302. Telegram 201916/Tosec 100134 From the Department of State to Secretary of State Kissinger in Alexandria1

201916/Tosec 100134. Subj: Cuba. Ref: Secto 10062. For Adams for the Secretary from Eagleburger. Communicator: Deliver all copies and tapes to Adams in sealed envelope.

1. On second thought I have decided not to transmit to my Cuban contact in New York by telephone the message called for in reftel. Consequently I have arranged to have Egan travel to New York tomorrow morning to deliver the message in a sealed envelope to the contact, and will meet him at the airport.

2. Following for your clearance is the text of the protest which will be delivered. If I have not heard from you by tomorrow morning, I will assume it is ok.

3. Quote. Recent informal discussions between the Government of the United States and the Government of Cuba have been pursued on the American side with a view toward exploring ways in which bilateral relations between the two countries could be improved. Recent actions on the part of the United States to relax travel restrictions and to lift third-country sanctions were designed, among other things, to contribute to an improvement in the atmosphere in which those talks take place.

4. During these informal discussions the United States has made clear that the issue of Puerto Rico and its relationship to us was particularly important and sensitive. The Cuban spokesman, in turn, indicated that while Cuba’s attitude toward the Puerto Rican issue was fundamentally different from that of the United States, Cuba’s position was not designed to cause problems for, or create disturbance with, the U.S.

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5. The United States does not ask or expect that the Government of Cuba change its basic view with regard to Puerto Rico. But recent Cuban actions to introduce in the UN Committee of 24 a resolution on Puerto Rico which would give special status to the Puerto Rican independence movement are, in our view, inconsistent with the Cuban assurances referred to in the paragraph above.

6. We have noted Prime Minister Castro’s August 21 statement that the lifting of third-country sanctions is a positive step by the United States in the normalizing of relations with Cuba. We also so regard it. It is in this context of steps toward the normalization of relations that we believe it important that it be understood that the United States Government must view a continued pressing of claims by Cuba, in the United Nations and elsewhere, that the present relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States is the result of suppression, and that Puerto Rico is a colonial issue, as a distortion of the facts and an interference in the internal affairs of the United States. Continued efforts by the Government of Cuba to play upon the Puerto Rican issue in public fora must be considered by the United States Government as anything but a “positive step” in keeping with the relationship we have both been trying to develop, and as harmful to a further improvement of relations between our two countries. Unquote.

  1. Summary: Eagleburger transmitted to Kissinger the text of a protest against Cuban efforts to promote Puerto Rican independence that was to be delivered to a Cuban Government contact in New York.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840083–0926. Secret; Immediate; Cherokee; Nodis. Drafted and approved by Eagleburger. In telegram 201436/Tosec 100079, August 23, to Kissinger, who was then in Alexandria, Egypt, the Department recommended that he authorize an exploration of possible retaliatory measures against Cuba in response to its effort to raise the question of Puerto Rican independence in the United Nations. (Ibid., D750292–0174) In telegram Secto 10062, August 23, Kissinger, who had travelled from Egypt to Damascus, Syria, responded by instructing Eagleburger “to send the Cubans a tough note via your channel on their actions re the Puerto Rico resolution.” (Ibid., P850011–1634, N750003–0394) In telegram 201478/Tosec 100085, August 23, Eagleburger informed Kissinger that he would make the requested approach on Monday, August 25. (Ibid., N750003–0396)