Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


Havana in Spanish to the Americas 0415 GMT 2 November 1962--E

(Live interview with Fidel Castro in television studios of station CMQ;
Luis Gomez Wanguermert, moderator)

(Text) Wanguermert: Good evening televiewers. The Cuban radio and
television stations have joined the national hookup this evening in order
to broadcast the statement of the premier and commander in chief, Dr. Fidel
Castro, on the talks held in Havana with U.N. Secretary General U Thant and
other current subjects.

Commander Castro, what can you tell us about U Thant's visit to Havana?

Castro: Well, the talks held with U Thant, the U.N. secretary general,
lasted two days, and I thought that the best way to inform the people of
this matter was to read the copies of the conversations.

The following should be pointed out and considered: On the first day talks
of a general nature were held in which our country's position was set
forth. On the second day he wanted to discuss several confidential matters.
I then asked him if he minded if the shorthand version of the first day's
talks, in which the entire position of the Cuban revolution of the reasons
for Cuba's conduct is set forth--if he minded if I made it public. He
agreed. We also promised him that the points--the questions and the matters
of a confidential nature he might discuss, labeling them as such, not for
our sake but for his--would not be published for the time being. However,
everything that was discussed is right there. Therefore, I shall read the
shorthand version of the conversations held at the Presidential Palace on
30 October 1962 which began at 1510 hours.

U Thant--I shall read the names of the persons speaking--so U Thant--there
is one point I should like to bring up--(Castro explains--Ed.) he (U
Thant--Ed.) is speaking: In the discussions I had in New York, both with
the representatives of the Soviet Union and with the representatives of the
United States, General Rikhye was always present, and I feel that his
presence would be useful at this meeting with the Premier.

We: We do not mind. General Rikhye is invited to participate in the

U Thant: First of all, Mr. Premier, I should like to thank you and your
government for your invitation to visit Cuba, not only for this mission,
but also for the invitation given me earlier. As I informed you when I
accepted your invitation, I came as soon as possible. I am certain that
today and tomorrow we shall have very fruitful talks toward finding a
solution with regard to Cuba's sovereignty and independence.

We: We can talk for as long as is necessary. We have plenty of free time to
give you.

U Thant: As you well know the Cuban problem was presented to the Security
Council last week during the meetings of the 45 neutral countries,
principally those which had attended the Bandung and Belgrade conferences.
Two meetings were held, and they sent representatives to confer with
me--since I also belong to a neutral country and participated in the two
meetings--to ask me to take the initiative, the initiative which could
contribute to the peaceful solution of this problem.

On 24 October I decided to take this initiative. After I heard the
statements by the three delegations in the Security Council I came to the
conclusion that the immediate problem was to make an appeal to the three
powers and I called upon Premier Khrushchev to suspend the arms shipments
to Cuba voluntarily for two or three weeks and upon President Kennedy to
lift the quarantine voluntarily; and then I called upon Your Excellency to
voluntarily suspend the construction of the missile bases to give us an
opportunity to discuss the problem calmly. Immediately after my request the
Security Council suspended its meetings to give me a change to put my plans
into effect.

On the following day I learned that Soviet ships are approaching the
quarantine area. I sent a second appeal to Premier Khrushchev and to
President Kennedy asking them to avoid a direct confrontation on this
matter, so that I could have the few days necessary to discuss this matter.
On the same day I send you a letter to which you very kingly replied asking
me to visit Cuba. The subject of this letter was the suspension of missile
base construction in Cuba.

Since then there have been communications between Premier Khrushchev and
President Kennedy, between Premier Khrushchev and myself, between President
Kennedy and myself. Naturally, Your Excellency also replied to my letter of
27 October. The contents of this letter are already known to the public
because it has been published.

As I see the problem, Your Excellency, it is in two parts: one immediate
and the other long term. For the time being the Security Council wishes to
deal with the solution of the immediate problem. The object of my
negotiations with the three powers I mentioned concerns only the immediate
problem, naturally. However, the United National will have to be involved
in some way in the solution of the long term problem.

Several factors are involved in the immediate problem: The first is that
Premier Khrushchev responded to my request, giving instructions to the
Soviet ships to keep away from the quarantine area for the time being for
several days. President Kennedy replied that he was prepared to avoid a
direct confrontation with the Soviet ships if they were not carrying
armaments, and Premier Khrushchev told me very explicitly that the Soviet
ships are not carrying armaments at present.

If the two powers agree, no armaments will be sent to Cuba for two or three
weeks, and for two or three weeks if no arms are being shipped the United
States will lift the quarantine.

What the United States wants to be sure of is that the Soviet ships will
not carry armaments. What the United State wants is a machinery-- an
arrangement--through the United Nations which would assure it that during
this period of two or three weeks no arms will enter Cuba.

The Soviet Union does not agree with this proposal. Yesterday the Soviet
Government proposed another solution, that is, that the Soviet ships would
permit inspections by the Red Cross, verification by the Red Cross that
they are not carrying weapons.

This reply by the Soviet Union was communicated to the United States last
evening. The Red Cross, which we contacted in Geneva by telephone
yesterday, replied that in the name of world peace and international
cooperation it would agree to take charge of this matter, either on the
high seas or in the ports of disembarkation, if the Cuban Government

I cannot take sides at all. I am not empowered to associated myself with
any of the proposals. I only informed the Red Cross, the Soviet Union, and
the United States that, with due consideration to Cuba's sovereignty, I
would request this of the Red Cross, always subject to the consent of the
Cuban Government. The three parties were informed of this, and it was
reported that the Cuban Government would be informed of it.

