552. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions in the American Republics1

47. Developments of last several days, especially Khrushchev’s threat missiles can reach U.S. in event “aggression” against Cuba, have placed early solution of Cuban problem among imperatives of U.S. foreign policy and offers most fundamental challenge to date to Inter-American System. International Communist leadership and Castro have now clearly and publicly committed themselves to utilizing Cuban Revolution as means undermining U.S. position in Western Hemisphere and of bringing about collapse of Inter-American system. U.S. public opinion, as well as national leadership, is fully alive to challenge presented to this country’s security and vital interests and is determined that solution shall be found as quickly as possible.

Insofar as Latin America is concerned, problem is how early solution can be arrived at with maximum Latin American support and/or least damage to fundamental concepts Inter-American system. In resting its policy on renunciation unilateral intervention, U.S. inherently founded its polity on assurances implicit in their joining in regional security system that Latin American countries would join us in dealing collectively with acts and threats from abroad to security of hemisphere. Khrushchev’s statement, capping cumulative evidence International Communist utilization of Castroism as weapon against security and tranquility of hemisphere, should make it clear beyond reasonable doubt danger now exists. U.S., of course, looks to solution within established principles and concepts of Inter-American system but we must all be clear that failure of Latin Americans to live up to their share of responsibility for collective solution will not be occasion for United States to renounce its basic obligation preserve security this country and hemisphere. Nor, in face Khrushchev threat, can U.S. for world wide considerations afford delay which would have appearance of backing away for fear of Soviet power.

Department fully realizes from your reporting many Latin American governments remain hesitant come to grips with Cuban situation for domestic political reasons and because of complicating factors such as Dominican problem. However, in view of fact U.S. and USSR have now at highest level publicly engaged themselves to opposing position on Cuban problem, time will not permit postponement until such problems are out of way. Choice which Latin Americans will have to [Page 1007] make quickly is whether they are willing to join in collective approach or renounce their clear responsibilities under Inter-American system, survival of which is vital to them.

In light of above, Department desires:

by return cable, your best estimate of how far Government to which you are accredited would go towards convoking Foreign Ministers and/or preliminary COAS as Organ Consultation to consider Cuban problem in context manifest Soviet intervention in hemisphere. Immediate objective would be to obtain firm Inter-American statement against International Communist intervention along lines that outlined Deptcirtel 14,2 but specifically calling all American States urgently use influence assure observance Inter-American treaties and commitments with respect outside intervention in hemisphere. Sympathy all Governments with Cuban people and their aspirations social and economic reform could also be included.
All Missions (except Ciudad Trujillo) to make immediate determined effort to impress on Latin American Government and leaders, including military leaders, of gravity of situation in Cuba and necessity for Latin Americans themselves to assure [assume?] full share of responsibility in critical challenge to Inter-American system and solidarity. In this connection, all material bearing on Communist infiltration and orientation Cuban Government, violation human and property rights and other evidences of nature Castro dictatorship should be reviewed and conveyed to responsible leaders. In your discretion, you are authorized to show such material to appropriate officials where in your opinion more effective than oral presentation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/7–1160. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Hill; cleared with Rubottom, Jamison, Wieland, and Merchant (in substance); and approved by Hill who signed for Herter. Sent to all ARA missions except Havana, and repeated to Havana and USUN.
  2. Not found.