387. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Cuba


  • Canadian Prime Minister Diefenbaker
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs Green
  • Defence Minister Harkness
  • Secretary of State Rusk
  • United States Charge dʼAffaires ad interim White
[Page 959]

The Secretary opened the conversation on Cuba by saying that the United States Government greatly appreciated the assistance given by Canada in prohibiting trans-shipments of United States goods to Cuba and in its prohibition of shipments of strategic materials. This perform-ance had not been emulated by the other NATO countries. In view of the fact that it was important to put Castro into a position where he has before him clear alternatives, NATO as a whole should be interested in helping with the Cuban problem. The assistance of Canada in developing a more positive attitude within the NATO group would be greatly appreciated by the United States.

In discussing the recent unusual movement of Soviet ships to Cuba, the Secretary said that four of the vessels carried an estimated 340 Soviet personnel each who were disembarked secretly; that it was thought that some of these were for the purpose of assisting in agriculture and some were connected with military installations. Prime Minister Diefenbaker inquired as to the nature of the installations. The Secretary replied that not enough time had elapsed for an intelligence appraisal, but it was known that radar equipment and other communications intelligence equipment were involved. Substantial areas had been cleared of all Cuban personnel. With reference to missile sites, it would be important to know whether they were ground to ground or ground to air. The Secretary pointed out that in United States policy towards Cuba there were only two problems which were clearly non-negotiable: 1) the domination of Castro by the International Communist Movement and, 2) Cuban intervention in the affairs of countries in the Alliance for Progress area.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/8-2462. Secret. Drafted by Ivan B. White and approved in S on August 28. Secretary Rusk was in Ottawa August 24-26 for meetings with Canadian officials.