84. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Ambassador in Cuba (Smith) in Havana and the Deputy Director of the Office of Middle American Affairs (Stewart) in Washington, July 6, 19581

A helicopter from the Guantanamo Naval Base has left for the headquarters of Raul Castro and possibly may return this afternoon with five more persons abducted by the rebels, Ambassador Smith disclosed. There also is a possibility the helicopter, or helicopters, may make another trip and return four more persons.

After bringing three United Fruit Company people in late yesterday the helicopter returned to pick up more persons but upon arrival at Castro’s headquarters the pilot reported there was a big powwow going on and he was told to return to the Base empty and go back today.

Consul Wollam stayed at Raul Castro’s headquarters, the Ambassador said. Vice Consul Wiecha is with him there, the Ambassador added.

The Ambassador further revealed that the kidnapped people are being well cared for, eating adequately and sleeping in houses. There is evidence, the Ambassador said, that the Castro forces are going all out to “brainwash” the sailors and Marines.

The Ambassador said no attempt was made to contact Fidel Castro’s radio station in line with suggestions contained in Caracas telegram No. 8.2 It was not thought necessary to do so, since arrangements for the return of the kidnapped people seemed to be progressing satisfactorily with Raul Castro’s forces. I told the Ambassador that if necessary contact could be made with Fidel Castro without such a course involving the question of recognition. I pointed out that Fidel might get miffed if he were left out of the negotiations.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/7–658. Confidential. Drafted by Stewart.
  2. In telegram 8, July 5 repeated to Havana as telegram 1, the Embassy in Caracas reported that the Air Force Attaché had been informed by a Cuban rebel source, who was in daily radio contact with Fidel Castro’s headquarters, that Castro was anxious to arrange the immediate release of all prisoners and that he desired radio contact with the U.S. base at Guantanamo for helicopter and other arrangements. The source indicated the frequency on which the rebel radio transmitted and said that it would stand by for a message at midnight on July 5 and at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on July 6. (ibid., 737.00/7–558)