231. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State 1

856. Deptel 505.2 Ambassador broached subject of reference telegram to President at 7 p.m. January 17 on a goodbye visit. Urrutia stated he was not familiar with subject and did not wish to discuss it until he had taken it up with Agramonte. In Ambassador’s opinion Urrutia plans to discuss it not with Minister of State but with Fidel Castro.

Since the upsurge of emotions during last few days over criticism from United States and elsewhere of trials and executions of war criminals, matter of US military missions has temporarily dropped out of news. I believe it can probably now wait for Bonsal’s arrival before being discussed formally, and that this would be best course. Nevertheless, in calling on Agramonte either this evening or tomorrow I intend mentioning subject, stating that we will be glad to discuss it at his convenience and convenience of President or Prime Minister. I intend also calling his attention to Department’s press release of January 153 copies of which supplied Ministry in our note No. 11 of January 16,4 and to suggest that pending formal discussions GOC inform themselves in detail on functions and actions of military missions since much misinformation has been passed about. Mission chiefs themselves would welcome opportunity to enlighten Cuban officials on this subject. I think it advisable to mention subject to Agramonte because it may be used in mass rally called for January 21 in which case our initiative in bringing it up may diminish some of its potential inflammatory effect.

Embassy assumes Deptel 833 [505] refers to both military missions and MAAG since personnel is same and Cubans do not know the difference.

Please instruct if any objection to this procedure.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.58/1–1959. Secret; Niact.
  2. Document 229.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 228.
  4. Not found.
  5. The Department apparently telephoned instructions to the Embassy. See Document 236.