Caribbean Desk

State Department

Re: Progress Cuban Diplomatic Offensive

4/8/77 343 hrs EDT

From: U.S. Delegation, Havana

Efforts to bring Cuba and United States closer succeeding beyond wildest expectations. South Dakota Basketball team lost by wide margin for second time in two days to Cuban all stars. Cubans ecstatic. Possibility of opening permanent U.S. trade delegation here if you agree to send SOuth Dakota all-star baseball team to play Cuban all stars. Urge acceptance if you are sure Dakotan team a loser.

One of my friends on Capitol Hill managed to slip me a copy of the telegram this morning, and he was obviously pleased. He is advocate of a new approach in diplomacy that he believes will reshape the world.

The new concept is being called Humble Pie Diplomacy in international relations circles. Its tenents are really quite simple. To make friends with longtime eneiies you allow them to kick the whatever out of you in any sport of their choosing.

It's a concept that's worked pretty well in the few limited trials it's had, my friend insists. Look at the People's Republic of China, where we allowed them to smear us in ping-pong in return for a chance to whip them in basketball. He conceded that things have bogged down recently on the China front, however, because no one can agree on whose turn it is to be drubbed.

Not surprisingly, international relations freaks were early awaiting the results of the current Cuban offensive.

"it had to be carefully planned," said my friend. "We knew the Cubans were pretty damned good basketball players, and we had to find them a good team to stomp. The South Dakota all-stars.Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

"We had one snag, however," he went on. "The Cubans insisted that we send Jimmy Carter down to watch the beating. But we held out for a low-level delegation, and what could be better than an all-star South Dakota team of Senators and a Wisconsin liberal?"

My research would lead me to believe, however, that the Humble Pie school of though is really a variation of an old practice. The object in the past in sports diplomacy has always been to win.

Take the Romans, for instance. They made long-lasting friends of countries simply by importing some of their citizens to star in the coliseums with lions and armed Roamn gladators. Rome lasted for a long time.

So things go.

But the revisionists insist that winning for winning's sake is outdated. My friend cites the 1936 Olympics in Berlin as a good example.

"Hitler wanted to impress the whole world with how good the Germans were," said my friend. "Everything would have been hunky-dory if we had just let him do that.But along comes this American black athlete named Jesse Owens who wins four gold medals and sets records and what do we end up with* World War Two."

With a little planning, said my friend, we could have averted the war. "Just let the Germans cream Owens, humiliate him and the United States. I mean, Let them mop up the track with him." Germany would have been a hard and fast ally of America, he insisted, and Russia would never have taken over Eastern Europe.

Well, if he's right the world's soon going to be a different place. Dozens of banana republics and socialist states are clamoring for a chance to pound the U.S. at river-leaping, hemp-peeling, and other exotic indigenous sports.

The few underdeveloped countries that have baseball and basketball teams are demanding matches on their home courts with American midget Little League teams. There is even a report that Tibet is pressing for a mountain-climbing contest that would match up their all stars with a team from Florida.

My friend and other pro-Humble Pie-ers are urging the State Department to press ahead and seize the initiative in this new-field before the Russians. Already, he confided, the CIA has had to sabotage one Russian attempt to let the Chineswhip them in ping-pong."It would be disaster," he said.