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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 13, 1962

LETTER FROM DUTCH EMBASSY, HAVANA (BOISSEVAIN), 13 DECEMBER 1962

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

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    Boissevain reports on the ongoing cold war between the United States and Cuba and its effect on Cuban society. Cuba's national airport is maintaining service to Mexico city but is marked by continued delays and cancellations. Trade is limited only to Cuban and Spanish ships flying under the flag of the Soviet Union and its satellites. Kennedy's latest address heralds more hardship for the Cuban people. The letter concludes with the prospect of Japan buying Cuban sugar based on a meeting with Japanese Ambassador to Cuba Rokuzo Yaguchi.
    "Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 13 December 1962," December 13, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, National Archive, The Hague, Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2.05.118, inv. 17318. Obtained for CWIHP by Rimko van der Maar and translated for CWIHP by Bastiaan Bouwman. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115588
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Received: 7 January 1963

No. 2658/615

Havana, 13 December 1962.

C U B A:

Cold war

The current climate here with a decrease in temperature to 13° matches the political and economic condition. The cold war with the United States continues as long as on-site inspections are denied. Notwithstanding government promises of extra distribution of all kinds of tools and utensils, toys and provisions, scarcity is all too apparent. The Cubana [de Aviación] maintains a precarious service to Mexico City which is dogged by interruptions and delays, and the shipping trade from the West is limited to Cuban and Spanish merchant ships and vessels under flags of the Soviet Union and satellite states.

The latest address by President Kennedy provides the glum prospect of even greater troubles and hardships.

Which means, will Washington use to move Castro to reason?

An indication was given to me today during a return visit to the Japanese Ambassador who received me shivering with the cold in his official residence (Mr [Rokuzo] Yaguchi was “en poste” in Burma) and told me about pressure being exerted on his government by Washington to cease or at least limit the significant Japanese import of Cuban sugar, against which Cuba buys car parts and other much-needed items.

It would surprise me however if this was all that is to come, since such measures only herald a period of “attrition” which could last a long time.

The Ambassador,

G.W. Boissevain.