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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, 19 MAY 1961'

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    Kudryavtsev and Fidel Castro discuss US attempts to diplomatically isolate Cuba within the OAS.
    "From the Journal of S.M. Kudryavtsev, 'Record of a Conversation with Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba Fidel Castro Ruz, 19 May 1961'," June 09, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF, F. 0104. Op. 17, P. 118, D. 4, ll. 33-38. Obtained by James G. Hershberg and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/188145
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from the journal of

S. M. KUDRYAVTSEV

Top Secret. Copy Nº 2

9 June 1961

Nº 179

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba Fidel Castro Ruz

19 May 1961

I met with Fidel Castro this evening at my apartment and talked with him about the following questions in accordance with instructions [I] had.

I said that, according to information coming from a number of countries of Latin America, at the instruction of the Kennedy government the US ambassadors in these countries are working at the present time with the governments of the countries of Latin America, persuading them to accept a coordinated plan of action having the goal of the complete isolation of the government of Cuba. Right now the US is seeking the following actions from all the Latin American countries: a cutting off of diplomatic and consular relations with Cuba, a complete cessation of trade with it, and the introduction of joint naval and air patrolling of the Caribbean region. It is proposed that is to create a special Committee of a number of countries of Latin America to monitor the implementation of these measures of the OAS Council.

According to the same information the US government is seeking for the breaking off of diplomatic relations with Cuba to be accomplished by the countries of Latin America even before the conference of OAS member countries’ ministers of foreign affairs is convened, which was planned for the end of May-the beginning of June, but was then postponed to August. It is proposed to approve the aforementioned sanctions against Cuba at this conference.

In order to push through its plan of disruptive actions against Cuba in talks with the governments of the countries of Latin America the US government is resorting to the main argument in a cautious form, scaring them with the Communist danger, which allegedly threatens the whole Western hemisphere. It is also aggressively argued that right now the government of Cuba has completely adopted the political system of the Communist bloc, engages in active subversive activity against the governments of the other countries of the Latin American continent, openly violates the principles of “representative democracy” laid out in the OAS charter, and thereby created a direct danger to peace and peaceful relations between the countries of this continent. Your First of May speech is being especially used as confirmation of all these insinuations. According to available information some countries of Latin America which support the government of Cuba have begun to exhibit a certain vacillation under the influence of American intimidation. Such countries include Brazil, in particular.

In these conditions, I continued, the necessity arises of thinking about new steps which ought to be undertaken to frustrate, or at least  neutralize, the intentions of the Kennedy government. In Moscow they have noted with satisfaction that the government of Cuba has already planned a number of such steps, as Minister of Foreign Affairs Raul Roa informed me in a conversation. Then I said that consequently some considerations had arisen which we would like to discuss with you personally. I would like to know whether you consider it advisable for the government of Cuba, besides the planned appeal to the Latin American countries, which is undoubtedly useful and necessary, to now make an official statement which would touch on the main questions of domestic and foreign policy and would explain our position regarding these questions, thereby making the intrigues of the enemies of Cuba more difficult. In our opinion, first of all the question of Cuba’s readiness to seek a peaceful resolution of Cuban-American relations, and also Cuba’s readiness to accept the proposals of several Latin American countries about offering [their] good offices in organizing talks between the US and Cuba ought to again be included here in the foreign policy plan. In our opinion, I continued, the main attention ought to be devoted to unmasking the invention of American propaganda about Cuba’s involvement in the socialist bloc. Obviously, it would be useful for you to make an explanation of what meaning you invest in the concept of socialism. When doing so it would particularly be advisable to refer to the fact that at the present time many countries not in the socialist bloc in which Communists are not in power have proclaimed the development of socialism as their main goal. Such well-known state figures as Nehru in India, Sukarno in Indonesia, Nkrumah in Ghana, etc. have also spoken of the development of socialism in their countries…

Having closely listened to me, Fidel Castro said that he completely agrees with the fact that at the present time it is necessary to take newer and newer steps having the goal of frustrating or, at least, rendering harmless the malicious plans of Kennedy directed at the complete isolation of Cuba from its rear, the countries of Latin America. The revolutionary government of Cuba, Fidel Castro continued, has already undertaken a number of steps [in] this direction and right now they are gradually beginning to make their presence known. The main countries of Latin America, such as Brazil, Mexico, and Ecuador, in spite of the enormous political and economic pressure exerted on them by the US, continue to take a position favorable to Cuba. Fidel Castro stressed, at this moment the impression is created that the foreign policy positions of the Cuban revolutionary government in the countries of Latin America have gotten considerably stronger, and the situation as a whole is much better than it was at the end of April. The Olivares mission will undoubtedly promote a further strengthening of the positions of the revolutionary government of Cuba in Brazil, Mexico, and Ecuador.

AMBASSADOR OF THE USSR IN THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA

(S. KUDRYAVTSEV)