Report: Castro Supported LBJ In
Saturday August 21 1:14 AM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cuba's Fidel Castro told President Lyndon B.
Johnson in 1964 that the U.S. leader could attack Cuba with words and
deeds if it would help him win that year's presidential race, a
researcher said Friday.
Castro wanted Johnson elected because the Cuban leader objected to the
way the Republican Party and its nominee Barry Goldwater was using him
and his Communist government as a way to discredit Johnson and the
Democrats, according to Peter Kornbluh, a Latin American expert at the
National Security Archive in Washington.
The Cuban leader offered his support to Johnson through a message
passed through U.S. United Nations envoy Adelai Stevenson by Lisa
Howard, a reporter for ABC News who was friendly with Castro, Kornbluh
Copies of Castro's message were found in the LBJ Library in Texas and
in the personal papers of Howard, Kornbluh said.
``Please tell President Johnson that I earnestly desire his
election... if there is anything I can do... I shall be happy to
cooperate,'' Castro said, according to an article by Kornbluh in the
October issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine.
``If the president feels it necessary during the campaign to make
bellicose statements about Cuba, or even to take some hostile action,
if he will inform me, unofficially... I shall understand and not take
any serious retaliatory action,'' Castro said.
Even as he offered to ignore harsh words and U.S. saber-rattling toward
Cuba, Castro made it clear he would not tolerate any serious attack,
``Later in the same message, Castro said: '''Please don't take my
conciliatory tone as a sign of weakness, that would be a big mistake,''
Castro's message was his attempt to continue with Johnson a diplomatic
initiative toward warmer U.S-Cuban relations President John F. Kennedy
had begun before his assassination in November 1963, according to
``Both Washington and Havana were interested in a dialogue,'' toward
normal relations, Kornbluh told Reuters.
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