70. Memorandum of Discussion at a Department of State-Joint Chiefs of Staff Meeting, Pentagon, Washington, June 27, 1958, 10 a.m.1

[Here follows discussion of a matter unrelated to Cuba.]

[Page 118]

2. Cuba

Admiral Burke said that we have suspended export of all arms except for some T–28’s. He noted that the State Department was discussing with Ambassador Smith the desirability of insisting that Cuba use MAP equipment and MAP-trained personnel only for hemispheric defense. Admiral Burke said that this was [went] pretty far and that we were trying to tell a sovereign nation what to do. He expressed the opinion that other nations receiving MAP assistance might resent our position toward Cuba.

Mr. Murphy asked whether Admiral Burke thought the MAP agreement should be revised. Admiral Burke said that we are interpreting the agreement too rigidly. He noted that France, despite our protest, continues to use MAP equipment on a large scale in Algeria.

Mr. Murphy said that he had certain problems about Cuba. The question of what is hemispheric defense is important. If the security of the nation is destroyed or an avenue is opened up for leftist exploitation, this would certainly weaken the nation’s stability and affect hemispheric defense.

Admiral Burke said that in effect we are aiding the rebels and that Ambassador Smith was entirely right in saying that the Cuban Army is fighting elements allied with communism.

Mr. Stewart said that according to State Department lawyers we can, under the agreement, discuss with the Cuban Government the implementation of the agreement and the use made of MAP assistance. This provision might be the best approach at the present time.

General Taylor said that he was surprised at the position we were taking. Internal stability is one of the major objectives of the Mutual Security Program and is one of the purposes we stress with the Congress. Mr. Murphy repeated that a clear definition of hemispheric defense is desirable.

Mr. Stewart noted that a difficult domestic problem is involved since Senator Morse will be investigating this matter and the State Department will have problems in explaining the use of MAP equipment by Cuba. He noted that Castro has apparently just seized a group of American engineers in Cuba. Mr. Stewart expressed the view that this action will hurt Castro with many Cuban sympathizers and with American opinion.

Admiral Burke said that the State Department message to Ambassador Smith 2 should have been cleared at a high level at the Pentagon.

Mr. Stewart noted that it had been cleared at the working level.

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It was agreed that the State Department, in consultation with Defense, would restudy the position taken in regard to Cuban use of MAP assistance.

(Mr. Murphy and General Twining left the meeting during the discussion of this item.)

[Here follows discussion matters unrelated to Cuba.]

  1. Source: Department of State, State–JCS Meetings: Lot 61 D 417, June 1958. Top Secret. The drafting officer is not indicated, but the source text bears the following notation: “State Draft. Not cleared with Department of Defense.” A cover sheet lists 32 attendees at the meeting, including representatives of the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Council.
  2. Not further identified.