Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Harvey R. Wellman of the Office of Middle American Affairs

Participants: Cuban Ambassador1 and Military, Air and Naval Attachés2
Assistant Secretary Miller3
Mr. Mackay4AR
Mr. Wellman—MID

Ambassador Machado stated that the Cuban Government had studied the defense survey and recommendations5 made by the survey team from the United States armed services and accepts the recommendations in their entirety. He said that the Cuban Government is now interested in obtaining military and naval missions on a basis similar to that of the recent air mission agreement.6 The Cuban President7 had also instructed him to state that the Cuban Government is interested in carrying out the recommendation regarding new equipment and supplies needed by the three branches of the Cuban armed forces. The President believes, however, he stated, that the United States should make this equipment and supplies available to Cuba on the same basis as sales have recently been made to other Latin American countries, namely, 10 percent plus cost of rehabilitation. Ambassador Machado expressed the desire to have action initiated on both these matters before the arrival on February 21 of the Cuban Chief of [Page 1331] Staff, General Cabrera,8 as an official guest of the United States Government.

Mr. Mackay agreed to consult Mr. Anderson,9 IAD, regarding the Cuban desire to enter into military and naval mission agreements. Ambassador Machado stated that there should be no objection by either Government to agreements embodying substantially the same provisions as the recent air mission agreement. Mr. Mackay stated that there would be the question of availability of naval and military personnel. Ambassador Machado said that the Cubans are thinking of a small mission of no more than three or four officers in each case.10

Mr. Mackay pointed out that only excess, surplus equipment can be acquired upon the payment of 10 percent plus the cost of rehabilitation. Any equipment or supplies which must come out of new procurement would have to be paid for at the price which the United States Government has had to pay. At present the army and air force have very little surplus equipment but the navy does have some.

Mr. Mackay agreed to arrange for the appropriate officers in the United States Army, Navy and Air Force to communicate with the Military, Naval and Air Attachés at the Cuban Embassy to discuss the cost and availability of the particular items which the Cuban defense Survey recommended be acquired.

Ambassador Machado observed that the United States must recognize the necessity of giving financial assistance to the other American Republics to enable them to put their armed forces into shape for the defense of the hemisphere.

Assistant Secretary Miller was not able to remain throughout the conversation. While present he inquired of Ambassador Machado regarding the offer of President Prio to raise the Cuban unit for Korea from company to battalion size. Ambassador Machado stated that this proposal is being presented for approval to the special session of Congress which, according to his information, has not yet been convened.

  1. Luis Machado.
  2. Lt. Col. Ramon M. Barquin, Cuhan Military Attaché; Lt. Cmdr. Oscar Rivery, Cuban Naval Attaché.
  3. Edward G. Miller, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.
  4. Duncan A. D. Mackay.
  5. This survey had been conducted between October 26 and November 7, 1950; a subsequent report containing recommendations was transmitted to the Cuban Government in January 1951.
  6. Reference is to the Agreement providing for the services of a United States Air Force Mission to Cuba, signed at Washington, December 22, 1950, and entered into force on the same date; for text, see Department of State Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) No. 2166, or United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (UST), vol. 1, p. 887.
  7. Carlos Prio Socarrás.
  8. Maj. Gen. Ruperto Cabrera y Rodriguez.
  9. Kenneth Anderson, Special Assistant to the Chief, Division of Acquisition and Distribution, Office of Libraries and Intelligence-Acquisition.
  10. On August 28, 1951, the United States and Cuba signed two agreements providing for the establishment of a United States Army Mission in, Cuba and a United States Naval Mission in Cuba, both of which entered into force on August 28. For text of the Army Mission Agreement, see TIAS No. 2309, or 2 UST (pt. 2) 1677; for text of the Naval Mission Agreement, see TIAS No. 2310, or 2 UST (pt. 2) 1689.