John F. Kennedy Goes Hollywood: Oliver Stone’s Fantastic History (part III)

JFK on October 22, 1962

Latin America and Internal Security

Kennedy’s supporters point to his approach to the so-called Third World to assert he was charting a new path on foreign policy. JFK was familiar with the work of revolutionaries like Mao Zedong and understood that the social conditions in poverty-ridden, underdeveloped countries often led to communist success, both in organizing communities and in politics, and he was aware that Khrushchev had vowed to support wars of national liberation, creating more problems in parts of the world where western states had occupied an imperial role for decades or more. So Kennedy would help those places where the Left was growing with an alternative path to progress — the key ideology would be “modernization” and the centerpiece program would be The Alliance for Progress.

Modernization had been an increasingly popular idea among liberals in the Kennedy era, especially associated with Walt Rostow’s The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto. Modernization would use the lure of development and reform, rather than intervention and repression, to create better and more equitable societies in the Third World and thus make communism unappealing to the masses. The U.S. had tried out such ideas in other forms before, during the days of “Dollar Diplomacy” or with the “Good Neighbor Policy” for instance, but this would be more nuanced and much bigger, with the Alliance for Progress as its showpiece program. In reality, Kennedy’s policy would not be a departure from America’s past in that region and would, again, be based on militarization rather than modernization. JFK would support authoritarian regimes, exert diplomatic and economic inducements and threats, subvert Left movements and governments, and use American military forces to change the internal structure of other states.

Kennedy’s words about U.S. options in the Dominican Republic after its dictator Rafael Trujillo was murdered have often been quoted because they sum up his views so well — “there are three possibilities in descending order of preference: a decent democratic regime, a continuation of the Trujillo regime, or a Castro regime. We ought to aim at the first but we cannot renounce the second until we are sure we can avoid the third.”[48] Of course, in his first 100 days Kennedy tried to “avoid” the third option at the Bay of Pigs, which was a spectacular failure. But moving onward, JFK, Stone’s dove who was going to thaw relations with Cuba after the missile crisis and renounce America’s imperial past, continued long-standing U.S. policies.

The main Kennedy-era document on Latin American internal security was NSAM 134, adopted in early 1962. It was full of typical Cold War condemnations of communism and the Left, which was using “now-familiar techniques of pressure, infiltration, and division in weakening the will of governments for taking effective action, and of initiating violence principally in rural areas and on issues where internal security forces are vulnerable.” It provided a laundry list of areas where local U.S.-allied governments faced “critical problems in internal security” exacerbated by political and class divisions — Colombia and Bolivia, which required urgent attention; Peru and Ecuador, which were on the edge of crisis; and Venzuela, Brazil, and Argentina, which risked sudden deterioration.[49] Of course there was no need to mention Cuba, where the U.S. imposed a brutal embargo in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs invasion and continued to do so post Missile Crisis and had been trying to assassinate Fidel Castro, as chronicled by the Church and Pike Committees.[50]

Despite the rhetoric of modernization and the public relations hype of the Alliance for Progress, the U.S. was still going to rely on force to ensure its interests in Latin America, increasing the American Military Assistance Program, supporting and training military forces in that region, and developing local forces to not just fight conventional warfare but also to meet the challenge of internal subversive movements of the Left. And, counter to Stone’s claim that JFK was going to thaw relations with Cuba, JFK’s pressure on the island did not abate and Castro was cited as the justification for the use of force in Latin America in virtually every statement and document produced by diplomatic and military officials.[51]

Post-Missile Crisis, the time when Stone and other Kennedy supporters claim he was softening on Cuba and militarization, JFK did not shift course, but continued the U.S. obsession with Cuba and communism in Latin America. In November 1962, U.S. officials continued to insist that “the problem of Cuba and security transcends nuclear arms and purely military operations. Every Communist is dangerous. Cuba directly affects all the small nearby countries. These countries must develop socially and economically to offset Marxist propaganda. Communism will be no menace if countries are ruled democratically, and if assistance under the Alliance for Progress is forthcoming.”[52]

The continued U.S. assault on Latin America also belie the claims of Talbot and others that the president had alienated the CIA and was trying to weaken it, thus causing agents, especially those loyal to Dulles, to want him dead. Both before and after Dulles’s time as DCI, JFK used the CIA and other American groups (including prominently the AFL-CIO) to undermine and even overthrow Latin governments. Whether it be the JCS, NSC, FBI, or CIA, Kennedy was always involved in subversion, aggression, and intervention — at home and abroad.

