[Marxism] Jane Franklin on Kennedy and Castro: The Move Toward Dialogue

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 29 20:16:12 MST 2003


The Bush administration and the wealthy minority of
Cuban-American exile right-wingers aren't pleased that
accounts of possible moves toward dialogue between Cuba 
and the United States are coming out during this now
fortieth anniversary of the JFK assassination. 

The exiles have a simple strategy: do everything they
can to maintain and provoke hostility between Cuba and
the United States. This will continue and escalate now
during the 2004 US presidential election campaign. We
ought not permit such elements to set the pace here.

>From their position, it's better were everyone to think
that there was, is, and cannot be any other possible kind
of relationship but that of endless hostility between these
two neighbor countries. But only the ultra-right and its
allies, most typified by the Bush-Miami-ites stand to
profit from the maintenance and the persistence of the US
blockade against Cuba. New and different forces have now
come into play regarding US-Cuban relations, and for the
better, though not forcefully enough to impose change.

The exile rightists, on their own efforts, weren't
able to defeat the Revolution, and have no hopes via
their own efforts, to do so. They have never forgiven
Kennedy for pulling the air cover from the invasion at
the Bay of Pigs. To say Kennedy was no friend of Cuba's
revolution is obvious. After the invasion was defeated
by Cuba, Kennedy launched Operation Mongoose. But that
also didn't work. It's no surprise that Kennedy might
have considered other tactics. We can, of course, only
speculate on which might have happened had JFK not been
removed from the picture, but why not ponder it a bit?

Approaching 2004, in the aftermath of the ending of the
Cold War, some new thinking about US-Cuban relations has 
occurred. It can't be said that Cuba is a satellite of the
USSR since there IS no USSR. All that's needed now is for
Washington to at last accept Cuba's right to determine its
own destiny socially, politically and economically. The
obvious contrast between friendly relations which exist
between China and Vietnam and the US, and those frozen
relationships of hostility with Cuba is so obvious that
Stevie Wonder could see it. 

It's unsurprising to note that most of this new thinking is
framed in hostility toward Cuba's Revolution such as that
the best way to defeat the Cuban Revolution is to put a
million US teenagers here, as Libertarian Republican
Congress member Jeff Flake (R-AZ) likes to put it. The
official discourse among the elected members of the US
Congress unfolds within this ideological framework, so
poisoned are the people of the US against Cuba after a
lifetime of deliberate diseducation by the US media.

But to let important decisions be decided by the terms
others set means that we allow others to determine all.
This is fine for those who are comfortable in accepting
Washington's blockade as the only way our two countries
can relate. Doing that would be terribly disorienting.

The concept that, to paraphrase, "a different US-Cuba
relationship was possible" is thus particularly timely.
Jane Franklin also reminds us that this is by no means
entirely speculative, but is based on a real facts and
all who attentively follow Cuban affairs, and the US-
Cuba relationship are in debt to Jane Franklin for her
research and documentation efforts.

Walter Lippmann, Moderator, CubaNews

From:	Jane Franklin, JBFranklins
Date:	11/29/03  7:34 PM

RE:	Kennedy and Castro:  The Move Toward Dialogue

Kennedy and Castro:  The Move Toward Dialogue

It is important that a wave of material is once again
showing that Prime Minister Fidel Castro and President John
F. Kennedy were perhaps moving toward dialogue when Kennedy
was assassinated on November 22, 1963. This is not new
news. It was certainly known when I was writing the first
edition of my chronology of Cuba-U.S. relations (the
edition published in 1992); I included a number of entries
about contacts between William Attwood, an adviser to the
US delegation to the UN, and Carlos Lechuga, Cuba's
ambassador to the UN. This information does not become
outdated, and it's encouraging that, on the 40th
anniversary of that 1963 coup, the National Security
Archive is publishing more information about those
behind-the-scenes attempts to develop a rational course for
U.S.-Cuba relations (see below). 	

Here are three of the entries from "Cuba and the United
States: A Chronological History" that illustrate how the
situation was developing and then was terminated.

October 24: As a result of William Attwood's continuing
efforts to facilitate a rapprochement with Cuba, President
Kennedy meets at the White House with Jean Daniel, a French
journalist who is on his way to Havana. Kennedy does not
give Daniel a formal message but asks him to talk with
Castro and then meet again with Kennedy.

November 22: President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas
and Lyndon Baines Johnson becomes president. Lee Harvey
Oswald is arrested. Within hours of the murder, there is an
attempt to blame it on Cuba. In Havana, French journalist
Jean Daniel is with Prime Minister Castro when they hear of
the assassination; according to Daniel, Castro says
repeatedly, "Es una mala noticia" ("This is bad news").
Instead of being able to report to President Kennedy on his
conversation with Castro, Daniel later meets with McGeorge

December 23: National Security Adviser Bundy tells his
staff that President Johnson does not want to appear
conciliatory toward Cuba because he will be running for
president in the 1964 election. Bundy later tells William
Attwood that his efforts to negotiate with Prime Minister
Castro will have to wait.

Siempre, Jane Franklin


National Security Archive Update, November 24, 2003



Oval Office Tape Reveals Strategy to hold clandestine
Meeting in Havana; Documents record role of ABC News
correspondent Lisa Howard as secret intermediary in
Rapprochement effort

For more information contact:

Peter Kornbluh - 202/994-7116

email - pkorn at gwu.edu 


Washington D.C. - On the 40th anniversary of the
assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the eve of the
broadcast of a new documentary film on Kennedy and Castro,
the National Security Archive today posted an audio tape of
the President and his national security advisor, McGeorge
Bundy, discussing the possibility of a secret meeting in
Havana with Castro. The tape, dated only seventeen days
before Kennedy was shot in Dallas, records a briefing from
Bundy on Castro's invitation to a U.S. official at the
United Nations, William Attwood, to come to Havana for
secret talks on improving relations with Washington. The
tape shows President Kennedy's approval if official U.S.
involvement could be plausibly denied.

The possibility of a meeting in Havana evolved from a shift
in the President's thinking on the possibility of what
declassified White House records called "an accommodation
with Castro" in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Proposals from Bundy's office in the spring of 1963 called
for pursuing "the sweet approach. enticing Castro over to
us," as a potentially more successful policy than CIA
covert efforts to overthrow his regime. Top Secret White
House memos record Kennedy's position that "we should start
thinking along more flexible lines" and that "the
president, himself, is very interested in [the prospect for
negotiations]." Castro, too, appeared interested. In a May
1963 ABC News special on Cuba, Castro told correspondent
Lisa Howard that he considered a rapprochement with
Washington "possible if the United States government wishes
it. In that case," he said, "we would be agreed to seek and
find a basis" for improved relations.

The untold story of the Kennedy-Castro effort to seek an
accommodation is the subject of a new documentary film,
Discovery/Times cable channel on November 25 at 8pm. The
documentary film, which focuses on Ms. Howard's role as a
secret intermediary in the effort toward dialogue, was
based on an article -- "JFK and Castro: The Secret Quest
for Accommodation" -- written by Archive Senior Analyst
Peter Kornbluh in the magazine, Cigar Aficionado. Kornbluh
served as consulting producer and provided key declassified
documents that are highlighted in the film. "The documents
show that JFK clearly wanted to change the framework of
hostile U.S. relations with Cuba," according to Kornbluh.
"His assassination, at the very moment this initiative was
coming to fruition, leaves a major 'what if' in the ensuing
history of the U.S. conflict with Cuba."

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