Therefore, Your Excellency, the first point, which would help my work
considerably, would be to know the attitude of the Cuban Government to the
idea of the Red Cross checking the transportation of armaments on Soviet
ships for the next two or three weeks. The question is: What would Cuba's
attitude be to this proposal?

President Dorticos: Are you speaking of the high seas, or in Cuba?

U Thant: Of course, I informed the governments of the Soviet Union and the
United States of this proposal made by the Red Cross. The Soviet Government
replied that this is a matter pertaining to Cuban sovereignty. I have not
received a reply from the U.S. Government on the matter. Would Your
Excellency like to discuss the matter point by point or all together?

We: I would prefer you to continue your statement.

U Thant: The United States told me, and also said so during the
negotiations and during the Security Council meetings, that its main
concern lies with the launching pads rather than the armament. Its
principal concern is the missile launching pads. As is well known, last
Sunday Premier Khrushchev instructed the Soviet technicians to dismantle
the missile launching pads and to return the missiles to the Soviet Union.
He also said that he would ask the United Nations to send teams to verify
if this has actually been done.

I replied to the Soviet representatives that before a team could be sent to
check on this the most important point was to obtain the prior consent of
the Cuban Government. This matter could not be presented without the
knowledge and consent of the Cuban Government and no action could be taken
which would violate its sovereignty.

I also informed both the Soviet representative and the U.S. Government that
I would come to Cuba to present this viewpoint to Premier Castro and to his
colleagues. Of course, but the Soviet Government and the U.S. Government
agree on this point--that if the launching pads are removed tension will be
reduced. What the United States is seeking through me is a temporary
agreement prior to the conclusion of the dismantling of the pads.

I asked the Soviet representatives how long this would take. They asked
Moscow, but this morning they had not received a reply.

What the United States is looking for is a temporary agreement with the
United Nations, subject, naturally, to the authorization and consent of the
Cuban Government. Naturally, no one knows how long this will take-- one or
two weeks, and perhaps more.

Thus, the first U.S. proposal is that if Cuba consents, a team of U.N.
representatives consists of persons whose nationalities are acceptable to
the Cuban Government would be suggested. The second proposal would be a
reconnaissance plane manned by persons acceptable to the Cuban, Russian,
and American Governments. A plane with a Cuban, a Russian, and a U.S.
representative on board for the two or three weeks this may last was also
suggested. I replied to the United States that this proposal would also be
presented to Premier Fidel Castro.

The United States informed me that as soon as this system has been put into
practice it would make a public statement, in the Security Council if
necessary, that it would harbor no aggressive intentions toward the Cuban
Government and would guarantee the territorial integrity of the nation. I
was asked to tell you this.

As I replied to the United States and to everyone, the most important thing
is that all these decisions cannot be reached without the consent of the
Cuban Government. I was told that if this decision was reached with
agreement of the Cuban Government and the United Nations, not only would
the United States make the statements in the Security Council but it would
also lift the blockade.

I informed the United States yesterday that while I was conferring with
premier Fidel Castro and the Cuban leaders, it would be ill advised for the
blockade to be maintained, and I asked that is be suspended. This morning
it was announced that the blockade had been suspended for the 48 hours of
my visit to the Republic of Cuba.

As Your Excellency knows, I said in the Security Council that this blockade
was highly unusual, not very common excepting in times of war. That is what
I told the Security Council. This viewpoint is shared by the 45 countries
which me and asked me to make this request.

Two of these 45 countries, who also have seats on the Security Council at
this time--the United Arab Republic and Ghana--made statements in this
connection during a meeting in the Security Council. Other countries of the
45 neutrals, particularly those which participated in the Belgrade
conference, will make similar statements if given an opportunity. So much
for the immediate problem.

Your Excellency, the Security Council did not authorize me to discuss the
longterm problems, although this is something which will have to be
discussed in the Security Council later. For the purposes of this first
conversation, this is all I have to say to you, Your Excellency.

We: There is one point which confuses me: it concerns your proposals on
inspection. They speak of two points here--a team and a plane. I should
like more explanation on this point. Please repeat to me the part referring
to the inspection proposal.

U Thant: Both proposals would come from the United Nations and would
consist of two units: one on land and the other from a plane for the period
of the dismantling of the bases, that is, about two weeks.

We: I do not understand why this is asked of us. Could you explain a little

U Thant: The explanation given by the United States why it is making the
request is that it wants to be certain that the pads are actually
dismantled and that the missiles are returned to the Soviet Union.

We: What right has the United States to ask this? I mean, if this is based
upon a real right of if it is a demand based upon force, or a position of

U Thant: This is my viewpoint: it is not a right. Such a thing could only
be done with the approval and consent of the Cuban Government.

We: We do not exactly understand why this is asked of us because we have
not violated any right, we absolutely have not attacked anyone. All our
actions have been based upon international law. We have done absolutely
nothing outside the norms of international law.

On the other hand, we have been the victims first of all of a blockage,
which is an illegal act, and in the second place, of the attempt to
determine from another what we have a right to do or not to do within our
frontiers. It is our understanding that Cuba is a sovereign state no more
nor less than any member nation of the United Nations with all the
attributes inherent in any of these states.

