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Soviet and Cuba Conclude Trade Agreement

Jan. 21, 1964 - The Soviet Union and Cuba have concluded a trade agreement that will assure the “long-range development of the Cuban economy,” Premier Khrushchev announced today in Moscow. He said the agreement would guarantee Cuba against the “fluctuations of sugar prices in the world market and against economic sabotage by American monopolists.” He made the statement at a Kremlin reception honoring Premier Fidel Castro (pictured with President Leonid Brezhnev). It appears likely, observers said, that Castro has paid for the continued or increased economic assistance by making some kind of promise to give political support to the Soviet Union in its ideological dispute with Communist China. This was suggested, Western diplomats felt, by a passage in Khrushchev’s speech in which he thanked the Cuban visitor for his political support. “We highly appreciate the support given by the Cuban people and their Government to the policy of our party and our Government,” Khrushchev said. Castro, in reply, said the friendship between Cuba and the Soviet Union had been “great and close” and had “become stronger” as a result of his visit. He proposed a toast to this friendship.

In the past, the Cuban leader refused to support either the Soviet or the Chinese position in the ideological conflict. He has not yet endorsed the treaty for a limited nuclear test ban, of which the Russians are particularly proud and which the Chinese Communists have been bitterly criticizing. The Russians are believed to regard Castro’s visit to the Soviet Union at this time primarily as a chance to counteract appeals made by the Chinese Communists to the nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Premier Cho Enlai of Communist China is on a three-month tour of Africa.


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