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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 20, 1962

BRAZILIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY MEMORANDUM, 'QUESTION OF CUBA'

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

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    A memorandum on the Cuban Missile Crisis covering perspectives from the three major actors: U.S., Soviet Union and Cuba.
    "Brazilian Foreign Ministry Memorandum, 'Question of Cuba'," November 20, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Ministry of External Relations Archives, Brasilia, Brazil, copy courtesy of Roberto Baptista Junior (History Department, University of Brasilia); translation from Portuguese by James G. Hershberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115317
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SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EXTERNAL RELATIONS

MEMORANDUM for Mr. ADJUNCT SECRETARY GENERAL FOR AMERICAN AFFAIRS

CONFIDENTIAL

DAS/36.

On 20 of November of 1962

Question of Cuba

600.(24h)

Permit me Your Excellency to recapitulate, in a manner more succinct and focused, only, on aspects of the question that interest the aims of the present Memorandum, the current development of the Cuban crisis, in that it refers particularly to the three parties directly involved – United States of America, USSR and Cuba.

I – UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

2. In that which concerns the United States of America, it appears to have fully attained the objective of its naval and aerial blockade, which was to impede the entry, to Cuba, of warlike material of an offensive nature. Moreover, even, the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw, or dismantle, sur place, the armaments which had been installed on Cuban territory, under its control. On the other hand, in the bilateral negotiations that have been between the United States of America and the USSR, the Washington government gave guarantees of non-invasion of Cuba.

3. To reach a final solution to the Cuban question, the American Government, still, demands: a) the withdrawal by the Soviets, of additional armaments – long-range bombers – b) the inspection, by an international group, on Cuban territory, of the works of dismantling and withdrawal of the offensive and nuclear war material. As for the first demand, Moscow alleged that it is not a fitting initiative in the matter, since the planes at issue have already been incorporated into the Cuban air force. In this case, the Government of Cuba has to agree to return to the Soviet Union the machines at issue.

II – U.S.S.R.

4. Beyond the direct action of the USSR in the question, already mentioned in previous paragraphs, there is to consider the current position of the government of Premier Khrushchev, in view of the information received by the Embassy in Moscow.

5. Ambassador Leitão da Cunha commented on the immediate effects that the events in the Caribbean have had regarding the line of foreign policy of Moscow. It appears to have fixed on a new idea of “compromise,” in solution of international disputes in which the Soviet Union is a direct party. Still according to Ambassador Leitão da Cunha, the line followed by Khrushchev of “peaceful coexistence” has undergone a change of direction, which approximates the Brazilian idea of “competitive coexistence.”

6. This new philosophy was not adopted without the Soviet Premier having to overcome obstacles, in front of difficulties and criticisms, above all on the part of its more radical allies. The current intransigence of Fidel Castro to gestures of Mikoyan, causes discomfort in the Soviet environment [meios soviéticos]. On the other hand, it has inspired that he will be [inspirada que seja] – certainly he is – in egotistical motives and of the momentary strategy, the current attitude of Khrushchev has been conciliatory, pacific, and, evidently, all solutions should be searched that would not put them to lose ground already conquered or compromise future negotiations.

III – CUBA

7. Pressured by the Soviets, Fidel Castro has ready now conformed in abdicating certain demands that he initially made – withdrawal of the Americans of the naval base of Guantanamo – as conditions for agreeing with an international inspection on his territory. The most recent communications received from our Embassy in Havana permit one to deduce, [s.m.j.], that the government of Fidel Castro is disposed to accept an international solution for the question, within which would be, in part, protecting his prestige next to the Cuban people. It may not be, therefore, that he would be lead to assume a position of intransigence, compromising irremediably the conciliatory solution that he searches to reach.

8. In these conditions, and on a merely speculative basis – a time that, as is natural in case, there is not the DAS, up to date with the intentions of the Government, in that it respects its direct and future participation in the unrolling of the events in the Caribbean – permit me to recall to Your Excellency the possibility of Brazil suggesting the path of a conciliatory solution for the question of Cuba, in which would participate the Governments of the United States of America, the Soviet Union and of Havana.

9. The idea would be to launch in an informal manner, for example, in an interview granted by the Mr. Minister of State with a highly-regarded foreign correspondent. It would not assume the form of an offer of good offices or of mediation on the part of Brazil, but an indication of a formula that all would be able to accept. Another form of action in this sense would be of a gesture together or isolated on the part of Latin American Governments that maintain diplomatic relations with Fidel Castro.

10. Such a solution would consist in the mentioned Governments assuming a commitment of “negative obligations.”

11. Already on the occasion of examining the matters that would be tackled by President João Goulart and Kennedy, was thought of a high hierarchy in this Case that the attitude in front of the Cuban Government that would bear better fruits for the community of the Hemisphere would be for them to realize gestures together to Fidel Castro in the sense of assuming negative obligations, instead of following the path of isolation of Cuba, and of reprisals.

12. In synthesis, this compromise, that would be the object of a formal declaration, together or isolated, of the three interested Governments, would extend to the following negative obligations:

on the part of the United States of America:

– not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in Cuba.

on the part of the Soviet Union:

I – not to supply offensive armament to Cuba.

II – not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in Cuba.

on the part of Cuba:

I – not to install offensive armament.

II – not to intervene, directly or indirectly, in the politics, of other countries of the continent.

13. The suspension of the naval and aerial blockade of Cuba, on the part of the United States, as well as agreement of the Havana Government to withdraw the bomber aircraft and in relation to inspection by an international commission, is obvious, precedes the formalization of such a compromise or there will be a concomitant process.

14. The initiative of the Brazilian Government on the above lines indicate that it would be perfectly coherent with its position toward the events in the Caribbean, and, more still, would present an opportunity for us to reaffirm certain principles that guide our foreign policy in the hemisphere; the self-determination of peoples; the opposition to armed methods [corridas armamentistas]; and the rejection of infiltration and imposition of political ideology [infensa] to our democratic system.

Respectfully,

[signature]

(Jorge Alberto Seixas Corrêa)

Chief of Division of [Setentrional] America