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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 04, 1963

FROM THE DIARY OF M. A. POPOV, RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH THE CHAIRMAN OF HUNGARIAN RADIO AND TELEVISION, CDE. ISTVAN TEMPE, 28 FEBRUARY 1963

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

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    A member of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, Istvan Tempe, describes his impressions of Cuba upon his visit for the fourth anniversary of the Cuban revolution. He notes that while the Cuban population has positive opinion of the Soviet Union, their Communist leadership is generally insufficient.
    "From the Diary of M. A. Popov, Record of a Conversation with the Chairman of Hungarian Radio and Television, Cde. Istvan Tempe, 28 February 1963 ," March 04, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD, f. 5, op. 49, d. 652, ll. 2, 4, r. 9084. Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117059
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[Stamp]: Declassified

from the diary

of M. A. Popov

Secret Copy No 1

4 March 1963

No 115

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with a member of the CC of the VSRP [Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party], Chairman of Hungarian Radio and Television, Cde. Istvan Tempe

___________________________________________________

28 February 1963

Cde. Tempe visited in connection with a prior agreement. I was interested in his impressions about his visit to Cuba when a Hungarian government delegation was headed for the occasion of the 4th anniversary of the Cuban revolution.

Cde. Tempe said that the Hungarian delegation spent more than 3 weeks in Cuba. The members of the delegation had a number of meetings and conversations with Cuban state and political figures, visited a number of institutions, industrial enterprises, and agricultural associations. The Hungarian comrades were afforded the opportunity to meet and talk with local Party functionaries and workers. Cde. Tempe sent a note to the CC VSRP Politburo about the results of the delegation’s trip and gave a report on this subject at a meeting of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry Collegium. He stressed that it was hard to draw a complete picture about the domestic situation of the country during the comparatively short period of his stay in Cuba; however, it was possible to draw a number of conclusions on this basis.

For all the members of the delegation, my interlocutor noted, it was very pleasant to find out and be convinced that the Soviet Union, its people, and leadership were greatly loved at all levels of the Cuban population. The Hungarians were convinced of this everywhere. It is conspicuous, noted Cde. Tempe, that the Soviet representatives in Cuba were distinguished by their great modesty and tact in dealing with the population. In the opinion of my interlocutor, our comrades have managed to find the necessary approach to the Cubans, which is a very complex problem considering the special situation in the country and the distinctive character of its population. All this, he stressed [Translator’s note: Page 2 is missing; text resumes with page 3].

As regards the political situation in Cuba, Cde. Tempe noted that the lack of a Communist Party is sharply felt at the present time. The Cuban leaders themselves recognize this. Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticos talked in particular about the need to reconstitute the Communist Party in a conversation with Cde. Tempe. The only political organization presently existing in Cuba – the ORO – is, in Tempe’s words, very swollen and not properly documented in its organization. Not even any of its leaders know exactly how many members it has. The 26 June Movement, which is the main mass movement in the country, has rather notable features of nationalism, noted Cde. Tempe. Insofar as Cde. Tempe knows, it is planned to complete the work of reconstituting the Communist Party of Cuba this year. It is also possible that a Congress of the Cuban Communist Party would be held this year; however, noted Cde. Tempe, it is not planned to adopt a Party program at it.

Speaking about political moods and the views of the Cuban leaders, Cde. Tempe noted that the majority of them are still insufficiently firm in their Marxist-Leninist positions. This is explained, in the words of my interlocutor, by the occasional inconsistency displayed by the Cuban leaders and the decisions which they make. On the basis of information received from the Hungarian Embassy in Havana and from his own observations, Cde. Tempe is convinced that individual Cuban leaders (Che Guevara and Vilma Espin, Raul Castro’s wife, the Chairman of the Union of Cuban Women) are under the strong influence of the Chinese. Individual leaders hold to erroneous theoretical views, declaring, for example, that the CPSU is the leading force of the revolutionary struggle in Europe, the Chinese Communist Party – in Asia, and Cuba – in Latin America. Similarly incorrect theoretical views were expressed, in particular, by the Cuban delegation at the Congress of [Latin] American Women. The chairmen of a number of Latin American countries, defending the point of view of their Communist parties, spoke against the position of the Cuban delegation [end of available text].

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