In March 1963, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Edwin Martin wrote a pamphlet on Communist subversion in the area which again showed that democracy and the Alliance for Progress were fig leaves for continued imperium. The U.S. had two goals in the region, to “isolate Cuba from the hemisphere and discredit the image of the Cuban revolution” and to “improve the internal security capabilities” of America’s allies there. Toward that end the U.S. had been training Latin American military personnel in riot control, counterinsurgency, intelligence and counterintelligence, psychological warfare, counterguerrilla warfare, and in other areas to maintain “public order” at U.S. military schools in the Canal Zone and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Castro was the “aggressive element” that the U.S. had to confront, and JFK was even considering creating a Caribbean forced to use against guerrilla or insurgent groups.[53]

There was no hard evidence that JFK was having a change of mind or heart regarding the traditional U.S. role in Latin America. In May National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy presented the president with a report on Soviet “penetration” in the western hemisphere, and described the so-called Kennedy Doctrine. It was old Monroe Doctrine/Cold War wine in new casks. The declaration against the Soviet Union accepted the established premise that the extension of communist influence in the hemisphere was hostile to American interests and “such intrusion cannot be accepted,” and the U.S. and Organization of American States [OAS] would take the measures needed to prevent it “in the interest of freedom.” It also assumed that “the United States would take unilateral military action if necessary to prevent a Communist takeover of a Latin American government,” even thought that would raise “grave problems” between Washington and Latin America.

The group working on this study understood how delicate the issue of U.S. intervention on the internal affairs of another country was, so it had to be made effective with minimal opposition within the hemisphere. The declaration could be “surrounded with a good deal of hemispheric mood music,” but it would be a “major unilateral U.S. move” and would be met with “a lot of Latin American twittering” — especially in Brazil and Mexico. A potential way around that would be to have the declaration “issued in the context of some crisis in which in fact our decision to act would be generally approved. The hypothetical British Guiana case in the scenario is an example.”[54]

While Stone and others may claim JFK was prepared to thaw relations with Havana and open dialogues with other such groups to deescalate or even end the cold war, the record shows nothing of the sort. Kennedy ended 1962 in Miami paying public tribute to the Cuban Invasion Brigade and pledging that Cuba would be made “free” with Alliance for Progress and American help. In fact, the U.S. campaign of subversion and sabotage had continued even amid the Missile Crisis and afterwards. Kennedy did for a time try to tamp down the raids being conducted by Cubans out of Miami because they threatened to reignite a global political crisis with the Castro government and the Soviet Union, but never gave up on his goal of ousting Castro, even well into 1963. In an April meeting, JFK made clear he had not given up on removing Castro but insisted it had to be a Miami-Cuban effort and wondered “whether active sabotage was good unless it was of a type that could only come from within Cuba.”

At the same time Bromley Smith, the executive secretary of the NSC, presented an analysis that made it clear that Kennedy had decided to end the “restraint” he had shown on Cuba and was recommitting American assets to the campaign against Castro. “This paper,” Smith began, “presents a covert Harassment/sabotage program targeted against Cuba; included are those sabotage plans which have previously been approved as well as new proposals.” The NSC acknowledged that “while this program will cause a certain amount of economic damage, it will in no sense critically injure the economy or cause the overthrow of Castro.” It could however “create a situation which will delay the consolidation and stabilization of Castro’s revolution” and that was worth the U.S. effort.[55]

