699. Proposed statement, July 121

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I have said many times in recent months that our policy for Cuba looks to the day when the people of that unhappy isle shall be truly free. This is our purpose and our hope; and they are shared by the other republics of our hemisphere.

At San Jose, Costa Rica, in March we joined with the Presidents of Central America and Panama to “reaffirm the conviction that Cuba will soon join the family of free nations.”

In the Declaration of Central America, we said that we had “no doubt that a genuine Cuban revolution will live again, that its betrayers will fall into the shadows of history and that the martyred people of that oppressed isle of the Caribbean will be free from Communist domination, free to choose for themselves the kind of government they wish to have, and free to join their brothers of the hemisphere in a common undertaking to secure for each individual liberty, dignity and well being, which are the objectives of all free societies.”

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The future of Cuba is, of course, in the hands of the Cuban people; they will make their own blueprint. We know [Facsimile Page 2] that the great ideals of the genuine July 26 movement—though trampled underfoot—are not dead. But their resurgence will depend above all on the vigor and the dedication of Cuba’s youth, of her students and her intellectual leaders, of her militia, of her workers, of her sturdy guajiros (wah-HEE-rows). The people of Cuba know what they want, and it is up to them to decide the way of life which they wish for themselves and for their future generations.

The people of the Americas are confident that the Cuban people, disappointed by leader after leader, today betrayed by a demagogue who promised “bread with freedom” and delivered “hunger with tyranny,” will look to the future and not to the past. They know that their choice of government is not limited, as Castro would have them believe, to communism or return to rightist dictatorship. They know that the future can bring vast and rapid social and economic improvement without loss of liberty.

After years of a deliberate communist effort to stifle the spark of democracy, they will want to build a system of law and justice in which all share equally, establish a free press and radio, restore academic freedom and university autonomy, liberate their once strong unions from the control [Facsimile Page 3] of the state, and reconstitute their traditional political, economic and cultural ties with the other American Republics.

The time will come for a free Cuba to repair the havoc that Communist rule has wrought; to begin to reconstruct her democratic institutions and her economy—an economy that, in these last unhappy years, has failed dismally to provide adequate food, medicines, clothing, transportation, and the other basic comforts and needs. In this great task, she may be sure that she can count on the full and sympathetic support of the United States and on the willingness of the American people to share, in the spirit of friendship that has been traditional between our two countries, their material resources with the people of Cuba.

With the drive and imagination for which its people are noted, a free Cuba will not only be a partner in the Alliance for Progress, if it so desires, but also will provide impetus for the great joint effort to assure to all free men of the Americas bread, freedom and dignity. We, and I am confident, the other nations engaged in the vast cooperative programs under the Alliance, will warmly welcome Cuba’s participation in the fruits of our common [Facsimile Page 4] undertaking: the achievement of accelerated economic progress; building industries and providing more jobs; programs to provide decent housing to the people; fair wages and satisfactory working conditions for all workers; greatly increased educational opportunities for all; health and sanitation programs; [Typeset Page 1802] sound governmental monetary and fiscal policies; and solutions to Latin America’s traditional problem of excessive price fluctuations of basic exports; and the kind of land reform that the guajiro wants—the kind he was promised. Only the Cuban guajiro working his own land as a free man, well rewarded for his efforts and protected by broad social services, can increase the productivity of the Cuban earth.

I am confident that all true friends of Cuba share my conviction that the day is not too far distant when these aspirations will be fulfilled. I know that in every walk of the island’s life—in the fields, the factories, the schools and universities; in the army, in the militia, in the government itself—there are countless people who, though forced to appear as supporters of the communist regime, hold to their faith in freedom and who are determined to restore their homeland to the company of free nations. [Facsimile Page 5] They have learned that the path down which their communist leaders have taken them does not lead to the genuine goals of the revolution. In freedom, and in association with their fellow American Republics, their revolution can live again.

  1. U.S. policy toward a post-Castro Cuba. Confidential. 5 pp. Kennedy Library, NSF, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Standing Group Meeting, 7/16/63.