565. Memorandum of Discussion at the 453d Meeting of the National Security Council, Newport, Rhode Island, July 25, 19601

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

Mr. Dulles reported that the Communist Bloc was quite active in negotiations with Cuba. Communist China and Cuba had concluded a trade pact on the 23rd of July. This pact represented an effort by Communist China to win recognition from Cuba, an effort which would probably reach fruition with Cuban recognition in the next few days. An economic aid agreement between Communist China and Cuba is expected later in the year, involving industrial equipment and technical assistance. A communiqué issued upon the completion of Raul Castro’s visit to Moscow speaks of close cooperation between Cuba and the USSR but refrains from mentioning the Soviet threat of rocket retaliation against the U.S. One purpose of this visit may have been to complete an arms agreement. Delegates are now arriving in Cuba for a Latin American Youth Congress. Castro is obtaining more security protection, counter-revolutionaries are being arrested in greater numbers and defections are increasing. Prio, the former President of Cuba, is now ready to seek asylum in a foreign embassy if he is not allowed to leave the country. Mattei, who is well-known as an Italian troublemaker, is considering supplying equipment and assistance to the Cuban oil refineries. The officials of these refineries say that Cuba’s greatest problem in operating the refineries will be replacement parts.

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

3. Forthcoming Meeting of the Organization of American States With Respect to Cuba and the Dominican Republic

Secretary Herter said that the Organization of American States would hold a meeting on August 15 to discuss action with respect to the Dominican Republic. Venezuela was trying to effect a separation between the problem of Cuba and the problem of the Dominican Republic. The OAS had sent a special mission to investigate the Venezuelan charge that the attack on Betancourt had been directed by the Dominican Republic. If the OAS proposes sanctions against the Dominican Republic, the case would have to go to the UN. The OAS, however, can recommend measures which each state could implement individually. Secretary Herter said the U.S. would suggest such measures as the following against the Dominican Republic: withdrawal of Chiefs of Missions; the admonition to take into account OAS condemnation [Page 1029] nation in relations with the Dominican Republic; refusal to permit the shipment of arms and ammunition into the Dominican Republic; collaborating in preventing shipment of arms and ammunition from the Dominican Republic to other countries, including air and sea patrols; a request that other nations outside the hemisphere take note of the measures recommended by the OAS; creation of a committee to observe the implementing of these measures.

The President asked whether it would not be desirable to add to the list surveillance to make certain that no other American state intervenes militarily in the Dominican Republic. Secretary Herter said the recommendation on the shipment of arms and ammunition into the Dominican Republic would prohibit such intervention and was intended to cover the President’s point.

The President said he believed it was desirable to connect the cases of the Dominican Republic and Cuba but he also believed that it was very necessary to settle the Trujillo situation because it appears to be impossible to shake the belief of Latin America that the Trujillo situation is more serious than the Castro situation. Until Trujillo is eliminated, we cannot get our Latin American friends to reach a proper level of indignation in dealing with Castro.

Secretary Herter then referred to the legal requirement for the purchase of sugar from the Dominican Republic and said an effort should be made to get the law changed in this session of Congress. The President said if the law were not changed, he would simply refuse to buy Dominican sugar. If impeachment proceedings were brought against him, that would take longer than his term has to run. Secretary Herter said his legal advisers had agreed that we were required to buy Dominican sugar but we were simply ignoring that requirement. As a result Congressman Cooley was on the warparth. In Secretary Herter’s opinion, a great deal of the difficulty was expenditure of Dominican money in the U.S. The President said that any proposals to buy Dominican sugar should be sent to him for approval and he would take a long time to study the matter. He also believed we should frankly say that it appears that the Dominican Republic bribes are coming into this country in an effort to influence this government. Secretary Herter agreed that we would lose prestige if we bought sugar from the Dominican Republic after refusing to buy it from Cuba.

Secretary Herter then reported that Mexico had been suggesting that Brazil, Mexico, and Canada should mediate between the U.S. and Cuba. Such mediation would recognize the idea that the sole parties to the present controversy are the U.S. and Cuba. The President said we have already said that we are ready to have our problems with Cuba [Page 1030] mediated. We want to have these problems settled peacefully. Secretary Herter said that the whole problem had been shifted toward the concept of the introduction of communism into this hemisphere.

The President said that if we attempted to take any action with respect to Cuba before settling the Trujillo situation, we would be the loser. He had confidence in the Presidents of Mexico and Brazil and the Prime Minister of Canada but he thought the problem of Cuba was now before the OAS and should remain there. Secretary Gates said we had a difficult problem of public opinion because the American people were interested in the situation in Cuba but did not care about the situation in the Dominican Republic. The President said American newspapers had been attacking Trujillo for fifteen years. He asked how we could keep the OAS as a going concern. We could not do it if we focussed sanctions on Cuba and forgot about Trujillo. We were able to induce the Latin American leaders to talk seriously about Cuba only after agreeing that Trujillo is also a problem.

Secretary Herter said that procedurally we could not get the case of Cuba before the OAS until the Trujillo situation had been considered because the Trujillo case was brought up first. With respect to sugar legislation, he asked whether the President thought it would be undesirable to prepare any new legislation for this session of Congress. The President said he had not meant to suggest that he was opposed to any new sugar legislation. He would prefer to have the authority of law for refusing to buy Dominican sugar. He said that the OAS would not consider the case of Cuba if we focussed all our attention on Castro and forgot about Trujillo.2

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

Marion W. Boggs
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret. Prepared by Boggs on July 28.
  2. This discussion of the forthcoming meeting of the Organization of American States constitutes NSC Action No. 2273. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)