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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 22, 1965

CONVERSATION BETWEEN RAUL CASTRO RUZ, AND A MEMBER OF THE POLISH POLITBURO, CDE. ZENON KLISZKO

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

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    During a trip from Orneta to Katowice, Raul Castro and Zenon Kliszko had conversation on the following topics: (1) assessment of the position of the Italian Communist Party, (2)assessment of the position of the Romanian Workers’ Party, (3) the UPSR and other Communist Parties in Asia, and (4) the Matter of a Former Member of the National Leadership UPSR – J. Ordoqui. For the Polish side, the program of the Italian Communist Party is not clear, particularly with regard to the question of establishing a uniform workers’ party.
    "Conversation between Raul Castro Ruz, and a member of the Polish Politburo, Cde. Zenon Kliszko," March 22, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Records of the Polish United Workers Party Central Committee [KC PZPR], Sygnaatura 237/XXII/1399, Archiwum Akt Nowych [AAN; Archive of Modern Acts], Warsaw, Poland. Obtained by the National Security Archive and translated for CWIHP by Margaret K. Gnoinska.] https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116561
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During a trip by plane from Orneta to Katowice, Cdes. Raul Castro and Zenon Kliszko conducted a conversation, with regard to, among other things, the following topics:

Assessment of the position of the Italian Communist Party

Cde. R. Castro informed the others about conducting a series of discussions with a delegation of the CP Italy in Moscow and about a departure of a delegation of the CP of Italy to Havana at the invitation of the Cuban Party which was soon to take place. He asked about the assessment of the Italian policy from the side of the PUWP, for which he received an answer that the program of this party is not clear for the Polish side, particularly with regard to the question of establishing a uniform workers’ party. Both interlocutors agreed that unity can be solely hewn [wykuta]1 based on the activity of the lower organizations on the subject of concrete problems. Cde. R. Castro stated that the justification [argumentacja] of the CP of Italy with regard to internal matters is devoid of substance and that with regard to the conference of 81 communist and workers’ parties, this party, which albeit bases [its actions] on other assumptions, nevertheless takes the same position as that of the CCP.

Assessment of the position of the Romanian Workers’ Party

Cde. R. Castro was very interested in knowing who would become the new First Secretary of the Romanian Workers’ Party [after the death of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej on 19 March 1965] and he was asking how a new Romanian policy would be shaped under new conditions. Both interlocutors agreed that in recent years the RWP2 had been employing a policy characterized by nationalism. Cde. Z. Kliszko said that this became evident mainly with regard to the issues of economic cooperation within the framework of CEMA.3 In connection with this, Cde. Z. Kliszko emphasized the fact that sometimes the need arises when one has to give up one’s narrowly understood interests in the name of unity and the mutual welfare of the camp as a whole. In this context he recalled a vote of the Polish delegation in the UN against the project of denuclearizing Latin America which was aimed at manifesting a position of solidarity with Cuba, even though Poland was the first champion of the idea of denuclearization.

The UPSR and Other Communist Parties in Asia

The Cuban comrades are now convinced that the CPC will not participate in any meeting aimed at the consolidation of the international movement. They are, however, adhering to the position that one should not isolate oneself from other Asian parties which did not participate in the last meeting in Moscow. From the conversations, which were conducted by the Cuban delegation with other Asian parties, i.e. Vietnam, Korea, at the meeting in Moscow on the occasion of the October Revolution, one could get an idea that their point of view with regard to the situation as a whole was not exactly in line with the position of the CPC.

The Matter of a Former Member of the National Leadership UPSR – J. Ordoqui

Cde. R. Castro, on his own initiative, explained the situation of the suspension of the activities of J[oaquín]. Ordoqui, a former member of the Nationwide Leadership of the UPSR and the former vice-president of the Armed Forces. Ordoqui was arrested under the accusation of cooperating with the American intelligence.

While in Mexico during the dictatorship of Batista, Ordoqui established very close relations with a traitor, Marcos Rodriguez, who turned in to the police a group of young revolutionaries from the former so-called Revolutionary Directorate who were participants in an armed attack on the presidential palace in Havana in 1957.

This fact was used by American intelligence to conduct sabotage which resulted in the subsequent recruitment of Ordoqui. The Mexican intelligence was also said to be involved in this issue. The activity of Ordoqui made it impossible for many years to institute an inquiry against the traitor. After the former had been arrested, Ordoqui made the inquiry difficult. When, after a long inquiry, Rodriguez admitted to the crime, which he committed, he also revealed the fact that both Ordoqui and his wife (E. Garcia Buchaca, a member of the leadership of the former Popular Socialist Party and a former secretary of the Cuban Council of Culture). This forced the Cuban leaders to undertake special cautionary steps. The meetings of the War Council had not been called for a long time due to this incident, and only members of the Secretariat were notified, with the consent of the National Leadership of the UPSR, with regard to the matters which directly affected the nation’s security. This caused very serious complications and it created an ambiguous and unclear situation for many comrades. It was also at that time that the Cuban leadership acquired evidence in Mexico which testified to the ties of Ordoqui with foreign intelligence. Under these conditions a decision had been made to arrest Ordoqui and to institute an inquiry against him at the meeting of the leadership of the USPR. Two comrades, who are from the leadership of the former Popular Socialist Party and who have our utmost confidence, are conducting this inquiry. Ordoqui has not confessed to his guilt to this day, even though he is not capable of refuting evidence presented to him such as: a tape of a conversation which he had with Cuba’s minister of construction, O. Cienfuegos, with Cde. Khrushchev still in 1962, and personal files prepared by Batista’s police which included a description of the method of recruiting him to cooperate with [American] intelligence. According to Cde. R. Castro, Ordoqui would have confessed to his guilt if his life were spared. Other comrades from the leadership, however, rejected such a suggestion through the justification that adopting different criteria towards members of the former Popular Socialist Party would evoke very unfavorable comments in society. Ordoqui’s case is complicated by the fact that it was suitably used by reactionary elements in Latin America and, in the US [it stirred up] an interest with regard to the weakening of confidence within the Cuban leadership.

Drafted by R. Czyżycki

Prepared in 5 copies

[1] Perhaps hammered out would be a better word here.

[2] RPR I - Rumunska Partia Robotnicza: the Romanian Workers’ Party (RWP).

[3] RWPG – Rada Wzajemnej Pomocy Gospodarczej: Council for Economic Mutual Assistance (CEMA).