For nearly 20 months a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary has been holding hearings, ostensibly on "the Communist threat to the United States through the Caribbean," presided over by James O. Eastland of Mississippi. He is assisted by Senators Dodd, Johnston of South Carolina, McClellan, Ervin, Hruska, Dirksen, Keating and Cotton. How many witnesses have been called has not been disclosed. The testimony of only a few has been released, and that has been edited before publication. It was said that the investigation was inspired by Democrats hoping to embarrass a Republican Administration by implicating it in the loss of Cuba. But the gamiest parts of the testimony have been made public since Mr. Eisenhower's departure, and one searches it in vain for uncomplimentary references to Republicans.
Out of this weird jumble of inaccuracies, irrelevancies and plain absurdities emerges a discernible purpose: to pin responsibility now on "the liberals," not only for the loss of Cuba but for any future losses in Latin America - whether in Haiti or the Dominican Republic or Panama. From first to last (though the last has yet to come) the Subcommittee has used its investigative authority to muddy those who have not been willing to equate the national interest with business interests and who have stood against identifying the US with the maintenance of dictatorships.
I have read all the testimony one is permitted to see. It is ludicrous - and sinister. For if the President is correct, that things may get worse before they get better (and that applies to Latin America), we may soon be asked to wreak our vengeance on a scapegoat this Committee has invented. The whole of these hearings is a repeat performance of the drama about "Who lost China" - a fairy tale of sell-out by subversives, leftists and other oddballs in the government, the press and the Congress.
It is for this reason that these hearings are worth looking at with some care. And we begin with Arthur Gardner, Chairman of the Board of Bundy Tubing Company and our Ambassador to Havana from 1953 to 1955. He gave his testimony on August 29, 1960:
Senator Dodd: Mr. Gardner, you have been quoted as saying that Washington "pulled the rug out" from under Batista. Is this a correct quote and if so, what did you mean by that?
Mr. Gardner: Yes, I think it is a correct quote. I mean that Batista had always leaned toward the United States. I don't think we ever had a better friend. . . . He was doing an amazing job . . . When we talk about pulling out the rug, I mean there are a number of factors that occurred repeatedly that showed that the State Department did not want to have anything to do with Batista.
Ambassador Gardner's successor in Havana, Earl E. T. Smith, took a broader view of where the guilt lay: the Department was at fault, yes; but not just the Department. Batista, he told the Subcommittee on August 30, 1960, "was overthrown because of the corruption, disintegration from within, and because of the United States and the various agencies of the United States who directly and indirectly aided the overthrow of the Batista Government and brought into power Fidel Castro." This double-edged explanation did not, however, satisfy the chief counsel of the subcommittee:
Mr. Sourwine: What were those agencies, Mr. Smith?
Mr. Smith: The US Government agencies. . . . Certain influential people, influential sources in the State Department, lower down echelons in the CIA. I would say representatives of the majority of the US Government agencies which have anything to do with the Embassy.
Senator Eastland: As a matter of fact,, isn't it your judgment that the State Department of the United States is primarily responsible for bringing Castro to power in Cuba?
Mr. Smith was reluctant to say that, although he admitted the "State Department played a large part in bringing Castro to power."
Senator Eastland: But your advices were that it was not in the best interest of the United States for him to come to power, and in spite of that then you say that the American Government is primarily responsible for putting him in power? . . . Do you agree with it?
Mr. Smith: Would you repeat that, what Senator Eastland said please?
Senator Eastland: I said that your advices were that it was not in the best interest of the United States for Castro to come to power.
Mr. Smith: Yes, sir.
Senator Eastland: And yet in spite of that, of your advices . .. you say that our government was primarily responsible in bringing Castro to power.
Mr. Smith: That is absolutely correct.
Senator Eastland should have let it drop right there. But he was not satisfied:
Senator Eastland: As a matter of fact, now, wasn't it the impartiality of the US Government that brought Castro to power?
Mr. Smith: Wasn't it the impartiality?
Senator Eastland: Yes.
Mr. Smith: Senator, we are responsible for bringing Castro in power. I do not care how you want to word it.
Senator Dodd: Wouldn't you want to say the partiality?
