9. Presidential Directive/NSC–61


  • The Vice President
  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense


  • The Secretary of the Treasury
  • The Attorney General
  • The Secretary of Commerce
  • The United States Representative to the United Nations
  • The Director of Central Intelligence


  • Cuba
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After reviewing the results of the meeting of the Policy Review Committee held on Wednesday, March 9, 1977, to discuss U.S. policy to Cuba, I have concluded that we should attempt to achieve normalization of our relations with Cuba.

To this end, we should begin direct and confidential talks in a measured and careful fashion with representatives of the Government of Cuba. Our objective is to set in motion a process which will lead to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba and which will advance the interests of the United States with respect to:

—Combating terrorism;

—Human rights;

—Cuba’s foreign intervention;

—Compensation for American expropriated property; and

—Reduction of the Cuban relationship (political and military) with the Soviet Union.

The issues we should raise in the exploratory talks include: fisheries and maritime boundaries; the anti-hijacking agreement; human rights conditions in Cuba (including release of American citizens in Cuban jails, visitation rights, and emigration rights); Cuba’s external activities in Angola and elsewhere; Cuba’s activities with regard to Puerto Rico; sports, cultural and scientific/technical exchanges; compensation for American property which was expropriated by the Cuban Government; the possibility of trade relations; and the establishment of an American Interest Section in the Swiss Embassy.

To implement this new policy and to negotiate in pursuit of these objectives, the Secretary of State should designate officials to begin exploratory talks with Cuba with the intention that they will lead to appropriate, reciprocal and sequential steps looking toward normalization of relations between our two countries. Following an exploratory round of discussions,2 the National Security Council should make recommendations to me on how we should proceed.

The Secretary of State should insure that the NATO Governments, Japan and various Latin American Governments are informed of U.S. initiatives toward Cuba, as appropriate.

The Attorney General should take all necessary steps permitted by law to prevent terrorist or any illegal actions launched from within [Page 23] the United States against Cuba and against U.S. citizens and to apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of such actions.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 10, Cuba, 3/77. Secret. The President signed his full name at the top of the first page.
  2. In the initial round of negotiations, held in New York March 24–29, Todman led the U.S. side. Deputy Foreign Minister Pelegrin Torras led the Cuban side. Minutes of the negotiations are in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Pastor, Country, Box 10, Cuba, 3/77. See also Document 15.