127. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Argentina1

1151. In December 24 conversation, President Kennedy explained to President Frondizi2 that conversations between Colombian Government and several other governments have revealed a general view that Castro’s recent frank admission of Marxist-Leninist convictions and intention to make Cuba into a communist state now require action beyond that originally contemplated by Colombian draft resolutions. President Frondizi was given a copy of a new Colombian draft (substituting for the former third resolution) providing forthrightly for obligatory breaking of diplomatic and economic relations, and also a Colombian-US preliminary draft of a single combined resolution which also incorporates this provision.3

President Frondizi indicated no receptivity to applying sanctions; he emphasized that political difficulties in Brazil and Chile and to a lesser extent in Argentina make it impracticable to consider such sanctions; he asserted that it is much more important to preserve a high degree of unanimity of action and solidarity in the inter-American system than it is to try to enforce such sanctions against Cuba; he thought that the inter-American system might become seriously divided and weakened by [Page 279] possible refusal of Brazil and other countries to comply with a two-thirds vote that did not include Brazil and Mexico which have over half of the population of Latin America (plus presumably Argentina and Chile); he emphasized the great importance he attributes to the U.S. and Argentina working and consulting together on this and all other important Hemisphere matters; he and particularly Minister Carcano thought that a strong resolution condemning Cuba for becoming an accomplice of the Soviet Bloc might provoke Cuba into separating itself from the inter-American system without obligatory sanctions; and he offered to send President Kennedy a draft of such a resolution.

President Kennedy told President Frondizi we would be glad to receive and consider such a draft resolution; he agreed that the US should work as closely as possible with Argentina; he agreed that it is important to maintain the solidarity of the inter-American system; he stated that the US of course wishes to weigh carefully the danger of causing a division in the inter-American system and internal political problems to Argentina, Brazil and other countries against the need for the most effective action possible to isolate Cuba and set up safeguards against Soviet bloc subversive influences from Cuba; but that he suspected that there would be less unfavorable reaction in Brazil and other countries if sanctions were applied against Cuba than President Frondizi considers likely.

(On the airplane to and from Palm Beach, Woodward emphasized to the Argentine delegation that the countries favoring obligatory breaking of diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba are beginning a concerted effort to obtain maximum support for these measures and believe they have at least 14 votes. After the conversation with President Kennedy, Woodward therefore urged that the Argentines formulate a suggested resolution as soon as possible. Minister Carcano and Ortiz de Rosas said January 2 was the earliest they could submit a draft to President Kennedy and that they would do so through the US Embassy in Buenos Aires.)

President Frondizi expressed concern regarding pressures from Argentine armed forces on GOA for more emphatic action against Cuba which he said he suspects is accentuated by stimulation US intelligence sources.

Please hold information this telegram in confidence and take advantage of opportunities to urge expeditious preparation suggested resolution by GOA and express US hope that GOA will exert leadership in conversations other governments.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/12-2661. Confidential. Drafted by Woodward, cleared by the President, and approved by Woodward.
  2. Frondizi and Kennedy met at Palm Beach.
  3. A Colombian draft of a combined single resolution, given to the Department on December 22 by the Colombian Foreign Minister, was transmitted in circular airgram CA-735, December 29. (Department of State, Central Files, 371.04/12-2961)