In fact, in Kennedy’s last public words about Latin America, in Miami on November 18th, he paid lip service to development or modernization — “There can be no progress and stability if people do not have hope for a better life tomorrow,” he said — but stressed the need to be on guard against communism in the region and be prepared to assist any state fighting off the Left. His rhetoric and plans for Latin America were not different than they had been in April 1961 when the U.S. invaded the Bay of Pigs. Communists were subverting and destroying development and if the U.S.-Latin alliance, manifested in the OAS, was to survive, it had to be prepared to aid any government requesting aid against forces deemed similar to Castro, and Kennedy emphasized that “my own country is prepared to do this.” He urged states throughout the hemisphere to “use every resource at our command to prevent the establishment of another Cuba in this hemisphere. . . .”[56]

So Kennedy, at the end of his life, was still a committed cold warrior in Latin America, not just in rhetoric but in practice as well. There are two key examples which demonstrate JFK’s continued hardline polices in the region, Brazil and Guiana. In Brazil, Kennedy laid the groundwork to oust the presidency of João Goulart, who was deposed finally in March 1964. Goulart was not himself a communist (in fact, there were just 25–40,000 communist party members in all of Brazil, a country of 75 million) but was allied with labor unions and other civil groups that had Left members and was pursuing a reformist agenda. In March 1963, Ambassador Lincoln Gordon began notifying Goulart that he would have to remove “anti-American” politicians from his inner circle or risk economic pressure from Washington. From then on, the CIA and Department of State were in frequent contact with anti-Goulart elements in the military, and also were creating paramilitary groups, to oust Goulart. Meanwhile officials from the AFL-CIO were making contact with labor representatives in Brazil to neutralize a group that once been allied with the government. Again, there is no evidence the Missile Crisis had forced JFK to reevaluate his hawkish policies or that he was trying to de-escalate the Cold War.[57]

Guiana, the hypothetical country in the May report, was also targeted by Kennedy. Kennedy showed no dovish epiphany as Stone and others would suggest when confronting the government of Cheddi Jagan, who “imperiled Latin America and the Alliance for Progress and threated the security of the United States,” as the administration saw it. Guiana, as part of the decolonization movement after World War II, was on the path toward independence, but Kennedy wanted Britain to “drag out” the process, while he also sent U.S. agents to the colony to undermine Jagan’s campaign and stir up racial tensions. Ultimately, Kennedy rejected Jagan (who was responsive to participating in the Alliance for Progress) and embraced a coup that later brought an authoritarian government to power in 1964.[58]

Such action, it should be noted, took place in areas beyond the Western Hemisphere too. In Iraq, Kennedy continued Eisenhower-era policies of opposing the government of of General ‘Abd-ul-Karim Qasim, a nationalist who’d overthrown the monarchy in 1958 and challenged the Anglo-American Iraq Petroleum Company’s (IPC) power. Because of U.S. opposition, Qasim sought more aid from the Soviet Union while also trying to reunite Iraq and Kuwait to reclaim the IPC’s oil concession. Kennedy increased the pressure on Iraq and the CIA worked closely with the Ba’ath Party and other groups in Iraq to oust and execute him in February 1963, after which the U.S. provided the new regime in Baghdad with military equipment, including weapons to use against Kurdish rebels, agricultural surpluses, and Export-Import Bank loans, while also encouraging private corporate investment in Iraq.