Moreover, the United States has repeatedly been violating our airspace
without any right, committing an intolerable act of aggression against our
country which it has sought to justify by an OAS decision, but this
decision is not valid for us. We were even expelled from the OAS. We can
accept anything that is just, that does not imply a reduction of our
sovereignty. The rights violated by the United States have not been
reestablished, and we do not accept any imposition by force.

I believe that this question of inspection is one more attempt to humiliate
our country, therefore we do not accept it. This request for inspection is
to confirm their attempt to violate our right, to act within our frontiers
with complete freedom, to decide what we can or cannot do within our
frontiers. This line of ours is not a new one; it is a viewpoint we have
invariably and always maintained.

In Cuba's reply to the joint U.S. resolution we said textually: The threat
of a direct armed attack if Cuba strengthens itself militarily to a degree
to which the United States takes the liberty of deciding is absurd. We do
not have the slightest intention of giving an account or of consulting the
U.S. Senate or House of Representatives with regard to the weapons we deem
it advisable to acquire and the measures to take to fully defend our

Do we not have the rights which the international norms, laws, and
principles recognize for every sovereign state anywhere in the world? We
have not granted and do not plan to grant the U.S. Congress any sovereign
prerogative. This viewpoint was confirmed in the United Nations by the
President of the Republic of Cuba, and also during many public statements
made by me as premier of the government, and this is a firm stand of the
Cuban Government.

All these steps were taken for the security of the country in the face of a
systematic policy of hostility and aggression. They were all taken in
accordance with the law and we have not abandoned our determination to
defend these rights.

We can negotiate in all sincerity and in all honor. However, we would not
be honorable if we were to consent to negotiate a sovereign right of our
country. We are prepared to pay the necessary price for these rights, and
this is not just so much talk, but an attitude very keenly felt by our

U Thant: I understand Your Excellency's sentiments perfectly. That is why I
told the United States and others clearly: Any U.N. action in Cuban
territory can be undertaken only with the consent of the people and the
Government of Cuba. I told them that in the name of peace, which is
ardently desired by everybody and by all inhabitants of the world. I told
the 45 countries and I agreed to come to Cuba without having any commitment
to either side.

Last night and this morning, before I began my trip, certain press reports
said I was coming to settle the details of the United Nations' presence in
Cuba. That is completely erroneous. That would be a violation of the
sovereignty of the Republic of Cuba. I have come here only to present the
other side's viewpoints and explore the possibilities of finding a peaceful
solution. The 45 countries that asked me to come also know what position is
legal and what is not, but in the name of world peace, and for a period of
only one or two weeks, perhaps three, they asked me to come to try to find
a possible solution.

Your Excellency, my conscience is clear on this point. The United Nations
can only undertake an action of this sort when it has the consent of the
government involved. It is not the first time this has happened. In Laos,
when a situation existed there that threatened international peace, the
United Nations established itself in that territory only after obtaining
the consent of the Government of Laos. In 1956, in Egypt, in the UAR, a
situation arose and the United Nations established itself in Egypt, and
still is in Egypt, with the consent of the government. Similarly, in 1958,
in Lebanon, another situation threatening world peace arose, and the United
Nations went in only after it had obtained consent of the Government of
Lebanon. One condition is absolutely necessary: In order to undertake an
action of that nature, the consent of the government involved must be

We: In the case of the Congo too?

U Thant: And in the case of Somalia.

We: In the case of the Congo I have understood they requested it of the
United Nations.

U Thant: In the Congo the petition was presented by the Government of the

We: In the Congo the government that requested it is buried now. In the
first place, our government has not the slightest doubt of the fine
intentions and the disinterestedness and honesty with which the present
U.N. Secretary General is working. We have no doubts at all about his
intentions, his good faith, his extraordinary interest in finding a
solution for the problem. All of us hold his mission and his person in
great esteem. I say this in all sincerity. I understand the interest we all
should feel in peace, but the path of peace is not the path of sacrificing
the rights of peoples, of violating the rights of peoples; that is
precisely the path that leads to war. The path of peace is the path of
guarantees for the rights of peoples and the peoples' readiness to defend
those rights.

In every case mentioned by the Secretary General, Laos, Egypt, Lebanon, and
the Congo, which I just mentioned--in all of these cases we see nothing but
a series of aggressions against the rights of the peoples. All were caused
by the same thing. The road to the past world war was the road marked by
the annexation of Austria, the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, tolerated
acts of German imperialism--and it led to that war. And we are keenly aware
of those dangers. We know the paths aggressors like to take. We guess the
path the United States wants to take with regard to us. Therefore it is
really hard to understand how it is possible to speak of immediate
solutions independently of future solutions, when the matter of greatest
interest is not to pay any price for peace now, but to guarantee peace
definitely, and not to by paying daily the price of an ephemeral peace.

