June 9, 1961
From the Journal of S.M. Kudryavtsev, 'Record of a Conversation with Prime Minister Fidel Castro Ruz and President Osvaldo Dorticos Torrado, 22 April 1961'
This document was made possible with support from Blavatnik Family Foundation
from the journal of
S. M. KUDRYAVTSEV
Top Secret. Copy Nº 2
9 June 1961
RECORD OF A CONVERSATION
with Prime Minister Fidel CASTRO RUZ and President Osvaldo DORTICOS TORRADO
22 April 1961
I invited Fidel Castro and President Dorticos to breakfast.
1. Referring to instructions of the Soviet government I informed them about the granting of the request of the Cuban government concerning the question of the special deliveries on the basis of the agreement reached in Moscow in the course of the talks with the mission of Flavio Bravo.
Fidel Castro and President Dorticos asked that their sincere gratitude be passed to the Soviet government for the rapid and effective solutions of these so important questions for the strengthening of the defense of Cuba. When doing this Fidel Castro assured the Soviet government that the Cuban government would take all necessary steps to keep the special equipment from possible bombing by the enemy. Fidel Castro further provided assurance that he would give the necessary orders to the General Staff and other Cuban military authorities to ensure the proper acceptance and storage of the special deliveries.
2. Several questions associated with the development of the foreign policy and domestic situation in Cuba were touched upon in the course of further conversation with Fidel Castro and Dorticos.
Fidel Castro said, the attack of the counterrevolutionary bands on Cuba, as can now be established on the basis of the operations which have taken place, was well and carefully planned in the military sense. The Pentagon’s military plan to carry out this operation was also well thought-out and drafted from the purely military point of view. The Pentagon’s plan provided for launching a lightning strike, and in the event of its failure consolidation in this inaccessible sector of territory and the waging of a lengthy war of attrition against Cuba, mainly with the aid of aircraft. In developing the plan of intervention against Cuba the US proceeded from the position that at the first clash the revolutionary army and people’s militia would scatter and a mass revolt against the revolutionary government would arise throughout the entire country. This, however, was the Pentagon’s main miscalculation.
The interventionists were supplied with a large quantity of modern weapons, enough weapons for up to 10,000 men. The US counted on people from the internal counterrevolution to come running toward the counterrevolutionaries. Six battalions in all, one of them a parachute battalion, were landed under air cover. The total strength of the assault group was about 1500 men. From the statements of the prisoners it follows that these were the main forces which the external counterrevolution had at this time. Right now, in all probability, small detachments of counterrevolutionaries were left in the US and other Central American countries which are no great danger to Cuba from the military point of view.
Fidel Castro continued, the General Staff of the army and the people’s militia developed a plan to surround the amphibious force which had landed. When this was done the main task was not to allow the interventionists to penetrate into the interior of the country, to the north, and also to the east, to the region of Escambray. A mission was assigned at the same time to cut off this enemy grouping from the sea, not allow it to be evacuated. Fidel Castro continued, a large role in the destruction of the enemy assault force was played by the revolutionary air force which, although it numbered only 10 aircraft in all, nevertheless sank four ships of the interventionists and several barges with weapons and ammunition. In addition, the path for their retreat was actually thus cut off. Ten enemy aircraft were shot down in battles.
The enemy group was quickly suppressed and demoralized as a result of the air strikes, mortar, and artillery fire. Thanks to the successful encirclement operations none of the interventionists managed to break through to Escambray nor to be evacuated by sea. Right now the interventionists are surrendering en masse and the number of prisoners already exceeds 400. The revolutionary army and people’s militia have lost in battle over 100 men killed and about 200 wounded.
Then Fidel Castro said that right now the question is being raised in the UN of showing mercy to the interventionists. He said, we can show such mercy only on one condition: the UN gives guarantees that counterrevolutionary bands will not be sent to Cuba any more, that the US will stop arming, training, and supporting them, and also that Cuban counterrevolutionary organizations who have found shelter on their territory will disband. Corresponding instructions in this direction have been given to Raul Roa.
The defeat of the interventionists, stressed Fidel Castro, has inflicted an irreparable blow to US prestige, and in Latin America most of all. The annoying speeches of Kennedy demonstrate that he wants to intimidate or, rather, maintain the fear of the US by Latin American peoples. However, now the situation has radically changed. We think that if Kennedy tries to raise the Cuban question in the Organization of American States right now and demand agreement to perform a collective intervention against Cuba, this would lead to the collapse of the OAS. Brazil, Mexico, and Ecuador will now even more surely support Cuba.
Fidel Castro stressed, now it can be established that the foreign policy positions of Cuba have considerably strengthened as a result of the victory. The domestic situation of the country will now be even stronger. The victory of the revolutionary forces has resulted in an extraordinary consolidation of the entire Cuban revolution. The internal counterrevolution was dealt a number of blows in these days from which it will be difficult for it to recover. On the whole we can now look at the future more confidently and calmly. Of course, there remains the danger of direct intervention from US forces. The aircraft of the US Air Force fly over all Cuban military bases, evidently for purposes of intelligence [collection], and American destroyers continue to cruise along [our] coasts.
Fidel Castro stressed, we well understand our responsibility to the world. Therefore the revolutionary army and people’s militia have been given all the necessary orders not to give the Americans any pretext for provocations. We have decided not to demobilize, and the country will be in a state of combat alert until the situation is finally clear.
Fidel Castro stressed, we hope that the firm warning given by Cde. N. S. Khrushchev in his messages to Kennedy will exert a sobering influence on the US government.
President Dorticos, who took part in the conversation, also expressed himself in the same terms.
AMBASSADOR OF THE USSR IN THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA
Kuydryavtsev confirms the Cuban request for a delivery of military equipment from the Soviet Union. Fidel Castro and Dorticos then discuss the details of failed invasion of Cuba and its effects in Cuba and the US. Castro suggests that the UN should guarantee that the US will stop interfering with and supporting counterrevolutionaries in Cuba.
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