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White House, Memorandum for the President Conversation With Command Ante Ernesto Guevara of Cuba, August 22, 1961

White House, Memorandum for the President Conversation With Command Ante Ernesto Guevara of Cuba, August 22, 1961

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Published by Michael Best
In this memorandum of conversation, aide Richard Goodwin recounts for President Kennedy his conversation with Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who seeks to establish a "modus vivendi" with the U.S. government. This document is noteworth for the Bay of Pigs because Guevara "wanted to thank us very much for the invasion- that it had been a great political victory for them- enabled them to consolidate- and transformed them from an aggrieved little country to an equal."
In this memorandum of conversation, aide Richard Goodwin recounts for President Kennedy his conversation with Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who seeks to establish a "modus vivendi" with the U.S. government. This document is noteworth for the Bay of Pigs because Guevara "wanted to thank us very much for the invasion- that it had been a great political victory for them- enabled them to consolidate- and transformed them from an aggrieved little country to an equal."

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Published by: Michael Best on Feb 21, 2012
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02/21/2012

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1961/08/22
 
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SECRET
THEWHITEHOUSE
WASHINGTON
August22,1961MEMORANDUMFORTHEPRESIDENTSubject:ConversationwithCornmandanteErnestoGuevaraofCuba
,/
TheconversationtookplacetheeveningofAugust17at2A.M.SeveralmembersoftheBrazilianandArgentine_~elegationshadmadeefforts--throughoutthePuntadelEsteConferenc
ej
toarrangeameetingbetweenmeandChe,ThiswasobviouslydonewithChe+sapproval,
if
nothisurging.IhadavoidedsuchameetingduringtheConference.OnThurs-daywearrivedinMontevideoandIwasinvitedtoabirthdaypartyforthelocalBraziliandelegatetotheFreeTradear
ea.;:
AfterIarrived,andhadbeenthereforaboutanhour,oneoftheArgentinespresent(whohadbeenontheArgentinedelegation)informedmetheywerein-vitingChetotheparty.Hearrivedabout2A.M.andtoldEdrnundoBarbosaDaSilvaofBrazilandHor
atdo-Lar
rettaofArgentinethathehadsom.ethingtosayto
rries.
Thefourofusenteredaroom,andthefollow-ingisasummaryofwhattookplace.(TheArgentineandBrazilianal-ternatedasinterpreters)Chewaswearinggreenfatigues,andhisusualovergrownandscragglybear-d;'Behindthebeardhisfeaturesarequitesoft,almostfeminine,andhismannerisintense.Hehasagoodsenseofhumor,andtherewasconsiderablejokingbackandforthduringthemeeting.'Heseemed
It
veryillatease~enwebegantotalk,butsoonbecamerelaxedandspokefreely.'Althoughheleftnodoubtofhispersonalandintensede-votiontocomrnunisrn,hisconversationwasfreeofpropagandaandbombaat;:Hespokecalmly,inastz-atghtfo'rwardmanner,andwiththeappearanceofdetachmentandobjectfvity.:Heleftnodoubt,atanytime,thathefeltcompletelyfreetospeakforhisgovermnentandrarelydis-tinguishedbetweenhispersonalobservationsandtheofficialpositionoftheCubangovernrnentsIhadthedefiniteimpressionthathehadthoughtouthisremarksverycarefully-..theywereextremelywellorganized.
DECLASSIFIED
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~,4
l-,h.A.t..-
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2.~
SECRET
 
SECRET
-2-
ItoldhimattheoutsetthatIhadnoauthoritytonegotiatemycountr-y+sproblems,butwouldreportwhathesaidto
drite
restedoffi'cialsofourgovernme
nt,
Hesaid"good"andbegan.GuevarabeganbysayingthatImustunderstandtheCubanrevol.u-tion.:Theyintendtobuildasocialiststate,andtherevolutionwhichtheyhavebegunisirreversible.TheyarealsonowoutoftheU..
:S.
sphereofinfluence,andthattooisirreversible.They
will
establishasingle-partysystemwithFidelasSecretary-Generaloftheparty.TheirtieswiththeEaststernfromnaturalsympathies,andcommonbeliefsintheproperstructureofthesocialorder.Theyfeelthattheyhavethesupporto£themassesfortheirrevolution,andthatthatsuppor,t
will
growastiInepasses.HesaidthattheUnitedStatesmustnotactonthefalseassumptionsthat(a)wecanrescueCubafrom.theclawsofcommunism(hemeantbyotherthandirect:militaryaction);(b)thatFidelisamoderatesurroundedbyabunchoffanaticandaggressivemen,andmightbemovedtotheWe'sternside;(c)thattheCubanrevolutioncanbeover-thrownfromwithin--thereis,hesaid,diIninishingsupportforsuchaneffortanditwillneverbestrongenough.HespokeofthegreatstrengthoftheCubanrevolution,andtheimpactithashadonliberalthoughtthroughoutLatinAmer
ica,
Forexample,hesaid,
all
theleftwingforcesinUruguaywerejoiningforcesunderthebannerof
Cuba.:
Hesaidcivilwarwouldbreakoutinmanycouu-trie's:
if
Cubawereindanger--andsuchwarm.ightbreakoutinany
events
HespokewithgreatintensityoftheimpactofCubaonthecon-tinentandthegrowingstrengthofitsexample.
d,,11
Hesaidthatinbuildingacommuniststatetheyhadnotrepeated~oftheaggressivemovesoftheEast
!
TheydidnotintendtoconstructanironcurtainaroundCubabuttowelcometechniciansandvisitor
s.
from
all
countriestocomeandwork.,'jHetouchedonthematteroftheplanethefts.,Hesaidhedidnttknow
if
Iknewbuttheyhadnotbeenresponsibleforanyhija.ckmgs
s.
Thefirstplanewastakenbyayoungfellowwhowasagoodboybutalittlewildandwhoisnowin
jail.
Theysuspectedthatthelastplanewastakenbyaprovocateur(aCIAagent}.1Heisafraidthat
if
these.theftskeepupit
will
beverydangerous.

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