In 1963

Fidel Castro’s reaction to the assassination of JFK

“Everything is changed. Everything is going to change. The United States occupies such a position in world affairs that the death of a President of that country affects millions of people in every corner of the globe. The cold war, relations with Russia, Latin America, Cuba, the Negro question… all will have to be rethought. I’ll tell you one thing: at least Kennedy was an enemy to whom we had become accustomed. This is a serious matter, an extremely serious matter.”

via Fidel Castro Reaction to Kennedy Assassination in Cuba | New Republic.

When the Cold War made Georgetown hot

“… one of the most zealous of the anti-Communist crusaders who turned the agency into an enormous, squid-like meddler in global affairs.”

via Luke Menand in the New Yorker: “When the Cold War Made Georgetown Hot.”

Radio reporter to talk about his Oswald encounter

“Former WFAA-Radio Program Director Pierce Allman had no assignment to cover President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Dallas on November 22, 1963. At the last minute, Allman decided to walk to nearby Dealey Plaza to see the presidential motorcade. Read more

Why the Warren Commission got scared of Castro

The Warren Commission didn’t get scared if Fidel Castro because of Lyndon B. Johnson’s chilling warning to Chief Justice Earl Warren about rumors that “if not quenched, could conceivably lead the country into a war which could cost 40 million lives.” Read more

Those Kennedy Kards

The now poignant Kennedy Kards deck was published in early 1963 when the public infatuation with JFK had been revitalized by his statesmanship in the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962.

JFK was the Jack of Hearts, First Lady Jackie the Queen of Hearts, and Bobby Kennedy, the King of Diamonds.

“Long live the King, Queen and Jack,” proclaimed an informational card that came with the deck.

Within the year, the Jack of Clubs, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, would be president. Read more

▶ Listen: Oswald talks about Cuba (and Ed Butler listens)

From JFK Lancer, a recording of radio program broadcast by WDSU radio in New Orleans on August 20, 1963.

▶ Lee H. Oswald debates the Cuba issue with anti-communist activist Ed Butler, and anti-Castro militant Carlos Bringuier of Cuban Student Directorate (DRE)

Bringuier is an important witness, and the CIA-sponsored DRE, is significant. But recently it is Butler’s role in this debate that holds my interest. Read more

Once and future presidents


The young Bill Clinton shook President Kennedy’s hand on July 24, 1963.

Letters to Oswald: hoax or evidence?

On January 17, 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote to J. Lee Rankin, the general counsel of the Warren Commission, on the evidence compiled as Commission Document 295: four letters postmarked in Havana that suggested or alleged that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a contract killing undertaken by Lee Harvey Oswald under the direction of an agent for Fidel Castro named Pedro Charles.

Hoover concluded it was “some type of hoax, possibly on the part of some anti-Castro group,” since the FBI Crime Lab found that the same Remington No. 10 typewriter had been used to prepare all four letters:

Read more

June 11, 1963: Kennedy emerges on civil rights

President Kennedy’s growth as a leader in June 1963 is a key to understanding his life and death.

As Arms Control Today documented last year, JFK’s June 10 speech at American University would influence the arms control vision all of the U.S. presidents who followed him. And as this New York Times column notes, his often-overlooked nationally televised address on June 11, 1963, signaled his evolution as a civil rights leader.

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June 10, 1963: A profile in courage with lethal consequences


President Kennedy’s speech to the graduating class of American University in Washington DC 51 years ago today represented the high point of his efforts to wind down the Cold War. His vigorous style and clear mind never had a more important goal — or more powerful enemies.

Memories of the CIA in Miami

A faithful reader sent a link to a telling new story about the CIA in Miami in the 1960s when the presence of one of the largest CIA stations in the world was an open secret — yet officially unknown.

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Memorial Day 1963: Standing where he would be buried

From historian Michael Beschloss, a glimpse of John F. Kennedy at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day 1963, one day after his last birthday.

The Washington Post reported:

“President Kennedy led the memorial observances by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington. He was accompanied by his two-year-old son John Jr. who held tightly to the hand of a Secret Service agent.”

JFK was standing where he would be buried six months later.

JFK balked at Castro peace feelers, historian says

Historian David Kaiser

Historian David Kaiser

Diplomatic historian David Kaiser, the author of a new and well-reviewed book about World War II, took time out from flogging it to respond to John Simkin’s post on JFK’s Cuba policy, CIA looped in on Castro peace feelers.

Kaiser, author of The Road to Dallas, says the argument that JFK was a dove on Cuba is overdrawn. He dismisses the idea that Kennedy’s evolving Cuba policy fatally alienated the CIA.

CIA was in the loop for Castro peace feelers

Lisa Howard, ABC News

Lisa Howard, ABC News reporter

In response to Two secret memos on JFK and Cuba, John Simkin, the British historian wrote the following essay that gives valuable context to this neglected story.

Simkin writes:

“The secret negotiations that took place between the JFK administration and the Cuban government could be significant issue in the JFK assassination.

“A key figure in this was Lisa Howard.

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Two secret memos about JFK and Cuba

One of the very best JFK document researchers recently called attention to two important JFK documents from 1963. They both concern President Kennedy’s exploration of normalizing relations with Fidel Castro’s government in Cuba.

Are the memos relevant to story of JFK’s assassination ? You be the judge.

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