Heroes & Villains

Transcript: Source4

Extracts from a United States information booklet on the situation in Cuba, 29 October 1962
(Catalogue ref: FO 371/162401)


29 OCTOBER 1962.


This official Department of Defense publication is
for the use of personnel in the Military Services.

Robert S. McNamara

Prepared with the assistance of the
Department of State


The United States and its Allies are responding to a sudden, sinister threat to world peace and security. The U.S.S.R. has attempted to upset the delicate balance of world power by secretly introducing its offensive weapons into the Western Hemisphere, using Cuba as a strategic base.

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and U.S. citizens everywhere have a vital interest in the freedom, safety, and well being of themselves, their families, and their country. Therefore, you owe it to yourself to understand clearly the basic issues and actions relating to Cuba. You can expect to be asked many questions concerning Cuba, its relations with the Soviet Union, the seriousness of its threat to the Western Hemisphere, the reasons why the United States took its course of action, and what the outcomes may be.

This pamphlet contains the true facts of the situation, presented as answers to some questions that you, as an American, may ask or be asked. Forearmed with this information, you can personally do much to clarify your own thinking and role. Perhaps you can also dispel misunderstandings, doubts, and even resentments, caused by President Kennedy’s action to preserve peace, in discussions with your fellow countrymen and with people abroad. …


Why is America, the richest and strongest nation in the world, worrying about communism in Cuba?

Because once a country falls under the control of Communists its government becomes subject to control by the Kremlin, and an instrument for the aggressive Communist world movement. In the case of Cuba, the Soviet leaders have seen fit to use the Communist Castro regime there as a tool for extending their power and their ideology into this hemisphere. Moreover, Cuba has a strategic location athwart key transportation routes in the Caribbean. Most importantly, they have converted the island into a military base directly threatening all of its free neighbours, and posing a threat to world peace. …

Can the U.S. action be considered an aggression against Cuba?

No, the U.S. action did not constitute aggression against Cuba in any sense of the word. The quarantine was designed to deal with a threat to the peace, by a foreign power on Cuban soil. This determination was made by the U.S. for its own security, but it did not act alone. Rather, the international organization having jurisdiction in the area, the Organization of American States, recommended action under the Rio Treaty of 1947 which contains provisions and procedure for collective defense in the Western Hemisphere (Articles 6, 8 and 20). Only then did the U.S. issues the proclamation of quarantine.