2. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The President
  • Mr. Alfredo Duran
  • Zbigniew Brzezinski


  • Cuban Relations

I. Mr. Duran made the following points:

1. Cuba is in a very poor economic situation, and Castro wishes to solve his economic problem by improvement in US/Cuban relations.

2. Castro will strive to postpone diplomatic relations because he fears the political impact in Cuba.

3. U.S. priorities tend to be wrong for they put too much emphasis on compensation for expropriated property and not enough on human rights.

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4. Human rights issues which it would be appropriate to raise include:

a. Red Cross visits to prisons,

b. Some relief for the sick survivors of the Bay of Pigs still in Cuban prisons,

c. Visiting rights for U.S. Cubans to Cuba,

d. Relaxation of travel rights for Cubans,

e. Internal amnesty, etc.

2. It was agreed that Mr. Duran will give Dr. Brzezinski names of bipartisan U.S. Cubans with whom these issues can further be discussed.

3. The possibility should be explored of a speech by Ambassador Young in the UN on the human rights issue if Castro is not responsive.2 Castro should not be allowed to set the pace and the tone of the US/Soviet relationship.

4. Reference was made to the US/Hungarian example where the Hungarians made some initial accommodation on human rights, followed by an improvement in US/Hungarian relations, followed by more extensive internal Hungarian accommodation on human rights issues.3 In the case of Cuban relations, further consideration would have to be given also to Cuban external activity in the Caribbean, in America and elsewhere.

Zbigniew Brzezinski4
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 10, Cuba, 1–2/77. Top Secret. The meeting took place in the Oval Office. Alfredo Duran was a Cuban exile who participated in the Bay of Pigs landing in Cuba, and was Chairman of the Democratic Party in Florida.
  2. This speech was not given.
  3. In 1966, 10 years after the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian Revolution, the United States and Hungary began taking small steps toward improved relations through an exchange of Ambassadors. The two countries signed a bilateral trade agreement in 1978.
  4. Printed from a copy with this typed signature.