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

385. On afternoon of Saturday, July 23, Argentine Ambassador Julio Amoedo tells me he was called to office of Acting Foreign Minister Olivares. He had requested appointment to discuss safe conduct for asylees (Miro Cardona, father and son, and Rojas). However, after assuring him that safe conduct would be settled next week, Olivares said Fidel Castro wished to see Amoedo at once. They proceeded together to Castro’s house at Cojimar, an east Habana suburb. Amoedo found Castro looking sick and repressed [depressed?] although cordial and friendly personally. He was in pajamas. Amoedo was impressed at number of security checks required to enter Cojimar property and also at fact there were apparently no visitors waiting to see Castro (formerly his anteroom was full).

Castro apparently wished to discuss recent Buenos Aires incident where Cuban diplomatic pouch was opened and Peronist correspondence, including instructions for subversive activities from Cooke, a Peronist leader who has been in Habana for sometime, was discovered. (Rumors were current in Habana that afternoon to effect GOA had determined to break with GOC over this matter.) According to Amoedo, Castro was most apologetic regarding incident which he blamed entirely on “General” Bayo, a Spanish Republican officer who helped instruct Castro’s expeditionary force in guerrilla warfare in [Page 1026] Mexico in 1956 and has since been fairly prominent here. He has been known as friend of Che Guevara. Amoedo thinks that Che Guevara was responsible for misuse of Cuban pouch.

After about an hour of conversation with Castro in presence of Olivares, Che Guevara dropped in unexpectedly.

Castro said, “What are you doing here?” Guevara replied, “I just happened to be passing by and thought I would drop in.” Guevara sat down and joined in the conversation. (Amoedo believes he was tipped off by Olivares or by someone else regarding Amoedo’s presence.)

Conversation then took a general turn. Guevara denounced Frondizi as a puppet of the Yankees because of Argentine representation to GOC July 14 (Embassy telegram 2482). Amoedo reacted vigorously. Guevara then referred to “your great friend, the American Ambassador, who is conspiring openly.” Amoedo states that he admitted our friendship and stressed his own friendship and admiration for the United States. Conversation proceeded for some time along more or less familiar Cuban revolutionary propaganda lines with Guevara leading, Amoedo countering his arguments and Castro keeping more or less quiet.

After about an hour and a half of this, conversation ended. Amoedo saw Castro very briefly alone at door on departing. Castro said he would like to come to Argentine Embassy for “un asado” and stressed his friendship for Amoedo. Latter replied he would welcome such visit and reiterated personal friendship for Castro. He told Castro he must have realized attitude of Argentine Government and of other Latin American Governments since this had been clearly expressed to him at the Argentine Embassy dinner on May 10 (Embassy telegram 3203). Castro said that situation had changed radically since then.

Amoedo has impression that Castro is really sick and worried and that he is so surrounded and hemmed in by Guevara and other Communist elements, that he is no longer free agent. He believes that Castro was unable, because presence first of Olivares and then of Guevara to talk to Amoedo on whatever subject he had in mind when he summoned him. (But why then did he do so through Ministry Foreign Affairs? He used to have many other channels of communication particularly with Amoedo.) Amoedo told me that he thought he had seen Castro for last time and that latter was a doomed man. He did not attempt predict events but thought situation here hastening to tragic outcome in which Castro would be victim.

Bonsal
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/7–2560. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution.
  2. Dated July 15. (ibid., 737.00/7–1560)
  3. Dated May 21. (ibid., 611.37/5–2160)