Jump to content
The Education Forum

IB Essay: JFK's Foreign Policy & the Assassination


Recommended Posts

John wrote:

RFK actions [in seeking a repeal of the travel ban] are not those of someone who thought Castro had organized the assassination of JFK.

John, I would admit that, superficially at least, your point is persuasive about RFK's thought processes.

Of course, we do not know how much RFK knew about evidence pointing toward Castro. He certainly knew about JFK's response to the Cuban peace initiatives--for the initiatives did originate with Cuba--but we do not know whether, for instance, he was witting of the Cubela operation in which a CIA official told Cubela (who may very well have been reporting to Castro) that Cubela's plan to kill Castro had the enthusiastic support of RFK. Many argue that Fitzgerald made this representation to Cubela without clearing it with RFK. And Fitzgerald did his best to obscure it in the immediate aftermath of the assassination.

So if indeed RFK did not authorize Fitzgerald's October 29. 1963 representation to Cubela, RFK was certainly not aware of it in early December of 1963.

And Fitzgerald's representation of JFK's brother's support for his assassination is certainly an important point to be evaluated in considering possible Cuban participation in the JFK assassination. If Castro did it, and if RFK was not aware of the Cubela caper, then Fitzgerald's lie to Cubela may have been the final seal on JFK's fate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 59
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

John wrote:

It is noticeable that the only evidence quoted by Tim to support his strange opinions is an article published by Glenn Garvin in the "Miami Herald" on November 25, 2003. I am afraid that IB students cannot accept this as evidence for anything other than the desire by right-wing Republicans to spread anti-JFK propaganda.

It is interesting that John, who argues that the points made by Communists in their writings must be evaluated on their merit rejects Garvin's article out-of-hand because he claims Garvin is a "right-wing Republican". Evaluate the merits of what Communists say, of course, but if the writings are from "right-wing Republicans" they should be summarily dismissed.

Now I admit to being a card carrying member of the vast right-wing conspiracy (got that card before I got my driver's license) but I have no idea who Garvin is. John, do you even know he is a "right-wing Republican"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John wrote:

It is noticeable that the only evidence quoted by Tim to support his strange opinions is an article published by Glenn Garvin in the "Miami Herald" on November 25, 2003. I am afraid that IB students cannot accept this as evidence for anything other than the desire by right-wing Republicans to spread anti-JFK propaganda.

Duh. . . John, my post included verbatim quotations from the official records of the State Department of meetings in which RFK participated with CIA officers and discussed sabotage operations against Cuba that were authorized to be conducted on the week-end before the JFK assassination.

Did you miss these quotes, perhaps?

Edited by Tim Gratz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So John it is your position that the interview in which Castro called Kennedy a "cretin" and talked about US efforts to kill Cuban leaders was in fact a friendly warning that the people the US was using to try to kill Castro could instead turn on Kennedy? If it was a friendly warning to JFK, as opposed to a threat, why in the world would Castro in the same interview call Kennedy "a cretin", and "the Batista of our times"? Somehow I think when Castro called JFK "the Batista of our time" it was not intended as a complement!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The findings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations: (from the start).

A. Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at President John F. Kennedy. The second and third shots he fired struck the President. The third shot he fired killed the President.

President Kennedy was struck by two rifle shots fired from behind him.

The shots that struck President Kennedy from behind him were fired from the sixth floor window of the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository building.

Lee Harvey Oswald owned the rifle. that was used to fire the shots from the sixth floor window of the southeast comer of the Texas School Book Depository building.

Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the assassination, had access to and was present on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository building.

John, since you apparently have great faith in the reasoning processes of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, may I assume you also subscribe to its findings on the role of LHO? Perhaps if the HSCA was mistasken on the MOST important matter it was called to determine, it also got wrong some of the other items (you can hardly criticize the HSCA and Blakely for these findings and yet characterize them as "oracles of wisdom" on the Castro interview with Harker).