And of course Cuba is not Austria, nor the Czechoslovak Sudetenland, nor
the Congo. We have the most resolute intention of defending our rights, in
the face of all difficulties and risks. And it is necessary for the U.N.
Secretary General to know this determination of ours so he can succeed in
his mission, or at least be able to work with a perfect knowledge of this

U Thant: I understand your sentiments perfectly, as well as the viewpoints
Your Excellency has expressed. As for the point of immediate solutions and
long-term solutions, I wish to say that the Security Council has authorized
me to seek means of obtaining peace in this area. I understand that
immediate solutions and long-term solutions are intimately interrelated,
and for those long-term solutions we should explore the possibilities in
the light of the situation as it exists now. The Security Council has given
me authorization for that. In practice, it is very hard to separate the
two. I believe that, if we find an immediate solution for this, it will
lead us to a permanent solution, not just for the United Nations but for
all interested parties.

In mentioning Laos and the other cases where the United Nations has
established itself, I agree with you, but I also want to say that the
United Nations, in those places, has succeeded in removing or averting
aggression from without. I thought, if you please, that the U.N. presence
in Cuba for a period of perhaps more than three weeks may likewise lessen
or eliminate the danger of aggression. It is my opinion that, in current
and future times, the presence of the United Nations in certain countries
will serve especially to remove and avert aggression.

President Dorticos: I would like to say something. I agree with what our
Premier has said about our full understanding of the high mission the
Secretary General is carrying out with such nobility. That mission, of
course, is none other than to seek means of guaranteeing peace in this
critical situation.

It seems there is a question to be defined: Where is the danger of war? In
the arms of one kind or another that Cuba has, or in the aggressive U.S.
designs against Cuba? We believe aggression is what can engender war. The
arms that exist in Cuba, regardless of what they may be, will never begin
an aggression. Therefore, we ask ourselves: Why is inspection, and an
acceptance of inspection, a condition for guaranteeing peace? To guarantee
peace it would suffice for the United States to pledge, with all necessary
guarantees through the United Nations, not to attack Cuba. That is why we
have set forth--and our Premier has repeated it here very clearly--that the
questions of a long-term solution, if they can be called that, are
intimately connected with the immediate solution of the crisis.

The immediate solution of the crisis would come as soon as the United
States offered guarantees against an attack on Cuba, minimum guarantees
that are contained in the declarations made by our Premier on 28 October
and which are surely known to the Secretary General. A U.N. stay in Cuba
for purposes of inspection, which the Revolutionary Government of Cuba does
not accept because of the reasons set forth by the Premier, would at most
mean a guarantee for two or three weeks of that peace, which he has rightly
called emphemeral. Immediately afterward, the danger of war would resume,
because the conditions that favor North American aggression against Cuba
would remain.

Let the United States give the guarantees that we demand as a minimum, and
the solution of the immediate problem will have begun. I would say, in the
last instance, that for the purpose of obtaining peace now, there are no
immediate questions or long-term questions to be discussed. We believe the
five points contained in the declarations made by our Premier are
ingredients that form part of the immediate discussion intended to
guarantee peace. We believe that these five points are not deferred for
long-term discussion, but that circumstances demand that they should be
part of the immediate discussion because, in our opinion, they are minimum
conditions for guaranteeing peace.

I repeat, peace is not endangered by our arms; peace is in danger because
of the aggressive conduct of the United States, and negotiations and
discussions covering these five points are what will immediately eliminate
the dangers of war. That is our understanding of the problem.

U Thant: First, I want to thank Your Excellencies, the President and the
Premier, for their kind words for my person and the post I occupy, and I am
in full agreement with both as to the solution we may find, for short-term
agreements should also include negotiations for long-term agreements. But
in terms of the United Nations, I believe the best solution--and in this I
believe the 110 member nations will agree--is for the United Nations,
through the Security Council, to provide U.N. representatives to seek and
find the long-term solution.

But right now, at this moment, I do not believe the United Nations, and its
Security Council, can arrive at a positive, acceptable long-term solution
in the best interests of everybody and world peace. If a long- term
solution if sound, it will be in the best interests of all and of world
peace, but I believe it is difficult to obtain at present in the United

We: I understand that if that short-term solution of which the Secretary
speaks were not achieved, it would be simply because the United States does
not want it and would persist in demanding inspection as a humiliating act
for Cuba, because, for purposes of that unilateral security which the
United States demands, the Soviet Government's decision to withdraw the
arms of a strategic nature which had been brought for the defense of the
Republic of Cuba should have sufficed.

The Cuban Government has not hindered the withdrawal of those arms, and the
Soviet Government's decision is in itself a decision of a public nature.
The mere fact that it was made in this manner in the public view has had an
effect on world public opinion. The United States knows that that decision
was made seriously by the Soviet Union and that, in fact, the strategic
weapons are being withdrawn.

If what the United States wants, beside that, is to humiliate our country,
it will not get it. We have not hesitated an instant in the decision to
defend our rights. We cannot accept impositions that can be forced only on
a conquerered country. We have not desisted from our determination to
defend ourselves, even to such an extent that they will never be able to
impose conditions on us, because first they will have to destroy us and
annihilate us, and in any case they will not find anybody here on whom to
impose humiliating conditions. (Prolonged applause)

U Thant: On the subject of the U.S. declaration, the United States has said
that it will make a public declaration of nonaggression and respect for
Cuba's territorial integrity once the missiles have been dismantled and
withdrawn. In my opinion, on that there is no disagreement.

