576. Memorandum of Discussion at the 455th Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, August 12, 19601

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

Mr. Dulles then turned to the situation in Cuba. He said the most important new development there is the fact that the Castro Revolution is in a struggle with the Church. In the early days there were indications that the Church had tried to reach a working arrangement with Castro but it had not succeeded. In May the Vatican had sent out two special representatives from Rome. On August 10 Castro had launched a bitter attack upon the Church and had said that “Jesus Christ is on the side of the Revolution.” Mr. Dulles also mentioned the defection of Raul Chibas who had headed one of the two major anti-Batista parties. He said there was evidence that Moscow is preparing to deliver military equipment to the regime as was Czechoslovakia.

[Page 1056]

Trade relations between Cuba and Communist China had begun on what Mr. Dulles called a sour note. Rice samples had been of poor quality and rice shortages were foreseen. The Latin American Youth Conference was over and had been unsuccessful. The Cuban Communist Party had invited delegates from other Communist Parties to join in a Party Congress. The Congress was to be held on August 16. It was reported that Suslov, Duclos, and Togliatti had been invited.2

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

U.S. Policy Toward Cuba

Mr. Gray said that the Secretary of the Treasury had a point with respect to Cuba; namely, that we should do what we can with our European friends to make sure that they do not supply deficiencies in the Cuban economy such as spare parts.

Secretary Herter said that at a recent NATO briefing there had been a discussion of South America. He then cautioned that NATO interest is disturbing to the South Americans if it is an organized interest.

Secretary Anderson said that two weeks ago he had asked the technical staff of the New York Stock Exchange to make a study of the reasons for the recent decline in stock prices, particularly the decline in the “blue chips”. He said that a number of reasons had been reported but that the first and major one was the troubled international situation, particularly the inability of the U.S. to protect its interests in Cuba.

The Vice President then inquired what we would be prepared to do to avoid further communist domination or a communist takeover in Cuba. He went on to explain that what he was really asking for was guidance as to what U.S. officials should say when such questions are put to them, as they frequently are by the press. The President observed that such a question had been put to him at his press conference two days before3 and that he had pointed out the difference between a nation doing something independently within its own borders on the one hand and becoming a Soviet satellite on the other hand.

Secretary Herter observed that if there is further evidence of the export of what is happening in Cuba to other Latin American countries, it will be possible to create more support from the OAS. He said that we were slowly bringing the OAS around and that we had been given a “big assist by Khrushchev.” Mr. Dulles said that if the revolution [Page 1057] is suppressed by foreign intervention, the result will only be temporary and it will break out again. On the other hand, if the revolution breaks down in and of itself, then there would be a much more solid base on which to build a future government.

The President brought up the subject of sugar and said that we had always approached the subject from the point of view of trying to assure an adequate supply for the U.S. He said that as far as he was concerned, he did not mind if Trujillo complains about our being heavyhanded.

The National Security Council:4

Noted and discussed recent developments with regard to the situation in Cuba.

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

Charles A. Haskins
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File NSC Records. Top Secret. Prepared by Charles A. Haskins of the NSC Staff on August 16.
  2. Dulles’ briefing regarding the Cuban situation and other subjects constitutes NSC Action No. 2281. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)
  3. For the transcript of the President’s news conference on August 12, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960–61, pp. 619–629.
  4. The following paragraph constitutes NSC Action No. 2283. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Records of Action by the National Security Council)