306. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Mexico1

260705. Ref Mexico 6405; State 254172; Mexico 7659.2 Subject: Hijacking.

On basis of recent developments, Dept. has concluded it would be undesirable to mention USG interest or involvement in any GOM approach to GOC on hijacking. Therefore unless Embassy perceives overriding reasons for inclusion USG interest/involvement, Embassy should approach FonSec with request to eliminate any reference to USG in any approach to GOC. If GOM feels reference to USG necessary, we would like to know why but are predisposed to alternative of no GOM approach if it includes mention USG.3
From here, GOC attitude toward USG on subject anti-hijacking measures continues to be one of unmitigated intransigence. Our mid-July proposal to utilize the Refugee Airlift for Cubans in US who wish to return to Cuba has gone unanswered for over three months.4 The GOC rep to the ICAO Assembly in Buenos Aires in September went along with an ICAO anti-hijacking resolution only after a long diatribe against the “oppressive and warlike policies” of the USG.5 In a note recently delivered to IATA,6 in response to an IATA approach beginning last August and periodically renewed since then, the Cuban Ambassador to the UN (speaking for Cuban President) engaged in more political fulmination against the US and refused to consider the IATA proposals. And, of course, we all are aware of the public attitude of the GOC toward the USG. In sum, in one direct approach, the USG has been ignored; and in two indirect approaches, the GOC has perceived the underlying USG interest and taken the occasions to blast us. We don’t see how a different result would eventuate from GOM inclusion of USG interest in any GOM approach to GOC.
Therefore deletion as per para 1 above recommended. If GOM plans approach, we suggest for GOM consideration either (a) a unilateral declaration of general applicability by GOC that hijackers not welcome in Cuba and either (i) they will be returned forthwith to country of nationality of aircraft (or to some third country if possible) or (ii) they will be tried for violation(s) of Cuban law; or (b) a bilateral GOM–GOC understanding for the reciprocal return of hijacked planes, crews and passengers (except crew members or passengers who wish to remain) and hijackers (hijackers to be returned willy-nilly).
The bilateral alternative would do little immediate good for USG. But it would establish a favorable precedent and, more importantly, would advertise anti-hijacking attitude of GOC. The unilateral declaration alternatives would go directly to the more significant deterrence point.
Despite turn-down IATA proposals mentioned para 2 above, IATA still pursuing matter, having delivered reply to Cuban note Monday, October 21. All info re IATA approach is FYI only.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files, 1967–69, AV 12. Confidential; No Distribution Outside Department. Drafted by Feehan (E/OA); cleared by Michael Styles (E/OA), Mark Feldman (L/ARA), Rueda (ARA/MEX), and Park Wollam (ARA/CCA); and approved by Loy.
  2. Dated August 8, October 11, and October 21, respectively. (The first two are ibid.; the last is ibid., AV 12 MEX)
  3. Mexico agreed to consult with the United States before making an approach. “While not explicitly so stating, Rosenzweig appeared to concur that such association would be counterproductive,” the Embassy reported. (Telegram 7773 from Mexico City, October 25; ibid., AV 12)
  4. See Document 298.
  5. See Document 304.
  6. See Document 305.