466. Letter From the Chief of Naval Operations (Burke) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Merchant)1
Dear Livie : I am becoming increasingly concerned over deteriorating conditions in the Caribbean. I am especially concerned over the present situation in Cuba, in whose security the Navy is directly interested by reason of this island’s strategic location with respect to the sea approaches to the southern United States and the Panama Canal, and because of the location there of the Guantanamo Naval Base. Cuba appears to be in the process of falling under the domination of International Communism. Should this trend continue unchecked and a communist dominated or “front government” become a reality, a direct threat to the security of the United States would be presented. Additionally, a communist controlled state in Cuba would serve as a base [Page 814]of operations for the further spread of communistic influence in the Western Hemisphere having as its aim the isolation of the United States from Latin America.
Because of my concern, I am taking the liberty of sending you the attached paper as indicative of current Navy thinking in this matter, —namely that positive action to reverse the present trend should be initiated to the end that the communist threat is eliminated and a stable, friendly government established in Cuba. Action taken now in the case of Cuba will also facilitate and provide a foundation for any similar actions which may be necessary to prevent the spread of communism in Latin America and to stabilize other areas where unrest is appearing.
I am also sending a copy of this letter and the enclosure to Jack Irwin.
- Source: Department of State, S/P Files: Lot 67 D 548, Cuba 1959–1961. Secret; Personal.↩
- Delivered in fact on June 30, 1954; for text, see American Foreign Policy, 1950–1955: Basic Documents, vol. I, pp. 1311–1315.↩
- Signed at Rio de Janeiro, September 2, 1947; for text, see 62 Stat. (Pt. 2) 1681.↩
- All ellipses are in the source text.↩
- Resolution 93 adopted at the Tenth Inter-American Conference at Caracas, March 28, 1954; for text, see American Foreign Policy, 1950–1955: Basic Documents, vol. I, pp. 1300–1302.↩
- Enclosed with despatch 903 was 6-page outline that brought together “the principal indications and manifestations of Communism and anti-Americanism in the revolutionary regime of Fidel Castro.” On the basis of this data, the Embassy in Havana concluded: “The facts as revealed to date show the Castro regime as bitterly anti-American and perhaps implacably so. Some of the attitudes and actions of the regime seem clearly to reflect a Communist orientation, while others could be Communistic but could equally be due to ultra-nationalism or anti-Americanism.” (Department of State, Central Files, 737. 00/12–2959)↩