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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 09, 1961

FROM THE JOURNAL OF S.M. KUDRYAVTSEV, 'RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, 28 APRIL 1961'

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    Fidel Castro expresses his desire for Cuba--US diplomatic relations to resume and asks Kudryavtsev for Soviet support at the UN Security Council in countering American aggression. Castro asks Kuydryavstev to ascertain the Soviet opinion on Cuba's participation in a conference of neutral countries organized by Yugoslavia and the UAR.
    "From the Journal of S.M. Kudryavtsev, 'Record of a Conversation with Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba Fidel Castro Ruz, 28 April 1961'," June 09, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF, F. 0104. Op. 17, P. 118, D. 3. ll. 237-240. Obtained by James G. Hershberg and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/188144
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from the journal of

S. M. KUDRYAVTSEV

Top Secret. Copy Nº 2

9 June 1961

Nº 189

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba Fidel CASTRO RUZ

28 April 1961

1. I met with Fidel Castro late at night and talked with him in accordance with instructions of the Soviet government about the advisability of the revolutionary government carrying out several measures directed at strengthening the authority and international prestige of the Cuban state (I touched on these same questions in a conversation with President Dorticos on 27 April. See this conversation for detailed information).

In reply Fidel Castro said that he completely agrees with the opinion of the Soviet government about the advisability of a new statement from the revolutionary government of Cuba about its readiness for a peaceful settlement of Cuban-American relations and favors the resumption of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba. Referring to his discussion with President Dorticos, who had already informed him of my conversation with him on these questions, Fidel Castro said that they have come to the conclusion about the advisability of making such a statement, making use of the previously-planned invitation to the President by the heads of the diplomatic missions for these purposes. It was decided to deliver a special message of the revolutionary government to the heads of the diplomatic missions in connection with the threat of direct military intervention against Cuba from the US. It was agreed to include in this message a point expressing the readiness of the Cuban government for talks with the US and the restoration of diplomatic relations with them. In addition, continued Fidel Castro, in one of my statements I will make corresponding statements in development of this position.

Fidel Castro stressed, the Cuban leadership well understands its responsibility to the world and therefore is ready to take any steps to disrupt or, at any rate, slow the realization of the aggressive plans of Kennedy with respect to Cuba. The revolutionary government also considers it necessary to turn to the Security Council and raise the question of the continuing threat of American aggression against Cuba there. Raul Roa will be given appropriate instructions on this matter. We will be quite appreciative, Fidel Castro said further, for any help which the Soviet Union can give us in the Security Council during the discussion of the aforementioned question.

Fidel Castro continued, we are confident that the new statement of the Cuban government made by the President on 27 April, which tells of the desire to settle the differences and contentious questions between Cuba and the US by peaceful means, and the discussion in the Security Council of the questions about the threat of aggression from the US will to some degree exercise a restraining influence on Kennedy, but the main thing is to strengthen the solidarity of the peoples of the world with Cuba at a moment when the threat of direct military intervention from American imperialism hung over our country.

2. Fidel Castro informed me of the following in the course of further discussion.

On 26 April the ambassadors of the UAR and Yugoslavia visited President Dorticos and Fidel Castro and passed an invitation in the name of their governments to take part in a conference of heads of state of neutral countries not part of any bloc. This conference is being convened at the initiative of the UAR and Yugoslavia for about August of this year; however, the UAR and Yugoslavia, as the ambassadors reported, intend to advance such an initiative to the Afro-Asian countries, and also to some countries of Latin America in order to give this conference a broad  a character as possible. In particular, it is proposed to invite the heads of state of Indonesia, India, Burma, Ghana, Guinea, and other neutral countries of this region. Of the Latin American countries Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, and Cuba are being invited. It is proposed to convene a preparatory conference in Cairo at the beginning of June which should determine the place, time, and program of the conference of the heads of government [SIC] of the aforementioned countries.

It is intended for the conference of the heads of state of the neutral countries, as the ambassadors declared, to discuss the questions of strengthening peace and publishing a corresponding declaration.

Fidel Castro continued, in the conversation with us the ambassadors stressed the confidential nature of this appeal. Fidel Castro continued, guided by the need for a comprehensive strengthening of Cuba’s ties with the external world, and especially with the countries of Latin America, I told the ambassadors that Cuba thinks it possible in principle to take part in the preparatory conference in Cairo, but that the revolutionary government will make a final decision depending on whether the countries of Latin America take part in this conference. Fidel Castro noted, for our part, we recommended inviting Ecuador and Bolivia to this conference, too.

Fidel Castro noted, we think that the participation in the conference of the countries of Latin America will to some degree shake the inter-American system of the US; as soon as they find out about this they will exert strong pressure on the countries of Latin America to deter them from this step, which in general is directed at undermining the positions of American imperialism.

In our opinion, continued Fidel Castro, the participation of Cuba in the conference of the heads of government of neutral countries will strengthen the position of Cuba both among these countries and especially the countries of Latin America. Fidel Castro stressed, of course it is understood that the participation of Cuba in this conference will in no way change the friendly relations of Cuba toward the countries of the socialist camp, the Soviet Union most of all. In the event we find that the direction of the conference and the proposed declaration mentioned above might cause harm to the Soviet Union to some degree and our friendly relations with it, then of course we will leave this conference and will not subscribe to any policy statements of this conference. Fidel Castro said in conclusion that he would like to ask me to inform the CPSU CC and the Soviet government about this question. Fidel Castro stressed, we would like to consult with the CPSU CC and the Soviet government whether we have acted correctly, whether this step and conflict with our common interests to any degree. Fidel Castro said, I would also like to know whether the Soviet government knows about this conference and on the whole what their point of view is about this question.

For my part I told Fidel Castro that I would pass his request to the Soviet government and immediately inform [him] on receipt of a reply.

Before the meeting with Fidel Castro I talked with President Dorticos the day before, who informed me about this question in about the same terms.

AMBASSADOR OF THE USSR IN THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA

(S. KUDRYAVTSEV)