450. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State 1

1886. Embtel 1841 (not sent Santiago).2 Following observations submitted assist Department in evaluation of sincerity and effectiveness of reported decision by Castro to work for improved relations with United States. Since January 27 Habana daily Revolucion, considered governmental spokesman, has refrained from open attacks on United States. There has been some minor sniping in paper, apparently caused by natural bent of members of staff. Other Habana pro-government dailies La Calle, Diario Libre and Diario National have been consistently anti-American but have not reached levels of violence displayed earlier. Habana daily Combate, understood controlled by Directorio Revolucionario, has continued its already extremely anti-Americanism.

Governmental papers Adelante in Camaguey and Surco and S Maestra in Santiago have continued their extreme anti-Americanism unabated.

Pro-grovernmental radio commentators and radio stations in Habana and throughout country have continued their extreme anti-Americanism. Two most notable commentators in this respect are Pardo Liada and Tony Fernandez.

Communist outlets, including newspaper Hoy and radio station Union radio, of course continue anti-American campaign unchanged.

On other hand, there are evidences that word is out at some levels. On TV last night Conrado Becquer, head of Sugar Workers Union, who has been violently attacking US at all opportunities recently, was notably mild and restrained. Only slip was when he said that one indication that person was “Batistiano” (a cause for removal from labor office), was sign of “pro-Americanism”.

There are clear evidences of deep-rooted and continuing anti-Amercanism within GOC. Francisco Rodolfo Tamas (Embtel 18623) [Page 784] felt that key factor in his dismissal was friendliness toward Embassy personnel. Cases of two other Cuban officials, both considered otherwise competent and loyal to GOC, who were dismissed recently because of close associations with Americans have come to Embassy’s attention. A particularly strong example of this atitude is dismissal of Doctor Israel Castellanos Gonzalez night of February 2. Castellanos has served Cuban Governments for over 40 years, and was long time head of National Bureau of Identification, with international reputation among Police Departments because of his interest in scientific police procedures. Raul Castro and wife Vilma Espin headed group of military which entered his office and summarily dismissed him. A witness has informed legal attaché that Castellanos was told there no criticism his work, and that he being dismissed solely because “too much of a lover of the gringos”. His files at office and home since systematically searched.

Embassy believes expressed desire Fidel Castro for improved relations with US motivated basically by desire reduce increasing number serious problems pressing on him. No indication as yet any fundamental change in his basic attitude distrust and latent hostility. Failure some governmental spokesmen and organs follow new line may be due to administrative confusion characteristic of GOC. Such people as “Che” Guevara and Raul Castro considered anti-American by deep and highly emotional conviction, and if Fidel attempts to permanently alter the former posture of GOC toward US he will encounter serious difficulty with them and other like-minded persons in positions of influence.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611. 37/2–560. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Santiago de Cuba.
  2. In telegram 1841, February 1, Braddock described his conversation that day with Brazilian Ambassador Da Cunha about the state of U.S.-Cuban relations. Da Cunha speculated that until the “Cuban revolutionary ardor had spent itself, normalization of relations might be unobtainable, and that by that time Cuba might have become a socialist state or independent communist state like Yugoslavia, a possibility which some other Latin American countries might eventually also face.” (Ibid., 611. 37/2–160)
  3. In telegram 112 from Kingston, February 2 (repeated to Havana), the Consulate General reported the arrival in Jamaica of former Director of the Chemical Industry Section of INRA, Francisco Rodolfo Tamas, who said he wanted to disclose fully to the U.S. Government information about INRA. (Ibid., 737.00/2–260) In telegram 1862 from Havana, February 3 (repeated to Kingston), the Embassy noted that Tamas probably had significant information, including knowledge of INRA’s operations and perhaps of Cuba’s negotiations with the Soviet bloc. It strongly urged that the Department take prompt steps to obtain information from Tamas. (Ibid., 837. 16/2–360)