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

1176. Reference: Embtel 1158 to Department, repeated San Salvador 52 re desire GOC for foreign financial assistance.

Considerable number Cuban contacts have approached Embassy and [less than 1 line not declassified] recently to express concern over possibility Castro might receive commitments financial assistance during his trip to US. These people were opposed to Batista and most were and are supporters of revolution. Their concern based (1) political [Page 454]orientation of government both in terms Communist penetration and influence and unfriendly attitude of Castro and others toward US and (2) critical economic situation facing country resulting from irresponsible, unsound measures taken by GOC in last six weeks.

These people say would be mistake for US extend assistance until GOC (1) displays more friendly attitude toward US, (2) shows signs of eliminating or greatly reducing Communist influence, (3) modifies radical socio-economic measures which are ruining a basically healthy economy (except for low foreign exchange reserves) which it inherited. They express belief US assistance now would postpone date for showdown on economic situation. Longer GOC is able to get along without mending its ways, better opportunities Communists have consolidate their position. Some add that if US extends help under present circumstances, it will lose further prestige internationally, since act would be interpreted in Cuba and elsewhere that way to get help from US is to be hostile rather than friendly.

Embassy’s own views on reponse to possible Cuban approaches for financial assistance will be forwarded on Ambassador’s return.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.3711/4–959. Confidential.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 272.
  3. Bonsal left Havana on April 8 to attend a meeting in San Salvador of Chiefs of Mission in Central America and the Caribbean. Documentation regarding the discussions at this meeting is scheduled for publication in volume V. No record has been found that the Embassy, following Bonsal’s return to Havana, submitted its recommendations regarding financial assistance to Cuba.