NSA: The Cuban Missile Crisis @ 60 

British Ambassador First Outsider to Learn of Kennedy Decision for Blockade - British Told of U.S. Preemptive Nuclear Strike Plan if Soviets Moved Against West Berlin - Belgian Foreign Minister “Preferred U.S. to Inform NATO Allies 24 Hours in Advance”

Washington, D.C., October 21, 2022 – President John F. Kennedy made unilateral decisions to blockade Cuba and approve other military moves, but winning the support of European allies remained central to U.S. policy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, according to declassified records of briefings prepared for NATO members shortly before Kennedy announced the U.S. discovery of the Soviet missiles.

The first to learn of U.S. plans was British Ambassador David Ormsby-Gore, a close friend of the President’s. According to a declassified telegram found in the British archives, during lunch on October 21, Kennedy told Ormsby-Gore of the missiles and the two choices that he saw: a blockade or an air strike. Asked which option was best, Ormsby-Gore said a blockade, because an air strike would damage the U.S. politically. Kennedy said that was the choice he had made. He told the ambassador that his emphasis was on negotiating the missiles out of Cuba and that he did “not expect or intend that the present course of action” would lead to an invasion of Cuba.

Later that day, Kennedy alerted British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to the discovery of the missiles and the dangers that he saw, but other NATO allies were not informed until the next day before President Kennedy’s televised speech. Kennedy and his advisers believed that sharing with allies the sensitive photographic intelligence that had informed U.S. decisions, even on short notice, would help win their support. Nevertheless, NATO allies resented the last-minute notification and even more so that they were not consulted about U.S. moves in advance. They supported U.S. actions, but some discontent lay beneath the surface.


This compilation consists of the available declassified U.S. records of the briefings given to NATO allies on October 22, 1962, the day of President Kennedy’s first public speech on the crisis. White House reports discuss the briefings of French President Charles De Gaulle, British Prime Minister Macmillan, West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, and top NATO representatives. Many of the documents focus on the early communications with the British, the NATO ally with the closest relationship to the United States (…)

Para seguir leyendo: https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/nuclear-vault-cuba-cuban-missile-crisis/2022-10-21/cuban-missile-crisis-60-briefing?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=51186c6f-f796-49fd-a1c1-d2e96d17f0fb

Obama’s Back Channel to Cuba: Events Leading to Historic Breakthrough Revealed in Updated Book (in Spanish)

Washington, DC, December 18, 2015 – On the first anniversary of the historic breakthrough in U.S.-Cuban relations, the National Security Archive announced that the book,
Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana, has been released in Spanish under the title, Diplomacia Encubierta con Cuba: Historia de las Negociaciones Secretas Entre Washington y La Habana. The book was published last week in Mexico by Fondo de Cultura y Economica.

The Spanish edition follows the November publication by the University of North Carolina press of the updated, paperback edition of the book, written by Archive Cuba Documentation Project Director Peter Kornbluh and American University Professor William M. LeoGrande. The revised edition contains a comprehensive, new, 15,000 word epilogue revealing how the Obama administration and the government of Raul Castro secretly negotiated a historic detente between the two nations, and bringing the history of back channel diplomacy through to the raising of the U.S. flag over the Embassy in Havana.

According to Kornbluh, “The story of back channel diplomacy between Washington and Havana, which dates all the way back to the Kennedy era, is now complete.”

As a timely and immediately relevant history, Back Channel to Cuba has received significant acclaim. Last year, the editors at Foreign Affairs called it an “exhaustive and masterful diplomatic history” and picked it as a “best book of the year.” On November 19, 2015, in a ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin room of the Department of State, the American Academy of Diplomacy gave the book the Douglas Dillon award for best diplomatic history.

Para seguir: http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/news/20151218-Back-Channel-to-Cuba-Published-in-Spanish

The Dominican Intervention 1965

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 513
Edited by David Coleman

Washington, D.C., April 28, 2015
LBJ Regretted Ordering U.S. Troops into Dominican Republic in 1965 (…) Dominican Intervention 50 Years Ago Sparked Mainly by Fear of Communists: “I Sure Don’t Want to Wake Up … and Find Out Castro’s in Charge,” President Said
New Transcripts of Key White House Tapes Clarify and Illuminate LBJ’s Personal Role in Decision-Making during the Crisis

– President Lyndon Johnson regretted sending U.S. troops into the Dominican Republic in 1965, telling aides less than a month later, “I don’t want to be an intervenor,” according to new transcripts of White House tapes published today (along with the tapes themselves) for the first time by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).
Johnson ordered U.S. Marines into Santo Domingo 50 years ago today. Three weeks later, he lamented both that the crisis had cost American lives and that it had turned out badly on the ground as well as for the United States’ – and Johnson’s own – political standing. Nevertheless, he insisted he would “do the same thing right this second.”
In conversations with aides captured on the White House taping system, Johnson expressed sharp frustrations, including with the group surrounding exiled President Juan Bosch, whom the United States was supporting. Speaking in late May 1965, Johnson told an adviser, “they have to clean themselves up, as I see it, where we can live with them. Put enough perfume on to kill the odor of killing 20 Americans and wounding 100.”
Johnson’s public explanation for sending the Marines into Santo Domingo was to rescue Americans endangered by civil war conditions in the Dominican Republic. But his main motivation, the tapes and transcripts confirm, was to prevent a Communist takeover. Basing his decision largely on assertions by the CIA and others in the U.S. government that Cuba’s Fidel Castro had been behind the recent uprising, Johnson confided to his national security advisor, “I sure don’t want to wake up … and find out Castro’s in charge.”
That intelligence, along with other information Johnson received during the crisis, turned out to be erroneous – a possibility LBJ himself worried about at the time.
The tapes, transcript and introductory material presented in this posting were provided by David Coleman, former chair of the Presidential Recordings Program at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, and a Fellow at the National Security Archive. As Coleman notes, the materials are revelatory about Johnson’s personal conduct of the crisis and his decision-making style as president. The transcripts, in several cases newly created by Coleman, are crucial to understanding the material on the tapes, which can be hard to decipher and are therefore often of limited usefulness on their own to researchers (…)

Telephone Conversations Collection at the LBJ Library
LBJ White House Recordings at the Miller Center, University of Virginia

For more on this context, see: Randall B. Woods, LBJ: Architect of American Ambition (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007), p.633; Alan McPherson, “Misled by Himself: What the Johnson Tapes Reveal About the Dominican Intervention of 1965,” Latin American Research Review, Vol. 38, No. 2 (June 2003): 127-46

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