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Castro signals Reagan: 'Let's at least talk'

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Cuba is quietly letting the Reagan administration know that it would welcome a dialogue on issues dividng the two countries. Although the possibility of any Cuba-United States rapprochement would appear remote, given President Reagan's views on the subject, the Cubans nevertheless do not rule out the possibility.

Indeed, they are letting the US know that they would like to expore it.

Cuban diplomats throughout Latin America have sought out their US counterparts at events during the past month.

Their message: Let's at least talk.

They know perfectly well that Mr. Reagan has taken a hard line on any improvement of relations with Cuba, but the Cuban view holds that this may be more a domestic ploy to satisfy the President's supporters than a hard-and-fast policy decision.

They note, for example, that Mr. Reagan included Ramon Sanchez Parodi, head of the Cuban interest section in Washington, when he invited the Washington diplomatic corps to one of his first receptions.

Mr. Sanchez Parodi, who has been head of the Cuban diplomatic team in Washington since it was set up three years ago, had not been invited to the Carter White House -- on the legitimate technicality that he merely headed up a section within the Czechoslovakian Embassy.

That nicety did not seem to bother Mr. Reagan.

And Cubans are asking just what it means. They wonder also whether Mr. Reagan may not want a foreign-policy breakthrough like Mr. Nixon's major overture to China.

The Cubans have little to go on -- and, moreover, they are most unclear about the people who are being appointed to jobs involving Latin American in the Reagan administration.

Like many other Latin Americans, they know little about James R. Greene, the American Express executive whose name keeps coming up for the post of assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs. They are not aware, for example, that it was Mr. Green who successfully negotiated the difficult US agreement with Peru on expropriation claims dating back to the 1968 takeover of the International Petroleum Company.


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