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

887. Reference: Telcon Topping with Stevenson night October 21.2

Following is account events yesterday eve and night based best information now available Embassy:

Approximately 5 p.m. unidentified aircraft apparently C–47, dark grey with yellow stripes on vertical tail surfaces, appeared over Habana, distributed mimeographed leaflets dated “October 1959” bearing typed name Comandante Pedro Luis Diaz Lanz. Aircraft appeared to be accompanied by B–25 flying cover. Leaflets denied Diaz Lanz traitor, said Fidel Castro knowingly permitting Communists take over revolution, strongly attacked Raul Castro. Said he present when Fidel, Nunez Jimenez, Che Guevara and Celia Sanchez discussed plans for deception Cuban people and introduce “system like that in Russia.”

Aircraft flew widely over city for around half hour, then disappeared. GOC now stating several aircraft involved. This not certain. Approximately 5:30 GOC aircraft appeared over city. These included helicopters, B–26, Sea Fury, T–33 and C–47. Some confusion apparent and aircraft seemed unsure who friend. Approximately 6:15 aircraft apparently B–26 fired burst gunfire over city. Reports are that others and various ground installations fired.

Beginning about 7:00 and continuing until 11 a number of small bombs exploded in widely separated parts city. These apparently hand grenades tossed from passing autos. Several unidentified autos also seen with occupants firing indiscriminately. Press reports two bystanders killed, about 50 injured.

City quiet and orderly last night and this morning. 26 July organ Revolucion headlines “aircraft reported from US” and its articles give impression contrary to official police statements, that city was bombed from air.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/10–2259. Confidential; Niact.
  2. No record of this telephone conversation has been found.
  3. As a result of its investigation of the October 21 flight over Havana, the Embassy reported in despatch 712, November 12, its belief that the injuries had not been caused by a plane or planes, but by government fire and grenades thrown from cars. (Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/11–1259)