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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963
Volume XI, Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath, Document 81


81. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in BrazilSourceSource: Department of State, Central Files, 737.56361/10-2662. Top Secret; Niact; Eyes Only. Drafted by Martin, cleared with U. Alexis Johnson, and approved by Rusk.

1055. Ambassador from Secretary. We believe time has come for representative friendly country to discuss with Castro alone predicament in which Soviet actions have placed him. We also believe Brazilian Ambassador in Havana is best person to do this and therefore wish you to see Hermes Lima as soon as possible to secure his agreement to instruction to their Ambassador along following lines. This approach to Castro should be handled in such way as make absolutely clear to Castro it is solely Brazilian initiative. Naturally we would hope matter could be handled by Brazilians with greatest discretion. In this connection we feel strongly that need for complete secrecy between FM and Ambassador in Havana only, and absolute accuracy, is so great that the instructions should be taken to Havana by special courier in special airplane as soon as possible (FYI. Important should not be any Brazilian cables referring this subject. End FYI.) Report reaction niact.

Would wish instructions to Ambassador Luis Batian Pinto to read substantially as follows:

1. The world now knows without any question and in great detail the nature and size of the buildup of Soviet offensive missile capability in Cuba. There can be no valid question in anyone's mind on this point.

2. The action of the Soviet Union in using Cuban soil as sites for offensive nuclear missiles capable of striking most of the Western Hemisphere has placed the future of the Castro regime and the well-being of the Cuban people in great jeopardy.

3. The countries of the Inter-American System have unanimously called for their removal and approved and are participating in the meas-ures being taken to eliminate this Soviet threat to all of them.

4. The Soviet Union is turning around its cargo ships in face of US quarantine which the countries of hemisphere have authorized. Not only is the Soviet Union failing to support Cuba on this matter, but numerous feelers have been put out by high Soviet officials to allied governments for exchanges of their position in Cuba for concessions by the NATO countries in other parts of the world. Thus you are not only being used for purposes of no interest to any Cuban, but deserted and threatened by betrayal.

5. It is also well known that work is proceeding rapidly to complete and make operational the offensive nuclear missile installations and to assemble the IL-28 bombers. The threatened countries clearly cannot sit still while the threat against them is being increased in this fashion. Further steps will have to be taken against Cuba and very soon.

6. Castro might recall that President Kennedy has said publicly that only two issues were nonnegotiable between Castro and the US—the military-political ties to the USSR and the aggressive attitude toward the internal affairs of other Latin American countries. This view will be shared by other members of the Inter-American System. Of course this now means giving up the offensive nuclear capability being established in Cuba and sending home Soviet military personnel, on which help can certainly be given if needed. From such actions many changes in the relations between Cuba and the OAS countries, including the US, could flow.

7. Time is very short for Cuba and for Castro to decide whether to devote his great leadership abilities to the service of his Cuban peoples or to serving as a Soviet pawn in their desperately risky struggle for world domination by force and threat of force.

8. If Castro tries to rationalize the presence of these missiles as due to Cuban fear of a US invasion, Ambassador Batian should reply that he is confident that the OAS would not accept an invasion of Cuba once the missiles were removed and that the US would not risk upsetting hemispheric solidarity by invading a Cuba clearly committed to a peaceful course.

Rusk

* Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.56361/10-2662. Top Secret; Niact; Eyes Only. Drafted by Martin, cleared with U. Alexis Johnson, and approved by Rusk.