26. Memorandum From the Deputy Director for Operations, Central Intelligence Agency (Wells) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Todman), the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Saunders), and Robert Pastor of the National Security Council Staff1


  • Comments by a Cuban Official Concerning the Views of Fidel Castro on Reestablishing Diplomatic Relations with the United States

1. The following information was obtained by a regular source from a medium-level Cuban official who was aware that the information would reach the U.S. Government and who claimed that it represented the views of Cuban leaders. While it is possible that the Cuban Government would want to surface trial balloons in unofficial channels, it is not clear why the Cubans would choose this relatively low-level channel to do so.

2. According to a Cuban official [3 lines not declassified] Castro is anxious to hasten the reestablishment of full diplomatic relations with the United States. For that reason, he has attempted to send the U.S. Government a sign of his good faith at every opportunity. According to the Cuban official, every U.S. official visitor to Cuba has managed to obtain Cuban approval for at least one request, such as the release of U.S. prisoners from Cuban jails.2 The Cuban official also said that Castro is pleased that there have been signs of good faith from the U.S. too, but that Castro is hopeful the U.S. soon will find the opportunity [Page 65] to send additional, more profound signs aimed at moving towards full diplomatic relations.

3. The Cuban official added that contrary to public statements that Castro does not see the likelihood of a meeting with President Jimmy Carter during his present term, Castro said that the sooner he and President Carter meet to discuss key issues, the better it will be for both countries and the hemisphere as a whole. According to the Cuban official, Castro suggested that the meeting with President Carter be held in a neutral site in a Caribbean country. The Cuban official said that Castro wants the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba to be lifted, but that Castro does not believe that that will help Cuba to the extent needed. What Castro seeks is most favored nation status in commercial dealings with the U.S.

4. The Cuban official reiterated Castro’s desire to receive additional signs from the United States that President Carter is just as interested as Castro in reestablishing full diplomatic and commercial relations between their countries. The Cuban official said Castro admitted that many points of conflict exist between the U.S. and Cuba, but that Castro believes relations should be established first because negotiation of the various issues would be facilitated if diplomatic relations were established. According to the Cuban official, one major sign of good faith would be for the United States to demonstrate that it comprehends Cuban policy in Angola by reducing the strength of its campaign for immediate Cuban withdrawal from Angola. The Cuban official said that an intelligent analysis of Cuba’s policy in Angola by the U.S. Government would probably convince the U.S. to moderate its criticism. (Field Comment: The Cuban official implied that Cuba finds itself militarily trapped in Angola with no immediate solution in sight. He seemed, however, to be trying to avoid stating that explicitly.)

5. No further distribution of this information is being made.

William W. Wells3
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 11, Cuba, 10–12/77. Secret; Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals; Not Releasable to Contractors or Contractor/Consultants.
  2. In telegram 768 from Havana, December 6, the Interests Section reported that during the Richmond and Nolan visit, Castro said he would consider the emigration of two released political prisoners who were U.S. citizens, and vowed to consider the release of five others. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770452–0685)
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates that [name not declassified] signed the original for Wells above this typed signature.