294. Memorandum From Gordon Chase of the National Security Council Staff to the Presidentʼs Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Senator McCarthy/Che Guevara
John Crimmins gave me a brief read-out (reportedly, more details are to come)2 on the meeting Senator McCarthy had with George Ball about McCarthyʼs meeting with Che Guevara. After listening to McCarthy, State feels that the conversation was entirely Lisa-generated and that Che really had nothing to tell us. (My own pre-conversation odds, which I transmitted to State, where 7–5 that Che wanted to talk to us but less than even money that he would say anything new to us.)
Che exuded confidence with McCarthy.
Latin America, with the possible exception of Chile, is going to collapse. Everything is ripening in Cubaʼs direction. The U.S. is on the wrong wicket and is going to lose.
Resumption of trade with the U.S. would be good but Cuba can get along without it.
The U.S. policy on drugs to Cuba is iniquitous.
If the McCarthy/Che conversation does become public, it could cause us some problems (e.g. in Latin America) since McCarthy will be viewed by some as an envoy from the Administration. Our line presumably will be to simply stick to the facts—i.e. that we donʼt control U.S. Senators and newspaperwomen; in this regard, the Senator did not ask for our recommendation before he had his talk with Guevara.

About the only plus from the McCarthy/Che meeting is that it was probably an eye-opener for McCarthy.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Cuba, Contacts with Cuban Leaders, 5/63–4/65. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. See Document 293.