23 October 1962 / Enciphered cable from Havana from Alekseyev on his discussion with Fidel Castro
Copy No. 12
[Translator’s note: Distribution for this cable is as follows: Brezhnev, Voronov, Kirilenko, Kozlov, Kosygin, Kuusinen, Mikoyan, Podgornyy, Polyanskiy, Suslov, Khrushchev, Khrushchev [sic], Shvernik, Grishin, Rashidov, Mazurov, Mzhavanadze, Shcherbitskiy, Demichev, Ilyevich, Ponomarev, Shelepin, Gromyko, Malinovskiy, Kuznetsov, Pushkin]
From: Havana No. 48535 Time: 5:10 Date: 23/X/1962
Spets. No. 1643-1644
S P E C I A L
Your [documents] No. 811, 812-813 were handed to F. Castro in the presence of Dorticos and Aragones. At the same time he was given the TASS-provided full text of the Soviet Government Statement and reports of the steps taken by the USSR Ministry of Defense for the combat readiness of the Soviet Army and Marshal Grechko’s convening of the member states of the Warsaw Pact. Castro thanked the Soviet government for their assistance and expressed his full conviction that the new aggressive plans of the US are destined for failure. He stated that the United States currently does not have sufficient forces to carry out a surprise attack on Cuba. In order to avoid attempts at direct interference, the Cuban government has brought all military units to combat readiness and is successfully mobilizing members of the national militia. There is general enthusiasm among the population, and no elements of panic have been noted. Plants and factories are holding rallies to see of those mobilized. Castro believes that these latest threats from the US only serve to further unify the Cuban people and inspire their resolve in the struggle against American imperialism. Castro said that he heartily approves of the Soviet government’s tactics and tone of the documents delivered to him that denounce US leaders as international gendarmes, and testify to the lawlessness of their actions from a position of force.
Castro suspects that the US will succeed in tricking a number of Latin American nations to break diplomatic relations with Cuba, but this action against the Cuban Republic will have no effect on the progress of the Cuban revolution, and will only serve to strengthen the anti-imperialist movements in Latin American countries.
Castro believes that actions of American imperialism against Cuba give the Cuban government the moral right to realistically demand the elimination, through legal means, of the American base in Guantanamo, and use this incident in their propaganda against imperialism.
Because of the fact that the presence in Cuba of Soviet military specialists is no secret to the imperialists or the Cuban people, Castro posed the possibility of a number of them appearing in military uniform.
This step would be met with tremendous enthusiasm by the Cuban people and would place the US in a more difficult position.
Expressing these thoughts, Castro also pointed to the need for discipline among our military specialists to be stepped up, since several cases of self-indulgence, drink binging, automobile accidents, etc. have been noted, causing an unfavorable reaction among the backward-looking layers of the Cuban people.
In light of the incoming signals from your Cuban friends on this issue, our command has been planning to hold a large-scale commander conference today, which would have been attended by R. Castro, on issues of strengthening discipline, although due to the situation, the conference had to be postponed.
The command is taking all steps necessary for this challenge, and considers this one of the chief problems at the present.
Fidel Castro asked us to assure the Soviet government of the resolution and composure of Cuba’s leadership, and the absolute confidence in those steps the Soviet government is currently taking and will continue to take on the issue of protecting Cuba.
At the end of the conversation, Castro touched on the Sino-Indian conflict and stated that the actions of the Chinese comrades complicate the Cuban position in both internal and international plans. We may not endorse the policy of the PRC in this issue, he said, and will in any event have to reckon with the grievances of the Chinese, who are always making noises to us for our press to hush up about this business.
NOTE: No. 811 (Ref. No. 29127) dated 23.X.62 Comrade Kuznetsov sent Khrushchev’s message to F. Castro regarding the announcement by the US administration and Kennedy’s 22 October speech on [their] flagrant interference into the affairs of the Cuban Republic.
No. 812-813 (Ref. No. 29128) dated 23.X.63 sent a copy of US President Kennedy’s letter to the N.S. Khrushchev regarding Cuba, to be handed to F. Castro.
[Translator’s note: Handwritten “Reference cable from Washington 1744-1747 from 23.X.62.]