98. Telegram From the Embassy in Cuba to the Department of State 1
57. Embtel 562 and GTMO’s 1100202.3 Wollam returned GTMO and will re-enter rebel zone tomorrow. Will have radio operator with key set which permits direct contact Habana. Wollam says there is always possibility Raul’s group will inject last minute demands but reasonably hopeful evacuation setup may be ready and even operating by Sunday. Every reason believe Navy men held in small groups considerable distance from present helicopter pick up point Calabasas in Sierra Del Cristal. Navy men estimated be near Palanque in Sierra De Purial. Wollam has volunteered set up more than one pick up point in their area if it will hasten deliveries.
In debriefing Wollam it evident he proceeding with utmost caution in avoiding commitments but using nearly all arguments Department has had in mind. Briefed him on worry of Cuban exiles in US over continued detention of Americans and discarded any mention taking matter OAS since Raul Castro’s group anxious get Cuban situation into OAS. Wollam cleverly used US newpapermen and hostages to debate questions with Raul’s men which not prudent for him to [Page 148] discuss. As expected, most hostages sympathized with rebels because of good treatment, camaraderie, earlier troubles with Cuban army or because they had to continue living in rebel infested area. Should be recalled Wollam never has made contact with Navy group. Wiecha attempted join them but prevented from doing so.
Wollam stressed that some of Raul Castro’s forces completely fanatical, emotional and disregard logical arguments. Have philosophy that they are going to die anyway so why should they fear any consequences their acts. Wollam hopes this type does not exert too much influence. As result, he has been forced play pretty much by ear his meetings with Castro people.
In discussions on freeing of men Wollam has been reasonable in approach but firm in rejecting impractical demands such as request for observer or use MAP arms, written replies demands, et cetera.
When he returns now he will attempt obtain early and definite release date. If he has no luck will point out US becoming irritated at long delay and is being forced into position of taking firm action by rebel attitude. If and when release all Americans obtained he will carefully point out that repetition kidnappings will result in immediate and firm action by US and that rebels may not count on any favorable publicity.
Released hostages with whom Wollam conversed doubt military action by US to recover kidnapped people would be successful.