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Painting Castro Red


Tim Carroll
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PAINTING CASTRO RED

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PAINTING CASTRO RED

During the late 1950s the world began to read and hear about a charismatic Cuban revolutionary operating out of the Sierra Maestra mountains. Fidel Castro was an ardent nationalist who had already spent years in one of Batista's prisons for leading an ill-conceived attack on an army installation, the Moncada Barracks, in one of Cuba's eastern provinces. Although sentenced to a fifteen-year term, he had been released after only two years in a general amnesty issued by the Cuban dictator as a sign of his good will and tolerance. Undaunted, Castro had immediately begun planning his next moves. From his mountain hideout, he began to give a series of interviews to American reporters designed to create a romantic and noble image of himself and his band of followers.

Herbert L. Matthews of The New York Times was perhaps the best known of these, although among the others was the famous television personality, Ed Sullivan, whose weekly variety show was characterized more by acts such as "dancing bears, ventriloquists, and magicians," rather than serious interviews with political figures.[1] But even this was perhaps appropriate to the circus atmosphere of personal promotion generated by the public relations-savvy Castro. While meeting with Matthews, Castro arranged for his men to make a jungle clearing look like a busy command post by having them wander through in twos and threes, then change into different clothing and walk by again. This carefully orchestrated skit led Matthews to believe that Castro had hundreds, perhaps thousands, of guerrilla followers.

Earl T. Smith, the man Dwight Eisenhower appointed as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Cuba in 1957 had a lot to say about this. (1)

Smith gave evidence to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on 27th August, 1960 on Castro and the CIA. (2)

F. W. Sourwine: Mr. Smith, when you were appointed Ambassador to Cuba, were you briefed on the job?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; I was.

F. W. Sourwine: Who gave you this briefing?

Earl E. Smith: I spent 6 weeks in Washington, approximately 4 days of each week, visiting various agencies and being briefed by the State, Department and those whom the State Department designated.

F. W. Sourwine: Any particular individual or individuals who, had a primary part in this briefing?

Earl E. Smith: The answer is, in the period of 6 weeks I was briefed by numbers of people in the usual course as every Ambassador is briefed.

F. W. Sourwine: Is it true, sir, that you were instructed to get a briefing on your new job as Ambassador to Cuba from Herbert Matthews of the New York Times?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; that is correct.

F. W. Sourwine: Who gave you these instructions?

Earl E. Smith: William Wieland, Director of the Caribbean Division and Mexico. At that time he was Director of the Caribbean Division, Central American Affairs.

F. W. Sourwine: Did you, sir, in fact see Matthews?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; I did.

F. W. Sourwine: And did he brief you on the Cuban situation?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; he did.

F. W. Sourwine: Could you give us the highlights of what he told you?...

Earl E. Smith: We talked for 2 1/2 hours on the Cuban situation, a complete review o£ his feelings regarding Cuba, Batista, Castro, the situation in Cuba, and what he thought would happen.

F. W. Sourwine: What did he think would happen?

Earl E. Smith: He did not believe that the Batista government could last, and that the fall of the Batista government would come relatively soon.

F. W. Sourwine: Specifically what did he say about Castro?

Earl E. Smith: In February 1957 Herbert L. Matthews wrote three articles on Fidel Castro, which appeared on the front page of the New York Times, in which he eulogized Fidel Castro and portrayed him as a political Robin Hood, and I would say that he repeated those views to me in our conversation....

F. W. Sourwine: What did Mr. Matthews tell you about Batista?

Earl E. Smith: Mr. Matthews had a very poor view of Batista, considered him a rightist ruthless dictator whom he believed to be corrupt. Mr. Matthews informed me that he had very knowledgeable views of Cuba and Latin American nations, and had seen the same things take place in Spain. He believed that it would be in the best interest of Cuba and the best interest of the world in general when Batista was removed from office.

F. W. Sourwine: It was true that Batista's government was corrupt, wasn't it?

Earl E. Smith: It is true that Batista's government was corrupt. Batista was the power behind the Government in Cuba off and on for 25 years. The year 1957 was the best economic year that Cuba had ever had.

However, the Batista regime was disintegrating from within. It was becoming more corrupt, and as a result, was losing strength. The Castro forces themselves never won a military victory. The best military victory they ever won was through capturing Cuban guardhouses and military skirmishes, but they never actually won a military victory.

The Batista government was overthrown because of the corruption, disintegration from within, and because of the United States and the various agencies of the United States who directly and indirectly aided the overthrow of the Batista government and brought into power Fidel Castro.

F. W. Sourwine: What were those, agencies, Mr. Smith?

Earl E. Smith: The US Government agencies-may I say something off the record?

(Discussion off the record.)

F. W. Sourwine: Mr. Smith, the pending question before you read your statement was: What agencies of the US Government had a hand in bringing pressure to overthrow the Batista government, and how did they do it?

Earl E. Smith: Well, the agencies, certain influential people, influential sources in the State Department, lower down echelons in the CIA. I would say representatives of the majority of the US Government agencies which have anything to do with the Embassy...

F. W. Sourwine: Mr. Smith, when you talked with Matthews to get the briefing before you went to Cuba, was he introduced to you as having any authority from the State Department or as being connected with the State Department in any way?

Earl E. Smith: Let me go back. You asked me a short while ago who arranged the meeting with Mr. Matthews.

F. W. Sourwine: And you said Mr. Wieland.

Earl E. Smith: I said Wilham Wieland, but Wilham Wieland also had to have the approval of Roy Rubottom, who was then Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs. Now, to go back to this question, as I understood it, you said - would you mind repeating that again?

F. W. Sourwine: I asked if, when you were, sent to Mr. Matthews for this briefing, he was introduced to you as having any official connection with the State Department or any authority from the Department?

Earl E. Smith: Oh, no. I knew who he was, and they obviously knew I knew who he was, but I believe, that they thought it would be a good idea for me to get the viewpoint of Herbert Matthews, and also I think that Herbert Matthews is the leading Latin American editorial writer for the New York Times. Obviously the State Department would like to have the support of the New York Times...

James Eastland: Mr. Smith, we have had hearings, a great many, in Miami, with prominent Cubans, and there is a thread that runs through the whole thing that people connected with some Government agency went to Cuba and called on the chiefs of the armed forces and told them that we would not recognize the government of the President-elect, and that we would not back him, and that because of that the chiefs of the armed forces told Batista to leave the country, and they set up a government in which they attempted to make a deal with Castro. That is accurate, isn't it, Tom?

