534. Editorial Note

On May 20, Assistant Secretary Rubottom sent identical letters to the Ambassadors in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico asking their views about establishing a special channel with the Presidents of the countries to which they were accredited to ensure a continuing high-level exchange of information about the situation in Cuba. Copies of the letters are in Department of State, ARA Special Assistant Files: Lot 62 D 24, Cuba (January–June) 1960.

On June 23, Rubottom’s Special Assistant, John C. Hill, sent a memorandum to Rubottom and Deputy Assistant Secretary Mallory to which was attached a summary of the replies received from the various Ambassadors. These included all except Ambassador Beaulac in Buenos Aires. Hill noted that the Chiefs of Mission in general preferred “existing channels, some of which are being especially utilized for the Cuban situation.” In the attached summary, Hill noted:

“From the answers received, all but Mexico have already in effect a ‘pipeline’ with a top Foreign Office official, and some might possibly set up a further, top-level exchange media if desirable and necessary. However, Ambassador Woodward says he feels at this time that to ‘organize’ a liaison on the Cuban question would be definitely undesirable; Ambassador Howe makes the same statement.

“Mr. Cale, reporting from Mexico for Ambassador Hill, says Minister Tello has privately stated that the Cuban situation is a problem for the U.S. —not for Mexico. Mexico’s position is now increasingly one of benevolent neutrality and it is doubtful that the Minister would accept such a suggestion for a special channel. However, direct contacts between the Ambassador and the Foreign Minister, and between Embassy officers and ranking Mexican officials, is considered the best way to handle the Cuban problem at present.”

Copies of the various replies, Hill’s memorandum, and the attached summary are ibid. Rubottom indicated on Hill’s memorandum that he approved Hill’s offer to draft a reply to the Ambassadors leaving it up to their discretion as to what channels to use, but to urge them, particularly in the near future, “to give the highest priority to the Cuban situation.” A handwritten note in the margin indicates that the reply was not drafted.