560. Memorandum of a Conference With the President, U.S. Naval Base, Newport, Rhode Island, July 19, 1960, 3:15 p.m.1

Secretary Herter first took up the matters before the United Nations. He said the United Nations Security Council had acted to refer the Cuban complaint to the Organization of American States.2 The determination of the place to hold the meeting of the OAS has developed into a problem. We are still hoping that it can be arranged for Costa Rica. The President said he thought that anywhere in Central or South America would be preferable to having it in the United States.

Mr. Herter next reported on the status of the Nicaro plant. It is evident that we will probably have to close this plant. However, we are making a final attempt to negotiate its sale to the Cubans. The President asked what recourse we have if the Cubans force us to close it. He commented that our case regarding this plant should be stronger than with regard to private enterprises since its operation is based upon an intergovernmental agreement. Mr. Herter said we will simply do the best we can. The President went on to ask what we would do in case the Cubans try to take the Guantanamo Base over. He was not talking of the water supply, since we can meet minimum needs with water brought in by tanker. Mr. Herter said that as regards the base itself, we have a valid treaty not limited in duration, and subject to change only upon agreement by both parties. The President said what he wants to see is what we do if they attack and how we plan to do it.

Mr. Herter said that, with regard to the Cuban item in the United Nations, and in the OAS, the Latin American countries have come around very well in the last few days. Khrushchev’s behavior and threats have helped in this, particularly his threat of intervention coupled with trying to incite the Cubans to cause trouble over Guantanamo.

[Here follows discussion of maters unrelated to Cuba.]

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DDE Diaries. Secret. Prepared and initialed by Goodpaster on July 21. Other participants included Herter, Bohlen, Kohler, Wilcox, Hagerty, and Goodpaster. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1979, 217C.
  2. See footnote 4, Document 558.