564. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter–American Affairs (Rubottom) to the Secretary of State 1


  • Proposal for Good Offices between United States and Cuba

I recommend that you take the position in discussing Ottawa’s telegram No. 632 with the President that he not accept the proposal of good offices for ameliorating relations between the United States and Cuba for the following reasons:

The Organization of American States is now seized with the Cuban problem on two grounds: (a) Threatened intervention of an extra-continental power, i.e. Khrushchev statement; and (b) Cuba’s charges against the United States of economic aggression before the U.N. Security Council.
The Cuban problem is one of hemispheric dimension and is not one just between the United States and Cuba as evidenced by the unanimous vote of the Council of the OAS to convoke a meeting of Foreign Ministers.
Efforts of the Argentine Ambassador in Habana, seconded by the Brazilian Ambassador and others, to bring about some improvement in U.S.-Cuban relations have been to no avail.

Perhaps the best reasons to be advanced by the President are those in (1) and (2) above. For a discussion with the President, you will undoubtedly bear in mind that Mexico is simply unable to assess the Cuban problem in any terms except her own revolution. The Brazilian President, if he has evinced a willingness to participate in a good offices effort, must be judged in terms of Brazilian domestic politics and the desire of President Kubitschek, who is backing Marshall Lott, to offset the effects of candidate Janio Quadros’s visit to Cuba last spring. Moreover, in view of Under Secretary Merchant’s recent reports, it is clear that the Canadians are unable to see the Cuban problem in its truly menacing light. Finally, this initiative for good offices may have come from Cuba itself which is now undoubtedly feeling a heavy economic and political pressure and would tend to prop up Castro just when he is beginning to weaken.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/7–2560. Secret; Presidential Handling. Drafted and initialed by Rubottom. Also initialed by Merchant.
  2. Document 562.