Transcript of a meeting between East German leader Erich Honecker and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, East Berlin (excerpts) regarding Castro’s visit to Somalia and Ethiopia, criticizing Siad Barre and discussing the need to help the revolution in Ethiopia
March 23, 1977
Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Cuban Ambassador to Maputo commented on President Fidel Castro’s trip to some African countries'
Sender Maputo No. 053597 Date 23 March 1977, 18:00
Comrade Cornel Pacosta
Cuban Ambassador to Maputo commented on President Fidel Castro’s trip to some African countries:
1. The visit to Libya was a "positive" one, President Castro told President Samora "Gadaffi, although still retaining a strong Islamic influence, has an honest attitude and a revolutionary orientation."
2. During his visit to Yemen, President Fidel Castro received the invitation to visit Ethiopia, which he accepted after consultations with President Siad Bare, who did "not oppose [it] but expressed serious reservations on Mengistu’s revolutionary character and good intentions."
3. After the trip to Ethiopia, the Cuban delegation is convinced that Mengistu and those who are loyal to his group are "politically focused, with a steady and firm revolutionary way." Fidel Castro told Samora Machel "what happened in Ethiopia is an African Bolshevik revolution." President Castro has expressed also concern that "Mengistu's group is numerically very small, and internal reactionary forces are strong enough” and “an attempt to physically liquidate Mengistu's group” should not be ruled out. He also acknowledged that despite all of his arguments he could not convince President Siad Bare of Mengistu’s "honesty". Somali President maintained his "reserved" position, which gives the situation in the area a “complex and dangerous" character.
4. The visit to Mozambique was "good". It lasted 48 hours of which 20 hours took the form of direct talks between the two heads of state. Although the reception was initially planned for Maputo, the talks were held in Beira (1,000 km from Maputo). "[A]t the Cuban request" the venue was changed in the last moment, because "members [of the delegation] accompanying President Castro appreciated the useful change for security reasons".
Contrary to what the Mozambican press stated, they "have not signed any agreement for cooperation but only discussed it." The Mozambican side asked for 43 agricultural specialists, 22 medical personnel, 39 specialist in education, 94 in the sugar industry, 45 in public works, 25 in transport. President Castro has agreed "in principle" but told his hosts that the "political bureau should be consulted."
The joint communiqué was agreed "without a difficulty" because "the Mozambicans presented a project very close to that prepared by the Cuban delegation."
5. Judging by the text of the joint communique, the Mozambican theses were apparently accepted without substantive discussions: Zimbabwean movement, led by the patriotic front, Namibia, South Africa, Spanish Sahara, East Timor, Palestine, Djibouti, and vague, non-binding, adherence to the non-aligned movement and the establishment of a new world "economic and social" order, the principles of "security, mutual respect, noninterference in internal affairs and mutual benefit".
We do not yet have comments from official Mozambican sources.
The information obtained by Romania’s ambassador to Maputo by his Cuban counterpart not only continues Castro’s praise of Mengistu’s revolutionary zeal, but also sheds more light on the wide scope of the Cuban President’s endeavors on the African continent.
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