698. Memorandum from Chase to McGeorge Bundy, July 121

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  • Cuba—Progress Report

1. Reply to Cuban Note Regarding Overflights

The reply to the Cuban note will be coming over in the next day or so after the Secretary has a chance to look at it. Essentially, it will say that we intend to surveil in the absence of on-site inspections.

The Department apparently has hashed over a number of tactical questions. For example, should we send a copy of the note to the Soviets (among others, EUR and Ambassador Thompson say “no”)? Should we publish the note (general feeling is “no”)? The Cuban note was delivered to John Crimmins: should we answer it at the same or a higher level?

2. Cuban Refugees in Miami

Despite optimistic predictions by HEW, there has, in fact, been little progress in reducing the number of Cuban refugees in the Miami area; since December, the relocation of refugees has been only slightly greater than the inflow and the Cuban refugee population in the Miami area remains at roughly 125,000. While public and Congressional heat on this one still appears relatively mild, there have been indications that our good luck won’t hold out forever.

There may be a way to speed up the resettlement. Bishop Swanstrom, an important man in Catholic resettlement circles and an old friend of Abba Schwartz, tells Abba that 20–40,000 refugees could be moved out of Miami in a hurry. The crux of his proposal is to give the Church more control over the resettlement money than it now has (details still unclear); this would give Bishop Swanstrom more flexibility and leverage in pressing parishes to find more resettlement opportunities for Cuban refugees. Abba says that the proposal, which would involve a lump sum payment from HEW to the Catholic resettlement agency, is perfectly legal and has plenty of precedents.

I have urged John Crimmins to look into this possibility. For a starter, Abba probably will talk informally with Bishop Swanstrom, in [Typeset Page 1800] the near future, to find [Facsimile Page 2] out how many refugees the Bishop could move in X period of time and how much money he would need.

3. Kennedy Doctrine

I personally have the feeling that the atmosphere may be starting to heat up a bit on Cuba: things like the OAS subversion report and the imposition of blocking controls have probably contributed to this end. If the Kennedy Doctrine idea is still alive, we may want to consider taking advantage of the warmer temperature (if, in fact, it is warmer) to talk to the Latin Americans in the near future; the Doctrine might appear more credible than it would have appeared a month ago. While I haven’t explored it at all, we might also want to think about the possibility of using August 17 (anniversary of the Alliance for Progress) as a hook on which to hang some sort of a jump towards the Kennedy Doctrine.

Gordon Chase
  1. Progress report on Cuba including reply to Cuban note on overflights; Cuban refugees in Miami; Kennedy doctrine. Top Secret. 2 pp. Kennedy Library, NSF, Countries Series, Cuba, General, Vol. X, 7/63.