36. Memorandum of Conversation0
- Possible Cuban-U.S. Rapprochement
- Constantine Kangles, Chicago Attorney (said to have represented the 26th of July Movement until January 1959, and subsequently registered agent of the Castro regime)
- Thomas C. Mann—ARA
- William T. Pryce—ARA
Mr. Kangles, having just left the Attorney Generalʼs office,1 called on Mr. Mann. In the course of a prolonged conversation Mr. Kangles said:
He had made a trip to Cuba hoping to meet with Raul Castro. He was not able to do so but did talk with Raulʼs “secretary” who related the following information on Raul Castro:
- There has been a decided difference of opinion between Raul and Fidel since April 1960. In a recent conversation two points of disagreement emerged: a) Raul was strongly opposed to Fidelʼs policy of allowing the militia to have arms and ammunition, and b) Raul felt that some sort of “agreement” should be reached with the U.S. Raul was able to convince Fidel on the first point but not on the second.
- Raul is alarmed at the degree of power exercised by Cuban Communists, particularly “Che” Guevara. He wished to remove the Cuban Communists from power but before doing so needed assurances from the U.S. that it would replace any support lost from the Sino-Soviet Bloc as a result of his actions. Specifically, Raul would want the U.S. to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba and begin buying Cuban sugar before he made his move. It was not clear whether or when Raul would break relations with the Sino-Soviet Bloc, but Mr. Kangles thought that a gradual forced withdrawal of Sino-Soviet influence, including an eventual break, would take place.
Mr. Kangles proposed that Mr. Gentry, who is reportedly an “advisor” to the Cuban Government, make a trip to Cuba in order to further sound out Raul on the above. Mr. Kangles would fabricate a story for Mr. Gentry saying that Mr. Gentry wished to travel to Cuba in order to clear up certain matters relating to his U.S. citizenship. In order to perform this travel it would be necessary for Mr. Kanglesʼ passport to be validated for travel to Cuba.
Mr. Mann thanked Mr. Kangles for his information and said that he would talk it over with members of his staff and would be in touch with Mr. Kangles if this was thought fruitful.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/2-2461. Confidential. Drafted by Pryce on February 18. Initialed as accurate by Mann.↩
- At 2:24 p.m. on February 4, Secretary Rusk received a telephone call from Attorney General Kennedy concerning Kangles. Kangles was in Kennedyʼs office and Kennedy suggested that someone in the Department of State talk to him, as Kennedy saw no point in continuing to be directly involved in conversations with Kangles. The Attorney General stated, however, that it was worthwhile to talk with Kangles because of his relationship with Castro. (Ibid., Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Conversations, 1/21/61-2/15/61) Rusk in turn called Mann and relayed Robert Kennedyʼs message. Mann agreed to see Kangles as soon as he arrived at the Department. (Ibid.)↩