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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 10, 1962

TELEGRAM-LETTER FROM BRAZILIAN EMBASSY IN WASHINGTON (CAMPOS), 10-13 NOVEMBER 1962

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

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    In conversation with a high officials from the State Department about the prospects of the Cuban situation, three hypotheses about the future Soviet comportment are discussed: 1) abandon entirely the government of Fidel Castro to its own fate; 2) limit itself to leave constituted in Cuba a socialist regime, based on a well-structured communist party and endowed with a repressive political machine, as a political base of propaganda and infiltration in Latin America and 3) to intensify Soviet technical and economic assistance in a manner to transform Cuba into a living demonstration of the efficacy of communism as an instrument of economic development in Latin America. The letter goes on to describe these three points in more detail.
    "Telegram-Letter from Brazilian Embassy in Washington (Campos), 10-13 November 1962," November 10, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, “600.(24h)—SITUAÇÃO POLITICA—CUBA de novembro a dezembre de 1.962//6223,” Ministry of External Relations Archives, Brasilia, Brazil. Translated from Portuguese by James G. Hershberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115379
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SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EXTERNAL RELATIONS

TELEGRAM

RECEIVED

13488

FROM THE EMBASSY IN WASHINGTON

ON/10/13/XI/62

CONFIDENTIAL

DAS/DAC/DEA/DNU/DOr/600.(24h)

Cuban situation.

CT 370 – In addition to my oficio no 994 of 1o November of 1962. In conversation with a high official from the State Department about the prospects of the Cuban situation, he announced three hypotheses about the future Soviet comportment: (1o) abandon entirely the government of Fidel Castro to its own fate; (2o) limit itself to leave constituted in Cuba a socialist regime, based on a well-structured communist party and endowed with a repressive political machine, as a political base of propaganda and infiltration in Latin America and (3o) to intensify Soviet technical and economic assistance in a manner to transform Cuba into a living demonstration of the efficacy of communism as an instrument of economic development in Latin America. The first hypothesis seemed to him impractical since it would demoralize all the communist efforts in Latin America. Also he did not believe plausible the third hypothesis due to the following motives: (a) the raised cost of operation of development, that it would only have efficacy as a long-term measure and demand a minimum of 500 million dollars per year; (b) the present disorganization of the Cuban economy, whose industrial machines of North American origin will have to be completely re-equipped under penalty of facing an inactive period due to a lack of parts; (c) difficulties of personnel and organization, given the low organizational talent of the revolutionary leaders [and] the escape of the great part of the technical and professional class; (d) the opposition of other Iron Curtain countries, who need their own support [and] will protest against a greater Soviet engagement in an area considered distant and insecure; (e) Soviet responsibility in Asia, where the Chinese rivalry obliges the Soviets to an intense economic and military effort under penalty of losing the leadership of the socialist states; (f) permanent risk of subversive movements in Cuba, even as the risk of invasion attenuates as a part of the Kennedy-Khrushchev understanding about dismantling the bases. In these conditions it would seem to him more reasonable the second hypothesis, that would bring a tolerable economic effort to assure the economic survival of Cuba without transforming it into a model of development. I argued that this policy does not seem to me viable without a combination of hypotheses two and three because (a) the economic un-success or stagnation of Cuba will turn the Castroite movement unexportable (b) it would aggravate the prospects of internal subversion in Cuba. To these arguments the alluded functionary responded that one the great conquests of communist technique has been the creation of systems of rapid communications, of military units’ movements and of the political apparatus of espionage of such order that communist regimes of mediocre economic “performance” such as Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Viet-Minh have managed to maintain themselves in power. He added that these conditions seem already to exist in Cuba. The electronic and telecommunications equipment set up to serve the remote-controlled rocket bases probably will continue in Cuba, improving the system of communications on the island. The various military units were highly mechanized and have become capable of rapid movement to liquidate subversive movements that can arise in any part of the island. Finally, through the committees of political vigilance in the villages, factories and cooperatives constitute an efficient apparatus of espionage. All of this will facilitate the indefinite maintenance of the repressive regime. As for the economic model of development, the Soviets will renounce this, …ing [fiando-se] more in the eventual success of the local communist movement, that will demand access to power through the mechanism of popular fronts and of infiltration in other democratic parties. Likewise they will not [lograssem] the conquest of power they will get perhaps the more moderate objective of pointing out the capitalist development. As for the North American attitude in the present negotiations about dismantling the bases in Cuba, he indicates that, for internal political motives, it would be extremely difficult for the United States to abandon the demands of international control, since, the dissatisfaction of this requirement, would increase the political resistance, already enormous, to the commitment of non-invasion. In any case, if the impossibility of the assembly of a system of international inspection is verified, by virtue of the resistance of Fidel Castro, the Russians agreeing however to the verification on the high seas of the return of the missiles evacuated from Cuba, it would be possible to keep the general lines of the Kennedy-Khrushchev understanding. However, beyond the qualifications that already have figured in the declaration of Kennedy of the 12th of September [sic—November?] – preservation of Guantanamo, Cuban abstention from aggression to other countries of the continent, non-installation of offensive capacity that would increase other conditions limiting [limitativos] the commitment of non-invasion such that as the maintenance of the blockade with international inspection and periodic overflight by American or neutral planes of Cuban territory in order to document the non-reestablishment of aggressive equipment. The functionary stressed that [en causa] these were all observations of a personal character, seeing that the policy of the American government has not yet crystallized, in view of the constant evolution whether of the Soviet position or of the Cuban.

ROBERTO DE OLIVEIRA CAMPOS