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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • August 04, 1960

    Report by Czechoslovak Embassy, Havana, on July 1960 Visit of Czechoslovak Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Jiri Hajek to Havana

    The report details a meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Hajek with Cuban Foreign Minister Raul Roa. After a dinner banquet which is attended by all members of the Cuban foreign ministry and the Czechoslovak embassy, Hajek and Roa pay a visit to Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Chairman of the Cuban National Bank. Conversations ranged from Cuba's international status to ways of thwarting American aggression. It is noted that Guevara was highly paranoid of an American attack on Cuba.

  • April 30, 1961

    Czechoslovak Intelligence Reports Correspondence with Czechoslovak Embassy, Havana, Regarding Purported Assassination Plot against Fidel Castro and Coup Plot against Cuban Government

    Czechoslovak Intelligence reports on a possible assassination plot against Castro and a possible coup against the Revolutionary Government in Havana. The document details the plot being planned by individuals in Havana including smuggling explosives into a public celebration for 1 May. Microfilms containing information on the plot including the organizers and place of action. It is obvious from this correspondence that the planned assassination and coup against Castro are part of the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

  • October 24, 1962

    Cable no. 319 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Vladimir Pavlíček)

    This cable sent to Prague confirms the decision by President John F. Kennedy to blockade Cuba, based on talks between Cuban Foreign Minister Raul Roa and Soviet Ambassador to Cuba Aleksandr Alekseev. Despite no orders for the American warships to stop Soviet ships, Alekseev was preparing in anticipation for "dangerous provocations." Cuba canceled all PanAm flights, while at the same time allowing Czech and Soviet flights to proceed.

  • October 25, 1962

    Cable no. 323 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    The cable states Cuba has alerted its armed forces to maximum combat readiness. Cuba's government had already taken the precautions of arresting known counterrevolutionaries in all aspects of society, with all important factors monitored. General aura of the country is one of tenseness, but the people continue about their lives as normal. There is a sense of strong revolutionary unity in the wake of this blockade, especially after a speech given by Castro. Cable concludes with a message that the first Soviet ship arrived on the basis of not carrying any military hardware.

  • October 27, 1962

    Cable no. 326 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    The cable concerns a conversation between Vrana and Pinner the night before, about Castro's conviction of an impending invasion of Cuba by the United States and associated mercenaries. Prague is told if that event comes to pass, all classified documents in the embassy will be burned. Emergency measures are being prepared, and tensions are evidently high.

  • October 28, 1962

    Cable no. 328 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Pavlicek informs Prague that Cuban anti-aircraft forces fended off and shot down a group of U.S. jet bombers, which were assumed to be on a mission to examine the missile bases in Cuba. He also intercepted a message from Washington that if Cuba does not leave a free zone for American personnel to land and inspect the bases, there will be "further action." The bases are not to be dismantled, and an invasion by the United States is to be anticipated.

  • October 28, 1962

    Cable no. 330 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Pavlicek writes of the negotiations between Khrushchev and Kennedy and of the Cuban people's reaction to them, which is mixed. Among the higher ranking intelligentsia, there is a suspicion that Cuba's defenses will be weakened. Among the lower-level staff, Khrushchev is met with trust and understanding. The Czechoslovak Press Agency is to publish the events in favor of the Soviet Union, portraying it as forcing the United States to negotiate.

  • October 28, 1962

    Cable no. 332 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Pavlicek writes of a breakthrough with the UN Secretary General and Cuba with regards to ending the crisis; Castro is willing to enter into settlements to resolve the crisis peacefully, on the condition that Cuba's sovereignty and security not be infringed by the United States. Preparations are being made for Cuban foreign minister Raul Roa to fly to the UN Security Council meeting.

  • October 28, 1962

    Report to CPCz General Secretary Antonin Novotný

    Further reports from Pavlicek indicate despite soft rhetoric from the United States indicating a willing to negotiate, aggressive preparations against Cuba continued. In particular, there was a large reinforcement of air force bases in Florida and Key West, as well as an announcement of increased intensity of air reconnaissance over Cuba. By the time of this message, there already have been exchanges between Cuban anti-aircraft guns and U-2 recon planes. However, there are no significant measures observed among military installations in Europe, with Czechoslovak troops maintaining maximum combat readiness. Very few instances of insubordination and dissent are found.

  • October 29, 1962

    Cable no. 333 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Pavlicek informs Prague that negotiations have proceeded with some progress, while there is still a tense aura in the air. An invasion of Cuba by the United States is now an unlikely prospect, given American failures to penetrate Cuban airspace, the quick organized response of the Cuban armed forces, and the widespread support Cuba receives from the socialist countries of the world. Pavlicek promises the Czechoslovak government that the embassy will make all necessary provisions to providing information on the ongoing negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union.

