructions be given to those whom it may concern so that the shipment of this merchandise – rice, beans, and the separate box – [can] be carried without difficulty. Campos Ortiz offered to communicate with him by telephone during the course of the day in this respect.

3. Thirdly, Mr. Sinobas told Campo Ortiz that he had telegraphic instructions from his Government to kindly request that the Secretariat of Foreign Relations provide all possible information about the nature of Mexico’s policy and attitude in relation to the problem of territorial waters and jurisdiction over its air space. He would also like to have, he added, reports regarding Mexico’s posture in International Organizations on these two matters.

Campos Ortiz answered Mr. Sinobas that he would do what was possible to provide him with the concrete data about these points throughout the course of tomorrow and in addition, possibly, an official publication of the Secretariat.

Mr. Sinobas thanked Mr. Campos Ortiz’s offer and commented that he would very much like to have these reports in time to send them to Havana on next Friday’s airplane.

4. Fourthly, Mr. Sinobas asked Undersecretary Campos Ortiz if any resolution had been taken yet in relation to Cuba joining the Convention on the Inter-American Indigenous Institute. Campos Ortiz answered him that an answer to the note that the Cuban Embassy had sent with regards to this matter was still pending.

5. Lastly, Mr. Sinobas said that he had communicated with [Cuban UN] Ambassador [Carlos] Lechuga, who told him that he is thinking of coming to Mexico, that he does not yet know exactly when, but that at latest it will be by the end of the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

By way of conclusion, Campos Ortiz repeated what he had told Mr. Sinobas in respect to the Five Points contained in the Declaration by Prime Minister Castro, because he wanted, he told Mr. Sinobas, to be very precise on this point so that Mr. Sinobas, in turn, took note, very clearly, of our answer.

P.C.O. [Pablo Campos Ortiz]