Senator Eastland: I mean the partiality, certainly.
Mr. Smith: Senator, let me explain to you that the United States, until the advent of Castro, was so overwhelmingly influential in Cuba that, as I said here a little while ago, the American Ambassador was the second most important man in Cuba; sometimes even more important than the President. That is because of the reason of the position that the United States played in Cuba. [And then Mr. Smith concluded with a classic understatement: "Now, today, his importance is not very great."]
But the plot is still ambiguous. Who was it who was partial, or impartial? Mr. Sourwine reminded Ambassador Smith that Ambassador Gardner had said that the State Department was anxious, in his words, "to replace Batista with Castro." He wondered if Mr. Smith would agree. Mr. Smith did not agree. He was "sure that those who were on the fifth floor of the State Department did not think very highly of Castro." And for the next five to lo minutes, the Subcommittee hopped from floor to floor.
Senator Dodd: Who was on the fifth floor?
Mr. Smith: The top . . . echelon. That js the mistake we made. Decisions were made on the fourth floor. Senator Eastland: That is right; that is what you have said, at the lower echelons.
Mr. Smith: And the people on the fifth floor, which is the top echelon did not think much of Castro.
Senator Eastland: But you have said they did not make the policies.
Mr. Smith: I said the policies were made on the fourth floor.
Senator Eastland: All right. Now how did they feel abouir Castro?
Mr. Smith: That is another question. Senator Eastland: Well, how did they feel? . . . They were pro-Castro, were they not? Mr. Smith: The word "pro-Castro," Senator, is very strong. I think that they were sympathetic to Castro.
Senator Dodd: Do I understand correctly from what you tell us - let me put it two ways: One, the fifth floor did not know what the fourth floor was doing. Is that your position?
Senator Eastland: Yes, he said - But Mr. Smith was going to say it his way: "I think the fifth floor was not as interested in the affairs of Cuba, until late in 1958, as I had hoped they would be... "
Senator Eastland: It means that you had no confidence in the fourth floor, doesn't it?
Mr. Smith: At times there was disagreement between me and the fourth floor of the State Department.
Senator Dodd: Where did Rubottom - where was his office, fourth or fifth floor?
Mr. Smith: He is the top man on the fourth floor.
Senator Dodd: He is the upper, upper middle?
Mr. Smith: No, sir. He is the Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, and he sits on the fourth floor, and when you go to the fifth floor, that is where the Secretary of State and the Undersecretaries are.
The Department floor plan having been finally clarified, the Committee Counsel moved in:
Mr. Sourwine: Former Ambassador Gardner told us that there was no question - in his words - "that Mr. Roy Rubottom, while he was in charge of Latin American Affairs for the State Department, favored Castro." Do you agree with this?
Mr. Smith: . . . I believe that Roy Rubottom, when I first went down to Cuba, would like to have cooperated with the existing regime...
Much more is said about Mr. Rubottom, who is an able, long-time Foreign Service Officer. He is pictured as misguided or indecisive but not as the villain. At any rate he is no longer on the fourth floor. He was made Ambassador to the Argentine, through the intervention, it is said, of his fellow Texan, Lyndon Johnson.
But if Rubottom was not at fault who was? Someone lost Cuba. Mr. Sourwine narrowed the hunt on September 8, i960, in an exchange with witness William D. Pawley, the ubiquitous tycoon and former US Ambassador to Peru and Brazil:
Mr. Sourwine: Would there be, in your judgment, a valuable purpose to be served in pinning the responsibility on individuals rather than on a faceless "they"?
Mr. Pawley: I think it is mandatory, I think it is more than desirable.
Mr. Sourwine: That was the point I wanted to clear up.
The point had been transparent all along. But "the fourth floor" is as faceless as "they." Who on the fourth floor? Ambassador Gardner gives us the first hint on August 27:
Senator Dodd: Do you know [William] Wieland?
Mr. Gardner: He was in the Embassy for a very short time.
Senator Dodd: What was his job? Mr. Gardner: I think he was in the economics section but I am not certain. [According to the Foreign Service Record, Wieland was never posted in Havana.] But I mean - 1 can tell you - 1 was very glad to see him go.
