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273. Memorandum From the Asssistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs’ Staff Assistant (Devine) to Certain Officers in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs1

SUBJECT

  • Preparation for Visit of Fidel Castro

This memorandum is to pass along to each of you certain views and requests which Mr. Rubottom made very hurriedly to me today enroute to the Pan American Union.

Mr. Rubottom requested that CMA commence the compilation of a card index designed to provide the fastest and easiest immediate reference to all of the public statements and allegations which have been made by Fidel Castro. He said that we must be prepared on a moment’s notice to comment on or refute any such statements which Castro might repeat while in the United States. Mr. Rubottom doubted that during his visit here Castro would come up with any entirely new statements and that therefore it was particularly incumbent upon us to catalogue all of his past ones and have appropriate responses immediately ready.

Mr. Rubottom said that our representatives present at the ASNE (April 17)2 luncheon for Castro should be prepared to rise and respond as the occasion might warrant. He said that he had discussed this and found agreement therewith on the 5th floor.

I told Mr. Rubottom that in accordance with instructions furnished me I had communicated to Mr. Corrigan of U/PR that Departmental officials at the luncheon would include Mr. Snow, Mr. Wieland, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Lincoln White.3 (When I told this to Mr. Corrigan, he answered that there was a fifth place available and that he would on his own submit the name of Mr. Stevenson as the Officer in Charge of Cuban Affairs.) In the light of Mr. Rubottom’s remarks, I [Page 453]asked if he personally planned to attend the luncheon. He said that he did not know, but that should he decide to do so he felt sure that necessary arrangements could be made. He seemed to be thinking in terms of either Mr. Snow or Mr. Wieland being the one to rise and respond to any remarks of Dr. Castro which might call for such a reply.

I told Mr. Rubottom that a preliminary report from S/S indicated that Vice President Nixon was now planning to receive Fidel Castro at his home for drinks. Mr. Rubottom did not comment directly on this. He said however that the question of entertainment for Castro would certainly be related to the public utterances which the latter might make. Should these be moderate and reasonable, there would probably be little objection to any entertainment offered, particularly in the light of other recent visits and the fact that everyone seems to be ready and anxious to make comparisons between and draw conclusions from the similarities or dissimilarities in entertainment afforded various visitors.

In concluding the conversation and leaving the car, Mr. Rubottom said that it seemed to him the time had come when we could no longer passively accept irresponsible statements about the United States by Fidel Castro. He said that we were now practically at the point where every such statement should receive our immediate response. Our replies should be reasoned, moderate, and should show our comprehension and understanding of the Cuban revolution, but they should also be firmly in defense of what we consider to be right.

  1. Source: Department of State, Rubottom–Mann Files: Lot 62 D 418, Cuba (Jan–Apr.) 1959. Drafted by Devine and addressed to Snow, Wieland, Little, Stevenson, Richard B. Owen, and Orville Anderson. A note on the source text indicates that separate copies were sent to the addressees and that a copy was also furnished Rubottom.
  2. The date in parentheses was added by hand.
  3. A handwritten note in the margin at this point reads, “Correction. This is for the Natl. Press Club on 4/20.”