135. Memorandum From the Chief of the Division of Research and Analysis for American Republics (Wardlaw) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs’ Special Assistant (Hill)1


  • Need for Information on Character of Leadership of Cuban July 26 Movement

We in DRA are greatly concerned about the character of the leadership of the July 26 Movement in Cuba. It is essential that we make an accurate appraisal of that movement because of the great importance of Cuban developments to the United States. It would indeed be serious if our Government assumed that the movement was not Communist dominated and later it proved to be so, and it would also be most unfortunate for it to assume that the movement was Communist dominated if such an assumption was incorrect.

The best information which we have at hand supports the belief that Fidel Castro is not Communist and that Communists do not play a dominant role in the leadership of the July 26 Movement. However, our information is not as conclusive as we would like. We are even more concerned about our lack of real information on the whole complex of the July 26 leadership. We feel a need for a great deal more information, not only about possible identifiable Communists who may participate in the direction of the uprising or are privy to its leaders, but also we need to know something about the general prevalence of anti-US and pro-Marxist, even though not necessarily Communist, sentiment among those forming the headquarters of the movement. The general atmosphere of that headquarters, the idealisms and opportunisms current there, and the degrees of political maturity of the leaders are all matters on which we do not really have conclusive information but which will have great influence on the character of any Government of Cuba which may be brought into being by the movement.

In seeking to appraise this movement we have searched our files thoroughly, kept in contact with the Cuban desk in ARA and consulted with other intelligence agencies in Washington. We have also written to the field for data on the past of the leaders. Despite these [Page 217] efforts our information is at best sketchy. Under the circumstances we would be most grateful for any information which should come your way on these important subjects.

  1. Source: Department of State, ARA Special Assistant Files: Lot 60 D 513, Cuba 1958. Secret. Drafted and initialed by Wardlaw.