The New York Times

October 9, 1977

FBI Asserts Cuba Aided Weathermen



WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 - Cuban espionage agents operating in the United States and Canada supplied limited aid to the Weather Underground, a militant antiwar organization, in the late 1960's and early 1970's, according to a top-secret report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Some technical assistance was also provided by North Vietnam, the report says, but there was no evidence that the Soviet Union, China or Eastern European nations ever made direct attempts to stir up American dissidents.

The 400-page report, a copy of which has been obtained by The New. York Times, was prepared in August 1976 after the Department of Justice opened a criminal investigation into charges that bureau agents had committed burglaries and carried out illegal mail openings and wiretaps in their attempts to apprehend Weathermen fugitives.

The closely held report - only 10 copies were sent to the bureau director, Clarence M. Kelley - was aimed at establishing that members of the Weather Underground were operating as secret agents of a foreign power and were thus legitimate targets of counterintelligence measures.

The report disclosed, however, that Communist bloc nations had given little tangible support to the American antiwar movement. The report was based upon information from the Central Intelligence Agency, several foreign intelligence services, a wide range of American and foreign police agencies, electronic eavesdropping and reports of several confidential informers.

The following were some of the key points:

-Three years before militant members of the students for a Democratic Society split off to form the Weather Underground Organization in 1970, North Vietnamese and Cuban officials were influencing radical antiwar strategy through foreign meetings. Many of these meetings were held in Communist countries, including Hungary, Czechoslovakia and North Vietnam,

-The conduit for contact in the United States was a group of intelligence agents assigned to the staff of the Cuban Mission to the United Nations in New York. These agents arranged for American youths to be inculcated with revolutionary fervor and, occasionally, to be trained in practical weaponry by Cuban military officers through the so-called Venceremos Brigades.

-After the Weathermen went "underground" in 1970 and many of them were being sought by the F.B.I. on criminal charges, Cuban intelligence officers were in touch with them from both the New York mission and the Cuban Embassy in Canada.

-Cuban officials helped several Weather Underground adherents who feared arrest in the United States to travel to Prague, Czechoslovakia, and then to reenter the United Slates surreptitiously.

The report linked the growing militancy of certain members of the Students for a Democratic Society, which resulted in the so-called Days of Rage in Chicago in 1969; to North Vietnamese advice the year before to choose youngsters who would battle with the police.

The North Vietnamese, according to S.D.S. literature of the time, had suggested that the antiwar movement needed not just intellectual protesters but also physically rugged recruits.

The report noted that the objective of Cuban intelligence officers in the General Directorate of Intelligence (known by its initials in Spanish as the D.G.I., Cuba's equivalent of the C.I.A.) was not always the same as that of the young members of the Weather Underground.

It said the ultimate objective of the D.G.I's participation in setting up the Venceremos Brigades "is the recruitment of individuals who are politically oriented and who someday may obtain a position, elective or appointive, somewhere in the U.S. Government, which would provide the Cuban Government with access to political, economic and military intelligence."

The report said this conclusion was based on information from former officials of the D.G.I.

The Cuban intelligence officers were described as particularly eager to recruit Americans who had political contacts or who were related to United States government officials.

"A very limited number of VB members have been trained in guerrilla warfare techniques, including use of arms and explosives," the report said. "This type training is given only to individuals who specifically request it and only then to persons whom the Cubans feel sure are not penetration agents of American intelligence."

It also reported that contact with the Cubans in the United States was made at the Cuban Mission to the United Nations on East 67th Street in Manhattan. Several top officials stationed at the Embassy in 1969 and 1970 were identified in the report as Cuban espionage agents.

A man who was publicly described as the most effective informer the F.B.I. ever placed among the Weathermen, Larry Grathwohl, reported to the bureau that a code system for communications had been set up by the Cubans, the report said.

"In February 1970, leading WUO member Bill Ayers told fellow underground WUO member Larry Grathwohl that if communication could not be made through these Canadian numbers, an individual should get in touch with the Cuban Embassy in Canada in order to establish contact with other members of the WUO," the report said.

"To do this an individual should use the code name 'Delgado' when referring to himself and the person with whom he desired to make contact," it said.

In another incident, the report said, four Weathermen who had been in Cuba with the Venceremos Brigades were sent back to the United States through Czechoslovakia rather than through Canada with other brigade members to lessen their chances of being arrested by the United States authorities. The four wanted to get back to the United States safely after the explosion of a house in Greenwich Village killed two members of the Weather group, Dianna Oughton and Ted Gold, and the Cubans "obliged" them by making the European travel arrangements, the report said.

On the whole, however, the report appeared to be more significant for the paucity of support by Communist bloc nations than for the extent of it. There was no firm evidence that senior Communist intelligence services in the Soviet Union, China, or Eastern Europe ever made any direct, attempt to incite American dissidents, the report said.

Moreover, the data in the, report indicate that the Cubans and the North Vietnamese have relatively little tangible support. The only cash donation mentioned was $5,000 from an American living in China.

There is no indication in the report that the bureau or other intelligence services ever established that weapons, communications equipment or espionage tools had been fed to the antiwar radicals by the Communists.