325. Memorandum of Discussion at the 411th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, June 25, 19591

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

With respect to the situation in the Caribbean, the Director of Central Intelligence noted that there were several new rebel groups being set up in Honduras in preparation for moving into Nicaragua. There had also been reports of four rebel landings in the Dominican [Page 542] Republic, some of which were still in being while others had been destroyed. Fidel Castro seemed to be determined to get rid of both Trujillo and Somoza in which design he apparently had the secret support of Betancourt of Venezuela and Figueres of Costa Rica. There had been a general mobilization in the Dominican Republic. Our information indicated that these rebel landings in the Dominican Republic had received at least some slight support from the native population but the groups did not seem large enough to pose a serious security problem to Trujillo at the present time. It seems that Castro thinks it is possible to repeat in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua the success of his own movement in Cuba which began with very small forces.

Mr. Dulles pointed out that the machinery of the Organization of American States (CAS) had been somewhat hampered in its efforts to maintain the peace because of the general unpopularity throughout Latin America of the dictatorships in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. One could say that the situation would be funny if it were not so serious.

Secretary Herter emphasized how seriously the Caribbean problem appeared to the Department of State. He pointed out that if the U.S. Government sided with the dictatorships, it would find itself in serious trouble with many other Latin American Republics. On the other hand, if we did not do something, the fire would spread very fast. Cuba was the center of the unrest and presented, in itself, the most serious situation. U.S. business interests in Cuba were very frightened and were now clamoring for U.S. economic action against the Castro regime. The OAS was moving in most gingerly fashion instead, as we had hoped, of moving effectively in this grave situation. Nevertheless, Secretary Herter thought we would have to use the OAS machinery rather than to intervene unilaterally.

Mr. Allen Dulles pointed out that “Che” Guevara, one of Castro’s chief Left-Wing lieutenants, had recently gone to see Nasser in Cairo. In meeting with Nasser, he had spoken in bitter terms of the U.S. Nasser reportedly replied that if one dealt with the imperialists, one would suffer a five per cent loss in one’s resources. However, if one dealt with the Communists, one would lose one hundred per cent of his assets.

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

The President, reverting to an earlier point, asked Secretary Herter whether he could not put pressure upon the OAS to make that body more effective in preserving peace in the Caribbean area. Secretary Herter replied that we had been urging the OAS to take the desired action but many of the Latin American nations simply did not wish to become involved. Moreover, in order for the OAS to go into action, it is necessary to prove that one of the Latin American Republics [Page 543] is actually interfering in the internal affairs of another Latin American nation. This is not easy to do because many of the outside invaders are being given support by internal elements in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Panama. In any event, Secretary Herter assured the President that the State Department was working closely with the Department of Justice and CIA on these problems especially with respect to activities going on in Miami.

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Prepared by Gleason.