Fifty one years before President Obama normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba, President John F. Kennedy was thinking of doing the same. To start the negotiations, Obama sent one of his aides, Ben Rhodes, to talk to the Cuban government.
Likewise in the fall of 1963, JFK authorized a U.S.diplomat, Bill Attwood, to make contact with Cuban representatives to discuss the outlines of an agreement between the two countries.
In a new document collection, Cuba – United States Secret Diplomacy Documents (1961-1977), published by Paperless Archives, you can follow how JFK’s pursuit of peace with Cuba, right up to the moment he was assassinated.
After JFK was dead, LBJ had no interest and the initiative died. It would take a half century before JFK’s goal was achieved.
“Seventeen days before his assassination a recording made in the White House’s Oval Office captures a conversation between President Kennedy and his national security advisor, McGeorge Bundy, discussing the Castro regime’s overture to have a meeting in Havana with a Kennedy Administration envoy. Kennedy’s conclusion was that he approved, if it could be assured that it could be denied that that the meeting ever took place. Memorandums document the process in arranging for a meeting between William Attwood, a deputy to UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson. This initiative waned after Kennedy’s assassination.” via Cuba – United States Secret Diplomacy Documents (1961-1977).