Edited by Tim Gratz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

John wrote:

It is noticeable that the only evidence quoted by Tim to support his strange opinions is an article published by Glenn Garvin in the "Miami Herald" on November 25, 2003. I am afraid that IB students cannot accept this as evidence for anything other than the desire by right-wing Republicans to spread anti-JFK propaganda.

It is interesting that John, who argues that the points made by Communists in their writings must be evaluated on their merit rejects Garvin's article out-of-hand because he claims Garvin is a "right-wing Republican".  Evaluate the merits of what Communists say, of course, but if the writings are from "right-wing Republicans" they should be summarily dismissed.

Now I admit to being a card carrying member of the vast right-wing conspiracy (got that card before I got my driver's license) but I have no idea who Garvin is.  John, do you even know he is a "right-wing Republican"?

You only have to read the first two paragraphs to realize that this is an anti-Kennedy article:

Here is an article by Glenn Garvin that appeared in the "Miami Herald" on November 25, 2003:

Kennedy & Castro: The Secret History. 8 to 9 tonight. Discovery Times Channel.

Worried about your job security in a troubled economy? Get a job as a JFK historical touch-up artist, softening Kennedy's hard Cold Warrior edges. As the shoddy Kennedy & Castro: The Secret History shows, that remains a growth industry no matter how perilous the rest of the economy. This exercise in Kennedy spinmastering, airing on the new joint-venture cable network owned in part by The New York Times, ought to be a serious embarrassment, if the post-Jayson Blair Times is still capable of that.

Kennedy & Castro is neither secret nor very good history. Using an odd historical footnote that's been known for decades -- a fleeting back-channel contact between the two men, managed by a troubled network newswoman -- it argues preposterously that these two hateful adversaries were on the verge of kissing and making up when Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

It is the work of a right-wing journalist hack and makes no attempt to be the work of a historian. He does not give any information on his sources and appears to be totally unaware of all the documents that have been released concerning these secret negotiations that took place between the American and Cuban governments in 1963. Yet, if he had watched “Kennedy & Castro: The Secret History” he would have known that this documentary was based on these documents. Have you seen this documentary Tim? Do you think it is an example of “Kennedy spinmastering” and not “very good history”.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glenn Garvin covered Latin American politics for twenty years so I think he is qualified to make the judgments that he does.

I did a little research on him on the Internet and you are correct, of course, that his articles tend to support the conservative position.

But there are left-wingers e.g Russo who share his views on Cuban politics, as you know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John wrote:

It is noticeable that the only evidence quoted by Tim to support his strange opinions is an article published by Glenn Garvin in the "Miami Herald" on November 25, 2003. I am afraid that IB students cannot accept this as evidence for anything other than the desire by right-wing Republicans to spread anti-JFK propaganda.

It is interesting that John, who argues that the points made by Communists in their writings must be evaluated on their merit rejects Garvin's article out-of-hand because he claims Garvin is a "right-wing Republican".  Evaluate the merits of what Communists say, of course, but if the writings are from "right-wing Republicans" they should be summarily dismissed.

Now I admit to being a card carrying member of the vast right-wing conspiracy (got that card before I got my driver's license) but I have no idea who Garvin is.  John, do you even know he is a "right-wing Republican"?

You only have to read the first two paragraphs to realize that this is an anti-Kennedy article:

Here is an article by Glenn Garvin that appeared in the "Miami Herald" on November 25, 2003:

Kennedy & Castro: The Secret History. 8 to 9 tonight. Discovery Times Channel.

Worried about your job security in a troubled economy? Get a job as a JFK historical touch-up artist, softening Kennedy's hard Cold Warrior edges. As the shoddy Kennedy & Castro: The Secret History shows, that remains a growth industry no matter how perilous the rest of the economy. This exercise in Kennedy spinmastering, airing on the new joint-venture cable network owned in part by The New York Times, ought to be a serious embarrassment, if the post-Jayson Blair Times is still capable of that.