I am completely in agreement with the Premier that the U.N. actions involve
an invasion of the rights of a member state, and in this case, speaking of
Cuba, if it is not in agreement with accepting a U.N. action, then my
duty--what I must do--is to inform those who made the proposal of this. It
is not my intention here to impose anything. My duty is merely to explain
the possibilities for finding the means, the manner, or the form by which
we could find a peaceful solution, without making concrete proposals. I
shall take into account everything that has been said here this afternoon
and I shall return, I shall go back, to make my report to the parties
interested in this.

I feel that this meeting has been very useful, and if the Premier is
agreeable we can meet again tomorrow, before I leave. Meanwhile, I can be
thinking over carefully what the President and the Premier have said about
this matter.

We: To conclude, I should like to reply on the question of Red Cross
inspection. We also oppose that inspection in our ports. I wonder, if the
Soviet Union authorizes inspection of its ships on the high seas, why would
it then be necessary to inspect them again in Cuban ports? In the second
place, I see that the Secretary centers his interest on getting the United
States to make that public declaration, that pledge in the United Nations,
that it will not invade Cuba.

On this point, I wish to say first that the United States has no right to
invade Cuba and that it is impossible to negotiate with a promise not to
commit a crime, with a mere promise not to commit a crime, and that in the
face of that danger we trust more to our determination to defend ourselves
than to the words of the U.S. Government. But moreover, if the United
Nations attaches great value to a public commitment entered into in that
body by the United States, such as a commitment not to invade, why not
concede equal value to the public commitment to the United Nations made by
the USSR to withdraw the strategic weapons it send for the defense of the
Republic of Cuba?

These would be two equally public commitments. If one of them needs no
additional guarantee--that is, the U.S. commitment not to invade Cuba--why
does the Soviet Union's commitment to withdraw its strategic weapons need
the additional guarantee of inspecting us?

We shall meet with you again with pleasure as often as you wish and at the
time you choose.

U Thant: Many thanks, Your Excellency.

(Castro speaks for himself at this point--Ed.): And that was the end of the
first meeting. At the second meeting, he began by saying: "I want to thank
the government and the people for the hospitality and the facilities they
have afforded me in this country. The motive for this new meeting is to
exchange opinions on certain confidential matters I have in mind."

Thus, at this second meeting, he started off by saying it would deal with
matters of a confidential matter. We agreed with him not to make public the
things he said. Fundamentally, at this second meeting we maintained our
viewpoints from the first meeting and brought up a few things, such as the
danger inherent in the violations of our airspace, the danger of an
incident, and the fact that it was indispensable for the United States to
suspend those flights.

At the same time, the U.N. Secretary General asked us for information about
the plane which the U.S. Defense Department reported had disappeared on one
of its flights to Cuba. We gave him the information he requested, and, at
the same time, we agreed on acceding to his request to send the body of the
pilot, who died while on an illegal flight over our territory--we decided
for humane reasons to return the body.

As a matter of fact, we regretted that this North American had to die in
our country as a result of the illegal acts, in violation of our
sovereignty, ordered by the U.S. Government. We hope the circumstances that
resulted in that death will not be repeated; that is, that the causes that
resulted in that death will not be repeated.

In general terms, the opinion of the government regarding the U.N.
Secretary General is that he is an honest and impartial person who has a
real desire to struggle to find solutions for these problems. He also
appeared to be a competent person, and he, in reality, did inspire our
confidence. That is the conclusion we drew from the meeting we had with
him, from the way he expressed himself, from the respect he showed at all
times toward the ideas of our country and toward the rights of our country.

Moreover, we understand that at this moment the U.N. Secretary General is
carrying out a very important mission, which enhances the post he holds,
and, at the same time, if he achieves success in that effort, it will
undoubtedly increase the prestige of the United Nations. It is possible
that the institution will develop and carry out its work. It is at present
carrying out a very important task.

Undoubtedly, it is of interest that the United Nations constitutes an
institution guaranteeing the rights of countries, and particularly the
rights of the little countries. At this moment, it appears to us that the
United Nations is carrying out that role well. In that sense, we give the
United Nations all our support; that is, in the efforts and activities it
is carrying out in favor of peace and to find a solution. This is apart
from our having been intransigeant with regard to the problem of
inspection, because we consider that we cannot accept any inspection.

We cannot accept inspection for several reasons. First, because we have no
desire to sacrifice a sovereign principle of our country. A series of
rights has been violated. Freedom of the seas has been violated by the
United States. The United States is trying to meddle in things which we
have a right to do or not do within our borders. The United States, in an
open manner, has been violating the airspace of our country.

How, in the face of all those facts of aggression and violation, in the
face of those acts of force, are we going to accept inspection of our
country, an inspection which actually validates the pretensions of the
United States to decide what kind of weapons we have or do not have the
right to possess?

We have not renounced the right to possess the kinds of weapons we may
consider convenient in the exercise of the sovereign power of our country.
We have not renounced that right. We consider it one of our rights. How are
we to authorize an inspection to validate a pretension of a foreign
country? Therefore, we do not accept it.

In the second place, this constitutes a demand from a position of force, a
position of force of the United States, and we do not yield to that
position of force. We will never yield to positions of force. (Applause)
What Cuba defends in maintaining its position is not inconsiderable. It
defends the sovereign right of countries. Moreover, it defends peace,
because our position against the positions of force which is required by
these things, our firmness against the demands of the aggressors and those
who like to practice such a policy, is a position that will not encourage
the aggressors.

