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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 05, 1963

FROM THE DIARY OF A. I. ALEKSEYEV, RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH CUBAN MINISTER OF INDUSTRY ERNESTO GUEVARA, 25 FEBRUARY 1963

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

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    Alekseyev and Guevera discuss Soviet and Cuban foreign and economic relations, and trip to the Soviet Union proposed by N.S. Khrushchev.
    "From the Diary of A. I. Alekseyev, Record of a Conversation with Cuban Minister of Industry Ernesto Guevara, 25 February 1963," April 05, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD, f. 5, op. 49, d. 652, l. 82-83, r. 9084. Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117066
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[Stamp]: Declassified

from the diary

of A. I. Alekseyev

Secret Copy No 2

5 April 1963

No 122

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with the Secretary of the National Leadership of ORO, Minister of Industry Ernesto GUEVARA SERNA

25 February 1963

I talked today with Guevara at a reception in the Embassy on the occasion of the 45th Anniversary of the Soviet Army.

Guevara said that he came to the Embassy in spite of the fact that he had to leave a meeting in Juseplan in order to express his personal gratitude for the speech of Marshal Malinovskiy and thank the Soviet leadership for the actions which have contributed to the restoration of the previously warm relations between us.

Keeping in mind that Guevara was outside Havana for several weeks, I asked him whether he was familiar with the latest letters of N. S. Khrushchev.

Guevara replied that he had read all these letters as well as a memorandum about Soviet-Cuban trade negotiations. In Guevara’s opinion, the letters of N. S. Khrushchev are an example of wisdom and composure in relations with friendly countries. The memorandum, Guevara stated, we consider as a unfortunate private occurrence [dosadnoye chastnoye yavleniye] provoked either by biased information or irritation. However, inasmuch as after the memorandum letters of N. S. Khrushchev were received which differed in their feelings and tone from this document then it did not give us a shock, and did not offend our national feelings. We were only surprised that it was sent at a moment when there was already no need.

Then Guevara said that the idea of a trip to the USSR at the time proposed by N. S. Khrushchev excited Fidel Castro. He intends to vacation at first with N. S. Khrushchev and A. I. Mikoyan and then attend the May Day demonstration in the Soviet capital. He even asked at the last meeting of the National Leadership of the ORO whether it was Soviet practice to speak from the tribune of the [Lenin] Mausoleum and whether he could ask the Soviet comrades for permission to speak during the demonstration.

In reply to my question as to whether he intends to go with Fidel Castro to the Soviet Union, Guevara joked, saying that it would hardly be useful inasmuch as they consider him an “ugly duckling” and a “roughneck.”

I replied that, insofar as I know, the matter is just the opposite, that he is genuinely valued for his honesty and openness, and his firmness in the defense of his convictions, and even if they are sometimes mistaken, for courage in recognizing his own mistakes. Pugnacity is not seen among us as a vice.

Guevara talked about my recent discussion with R. Castro in which the latter, talking about Guevara’s honesty, said that all it would take is for Guevara to notice one fine day that he had committed some dishonorable act in regard to the revolution he would put a bullet in his own forehead.

In reply Guevara genuinely burst out laughing and then said that the state [Translator’s note: The Russian text ends here, a few lines above the signature.]

The Ambassador of the USSR to the Republic of Cuba

[signature]

A. ALEKSEYEV

[Distribution:]

4-vshch.AA.

1-OLAS

2-CC CPSU (to Cde. Andropov)

3-UVI

4-to file

No. 147

5.4.63

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