334. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Director of the Office of Caribbean and Mexican Affairs (Wieland) in Washington and Tad Szulc of The New York Times in Miami, July 15, 19591

Tad Szulc, New York Times correspondent, telephoned me today from Miami. He said the following:

He had just returned from Habana and is en route to Ciudad Trujillo to report further on developments. While in Habana he and Herb Matthews, New York Times editorial writer, had a long interview with Prime Minister Castro. The interview was completely informal and on the clear understanding that nothing discussed would be for publication.

Castro told the Times men that he was through with supporting revolutionary expeditions in the Caribbean area. He felt that he had complied with an commitments that he had assumed with revolutionary groups and from now on they would have to go ahead on their own with no further assistance from Cuba. Castro was disgusted with the performance of the Central Americans particularly. Castro had given special assistance to the anti-Trujillo movement due in part to is hatred of dictators, his long-standing feud with Trujillo and to a “sentimental compulsion because of his close association with Captain Enrico Jimenez Moya”. Jimenez, who apparently was killed in the Constanza invasion, had been a close associate of Castro throughout the Sierra Maestra campaign and had been regarded by Castro as the principal military leader of the invasion of the Dominican Republic, his movement was apparently wiped out and Castro no longer had much hope for the other two expeditions which had landed on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Castro thought, however, that there was still some chance that the group which had landed at the Estero Hondo might still spark a serious revolt against Trujillo. Be this [Page 559] as it may, the Dominican revolutionaries will have to get along on their own from now on so far as Castro is concerned. With regard to Haitian matters, Castro said that he had no respect whatever for the Haitian plotters who had sought his assistance and “that poor miserable old Duvalier” has enough problems of his own.

In summarizing the attitude on further expeditions, Castro repeated that he was fed up with the adventures of this kind and felt that he and the Cuban Government had already given the expeditionaries far more support and help than any one had given him when he was organizing his revolutionary expeditions to Cuba in 1956.

This is the first time that I can recall that anyone has told me of a direct conversation with Castro in which the latter has frankly admitted his knowledge of and support for the expeditions which left Cuba for the Dominican Republic and Central America. Szulc said, however, that Castro disclaimed any knowledge or support for the Panamanian expedition which, he said, had been embarrassing and annoying to him. At one point Castro told the newsmen that he was not going to get himself further embroiled with the OAS for the sake of revolutionaries of other countires.

I asked Szulc if Herb Matthews had heard Castro admit his responsibility for the expeditions because I believed that he had previously doubted whether Castro himself was involved. Szulc replied that Matthews had been with him the entire time and had heard everything that Castro said.

Szulc then asked me if I could tell him when and where the meeting of Foreign Ministers would take place and whether the United States would attempt to place the blame on Cuba for the recent developments in the Caribbean, such as those which Castro had mentioned to them.

I replied that a Special Committee was now studying when and where the meeting would be held and there was some indication that a number of countries favored Santiago, but I could not tell him what the final decision would be. I said that, furthermore, I could tell him simply that the OAS Council expected that the meeting would be called as quickly as practicable but further than that I could not give him any more information on the date. With regard to the question of blame, I told him that the presentation made by the United States representative to the OAS, as well as the resolution which the Council had approved,2 made it clear that there was no intent to bring specific charges against any one but rather constructively to determine the basic cause of the Caribbean unrest and disturbances and to attempt to [Page 560] determine how the inter-American organization could bring about an increasingly effective exercise of representative democracy in the hemisphere.

Szulc told me that Castro had said that the Cuban representatives to the MFM were going to push hard on economic plans. He said Castro remarked that some countries consider the Caribbean problem urgent and Cuba considers economic problems of the hemisphere just as urgent.

He also told me that Castro was literally “livid” when he discussed the Diaz Lanz episode. Szulc said that he hoped that we would notify the Embassy at Ciudad Trujillo that he would be going there tomorrow, especially because he had been informally warned by a friendly Dominican offical that he should not return to the Dominican Republic because of resentment over the articles he had published on the Dominican situation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.13/7–1559. Confidential. Drafted by Wieland.
  2. Reference is presumably to the resolution approved by the Council of the Organization of American States on July 13 to convoke a Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Santiago, Chile, was subsequently selected as the site for the meeting.