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

774. I have just had one-hour conversation with Minister of State Roa. After reiterating to him that I found general sympathy with stated democratic social objectives Cuban revolution, I also found considerable perplexity and doubt among people with whom I spoke as to Cuban attitudes toward US and free world, I said that I found no evidence of any press or other “campaign” or “conspiracy” against Cuba, adding that attitudes I had found represented harvest of anti-American attitudes, statements and actions by leading representatives of Cuban Government and party press. I urged him to believe present state our relations not due anything other than these attitudes, statements and actions. I said that many people believed hand of friendship we had extended to present GOC had been neglected.

He replied that he believed I was hypersensitive on this score and stated true attitude Cuban people toward US reflected by ovation which I received at local ball park last Saturday night.2 (This was indeed heart-warming experience involving expression some 25,000 people all classes of very friendly attitude toward US.)

I repeated nevertheless that there is ample basis for US concern which I have tried to convey to Roa on numerous occasions and to Castro when I saw him Sept 3.3 Roa continued to insist GOC attitude fundamentally friendly in spite activities “small groups.”

I asked Roa whether Cuba would now vote in UN with Afro-Asian bloc as might be interpreted from his recent television appearance.4 He replied in negative stating each question would be considered on its merits. In reply to a further question, he said Cuba has not yet decided on Security Council vote.

Speaking of Caribbean tensions, Roa stated GOC has recently arrested number of Dominican, Nicaraguan and Panamanian revolutionaries who were attempting organize illegal activities. He referred to weapons being clandestinely shipped from US to Cuba. I reminded him we had asked for GOC cooperation with our law enforcement agencies on two occasions and had received no reply. (We sent note on Aug 20 referring Castro television allegations this subject and another [Page 622] on Sept 175 asking for Major Morgan’s testimony.) I made clear to Roa that I believed neither USG nor other LA Governments under any illusions as to what had been going on this area during past few months in spite considerate attitude observed in OAS.

At Roa’s suggestion, I agreed to meeting Oct 12 with him, Pazos and Minister Economy Boti to discuss pending matters, presumably including tariff negotiations, Agrarian Reform as it applies US interests, Telephone Company case and Electric Company case. Would appreciate any instructions Department may wish convey.6

  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 84, Havana Embassy Files: FRC 68 A 1814, 350, Political Affairs. Confidential; Priority; Limit Distribution. The time of transmission is not given on the source text. Bonsal had returned to Cuba on October 2. (Telegram 748 from Havana, October 2; Department of State, Central Files, PER)
  2. October 3.
  3. See Document 359.
  4. Not further identified.
  5. Neither of these notes has been found.
  6. In telegram 775 from Havana, October 6, Bonsal recommended that on the basis of his discussion with Roa, the U.S. Government should deliver to the Cuban Government the note on agrarian reform that had been discussed during Bonsal’s consultations in Washington. (Department of State, Central Files, 837.16/10–659)