480. Notes on the Secretary of State’s Staff Meeting, Department of State, Washington, March 16, 1960, 9:15 a.m.1

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

5. Sugar Legislation

Mr. Rubottom recommended that with respect to Che Guevara’s charge of “enslavement” by the US, we develop a public line to keep the pressure on Guevara and keep the matter active in the Latin American press. He noted that the question of sugar legislation was being approached on our side as a purely economic matter and that we had to assure our own supplies. The Secretary said that we should raise the question of Guevara’s statement on a diplomatic level. He then described some of the difficulties anticipated in Congress with respect to consideration of the sugar bill as they had emerged at the Leadership meeting yesterday.2 He said there had been a consensus that there should be early action on the legislation.

6. Cuba

There was a full discussion of where we go from here with respect to Cuba as a result of the Secretary’s request for opinions as to whether Ambassador Bonsal should return. There was a consensus in favor of having him return with the understanding that if there were further difficulties he would be finally withdrawn. Mr. Rubottom urged, and Mr. Dillon agreed, that in our Cuban policy we should carefully mix the sweet with the sour. Mr. Dillon noted that the revoking of licenses for sale of helicopters would be a decidedly sour note.

Later the Secretary asked Mr. Hanes if he had a list of steps which had been taken by the FAA and FBI with respect to control of airports in the Southeastern states. Mr. Hanes reported the various measures being taken by Quesada to tighten up control and to obtain full information regarding activities at airports in the area. He said that he would furnish the Secretary with a memorandum3 and the Secretary emphasized the importance of having evidence of action taken by us to prevent illegal flights.

[Page 850]

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Staff Meetings: Lot 63 D 75, March 1960. Prepared by Calhoun. Secret. An attendance list is attached to the source text.
  2. A memorandum of discussion at this meeting, which took place at the White House on the morning of March 15, is in Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Legislative Meetings.
  3. Not found.