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



  • Communist Influence in Cuba
  • Participants: Ambassador Concheso, Cuban Ambassador
  • Mr. Wellman, MID

Mr. Wellman referred to the adverse publicity which the Batista Government had received in Newsweek as a result of the election of five communists to the directorate of the Tobacco Workers Federation. He told the Ambassador that the political opposition to President Batista had alleged that there are communists in the Cuban Government and that it is under communist influence. He told the Ambassador that this had provoked inquiries from members of the United States Congress, in reply to which the Department had pointed out the evidence of anti-communist attitude and activity of the Cuban Government.

The Ambassador expressed interest in the publicity in Newsweek. He commented that the sindical elections under Batista are free, whereas there was a totalitarian control of labor unions under the Auténticos.

The Ambassador said that he would explore while in Cuba the possibility of promulgation of the anti-communist law which has been under [Page 897] consideration. He recalled that he had obtained from the Department copies of United States legislation and expressed the opinion that it could not serve as a pattern for Cuba. He observed that it would be necessary under Cuban law to identify (“typify”) the activity or affiliation and not be sufficient to stipulate that it is illegal to plot the overthrow of the government by force or violence. The Ambassador said that he had sent to the Cuban Government a draft project of law which he had prepared. He expressed the opinion that the law could provide that a communist could not be a member or officer of a labor union. He declared that there would be more difficulty in eliminating communists from education, particularly from teaching in the public schools. He said that while many communists in the field of education are well known, e.g. Marinello,1 others are not known. He also observed that an attempt to have Marinello and other communist teachers dismissed because they are communists would provoke a mixed reaction. He said that some might criticize such action as another example of the “Batista tyranny”.

The Ambassador acknowledged that reports of current activity by communists in positions in the Ministries of Labor and Education should be looked into. He pointed out, however, that many Cubans who were communists or affiliated with the communists when relations were good with Russia are among the strongest anti-communists now.

  1. Apparent reference to Juan Marinello, President, Partido Socialista Popular (Popular Socialist Party).