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282. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs’ Special Assistant (Hill) to the Assistant Secretary of State (Rubottom)1

SUBJECT

  • Possible Line to Take in Replying to Castro

In my discussions in Habana2 I learned that the most popular sport among Americans and Cubans was making suggestions as to how we should treat Castro during his visit here.

Among the suggestions which commend themselves most to the Embassy and [less than 1 line not declassified] was a suggestion we take a line at an appropriate time something as follows: [Page 471]

(1)
The US Government and people have always been sympathetic to the development of representative democracy and economic and social progress in Cuba ever since the US aided Cuba to gain its independence. They realize that the Cuban people supported the revolution to attain these objectives.
(2)
The Cuban revolution, however, was originally neither anti-American nor favorable to Communism, and we are sure that the Cuban people, with their traditional friendship for the US, did not support the revolution for these reasons.
(3)
The US desires to maintain the closest and most cordial of relations with Cuba and is sure that this will be possible within the framework of the mutual interests of the Cuban and American people and their devotion to freedom.

The central theme of this, which I heard several times in Habana, is that our response should, with dignity, appeal over the head of Castro to the Cuban people.

It is possible that the Vice President’s speech or some similar occasion would be appropriate to use something along the foregoing lines.

  1. Source: Department of State, ARA Special Assistant Files: Lot 62 D 24, Castro Visit. Secret. Drafted and initialed by Hill. Also addressed to Snow.
  2. In Document 295, Hill mistakenly indicated that he visited Havana April 19–22. The dates of his visit may have been April 9–12 or March 19–22. In a memorandum of April 16 to Orville Anderson, Hill also listed several questions that had been suggested to him by “people in and out of the Embassy” during his visit to Cuba that might be put to Fidel Castro during his meetings with the news media while in the United States. (Department of State, ARA Special Assistant Files: Lot 62 D 24, Castro Visit)