485. Memorandum From the Secretary of State to the President1


  • Status of Possible OAS Action on Cuba

In response to your request2 for a status report on possible OAS action on Cuba, I would like to inform you that the Department, CIA, and USIA are engaged in an accelerated program to prepare Latin American public and governmental opinion to support the United States in possible OAS action under the Caracas anti-Communist Resolution and/or a number of other avenues open to us through the OAS. There is little prospect that the United States will be able to act with success through the OAS in the immediate future. One reason is that our own latest National Intelligence Estimate3 does not find Cuba to be under Communist control or domination, and we lack all of the hard evidence which would be required to convince skeptical Latin American Governments and the public opinion behind them.

Before OAS action is decided upon, we should assure (a) that a Cuban opposition leadership capable of taking advantage of the pressure the OAS would place on Castro is in a position to act, and (b) that our efforts to enlist Latin American support will not generate excessive pressures on us to undertake a significantly expanded and more dramatic economic assistance program for Latin America to counter Castro’s appeal. Moreover, it is probable, if not certain, that the Castro Government will attempt to forestall or counter any U.S.-stimulated action in the OAS by placing its case against the U.S. before the UN, and we would have to be prepared to deal with this contingency. There is enclosed a further statement on the status of possible OAS action on Cuba.4

Christian A. Herter5
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737. 00/3–1760. Secret. A handwritten note on the source text indicates that Herter took the memorandum to the White House at 2:30 p.m. Also published in part in Declassified Documents, 1984, 942.
  2. Not further identified.
  3. SNIE 80/1–59, “The Situation in the Caribbean Through 1960,” December 29, 1959; the text is scheduled for publication in volume V.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this stamped signature.