Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

-DATE-
19770812
-YEAR-
1977
-DOCUMENT_TYPE-
MEETING
-AUTHOR-
F.CASTRO
-HEADLINE-
VISIT BY U.S. SENATOR FRANK CHURCH
-PLACE-
CUBA
-SOURCE-
PARIS AFP
-REPORT_NBR-
FBIS
-REPORT_DATE-
19770812
-TEXT-
SENATOR CHURCH LEAVES, CASTRO CALLS VISIT 'IMPORTANT'

PA120340Y Parts AFP in English 0255 GMT 12 Aug 77 PA

[Text] Havana, Aug 11 (AFP)--U.S. Senator Frank Church left here today to
report to President Carter on his four-day visit to Cuba, which he called
"very productive".

President Fidel Castro, accompanying Senator Church to the airport, called
the visit "important." The Cuban leader gave his guest some 30 hours of
nearly undivided attention.

The Idaho Democrat, who is the second-ranking member of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, was provided with the vice-presidential plane for this
trip, making it more nearly official then previous visits to Cuba by
Americans such as Senator George McGovern, who traveled by commercial
airlines.

Senator Church told journalists just before leaving Havana that the Cuban
Government had agreed to let Cuban wives and children of American residents
leave the county if they want.  On his arrival, Mr Church had promised to
raise the issue, which he described as of great concern to the American
Government and people.  It affects about 100 long-time American residents
of Cuba who have always been free to leave the island, but not with their
Cuban-born wives and children.  By agreeing to give these cases special
attention on humanitarian grounds, Mr Castro was obviously making a gesture
aimed at countering the resistance to normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations
which is still strong is some political circles and acts as a brake on the
Carter administration.

While Mr. Castro's long talks with foreign guests are legendary, observers
agreed that he outdid himself with Mr Church.  After their first meeting on
Tuesday, the Cuban leader picked up the American senator at 9 o'clock in
the morning on Wednesday and took him to a resort on the southern coast,
where they stayed until shortly before coming to the airport for Mr
Church's departure today.  Mr Castro told journalists that no issue was
excluded from their lengthy talks, which covered the whole range of topics
of interest to their two countries, from disputes going back to the period
leading up to the January 1961 break in diplomatic relations to current
African affairs.
-END-


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