  • October 30, 1962

    Cable no. 335 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Pavlicek reports there is an apparent rift between Cuban Foreign Ambassador Roa and Soviet Premier Khrushchev on the orders to dismantle the missile sites. Roa believes the people will not understand and misinterpret this step by the Soviets, as well as the Soviet Union losing international prestige. Fidel Castro plans to make a speech on public television to clarify the whole situation. Castro also made clear his paranoia about the United States not holding up to their promises and was convinced an invasion was still imminent.

  • October 30, 1962

    Cable no. 336 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Cable 336 reinforces the notion by Pavlicek that the press is inadequately reporting on the Soviet Union's side of the crisis. The newspaper Revolucion in particular has poor coverage, which has sparked outrage among the Cuban population. The purported reason is preoccupation with other stories and a lack of adequate understanding of the entire crisis.

  • October 30, 1962

    Cable no. 337 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    In Cuba, Castro's 5 Points speech has caused discontent among the populace. According to Pavlicek, this is because the Cuban people and leadership do not understand the steps taken by the Soviet Union and instead believe the Soviets have "backed away" from the USA, resulting in the weakening of Cuban defenses. The perspective the Cuban people are taking is not a global one but a nationalistic one. There is a great sense in unease at the Czechoslovak Embassy as a result of this discontent.

  • October 31, 1962

    Cable no. 339 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Pavlicek relates to Prague how Fidel Castro is in a rage over the decision to dismantle the missile bases in Cuba, as he had not been informed. All efforts of the Cuban government are focused on having Castro's 5 Points fulfilled, while explanations from the Soviet Union that Cuba was not abandoned are spreading. The mood among the Soviets is one of crushing defeat, and some of the technicians have given in to drunkeness in a refuge of despair, refusing to cooperate. The situation in Havana appears grave according to Pavlicek.

  • October 31, 1962

    Cable no. 338 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Pavlicek reports to Prague that the public situation in Cuba is still uncertain and confused. Castro is expected to give a speech the coming Thursday which would resolve the situation and clarify the position of the Soviet Union. There is a lack of depth in evaluation, and much needs to be explained to the Cuban population by the Soviet Union, as all fear aggressive action by the United States.

  • November 01, 1962

    Cable no. 340 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Public opinion in Havana has soured after the actions of the Soviet Union to resolve the crisis. The press and radio are preparing the ground for Fidel Castro's speech that day, accompanied by a spike in Cuban nationalism. Castro visited a university where he expressed hope of a resolution to the crisis that would not negatively affect Cuba's security.

  • November 01, 1962

    Cable no. 347 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    The cable from Pavlicek, received a day late, confirms that Castro's wish to not have an international inspection and dismantling of the missile bases went ignored. This sparked a great outrage among the prominent party members in Cuba, including Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who was crushed with disbelief upon hearing the news. The situation is one of general confusion as everyone awaits Castro's appearance, and his 5 Points to be fulfilled.

  • November 01, 1962

    Cable no. 341 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Pavlicek relays to Prague the results of the meeting between Cuban foreign minister Raul Roa and UN Secretary General U Thant. Thant expressed sympathy for the Cuban people and acknowledged the right for Cuba to submit their considerations for the resolution to the crisis. The Cuban requests included lifting the American blockade, fulfilling Castro's 5 Points, and no UN inspection of the missile bases. Besides the meeting with the Secretary General, Pavlicek also recounts the meeting of a Latin American delegation including representatives from Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay and Mexico. All nations but Mexico refused to give in to U.S. pressures, and stood in support of Cuba. Pavlicek then moves on to cover the possible subjects of Castro's speech on 1 November, including the Cuban detention of anticommunist groups in country and the results of the negotiations with U Thant. In the meantime, the Cuban government is concerned with curtailing the actions of anti-Soviet groups which have sown confusion and discontent among the population.

  • November 02, 1962

    Cable no. 346 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Pavlicek's primary focus in this cable is the effect of the crisis on the national media. The Cuban media is stressing Castro's 5 Points, and some journalists are hesitant to report anything else. There is a slight thread of anticommunism and anti-Soviet sentiment breeding among the media, but these feelings are not widespread, according to Pavlicek. The press is holding off on coverage of all other events such as the Sino-Indian border conflict and Chinese support for Castro's 5 points until after his speech.

  • November 02, 1962

    Cable no. 348 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Fidel Castro's speech is the centerpiece of this cable from Pavlicek. Castro's rhetoric touched on the unity of the Cuban people, and their refusal to an "undignified agreement." Pavlicek predicts his speech will foster a great response both internally and externally. Castro also acknowledged the help provided by the Soviet Union and the anti-Soviet campaign mounted by counterrevolutionaries. Pavlicek's only complaint was a lack of emphasis on the "critical role" the Soviet Union has played in the negotiations to resolve the crisis. However, the reaction to Fidel's speech is one of calming the situation and a clear orientation for the Cubans.