183. Editorial Note

On December 17, Allan L. Reed, Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence, circulated a paper, identified as Op–922N3W/ml and Ser. 002172P92, to various officers in the Department of the Navy. The paper, the subject of which was “Short-Term trends in Cuba of possible US Naval interest,” summarized the current situation in Cuba since the November 3 elections, concluding that the 26th of July Movement under Fidel Castro’s leadership “seems even more determined to topple the present government.” The movement’s ability to “operate a successor government would depend upon the continued cooperation of the various revolutionary groups, who are now joined together in a loose unity pact, together with its success in dealing with the military and organized labor over which the government has maintained a strong control.” The paper also noted that “the prospect for continued cooperation of opposition groups is poor.” Whatever government emerged in Cuba, however, would attempt to maintain friendly relations with the United States. The paper concluded that Castro was “aware of the strategic importance of the US Naval Base, Guantanamo, and of US desire to avoid political eruptions in its own ‘backyard.’ Castro would probably demand an increase in rental for the base and may even request a status of forces agreement. Thus the cost of the American defense effort, in both monetary and political terms, would almost certainly rise.”

The full text of the paper is published in Declassified Documents, 1981, 171D.