U.S.-Cuba Hijacking Agreement, 1969-February 1973


122. Memorandum from the President’s Assistant For National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon

Kissinger summarized and commented upon an attached memorandum from Secretary of State Rogers to the President that noted the potential dangers from the growing number of airline hijackings to Cuba. Rogers informed the President of U.S. diplomatic efforts to prevent hijacking to Cuba.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 780, Country Files, Latin America, Cuba, Vol. I. Confidential. Sent for information.


123. Memorandum From Viron P. Vaky of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Vaky informed Kissinger that the Cuban Government had announced a tough new anti-hijacking law and suggested that it was a gambit to improve relations with the United States.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 780, Country Files, Latin America, Cuba, Vol. I. Confidential. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicates that Kissinger saw it on September 26. The wire service story was attached but not published.


124. Letter from Secretary of Transportation Volpe to Secretary of State Rogers

Volpe urged Rogers to take advantage of the Cuban Hijacking Decree, which Volpe saw as a significant move and a possible means of obtaining the return to the United States of those who hijacked U.S. aircraft to Cuba.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, AV 12. No classification marking.


125. Memorandum from Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon

Rogers recommended that the President send a note to the Cuban Government informing it that the United States was prepared to return hijackers on a reciprocal basis except in cases of political asylum.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, AV 12. Confidential. Copies were sent to S/S, ARA, and L. The note and background memorandum were attached but not published.


126. Memorandum from the President’s Assistant For National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon

Kissinger informed the President that Secretary of State Rogers was recommending that the United States send a note to the Cuban Government on the hijacking problem. Kissinger agreed with Rogers’ reasons for doing so.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 780, Country Files, Latin America, Cuba, Vol. I. Confidential. Sent for action. Nixon initialed his approval on November 13. Tab A is Document 125. Tabs B and C were attached but not published.


127. Letter from Secretary Rogers to Secretary of Transportation Volpe

Rogers informed Volpe that he shared his concerns about Cuba’s proposed anti-hijacking law and reported that the Department of State had decided on an approach to Cuba after seeking the approval of President Nixon.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, AV 12. Confidential. Drafted by Mark B. Feldman (L/ARA) on November 6 and 12, and cleared by Feehan and Loy. The memorandum is Document 125. Attached but not published was the proposed note.


128. Telegram 199293 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Switzerland

The Department provided background information for the Swiss Government on Cuban Law 1226, quoting the text as well as clarification from Cuban Ambassador Alarcon’s speech at the UN. The telegram spelled out U.S. goals in any hijacking agreement and included the text of a diplomatic note to be delivered to the Cubans by the Swiss Ambassador to begin negotiations for a possible agreement on hijacking.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, AV 12 US. Confidential; Priority;Exdis. Drafted by Park F. Wollam and Robert F. Funseth (ARA/CCA) and Hurwitch; and cleared by Frederick Smith Jr., Deputy Administrator for Security and Consular Affairs, Loy, Stevenson, Feldman, and Vaky.


129. Telegram 3810 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Switzerland

The Department of State thanked Ambassador Fischli for transmitting Premier Castro’s response to the U.S. diplomatic note and requested that he pass “precisely and fully” the views of the United States to Cuban Foreign Minister Roa. The Department indicated its willingness to use Cuban Law 1226 as a basis for negotiation of a hijacking agreement.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AV 12 US. Confidential; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Feldman on January 8; cleared by Stevenson, Hurwitch, Funseth, and U. Alexis Johnson; and approved by Charles H. Meyer.


130. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon

Kissinger sent the President a memorandum from Secretary of State Rogers asking for approval to present a draft memorandum on hijacking to the Cuban Government. Kissinger agreed with the Department of State arguments in favor of the action, and Nixon approved dispatching the attached note and a proposed memorandum of understanding.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Box 780, NSC Files, Country Files, Latin America, Cuba, Vol. II. Secret. Sent for action. The President initialed his approval on June 11. Tabs B-C were attached but not published. Kissinger informed Rogers of the President’s decision in a June 12 memorandum and stated that any press releases or backgrounders regarding the issue should be coordinated with the White House in advance. (Ibid.)


131. Telegram 96818 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Switzerland

The telegram transmitted the text of a diplomatic note to the Cuban Government on the proposed hijacking agreement. It also included a proposed memorandum of understanding.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AV 12. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Funseth and Feldman on June 16; cleared by Loy and Salans; and approved by Hurwitch.