Even the New York Times, decades later, detailed the U.S. role in 1963, in an op-ed by ex-national security official and establishment scholar Roger Morris, who wrote that “Using lists of suspected Communists and other leftists provided by the C.I.A., the Baathists systematically murdered untold numbers of Iraq’s educated elite — killings in which Saddam Hussein himself is said to have participated. No one knows the exact toll, but accounts agree that the victims included hundreds of doctors, teachers, technicians, lawyers and other professionals as well as military and political figures.”[59]

Far from changing the U.S. approach to Latin America and other underdeveloped areas that had been doctrine since the days of James Monroe, Kennedy, as even moderate scholars who reviewed the record and the secondary literature about JFK in Latin America recognized, “in spite of his rhetorical promises, . . . was just another in a long line of cold warriors. Hence his efforts on behalf of the Third World were designed to combat communism, and only incidentally to improve the lives of people.”[60]

Revising Kennedy’s Legacy Post-Tet

Another piece to the story of Kennedy’s supposed desire to get out of Vietnam and reverse the Cold War that Stone did not engage is the fact that most of JFK’s associates who claimed that the president had soured on Vietnam and was going to withdraw did so much later, after he was assassinated and, importantly, after the war had taken a turn for the worse, especially after the Tet Offensive.

Kennedy’s friend and court historian Arthur Schlesinger’s “evolution” on JFK and Vietnam is quite telling. While the president was alive, Schlesinger agreed with him about the need to defeat the Revolution in the RVN and was optimistic about American prospects there. In his prize-winning A Thousand Days, published in 1965 with reprint in 1967, Schlesinger never made any mention of any plans to withdraw from the war (he did write that McNamara mentioned withdrawal as a possibility amid the Diem coup planning). Schlesinger then began to slowly turn when writing about Vietnam but even then questioning the war from the right, not in any dovish way. When his friend and hawk Joseph Alsop predicted victory in 1966, Schlesinger responded that “we all pray that Mr. Alsop will be right,” though he had his doubts by then. But he also wrote that withdrawal “would have ominous reverberations throughout Asia.” Presented with a chance to suggest JFK was going to get out of the war, Schlesinger did not say a word.

Theodore Sorenson, another Kennedy insider, made no mention of withdrawal in his 1965 book about the president but in fact said that JFK’s “essential contribution” was that he “opposed withdrawal or bargain[ing] away Vietnam’s security at the conference table.” JFK, he concluded, was going to “weather out’ the war. The president’s closest confidante, his brother and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, said in 1962 that the solution in Vietnam “lies in our winning it. This is what the president intends to do . . . . We will remain here until we do.” Like virtually everyone in the administration, Bobby Kennedy’s concern about the ability to win with Diem in charge was that he was damaging America’s efforts in Vietnam and stressed that the U.S. needed “somebody that can win the war,” and after 22 November 1963, he continued to support Lyndon Johnson’s continuation of his brother’s policies there until a break a few years later.

Hilsman, who was directly involved in Vietnam planning from the first, wrote in 1967 that the U.S. goal throughout his time in the administration was “to defeat the Communist guerrillas” and he suggested that JFK “might well have introduced United States ground forces into Vietnam . . . but would have limited their task to occupying ports, airfields, and military bases to demonstrate to the North Vietnamese that they could not win the struggle by escalation either.” Indeed, all of Kennedy’s closest advisors and friends, in the aftermath of the assassination, saw his efforts in Vietnam as positive if not laudatory. He was standing up to communism, had made early efforts to stem the tide of the Left and saved the RVN, and was prepared to do more as necessary to maintain the RVN as an independent state. There was no teeth-gnashing over a fallen hero who was about to reverse course and end the war struck down before he could bring peace.

A few years later, though, as the public began to turn against a war that was dragging on and as more Americans were being sent to, and dying in, Vietnam, JFK partisans began to revise the record, especially after Tet. Writing after that country-wide offensive that laid bare America’s dim prospects, Sorenson was “convinced” that Kennedy would have found diplomatic alternatives to war, and he began to stress the 1963 plan to withdraw 1000 troops in NSAM 263, though not mentioning it before. And he left out the key element in that plan — the precondition that troops would leave based on U.S. military success. Schlesinger took it further.

