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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 23, 1963

FROM THE JOURNAL OF A.I. ALEKSEYEV, 'RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA, 16 FEBRUARY 1963'

This document was made possible with support from the Blavatnik Family Foundation

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    Fidel Castro and Alekseyev discuss the withdrawal of a Soviet military unit and potential political fallout.
    "From the Journal of A.I. Alekseyev, 'Record of a Conversation with Fidel Castro Ruz, Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba, 16 February 1963'," March 23, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF, f. 0104, op. 19, p. 124, d. 3, l. 66. Obtained by James G. Hershberg and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/177830
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Top Secret Copy Nº 1

23 March 1963

Outgoing Nº 87

from the journal of

A. I. ALEKSEYEV

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with Fidel CASTRO RUZ Prime Minister

of the Republic of Cuba

16 February 1963

I met with Fidel Castro and presented to him our proposal about bringing the withdrawal of a unit of our military specialists, which has begun, to the attention of the US government through diplomatic channels in a press publication.

Castro took the first part of the proposals positively, but asked [us] to refrain from publishing an official report in the press. He said that such a report might again cause bewilderment among the Cuban people and in the countries of Latin America, and also cheer the external and internal counterrevolution. Castro continued, enemies and also some of our friends, clearly hinting at the Chinese, will try to depict this step as our new concession to imperialism. He does not think that a report in the press will make Kennedy’s position in hawkish circles easier, since they will try to show that the decision of the Soviet government was adopted under the pressure of their energetic actions. Castro thinks that it is much more advantageous to inform Kennedy of this through diplomatic channels. He is confident that the Americans will not be able to keep this report secret for long, and indeed Kennedy himself will be interested in conveying this information to hawkish congressmen and depriving them of [their] arguments.

The very fact of the withdrawal of a unit of the servicemen will not escape the notice of American intelligence and will quickly become the property of the American public by which, in Castro’s opinion, the main goal will be achieved, but we will avoid unpleasant consequences and an uncomfortable position.

I told Fidel that I would convey his ideas to our government and inform him of our decision when a reply is received.

USSR AMBASSADOR IN THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA (A. ALEKSEYEV)