220. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State1

802. Castro given triumphant hero’s welcome yesterday by people of Habana. Hundreds of thousands lined route to cheer him. Day climaxed by one and a half hour speech delivered at Camp Columbia to throng estimated 40,000. Speech was sincere, rambling, forceful, received with great enthusiasm.

Highlights were:

Struggle was won by Cuban people, and revolution belongs to them.
Cuban people now have peace without dictatorship, without crime, or censorship—peace without limitations.
26 July Movement has support of overwhelming majority Cubans. Other revolutionary groups have helped earnestly and effectively, but in minor capacity.
Greatest crime now would be crime against the peace. A person who plots or attempts to break the peace is a criminal and traitor.
Most dangerous potential enemies of the successful revolution are the revolutionaries themselves. Castro here discussed the fall of Machado and the proliferation of revolutionary groups, many of whom thought they were entitled to live at the expense of the people from then on.
A part of one revolutionary group is now smuggling and concealing arms. There is no acceptable excuse for this, since there is now nothing in Cuba for a true revolutionary to fight against. The arms should be stored in the arsenals and barracks, as the 26th July Movement does. This was an obvious reference to actions of last two days by Revolutionary Directorate. Castro was exceptionally energetic and repetitious in condemning it, and clearly implied that his movement would use force if necessary to stop such practices.
Greatest desires of Cuban people are for liberty, human rights, peace and honest government. They now have a firm start toward these objectives, but both the people and the revolutionary group have a long and arduous task ahead of them, in which all must help.
No danger of a dictatorship since a government becomes dictatorial only when it lacks the support of the people, and this govt has support of all Cubans.
Castro will not accept a ministerial position. He has been designated by the President to handle the reorganization of the armed forces, including rebel forces, and will undertake other tasks when that is done.
Carlos Prio has worked wholeheartedly for the revolution, has agreed to support it, and agreed not to accept or run for public office. This statement was not fully reported in all accounts of the speech.
This government, and the revolutionary movement, will be honest. They will never defraud the Cuban people.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/1–959. The time of transmission is not given on the source text. Received at 7:27 p.m.