“Questionable Activities”: CIA Assassination Plot Targeted Raul Castro

16 April 2021 — National Security Archive

As Castro retires on 60th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs, National Security Archive posts declassified, top secret CIA cables, reports from 1960

Agency officials willing to pay over $10,000 for ‘fatal accident’

Washington D.C., April 16, 2021 – In the earliest known CIA assassination plot against leaders of the Cuban revolution, high agency officials in 1960 offered the pilot of a plane carrying Raul Castro from Prague to Havana “payment after successful completion of ten thousand dollars” to “incur risks in arranging accident” during the flight, according to formally top secret documents posted today by the National Security Archive. The pilot, who the CIA had earlier recruited as an intelligence asset in Cuba, “asked for assurance that in event of his [own] death the U.S. would see that his two sons were given a college education.” “This assurance was given,” his CIA handler in Havana, William J. Murray, reported in a later memorandum titled “Questionable Activities.”

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Crises, Alerts, and DEFCONS, 1961-1976 – Part II

8 April 2021 — National Security Archive

Berlin Crisis in 1961-62 Disclosed U.S.-European Gap on Nuclear Use, with French and Germans Supporting Early Use over U.S. Objections

B-52 Bombers Were Used for Shows-of-Force during Altercations with North Korea

During October 1973 War DEFCON 3, 99.5 Percent of U.S. ICBMS Were on High Alert

Washington, D.C., April 8, 2021 – The United States and its European allies disagreed over the advisability of using nuclear weapons to signal resolve and deter war if a serious crisis with Moscow over West Berlin broke out, according to a review of declassified records posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.

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The Clinton White House and Climate Change, Part II: Engaging the Oval Office

5 April 2021 — National Security Archive

Like Biden, Clinton Faced Big Challenges: Presidential Role Was Vital to the Strategy

China, Congress Presented Major Tests for the White House

Post-Mortem Cable Laments “Clock Ran Out” on Clinton, Criticizes China, EU, and G-77 for Obduracy

Washington, D.C., April 5, 2021 – President Bill Clinton’s climate policy faced some of its biggest challenges from two very different quarters – China and the Congress – according to a collection of recently declassified internal papers posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.

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Gorbachev’s Greatest Hits

2 March 2021 — National Security Archive

Mikhail Sergeyevich Turns 90; Archive marks milestone with new publication of Gorbachev memcons with Castro, Mitterrand, and Shamir; compilation of dozens of Gorbachev primary sources. 

Gorbachev made history, then freed history by opening his documents

Washington, D.C., March 2, 2021 – The first and only president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, is turning 90 years old today in Moscow.   On the occasion of his anniversary, the National Security Archive has compiled a collection of postings called “Gorbachev’s Greatest Hits.”  These documents help illuminate the story of the end of the Cold War, political reform of the Soviet system, and the vision of a world built on universal human values.

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Allende and Chile: ‘Bring Him Down’

3 November 2020 — Origin: National Security Archive

Salvador Allende’s Historic Inauguration 50 Years Later

Declassified White House Records Show How Nixon-Kissinger Set Strategy of Destabilization—And Why

Washington D.C., November 3, 2020 — Several days after Salvador Allende’s history-changing November 3, 1970, inauguration, Richard Nixon convened his National Security Council for a formal meeting on what policy the U.S. should adopt toward Chile’s new Popular Unity government. Only a few officials who gathered in the White House Cabinet Room knew that, under Nixon’s orders, the CIA had covertly tried, and failed, to foment a preemptive military coup to prevent Allende from ever being inaugurated. The SECRET/SENSITIVE NSC memorandum of conversation revealed a consensus that Allende’s democratic election and his socialist agenda for substantive change in Chile threatened U.S. interests, but divergent views on what the U.S. could, and should do about it.  “We can bring his downfall, perhaps, without being counterproductive,” suggested Secretary of State William Rogers, who opposed overt hostility and aggression toward Chile.  “We have to do everything we can to hurt [Allende] and bring him down,” agreed the secretary of defense, Melvin Laird.

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Putin, Clinton, and Presidential Transitions

2 November 2020 — National Security Archive

Highest-level memcons and cables document Putin’s rise to power

Clinton Library declassifications plus Archive lawsuit open verbatim Clinton-Putin and Clinton-Yeltsin conversations

U.S. emphasis on importance of transfer of power by ballot box gives way to merely endorsing peaceful transition as Yeltsin resigns and anoints Putin in 1999

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New Light in a Dark Corner: Evidence on the Diem Coup in South Vietnam, November 1963

1 November 2020 — National Security Archive

JFK Was More Inclined toward Regime Change than Earlier Believed

Newly Released JFK Tape and President’s Intelligence Checklists Fill in Gaps in Record

South Vietnamese Leader’s Notes Published for First Time, Written Hours Before Assassination

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Reconnaissance Flights and U.S.-China Relations

16 October 2020 — The National Security Archive

“Regrets,” But No Apologies

U.S. Aircraft Landings on Hainan Island, 1970 and 2001  

Washington, D.C., October 16, 2020 – Over the years, aerial and naval encounters have threatened to destabilize U.S-China relations as the two powers contest each other’s rights in international airspace and waters. A major incident occurred on 31 March 2001 (Washington time) when a U.S. EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft made an emergency landing on China’s Hainan Island after a Chinese People’s Liberation Air Force aircraft collided with it in international airspace, some 62 miles from Hainan.  Today, the National Security Archive is publishing for the first time “talking points” and position papers justifying the U.S. position in the EP-3 crisis prepared for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.  The documents are part of a release of Rumsfeld “snowflakes” acquired through an Archive lawsuit against the Pentagon. Continue reading

The Bridge: Connecting Past and Present through Archival Research on Russia

7 October 2020 — National Security Archive

A Joint Project of the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and the National Security Archive 

Washington, D.C., October 7, 2020 – Despite all indications to the contrary, many of the most important Russian archives are open and are worth investigating.

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Inside the Gorbachev-Bush “Partnership” on the First Gulf War 1990

10 September 2020 — The National Security Archive

New Documents Show Soviet Leader Scrambling to Stay in Sync with Americans, But Ultimately Aiming for Non-Use of Force

Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait 30 Years Ago Posed First Test for Post-Cold War Superpower Cooperation

Soviet transcripts of Gorbachev conversations with Mitterrand, Cheney, Baker, and Saudis published for the first time in English

Washington, D.C., September 9, 2020 – Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev quickly decided that joint action with the United States was the most important course for the USSR in dealing with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait 30 years ago, rather than the long-standing Soviet-Iraq alliance, and built what he explicitly called a “partnership” with the U.S. that was key to the international condemnation of Iraq’s actions, according to declassified Soviet and American documents published today by the National Security Archive.

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COUP 53: New Documentary on Overthrow of Iran’s Mosaddeq

17 August 2020 — The National Security Archive

Film Uses Declassified Documents and Recently Recovered Interviews to Revisit Much-Debated Episode

MI6 Had Unwitting Part in Murder of Tehran Police Chief in Leadup to the Coup, According to Ex-Spy 

Spoiler: Oscar Nominee Ralph Fiennes Fills in On-Screen for MI6 Operative Who Was Interviewed for, but Did Not Appear in, 1985 TV Documentary 

Washington, D.C., August 17, 2020 – Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service – MI6 – took part in the 1953 kidnapping of the chief of police of Tehran, Iran, according to a recently recovered interview of an ex-MI6 operative that is featured in a new documentary film, COUP 53. The full interview transcript is posted today for the first time by the National Security Archive.

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