The cheeky letter a 12-year-old Fidel Castro wrote to Franklin D Roosevelt

Jessica Brown@Jessica_E_Brown
Saturday 26 November 2016 12:45

Fidel Castro wrote a letter to the then-US president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1940. It’s very possible, in fact, that he bribed him.

He asked the President for $10, because he had never seen a $10 bill before. But his request was sadly turned down.

He also offered to show Roosevelt the biggest iron mine in Cuba, sealing the deal with an offer the president couldn’t, but did, refuse.

In the letter, found by the National Archives and Records Administration and republished by Letters of Note, Castro writes:

Santiago de Cuba

Nov 6 1940

Mr Franklin Roosvelt, President of the United States.

My good friend Roosvelt I don't know very English, but I know as much as write to you. I like to hear the radio, and I am very happy, because I heard in it, that you will be President for a new (periodo). I am twelve years old. I am a boy but I think very much but I do not think that I am writing to the President of the United States. If you like, give me a ten dollars bill green american, in the letter, because never, I have not seen a ten dollars bill green american and I would like to have one of them.

My address is: 


Sr Fidel Castro

Colegio de Dolores

Santiago de Cuba

Oriente Cuba


I don't know very English but I know very much Spanish and I suppose you don't know very Spanish but you know very English because you are American but I am not American.

Thank you very much

Good by. Your friend,

Fidel Castro


If you want iron to make your sheaps ships I will show to you the bigest (minas) of iron of the land. They are in Mayari Oriente Cuba.

Here's the original letter:

(National Archives)
(National Archives)

(National Archives)

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