Kennedy & Castro is neither secret nor very good history. Using an odd historical footnote that's been known for decades -- a fleeting back-channel contact between the two men, managed by a troubled network newswoman -- it argues preposterously that these two hateful adversaries were on the verge of kissing and making up when Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

It is the work of a right-wing journalist hack and makes no attempt to be the work of a historian. He does not give any information on his sources and appears to be totally unaware of all the documents that have been released concerning these secret negotiations that took place between the American and Cuban governments in 1963. Yet, if he had watched “Kennedy & Castro: The Secret History” he would have known that this documentary was based on these documents. Have you seen this documentary Tim? Do you think it is an example of “Kennedy spinmastering” and not “very good history”.

John, since you apparently have great faith in the reasoning processes of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, may I assume you also subscribe to its findings on the role of LHO?  Perhaps if the HSCA was mistasken on the MOST important matter it was called to determine, it also got wrong some of the other items (you can hardly criticize the HSCA and Blakely for these findings and yet characterize them as "oracles of wisdom" on the Castro interview with Harker).

Once again you reveal your inability to use sources correctly. This probably explains your training as a lawyer and not as a historian.

Just because you have questioned the evidence of a particular source does not mean you have to reject everything it says. The House Select Committee on Assassinations makes sense when it writes about the testimony given by Fidel Castro. It uses its understanding of the political situation in 1963 when making its judgement on this evidence (something that you constantly refuse to do).

As I have argued several times before, the HSCA attempted to shift the blame for the JFK assassination from Oswald as lone gunman to Oswald as part of a Mafia plot. They are wrong about this, but it does not make them wrong about everything. However, that is how your mind works and it is why you cannot be taken seriously as a historian.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John wrote:

Just because you have questioned the evidence of a particular source does not mean you have to reject everything it says. The House Select Committee on Assassinations makes sense when it writes about the testimony given by Fidel Castro. It uses its understanding of the political situation in 1963 when making its judgement on this evidence (something that you constantly refuse to do).

No, John, this does not, in my opinion, make sense. You cannot in fact "pick and choose" the opinions of the HSCA, take the ones you like and add to their credibility by putting the imprimatur of the HSCA on them but then take the most important question the HSCA was asked to decide and argue it got that all wrong. If it was wrong on the big ticket item, it was likely wrong on the smaller things as well.

For you see, my lawyer training allowed me to catch a little sly substitution you did there. You are not talking about the HSCA EVIDENCE, as you state in the above post, but rather you were talking about the reasoned judgments it made. That is why consistency is required. You either credit and respect its reasoning processess or you don't.

What you also fail to consider is that some of the CIA's activities against Castro were not yet disclosed at the time of the operation of the HSCA. For instance, it only received an edited and highly redacted version of the Inspector General's report.

And regarding the "evidence" I notice you studiously ignore the State Department minutes about the ongoing CIA sabotage efforts against Cuba, efforts against which Castro also railed--as you MUST since this evidence does not "fit" your position.

Edited by Tim Gratz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Simone: A friend of mine who is working on a book about Kennedy sent me this message that you might find interesting:

Do you know about Gareth Porter's new book, "Perils of Dominance" (Univ of Calif Press)? Strikes me as one of the more important recent books, in terms of giving motive and context for the JFK assassination (though he does not explore the assassination itself). Among other things, he shows how JFK was locked in a ceaseless struggle with his national security apparatus over Vietnam, deftly maneuvering them toward withdrawal in '65 and using Galbraith and other like-minded intermediaries to circumvent administration hawks and pursue peace channels -- all while he was maintaining a public image as a tough Cold Warrior. I think it was an artful dance -- along with his maneuvering with Castro and Khrushchev -- that ended finally in Dallas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Simone: I suggest you take a close look at the activities of William Attwood in your essay.

When JFK was elected in 1960 he appointed Attwood as the US Ambassador to Guinea. He also served as adviser to Adlai Stevenson, the United States representative to the United Nations. Attwood was the leading advocate inside the JFK Administration for talking to Castro about the potential for improving relations. He was supported by McGeorge Bundy who suggested to JFK that there should be a "gradual development of some form of accommodation with Castro".

