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Cryptonym: AMABLE-1

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Unknown identity. A cable in November of 1964 mentioned that CIA asset, AMABLE-1, had derived the impression, after speaking to two high-ranking Cubans in Western Europe, that Cuban diplomats may have been ordered to be receptive to any opportunities to engage in rapprochement talks with the U.S. Government.
The cable also mentioned that the addressees (mostly European CIA stations) were advised to attempt to confirm or deny this and also not to give it any encouragement if it was so confirmed to have taken place. In addition, the date assigned to this cable was November 30, 1967. However, it appears as if it was actually November 30, 1964. On the margins of the cable are numerous references to dates in December, 1964, and at least one reference to a cable in November, 1964.

Castro was known to have pursued a policy of rapprochement/accommodation with the U.S. Government in 1963-1964. At the time of the assassination of President Kennedy, the U.S. Government was engaged in preliminary discussion with the Cuban regime of Fidel Castro. Even after the assassination of JFK, on November 22, 1963, Castro continued to support ongoing negotiations. The administration of President Lyndon Johnson decided to abandon the talks with Cuba.


03/04/63: Memo for the record from Gordon Chase: Subject: Mr. Donovan's Trip to Cuba: "At Mr. Bundy's request I passed to Bob Hurwitch the following Presidential reactions to the attached memorandum: 1. The President does not agree that we should make the breaking of Sino/Soviet ties a non-negotiable point. We don't want to present Castro with a condition that he obviously cannot fulfill. We should start thinking along more flexible lines. 2. Donovan should resist taking his week-long walk along the beach with Castro until we have had a chance to give Donovan a very good briefing. We may want to give Donovan some flies to dangle in front of Castro. 3. The above must be kept close to the vest. The President, himself, is very interested in this one."


05/01/63: Memo from Richard Helms, Deputy Director (Plans) to Director: Subject: Interview of U.S. Newswoman with Fidel Castro Indicating Possible Interest in Rapprochement with the United States: "1. On 30 April 1963 Liza Howard, U.S. newswoman associated with the American Broadcasting Company, returned to Miami from Cuba where she had interviewed a number of high-ranking Cuban officials, including Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, Vilma Espin de Castro, Raul Roa, and Rene Vallejo. Her conversations with Fidel Castro totaled about ten hours and included one session on 22 April which lasted from 12:45 a.m. to 5:30 a.m...2. It appears that Fidel Castro is looking for a way to reach a rapprochement with the United States Government, probably because he is aware that Cuba is in a state of economic chaos...9. While discussing a possible rapprochement Castro asked for a full assessment of President and Mrs. Kenney, and Robert Kennedy, and wanted to know if Adlai Stevenson had power in the U.S. and if his voice was heard in President Kennedy's councils. Castro commented that James Donovan was a good man; it was Liza Howard's impression that Donovan had not talked politics with Castro but that Donovan had a platform from which he could launch political discussions on the philosophy of revolution. 10. Liza Howard said that she was willing to undertake further discussions with Castro concerning a possible rapprochement. Other possible candidates whom she suggested were Edwin M. Martin, Adlai Stevenson, and Luis Munoz Marin. She also mentioned Donovan but was not quite certain that he was progressive enough. Liza Howard is willing to arrange a meeting for any U.S. Government spokesman with Castro through Vallejo, who will be the point of contact. 11. Liza Howard definitely wants to impress the U.S. Government with two facts: Castro is ready to discuss rapprochement and she herself is ready to discus it with him if asked to do so by the U.S. Government."


05/02/63: 332. Letter from Acting Director of CIA Carter to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy): "Dear Mr. Bundy: With respect to the Lisa Howard report, (1) Mr. McCone cabled me this morning stating that he cannot overemphasize the importance of secrecy in this matter and requested that I take all appropriate steps along this line to reflect his personal views on its sensitivity. Mr. McCone feels that gossip and inevitable leaks with consequent publicity would be most damaging. He suggests that no active steps be taken on the rapprochement matter at this time and urges most limited Washington discussions, and that in these circumstances emphasis should be placed in any discussions on the fact that the rapprochement track is being explored as a remote possibility and one of several alternatives involving various levels of dynamic and positive action. In view of the foregoing, it is requested that the Lisa Howard report be handled in the most limited and sensitive manner. Faithfully yours, Marshall S. Carter, Lieutenant General, USA."


