592. Memorandum From the Secretary of State to the President1


  • Recall of Ambassador Bonsal

I believe that the time has come to recall Ambassador Bonsal for consultation and to announce at the same time that he will not return to Cuba. In recommending this action to you, I have taken into consideration the following factors:

Under present conditions in Cuba, Ambassador Bonsal is not able to function effectively and has been subjected to various indignities which tend to reflect on U.S. honor and prestige.
There is no disposition on the part of the Castro regime to negotiate seriously with us.
The Government of Cuba has had no Ambassador in Washington since December 1959.
There are continuing rumors of a Cuban-initiated break in relations with the United States and should this occur United States prestige would be best served by having no Ambassador in that country.

In view of the imminent resignation of Ambassador John C. Dreier I believe that Mr. Bonsal would be an ideal appointment to replace Mr. Dreier, on an interim basis, as U.S. Representative to the Council of the Organization of American States. It is my thought that Ambassador Bonsal would retain his office as Ambassador to Cuba and would be detailed to the OAS position.2

Christian A. Herter
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DullesHerter Series. Secret. Signed by Herter. The source text bears the handwritten initials “D.E.” and the handwritten notation that the Department of State was informed on October 17 that the President had approved. Also published in Declassified Documents, 1983, 919.
  2. In telegram 857 to Havana, October 17, Herter informed Bonsal of his recall and his appointment as interim representative to the Organization of American States. (Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/10–1760) On October 20, a Department of State spokesman issued a statement indicating that Bonsal was being recalled for “an extended period of consultation.” (American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1960, p.241) Bonsal and his wife departed Cuba on October 28. For his recollection of the events leading up to the departure, see Cuba, Castro, and the United States, p. 170.