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Saturday, October 21, 2006

October 21, 1960: Kennedy said US Should Aid Cuban Rebels, US Withdraws Cuban Ambassador, Pacifists Board Nuclear Sub

Senator John F. Kennedy said the United States should give assistance to rebels trying to overthrow the government in Cuba, it was reported on this day in 1960.

Kennedy assailed the Eisenhower-Nixon administration for "doing nothing for six years while the conditions that give rise to communism grew -- after ignoring the repeated warning of our ambassadors that the communists were about to take over Cuba -- after standing helplessly by while the Russians established a new satellite only 90 miles from American shores -- Mr. Nixon and the Republicans, after two years of inaction since Castro took power, now attempt to make up for this incredible history of blunder, inaction, retreat and failure, by cutting off several million dollars worth of exports in a move which will have virtually no effect by itself in removing communist rule from Cuba."

The United States, Kennedy said, "must attempt to strengthen the non-Batista democratic anti-Castro forces in exile, and in Cuba itself, who offer eventual hope of overthrowing Castro. Thus far these fighters for freedom have had virtually no support from our government."

Meanwhile, the United States has recalled its ambassador to Cuba, Philip Bonsal, for "an extended period of consultation," the State Department announced, reports today said.

In Moscow, Premier Nikita Khrushchev said his country possessed submarines that could fire nuclear warheads at the United States. The U.S. Navy said it was still far ahead in nuclear submarine development.

At a US submarine manufacturing facility in Groton, Conn., three young pacifists boarded two Polaris submarines. The men were members of the Committee for Non-Violent Action. The group is opposed to "war, military power and preparation of war by the Communists and the Western powers," one of its members said.

In New York, Admiral Arthur Radford, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a national security advisor to the Nixon campaign, said Sen. Kennedy's position on Quemoy and Matsu, the islands in contention between Red China and Taiwan, could lead to war.

"Unless Kennedy changes his basic position on Quemoy and Matsu we might have a war on our hands in the Pacific. Mr. Kennedy has given the Communists reason to suspect that he will not defend the islands. They would try us out as they did in Korea. We would have no alternative to war if the offshore islands were attacked."

A prominent Negro clergyman, Rev. Dr. Gardner Taylor, criticized Henry Cabot Lodge, the Republican candidate for Vice President, for pledging to include a Negro in a Republican Cabinet.

"I would believe more him his good taste and his determination to do this if his speech had been made in a place other than Harlem -- in some neutral territory. ... I would like to see selections for the Cabinet made without considerations of race. However, selections have been made for so long with race as a negative factor that it might be well to have considerations of race viewed as a positive factor."

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