31. Editorial Note

At 2 a.m. on August 17, 1961, the head of the Cuban delegation to the IA-ECOSOC conference, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, contrived to meet the Assistant Special Counsel to President Kennedy, Richard N. Goodwin, at a party given by a Brazilian diplomat in Montevideo. The two spoke for approximately 3 hours. Goodwin made clear to Guevara that he had no authority to speak for the United States Government but would convey Guevara’s ideas to the appropriate people in Washington. Guevara expounded on the nature and problems of U.S.-Cuban relations. He repeated his condemnation of the Alliance for Progress. The previous day at the closing session of the conference, he had characterized the Alliance as an instrument of U.S. economic imperialism, which was doomed to failure by its reliance on the privileged governing classes in Latin America to implement reforms. For Goodwin’s account of the meeting, contained in his August 22 memorandum to President Kennedy, see Foreign Relations, 1961–1963, volume X, Document 257, and Remembering America, pages 195202.