448. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Cuba1

1097. Embtel 1830.2 Department generally agrees with the views and recommendations contained reftel. If present moderation GOC continues request you seek interview with Foreign Minister on Thursday, Feb. 4, and make presentation to him along following lines:

Although obviously GOC and USG profoundly disagree on responsibility for admitted deterioration relations between them, Department considers President Dorticos statement3 as preparing way for return to diplomatic norms and improvement over insulting and unfounded charges contained in Castro’s addresses of January 18 and 204 as well as in GOC organs such as Revolucion during that week of Jan. 18. Dept. disposed to take Dorticos’ statement re readiness negotiate at face value.
Serious charges have, however, been made publicly by Castro and GOC organs against officials our Government and these have been couched in offensive insulting terms. Amb. Bonsal’s personal integrity has been impugned. A public retraction of such charges would be desirable and USG believes same would help its approach to more substantive problems. You should request GOC reaction this suggestion. FYI: We recognize this step by GOC may not be politically feasible but you should not indicate this to GOC at this time. End FYI. You should state Department will insist on admission of error re charges Embassy involved illegal or improper activities and that before any decision can be reached on Bonsal’s return GOC must give assurances through Roa that there are in fact no charges against Ambassador and that henceforth any doubts GOC may have on matters of nature raised by Castro and GOC publicity media will be taken up through normal diplomatic channels and thoroughly ventilated through these channels before being given present one-sided public treatment.
In addition to immediate question of intemperate accusation against US and its officials, GOC will of course recognize that useful negotiations can only be undertaken on basis demonstrated willingness both governments and their leading officials (a) maintain atmosphere free of public accusations and recriminations, (b) observe the standards of international law and of their respective domestic laws applicable to each other’s nationals and their interests, and (c) work within traditional spirit US-Cuban friendship and inter-American solidarity. You should seek assurances on these points.
In event question of interview between Castro and Bonsal, assuming latter returns, is raised by Roa, you should make clear that Bonsal will be glad to see Castro at GOC initiative but will not himself request interview. Delays of five and six weeks when Castro previously was asked to see Bonsal as well as offensive treatment Bonsal especially in official press and radio determine this position.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611. 37/1–3160. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Stevenson and Bonsal; cleared with Rubottom and in substance with Berding and Whiteman; approved by Herter; and cleared in draft by Herter with President.
  2. Document 444.
  3. See Document 440.
  4. See Documents 424 and 430.