The aggressors can be aggressors; that is, the world may find that there
are aggressors, but the aggressors will find resistance in our country. The
aggressors will find resistance to all kinds of aggression which is being
attempted, or an aggression against a right. And they will not be
encouraged by the position of Cuba! We are absolutely in the right and we
are absolutely determined to defend that right.

Above all, as is clear in the explanation we gave the U.N. Secretary
General, more than anything else this is an attempt to humiliate us.
Therefore, the position of Cuba was and is that we do not accept

We have noted the conditions that are needed, and we repeated to the U.N.
Secretary General in the second meeting that the Cuban view is that, if a
real solution is desired for the existing tensions and problems in the
Caribbean and on the continent, which also affect the entire world, it is
necessary that the guarantees that Cuba demands be granted. Those
guarantees have the virtue of being absolutely just demands, and all are
based on the indisputable rights of our country--the ending of the economic
blockade and all the measures of economic and commercial pressure which the
United States exerts against our country all over the world and which it
has been exercising against our country, aggressive acts that were part of
the ingredients that aggravated the situation to the point it reached this
time, aggressive acts they continue to commit at this moment.

We are constantly receiving reports of vessels which were coming to Cuba
and whose goods were left in Mediterranean, European, or Latin American
ports, goods that were destined for Cuba. Just yesterday a report came of
one or two ships, loaded with jute for our sugar production, which left
their cargoes in a Mediterranean port because of pressure by the United

Moreover, we demand the cessation of all subversive activities and the
launching and landing of weapons and explosives by air and sea, the
organization of mercenary invasions, and the infiltration of spies and
saboteurs--all actions which are carried out from U.S. territory and some
accomplice countries. Do not a people have a right to demand guarantees
against those actions? The cessation of the pirate attacks that are carried
out from bases in the United States and Puerto Rico, the cessation of all
violations of our airspace and territorial waters by U.S. planes and
warships--that is to say, our country requests that crime not be committed
against it, that violations and illegal acts not be committed against it,
and, finally, that the naval base at Guanatanamo be withdrawn and the Cuban
territory occupied by the United States be returned.

It is absurd that the withdrawal of friendly weapons be requested and that
an enemy base be left in our country. That has absolutely no foundation!
This is absolutely absurd! No one in any place in the world would dispute
the right of our country to request the return of the territory on which
this base is situated, a base where, in these days of crisis, troops were
accumulating to attack our country. How are we going to be asked to
withdraw friendly weapons, while enemy weapons remain within the heart of
our country?

The United States says that is possesses that base by virtue of a treaty,
an agreement between the United States and a Cuban government-- of course,
a Cuban government that emerged during the intervention. It was not through
any treaty; it was through a unilateral agreement in the U.S. Congress,
through an amendment they imposed on our constitution and imposed by the
United States, by the United States in a law of its Congress, Cuba was
warned that they would not depart the country if that amendment were not
accepted, and amendment which contained the question of the naval base!

If they call that agreement legitimate, even more legitimate are the
agreements between the Soviet Government and the most free government of
Cuba, by virtue of which those strategic missiles were situated in our
country and for our defense. And if the United States has placed the world
on the brink of war to demand the withdrawal of those missiles, then what
right and justification has it to refuse to abandon the territory it
occupies in our country?

We are not an obstacle to a solution of peace, a real solution of peace. We
are not a warrior or a warlike people. We are a peaceful people, and being
peaceful does not mean permitting oneself to be trampled upon. Not in the
least! When the trampling comes, then we are as warlike as we must be to
defend ourselves. Facts have demonstrated this.

We shall never obstruct a true solution of peace, and the conditions for a
true solution of peace are the guarantees of the five points established by
the Government of Cuba. The United States should begin by demonstrating its
good faith,not with a promise--deeds and not words.

A really convincing deed would be for the United States to return to us the
territory it occupies in the naval base of Guantanamo. That would be a much
more convincing deed than any word, than any promise the United States
could give.

If Cuba's guarantees are not complied with there will be no true solution
of peace, and then we shall all have to continue living in this same
atmosphere of tension in which we have been living up to now. We want
solutions of peace, but solutions of peace with dignity. Moreover, there
would be no peace without dignity, because the nations without dignity are
not respected. We have a right to peace, to one kind of peace or another,
to the peace which is neither peace nor war, simply because we were able to
resist and were able to have dignity. We have the right to a peace, to a
real solution of peace, and sooner or later we shall obtain it because we
have earned that right due to the spirit of our people, due to their
resistance and their dignity.

Our cause, and our right to peace, will continue to gain ground throughout
the world. Everyone also knows who is to blame for these problems, who is
to blame for all these tensions. And the people of the world will go on
giving support to our five points which are indispensable conditions for
peace. Our people have won and will keep on winning even more the right to
a worthy and to a just peace.

We must be allowed to work in peace. More than weapons we prefer to use
instruments of work. More than to kill and destroy, we prefer to create.
Our people are not permitted to create. They are constantly being forced to
mobilize, to put themselves on a war footing, to defend themselves, to
prepare themselves because they are forced to do so, not because we desire
this policy.

It is a policy imposed upon us by the aggressors against our country. What
our country wants is to work. What it wants is to develop its resources, to
develop the people, and to progress with its peaceful work.

