MR. CHAIRMAN: You are under a serious misapprehension in regard to events in
Cuba. For months there has been evident and growing resistance to the Castro
dictatorship. More than 100,000 refugees have recently fled from Cuba into
neighboring countries. Their urgent hope is naturally to assist their fellow
Cubans in their struggle for freedom. Many of these refugees fought
alongside Dr.Castro against the
Batista dictatorship; among them are prominent leaders of his own original
movement and government.
These are unmistakable signs that Cubans find intolerable the denial of
democratic liberties and the subversion of the 26th of July Movement by an
alien-dominated regime. It cannot be surprising that, as resistance within
Cuba grows, refugees have been using whatever means are available to return
and support their countrymen in the continuing struggle for freedom. Where
people are denied the right of choice, recourse to such struggle is the only
means of achieving their liberties.
I have previously stated, and I repeat now, that the United States intends no
military intervention in Cuba. In the event of any military intervention by
outside force we will immediately honor our obligations under the
inter-American system to protect this hemisphere against external
aggression. While refraining from military intervention in Cuba, the people
of the United States do not conceal their admiration for Cuban patriots who
wish to see a democratic system in an independent Cuba. The United States
government can take no action to stifle the spirit of liberty.
I have taken careful note of your statement that the events in Cuba might
affect peace in all parts of the world.1See Document 9. I trust that this does not
mean that the Soviet government, using the situation in Cuba as a pretext,
is planning to inflame other areas of the world. I would like to think that
your government has too great a sense of responsibility to embark upon any
enterprise so dangerous to general peace.
I agree with you as to the desirability of steps to improve the international
atmosphere. I continue to hope that you will cooperate in opportunities now
available to this end. A prompt cease-fire and peaceful settlement of the
dangerous situation in Laos, cooperation with the United Nations in the
Congo and a speedy conclusion of an acceptable treaty for the banning of
nuclear tests would be constructive steps in this direction. The regime in
Cuba could make a similar contribution by permitting the Cuban people freely
to determine their own future by democratic processes and freely to
cooperate with their Latin American neighbors.
I believe, Mr. Chairman, that you should recognize that free peoples in all
parts of the world do not accept the claim of historical inevitability for
Communist revolution. What your government believes is its own business;
what it does in the world is the world’s business. The great revolution in
the history of man, past, present and future, is the revolution of those
determined to be free.
*Source: Department of State, Presidential
Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204. No classification marking. The source text
is a press release from the Office of the White House Press Secretary,
which was marked for release at 6:45 p.m. April 18. Another copy of this
message is in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries
Series, USSR, Khrushchev Correspondence. Also printed
in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United
States:John F. Kennedy,
1961, pp. 286-287;American Foreign Policy:
Current Documents, 1961, pp. 296-297; and Claflin, The President Wants To Know, pp. 59-60.