338. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State1

162. Reference: Embassy telegram 161.2 Fidel Castro spoke nearly four hours by radio and television night of July 17 on national hookup all stations. Highlights were:

Resignation due to irreconcilable differences of internal, civic, revolutionary, moral nature with President Urrutia.
Urrutia refused reduce personal income, still received 100,000 pesos annually like Batista. Purchased house, attempted obtain governmental positions for undesirable persons.
Urrutia increasingly hostile to revolutionary objectives, delayed signature necessary laws, attempted delay work of Cabinet. Government becoming paralyzed. Urrutia might soon start vetoing Cabinet actions.
Difficulties with Urrutia reached climax when he declared in television appearance July 133 communism was threat to Cuban revolution, was attempting to open second front against revolution, and true revolutionaries should oppose communism.
This bordered on treason, and was same game Diaz Lanz was playing in United States Senate, which was treating him as hero. It was also contrary to stand on communism repeatedly taken by Castro and other revolutionary leaders.
Castro quoted several previous statements setting forth correct position on communism. He is not communist, neither is revolution. But revolution neither capitalist nor communist, follows third position between two, and will never become anti-communist in spite of foreign pressure.
Diaz Lanz was encouraging foreign intervention in Cuba by charges leaders pro-communist and revolution communist. For unexplained but questionable reasons, Urrutia assisted that anti-revolutionary conspiracy and in effect implied that Castro and others pro-communist.
Castro violently attacked United States Senate for behavior in Diaz Lanz case, accusing it of espionage and of treating Cuba like minor United States municipality. Said some Senators in pay Trujillo. However, he twice mentioned the “rectification” on the part of President Eisenhower.
Castro could not properly ask Urrutia resign. Only alternative to resign himself. This also enabled him criticize Urrutia, and orient Cuban people as was his right.
Urrutia could do anything he wanted: resign, remain in office, stay in country, take asylum. But Urrutia legally in position of treason.
Told just before midnight Urrutia had resigned, Castro said affair was a historical incident.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/7–1859. Official Use Only; Niact.
  2. Dated July 18, telegram 161 reported that Urrutia had resigned the previous evening following a 3–hour denunciation by Fidel Castro and “indications of overwhelming popular support for Castro.” The Cabinet elected Osvaldo Dorticos Torrado, Minister of Revolutionary Laws, as the new President. The telegram also reported that Castro, who had earlier announced his own resignation, had apparently agreed to reassume the position of Prime Minister. (ibid.) For Urrutia’s recollection of these events, see Fidel Castro & Company, pp. 57–71.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 335.