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

1191. Last night I met with Castro. Agramonte, Cepero Bonilla and Boti were with him and Braddock and Gilmore with me. I told Castro we considered his coming visit very important and offered to help in any way required. He said trip was even more important to Cuba than to United States since Cuba needed US more than US needed Cuba, and added that if he did not believe trip would be constructive, he would not be going. Castro has apparently not yet consulted with his advisers re economic relations with US.

I reminded Prime Minister of critical time through which US was living and of sacrifices it was making to preserve for itself and free world against attacks of international communism the same values as those for which Cuban revolution waged. I mentioned sensitivity of US to neutralism in this situation and said that just as we were trying to understand his problems, I hoped he would try to understand ours. He said he would. I stressed importance of defining Cuban position.

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Castro expressed annoyance with misleading press reporting, mentioning UPI and said press freedom seemed to mean “freedom to lie”. He mentioned yesterday’s story out of Wasington to effect he had told me Cuba would support US in East-West conflict, to which I commented story had not originated with me. (This story attracting much local attention and Embassy receiving many requests for confirmation or denial to which it making no reply. Department is of course aware I have made no report on which it could be based. May have originated with Ambassador Dihigo who was present at my April 1 lunch with Castro2 and who together with Agramonte took optimistic view of Castro’s statements on democracy and human rights.)

Castro was cynical re basic goodness of man and re effectiveness of constitutions in achieving good democratic government and attributed success of United States in latter field to education of people rather than US political forms.

He asked if I were going to be in Washington at time of his trip and expressed disappointment at learning I was not. (I do not think it would be appropriate for me to go to Washington in view nature of visit but wish confirm suggestion made Rubottom that someone from Department in agreement with Dihigo be assigned to party as liaison.)

Castro said composition of his party not finally determined. I understand it will include, in addition to names previously supplied (Embtel 11333), Pepin Bosch, Ernesto Betancourt, Raul Gutierrez Serrano, and Luis Sangenes.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.3711/4–1459. Confidential; Niact.
  2. See Document 269.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 271.