In a 1978 biography of Robert Kennedy, his version of JFK’s efforts in Vietnam diverged greatly from his work a decade or so earlier. Now, JFK’s likelihood to withdraw from Vietnam was worth a full chapter (even though the book was about Bobby Kennedy, who had little to do with Vietnam policy). He emphasized the withdrawal plans from NSAM 263 and claimed JFK had rejected both proponents of counterinsurgency and of military victory, he was opposed to “both win-the-war factions . . . vaguely searching for a nonmilitary solution.” He did not discuss the coup, JFK’s interviews with Huntley and Cronkite, or the Trade Mart speech. By 1992, in reviewing John Newman’s book, upon which Stone heavily relied, Schlesinger took things several steps further, and actually contended that he had always put forth the idea that JFK was going to withdraw from Vietnam.[61]

We Don’t Need Another Hero: The Meaning and Myth of JFK

Campaigning for the senate in 1952, John Kennedy invoked the Soviet threat to stress the need for American strength. “We are faced by an enemy . . . unrelenting and implacable who seeks to dominate the world by subversion and conspiracy and when all else fails military force.” Kennedy went on to falsely claim that the Soviet Union had military superiority and that it “may choose to plunge the world into the most destructive war in the human race’s long history.” Though the world faced myriad problems “all . . . are dwarfed by the necessity of the West to maintain against the Communists a balance of power.”[62]

Read those words and then parse the speech he was to deliver on 22 November 1963 in Dallas and they are virtually identical. While Stone, other Kennedy supporters, various assassinologists, and self-described liberals and radicals throughout America continue to believe that various crises like Laos, the behavior of Diem and Nhu, or especially the missile crisis “educated” JFK or led him to epiphany about throwing out U.S. cold war doctrine and beating swords into plowshares, there is just no meaningful evidence to show that, any more than there is confirmation of Kennedy’s commitment to the Civil Rights Movement, another piece of the JFK hagiography that Liberals promote.

Kennedy emerged as a national political figure immediately at the end of World War II and outset of the Cold War. I once had a professor of diplomatic history, very moderate and measured, who said that the three main Cold Warriors of that era were Dean Acheson, John Foster Dulles, and John F. Kennedy. JFK’s ideology was no secret to anyone who followed the operations of state. Indeed he was much more aggressive and unyielding in foreign affairs than his predecessor Dwight Eisenhower, whose “Cross of Iron” speech eloquently lamented the emphasis on warfare rather than education and labor and whom even warned of the military-industrial complex on his way out of office, or one of his successors, Richard Nixon, who finally ended the Vietnam War and created détente with the communist powers. Eisenhower and Nixon were not doves either and they overturned governments and used force against liberation movements, but the point is that Kennedy was very similar to them. They were cut from the same imperial and militarist cloth.

Indeed, there is voluminous proof, in deed and rhetoric, gathered over six decades, that John Kennedy entered political life as a cold warrior and remained so until he died. In Vietnam especially, despite Stone’s claims, JFK never wavered in his commitment to preserve the state he helped bring to life, the RVN. The contortions that the conspiracy theorists undertake to explain how NSAM 263 is a smoking gun are more vertiginous than the magic bullet theories they invoke to claim that the dark state had Kennedy killed because he was really a dove. Yet, 58 years after his death, and 30-plus years after Stone’s movie was released, more people than ever continue to insist that dark forces in the military and intelligence communities conspired to kill him. At this point, there is virtually no possibility of them ever changing their views no matter how exhaustive the evidence presented against their arguments is . . . they have a bibilical faith in the specter of JFK. No doubt there were domestic forces like the Miami Cubans and the Mafia who would benefit from Kennedy’s departure, but the countless theories about their machinations to kill him in concert with the deep state have never been proven, despite Stone’s circumstantial circus of claims.