Thomas Dodd: I would say so, yes...

James Eastland: Let me ask you this question. As a matter of fact, isn't it your judgment that the State Department of the United States is primarily responsible for bringing Castro to power in Cuba?

Earl E. Smith: No, sir, I can't say that the State Department in itself is primarily responsible. The State Department played a large part in bringing Castro to power. The press, other Government agencies, Members of Congress are responsible...

James Eastland: You had been warning the State Department that Castro was a Marxist?

Earl E. Smith: Yes, sir.

James Eastland: And that Batista's government was a friendly government. That is what had been your advice as to the State Department?

Earl E. Smith: Let me answer that this way, which will make it very clear. When I went to Cuba, I left here with the definite feeling according to my briefings which I had received, that the U.S. Government was too close to the Batista regime, and that we were being accused of intervening in the affairs of Cuba by trying to perpetuate the Batista dictatorship.

After I had been in Cuba for approximately 2 months, and had made a study of Fidel Castro and the revolutionaries, it was perfectly obvious to me as it would be to any other reasonable man that Castro was not the answer; that if Castro came to power, it would not be in the best interests of Cuba or in the best interests of the United States....

In my own Embassy there were certain ones of influence who were pro-26th of July, pro-Castro, and anti-Batista.

James Eastland: Who were they?

Earl E. Smith: Do I have to answer that question, Senator?

James Eastland: Yes, I think you have to. We are not going into it unnecessarily.

Earl E. Smith: I don't want to harm anybody. That is the reason I asked.

I would say the Chief of the Political Section, John Topping, and the Chief of the CIA Section. It was revealed that the No. 2 CIA rnan in the embassy had given unwarranted and undue encouragement to the revolutionaries. This came out in tke trials of naval officers after the Cienfuegos revolution of September I957...

James Eastland: He (Batista) didn't have to leave. He had not been defeated by armed force.

Earl E. Smith: Let me put it to you this way: that there are a lot of reasons for Batista's moving out. Batista had been in control off and on for 25 years. His government was disintegrating, at the end due to corruption, due to the fact that he had been in power too long. Police brutality was getting worse.

On the other hand there were three forces that kept Batista in power. He had the support of the armed forces, he had support of the labor leaders. Cuba enjoyed a good economy.

Nineteen hundred and fifty-seven was one of the best years in the economic history of Cuba. The fact that the United States was no longer supporting Batista had a devastating psychological effect, upon the armed forces and upon the leaders of the labor movement. This went a long way toward bringing about his downfall.

On the other hand, our actions in the United States were responsible for the rise to power of Castro. Until certain portions of the American press began to write derogatory articles against the Batista government, the Castro revolution never got off first base.

Batista made the mistake of overemphasizing the importance of Prio, who was residing in Florida, and underestimating the importance of Castro. Prio was operating out of the United States, out of Florida, supplying the revolutionaries with arms, ammunition, bodies and money.

Batista told me that when Prio left Cuba, Prio and Alameia (Aleman) took $140 million out of Cuba. If we cut that estimate in half, they may have shared $70 million. It is believed that Prio spent a great many millions of dollars in the United States assisting the revolutionaries. This was done right from our shores....

F. W. Sourwine: Is there any doubt in your mind that the Cuban Government, under Castro, is a Communist government?

Earl E. Smith: Now?

F. W. Sourwine: Yes.

Earl E. Smith: I would go further. I believe it is becoming a satellite.

The logical thing for the Russians to do would be to move into Cuba which they had already done, and to take over, which they would do by a mutual security pact.

Then, when the United States objects, all they have to say is:

"We will get out of Cuba when you get out of Turkey."

Thomas Dodd: You are not suggesting-

Earl E. Smith: That is a speech I made in February.

Thomas Dodd: Yes, but you are not suggesting that the Communists will cease and desist from their activities in Cuba and Central and South America, or anywhere else, if we get out of these other places?

Earl E. Smith: Out of Turkey?

Thomas Dodd: Yes.

Earl E. Smith: It would mean a great deal to them if we got out of Turkey. I am no expert on Turkey.

Thomas Dodd: You do not have to be an expert on Turkey, but you ought to be a little bit of an expert on the Communists to know this would not follow at all.

Every time we have retreated from one place, they have moved into new areas.

Earl E. Smith: Senator, I did not say what they would do.

Thomas Dodd: I know, but...

Earl E. Smith: That they would move into Cuba to retaliate with us.

Smith went on to issue a statement to the Senate Committee:

First let me say that to date I have made no public statement regarding my experiences in Cuba because I did not feel that, as a former Ambassador, it was my function to say anything which might be interpreted as critical of the administration which I had served. I have only the greatest respect and admiration for President Eisenhower, whose integrity is beyond question.

However, the establishment of a Communist regime in Cuba involves the defense and safety of this country and as you asked me to testify before you, I do so, recognizing that the welfare of the United States must transcend personal desires and reticence.

From personal experience I have learned that many very influential sources in the United States are dedicated to the overthrow of all dictatorships. They are as opposed to anti-Communist rightest dictators, who are friendly to the United States, as to the Communist dictators whom they regard as progressive. They adopt a doctrinaire attitude toward this question which is so impractical that they ultimately unwittingly defeat themselves. If dictatorship versus democracy were the only question that faced us, it would not be difficult to make a decision. However, as we are in the midst of a struggle for survival, other considerations are pertinent.

If the policy of the United States is to bring about the overthrow of dictators in the hope that democracy will follow, then I believe that the United States must be prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to preserve law and order and relevant chaos during that interim period of transition. If free and open elections are to be held, when a dictator is overthrown, a provisional government must be formed and such government needs outside support to maintain law and order. To do otherwise leaves a vacuum for the Communists to gain control. Such a vacuum did not occur in Cuba while I was the U.S. Ambassador there. Instead, a group was ready to seize power - a Communist group.

If we are to intervene sufficiently to bring about the overthrow of dictatorships, then we should intervene to whatever extent is required to fulfill our purpose. Otherwise, in my opinion, we must wait for the normal self-development of a people and not assist revolution. And we must be prepared to receive the criticism of supporting friendly governments recognized by the United States, although they have been labeled dictatorships. To make my point more clear, let me say that, we helped to overthrow the Batista dictatorship which was pro-American only to install the Castro dictatorship which is pro-Russian.