Some things are amusing. A few days before the crisis, barely two days
earlier, we inaugurated the institute for basic sciences. Some 1,000 young
people were to enter it to begin studying medicine. Within three days the
institute for basic sciences was converted into an anti-aircraft artillery
school, and thus went everything else. Compare one thing with the other:
peaceful work and the desires and efforts of a nation to improve its well
being and health, to train all the doctors our peasants need, and to train
all the doctors our people need to raise their average life span and to
improve their health.

There were 800 young people who had entered and within three days 800,
1,000, or 2,000 youths had to enter to be taught to kill, to be taught to
handle not surgical instruments but cannon.

Our road, the desire of our people, is not the artillery school, but the
institute of basic sciences; the rest are bitter tasks which have been
imposed on us by the aggressors. Some days before this crisis, signs could
be seen everywhere how the work of the revolution had advanced. Supplies
were improving considerably--production, both agricultural and industrial,
and the plans--the entire creative work of the revolution--were advancing
at a high rate. And the organisms were devoted to creating the work
conditions for next year, 1963, with the hope of achieving a leap ahead in
the economy, a leap in the production.

But the crisis came, and the threat. Mobilization was necessary, the
abandonment of all the projects, the abandonment of all the tasks, in order
to assume under those circumstances the most sacred task, which is the
defense of the country. And we defend the fatherland because we want a
country in which to work, not a country of parasites but a country of
workers, a country of creators. And we want that country in order to work,
to create!

That is why we must defend it before all else. And the ardor with which the
people prepared to fight and to do whatever else was necessary demonstrates
the love the people feel, more every day, for creative work. What were they
defending in the trenches? What they are doing in the rural areas, what
they are doing in the universities,what they are doing in the factories,
what they are doing in the schools--that is what the people are going to
defend in the trenches! And the more awareness they have of what they are
doing, the more they love what they are doing, the more logical it is that
they go to the trenches with more love and more courage.

We will not be an obstacle to any real solution of peace. We gladly offer
our efforts toward that solution, to the effort being made by the United
Nations to find that real solution of peace, to the effort being made by
different neutralist countries to find that solution of real peace, a peace
with dignity and with absolutely no lessening of any of the sovereign
rights of our country. But if there is to be a lessening, we shall continue
as we are. We shall not accept it. How long? As long as necessary.

We shall have patience, all the patience necessary, so that as the climax
of all this struggle we shall some day attain that peace with all the
attributes of a state that is totally and absolutely sovereign, which has
always been the aspiration of our people. We must have patience.

We shall not accept just any little formula. We shall accept any formula of
peace that is truly worthy. And I think that, with such a formula, not only
we would profit, everyone would profit, the world would profit, American
would profit, the United States would profit; that is to say, the very ones
to blame for this situation would also profit from a solution of peace is
acceptable to our country.

And we express the view of our people when we say that we are ready to
fight and to cooperate for that peace. We have proposed it, we have said it
in all our proposals. Let us see if now, after this crisis which shook the
world for several days, the conditions or the circumstances are achieved in
order to attain that peace.

I still have some questions to deal with. In the course of this crisis, it
must be said that during the development of the crisis there arose some
differences between the Soviet Government and the Cuban Government. But I
want to say something to all Cubans. It is not here that we should discuss
those problems; it is not here, where our enemies might find it useful or
try to profit from those discussions. We must discuss this with the Soviets
at the level of government and party, sit down with them to discuss
everything that might be necessary in the light of reason and principles.

It must be said that, above all, we are Marxist-Leninists. (Prolonged
applause) Between the Soviet Union and Cuba there shall be no breaches!

We want to say another thing, that we have confidence in the policy of
principle of the Soviet Union and we have confidence in the leadership of
the Soviet Union; that is to say, in the government and the leading party
of the Soviet Union. (Applause)

If my compatriots were to ask me at this moment for an opinion, what should
I tell them, what advice amid confused situations, things that have not
been understood or are not well understood, what to do? I would say that
what must be done is to have confidence, that what must be done is to
understand that these international problems are extremely complex and
extremely delicate, and that our people, who have given evidence of great
maturity, of extraordinary maturity, should demonstrate it in this
way--taking care to analyze things, to make no premature judgments, to be
disciplined, and, above all, to have confidence; moreover, to have complete
faith in the revolutionary government, in the leadership of the
revolutionary government; to have complete confidence that everything--all
the problems, all the questions--will be discussed opportunely; to keep in
mind that elements of judgment needed to understand certain things could
even be missing; and to keep in mind that the dramatic and urgent
circumstances in which events took place must not be forgotten.

Now there is time in which to discuss all that completely, and we shall
discuss it. We must prevent the enemy from profiting from our impatience,
from our judgments, because an honest revolutionary may make judgments; he
has the right to form his opinions. But if the opinions he formed at a
given moment about certain things that he does not understand well are
voiced, there might also be someone around who is not a revolutionary,
someone interested in creating distrust, division, and resentment. That is
why the advice we must give is: Have confidence, be firm, and have faith;
be guided by what we have said here today-- that is what must be done in
these circumstances and it is that which we must do.

Above all, and I say it with absolute sincerity--there are things I want to
say in these moments in which a certain disagreement may have been created
because of those misunderstandings or differences--it is good to remember,
above all, what the Soviet Union has done for us. It is good to remember,
above all, what it has done for us in every one of the difficult moments we
have had, how the friendly hand of the Soviet Union has been there with us
after each Yankee blow--economic aggression, the suppression of the sugar
quota, the suppression of the shipments of petroleum to our country--after
each of the aggressions we have endured, and we are grateful. We must say
that here loudly.