As we have seen, there’s an abundant record to show that Kennedy was deeply committed to “winning” in Vietnam despite a clear awareness of the problems there and reluctance and pessimism by leading military advisors. As conditions in Vietnam worsened, he ramped up the U.S. commitment by sanctioning a coup against Diem and Nhu, the least likely measure to bring stability and create an atmosphere in which withdrawal was more likely. In his overall conception of national security, JFK never wavered from his promise to spend more money on the military and build more weapons, and he was willing to consider war and even nuclear weapons during crises over Berlin and Cuba. In the Third World, he never hesitated to use the rhetoric of modernization as a camouflage for counterinsurgency, supporting bloody regimes that contained “the Left,” constant interference in internal affairs, increased “training” of paramilitary and police forces in defense of local oligarchs, and, of course, frequent intervention, often coordinated by the CIA, another part of the deep state that allegedly wanted JFK dead, if Stone’s equally preposterous ally David Talbot is to be believed.

All of these theories, contrived interpretations, and conspiracies make for bad history. But the problem is bigger than that, for many people on the Left subscribe to them, as Stone has been featured in various progressive media outlets to great fanfare to continue his crusade against the deep state and his rectification of JFK. But as Alexander Cockburn pointed out after the movie JFK came out, the deification of Kennedy served right-wing purposes, as the links between Stone’s crew and QAnon today demonstrate.

Stone has somehow convinced large swathes of the Left that various government agencies and even the vice-president contrived an immense conspiracy, one that would have necessarily involved a huge number of people, many hundreds or thousands perhaps, and everyone fell in line, did not raise any objections to a plot to assassinate the most powerful political figure in the world, and then remained fully silent about it forever after. As we have seen time and again — in Watergate, in Iran-Contra, in Trump’s current lies about the election, in various COVID conspiracies involving ideas about everything from Wuhan labs to Ivermectin — any plan that involves more than a couple people is inevitably leaked and becomes a public scandal; less than a year after Trump left office we now have a spate of insider books detailing his efforts to monkeywrench the election. To suggest that what would arguably be the most incredible and biggest conspiracy in history could take place and remain silent at the time and survive 58 years of conspiracy theorists digging into every single atomic particle of JFK’s life and assignation without any real proof of it is too amazing to even contemplate . . .

The Left doesn’t need heroes like JFK. It needs analysis, organization, and resistance. Waiting for the “truth” about JFK sets no one free but in fact keeps political people hostage to a nostalgic past that never was. It is not different than Confederates who seek a mythic past in preserving statues of Robert E. Lee, or conservative politicians who pray to return to “the American we grew up in,” or countless individuals of all political stripes who insist, despite repeated debunking, that 9/11 was an inside job. Kennedy was no more going to rescue the country from the clutches of deep state operatives than was Trump. The deep state that both Stone’s followers and QAnon invoke is “the state.” The CIA, FBI, NSC, and military do horrible things of which many of us are aware, while others are kept in the dark by media. Even today, journalists and scholars talk of the “secret war” in Laos and Cambodia even though millions of tons of bombs were dropped on those countries. That’s not a conspiracy; that’s the way the ruling class media works. That war was no “secret” to the people of Indochina on the targeted end of those bombings.

The fact that these U.S. institutions do terrible things abroad — coups d’etat, subversion, interventions — in no way creates some kind of circumstantial proof that these same agencies had Kennedy killed. JFK was not their enemy. He was in their world and of their world. He did nothing heroic and while it is certainly possible that the cold war might have thawed a bit more had he lived — and remember that it was cold warriors and war criminals Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger who reached out to Moscow and Beijing — there is no reason to believe that he was going to pull out of Vietnam, call off the dogs in Cuba, stop sending money for “internal security” in the Third World, build fewer bombs, or spend less money on the Pentagon. Nothing he had done in the past would indicate that and Stone’s belief in a Kennedy epiphany is nothing more than the wishful thinking of someone raised on the myth of Camelot.

The lamentations about a fallen hero whom we hardly knew, a warrior for peace slain before he could bring olive branches unto the world, are the stuff of fantasy. We have to live in the world of deeds and evidence. And as the noted historian Thomas Paterson observed long ago, and which holds true today, “he had his chance, and he failed.”[63]

Professor Buzzanco is a professor of history at the University of Houston and has written extensively on the war in Vietnam, including the award-winning Masters of War: Military Dissent and Politics in the Vietnam Era. He currently co-hosts the Green and Red Podcast, which discusses politics and history.

