140. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State1

Secto 36. Eyes only for President and Acting Secretary. No Other Distribution.2 General speeches were concluded last evening and Foreign [Page 302] Ministers have spent today in intensive consultations to try to draw conference to prompt and satisfactory conclusion. One striking aspect here is to see how much hemisphere has moved, including such countries as Brazil and Mexico, since similar conference at San Jose sixteen months ago.

There is practically unanimous agreement on (1) a general declaration about communism in relation to principles and purposes of hemispheric system; (2) a short but strong reaffirmation of Alliance for Progress to make point that Castro-Communism is not the answer to economic and social development; (3) a clear declaration that the present Marxist-Leninist Government of Cuba is incompatible with the obligations and privileges of hemispheric system; (4) the immediate expulsion of Cuba from the Inter-American Defense Board; (5) the immediate interruption of trade and traffic in arms and strategic items to and from Cuba and the hemisphere; (6) the establishment of a special security committee to the COAS to recommend measures for protection against subversion, espionage, etc., etc.

Remaining points of difference turn on exact solution to (a) expulsion or suspension of present Government of Cuba from organs and agencies of the OAS; (b) authorization to COAS to recommend, in terms of Dominican precedent, suspension of trade in other items.

Differences by end of day have become narrow but deep since it is an underlying juridical difference about whether we can or should invoke the Rio Treaty against Cuba.

I wish to emphasize that the problem now is not the US position but that of reconciling sharply divergent views between the two principal wings of this conference. If we move slightly in one direction we lose support from the other. We are searching for a solution in the practical realm which will leave delegations to weave their own juridical theories. We are not overlooking possibilities of getting near complete unanimity on a satisfactory basis but we shall be during Sunday in the somewhat tense final phase which is normal to such multilateral negotiations.

I have been surprised by the distance which Brazil and Mexico have moved since early December. My sharpest difficulty might be to get certain intransigents such as Ydigoras and Prado to take a firm but reasonable rather than an extremely belligerent view.

Congressional advisers have given us understanding and loyal support. I have not departed from position authorized by President in discussions with them but I am not unmindful of fact that if they come back reasonably satisfied our Alliance for Progress and other programs affecting Latin America will have strong and crucial support.

We are very close to a good result but not yet out of danger of a bad one. At end of day I am moderately optimistic.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 371.04/1-2862. Secret; Niact. Received at 4:49 a.m. and passed to the White House.
  2. An unnumbered telegram of the same date from Punta del Este, filed with the source text, instructed that if necessary this should be interpreted to mean distribution to “top echelon Department and ARA.”