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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 29, 1964

FROM THE DIARY OF A. I. ALEKSEYEV, RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH CUBAN PRESIDENT OSVALDO DORTICOS, 7 DECEMBER 1963

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

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    Dorticos and Alekseyev discuss recent Cuban-Soviet foreign relations and trade negotiations. Dorticos mentions recent anti-Soviet talk by leaders of the Chinese Communist Party.
    "From the Diary of A. I. Alekseyev, Record of a Conversation with Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticos, 7 December 1963 ," January 29, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD, f. 5, op. 49, d. 758, l. 7-10, r. 9126. Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117070
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[Stamp]: Declassified

from the diary

of A. I. Alekseyev

Secret Copy No 2

29 January 1964

No 29

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with Osvaldo DORTICOS

7 December 1963

Today I visited Dorticos at his apartment and delivered him the text of a letter of N. S. Khrushchev to Mao Zedong of 29 January 1963 (F. Castro, who is outside Havana, requested that in his absence I meet with Dorticos on all matters).

Dorticos read the letter attentively in my presence and declared that he considers it wise and that it has enormous practical significance. If the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, said Dorticos, correctly understand the letter and respond to N. S. Khrushchev’s appeal, then many misunderstandings and misconceptions in the workers’ and Communist movement will disappear and the threat of a split will be liquidated. In Dorticos’ opinion, the CC CPSU initiative expressed in the letter is especially valuable for Cuba and a number of Communist parties of Latin America. For us, Dorticos declared, it has always been painful to enter into open polemics on ideological problems given that they extend beyond the bounds of friendly discussion and are carried into international relations. We have felt, Dorticos continued, that both sides would like for us to take a position which would lead to strengthening of relations with one of them and the disruption of friendship with the other. In Dorticos’ opinion, there are no grounds for holding this discussion and working out this or that position to worsen relations between countries. Open polemics, said Dorticos, have caused enormous damage to the Communist movement, especially in the countries of Latin America, and have weakened the anti-imperialist front. Imperialism has made use of the marked split in the socialist camp and Communist movement and has begun a campaign of intrigues directed at a still greater deepening of the split and creation of an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion in the progressive camp. In substantiation of this thought Dorticos introduced the example that two days ago American [press] agencies distributed a report in which it said that Cde. Khrushchev had put off his trip to Cuba reportedly because of his dissatisfaction with Cuban policy and that the Cubans “in revenge” had decided to send E. Guevara to Cairo for a meeting with Chou En-Lai. Of course, said Dorticos, this report is lie, calculated to drive a wedge in Soviet-Cuban friendship and sow mistrust between us.

Dorticos declared that recently the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party departed from a principled position in holding a discussion and started on an anti-Soviet path, looking for any opportunity to blacken the USSR and ascribe nonexistent wrongs to it. He considers it absolutely impermissible for the Chinese to interfere in the internal affairs of the USSR, in particular regarding such questions as the cult of personality of Stalin, the multinational state, the Party of all the people, etc. [Translator’s note: one line of the Russian is faded into illegibility here; from the Spanish translation the context is the Soviet-Chinese border dispute] artificial and calculated to create a hostile atmosphere toward the Soviet Union.

Dorticos said this in the spirit that the CC CPSU letter would be received very well and approved by all members of the National Leadership of the PURS.

Dorticos further informed me that the Cuban leadership had decided to send C. R. Rodriguez to Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the GDR in the near future for talks with the leadership of the Communist parties of these countries about several trade and economic questions. The talks will be about deliveries of Cuban sugar to these countries being made only for their domestic purposes at prices which will be established with the USSR, about the impermissibility of re-exporting Cuban sugar, and about Cuba covering the hard currency trade deficit from the proceeds of sugar sales on the capitalist market. Dorticos noted that in order for there to be no false rumors or misunderstandings, we have decided to discuss all these questions with friends on the Party leadership level and come to a common opinion.

I was interested in whether Rodriguez would go to the USSR. Dorticos replied negatively, explaining that Cuba has no problems with the Soviet Union and that in any case Cuba will deliver to the USSR this year 1,600,000 tons of sugar at current prices. As regards the establishment of stable prices for a long period, Dorticos continued, then we would like to discuss this question when a responsible representative of the CC CPSU comes to Cuba or in the future when N. S. Khrushchev [comes]. Dorticos asked me whether I considered it useful for Rodriguez to go to Moscow and in reply to my positive answer he noted that if time permits then possibly Rodriguez would go to Moscow for two to three days after the conclusion of his trip to the above-mentioned countries in order to inform Cde. Khrushchev about the talks he held with them and Cuba’s plans.

I said to Dorticos that Minister of Foreign Trade Mora had just summoned me to his office. Mora asked me to clear up in Moscow whether the USSR Ministry of Foreign Trade had accepted the list of commodities which Cuba needs for 1963 and also informed me that the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Trade had not raised the question about establishing a new trade credit with the Soviet Union for Cuba inasmuch as this question should be decided at the level of the two governments.

Dorticos explained that they had actually intended to resolve these questions during the visit of N. S. Khrushchev to Cuba. Dorticos added that the Cuban side would ask the Soviet government to again grant Cuba a trade credit for 1964. In Dorticos’ words, it will take two to three years to begin paying off the credits.

Dorticos further said that not long ago the ambassadors of Brazil and Mexico, on instructions of their governments, approached the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a request to explain the Cuban position about an investigation of a commission of the OAG [OAS, the Organization of American States] of a Venezuelan complaint. The ambassadors also said that their governments were prepared to look into this question objectively and represent the interests of Cuba in the OAG commission. The Uruguayan charge d’affaires also visited the Cuban foreign minister and declared that the government of his country would take an objective position in the investigation of the Venezuelan complaint and would not submit to anti-Cuban elements.

Considering the importance of the question, on 6 December 1963 Fidel Castro met with the ambassadors of Mexico and Brazil and described his opinion to them about this provocation and the work of the OAG commission. As Dorticos said, Castro oriented the ambassadors toward an identification of the ownership of the heavy weapons. In Dorticos’ words, as a whole Castro’s conversation with the ambassadors took place with full mutual understanding and was very useful. The ambassadors assured Castro that their governments would support Cuba and will consult with it in the course of the investigation.

USSR Ambassador to Cuba

[signature]

A. Alekseyev

[Distribution:]

4-lsh

1-OLAS

2-CC CPSU (to Cde. Andropov)

3-UVI

4-to file

No. 29

28.1.64

[Handwritten note at the bottom of the first page]: “To the archive. The material is informative. Used for a dossier. Desk officer of a CC CPSU department [signature] A. Kalinin]. 23 March 64.” There are some initials to the left, off the page.

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