502. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Rubottom) to the Ambassador in Cuba (Bonsal)1

Dear Phil : Thank you for calling to my attention the impression in certain Cuban circles that the “U.S. is supporting Batista [Pedraza]. “2

I hope that the fact that Pedraza abandoned his own efforts here to organize an anti-Castro movement (FYI only, with a little indirect prodding) and got out of the country may help somewhat in this regard and that the news that we have cancelled his visa will also be beneficial. I am not too hopeful, however, that we can rise entirely above these suspicions until a more appealing and respectable opposition to the trend of Cuban policy manifests itself effectively. When that time comes, we might expect that at least the more reasonable and benevolent Cubans—if they must conjecture about U.S. support to anybody—might be disposed to think we would prefer the better leadership. Meantime, we can expect to be victims of all of the hostile elements who so assiduously try to build up the impression that we are behind such elements as Pedraza, as well as victims of Pedraza and his like who themselves are known tendentiously to claim U.S. backing in order to rally support among exile elements.

I cannot emphasize too strongly that perhaps our most important responsibility now is to identify and use the whole range of our policies to develop an effective Cuban leadership which realistically has the potential to reverse sharply at an early date those elements of Cuban policy which are bringing us daily closer to a showdown not only in Cuban-U.S. relations but in our whole relationship with the hemisphere. We are persuaded that there is no reasonable hope that this sharp turn can be brought about by negotiations and accommodations and that, in the long run, the only way that adventurers can be prevented from establishing leadership over anti-Castro forces is for a better leadership to emerge. I think you can rest assured that all who work with us share, along with you, an appreciation of the type of leadership we should not support if it can be helped and would welcome [Page 891] positive indications of where more desirable leadership might be found and what we should do to assure that it comes forward as rapidly as possible.

Sincerely yours,

R. R. Rubottom, Jr. 3
  1. Source: Department of State, ARA Special Assistant Files: Lot 62 D 24, Cuba (January–June) 1960. Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Hill.
  2. In a letter of April 1 to Rubottom, Bonsal wrote:

    “There is an impression prevalent in certain Cuban circles that ‘the United States is supporting Pedraza in his plans to invade Cuba.’ I do not know what if anything can be done about this. Support by us of Pedraza or of any military adventurer would be, in my judgment, a disastrous mistake on our part.” (ibid.)

  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.