598. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions in the American Republics1

614. Cuba has requested inscription urgent and important item in agenda UNGA charging US with aggressive plans and acts of intervention. Cuba claimed possess information proving US would attempt large-scale invasion within next few days which might set off “conflagration of unsuspected proportions.” Among other charges, Cuba also alleged US territory and that other Western Hemisphere countries used as bases for operations counter-revolutionaries in US service. Specifically, US (1) violated Cuban airspace Sept. 29 to drop arms anti-Castro rebels, and (2) launched recent ill-fated landing anti-Castro group in which three US citizens presumably participated.

Although Soviet-Cuban motives in raising these false charges clearly aimed at undermining OAS and diverting attention from arms build up in Cuba designed to further Communist expansion in Western Hemisphere, US decided, on balance, not to oppose inscription. Our willingness debate Cuban charges placed us in strongest posture, whereas opposition would have given erroneous impression US case weak. Moreover, it unlikely inscription could have been prevented in expanded GA.

In General Committee October 25 USSR, in effort accord this propaganda item unwarranted importance, sought unsuccessfully obtain recommendation item be allocated to plenary for immediate discussion rather than to committee. Costa Rica and Haiti voted with US against Soviet motion on allocation; Panama and Venezuela abstained. In later vote on motion recommend item be allocated to Political Committee, Venezuela and Panama joined US, Haiti, and Costa Rica in voting affirmatively.

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GA plenary expected consider General Committee recommendation on or about Oct. 31. US intends argue, as we did in General Committee, that item should be allocated to Political Committee. We intend to reiterate assurances that US has no aggressive purposes against Cuba. We plan point out if Cuba really concerned at prospect imminent invasion and if Cuba wished maintain its defiance of OAS it would at least have gone to Security Council since that organ has primary responsibility for maintenance peace and security. We plan deny any connection with alleged overflight and landing. We plan state US welcomes opportunity call attention elaborate US measures prevent our territory from being used for illegal activities against Cuba and emphasize US tries prevent US citizens from becoming embroiled in foreign adventures. We believe Cuban charges and US replies and counter-charges should be considered in orderly fashion by Political Committee rather than in plenary where Soviets and Cubans could stage more effective propaganda spectacle.

USUN reports present indications are that most LAs on Oct. 31 will support allocation Cuban item to Political Committee. Moreover, we hope LAs will make clear in statements and corridor conversations: (1) Cuba’s obligation to resort to OAS in first instance in dispute with another OAS member; and (2) their rejection of Sino-Soviet bloc’s efforts intervene in Western Hemisphere. Former principle contained in UN, OAS Charters and Rio Treaty.

For Panama City: Embassy should express hope FonOff that Panama on Oct. 31 will vote against any motion have Cuban item considered in plenary.

For other action addressees: Above sent for your background and use in any discussions this subject. In any such discussion with FonOff you should stress threat to OAS system posed by Cuba’s bypassing of OAS machinery including Ad Hoc Good Offices Committee established by Seventh MFM to settle just such complaints as Cuba has made against US.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/10–2860. Confidential. Drafted by Newlin; cleared with Jamison, Vallon, and Coerr; and approved by Wallner who signed for Herter. Sent to all diplomatic posts in the American Republics except Havana, and repeated to Havana, Ciudad Trujillo, and USUN by pouch.