In April 1963 Lisa Howard arrived in Cuba to make a documentary on the country. In an interview with Howard, Castro agreed that a rapprochement with Washington was desirable. On her return Howard met with the CIA. Deputy Director Richard Helms reported to John F. Kennedy on Howard's view that "Fidel Castro is looking for a way to reach a rapprochement with the United States." After detailing her observations about Castro's political power, disagreements with his colleagues and Soviet troops in Cuba, the memo concluded that "Howard definitely wants to impress the U.S. Government with two facts: Castro is ready to discuss rapprochement and she herself is ready to discuss it with him if asked to do so by the US Government."

CIA Director John McCone was strongly opposed to Lisa Howard being involved with these negotiations with Castro. He argued that it might "leak and compromise a number of CIA operations against Castro". In a memorandum to McGeorge Bundy, McCone commented that the "Lisa Howard report be handled in the most limited and sensitive manner," and "that no active steps be taken on the rapprochement matter at this time."

Arthur Schlesinger explained to Anthony Summers in 1978 why the CIA did not want JFK to negotiate with Fidel Castro during the summer of 1963: "The CIA was reviving the assassination plots at the very time President Kennedy was considering the possibility of normalization of relations with Cuba - an extraordinary action. If it was not total incompetence - which in the case of the CIA cannot be excluded - it was a studied attempt to subvert national policy."

Lisa Howard now decided to bypass the CIA and in May, 1963, published an article in the journal, War and Peace Report, Howard wrote that in eight hours of private conversations Castro had shown that he had a strong desire for negotiations with the United States: "In our conversations he made it quite clear that he was ready to discuss: the Soviet personnel and military hardware on Cuban soil; compensation for expropriated American lands and investments; the question of Cuba as a base for Communist subversion throughout the Hemisphere." Howard went on to urge the Kennedy administration to "send an American government official on a quiet mission to Havana to hear what Castro has to say." A country as powerful as the United States, she concluded, "has nothing to lose at a bargaining table with Fidel Castro."

Attwood read Howard's article and on 12th September, 1963, he had a long conversation with her on the phone. This apparently set in motion a plan to initiate secret talks between the United States and Cuba. Six days later Attwood sent a memorandum to Under Secretary of State Averell Harriman and U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson. Attwood asked for permission to establish discreet, indirect contact with Fidel Castro.

On September 20, JFK gave permission to authorize Attwood's direct contacts with Carlos Lechuga, the Cuban ambassador to the United Nations. According to Attwood: "I then told Miss Howard to set up the contact, that is to have a small reception at her house so that it could be done very casually, not as a formal approach by us." Howard met Lechuga at the UN on 23rd September 23. Howard invited Lechuga to come to a party at her Park Avenue apartment that night to meet Attwood.

The next day Attwood met with Robert Kennedy in Washington and reported on the talks with Lechuga. According to Attwood the attorney general believed that a trip to Cuba would be "rather risky." It was "bound to leak and... might result in some kind of Congressional investigation." Nevertheless, he thought the matter was "worth pursuing."

On 5th November 5, McGeorge Bundy recorded that "the President was more in favor of pushing towards an opening toward Cuba than was the State Department, the idea being - well, getting them out of the Soviet fold and perhaps wiping out the Bay of Pigs and maybe getting back into normal." Bundy designated his assistant, Gordon Chase, to be Attwood's direct contact at the White House.

Attwood continued to use Lisa Howard as his contact with Fidel Castro. In October 1963, Castro told Howard that he was very keen to open negotiations with Kennedy. Castro even offered to send a plane to Mexico to pick up Kennedy's representative and fly him to a private airport near Veradero where Castro would talk to him alone.

JFK now decided to send Attwood to meet Castro. On 14th November, 1963, Lisa Howard conveyed this message to her Cuban contact. In an attempt to show his good will, Kennedy sent a coded message to Castro in a speech delivered on 19th November. The speech included the following passage: "Cuba had become a weapon in an effort dictated by external powers to subvert the other American republics. This and this alone divides us. As long as this is true, nothing is possible. Without it, everything is possible."

