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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 12, 1961

FROM THE JOURNAL OF S.M. KUDRYAVTSEV, 'RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA FIDEL CASTRO RUZ, 24 JUNE 1961'

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    Kudryavtsev informs Fidel Castro of plans made by counterrevolutionaries with the assistance of the US intelligence community to assassinate prominent Cuban leaders. Castro argues that an assassination of Cuban leaders will not change the effects of the Cuban Revolution and could be disastrous for US relations in Latin America.
    "From the Journal of S.M. Kudryavtsev, 'Record of a Conversation with Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba Fidel Castro Ruz, 24 June 1961'," July 12, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF, F. 0104. Op. 17, P. 118, D. 4, ll. 105-106. Obtained by James G. Hershberg and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/188148
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from the journal of

S. M. KUDRYAVTSEV

Secret. Copy Nº 2

12 July 1961

Nº 224

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba Fidel Castro Ruz

24 June 1961

I met with Fidel Castro at my apartment and in accordance with instructions [I] had I informed him of the plans of the external counterrevolution and American intelligence being drafted regarding the organization of attempts on the lives of the most prominent state figures of Cuba.

Listening to me closely, Fidel Castro said that he would like to ask me to pass on his gratitude to the Soviet government for this confidential information and the concern about him. Fidel Castro continued, this report deserves attention especially as it contains a number of names and details. He will immediately charge Minister of Internal Affairs Ramiro Valdez with personally dealing with the investigation of this matter.

The plan of attempts on the lives of the leaders of the Cuban government hatched by American intelligence and the Cuban counterrevolution have long been known in general outline. The internal and external counterrevolution essentially have no other way out left, and they are hanging on to the idea of assassination as the only and last means to smother the Cuban revolution. They actually hope that the murder of the main leaders of Cuba will cause chaos in the country and make it easier for them to carry out a plan of intervention. But, Fidel Castro stressed, American intelligence and the external counterrevolution are mistaken, mainly in that the Cuban revolution will not perish as a result of the removal of a particular political leader. Our revolution, continued Fidel Castro, has put down deep roots, and such acts of terrorism might first of all be turned against their organizers.

In the course of further conversation Fidel Castro stressed that these words of his do not at all mean that he personally and the other leaders do not attach importance to their security protection. Concerning the question of revealing some information I had reported to him in accordance with the aforementioned instructions, Fidel Castro said that he thinks that no publication ought to be made for the time being. He thinks that this can only make a mess of the matter. Of course, he and Ramiro Valdez will take every step for the names reported to him not to be known to anyone. He and Ramiro Valdez will keep all this a proper secret. The Cuban MVD will conduct a careful investigation and possibly manage to arrest the organizers of the assassination attempts being prepared. The protection of Cuban leaders will be increased and every step will be taken to ensure their safety.

Speaking further about Kennedy’s policy with respect to Cuba Fidel Castro stressed that at the present time the US and the Cuban counterrevolution are relying on the development of terrorism in the country, acts of sabotage and subversion, in order to make it easier for the new intervention against Cuba that they are preparing. However, he, Fidel Castro, thinks that after the failure of the Stevenson mission with which he travelled throughout the countries of Latin America to organize an intervention against Cuba with the forces of the countries of Central America and Cuban counterrevolutionaries, it will be very hard for the United States, even in the event that they decide to support such an intervention with their air force and navy. An assassination attempt on the leaders of the Cuban state and a subsequent intervention against Cuba, Fidel Castro said in conclusion, can cause a revolutionary explosion in Latin America and immense consequences for the US itself.

The rest of the conversation touched on some general questions.

AMBASSADOR OF THE USSR IN THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA

(S. KUDRYAVTSEV)