21 April 2018 — National Security Archive
As Castro Era Ends, the National Security Archive posts Records on Back Channel Efforts toward Rapprochement by Pioneering Journalist Lisa Howard
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 624
Washington D.C., April 20, 2018 – Back-channel diplomacy, conducted by an ABC News reporter named Lisa Howard resolved a potential crisis with Cuba in mid-1964, according to documents posted today by the National Security Archive. After the CIA obtained “disturbing” intelligence reports that Fidel Castro had threatened to shoot down U.S. reconnaissance planes in retaliation for the Coast Guard seizure of four Cuban fishing boats, Howard secretly traveled to Cuba to convey a U.S. government warning to Castro, and returned with his assurances that “nothing will happen to our planes, and that we do not need to send him any warnings” – a message passed through UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson directly to President Johnson.
A comprehensive historical account of Howard’s extensive involvement in back-channel diplomacy with Cuba was published today, for the first time, in Politico Magazine in an article by Archive analyst Peter Kornbluh – “My Dearest Fidel: An ABC Journalist’s Secret Liaison With Fidel Castro.” The article is subtitled: “The untold story of how Lisa Howard’s intimate diplomacy with Cuba’s revolutionary leader changed the course of the Cold War.” The Archive today posted a selection of Howard’s personal papers and documents on which the article is based.
Check out today’s posting at the National Security Archive
THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.