129. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State1
276. For Rubottom. Embtel 246.2 At our first talk following my return Guell again brought up subject of T–28 training planes and asked whether we had reached a decision. As I had no information of [Page 207] any progress on possible compromise that US assist Cuba obtain planes from Canada, I asked whether GOC intended use planes for anything other than training. Guell said he was sure not but would consult with President. After talking with Batista, Guell has now given me the pledge of GOC that requested trainers, if supplied by US will be used exclusively for training.
In view this pledge I urge that Department now reach speedy and favorable decision to permit delivery of these planes, taking into consideration following pertinent facts:
- As planes will be used only for training their delivery clearly falls outside US policy not to ship combat equipment to GOC at present.
- If we fail to comply with our promise to deliver T–28 trainers, it will be the second failure on the part of US to fulfill a definite commitment to the GOC. The first commitment was the twenty armored cars.
- Reasons given for deferment was adverse effect delivery could have on possibility of release of Americans kidnapped by rebels; this release has now long been completed.
- For lack of training planes opening of pilot training schools scheduled for September 10 had to be cancelled. It is in US as well as Cuban interests that this school be opened, since through it Cuban pilots who go later to service schools in US are assured of flight experience so useful as preparation for training in US.
- If GOC is forced to turn elsewhere for purchase of trainers, our policy of assistance through military missions and of obtaining standardization on US equipment will receive setback. Such effects will continue long after the present political unrest is a matter of history.