11/12/63: 377. Memo for the record from McGeorge Bundy: "I talked this afternoon with William Attwood and told him that at the President's instruction I was conveying this message orally and not by cable. I told him that the President hoped he would get in touch with Vallejo to report that it did not seem practicable to us at this stage to send an American official to Cuba and that we would prefer to begin with a visit by Vallejo to the U.S. where Attwood would be glad to see him and to listen to any messages he might bring from Castro. In particular, we would be interested in knowing whether there was any prospect of important modification in those parts of Castro's policy which are flatly unacceptable to us: namely, the three points in Ambassador Stevenson's recent speech (1) of which the central elements are (1) submission to external Communist influence, and (2) a determined campaign of subversion directed at the rest of the Hemisphere. Reversals of these policies may or may not be sufficient to produce a change in the policy of the United States, but they are certainly necessary, and without an indication of readiness to move in these directions, it is hard for us to see what could be accomplished by a visit to Cuba. I left it to Attwood how much of this he would convey in the initial message to Vallejo, and I also gave him discretion as to how this message was to be transmitted, with the proviso that it must be clear at all times that we were not supplicants in this matter and that the initiative for exploratory conversations was coming from the Cubans. Attwood indicated to me that he expected Lisa Howard to telephone Vallejo and then probably to get on the line himself to handle the conversation along the lines stated above. Attwood will report the results of this communication and in the event that an arrangement is made for Vallejo to come to New York Attwood will come to Washington to concert a position for his use in this conversation."


12/02/63: Memo from Gordon Chase of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy): Subject: Bill Attwood Activities: "1. Last week, (after President Kennedy's death) Lechuga told Lisa Howard that he had received a letter from Castro authorizing him to have a discussion with Attwood. Lechuga wondered whether things were still the same. Miss Howard said she didn't know anything. She later passed the information to Attwood. 2. Bill ran into Lechuga today at lunch, by accident. After Lechuga expressed condolences, Bill mentioned that Miss Howard had told him that Lechuga had received the above mentioned letter. Lechuga confirmed that he had been authorized to have a preliminary discussion with Bill (he did not mention from whom the letter had come although he had previously told Miss Howard that the talks were authorized by Castro). Lechuga wondered how things now stood. Bill told Lechuga he would let him know. They also agreed, that from this point on, there was no further need to use Lisa Howard as an intermediary. 3. Bill doesn't know whether Castro wrote the letter before or after the death of President Kennedy. In any event, Lechuga has apparently received no stop-order since the assassination. One might assume, therefore, that the assassination has not changed Castro's mind about talking to the U.S. 4. The ball is in our court; Bill owes Lechuga a call. What to do? Bill thinks that we have nothing to lose in listening to what Castro has to say; there is no commitment on our side. Also, it would be very interesting to know what is in the letter. I am also dying to know what's in the letter and two weeks ago I would not have hesitated. But things are different now, particularly with this Oswald business. At a minimum, such a talk would really have to be a non-event. I, for one, would want to think this one over carefully."