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[48] Stephen Rabe, “The Caribbean Triangle: Betancourt, Castro, and Trujillo and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1958–1963,” Diplomatic History 20, 1, 55–78.

[49] “Report and Recommendations of the Washington Assessment Team on the Internal Security Situation in South America,” January 10, 1962, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume XII, American Republics,; which formed the basis of NSAM 134, “Report on Internal Security Situation in South America,”

[50] For the Church Committee Report see; For the Pike Committee Report see

[51]For evidence of the deep concern and vitriol at the growing Communist presence in Latin America and the belief that Cuba was sponsoring revolution throughout the region, see

[52] Memorandum of Conversation, “Communism, Cuba and Caribbean Security,”30 November 1962, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume XII, American Republics,

[53] Edwin Martin, Communist Subversion in the Western Hemisphere, Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, March 1963,

[54] Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Kennedy, “A Possible Declaration Against Further Soviet Penetration of the Western Hemisphere,” 25 May 1963, U.S. Department of State Archive,

[55] Memorandum for the File, “Meeting with the President — 5:30–15 Apr 1963 In Palm Beach, Florida,” with attached memorandum for the President on “Donovan Negotiations with Castro,” April 16, 1963 (Document 29). National Security Archive, Kennedy and Cuba: Operation Mongoose,; Bromley Smith, National Security Council, Draft, “A Covert Harrassment/Sabotage Program against Cuba,” April 16, 1963 (Document 30), Ibid. See also Kennedy remarks in Miami at the Presentation of the Flag of the Cuban Invasion Brigade, 29 December 1962,

[56] Remarks by President John F. Kennedy before the Inter-American Press Association at Miami Beach, FL, “The Battle for Progress With Freedom in the Western Hemisphere,” 18 November 1963, The Department of State bulletin., v.49 1963 Oct-Dec. HathiTrust Digital Library, Department of State Bulletin, December 9, 1963, 900–904,;page=ssd;view=plaintext;seq=372;num=900.

[57]Lincoln Gordon, “Unclassified Statement by Hon. Lincoln Gordon, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, “General Situation in Brazil, 5 March 1963, House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

[58] National Security Archive, “CIA Covert Operations: The 1964 Overthrow of Cheddi Jagan in British Guiana,”; NSAM 135, “British Guiana,” 8 March 1962,; Stephen G. Rabe. The Most Dangerous Area in the World: John F. Kennedy Confronts Communist Revolution in Latin America. (Chapel Hill: 1999).

[59] Eric Jabobsen, “A Coincidence of Interests: Kennedy, U.S. Assistance, and the 1963 Iraqi Ba’th Regime,” Diplomatic History (37, 5), 1029–59; Roger Morris, “A Tyrant 40 Years in the Making,” New York Times, 14 March 2003,

[60] Anna Kasten Nelson, “President Kennedy’s National Security Policy: A Reconsideration,” Reviews in American History 19, 1 (March 1991), 1–14,

[61] See Chomsky, Rethinking Camelot, and “Vain Hopes, False Dreams,” Z Magazine, September 1992,; on Kennedy revisionism, see especially Arthur Schlesinger, A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (Boston, 1965), reprinted 1967, and Robert Kennedy and His Times (Boston, 1978); Theodore Sorenson, Kennedy (New York, 1965); and Roger Hilsman, To Move a Nation: The Politics of Foreign Policy in the Administration of John F. Kennedy (New York, 1967).

[62] John Kennedy on the containment of Communism, 12 August 1952, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History,

[63] Thomas G. Paterson, ed., Kennedy’s Quest for Victory (New York, 1989), 23.



Robert Buzzanco

Robert Buzzanco


Co-host of Green and Red Podcast. History Professor. Author of books/articles on many aspects of U.S. History, including wars, protest, Vietnam era, economics.