222. Summary of Meeting1

1. Dobrynin read from oral message, translating as he went along. He gave us text in Russian. (Our translation is attached.)2

Main points of message:

a) SU has not violated 1962 understanding.3 US is now raising artificial issue, which will harm US-Soviet relations.

b) what US calls “combat unit” is a training center. Cuban servicemen are trained there to master Soviet military hardware with the help of Soviet military personnel.

c) this training center has been functioning for 17 years, under all the US Administrations during this period.

d) neither the numerical strength nor the function of these Soviet military personnel have changed significantly during this period. Any fluctuations in numbers were less than previously discussed (i.e., less than 500)

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e) We give this explanation out of good will to help close out the issue. This should not be interpreted as a supplement to the 1962 agreement.

f) There should be no misunderstanding of the fact that the withdrawal of Soviet military personnel from Cuba is out of the question.

2. Dobrynin added that the Soviet Union would not mind if the US wished to publish this information, which contradicts the US statement. It hopes this will close out the issue.

3. Dobrynin then added another paragraph, reading from a text which he did not transmit in writing:

“As for the hint in the US note4 regarding the possibility of a response by the US by certain measures in areas where it has displayed restraint until now: for one thing, we do not, speaking frankly, see much restraint; and secondly, such hints are not the way we can expect to lead to mutual understanding between our two countries.”

4. In response to questions, Dobrynin was not able to say whether there was significance in the fact that this note referred to the training of Cuban servicemen, while the earlier note and he in his conversation referred to the training of Cuban officers.

5. He was also not able to say whether the unit had been continuously in the same place, nor whether it had engaged in unit training, or what kind of training had taken place. While still not confirming the existence of a brigade, he said there had been no change in structure since 1962. Asked whether the Soviet government would be willing to confirm publicly that the 1962 and 1970 understandings were still in force, he said categorically yes with regard to 1962, but said re 1970 that it would have to be clear about what had been accepted; “what we accepted then, we still do.” Will ask Moscow about public statement. No response on question to whom the equipment now belongs.

6. CV said he would supply some questions for further clarification. Dobrynin was given geographical locations, to avoid misunderstanding re unit in question.

  1. Source: Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Special Adviser to the Secretary (S/MS) on Soviet Affairs Marshall Shulman—Jan 21, 77–Jan 19, 81, Lot 81D109, Box 11, Cuba. Secret.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. See footnote 4, Document 219.
  4. Not found.