Schlesinger Memo on Cuba
....In 1961 Schlesinger was appointed the president's special adviser on
Latin America. In this post he became
aware of JFK's secret negotiations with Fidel Castro (via William Attwood).
As you know, there is great pressure within the government in favor of a drastic decision with regard to
There is, it seems to me, a plausible argument for this decision if one excludes everything but
military consolidation within
However, as soon as one begins to broaden the focus beyond
However well disguised any action might be, it will be ascribed to the
It may be that on balance the drastic decision may have to be made. If so, every care must be taken to protect ourselves against the inevitable political and diplomatic fall-out.
1. Would it not be possible to induce Castro to take offensive action first? He has already launched expeditions against
2. Should you not consider at some point addressing a speech to the whole hemisphere setting forth in eloquent terms your own conception of inter-American progress toward individual freedom and social justice? Such a speech would identify our Latin American policy with the aspirations of the plain people of the hemisphere. As part of this speech, you could point out the threats raised against the inter-American system by dictatorial states, and especially by dictatorial states under the control of non-hemisphere governments or ideologies. If this were done properly, action against Castro could be seen as in the interests of the hemisphere and not just of American corporations.
3. Could we not bring down Castro and
If the drastic decision proves necessary in the end, I hope that steps of this sort can do something to mitigate the effects. And, if we do take the drastic decision, it must be made clear that we have done so, not lightly, but only after we had exhausted every conceivable alternative.
Arthur Schlesinger, jr. 1
* Source: Kennedy Library, Papers of Arthur Schlesinger,
1961, Cuba Box 31. Top Secret.
1 Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.