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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • March 24, 1959

    Resolution of the 42nd Meeting of the Czechoslovak Communist Party Politburo, Regarding Talks with Representatives of the People’s Socialist Party of Cuba

    This presents evidence of Czechoslovak-Cuban relations forming in 1959, which includes the somewhat sensitive issue of Prague’s attempting to grasp the relationship and balance of power within Havana’s rulers between Fidel Castro’s “July 26th” movement and the traditional, pro-Moscow communist party, the People’s Socialist Party (PSP).

  • September, 1959

    Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPCz) Politburo Resolution (with enclosures) on Arms Transfers to Cuba, September 1959

    Czech government decision in late September 1959, to approve sending what was euphemistically described as “special technical supplies” or “special technology” (but in truth were weapons, specifically 50,000 submachine guns and ammunition) to Havana, using a neutral Swiss firm as a cut-out to conceal the transaction, especially from American eyes.

  • May 17, 1960

    Report of the Czechoslovak Politburo Regarding Military Assistance to the Cuban Government, 16 May 1960, and CPCz Politburo Resolution, 17 May 1960

    This includes further orders of weapons shipment to the Cuban revolutionary government under the guise of "special materials." Also included is a short profile on Raul Castro, member of the Cuban delegation, as well as the details of his stay in Czechoslovakia.

  • June 16, 1960

    Report of the Governmental Delegation Visiting Argentina and Cuba

    The document includes excerpts from a Bulgarian delegation's report on their visit to Latin America in 1960. The excerpt covers the delegation's visit to Cuba. Avramova and Agnelov report Cuba's desire to establish diplomatic and cultural relations with Bulgaria. Cuba's interest paramountly involve trade. Avramova and Angelov summarize meetings with important government officials, particulalry Ernesto Guevara, head of the National Bank, and Raul Castro, Minister of Armed Forces. Topics include: the development of the revolution against the Batista government, post-Batista power struggles, geographical fatalism and US influence, Cuba's challenges (e.g. illiteracy, the lack of specialists), land and agricultural reform, construction, industrialization. The delegation recommends the establishment of official relations with Cuba and an invitation for Raul Castro to visit Bulgaria.

  • 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.

  • October, 1960

    Documents Regarding Impending Visit to Czechoslovakia of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, president of the Cuban National Bank

    These concern preparations by the Czechoslovak government for the visit of Ernesto "Che" Guevara on 23 October 1960. The primary topics of discussion are economic assistance to Cuba and advice on raw material production, as Cuba was in the process of nationalizing its economy.

  • January, 1961

    Report to Czechoslovak Communist Party Central Committee (CPCz CC) on Consideration of Cuban Arms Requests

    The report concerns requests from Cuba for shipment of arms from Czechoslovakia, along with providing advisors to the Cuban military. Among the arms being transferred are Czechoslovak fighter planes, automatic rifles and ammunition, mobile artillery, and anti-aircraft guns. Clearly the Cuban desires for arms were fueled by fears of American attack, which would come to fruition in the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion.

  • April 18, 1961

    Record of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (CPCz) Politburo regarding Cuban Requests for Arms and Ammunition, 6 April 1961, with Attached Resolution on Same Subject

    The record and attached resolution concerns the final decision by the Politburo of the Czechoslovak Communist Party to send arms and "special technology" to Cuba. Among the arms shipped are 2 mobile artillery batteries, 50 million 7.92 mm bullets, and military specialists to aid the Cuban military in the construction of anti-aircraft defenses on Cuban territory. This would prove to be fruitful for the Cubans in the coming Bay of Pigs Invasion.

  • 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 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 27, 1962

    Report to CPCz General Secretary Antonin Novotný

    The report to Novotny details the happenings of the Cuban Missile Crisis at that time. Great Britain feels out of the loop and hurt by not being consulted by the United States before it took action, while Kennedy is not backing down on the blockade until the missiles are removed. According to the message, it is unclear whether there are nuclear missiles in Cuba at all; an American army colonel admits to the UN that no traces have been found, despite hundreds of photographs taken. In Czechoslovakia, the situation is unchanged; troops are still on alert and awaiting combat orders, with morale running high. There are even some volunteers willing to go to Cuba and aid their Latin comrades.

  • 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

    Telegram from Mexican Embassy, Prague

    The Mexican ambassador to Czechoslovakia says in this telegram that Czechoslovakia repudiates the United States' blockade of Cuba, declares its support for Cuba, and supports the declaration by the Soviet delegate at the Security Council.

  • November 06, 1962

    Cable no. 350 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    Pavlicek communicates that Anastas Mikoyan's talk with the Cubans has suffered a personal setback with the loss of Mikoyan's wife. The results of the meeting between the Soviet and Cuban delegations remain unknown as of this cable. Pavlicek speaks of a proposal by Brazil to "Finlandize" Cuba, which would mean permanent Cuban neutrality and the end of the US base in Guantanamo Bay. Calm has taken over Cuba in the aftermath of Castro's speech on 1 November, although many still have reservations about the actions taken by the Soviet Union, and demand answers from Mikoyan.

  • November 06, 1962

    Report on Visit to Prague by Cuban Communist Party Leader Blas Roca Calderio

    Calderio's visit to Prague in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis served to solidify the ties between Cuba and Czechoslovakia, relations that would persist until the end of the Cold War. Among the activities of Calderio's visit included attendance of 12th Party Congress of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, meeting with Cuban ambassadors to China, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, and a promise to attend the meeting of the Bulgarian Communist Party.

  • November 07, 1962

    Cable no. 355 from the Czechoslovak Embassy in Havana (Pavlíček)

    The cable reveals serious misgivings by the Cubans with regard to Soviet handling of the crisis. Roy Inchaustegui was criticized by Castro for discussing the question of document authenticity about the missile bases instead of discussing Cuba's right to defense at the UN Security Council. Pavlicek reports the Council asked on Czechoslovakia's stance towards Castro's 5 Points. While responding with support, he still asked for an official viewpoint from the Czechoslovak government in Prague.