Moreover, there is another even more moving thing, at least it impresses me
extraordinarily--the Soviet men, the Soviet men we have met here, the
technicians who have come to work with us in our rural areas, the teachers,
professors, engineers, planners, technicians of all kinds, the interest,
the devotion, the fondness with which they have helped us.

Moreover, there are the military technicians, men who have been ready to
die here with us, who have helped us in the instruction, training, and
preparation of our fighting forces; who have worked with us for months and
years, teaching our men to fight; who have worked with us for months,
years, teaching our men to fight and organizing that formidable army we
have at this moment; all the weapons they have sent us, the basic weapons
of our armed forces which are all weapons that the Soviet Union has sent us
and for which the Soviet Union has not charged us! (Applause)

I should like to say that several months ago the Soviet Union decided to
cancel all the debts of our country for armaments. Some of these matters
are of a military nature, which must be treated with great care.
Nevertheless, I will explain something; for example, the strategic weapons
for our defense. Those weapons, the strategic weapons, were not the
property of Cuba. That is not the case with the tanks and an entire series
of weapons, which are our property. The strategic weapons were not our

In the agreements by virtue of which they were sent to our country to
strengthen our defenses against the threats of attack, it was decided that
those strategic weapons, which are very complex and require very
specialized personnel, would continue under the direction of Soviet
personnel and continue being the property of the Soviet state. That is why,
when the Soviet Government decided to withdraw those weapons, which
belonged to it, we respected that decision.

I explain that so that the reasons why the withdrawal was decided on by the
Soviet Government can be understood. That is why I was saying that, even
though we may have some well-founded reason for discontent over some fact,
some detail, more than ever, we must remember how good, generous, noble,
and friendly the Soviets have been toward us, and I was precisely speaking
of the technicians, whom we have seen at our side, ready to die, to
sacrifice their lives in the defense of our country. They are magnificent
men. That is why another thing that we must feel at this moment more than
ever is appreciation, affection, respect, and gratitude toward those men. I
believe that that is the conduct which we must follow at this moment.

That is what we must show, and, above all, we must conduct ourselves better
than ever during these moments, with higher morale than ever and with more
greatness than ever.

Let it not be thought that the withdrawal of the strategic weapons disarms
us. This does not mean that we are disarmed. I can assure you that we have
formidable means of defense, powerful means of defense, extraordinary
resources with which to defend ourselves.

The strategic weapons are leaving, but all the other weapons--all the other
weapons are staying in our country, and they are very powerful means of
defense, with which we can face any situation. There is no reason for
confusion; there is not reason for confusion. The confusion will pass
little by little.

There is one matter I want to stress, one observation I want to make, and
it involves the people, the conduct of the people during these days. I want
to say that the action of the people has surpassed everything even the most
optimistic could ever have imagined in determination, valor, and
discipline. It must be said that thousands of men who were not militiamen,
who did not become militiamen during these four years of revolution, became
militiamen during this crisis. It must be said that thousands of persons
who did not belong to mass organizations or committees for the defense of
the revolution went to register in the mass organizations during these

It must be said that the enemy was unable, inside our country, to count on
allies of any kind. It must be said that during these days of extreme
crisis it was not necessary to arrest anybody. Even men and women who
criticized the revolution--in this decisive hour the patriotic,
revolutionary core became apparent in them and they went to enlist, and
they went to enlist for a battle that according to every prospect was a
serious battle, a terrifying battle; a battle that could be fought with
conventional weapons or with atomic weapons.

The President of the United States tried to intimidate our people, these
people whom he called a captive people, when he spoke of how we might be a
target for atomic attacks, and the result was that there were more
militiamen than ever, more revolutionary militants than ever. It must be
told how the women went to work, and how the pensioners went to work to
replace the men in the trenches.

It must be noted that, although this was the greatest mobilization of all,
it was the one that affected production the least. Never during a
mobilization had production gone as it did. The people's discipline was
truly impressive, the people's ardor, the people's valor.

Impressive also was the organization acquired by our people, above all by
our revolutionary armed forces, and the efficiency with which the commands
operated. It was demonstrated how the revolution has been creating
discipline, has been shaping a people. By harassing us, the enemy has made
us disciplined, has made us organized, has made us battle-hardened. The
result of these four years of harassment has made a heroic people, a people
more than Spartan, for it is said that shield, or on it." And here, an
entire people, men, women, and children, young and old, told themselves,
"with our shield, or on it." (Prolonged applause)

A people like that are an invincible people. A people like that, who in
that manner so calmly, so admirably, confront such difficult situations,
are a people who have a right to win what they aspire to, which is peace,
respect, to keep inviolate their dignity and their prestige, because we
have long-range moral missiles that cannot be dismantled and will never be
dismantled! (Prolonged applause) And that is our most powerful strategic
weapon, of strategic defense and strategic offense!

And so here I want to bear witness today more than ever to our admiration
for our people. And all we revolutionaries should feel doubly obliged,
after this experience, to fight for our people, to work tirelessly for our
people. I want to say here today from the very bottom of my heart, in
conclusion I want to say, that today more than ever I feel proud of being a
son of this people.

Fatherland or death, we will win! (Applause)