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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 03, 1962

TELEGRAM FROM POLISH EMBASSY IN HAVANA (JELEń), 3 FEBRUARY 1962

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

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    Jelen discusses the eighth meeting of consultation of foreign ministers of the Organization of American States at Punta del Este and their decision to exclude the current government of Cuba from the inter-American system.
    "Telegram from Polish Embassy in Havana (Jeleń), 3 February 1962," February 03, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Szyfrogramy from Hawana 1962, 6/77 w-82 t-1264, Polish Foreign Ministry Archive (AMSZ), Warsaw. Obtained by James G. Hershberg (George Washington University) and translated by Margaret K. Gnoinska (Troy University). https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115739
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Ciphergram No. 150

Dispatched from Havana on 02.03.1962 at 17:00 and received at 02.03.1962 at 13:50

Came to the Decoding Department at 02.03.1962 at 16:00

To: [Aleksander] KRAJEWSKI1

From: [Ambassador Boleslaw] JELEN2

[Regarding the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of American States at] Punta del Este

There is no complete picture in the Cuban press regarding the resolutions adopted at [Punta del Este] and how each country voted on specific resolutions. Generally, there has been information published pertaining to the five adopted resolutions:

Cuba’s exclusion from the inter-American system;

Cuba’s exclusion from the inter-American defense committee;

Prohibition of supplying weapons and strategic materials to Cuba by the members of the OAS [Organization of American States];

“Solidarity towards progress;”

Concrete steps [taken by the OAS nations] to defend the [Western] Hemisphere.

It is still not known what other resolutions had been adopted. Also, the lack of the complete response to the adopted resolutions makes it all difficult to provide you with a fuller analysis.

[Based on] the conversations with, among others, ambassadors to USSR, Brazil, and Mexico, one can present the following remarks:

Given that the OAS charter does not allow for the exclusion of a nation [from the organization], they used an exclusion formula of [excluding] the current government of Cuba from its participation within the borders of the OAS (see Article 32 of the OAS Charter).3 The OAS Council was entrusted with the implementation of this resolution. The six abstaining countries [Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, and Ecuador] do not agree even with this form of exclusion unless the charter is revised, a task that belongs to the pan-American conference. A complex discussion is expected to take place regarding this issue at the Council [meeting] of the OAS.

According to Brazilian and Mexican [ambassadors], the conference at Punta del Este possessed the authority to exclude Cuba from the Defense Committee which is an autonomous organ associated with the OAS, but which is not subject to its authority.

It is not clear whether other than the prohibition of arms trade there were any other economic sanctions, as well as any concrete steps to defend the [Western] Hemisphere (with the possible application of the provisions of the fourth conference of [OAS] foreign ministers in 1951).

[Cuba’s] exclusion from the [inter-American] system is also considered to be its exclusion from its obligations to the Rio Treaty. The Mexican and Brazilian [ambassadors] point out that it does not mean that Cuba is protected from the [Rio] treaty being used against it, since the sanctions included in Article 8 of the treaty24 are foreseen to be used not only towards the countries which are associated with it. Both ambassadors assess that the resolution was carried out with the support of the necessary minimum of votes; [they assess this] as a defeat of the OAS and this is the fault of the United States; they stress that their governments did everything they could so such a conference would not take place. The result of such voting is unprecedented. In the case of the anti-communist [OAS] declaration [made] in Caracas in 1954, only Mexico and Argentina abstained from voting and only Guatemala voted against it.

They are all of the opinion that because of [Cuba’s] exclusion [from the OAS], the argument that the OAS [members should first turn to] the Security Council of the UN in case of a dispute between Cuba and the members of the OAS (see Article 20 of the OAS Charter)25 is no longer valid.

There is a general opinion that the United States will exploit the decisions made at [the] Punta [del Este conference] in order to further undertake anti-Cuban steps.

We still cannot discern as to how Cuba plans to counteract as far as the decisions made at Punta [del Este]. Among other things, there is speculation that Cuba will appeal to the UN on the basis of the fact that the OAS is a regional organization within the [jurisdiction] of the UN.

[1] Official in the Polish Foreign Ministry. In 1950-1951, he served as the vice-vhair of the Administrative and Budgetary Committee of the UN General Assembly. In 1965-1970, he served as Poland’s ambassador to Brazil.

[2] Poland’s ambassador to Cuba (1961-1965).

[3] Article 32 of the OAS Charter states: The Organization of American States accomplishes its purposes by means of: a) The Inter-American Conference; b) The Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs; c) The Council; d) The Pan American Union; e) The Specialized Conferences; and f) The Specialized Organizations. Source: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/decad062.asp#art32.

[4] Article 8 of the Rio Treaty states: “For the purposes of this Treaty, the measures on which the Organ of Consultation may agree will comprise one or more of the following: recall of chiefs of diplomatic missions; breaking of diplomatic relations; breaking of consular relations; partial or complete interruption of economic relations or of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, telephonic, and radiotelephonic or radiotelegraphic communications; and use of armed force.”

[5] Article 20 of the OAS Charter signed at Bogota Conference of American States, Charter of the Organization of American States; March 30-May 2, 1948, states: “All international disputes that may arise between American States shall be submitted to the peaceful procedures set forth in this Charter, before being referred to the Security Council of the United Nations.” Source: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/decad062.asp.