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, Volume XXXII: Dominican Republic; Cuba; Haiti; Guyana: Current Section: 240. 2/12/64 - Verbal Message From Cuban Prime Minister Castro to President Johnson

02/12/64: 240. Verbal Message from Cuban Prime Minister Castro to President Johnson: "1. Please tell President Johnson that I earnestly desire his election to the Presidency in November...though that appears assured. But if there is anything I can do to add to his majority (aside from retiring from politics), I shall be happy to cooperate. Seriously, I observe how the Republicans use Cuba as a weapon against the Democrats. So tell President Johnson to let me know what I can do, if anything. Naturally, I know that my offer of assistance would be of immense value to the Republicans—so this would remain our secret. But if the President wishes to pass word to me he can do so through you [Lisa Howard]. (2) He must know that he can trust you; and I know that I can trust you to relay a message accurately. 2. If the President feels it necessary during the campaign to make bellicose statements about Cuba or even to take some hostile action—if he will inform me, unofficially, that a specific action is required because of domestic political considerations, I shall understand and not take any serious retaliatory action. 3. Tell the President that I understand quite well how much political courage it took for President Kennedy to instruct you [Lisa Howard] and Ambassador Attwood to phone my aide in Havana for the purpose of commencing a dialogue toward a settlement of our differences. Ambassador Attwood suggested that I prepare an agenda for such talks (3) and send the agenda to my U.N. Ambassador. That was on November 18th. The agenda was being prepared when word arrived that President Kennedy was assassinated. I hope that we can soon continue where Ambassador Attwoodʼs phone conversation to Havana left off...though Iʼm aware that pre-electoral political considerations may delay this approach until after November." (CONTINUED BELOW)

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, Volume XXXII: Dominican Republic; Cuba; Haiti; Guyana: Current Section: 240. 2/12/64 - Verbal Message From Cuban Prime Minister Castro to President Johnson

02/12/64: 240. Verbal Message from Cuban Prime Minister Castro to President Johnson: "4. Tell the President (and I cannot stress this too strongly) that I seriously hope that Cuba and the United States can eventually sit down in an atmosphere of good will and of mutual respect and negotiate our differences. I believe that there are no areas of contention between us that cannot be discussed and settled within a climate of mutual understanding. But first, of course, it is necessary to discuss our differences. I now believe that this hostility between Cuba and the United States is both unnatural and unnecessary—and it can be eliminated. 5. Tell the President he should not interpret my conciliatory attitude, my desire for discussions as a sign of weakness. Such an interpretation would be a serious miscalculation. We are not weak...the Revolution is strong...very strong. Nothing, absolutely nothing that the United States can do will destroy the Revolution. Yes, we are strong. And it is from this position of strength that we wish to resolve our differences with the United States and to live in peace with all the nations of the world. 6. Tell the President I realize fully the need for absolute secrecy, if he should decide to continue the Kennedy approach. I revealed nothing at that time...I have revealed nothing since...I would reveal nothing now."


04/10/64: Memo from Gordon Chase to Bundy: Subject: Cuba - Miscellaneous: ..."2. Talks with Castro - I have given Des Fitzgerald and John Crimmins a rundown of the Bill Attwood/Lisa Howard activities. Using a 'need to know' criterion, I gave Des a minimum dosage. He read the longish memorandum covering my New York conversation with Lisa Howard. I also told him that we have not replied to Castro's message to the President via Lisa Howard. I gave John Crimmins a pretty full treatment. He read the Bill Attwood chronology and several memos regarding my recent talks with Lisa Howard. John and I talked about the desirability of reopening the dialogue with Cuba while Castro is at a low point. I pointed out the advantages of a slow dialogue whose timing we could control. Among other things, even if it didn't lead to the ejection of the Russians, it might prevent Castro from doing something rash between now and November - such as shooting down a U-2. John was surprisingly receptive and noted that Castro will be feeling very low during this time-frame as a result of the trial of Rodriguez, the revolution in Brazil, and the OAS resolution on the Venezuelan arms cache. He did not commit himself, but seemed more receptive than he was several months ago..."


