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Foreign Relations: Reflections on Cuba

2 minute read

Day by day in every way, President Kennedy was feeling better and better about his handling of the Cuba crisis. Last week his sunny reflections on the subject were passed on from Palm Beach.

Khrushchev, the President felt, had tried to alter the cold war balance of power by sending missiles to Cuba. It was vital to the U.S. to get those missiles out, yet to do so without humiliating Russia. For, Kennedy thinks, when one great cold war power suffers stinging defeat, it is likely to retaliate in such a way as to increase the chances of nuclear war.

The U.S. therefore took limited action —which worked. If Khrushchev’s Cuba adventure had been allowed to succeed, he would have been sorely tempted to try new adventures. But the Kennedy Administration’s action taught Khrushchev that the U.S. is willing to take whatever risk is necessary in protecting vital national interests.

What about present and future U.S. policy toward Castro’s Cuba? It is to work for a change in Cuba’s Communist regime. But, provided that Castro takes no aggressive action, the U.S. does not intend to invade Cuba.

The President was plainly pleased to have the prisoners of the U.S.-sponsored Bay of Pigs expedition back in the U.S., after payment of ransom to Castro (see following story). As it happened, Fidel Castro was every bit as pleased with the deal. Crowed he: “The imperialists agreed to pay our country the indemnity that the revolutionary tribunals set for the invaders. They call it ransom, but for the first time in its history, imperialism paid an indemnificaton of war.”

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