277. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State1
1197. For Rubottom. In appraising Castro’s prospects and possible means influencing his words and actions believe following are major factors: [Page 457]
- Castro continues to enjoy wide popularity here not limited to lower classes.
- Communists are working hard to consolidate positions they have achieved and to make further gains but are encountering increased awareness in many Cuban circles including elements of press.
- I am increasingly impressed “bourgeois mentality” here and vast number constructive vested interests. I believe that effective resistance to Communists among Cubans can be expected to grow rapidly as initial revolutionary fervor decreases.
- If Castro is to fail and be eliminated as factor here, as some people here, in US and elsewhere believe probable, it seems most important to me that failure or elimination not be ascribed to words or actions of US Government (this, of course, subject alteration if Castro’s actions as distinct from words appear threat our vital interests. We are not unaware Castro’s speeches themselves have harmful effect).
- If on other hand Castro remains in power and carries on his “revolution”, we will have many opportunities of discreetly influencing choice of courses of actions and of bringing him to a closer understanding of political and economic conditions to which he is subjected. I respectfully submit that some slight progress has already been made and am convinced that Castro can recognize and be guided by facts, although his temperament and sensitivity to criticism will probably lead to further unfortunate utterances.
- Condemnation of Castro for these utterances alone will be taken as US opposition to Cuban revolution which still has very considerable support and was justified on many counts.
My conclusion is that we should give the Cubans themselves as much opportunity as possible to straighten themselves and Castro out before unlimbering our artillery against Castro.
The above represent my personal views which I have discussed with Braddock and Topping who agree but with no one else in Embassy due to shortness of time.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/4–1459. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution.↩