Smith's wife was Florence Pritchett. (3) Florence was John Kennedy's long time girlfriend (1944-1963). FBI files reveal that JFK made more than a dozen visits to Cuba in order to meet Florence. She also met Kennedy in Miami and Palm Beach, where their homes were conveniently adjoined.

According to one account: "JFK would elude the Secret Service on occasion in order to have trysts with women. He did this in Palm Beach when he hopped a fence to swim with Flo Smith. The Secret Service agents couldn't find him and called in the FBI. They finally turned to Palm Beach Police Chief Homer Large, a trusted Kennedy family associate. The Police Chief knew exactly where to find Jack - next door in Earl E. T. Smith's swimming pool. Jack and Flo were alone, and as Homer put it, "They weren't doing the Australian crawl."

Jackie came close to a nervous breakdown in 1960 because of JFK's relationship with Pritchett. Dorothy Kilgallen (4) was the first one to report on the CIA/Mafia plots to kill Castro. (5) Kilgallen was a close friend of Florence Pritchett. Did she get this information from Smith via his wife. Was Smith one of Kilgallen's sources for the articles she wrote claiming that Oswald was innocent? Penn Jones believes that Kilgallen gave a copy of her manuscript on the case to Pritchett. She died two days after Kilgallen. The manuscript has never been found. (6)

Earl Smith was also active in anti-Castro activities in Florida. (7) He was also director of the U.S. Sugar Corporation and was considered by Ronald Reagan as being one of America's leading experts on Cuba and in 1982 Smith became a member of the Presidential Commission on Broadcasting to Cuba.

Notes and References

1. Earl E. Smith, The Fourth Floor (1962)

2. Earl E. Smith evidence to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on 27th August, 1960.

3. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKsmithF.htm

4. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKkilgallen.htm

5. Dorothy Kilgallen, New York Journal American (15th July, 1959)

6. http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=2358

7. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKsmithET.htm

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Earl T. Smith, the man Dwight Eisenhower appointed as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Cuba in 1957 had a lot to say about this. (1)

Smith gave evidence to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on 27th August, 1960 on Castro and the CIA. (2)

F. W. Sourwine: Mr. Smith, when you were appointed Ambassador to Cuba, were you briefed on the job?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; I was.

F. W. Sourwine: Who gave you this briefing?

Earl E. Smith: I spent 6 weeks in Washington, approximately 4 days of each week, visiting various agencies and being briefed by the State, Department and those whom the State Department designated.

F. W. Sourwine: Any particular individual or individuals who, had a primary part in this briefing?

Earl E. Smith: The answer is, in the period of 6 weeks I was briefed by numbers of people in the usual course as every Ambassador is briefed.

F. W. Sourwine: Is it true, sir, that you were instructed to get a briefing on your new job as Ambassador to Cuba from Herbert Matthews of the New York Times?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; that is correct.

F. W. Sourwine: Who gave you these instructions?

Earl E. Smith: William Wieland, Director of the Caribbean Division and Mexico. At that time he was Director of the Caribbean Division, Central American Affairs.

F. W. Sourwine: Did you, sir, in fact see Matthews?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; I did.

F. W. Sourwine: And did he brief you on the Cuban situation?

Earl E. Smith: Yes; he did.

F. W. Sourwine: Could you give us the highlights of what he told you?...

Earl E. Smith: We talked for 2 1/2 hours on the Cuban situation, a complete review o£ his feelings regarding Cuba, Batista, Castro, the situation in Cuba, and what he thought would happen.

F. W. Sourwine: What did he think would happen?

Earl E. Smith: He did not believe that the Batista government could last, and that the fall of the Batista government would come relatively soon.

F. W. Sourwine: Specifically what did he say about Castro?

Earl E. Smith: In February 1957 Herbert L. Matthews wrote three articles on Fidel Castro, which appeared on the front page of the New York Times, in which he eulogized Fidel Castro and portrayed him as a political Robin Hood, and I would say that he repeated those views to me in our conversation....

F. W. Sourwine: What did Mr. Matthews tell you about Batista?

Earl E. Smith: Mr. Matthews had a very poor view of Batista, considered him a rightist ruthless dictator whom he believed to be corrupt. Mr. Matthews informed me that he had very knowledgeable views of Cuba and Latin American nations, and had seen the same things take place in Spain. He believed that it would be in the best interest of Cuba and the best interest of the world in general when Batista was removed from office.

F. W. Sourwine: It was true that Batista's government was corrupt, wasn't it?

Earl E. Smith: It is true that Batista's government was corrupt. Batista was the power behind the Government in Cuba off and on for 25 years. The year 1957 was the best economic year that Cuba had ever had.

However, the Batista regime was disintegrating from within. It was becoming more corrupt, and as a result, was losing strength. The Castro forces themselves never won a military victory. The best military victory they ever won was through capturing Cuban guardhouses and military skirmishes, but they never actually won a military victory.

The Batista government was overthrown because of the corruption, disintegration from within, and because of the United States and the various agencies of the United States who directly and indirectly aided the overthrow of the Batista government and brought into power Fidel Castro.

F. W. Sourwine: What were those, agencies, Mr. Smith?

Earl E. Smith: The US Government agencies-may I say something off the record?

(Discussion off the record.)

F. W. Sourwine: Mr. Smith, the pending question before you read your statement was: What agencies of the US Government had a hand in bringing pressure to overthrow the Batista government, and how did they do it?

Earl E. Smith: Well, the agencies, certain influential people, influential sources in the State Department, lower down echelons in the CIA. I would say representatives of the majority of the US Government agencies which have anything to do with the Embassy...

F. W. Sourwine: Mr. Smith, when you talked with Matthews to get the briefing before you went to Cuba, was he introduced to you as having any authority from the State Department or as being connected with the State Department in any way?

Earl E. Smith: Let me go back. You asked me a short while ago who arranged the meeting with Mr. Matthews.

F. W. Sourwine: And you said Mr. Wieland.

Earl E. Smith: I said Wilham Wieland, but Wilham Wieland also had to have the approval of Roy Rubottom, who was then Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs. Now, to go back to this question, as I understood it, you said - would you mind repeating that again?

