433. Editorial Note

In telegram 1050 to Havana, January 22 (5:10 p.m.), the Department noted that in view of the considerable press interest in Ambassador Bonsal’s return and the inadvisability of a “no comment” statement on his part, Bonsal should make a statement upon arrival in the United States along the following lines:

“I have been called back to Washington for consultation at the request of the Department of State. I do not know how long I will be here. My return for consultation is, of course, in connection with an unfortunate steady deterioration of relations between the United States and Cuba. This deterioration has been accelerated by attacks on the United States, on the Vice President, and on myself in recent days by Prime Minister Castro and official Cuban Government organs.” (Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/1–2260)

At 5:55 p.m. on January 22, Secretary Herter called Goodpaster to discuss, among other things, Bonsal’s return. According to a memorandum of their telephone conversation:

“In accordance with the Secretary’s statement to the President that we would make no statements on Cuba without discussion with the President, Secy said Amb. Bonsal is leaving Cuba Saturday morning and flying direct to New York, proceeding Washington directly. Secy said Bonsal is bound to be hit by the press on his arrival, and Secy read proposed statement to be made by Bonsal. Goodpaster said he would get this to the President and call the Secretary back.”

At 6:45 p.m. Goodpaster telephoned Herter. According to a memorandum of their conversation:

“Gen. Goodpaster telephoned to say he had shown the President the proposed statement to be made by Bonsal and the President says the statement is all right. Goodpaster said the President asked if this meant Bonsal’s permanent recall and Goodpaster said he told the President this statement left that open, which the Secretary said was right. Secretary said we would have to wait to see what the Cubans’ next move is; whether they make an apology for their outrageous statements, etc., before we make a definite decision on Bonsal’s return there. Goodpaster said the President was all set on the proposed statement now.” (Both memoranda are in Eisenhower Library, Herter Papers, Telephone Conversations)

In telegram 1736 from Havana, January 23 (sent at 11 a.m.), Bonsal indicated that if required he would make the arrival statement along the lines suggested, but would add the following points: (a) an awareness of the traditional Cuban-American friendship of which he had so much evidence, and (b) a sympathetic awareness of the aspirations and ideals of the Cuban people which were achievable without damage to the legitimate rights of Americans in Cuba. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/1–2360) The text of Bonsal’s oral statement, [Page 760] which incorporated the main elements in the Department of State’s suggested statement as well as the two points proposed by Bonsal, made upon his arrival on January 23 at Idlewild Airport in New York is in Department of State Press Release No. 36, January 25, printed in Department of State Bulletin, February 15, 1960, pages 238–239.