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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 22, 1962

FROM THE DIARY OF YE. I. PRONSKIY, RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH UNIVERSITY OF HAVANA INSTRUCTOR, ANASTACIO CRUZ MANCILLA, 29 MAY 1964

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

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    Mancilla, instructor of many Cuban leadership members including Ernesto Che Guevara, Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, Augusto Martinez Sanchez, and other advisors of Dortico, evaluates the political and economic views of his (former) students. He focuses primarily on Guevara.
    "From the Diary of Ye. I. Pronskiy, Record of a Conversation with University of Havana Instructor, Anastacio Cruz Mancilla, 29 May 1964," June 22, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD, f. 5, op. 49, d. 757, ll. 121-123, r. 9125. Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117087
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[Stamp]: Declassified

from the diary of

Ye. I. Pronskiy

Secret Copy No 2

22 June 1964

No 242

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with ANASTACIO CRUZ MANCILLA

29 May 1964

On my own initiative I met with an instructor in political economy at the University of Havana, a Soviet Spaniard, Cde. A. C. Mancilla (before [he came to] Cuba he taught at Moscow State University). I asked his opinion about the most advisable way of enlisting Soviet Spaniards who are members of the CPSU in the work of the CPSU organization in Cuba. He gave three options: a) the creation of an independent CPSU organization among Soviet Spaniards who are members of the CPSU; b) incorporation of the Soviet Spaniards into the appropriate Soviet Party organizations at their place of work; c) leave the situation as it is; that is, they will pay their CPSU member dues once only on return to the USSR, but during their stay in Cuba they will not participate in the work of CPSU Party organizations.

[Translator’s note: The term “Soviet Spaniards” here presumably refers to Spanish communists who fled to the Soviet Union after the Spanish Civil War.]

Mancilla expressed the view of many comrades about the advisability of including [them] in Soviet Party organizations at their place of work.

Cde. Mancilla further talked about his work at the University of Havana. [The following] have been his students for a long time: Ernesto Che Guevara, Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, Augusto Martinez Sanchez, and advisers of the president (Dorticos participated earlier); until recently Faure Chomon, Raul Castro, and a number of leading Party workers participated.

During the classes Mancilla, in his words, has the opportunity to evaluate the social and economic views of the above-named comrades with complete accuracy, influence the formation of their world view, and participate in the frequent discussions which arise during the classes.

Mancilla dwelled in especial detail on the views of Ernesto Che Guevara. In Mancilla’s words, Ernesto Che Guevara does not have a sufficiently clear understanding on a whole series of economic problems. In a question about the advantage of a form of self-financing over budget financing he considers them equivalent. He considers the principle of material interest quite relative, citing the example of Cuba, where the consciousness of Cuban workers, in his opinion, is formed under the influence of the successes of the USSR and the entire socialist camp to a greater degree than a dependence on material conditions present in Cuba.

On the question of the differences between the CPSU and the Chinese Communist Party Che Guevara considers that the position of the Cuban Party needs to immediately be decided publicly so that there will no longer be two opinions on this question. He agrees that questions of war and peace, peaceful coexistence, and the influence of the socialist system on the development of the international workers movement was expressed quite clearly in Cde. Suslov’s report. However, he thinks that Mao Zedong is doubtless an intelligent man. Che Guevara, evidently, does not understand that he [Translator’s note: presumably referring to Mao, not Guevara] is forcing the Chinese leaders to press issues whose absurdity is obvious to everyone. Che Guevara declared that he knows the criticism of his views about guerilla warfare; however he considers the criticism expressed indirectly at those in Cde. Suslov’s report to be correct.

Mancilla said that after classes Che Guevara often stays behind for prolonged personal conversations during which he listens very attentively to his interlocutor (Mancilla). Che Guevara agrees with the views expressed by Mancilla on a whole series of questions after lengthy discussion.

[Translator’s note: This paragraph is highlighted by a vertical line in the left margin in both the Russian text and the Spanish translation.]

Mancilla said that Che Guevara is the most intelligent of his students and understands questions of political economy.

In Mancilla’s words, C. R. Rodriguez once stressed that he differs from Che Guevara in that the latter pays more attention to the negative sides of socialist construction in the USSR and the shortcomings, at the same time as he, Rodriguez, directs all his attention to the positive side.

A. M. Sanchez has economic training and an overall development considerably inferior to that of Che Guevara. To a certain degree, the character of [his] perception of the material being taught is like the character of Dorticos; that is, he always listens attentively and agrees, but very rarely expresses his own opinion.

The President of the National Bank, M. F. Font – one of the most curious students – eagerly understood all the material presented. Not long ago he turned to Mancilla with a request to help write a political-economic report.

In Mancilla’s words, the situation at the University of Havana is quite difficult. The present prorector of the University, J. M. Febles, is a person who has set himself the goal of changing the nature of the teaching of social and economic sciences and, in particular, philosophy, which at the present time is hard to do, since the instruction is done by approved lesson plans. However, he is taking a number of measures in order to change the nature of the material being taught. Mancilla considers that J. M. Febles is under petty bourgeois influence, which is generally characteristic of many professors and instructors of the university.

Repeated attacks against Mancilla have been undertaken from the prorector of the University, J. M. Febles, for example, an accusation that he had subordinated himself to the University’s Federation of Students. Mancilla repeatedly hinted that he is carrying out some kind of order [zakaz].

Mancilla spoke very highly of the students who are members of the provincial Party leadership; they all study political economy with great perseverance and are very eager to stand up for Marxist-Leninist positions on all questions of principle.

Mancilla laid out a request a second time about the need to have constant contact with representatives of the CPSU in Cuba in order to get help in his work to form the socioeconomic world view of the leadership cadre of the Cuban revolution.

Attache of the USSR Embassy in Cuba

[signature]

Ye. Pronskiy

[Handwritten note at the bottom of the first page]: “To the archive. The material is informative. Chief of a CC CPSU sector. [signature] A. Kalinin. 23.9.64.“ [There is a faded signature with a possible date of 24.9.64 underneath]

[Distribution:]

4-lsh

1-OLAS

2-CC CPSU (to Cde. Andropov)

3-UVI

4-to file

No. 242

8.6.64

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