F. W. Sourwine: I asked if, when you were, sent to Mr. Matthews for this briefing, he was introduced to you as having any official connection with the State Department or any authority from the Department?

Earl E. Smith: Oh, no. I knew who he was, and they obviously knew I knew who he was, but I believe, that they thought it would be a good idea for me to get the viewpoint of Herbert Matthews, and also I think that Herbert Matthews is the leading Latin American editorial writer for the New York Times. Obviously the State Department would like to have the support of the New York Times...

James Eastland: Mr. Smith, we have had hearings, a great many, in Miami, with prominent Cubans, and there is a thread that runs through the whole thing that people connected with some Government agency went to Cuba and called on the chiefs of the armed forces and told them that we would not recognize the government of the President-elect, and that we would not back him, and that because of that the chiefs of the armed forces told Batista to leave the country, and they set up a government in which they attempted to make a deal with Castro. That is accurate, isn't it, Tom?

Thomas Dodd: I would say so, yes...

James Eastland: Let me ask you this question. As a matter of fact, isn't it your judgment that the State Department of the United States is primarily responsible for bringing Castro to power in Cuba?

Earl E. Smith: No, sir, I can't say that the State Department in itself is primarily responsible. The State Department played a large part in bringing Castro to power. The press, other Government agencies, Members of Congress are responsible...

James Eastland: You had been warning the State Department that Castro was a Marxist?

Earl E. Smith: Yes, sir.

James Eastland: And that Batista's government was a friendly government. That is what had been your advice as to the State Department?

Earl E. Smith: Let me answer that this way, which will make it very clear. When I went to Cuba, I left here with the definite feeling according to my briefings which I had received, that the U.S. Government was too close to the Batista regime, and that we were being accused of intervening in the affairs of Cuba by trying to perpetuate the Batista dictatorship.

After I had been in Cuba for approximately 2 months, and had made a study of Fidel Castro and the revolutionaries, it was perfectly obvious to me as it would be to any other reasonable man that Castro was not the answer; that if Castro came to power, it would not be in the best interests of Cuba or in the best interests of the United States....

In my own Embassy there were certain ones of influence who were pro-26th of July, pro-Castro, and anti-Batista.

James Eastland: Who were they?

Earl E. Smith: Do I have to answer that question, Senator?

James Eastland: Yes, I think you have to. We are not going into it unnecessarily.

Earl E. Smith: I don't want to harm anybody. That is the reason I asked.

I would say the Chief of the Political Section, John Topping, and the Chief of the CIA Section. It was revealed that the No. 2 CIA rnan in the embassy had given unwarranted and undue encouragement to the revolutionaries. This came out in tke trials of naval officers after the Cienfuegos revolution of September I957...

James Eastland: He (Batista) didn't have to leave. He had not been defeated by armed force.

Earl E. Smith: Let me put it to you this way: that there are a lot of reasons for Batista's moving out. Batista had been in control off and on for 25 years. His government was disintegrating, at the end due to corruption, due to the fact that he had been in power too long. Police brutality was getting worse.

On the other hand there were three forces that kept Batista in power. He had the support of the armed forces, he had support of the labor leaders. Cuba enjoyed a good economy.

Nineteen hundred and fifty-seven was one of the best years in the economic history of Cuba. The fact that the United States was no longer supporting Batista had a devastating psychological effect, upon the armed forces and upon the leaders of the labor movement. This went a long way toward bringing about his downfall.

On the other hand, our actions in the United States were responsible for the rise to power of Castro. Until certain portions of the American press began to write derogatory articles against the Batista government, the Castro revolution never got off first base.

Batista made the mistake of overemphasizing the importance of Prio, who was residing in Florida, and underestimating the importance of Castro. Prio was operating out of the United States, out of Florida, supplying the revolutionaries with arms, ammunition, bodies and money.

Batista told me that when Prio left Cuba, Prio and Alameia (Aleman) took $140 million out of Cuba. If we cut that estimate in half, they may have shared $70 million. It is believed that Prio spent a great many millions of dollars in the United States assisting the revolutionaries. This was done right from our shores....

F. W. Sourwine: Is there any doubt in your mind that the Cuban Government, under Castro, is a Communist government?

Earl E. Smith: Now?

F. W. Sourwine: Yes.

Earl E. Smith: I would go further. I believe it is becoming a satellite.

The logical thing for the Russians to do would be to move into Cuba which they had already done, and to take over, which they would do by a mutual security pact.

Then, when the United States objects, all they have to say is:

"We will get out of Cuba when you get out of Turkey."

Thomas Dodd: You are not suggesting-

Earl E. Smith: That is a speech I made in February.

Thomas Dodd: Yes, but you are not suggesting that the Communists will cease and desist from their activities in Cuba and Central and South America, or anywhere else, if we get out of these other places?

Earl E. Smith: Out of Turkey?

Thomas Dodd: Yes.

Earl E. Smith: It would mean a great deal to them if we got out of Turkey. I am no expert on Turkey.

Thomas Dodd: You do not have to be an expert on Turkey, but you ought to be a little bit of an expert on the Communists to know this would not follow at all.

Every time we have retreated from one place, they have moved into new areas.

Earl E. Smith: Senator, I did not say what they would do.

Thomas Dodd: I know, but...

Earl E. Smith: That they would move into Cuba to retaliate with us.

Smith went on to issue a statement to the Senate Committee:

First let me say that to date I have made no public statement regarding my experiences in Cuba because I did not feel that, as a former Ambassador, it was my function to say anything which might be interpreted as critical of the administration which I had served. I have only the greatest respect and admiration for President Eisenhower, whose integrity is beyond question.

However, the establishment of a Communist regime in Cuba involves the defense and safety of this country and as you asked me to testify before you, I do so, recognizing that the welfare of the United States must transcend personal desires and reticence.

From personal experience I have learned that many very influential sources in the United States are dedicated to the overthrow of all dictatorships. They are as opposed to anti-Communist rightest dictators, who are friendly to the United States, as to the Communist dictators whom they regard as progressive. They adopt a doctrinaire attitude toward this question which is so impractical that they ultimately unwittingly defeat themselves. If dictatorship versus democracy were the only question that faced us, it would not be difficult to make a decision. However, as we are in the midst of a struggle for survival, other considerations are pertinent.

