PROBABLE INTERNATIONAL REACTIONS TO CERTAIN POSSIBLE US COURSES OF ACTION AGAIN

Created: 2/2/1961

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TS

CENTRAL

INTELLIGENCE AGENCY.

2 February

CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE IN7

MttCKANDUM YOR THE DII&CTOR

Probable International Reactions to Certoin Possible US Courses of Action against the Castro Re glue

Introduction

1* purpose of this Deaorandua ie.,to assess .the principal international reactions to various types of action the US night take to bring down the Castro governoent In Cubaspecially the nature and cogltude of possible Bloc counterooves and the possibility of eerious odverae reactions on the port of Latin Aoerlcaa countries or others In the Free World* Tbe possible actions here considered ore: (a) provision of active support, of varying degrees of nagnltude and overtness, to an atteoyt by Cuban opposition eleoents. Internal or in exile, to overthrow Castro; (b) nilltcry Invasion of Cuba with US forces; or (c) establishmentaval blockade of Cuba la international voters.

?. He cuBt emphasize that actual International reactloaabe greatly Influenced by circumstances which cannotforeseenby the precise nature of the USliner, speed, nod success with which it was carried out;extent to which drastic US action oight appear to bepossible new Cuban provocations; or by possible changesrelations with other Latin ADericca countries. believe that now valid gene rail cat ions can be oade onof the situation as It baa developed so for and; ofof the possible US actions

Slno-Sovlet Bloc Reactions

3. Bloc leaders frca the start have recognized the valueevolutionary, Ero-Ccexjunlst Cubaource of Iritatlon and embarrassment to the US, ob on example for revolutionaryelsewhere In the hemisphere, 0ndenter for Coenunist as well as Cuban agitation and propaganda throughout Latin America, The Bloc has provided Castrc with extensive political, econoolc, and ailltnry support.

U, Moreover, the Cuban exoople hes assumed Increasingin Cooiunlst cssessDents of the world situation. Cuba is bt lug depictedrice exoople of the thesis that colonial

re glees ore inevitobly toppling under the icpQct of revoJutlooory nationolisD, ond thnt Bloc strength can prevent tho imperialists froa intervening to reverse this process. In the Bloc's view the Castro regloe Is farther alone toward the next stogethe advent of Coeaunlst powerthan any other Free World country. While Dore recent Soviet proaounceoents nave tended tospecific oilltary coonitoenta to Cuba as well as Khrushchev's lap lied threat ofimer that Cuba was under the protection of Soviet nlsslles, the Soviets have if anything reinforced their political aligmaent with the Castro regloe,

For these reasons, the Bloc would regardubstantial political defeat ond would respond vigorously to any major US coveovert or covert and whether or not supported by othersto bring it about. Its efforts would probably be directed prlcorily at hooding off the Aaerlcun threat to Cuba by political neons, utilizing in tbe process all opportunities to arouse syopnthy for Cubalctio ofaggression, and to depict the US actionhreat to the peace* To this end, it would probably etlculnte and support cuss dco-xis trot loos against the US In various countries of Latin Acerlco and elsewhere. It would probably doennd action by tho UN to censure tbe US nod preserve Castro, rxs'- likely through

strong resolutions calling on tbe US to desist but possibly also through ectablishuent of sooe sort of UN presence In Cuba. Tbe USSR vould flroly oppose any US move tolockade and vould use all diplccatic and legal Deans at Its disposal to deny it international acceptance.

To leod urgency to its political approach, the USSR vould seek to heighten the crisis and play on vorldvlde fears of general war. Khrushchev would probably issue generalized warnings about the possibility of wider hostilities and night try to give then greater substance with threatening actions. In the eventrolonged military struggle between Castro and US-backed opposition forces, the Bloc vould almost certainly seek tD dispotch military supplies or possibly even snoll numbers oflthough the latter appears unlikely to us.

However, ve believe that the Bloc vouldirect military confrontation with US forces. The CocDunlst leaders almost certainly recognize that they hove little or no cata-bility to counter US military power in the Cuban area and that US sensitivity regarding Cuba Is very great. Certainly they vould not wish to risk general var over this Issue. Although* the Soviets vould probably seek toS blockade, for

example, they vould almost certainly do soerchant vessel, perhaps announcing that it was loaded vith foodstuffs and other ccasumer requirements, rather thanarship.

S. Even if the US succeeded in bringing Castro dovn, Bloc leaders probably believe that they could offset this defeat to some extent by depleting Castroartyr to Americanwhich took advantage of1 size and closeness to the US, The Bloc leaders would probably also feel themselves impelled to Increase pressures elsewhere in order toloose of Communist advance. ecision about whet to do vould de,*nd on anny factors, such as the local circumstances atspot was under consideration and their appraisal of the new political situation created by the US action, including ony reassessment of US willingness to resist Bloc moves elsewhere.

