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

2932. Fidel Castro interviewed on national radio-television hookup last night. Program lasted three and half hours. During appearance he repeatedly attacked Government US in strong terms, repeating and elaborating on themes he used in Berrellez and Bates interviews earlier this week.2 Attack was strongest, most direct and insulting, and least inferential to date. Names of Eisenhower, Herter and Rubottom figured prominently in his denunciations of United States. Throughout program he looked tired and nervous and was frequently rambling and halting.

Asked about betrayal statement in Eisenhower letter to Chilean students3 Castro launched violent attack on Eisenhower and United States policy towards Cuba which he described as fascist, Goebbels-like and a betrayal of principles for which thousands of persons died in past war against fascism. He regarded attention given Cuba recently by Eisenhower, Herter and Rubottom in public statements as part of a plan to foment a fifth column in Cuba. In the new US preoccupation with Trujillo in the OAS he saw clear evidence “that the North American Government was maneuvering against the revolution” and “trying to establish a procedure which at any time could be turned against us”.

Castro devoted considerable time to discussing Manuel Beaton and Nino Diaz groups in Oriente. He minimized their significance although admitting he had gone to area to organize militia who will hunt them down. During course of this answer he accused Guantanamo Base officials of using various counter-revolutionary elements to set up a focus of opposition. He noted that Latifundists in Santiago de Cuba had connections with base, among them Nino Diaz who makes frequent trips to United States. He referred to “casquitos” being used by base. He charged overflight of base planes in Sierra Maestra area were connected with Beaton operations and were done without requesting or obtaining permission of Cuban authorities.

Castro painted picture of possibility of aggression any day. Asserted that revolution was increasingly strong and will know how to deal with it.

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Asked series of economic questions he described how national tourism boomed over Easter, foreign exchange reserve position had improved greatly under direction of Guevara, labor census was essential to obtain non-existent statistics and establish employment rosters to solve unemployment problem.

Full text of appearance will be pouched as soon as available.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/4–2360. Official Use Only; Priority.
  2. Bates’ interview with Castro took place on April 19; Berrellez’ interview has not been further identified.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 505.