If the policy of the United States is to bring about the overthrow of dictators in the hope that democracy will follow, then I believe that the United States must be prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to preserve law and order and relevant chaos during that interim period of transition. If free and open elections are to be held, when a dictator is overthrown, a provisional government must be formed and such government needs outside support to maintain law and order. To do otherwise leaves a vacuum for the Communists to gain control. Such a vacuum did not occur in Cuba while I was the U.S. Ambassador there. Instead, a group was ready to seize power - a Communist group.

If we are to intervene sufficiently to bring about the overthrow of dictatorships, then we should intervene to whatever extent is required to fulfill our purpose. Otherwise, in my opinion, we must wait for the normal self-development of a people and not assist revolution. And we must be prepared to receive the criticism of supporting friendly governments recognized by the United States, although they have been labeled dictatorships. To make my point more clear, let me say that, we helped to overthrow the Batista dictatorship which was pro-American only to install the Castro dictatorship which is pro-Russian.

* * * * * * * * * *

Thanks for posting this, John. In my opinion, Smith's testimony demonstrates what a thoughtful and intelligent man he was.

It appears to be the thrust of Tim's article that the US, through its actions against Fidel, drove him into Khruschev's arms. That interpretation (Tim likes that word) is, I think, not supported by the facts. Item: one of the first things the Eisenhower administration did after Fidel came to power was to replace Ambassador Smith (because he was known as being "too" anti-Castro). Item: many of Castro's supporters discovered his dedication to communism shortly after he came to power. The list of those who did so is long indeed. Item: Mr. Weyl's seminar demonstrates that Fidel was a student of communism since his college days. Mr. Weyl is a wise man who knows wherof he speaks. As you know, Mr. Weyl was once a Communist himself. When I get around to it I will post the relevant portions of Mr. Weyl's article here.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Smith gave evidence to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on 27th August, 1960 on Castro and the CIA.  [is this the testimony that was termed as taking place as early as 1957 in e-mail correspondence, to which I replied that it was nonsensical that there was any such testimony that early when Castro and his rag-tag band were living around a campfire in the Sierra Maestra?] (2)

Earl T. Smith:  However, the Batista regime was disintegrating from within. It was becoming more corrupt, and as a result, was losing strength....

The Batista government was overthrown because of the corruption, disintegration from within, and because of the United States and the various agencies of the United States who directly and indirectly aided the overthrow of the Batista government and brought into power Fidel Castro.

F. W. Sourwine: What were those, agencies, Mr. Smith?

Earl T. Smith: Well, the agencies, certain influential people, influential sources in the State Department, lower down echelons in the CIA. I would say representatives of the majority of the US Government agencies which have anything to do with the Embassy...

James Eastland: Let me ask you this question. As a matter of fact, isn't it your judgment that the State Department of the United States is primarily responsible for bringing Castro to power in Cuba?

Earl T. Smith: No, sir, I can't say that the State Department in itself is primarily responsible. The State Department played a large part in bringing Castro to power. The press, other Government agencies, Members of Congress are responsible...

James Eastland: You had been warning the State Department that Castro was a Marxist?

Earl T. Smith: Yes, sir.

James Eastland: And that Batista's government was a friendly government. That is what had been your advice as to the State Department?

Earl T. Smith: Let me answer that this way, which will make it very clear. When I went to Cuba, I left there with the definite feeling according to my briefings which I had received, that the U.S. Government was too close to the Batista regime, and that we were being accused of intervening in the affairs of Cuba by trying to perpetuate the Batista dictatorship.

After I had been in Cuba for approximately 2 months, and had made a study of Fidel Castro and the revolutionaries, it was perfectly obvious to me as it would be to any other reasonable man that Castro was not the answer; that if Castro came to power, it would not be in the best interests of Cuba or in the best interests of the United States....

In my own Embassy there were certain ones of influence who were pro-26th of July, pro-Castro, and anti-Batista.

James Eastland: Who were they?

Earl T. Smith: I would say the Chief of the Political Section, John Topping, and the Chief of the CIA Section. It was revealed that the No. 2 CIA rnan in the embassy had given unwarranted and undue encouragement to the revolutionaries. This came out in tke trials of naval officers after the Cienfuegos revolution of September I957...

James Eastland: He (Batista) didn't have to leave. He had not been defeated by armed force.

Earl T. Smith: Let me put it to you this way: that there are a lot of reasons for Batista's moving out. Batista had been in control off and on for 25 years. His government was disintegrating, at the end due to corruption, due to the fact that he had been in power too long. Police brutality was getting worse....  The fact that the United States was no longer supporting Batista had a devastating psychological effect, upon the armed forces and upon the leaders of the labor movement. This went a long way toward bringing about his downfall.

Batista made the mistake of overemphasizing the importance of Prio, who was residing in Florida, and underestimating the importance of Castro. Prio was operating out of the United States, out of Florida, supplying the revolutionaries with arms, ammunition, bodies and money.

Batista told me that when Prio left Cuba, Prio and Alameia (Aleman) took $140 million out of Cuba. If we cut that estimate in half, they may have shared $70 million. It is believed that Prio spent a great many millions of dollars in the United States assisting the revolutionaries. This was done right from our shores....

F. W. Sourwine: Is there any doubt in your mind that the Cuban Government, under Castro, is a Communist government?

Earl T. Smith: Now?

F. W. Sourwine: Yes.

Earl T. Smith: I would go further. I believe it is becoming a satellite.

The logical thing for the Russians to do would be to move into Cuba which they had already done, and to take over, which they would do by a mutual security pact.

Then, when the United States objects, all they have to say is:

"We will get out of Cuba when you get out of Turkey."

Smith went on to issue a statement to the Senate Committee:

I have only the greatest respect and admiration for President Eisenhower, whose integrity is beyond question.  However, the establishment of a Communist regime in Cuba involves the defense and safety of this country and as you asked me to testify before you, I do so, recognizing that the welfare of the United States must transcend personal desires and reticence....

If dictatorship versus democracy were the only question that faced us, it would not be difficult to make a decision. However, as we are in the midst of a struggle for survival, other considerations are pertinent.

To make my point more clear, let me say that, we helped to overthrow the Batista dictatorship which was pro-American only to install the Castro dictatorship which is pro-Russian.

                                *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Thanks for posting this, John.  In my opinion, Smith's testimony demonstrates what a thoughtful and intelligent man he was.

