210. Letter From Senator Richard Stone to President Carter1
Last year you publicly issued a commitment which stated that it would be the policy of the United States to oppose any efforts, direct or indirect, by the Soviet Union to establish military bases in the Western Hemisphere.
I am deeply concerned about continuing, undenied reports of Soviet presence and activities in Cuba.2 This is especially true in light of open Cuban support for anti-government movements in Latin America. This concern is what prompted me last year to ask for this policy commitment from you.
During Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the SALT II Treaty, top-level Administration witnesses have been questioned about the still-secret agreement between the U.S. and the Soviet Union which ended the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. I asked Secretary of State Cyrus Vance to make the terms of this agreement public, because it is important during the SALT II debate to know whether or not the Soviet Union has lived up to these commitments concerning Cuba. I would [Page 631] again respectfully request that you tell the public what is known about this agreement, and about Soviet military activities in Cuba.
Last Friday and Saturday,3 major news organizations quoted senior administration officials4 as conceding that “they had received intelligence that the Soviet Union was setting up a high-ranking command structure in Cuba.” Further, these officials were quoted as saying that “this command structure would be able to handle a brigade-size force, while insisting that no such force has been brought to Cuba.”
Mr. President, in my view the continuation of such a command structure by the Soviet Union in Cuba does constitute Soviet efforts to establish a military base. Therefore, I ask that you take appropriate steps to effect its removal.5
- Source: Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Cyrus R. Vance, Secretary of State—1977–1980, Lot 84D241, Box 3, President’s Breakfast—5–8/79. No classification marking. Attached to Tarnoff’s July 26 memorandum briefing Vance prior to his July 27 breakfast meeting with Carter. Tarnoff recommended that Vance “inform the President of what we have done to lay down a marker to the Soviets on their activities in Cienfuegos and on the question of a brigade structure in Cuba.” (Ibid.)↩
- See the partial chronology of U.S. reaction to the Soviet brigade in Cuba, sent from Brement to Brzezinski and Aaron on September 7, 1979. The memorandum is in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, Outside the System File, Box 61, Cuba: Soviet Brigade Additional Documents: 9/5–20/79.↩
- July 20–21.↩
- See “Soviet Brigade Reported in Cuba,” Chicago Tribune, July 21, 1979, p. A4; and “Network Says Soviets Sent Brigade to Cuba,” The Washington Post, July 21, 1979, p. A6.↩
- Vance’s response to Stone, which outlines the history of a Soviet presence in Cuba, is printed in the Department of State Bulletin, October 1979, p. 63.↩