Tags: kissinger | planned | cuba | reprisal

Documents: Kissinger Planned 'Ruthless' Military Reprisal on Cuba

Documents: Kissinger Planned 'Ruthless' Military Reprisal on Cuba
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. (Christian Charisius/DPA/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 October 2014 07:19 AM

Angered that his back-channel efforts to improve relations with Cuba had been spurned as Fidel Castro dispatched troops to Angola, then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made plans for a U.S. military attack against the communist-controlled Caribbean island, The New York Times  reported.

Newly declassified documents from 40 years ago reveal that Kissinger was incensed that Castro preferred to get involved in Africa just as relations with the U.S. were in a thaw. He worried that the U.S. would now look weak on the national stage, the Times reported.

By 1974 the U.S. was under increasing pressure from the Organization of American States to end Cuba's diplomatic isolation which had begun shortly after the island fell to the communists in 1959.

The staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was authorized to visit the island in 1974 on a 10-day fact-finding mission. Two leading senators serving on the Foreign Relations Committee followed to explore renewing diplomatic relations. After a 1975 meeting with Castro, George McGovern, the senator from South Dakota, reported that the dictator was sounding contrite over his behavior during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The efforts to work out an accommodation with Castro came to naught when in November 1975, Kissinger learned that Cuba had sent 3,000 soldiers to fight on behalf of the Soviet-supported Angolan government.

"I think sooner or later we are going to have to crack the Cubans," Kissinger told president Gerald Ford during an Oval Office meeting in 1976, the Times reported.

Military plans to "smash Cuba" included employing aircraft, mining Cuba's harbors, enforcing a blockade, and acknowledging that the Soviet Union might come to Cuba's aid, the Times reported.

According to Peter Kornbluh of the Cuba Documentation Project, "Nobody has known that at the very end of a really remarkable effort to normalize relations, Kissinger, the global chessboard player, was insulted that a small country would ruin his plans for Africa and was essentially prepared to bring the imperial force of the United States on Fidel Castro's head," the Times reported.

"If we decide to use military power, it must succeed," Kissinger, who was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977, told a top secret gathering. "There should be no halfway measures – we would get no award for using military power in moderation. If we decide on a blockade, it must be ruthless and rapid and efficient," the Times reported.

When Jimmy Carter defeated Ford, plans to punish Cuba fell by the wayside.

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Angered that his back-channel efforts to improve relations with Cuba had been spurned as Fidel Castro dispatched troops to Angola, then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made plans for a U.S. military attack against the communist-controlled Caribbean island, The New York...
kissinger, planned, cuba, reprisal
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2014-19-01
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 07:19 AM
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