04/29/64: Report Cover Sheet from JMWAVE: Reporting Officer: Henry J. Sloman. Reports Officer: Margaret R. Nankall. Approving Officer: Andrew K. Reuteman. "Source: P-109 in AMOT report DD-818 of 23 April 1964. Alfredo Paredes may possibly be identical with the subject of 201-294663, former CIA trainee." - - - Page 3: Memorandum for the record: from Stanley M. Figolak. Subject: Telephone contact with AMACME-1 201-74326. "1. Figolak called A-1 since it had been sometime since A-1 had reported. A-1 said that the flak over FBI's calling in the members of the MDC (Movimiento Democratica Cristiano) had subsided. The MDC are now proceeding slowly in their plans. They were buying small arms, but little more than that. A-1 was told that he should be ready to go on an expedition in May. 2. Figolak told A-1 that he must start now to prepare for his trip to Cuba for the 26th of July celebration. Figolak told A-1 (unintelligible) but to send it first to Figolak in Washington, D.C. A-1 was to tell Celia Sanchez that he had heard nothing from her in regard to passing the clothing, etc to someone who would send the package to her. A-1 was to further tell Celia that he thought that it was time they began planning his trip to cover the 26th July celebrations. A-1 was to mention that it appeared there might be some sort of reconciliation in the air. He was to specifically mention Lisa Howard's interview with Fidel Castro, which was not totally unsympathetic to Castro. He was to say that he thought the celebration this year might be a particularly interesting one for the above reasons, and that he would like very much to cover it."


11/30/64: Cable from Director to Madrid, Paris, London, Rome, Withheld, Hague, Brussels, Tokyo, Mexico (Orig: Marelius): Slugline PBRUMEN: "1. KUBARK (CIA) asset, AMABLE/1, during recent contact with two high-ranking Cubans stationed Western Europe, derived the impression that some sort of official word may have been issued by Havana to Cuban diplomats in the free world to be alert for and receptive to opportunities to engage in rapprochement/accommodation dialogue with ODYOKE (U.S. Government) representatives. 2. Request addressees attempt confirm or deny via appropriate sources, without lending any encouragement to the idea if indications positive." Releasing Officer: Thomas F. Thiele, C/WE/INT. Coordinating Officers: Withheld, WH/SA/EOB. (Signature), C/WE/1/EOB. (Signature), WH/2. (Signature), WH/3. (Signature), WH/4. (Signature), WE/5. (Signature), WE/6C. (Signature), FE/JKO. (Signature), WH/1. Authenticating Officer: Bruce B. Cheever, DC/WH/SA.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, Volume XXXII: Dominican Republic; Cuba; Haiti; Guyana: Current Section: 292. 12/15/64 - Memo From Gordon Chase of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bund

12/15/64: 292. Memo from Gordon Chase of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy): Subject: Che Guevara and Lisa Howard: "1. I have talked to John Crimmins about the Che Guevara approach. He and Tom Mann are very interested to hear what Guevara wants to say to us if, in fact, he does want to say something to us. (I told State that I thought that this could be a Lisa-generated (2) operation but that the odds are probably 7–5 that Guevara, in fact, would like to talk to us; whether he would say anything to us that we donʼt already know is another matter.) 2. The mechanics of talking to Guevara is the tough part. He is a real center of attention in New York (e.g. police, crowds) and it would be extremely awkward to try to get together with him privately. In addition, my own very strong view is that we should keep Lisa Howard out of it as a middleman; among many other considerations, Lisa is so subjectively wound up in rapprochement that one would never know what Guevara is saying and what Lisa is interpreting. 3. John and I agreed tentatively on the following outline. (a) If Lisa Howard calls me back, I will simply tell her that I have nothing to tell her and will let her know if and when I do. (b) John will explore with selected people in State the possibility and desirability of having a USUN type (maybe Yost) 'fall in front of' Tabio, who is the Cuban ambassador to the UN, and say (1) that we understand from a newspaper source that Che wants to say something to us, and (2) is this true? If the answer is affirmative, we can then decide what to do. The main problem is to ascertain the truth—e.g. whether Che really has something to say to us or whether this is Lisa Howard building bridges. Somewhere along the line, our man would also indicate that, if it is true that the Cubans want to talk to us, we prefer not to talk through unofficial third parties. GC"

Gavin McDonald

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