317. Memorandum of a Conversation, Washington, June 10, 19591
- DuBois Expects Castro Crackdown on Communists in Cuban Army
- Mr. John O’Rourke—Washington Daily News
- Mr. Jules DuBois—Chicago Tribune
- Mr. William A. Wieland—Director, CMA
At the invitation of Mr. O’Rourke, I lunched with him and Jules DuBois on June 10.
Jules did most of the talking. He said that he had told persons close to Castro that if Castro continued on his present path, his revolution would be doomed to failure. He referred especially to irresponsible and ill-advised steps such as agrarian reform, rent laws, property devaluation, and various other measures which tend only to increase unemployment and hinder a strengthening of the Cuban economy and social structure. He also warned against Communist activities. Jules told me that he was genuinely impressed with the success of the non-Communist or anti-Communist forces in the recent union elections and laughingly deprecated a couple of caveats that I entered on this point.
Jules said that, however, his main concern is Communist infiltration in the army. On this subject, he said he had been given assurances that Castro had become convinced that there was Communist indoctrination of some parts of the Army, notably at La Cabana Fortress and some Communist or pro-Communist officers had been given key positions. He said that he had also been assured that Castro was aiming to correct this situation immediately and that as a first step he would send Che Guevara out of the country. He said that Castro had decided to utilize for this purpose the invitation which President Nasser of the UAR had sent to Castro. The latter, according to Jules, replied by naming Guevara to represent him thus getting Guevara away from Cuba while Castro personally supervised the army clean-up. I registered skepticism and Jules said that despite the assurances he did not believe that Castro would clean up the army unless Guevara actually left Cuba. He said that he regards this fact in itself as the key to the sincerity of the assurances which some of Castro’s closest associates had given him of the impending army clean up.[Page 524]
Jules laughingly remarked that Guevara may get a protracted, severe case of asthma which might prevent him from returning to Cuba some time during his tour of the mid-East.
As the luncheon broke up, Jules commented to me he thought that if Guevara were gotten out of the way, Fidel Castro would have little trouble in bringing Raul Castro to order. He said that he considers Guevara the evil genius behind Raul who, when away from the influence of Guevara, is completely submissive to Fidel’s wishes. I told Jules that I had seen no evidence of this and Jules promptly challenged me to point out “one single case” in which Raul had disobeyed Fidel since the latter’s visit to the United States. I could not recall any offhand but pointed out to Jules I did not consider this conclusive. Jules radiated utter confidence that Guevara’s departure form Cuba would signify a campaign by Fidel to eradicate Communism from any influential parts of the Cuban army, beginning with abolition of the Communist indoctrination class at Cabana Fortress.
I reminded Jules he had been wrong before on his predictions on Castro. Although he professed indignation, he did say that he was somewhat disappointed in recent developments. (Jules dined with Cuban Ambassador to the OAS Raul Roa that same night. The following day Roa told me that Castro had remarked to him that he felt that the entire prestige and future of both himself [DuBois, and Herbert Matthews of the New York Times]2 had become completely identified with the success or failure of the Castro revolution. Roa said that Jules confessed his serious concern over growing indications that Castro’s errors may lead to failure and have serious adverse effects on both newspapermen who have been the principal champions of the Castro cause among the American press.)