9. Especially If the US action were obvious or acknowledged, Khrushchev would be under pressure especially from Communist China tc giveis present conciliatory line and to shiftorepolicy. Tbe atmosphere would sake It difficult,ime at least, to hold aay US-Soviet discussions lookingtoward on improvement of relations,

10. Castro's stature in Latin Aoerlca bos corkedly declined over the lost year, although be stillood deal of synpathy aoong lover iccone groups of the area. His dictatorial aethods, Ms political ocddling la other countries, and his close collaboration vith world cocnunlsn have progressively alienated aony who initially felt that Castro wasong needed social revolution to Cuba. Official opinion, ot Least privately, has generally crystallized againet Castro, and tho earlier tendency of tnny secretly to applaud hie Ynnkee-boitlng hos subsided. Tbe majority of Latin Arxrlcon governoenta oppercntly felt that the US econcolc enbergo was justified and virtually nil have at least privately syarathlied with the US decision to breakrelations. Peru and five lesser countriesaoong thep tbe authoritarian reglneshave also broken or suspendedties with Cuba, and fcur others have withdrawn their aobassadors frco Havnao.

11. Most Latin Arxrlcon leaders still ore reluctant toublic stand ogoinst Castro for fear of stirring up theand ecoetlces strategically plnced nlnority of pro-CoecaA-nlsts and other leftists who look to Castroynbol of their

own revolutionary os^lrotloos. Moreover, those leoders theoselvce continue to be influenced by traditional fears of US deal nation of the heoisphere. One or two Latin Anerlcan governosntBEcuador end perhaps Mexico) are still inclined to workegotiated settlement between the US and Castro. The stand of Brazil's new president is uncertain* Thus, we see littleas natters now stand that the OAS can bo induced toin or officially sanction anti-Castro censures of tbe drastic nature considered In this raeaorandum. Huwever, oany Latin American leaders probably expect that the US by Itself will sooner or Inter fool coopelled to take increasingly strong measures against Castro. Indeed, some sectors of Latin Anerlcan opinion already criticize the US for not dealing sufficiently forcefully with the Cuban reglae.

12. Despite the likellhocd of outcries frco the far left, cost Latin American governments would at least privately approve of unobtrusive US support for on opposition move against Costro which they believed likely to win brood popular support In Cuba.ew governments such as those la Venezuela and Colombia would be oore inclined to approve if they bad been consulted by the US in advance. Some, indeed, would probably be willing to

provide covert assistance of their own forove,If they were ossured that the US would cornlt Itself to overthrow the Trujlllo dictatorship la the Dominican Republic, This last Issue Is critical to Venezuelan President Betancourt, whose moderate leftist government is widely respected In the hemisphere. If Betoncourt supported new US moves agalost Castro in return for US commitments regardingumber of other Latin American governments probably vould fall In line.

13* WHlingncos to go along would be greatly weakened ifbe US role were such as to suggest that the US wasew regime rather than assisting the Cubans themselves to settle their ownirect participation of US combat forces in action against Castro vlthla Cuba Itself vouldiolent and bitter reaction throughout the hemisphere, reflected In stroogoppositioo in tbe CAS and UN. These reactions vould be especially deep and lasting if it appeared that the US was attempting to Install another reactionary Bctlsta-type regime in Cuba.

lb. The Latin American reaction would also be adverse if

t

the USlockade of Cuba in international waters, though It would probably be less Intense than In the cose of

ations within Cuba. At least in the absence ct now ond ;erounolve Cuban .revocations, ooot Latin Acer! canlockade unless it were in su,,ort of an amcd insurrection within Cuba of which theyorcved.

Reactions Elsewhere in the Free Wrli

The other free McrU natloao hove for the nost ^nrt not been deeply involved with the Cuban issue. The Western Euroi>eonseferred t- let the US handle Cuba as it sees fit, and the Afro-Aslanc hove taken little note of Cuba, which Is far frcoore of intereot. However, drastic US actions (and Soviet counteractions) night create strongtloo byfears cf general war and by creatingiolly for the AfrcAsiaos) on lnvresolon of rao,.ant coloiiicliso.

The reaction would be aJElnal iu the case of unobtrusive US support far an ov.sosltion atteapt against Castro. Tillsood deal of cyniciso throuebcut the world about the

US role, but if quickly successful little ether lasting reacti-c. However,rction In which US particl;.eticn was Larked, or one which resulted in prolonged and Inconclusive fighting, would* probably generate widespread pressure for uuves to Internationalize and cootrcl the situation.

27* Actual US military Intervention In Cuba vould nloost certainly evoke widespread and veheoent political opposition, evea if carried out so rapidly as to present the worldait neccagll. It would renlnd oany peoplehe Soviet intervention in Hungary. It wouldarticularlyresponse among the Afro-Aslea nations, who ore, like the Latin Americans, extremely sensitive to what they consider great power disregard for the rights of sen Her nations,in colonial or fairer colonial arena. In sorethe US night be placedituation eonparable to that of the British and French at the tioe of Suez, with even mny of our NATO allies likely to take the position the US did at that tioe.

IB. Although US impositionaval blockade lawaters would probably cause somewhat less international furore than on overt US military invasion of Cuba, there would be widespread receptivity, particularly in tbe Afro-Asian world, to the likely Castro argumant that the US was trying to starve the Cuban people into submission. Since most trade with Cuba Is carried on by ships of other nations,lockade would post the question of international acceptancearticularly

acute fern. Evco onong these notloos otherwise not particularly sympathetic to Castro, there would probably be widespread resent-oent at having their own ships halted and denial of the US right to do so. Although we would not expect ollitary counteraction, even by the Dloc, there would be great ;reS3Ure on the US, diploantlc and legal, to abandon the blockade.

ABBOT SMITH Acting Chaiman

FOR IKS BOA IE OF NATIONAL ESTIMATES

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