On April 28, 1961—a decade after General Douglas MacArthur was fired for defying Harry Truman on Korea—the controversial commander hosted President John F. Kennedy at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where MacArthur and his wife lived in a suite on the 37th floor.
Given MacArthur’s reputation as a warmonger, what the general told the new president may surprise you.
JFK speaks to the UN on Sept. 20, 1963. (UN photo credit, Teddy Chen.)
Yes. It happened on September 20, 1963, according to History.com. It is one of the lesser known but more important events in the last months of President Kennedy’s life and presidency.
In the fall of 1963, JFK was on a political roll. His approval ratings had climbed. He had overcome the grumbling of the Pentagon and all but secured Senate ratification of the popular Limited Test Ban Treaty, banning nuclear explosions in space. Then he went to New York to say something daring.
Michael Swanson, an investment adviser turned JFK researcher, called my attention to “Council of War,” a fascinating official history of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which documents the Pentagon’s resistance to, and resentment of, President Kennedy’s foreign policy, especially on Cuba and Vietnam.
Published by the JCS, the study presents an unvarnished view of an unprecedented mistrust between White House and Pentagon in the year before Kennedy was violently removed from power.
“Read this book and you are reading a real history of the American empire and defense establishment written for future leaders of the Pentagon and armed forces,” writes Swanson, who plans to publish his own study of the Cold War from 1945-1963 in the fall.
Some highlights from “Council of War:”
The cover of a commemorative album about the Cuban Revolution published in Havana in 1959
Cuba celebrates the 60th anniversary of the beginning of its revolution on July 26, 1953. Later this year America will commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963,
The events are ancient but linked. The connection between Cuba’s revolution and the death of the 35th American president remains a live issue in the political culture of both countries.
The assassination of JFK is one reason why this conflict between the United States and Cuba endures to this day.
JFK’s assassination capped a violent year in America. Read more
“Harvey approved the dispatch of six three-man teams to Cuba, on either October 21, or 22, 1962, as the missile crisis heated up. The missions were launched at the specific request of the Pentagon, as part of the standing interagency Command Relationship Agreement. The military was reckoning with an invasion of Cuba by air and sea; it’s forces needed support on the ground to help the landings. Harvey did what was right operationally….the climax came at a top-drawer meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House on October 26….Harvey chose to tell the Kennedy brothers what he thought of them and their handling of the situation. “If you hadn’t fucked up the Bay of Pigs, we wouldn’t be in this fucking mess!”
Source: JFKcountercoup: “America’s James Bond” at JMWAVE
In advance of tonight’s CNN Republican presidential debate, Peter Dale Scott has this question for the candidates:
“How can we best fulfill what we now know to have been the intentions of Robert Kennedy with respect to his brother’s murder?” Read more
In response to my question on Wednesday, a reader sent this video. (H/T David)
Operation Northwoods was a Pentagon plan to provoke a U.S. invasion of Cuba in 1963 through the use of deception operations. First disclosed by the Assassination Records Review Board in 1997, the Northwoods plans are among the most significant new JFK documents to emerge since Oliver Stone’s “JFK” movie.
Operation Northwoods envisioned U.S. intelligence operatives staging violent attacks on U.S. targets and arranging for the blame for the mayhem to fall on Fidel Castro and his communist government. The idea, wrote one planner, was to creates a “justification for U.S. intervention in Cuba,” by orchestrating a crime that placed the U.S. government “in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government” in Cuba.
These plans included the use of violence on American soil against American citizens.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable:”
In this well-edited YouTube piece, Eytmon reminds us that President Kennedy was a “dove,” a leader more inclined to restrain U.S. military power than to unleash it. While JFK was often aggressive in rhetoric, he also emphasized peace was “necessary and rational.” It was his experience as a Navy lieutenant in World War II who repeatedly faced death in battle that made the cause of peace personally urgent to him. It also distinguished him from the hawks of his day
No, it wasn’t Michelle and Malia.
A newly declassified Pentagon study, published today by the non-profit National Security Archive, sheds new light on the thinking of U.S. military leaders at the height of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962.
As President Kennedy searched for a solution that did not involve a war that might have gone nuclear, the Pentagon was itching to escalate.
“Mexico City was the Casablanca of the Cold War–a hotbed of spies, revolutionaries, and assassins. The CIA’s station there was the front line of the United States’ fight against international communism, as important for Latin America as Berlin was for Europe. And its undisputed spymaster was Winston Mackinley Scott, chief of the CIA’s Mexico City station from 1956 to 1969,
from Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA
You can buy it on Amazon.com, or You can also buy an autographed copy of “Our Man in Mexico” from the me, the author. Just drop me a line here. Read more
Yes. He had a plan to do just that, as University of Texas professor Jamie Galbraith demonstrates in this recent piece for The Nation.