85. Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Murphy) to the Under Secretary of State (Herter)1
With representatives of ARA and INR we have reviewed the situation regarding the kidnapped American nationals in Cuba.
ARA has been exploring several ideas of how to proceed. One involves sending a qualified officer to speak forcibly to Fidel Castro personally. The idea of having Ambassador Smith do this was rejected as unwise. Another idea of exploring the possibility of OAS usefully intervening is being studied.
Admiral Ellis, commanding at Guantanamo, has transmitted the attached message making several suggestions. (Tab A2)
Of the fifty Americans kidnapped, sixteen civilians have been released leaving thirty military personnel and four civilians still held, presumably by the Raul Castro element. According to the Cuban rebel radio today, the negotiations for the release of the remaining Americans and one Canadian are “proceeding satisfactorily”. The radio said that hostages would be released “shortly”.
A CIA status report of July 7 is attached. (Tab B3)
I also discussed the present status with Admiral Burke. He informs me that there is no plan of military intervention under active consideration. He is naturally unhappy over the continued retention of the Naval personnel, but he does not urge military intervention. I reviewed with him and with our own people the various aspects of that problem. The area where the Americans are held is large and the mountainous terrain very difficult. A substantial force would be required. Our people firmly believe that military intervention should be a very last resort and of course only undertaken with the invitation of the Cuban Government.
It is my understanding that CIA has reported in the past no evidence of Communist infiltration. Reports of the last 48 hours however indicate a strong possibility that there are Communist influences operating in the rebel group, especially in the younger element headed by Fidel Castro’s brother, Raul Castro, who is 27 and politically immature.[Page 134]
We will be making a specific recommendation to you regarding the plan of sending an emissary to Fidel Castro.4