It appears to be the thrust of Tim's article that the US, through its actions against Fidel, drove him into Khruschev's arms.  That interpretation (Tim likes that word) is, I think, not supported by the facts.  Item: one of the first things the Eisenhower administration did after Fidel came to power was to replace Ambassador Smith (because he was known as being "too" anti-Castro)....   Mr. Weyl's seminar demonstrates that Fidel was a student of communism since his college days.  Mr. Weyl is a wise man who knows wherof he speaks.  As you know, Mr. Weyl was once a Communist himself.  When I get around to it I will post the relevant portions of Mr. Weyl's article here.

I had never before heard that Mr. Weyl was once a communist himself. His seminar begins as follows:

"One morning early in 1960, we were reading the New York Times in bed when I happened to glance through a speech by the new dictator of Cuba. I knew very little about Fidel Castro beyond the fact that he was being portrayed as a reincarnation of Robin Hood (or was it Abraham Lincoln?) in the lyrical prose of Times correspondent Herbert L. Matthews. I asked Sylvia (my wife) to read the Castro harangue. We both concluded that it seemed to be the product of an indoctrinated Communist. What if Castro was a Soviet agent?"

I find the most prescient and eventually crucial aspect of Earl Smith's testimony to have been the questions about a correlation of a possible Soviet presence in Cuba with our long-term policy of encirclement, in which we deployed nuclear missiles right on the Soviet border. It was entirely predictable that if Cuba became a Soviet satellite, the same policy might be turned back against us. That is why JFK tried numerous times prior to the Missile Crisis to get the Jupiter missiles out of Turkey. Eventually, he had to make a secret deal to do just that under threat.

But getting back to whether Castro was a communist from the beginning, in the black and white terms John Foster Dulles had promulgated, or if he was a social reformer who was never going to have the approval of the United Fruit Co., the major landowner in all of Cuba and former employer of both Dulles brothers, one cannot leave out the geopolitical discrepencies between long-standing U.S. policies and U.S. intolerance of equitable counterpart policies by any non-aligned nation. If Castro was a Soviet agent from the beginning, why did the CIA, Mafia, and State Department support his revolution - not just with words but with weapons? My interpretation (yes Tim Gratz, I like that word, and its importance is the reason we have CIA and State Dept. analysts) is that under the conditions of the moment, Castro was the most moderate option available.

Finally, there is the comment: "Batista made the mistake of overemphasizing the importance of Prio, who was residing in Florida, and underestimating the importance of Castro. Prio was operating out of the United States, out of Florida, supplying the revolutionaries with arms, ammunition, bodies and money. Batista told me that when Prio left Cuba, Prio and Alameia (Aleman) took $140 million out of Cuba. If we cut that estimate in half, they may have shared $70 million. It is believed that Prio spent a great many millions of dollars in the United States assisting the revolutionaries. This was done right from our shores....

We JFK assassination researchers have generally made the opposite mistake of underemphasizing Prio and his many millions, during the 1963 period.

Tim Carroll

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[i had never before heard that Mr. Weyl was once a communist himself. His seminar begins as follows:

Tim: I said "as you know" because, although I do not always agree with your interpration of history, I am impressed with your knowledge of the people and events of Cold War history. Weyl was indeed a former Communist and if my memory serves me right he played a role in the Hiss case. He recently published a book called "Encounters with Communism."

I find the most prescient and eventually crucial aspect of Earl Smith's testimony to have been the questions about a correlation of a possible Soviet presence in Cuba with our long-term policy of encirclement, in which we deployed nuclear missiles right on the Soviet border. It was entirely predictable that if Cuba became a Soviet satellite, the same policy might be turned back against us. That is why JFK tried numerous times prior to the Missile Crisis to get the Jupiter missiles out of Turkey. Eventually, he had to make a secret deal to do just that under threat.

Yes, Tim, I agree with you here. That comment is one of the reasons I characterized Smith's testimony as thoughtful. Many scholars believe that both Khruschev and JFK were using Cuba as a pawn over the Cold War in Europe.

Finally, there is the comment: "Batista made the mistake of overemphasizing the importance of Prio, who was residing in Florida, and underestimating the importance of Castro. Prio was operating out of the United States, out of Florida, supplying the revolutionaries with arms, ammunition, bodies and money. Batista told me that when Prio left Cuba, Prio and Alameia (Aleman) took $140 million out of Cuba. If we cut that estimate in half, they may have shared $70 million. It is believed that Prio spent a great many millions of dollars in the United States assisting the revolutionaries. This was done right from our shores....

We JFK assassination researchers have generally made the opposite mistake of underemphasizing Prio and his many millions, during the 1963 period.

Tim: I agree with you, again, that the various connections of Prior deserve further investigation.

Finally, with respect to your comment about Castro being the best alternative to Batista, are you aware of the efforts Wiliam Pawley was frantically making in December of 1958 to find a moderate alternative to Castro, efforts rebuffed by the Eisenhower State Department? (I don't have Hugh Thomas' magisterial history of Cuba with me, but I will refer to it to discuss this episode in greater detail, tomorrow.)

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Finally, with respect to your comment about Castro being the best alternative to Batista, are you aware of the efforts Wiliam Pawley was frantically making in December of 1958 to find a moderate alternative to Castro, efforts rebuffed by the Eisenhower State Department?  (I don't have Hugh Thomas' magisterial history of Cuba with me, but I will refer to it to discuss this episode in greater detail, tomorrow.)[/color]

Tim Gratz:

I meant no argument with Mr. Weyl having been a communist; I simply had never heard that and didn't have that take from his seminar. In the case of a self-proclaimed communist there is little room for interpretation or debate. But in terms of declaring who was a communist and at what point in time, as I have said, in those days, Earl Warren was considered a communist by many, as was JFK. It's a matter of interpretation.

I wonder if you have ever heard of the Bay of Pigs planning by the right wing elements at the CIA to go ahead with a moderate provisional government, with a plan ready to subsequently replace it with a more Batistiano one?

The Bay of Pigs planning also included manipulating the politics of the Cuban exiles in the aftermath of what was hoped to be a successful takeover. Even many of the Cuban exiles would have been shocked at how far some in the United States were willing to go in this regard. The President’s directive that the exile leadership include more people from the left-of-center orientation to counter charges that the exiles were nothing more than Batisteros in disguise caused some dissension in the CIA’s ranks. E. Howard Hunt’s resentment of the change led him to “resign”[1] or be “fired”[2] from his job as Political Action Officer for the invasion, depending on whose version one believes. He thought these changes amounted to a policy of Fidelismo sin Fidel, Fidelism without Fidel. Hunt’s political orientation, which was distinctly right wing, was far more amenable to Batistism sin Batista.

