226. Memorandum of Discussion With Secretary of State Rusk1
Washington,April 10, 1962.
- Brazilian Foreign Minister Dantas
- Rusk explained that he had had confidential discussion with Dantas concerning Cuba and had told Dantas that Castro’s affiliation with International Communism and his efforts to subvert or otherwise influence other Caribbean and Latin American countries were not negotiable as far as the United States was concerned. Rusk indicated other matters such as compensation for American properties, etc. were in his opinion negotiable.
- Dantas has told Rusk that the Castro regime was split at the top and that his Ambassador had reported a serious conflict existed between Castro and his followers on the one hand and the hard-line Communists on the other. Dantas felt that this split might be capitalized on and the Communist regime disposed of. Rusk encouraged this thinking and urged me to explore carefully with Dantas [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].
- Rusk envisaged a two-stage operation; first the rupture between Castro and the Communist [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]. At one point Rusk intimated that Castro might be acceptable if free of Communist influence. McCone disagreed.
- Rusk felt we should attempt to develop a direct unattributable contact with Castro as the ability to reach him might be important at some future time.
- Rusk denied any involvement in policy on Food for Prisoners. McCone expressed great concern over AG’s talks with Perrez and President’s meeting this afternoon with Cardona, which Rusk knew nothing about. Apparently probing in this area is being done outside of State.
- In summary, Rusk felt we should recruit Dantas’ assistance to split Castro and the Communists but should not under any circumstances reveal our decision reference Castro.
John A. McCone2