132. Telegram 209449 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Switzerland

The telegram transmitted the text of a diplomatic note to be delivered by Swiss Ambassador Fischli to Foreign Minister Roa on the proposed Cuban Hijacking Agreement. In a background to the message, the Department of State agreed with Fischli that Cuba was stalling, and that this new message was a U.S. attempt to exert maximum pressure on Cuba.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AV 12. Secret; Priority;Exdis. Drafted by Funseth and Feldman; cleared by Stevenson, Hurwitch, Kissinger and Rein; and approved by U. Alexis Johnson.


133. Memorandum from Arnold Nachmanoff of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Nachmanoff sent Kissinger for his approval a proposed Department of State telegram to Bern for transmittal to Cuba requesting a response to the U.S. note and the draft memorandum of May 28 ( Document 130).

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 780, Country Files, Latin America, Cuba, Vol. II. Secret; Exdis. Sent for action. Kissinger initialed his approval. Tabs B and C were attached but not published.


134. Memorandum from the Assistant Legal Adviser for Inter-American Affairs (Feldman) to the Assistant Legal Adviser of Administrative and Consular Affairs (Malmborg)

This memorandum records details of Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Meyer’s testimony before an Executive Session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and reports the committee’s primary concern was why the United States could not accept a anti-hijacking agreement based on the entirety of Cuban Law 1226. Concerns of Senator Fulbright were also detailed.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AV 12 US. Confidential. Drafted by Feldman. Copies were sent to Hurwitch, Salans, Funseth, and Leahy.


135. Memorandum of Conversation between Secretary Rogers and Swiss Ambassador Schnyder

Rogers asked Schnyder to forward a message on completing a U.S.-Cuban hijacking agreement to Swiss Ambassador Masnata in Havana. Rogers emphasized that general U.S. policy toward Cuba would remain unchanged.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AV 12. Confidential; Exdis. Drafted by Hurwitch and approved in S on November 17. Rogers informed the President of his conversation with Schnyder that evening. (Ibid., President’s Evening Reading: Lot 74 D 164)


136. Information Memorandum from Assistant Secretary Meyer to Secretary Rogers

Meyer reported that the Cuban Government was ready for early talks on hijacking and other serious crimes.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AV 12. Confidential; Exdis. Drafted by Joseph Norbury (ARA/CCA) and cleared by Hurwitch. Rogers informed the President of this response on November 22. (Ibid., President’s Evening Reading: Lot 74 D 164)


137. Memorandum from Secretary Rogers to President Nixon

Rogers informed the President of details of the first Swiss-Cuban meeting on the proposed Cuban Hijacking Agreement.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, President’s Evening Reading: Lot 74 D 164. Confidential.


138. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon

Kissinger sent the President a memorandum from Secretary of State Rogers informing the President that Rogers intended to respond to the Cuban draft agreement on hijacking. Kissinger provided background to the negotiations for the agreement.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 780, Country Files, Latin America, Cuba, Vol. II. Confidential (GDS). Sent for information. In a December 1 memorandum to Kissinger recommending that he send this memorandum to the President, William J. Jorden of the NSC staff noted that Rogers “help[ed] draft” the U.S. draft memorandum. (Ibid.) Tab B was attached but not published.


139. Memorandum from Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Hurwitch) to Secretary of State Rogers

Hurwitch sent Rogers the preliminary reaction of the Cubans to the possibility of returning hijackers as part of the proposed U.S.-Cuban hijacking agreement.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AV 12. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Hurwitch. Rogers approved the recommendation but changed the language to read: “That Ambassador Masnata be instructed to suggest that one procedure that might be considered would be extradition under the 1904 treaty.” The memorandum of the meeting with the Canadians was attached but not published.


140. Information Memorandum from Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Meyer) to Secretary of State Rogers

Meyer forwarded a report from Swiss Ambassador Masnata in Havana on his discussion with Cuban Vice Foreign Minister Anillo on the proposed hijacking agreement.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AV 12. Confidential; Nodis. Drafted by Norbury. Rogers informed the President of the Masnata-Anillo discussion that evening. (Ibid., President’s Evening Reading: Lot 74D 164)


141. Information Memorandum from Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs (Meyer) and Acting Legal Adviser (Brower) to Secretary of State Rogers

Meyer informed Rogers that Swiss Ambassador Masnata reported that the Cubans were ready to accept the latest U.S. proposal on the hijacking agreement with two changes in the draft. Meyer suggested that the United States accept one change and that the Cuban Government agree to accept the U.S. language on the other.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AV 12. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Hurwitch and Feldman. Rogers wrote “OK” and initialed the memorandum. He also asked Eliot: “Is this acceptable to the Justice Dept?”


142. Memorandum From Serban Vallimarescu of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)

Vallimarescu informed Scowcroft that the United States and Cuba had reached an agreement on hijacking and attached a copy of the final text. He then summarized the agreement.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 780, Country Files, Latin America, Cuba, Vol. II. Confidential. Sent for information.