83. Telegram From the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba to the Department of State1

10155. Subj: Castro Offers Good Offices. Ref: (A) Havana 10120 (B) State 299655.2

1. (S—Entire text.)

2. Castro called me to his office tonight to say he has sent message to Iranian authorities as suggested by Jose Luis Padron (see Ref A) calling on them to release hostages and offering good offices as President NAM. He said he hoped release of women and black hostages was first step on Iranian side toward more rational position. Cuba wished to help defuse situation which had dangerous implications not only for Iran and US but for whole world. If his efforts in this matter are to have any chance of success they would have to be extended with utmost discretion. They should not rpt not become matter of public knowledge.

3. I indicated appreciation for efforts to obtain release our hostages. I emphasized however that US would not be blackmailed. Taking of hostages was simply unacceptable and first step in defusing situation should be their release unharmed.

4. Castro expressed full appreciation for US position. He urged that US continue to show prudence and patience under great pressure which had characterized its reaction for past two weeks. US prestige had gained by such coolness while Iran was now left virtually isolated. Thanks to US patience hostages were still alive and chances that Iranian authorities would listen to reason seemed to have increased. US should of course continue to show firmness of purpose but must be patient yet a bit longer. He had impression Iranian authorities might be looking for way out but would need time to get their people under control. He would use any influence he had with them to bring about release [Page 179] of hostages and defuse situation. He promised to inform me immediately of Iranian reaction to his message.3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840131–1646. Secret; Cherokee; Niact Immediate; Nodis.
  2. In telegram 10120 from Havana, November 16, the Interests Section reported that Cuban officials condemned the Iranian decision to take Americans hostage as “irresponsible” and “uncivilized.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840131–1648) In telegram 299655 to all diplomatic posts, November 17, the Department announced that the Iranians had decided to release “women and black” hostages. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790529–1188) Iranian students seized more than 60 U.S. diplomats and citizens on November 4.
  3. In telegram 10338 from Havana, November 25, Smith reported that Cuban Vice President Carlos Rafael Rodriguez received a reply from the Iranian Revolutionary Council declining Cuba’s offer of its good offices but suggesting that the Iranians might intend to use the Cubans as a channel to communicate with the United States. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840133–2368) In telegram 10388 from Havana, November 27, Smith stated that Rodriguez declared there was “little more Cuba could do,” but hinted that if the Cubans won a seat on the Security Council, they could be more active about the hostage situation in the United Nations. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840131–1637)