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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 07, 1960

FROM THE JOURNAL OF S.M. KUDRYAVTSEV, 'RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH PRIME MINISTER OF CUBA FIDEL CASTRO, 15 SEPTEMBER 1960'

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    Fidel Castro discusses the content of his upcoming speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
    "From the Journal of S.M. Kudryavtsev, 'Record of a Conversation with Prime Minister of Cuba Fidel Castro, 15 September 1960'," November 07, 1960, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF, F. 0104, Op. 16, P. 116, D. 4, ll. 161-165. Obtained by James G. Hershberg and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/177858
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Secret. Copy Nº 2

7 November 1960

Outgoing Nº 96

from the journal of

S. M. KUDRYAVTSEV

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with Prime Minister of Cuba Fidel Castro

15 September 1960

In accordance with instructions I had I visited F. Castro and informed him that N. S. Khrushchev had left for New York on 9 September on the steamship Baltika and would arrive in the US on 19 September.

I told Fidel Castro that Cde. N. S. Khrushchev would of course be glad to meet with him in New York and discuss any questions of interest to F. Castro.

Then I said that the Soviet delegation would be in constant contact with the Cuban delegation about all questions of the General Assembly agenda and would inform it of our position.

F. Castro said in reply that he would be very glad to meet with N. S. Khrushchev and was quite thankful for our readiness to help him during the UN General Assembly session. F. Castro continued, it is the first time I have had to go to such an Assembly, and I still do not know how to act. Therefore N. S. Khrushchev’s advice will be very useful. I would like to know how [I] can meet N. S. Khrushchev in such a situation where there might be the opportunity to talk about all questions of interest to Cuba. Personally, F. Castro continued, I don’t know at all where and how such contacts between heads of delegations and the delegations themselves are accomplished.

I said in reply that he ought not worry about this. A more convenient place for a meeting with N. S. Khrushchev can be arranged between the delegations as soon as he, F. Castro, arrives in New York. Considering the questions of F. Castro about the work of the General Assembly, I told him in detail about the procedure and means of establishing the necessary working contacts on questions being discussed between the delegations.

F. Castro stressed that he attaches very great importance to the current session of the General Assembly. N. S. Khrushchev gave this session a completely unusual nature. F. Castro continued, I am personally very grateful to him that, as a result of the initiative he has exhibited to me, a representative of a small country fighting to preserve its independence, an opportunity has been presented to this high forum to expose to the entire world the aggressive designs of the American imperialists. You know that I am not able to speak from a written text. Therefore I am thinking out the plan of a speech, and I am selecting individual facts and arguments. [Antonio] Nunez Jimenez is giving me much help in this. F. Castro noted further, I want to devote the main attention in my speech to exposing the aggressive nature of American imperialism and address an appeal to the peoples of the world to protect Cuba from the threat of aggression from the USA.

Having said that he would like to support the proposals of the Soviet Union on the main international problems in his speech, F. Castro asked me in what terms the Soviet delegation would raise the question of disarmament.

I said in reply to this that our position on the question of disarmament is based on the same positions which were described by N. S. Khrushchev’s speech at the UN General Assembly in 1959, and those proposals which were introduced by the Soviet government at the Committee of 10 Countries in Geneva.

So that our position on the question is clearer for you, I continued, I would like to pass [you] necessary materials about the position of the Soviet Union on this question in Spanish.

F. Castro expressed gratitude for the information and the materials, stressing that he would support the proposal of the Soviet Union about disarmament without fail and devote a proper place to this question in his speech. Undoubtedly, I will stress the reluctance of the USA to disarm with sharp criticism, and I will explain the reasons why the American government takes such a position.

F. Castro said further that tonight he would read N. S. Khrushchev’s speech about general and complete disarmament at the last General Assembly session, and also our statement in the Committee of 10 Countries in Geneva.

Then F. Castro said that along with criticism of the USA government for its complicity in the revival of German militarism he would stress the just nature of the Soviet proposals on the German question and the question of Berlin, and also favor the elimination of all foreign bases on foreign territory. F. Castro continued, in my speech I intend to also declare that military bases on foreign territory not only present a threat to peace, but are also impermissible interference in the internal affairs of these countries, inasmuch as the presence of such bases in itself limits their sovereignty.

In the course of further conversation F. Castro expressed a desire to speak at the General Assembly after N. S. Khrushchev in order to support the main proposals of the speech of the head of the Soviet government with greater effectiveness.

Then F. Castro said that during his stay in New York he intended to establish contact with the heads of the governments of other countries, and especially with the representatives of the countries of Africa.

<…>

[not copied: passages concerning the restrictions on the movements of Castro in New York; future anti-American activities of the Cuban government; Dominican-Cuban relations and the unsuccessful policy of Trujillo]

In conclusion F. Castro asked me again to pass his gratitude to N. S. Khrushchev for the aid. F. Castro said further, I will be accompanied in the trip to the UN General Assembly by Nunez Jimenez. He personally intends to spend 10-12 days in New York, regardless of when he will be given an opportunity to speak. After his departure the Cuban delegation will be headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Raul Roa.

Counsellor Cde. A. I. Alekseyev was present at the conversation.

AMBASSADOR OF THE USSR IN THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA

(S. KUDRYAVTSEV)