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

1400. Following is Embassy’s comment on Agrarian Reform Law report in Embtel 1399.2 Law will cause radical change in land tenure system of Cuba. Like Agrarian Reform programs in other countries it will probably be substantially modified as practical problems are met in its implementation. Official version not yet available, but alleged true text published newspaper Revolucion. This understood be version desired by radical group, by “Che” Guevara and opposed by Minister of Agriculture Sori Marin. Sori did not attend ceremonies ratification in [Page 510] Sierra Maestra and now rumored will resign. Communists can be expected make big effort infiltrate Agrarian Reform Institute. Designation Antonio Nunez Jimenez Executive Director disturbing.

He has long record Communist associations and may be member Cuban Communist Party. Victor Bordon, formerly second command La Cabana Fortress, told reliable Embassy source that Fidel Castro designated him commander fortress, saying Guevara will take over Agrarian Reform.

Both Cuban and American sugar and other agrarian interests generally fear that Cuba lacks technological and administrative skills to implement program this magnitude without serious disruption economy of country. Several local Cuban and American sources other than sugar interests, feel that in long run program may be of great benefit to Cuba. Knowledgable sugar sources feel law will diminish sugar cane acreage for next two or three years. This may not cause crop reduction since existing acreage available for harvest in neighborhood 7 million tons.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 837.16/5–1959. Confidential; Priority.
  2. See supra.