135. Memorandum of Conversation between Secretary Rogers and Swiss Ambassador Schnyder1 2


  • Hijacking


  • The Secretary
  • Amb. Felix Schnyder, Embassy of Switzerland
  • Mr. Olivier Exchaquet, Minister, Embassy of Switzerland
  • Mr. Robert Hurwitch, Deputy Assistant Secretary
  • Bureau of Inter-American Affairs

The Secretary asked Ambassador Schnyder to forward the attached message to Swiss Ambassador Masnata at Havana as soon as possible. The Secretary explicitly separated the question of a possible bilateral agreement on hijacking from any change in U.S. policy toward Cuba. He stated that U.S. policy toward Cuba remains unchanged. The Secretary also said that the U.S. agreed with Prime Minister Castro’s view that the negotiations should be conducted through the Swiss. He said that we were not considering dealing directly with Cuba on this matter but were wondering whether some other mechanism through the Swiss would not accelerate the process of reaching an agreement on the subject.

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The Department of State requests that you seek the earliest possible appointment with Foreign Minister Roa to deliver the following message orally:

The United States Government has welcomed the Government of Cuba’s desire to reach an agreement with United States on hijacking, as indicated in its Note of October 30, 1972, by Prime Minister Castro’s remarks on this subject to Swiss Ambassador Masnata on November 11, 1972, and by the Government of Cuba’s statement of November 14, 1972. The Government of the U.S. agrees that this important matter should be urgently addressed by both governments and wishes to inform the Government of Cuba that it is prepared to negotiate an arrangement regarding hijacking and other serious crimes which may be committed in the future.

Accordingly, the Government of the U.S. is willing to discuss such a bilateral agreement promptly. It is prepared to consider favorably any arrangements and location for such talks that would expedite agreement and awaits the Government of Cuba’s views.

  1. 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)
  2. 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.