Kennedy also sent a message to Castro via the French journalist Jean Daniel. According to Daniel: "Kennedy expressed some empathy for Castro's anti-Americanism, acknowledging that the United States had committed a number of sins in pre-revolutionary Cuba." Kennedy told Daniel that the trade embargo against Cuba could be lifted if Castro ended his support for left-wing movements in the Americas.

Daniel delivered this message on 19th November. Castro told Jean Daniel that Kennedy could become "the greatest president of the United States, the leader who may at last understand that there can be coexistence between capitalists and socialists, even in the Americas." Daniel was with Castro when news arrived that JFK had been assassinated Castro turned to Daniel and said:"This is an end to your mission of peace. Everything is changed."

President Johnson was told about these negotiations in December, 1963. He refused to continue these talks and claimed that the reason for this was that he feared that Richard Nixon, the expected Republican candidate for the presidency, would accuse him of being soft on communism.

Attwood also served as Ambassador to Kenya (1964-66). When President Jimmy Carter was elected to office, Attwood once again visited Cuba to meet Fidel Castro. When he returned, he reported to the new administration on Cuba's continuing interest in better relations with the United States.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKattwood.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, you have the date of the JFK speech wrong.

The speech to which you refer was delivered on Monday, November 18, 1963, and it was given before the IAPA in Miami. And rather than being considered conciliatory to Castro, in the speech JFK was seen as encouraging the Cuban people to overthrow Castro. That is how the Miami Herald reported the story. (It did include the sentence you quote.)

And there are those who state that the language in the speech calling for the overthrow of Castro was written by Desmond Fitzgerald and inserted in the speech by JFK at Fitzgerald's request as a "message" to Rolando Cubela.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, you have the date of the JFK speech wrong.

The speech to which you refer was delivered on Monday, November 18, 1963, and it was given before the IAPA in Miami.  And rather than being considered conciliatory to Castro, in the speech JFK was seen as encouraging the Cuban people to overthrow Castro.  That is how the Miami Herald reported the story.  (It did include the sentence you quote.)

How can you be so certain that I got the date wrong? Have you read the text of the speech he made on 19th November to the Officers of State Education? As you are surely aware, politicians use the same phrases in different speeches. However, this is another one of your red herrings. You are trying to distract people (including Simone) from the point that JFK was employing William Attwood to carry out secret negotiations with Castro. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this declassified memo from Gordon Chase to McGeorge Bundy about Attwood’s negotiations with Castro (note the date):

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB103/631119.pdf

Simone, for a detailed look at these negotiations see chapter 5 of Peter Dale Scott’s book Deep Politics III. It is online here:

http://www.history-matters.com/pds/DP3_Chapter5.htm

Simone, you will also find this website useful for your research:

http://www.jfklibrary.org/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, thank you for the references. I suspect you knew I had read all of this material ages ago.

Do you have a reference or a link to the November 19, 1963 speech by the way?

Regarding your claim that I am trying to "distract" Simone from the "peace talks", you have studiously ignored the documented proofs of our country's continued acts of war against the Castro regime in the fall of 1963. Perhaps these acts of sabotage (approved by RFK) may have also "distracted" Castro from Kennedy's talk of peace.

Kennedy's peace "talk" cost nothing. Talk, after all, is very cheap. It took considerable US funds for the CIA to coordinate and sponsor the sabotage against Cuba. As I said before, and as everyone knows, actions speak louder than words. The sounds of the explosions as the CIA blew up Cuban refineries, boats, etc. were, I can assure you, MANY decibels higher than the sound of Kennedy's voice.

What do you suppose Castro heard?

Edited by Tim Gratz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim, I suspect that the noise of war was something that Castro by then was pretty used to, Kennedy's less decibel overtures of accommodation must have been like music to his ears.

JohnD

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...