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

118. Herbert Matthews of the New York Times has had extended conversations with Ambassador and other officers of Embassy on Cuban situation. He has spent many hours with Fidel Castro. He appeared wholly and unswervingly convinced that GOC, its aims and leaders are entirely laudable. He insisted that there are only a few Communists in the government including armed forces, and that their influence is not decisive. He felt that concern on this subject displayed by Embassy and other US governmental agencies was unwarranted, referring to it as “international McCarthyism”. He examined written report on Communist infiltration and influence and was unimpressed. Matthews feels that anti-Cuban attitude and utterances US are much more significant and detrimental to good relations than consistent anti-American attitude and utterances by Cuban officials, which he tends to dismiss as arising from just causes.

He admitted inability appraise evidence forthcoming economic problems. He was deeply concerned over appearance Diaz Lanz before Senate committee as well as remarks attributed to Admiral Burke carried today’s press,2 feeling that they would have most unfortunate repercussions on Cuban-American relations.

He stated categorically that GOC would not permit further expedition against Haiti and DR in view failures last month.

I consider Matthews a dedicated, sincere journalist, deeply involved emotionally in the present Cuban situation. Admittedly degree and influence of Communism in Cuba has been exaggerated in some press and public statements in the US. However, I do not share his [Page 558] attitude of tolerance and complacency concerning the situation, and feel that Communist influence is a matter for continuing concern and vigilance, that some principal leaders of GOC are anti-American, and that anti-Americanism has been deliberately encouraged by them for some time past. Matthews furthermore apparently uninterested in degree to which legitimate US private interests here have contributed growth economy and are entitled consideration both GOC and GUS in present and future aspects.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/7–1459. Official Use Only; Priority.
  2. In his speech to 200 reserve officers at Fort McNair, Washington, Burke said that “the danger is still great” that the Communists would take over Cuba. (The New York Times, July 14, 1959, p. 2)