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

1100. Castro spoke last night from 10:45 to 2 a.m. Highlights of speech follow:

Camilo Cienfuegos has not been found. Every lead, every possibility, however painful, has been explored. People should resign themselves to thought he is in all probability dead, crashed in the sea north of Cuba. The false report mysteriously originated and spread by American wire services, of Camilo found, which set off public rejoicing of November 3, was despicable and cruelly deceived people. Cienfuegos [Page 666] is a great hero of revolution who died in line duty while fighting treason. Any speculation that he might have deserted, such as has appeared in American press and been reprinted here, does dishonor to Cienfuegos and to Cuba. Important thing to remember is that Cienfuegos, like all other true leaders of revolution, came from humble people, among whom are many more Camilos who will be discovered when country needs them.
There is a deliberate campaign in US to discredit the Cuban revolution. Destruction of tourist trade, like calumnies of wire services, is a part of this campaign. US cannot deny that planes from US were responsible for bombings at Niagara and Punta Alegre sugar mills. One of planes found in Anguila—which is disputed territory—has probably bombed Punta Alegre. It is early to say whether measures recently taken by US to control flights from US air fields to Cuba are effective, but any improvement in this respect is more than offset by offensive and calumnious campaign in US press. Proof that US press paid to campaign against Cuban revolution is contained in letter of July 18 from Nunez Portuondo to ex-Cuban Ambassador (This refers to former’s alleged interview with Life2). Recent story in NY Journal American2 that Cuba is building rocket bases under Russian direction is ridiculous and offensive. A letter from former Congressman Radio Cremata, addressed to press agent of American and Foreign Power and intended for forwarding to him through Senator Anselmo Allie-gro, reciting many services Cremata had performed for company in past, shows extent to which foreign monopolistic interests were favored by Batista regime.
Insults, government threats of economic reprisals and harboring of “war criminals” are not the way to bring about good relations with Cuba. If US treats us honorably, decently, morally, Cuba will respond in kind.
Revolution will not take one step backward from course on which it has embarked. Many sacrifices will be necessary. All Cubans uphold slogan “liberty or death”.

Castro made no reference to note which GOC is expected to deliver to US today.3 He did not mention help given by US in search for Camilo, nor information furnished by US re crashed planes on Anguila.

[Page 667]

Tone of speech, while anything but cordial, lacked sharpness which has characterized recent utterances and which was generally expected here. It was generally in low key—not Castro at his theatrical best—and contained nothing of such inflammatory nature as to incite populace.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/11–1359. Official Use Only; Priority.
  2. Not further identified.
  3. See infra.