One of the moderate Cuban leaders, stung by Hunt’s charge, stated: “I don’t know what it means to be a leftist. If it means to be in favor of all the people and for the welfare of the masses, then I am.” Hunt retorted: “Fidel Castro could not have phrased it better.”[3] His ideology was reflected in a quote he was fond of citing: “The liberal’s arm cannot strike with firmness against communism ... because the liberal dimly feels that in doing so he would be somehow wounding himself.”[4] The right wing Cubans and those in the CIA like Hunt who were most sympathetic to counter-revolutionary politics did make contingency plans for the exiles’ leadership after the landing. “Operation 40 [a high level, government-connected Cuban exile group] called for assassinating the moderates after their return to the island following an invasion.”[5] The U.S. supported the creation of a moderate provisional government during the planning, while its own agents were plotting to install a more right-wing one later. The moderates were intended to legitimize the efforts of the exile force while at the same time becoming targets themselves for some later murderous manipulation.

1. E. Howard Hunt, Give Us This Day, (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1973), 83.

2. Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms & the CIA, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), 252.

3. E. Howard Hunt, 94.

4. Ibid., 218.

5. Maria de los Angeles Torres, "Autumn of the Cuban Patriarchs," The Nation, (December 1, 1997, v265, n180, 24(3).

Tim Carroll

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Finally, with respect to your comment about Castro being the best alternative to Batista, are you aware of the efforts Wiliam Pawley was frantically making in December of 1958 to find a moderate alternative to Castro, efforts rebuffed by the Eisenhower State Department?  (I don't have Hugh Thomas' magisterial history of Cuba with me, but I will refer to it to discuss this episode in greater detail, tomorrow.)[/color]

Tim Gratz:

I meant no argument with Mr. Weyl having been a communist; I simply had never heard that and didn't have that take from his seminar. In the case of a self-proclaimed communist there is little room for interpretation or debate. But in terms of declaring who was a communist and at what point in time, as I have said, in those days, Earl Warren was considered a communist by many, as was JFK. It's a matter of interpretation.

I wonder if you have ever heard of the Bay of Pigs planning by the right wing elements at the CIA to go ahead with a moderate provisional government, with a plan ready to subsequently replace it with a more Batistiano one?

The Bay of Pigs planning also included manipulating the politics of the Cuban exiles in the aftermath of what was hoped to be a successful takeover. Even many of the Cuban exiles would have been shocked at how far some in the United States were willing to go in this regard. The President’s directive that the exile leadership include more people from the left-of-center orientation to counter charges that the exiles were nothing more than Batisteros in disguise caused some dissension in the CIA’s ranks. E. Howard Hunt’s resentment of the change led him to “resign”[1] or be “fired”[2] from his job as Political Action Officer for the invasion, depending on whose version one believes. He thought these changes amounted to a policy of Fidelismo sin Fidel, Fidelism without Fidel. Hunt’s political orientation, which was distinctly right wing, was far more amenable to Batistism sin Batista.

One of the moderate Cuban leaders, stung by Hunt’s charge, stated: “I don’t know what it means to be a leftist. If it means to be in favor of all the people and for the welfare of the masses, then I am.” Hunt retorted: “Fidel Castro could not have phrased it better.”[3] His ideology was reflected in a quote he was fond of citing: “The liberal’s arm cannot strike with firmness against communism ... because the liberal dimly feels that in doing so he would be somehow wounding himself.”[4] The right wing Cubans and those in the CIA like Hunt who were most sympathetic to counter-revolutionary politics did make contingency plans for the exiles’ leadership after the landing. “Operation 40 [a high level, government-connected Cuban exile group] called for assassinating the moderates after their return to the island following an invasion.”[5] The U.S. supported the creation of a moderate provisional government during the planning, while its own agents were plotting to install a more right-wing one later. The moderates were intended to legitimize the efforts of the exile force while at the same time becoming targets themselves for some later murderous manipulation.

1. E. Howard Hunt, Give Us This Day, (New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1973), 83.

2. Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms & the CIA, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979), 252.

3. E. Howard Hunt, 94.

4. Ibid., 218.

5. Maria de los Angeles Torres, "Autumn of the Cuban Patriarchs," The Nation, (December 1, 1997, v265, n180, 24(3).

Tim Carroll

Tim, interesting post. Weyl by the way was a card-carrying communist, as I understand it. I'll e-mail him and tell him it would be interesting for him to summarize his political history. I'm sure it would be most interesting!

There certainly were a multiplicity of anti-Castro exile organizations of various political philosophies. I am sure you will find interesting the post I will do tomorrow re William Pawley's efforts to find a moderate to replace Batista, efforts which probably came too late and were not supported by the State Department.

Re the political persuasion of the CIA, I am quite certain that Bissell, who really originated the CIA/mafia plots, was a Kennedy supporter in the 1960 election.

I am sure Hunt was quite right wing. I have no idea of Helms' political philosophy (other than that he was no fan of Richard Nixon). I presume (could be wrong) that Angleton's politics were right of center.

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I find the most prescient and eventually crucial aspect of Earl Smith's testimony to have been the questions about a correlation of a possible Soviet presence in Cuba with our long-term policy of encirclement, in which we deployed nuclear missiles right on the Soviet border. It was entirely predictable that if Cuba became a Soviet satellite, the same policy might be turned back against us. That is why JFK tried numerous times prior to the Missile Crisis to get the Jupiter missiles out of Turkey. Eventually, he had to make a secret deal to do just that under threat.

Yes, Tim, I agree with you here. That comment is one of the reasons I characterized Smith's testimony as thoughtful. Many scholars believe that both Khruschev and JFK were using Cuba as a pawn over the Cold War in Europe.

___________________________________________________________

At the Summit in Vienna in June, 1961, "Khrushchev warned that while Castro was no Communist, 'you are well on the way to making him a good one.' The President had claimed that the United States attacked Cuba because the island threatened American security: 'Can six million people really be a threat to the mighty U.S.?' If the United States felt threatened by tiny Cuba, what was the Soviet Union to do about Turkey and Iran? 'These two countries are followers of the United States. They march in its wake, and they have U.S. bases and rockets.... If the U.S. believes that it is free to act, then what should the U.S.S.R. do?'"*

*Michael R. Beschloss, The Crisis Years, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991), 200-201.

