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

1830. For Ambassador Bonsal. At Argentine Ambassador Amoedo’s request I went to see him afternoon January 30. He said he believed very strong forces were working to bring retraction of GOC from conciliatory attitude toward US taken by Fidel Castro at his persuasion and reflected in statement of Dorticos. [2 sentences (5 lines) not declassified] Although he says he made no promise to Castro re Bonsal’s return, it is clear to me that he at least gave Castro reason to hope Bonsal would be back soon.

I told Amoedo I had not heard anything from Washington on this matter but was sure it was receiving closest attention. I suggested possibility that a premature announcement of Bonsal’s return might be construed here as an acceptance by US of Dorticos premises and conditions as a basis for diplomatic talks; he felt that announcement could be worded to avoid this interpretation. Amoedo stressed that it was important for effect abroad that US not turn down Cuban offer to negotiate, even though prospects for successful negotiation were dim.

My appraisal: Enemies of US like Raul Castro and Che Guevara will probably try to block efforts toward establishment of good relations with US even if Fidel Castro wants them, which on the basis of a long record we are entitled to doubt. Roa is not our friend and is trying to bring about Cuba’s aggrandizement at our expense and discomfiture. However, Fidel Castro and Dorticos are not likely to retreat from Dorticos’ statement in immediate future since statement seems to have met with good popular response and to retract it would put Cuba in bad light with other countries at very time it is trying to promote a [Page 777] large international conference. Next move is up to US, and it should be positive. I suggest I be authorized to have an exploratory conversation with Roa for purpose of finding out whether a reasonably propitious atmosphere exists for constructive negotiations. If such appears to be the case, I believe an announcement should be made by the Department of the Ambassador’s early return.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611. 37/1–3160. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution.