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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 22, 1962

TELEGRAM FROM POLISH EMBASSY IN HAVANA (JELEń), 22 SEPTEMBER 1962

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

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    Jelen compiles this report from his conversation with the USSR Ambassador [Aleksandr] Alekseyev. Alekseyev believes that the Soviet declaration from the 11th removed the danger of more serious [US] military action [against Cuba]. At the same time, he takes into account the possibility of the attempts of staging subversive landings, as well as the possibility of activities [carried out] by Cuban emigrant pirates against the ships. The two also discuss economic aid to Cuba, especially in the form of foodstuffs.
    "Telegram from Polish Embassy in Havana (Jeleń), 22 September 1962," September 22, 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/115752
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 Ciphergram No. 14090

Dispatched from Havana on 09.22.1962 at 14:00 and received on 09.23.1962 at 14:04

Came to the Decoding Department at 09.23.1962 at 17:40

To: [Aleksander] KRAJEWSKI,1 EYES ONLY

From: [Ambassador Boleslaw] JELEN2

[This report has been compiled based on my] conversation with the USSR Ambassador [Aleksandr] Alekseyev:

A.[lekseyev] assesses that the Soviet declaration from the 11th of this month70 removed the danger of a more serious [US] military action [against Cuba]. At the same time, he takes into account the possibility of the attempts of staging subversive landings, as well as the possibility of activities [carried out] by Cuban emigrant pirates against the ships. According to Alekseyev, the declaration was made because of the information [which was] presented [to them] by Cuba, indicating concrete facts that preparations were being made [to carry out] a serious military action against Cuba. Perhaps these facts were exaggerated. However, the basis for concern existed. [Alekseyev] also implied [intimated] that this declaration was aimed at, among other things, strengthening the tendencies of [conducting] a sensible approach towards the Cuban problem which are present in the Kennedy administration.

Alekseyev assesses the internal situation [in Cuba] with great optimism. He is rather minimizing the extent of internal difficulties. He is promising a serious increase in the Soviet economic aid and large deliveries of food, which are to achieve the last year’s level of food supply. Not balancing the trade with the USSR is to achieve $ 230 million USD, that is, over 30 million more than it was forecast.

2. Western diplomats generally take into account the possibility of a strengthened subversive action. They are expressing concern about the anti-Cuban history in the United States. They assess that the Cuban question received the level of significance [which is] equal to other problems that decide the future of world peace. [As far as the current state of affairs], the English [ambassador, Herbert Stanley Marchant] mainly sees the consequences of a flawed policy conducted by the United States [towards Cuba].

3. The reaction of [the Cuban] society to the Soviet declaration is being mainly expressed in organized assemblies and demonstrations. Even though the concern that a direct threat may have diminished, the level of anxiety of the Cuban society has entered into a permanent state which is living on a powder keg. The emigration tendencies continue to be on the rise (they are talking about [undertaking] administrative measures on how to stop the emigration wave). There is no significant change in the moods towards the USSR. One can still note signs regarding the reticence towards foreigners (who are usually perceived as Russians or Czechs); this attitude is especially caused by the difficulties in food shortages and thus far lack of direct impact on the market brought about by the economic aid. The activities of the PRC embassy have recently been very limited.

[1] Official in the Polish Foreign Ministry. In 1950-1951, he served as the vice-chair 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] Reference here to the Soviet declaration that the US attack on Cuba would lead to nuclear war.