Tim Carroll

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Re the political persuasion of the CIA, I am quite certain that Bissell, who really originated the CIA/mafia plots, was a Kennedy supporter in the 1960 election.

I am sure Hunt was quite right wing.  I have no idea of Helms' political philosophy (other than that he was no fan of Richard Nixon).  I presume (could be wrong) that Angleton's politics were right of center.

Tim Gratz:

As with our previous discussion about Trento, this partisan perspective of these matters is overly simplistic and generally irrelevant.

Tim Carroll

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I find the most prescient and eventually crucial aspect of Earl Smith's testimony to have been the questions about a correlation of a possible Soviet presence in Cuba with our long-term policy of encirclement, in which we deployed nuclear missiles right on the Soviet border. It was entirely predictable that if Cuba became a Soviet satellite, the same policy might be turned back against us. That is why JFK tried numerous times prior to the Missile Crisis to get the Jupiter missiles out of Turkey. Eventually, he had to make a secret deal to do just that under threat.

Yes, Tim, I agree with you here. That comment is one of the reasons I characterized Smith's testimony as thoughtful. Many scholars believe that both Khruschev and JFK were using Cuba as a pawn over the Cold War in Europe.

___________________________________________________________

At the Summit in Vienna in June, 1963, "Khrushchev warned that while Castro was no Communist, 'you are well on the way to making him a good one.' The President had claimed that the United States attacked Cuba because the island threatened American security: 'Can six million people really be a threat to the mighty U.S.?' If the United States felt threatened by tiny Cuba, what was the Soviet Union to do about Turkey and Iran? 'These two countries are followers of the United States. They march in its wake, and they have U.S. bases and rockets.... If the U.S. believes that it is free to act, then what should the U.S.S.R. do?'"*

*Michael R. Beschloss, The Crisis Years, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1991), 200-201.

Tim Carroll

Interesting quote. Check my memory, I think the Vienna summit was in 1961.

I am sure you caught, in the colloquy between Dodd and Smith, that Dodd ( a Democrat) was expressing a more reactionary attitude than Smith whose carefully stated opinions were (searching for the right word) nuanced.

(If you agree the summit was in 1961, edit your post and I will edit this one to delete the reference.)

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Re the political persuasion of the CIA, I am quite certain that Bissell, who really originated the CIA/mafia plots, was a Kennedy supporter in the 1960 election.

I am sure Hunt was quite right wing.  I have no idea of Helms' political philosophy (other than that he was no fan of Richard Nixon).  I presume (could be wrong) that Angleton's politics were right of center.

Tim Gratz:

As with our previous discussion about Trento, this partisan perspective of these matters is overly simplistic and generally irrelevant.

Tim Carroll

Agreed!

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Re the political persuasion of the CIA, I am quite certain that Bissell, who really originated the CIA/mafia plots, was a Kennedy supporter in the 1960 election.

I am sure Hunt was quite right wing.  I have no idea of Helms' political philosophy (other than that he was no fan of Richard Nixon).  I presume (could be wrong) that Angleton's politics were right of center.

Tim Gratz:

As with our previous discussion about Trento, this partisan perspective of these matters is overly simplistic and generally irrelevant.

Tim Carroll

Agreed.

As you know, I think one of the biggest mistakes our country made in the

1960s was the removal of Diem. I remember the controversy over Diem in the fall of 1963. National Review, which greatly influenced my political thinking in those years, was strongly outspoken in defense of Diem. In one sense, the issue could be summed up in the old adage: "You don't change horses in mid-stream." Plus, of course, the Diem overthrow involved our country's encouragement of a violent overthrow of a long-standing government of an independent third party. Although the ultimate responsibility rests with JFK, he was largely influenced by Rep Henry Cabot Lodge. (It would probably going too far to suggest that Lodge's attitude toward the Diem regime may have been influenced by religious differences.)

By the way, our previous discussions (on a different thread) about the Ciem coup were overly simplistic, on both our parts. There was a tremenduous amount of manuevering going on in both Washington and Saigon between late August of 1963 and the Diem coup of Nov 1st. JFK was clearly vacillating because his administration was engaged in a bitter internal debate. It was probably because of the internal dispute that JFK listened to the advise of Henry Cabot Lodge, who was "on the ground" in Saigon.

The best summary I recently encountered (since our earlier interchanges) is in Richard Reeves "President Kennedy: Profile in Power.

You have mentioned possible differences of opinion between JFK and RFK. We know RFK opoposed overthrowing Diem. Here is an interesting passage from Reeves' book.

Context: JFK had cabled Lodge that the White House intended to control the action in Saigon. Both Kennedy's thought that Lodge's cable acknowleding that was perhaps sarcastic. RFK told JFK: "I told you he [Lodge] was going to be trouble." According to Reeves, JFK snapped back at his brother: "You know what's terrific about you? You always remember when you're right."

Reeves, Chapter 53.

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Check my memory, I think the Vienna summit was in 1961. 

Oops; pure typo, duh., June, 1961; very shortly after April's Bay of Pigs.

Tim Carroll

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(If you agree the summit was in 1961, edit your post and I will edit this one to delete the reference.)

Absolutely - done! Stupid mistake. SInce laser surgery, the computer screen is right in between needing glasses and not; thereby usually meaning not. A less substantive correction of the Smith transcript is his middle initial being "E" rather than "T."

Tim Carroll

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(If you agree the summit was in 1961, edit your post and I will edit this one to delete the reference.)

Absolutely - done! Stupid mistake. SInce laser surgery, the computer screen is right in between needing glasses and not; thereby usually meaning not. A less substantive correction of the Smith transcript is his middle initial being "E" rather than "T."

Tim Carroll

Tim:

His full name was Earl E. T. Smith.

I have not read it yet (just briefly skimmed it) but hope you get the chance to read the chapter on the Cuban missile crisis in Eric Alterman's new book "When Presidents Lie". Based on my very cursory review, I would characterize Altrerman's analysis as "thought provoking". I would very much like to see your comments on it. Fits in with a lot of your writing, I think.

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