Senator Dodd: How long was he there, sir?
Mr. Gardner: Well, as I remember it was only a month or six weeks.
Senator Dodd: And this was in 1957?
Mr. Gardner: I can't be certain of that. I know for instance his record, because a man named William Pawley, who was our Ambassador to Brazil, had him down there and got him out. He felt that he was much too - leaning much too far to the Left. [In his book. Red Star Over Cuba, Nathaniel Weyl misquotes
Mr. Gardner: "Leaning much too far to the Left" becomes "much too far on the Left."]
Senator Dodd: In your opinion did he play any part in Castro's rise to power in Cuba?
Mr. Gardner: I think he had a strong influence on Rubottom. But I haven't any way to prove it.
Senator Dodd: I see.
Mr. Gardner: Just because I know the way he thinks. How Mr. Wieland thinks was a subject on which Mr. Pawley had a lot to say later on. But before that, there was more from Ambassador Smith:
Mr. Sourwine: Is it true, sir, that you were instructed to get a briefing on your new job as Ambassador to Cuba from Herbert Matthews of The New York Times?
Mr. Smith: Yes: that is correct.
Mr. Sourwine: Who gave you these instructions?
Mr. Smith: William Wieland, Director of the Caribbean Division and Mexico.
No one on the Subcommittee asked why a totally inexperienced Ambassador-designate to Cuba should not have talked with Herbert Matthews of The New York Times. Matthews was one of the best-informed correspondents on Cuba and the first reputable American journalist to go up into the hills and report firsthand on the Castro movement. Leaving that aside, no one seemed interested either in checking Mr. Smith's story (though Mr. Matthews has said it is untrue and has asked for a chance to deny it to the Subcommittee - a request that has yet to be honored). A memo in the files of the State Department shows that the notion of getting Smith together with Matthews originated with Senator Javits of New York, who suggested it to Mr. Rubottom, who in turn mentioned it to his deputy Mr. Snow, who in turn said yes, that might be a good idea but perhaps it ought to be suggested to Ambassador Smith by Mr. Wieland. It was.
After some desultory and perplexing references by Mr. Smith to pro-Castro influence in the Havana Embassy exerted by "the Chief of the Political Section, John Topping, and the Chief of the CIA Section," Wieland is brought back onstage:
Senator Eastland: Who were those individuals in the State Department... that were telling falsehoods that were pro-Castro?
Mr. Smith: There were quite a few. Senator.
Senator Eastland: Who were they?
Mr. Smith: I repeat again do I have to mention names?
Senator Eastland: Yes. We have reasons, Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith: Yes, sir. You see my point: I do not want to get people in trouble, either.
Senator Eastland: Well, I know that.
Mr. Smith: Because I do not believe that they are dangerous. If I thought they were dangerous, I would not hesitate.
Senator Eastland: I am not certain about that. . .. We have sources of information.
Mr. Smith: Yes, I believe Wieland, William Wieland, and that is as far as I would like to go in the State Department.
Mr. Pawley, about 10 days later, chose to go further, and without any prodding by the Subcommittee.
Mr. Pawley: I would like to discuss another case - 1 had a man with me by the name of Wieland.
Mr. Sourwine: You say "with" you, where was that?
Mr. Pawley: He served with me as Press Attache in Rio when I was Ambassador there. .. . His activity there was of a nature that was displeasing to me, being conscious of this Communist problem probably more than most Americans as early as that, just having come from Asia and it was of sufficient worry, although there was nothing specific that I could put my hands on - it was conversations that I would hear, hear him have with other members of the press in press conferences and things of that kind - to give me a squirmy feeling regarding his activities, and I made it known to various officials from time to time - it has been a long time ago, so to say to whom would be difficult for me right now — that I didn't believe Wieland was particularly useful to the US Government...
No Senator is moved to wonder what, precisely, made Pawley feel "squirmy." Nevertheless.
Mr. Pawley: I told Wieland in the meeting of several people, "If you permit Fidel Castro to come into power you're going to have more trouble than you have ever seen in your life."
Mr. Sourwine: When was this?
Mr. Pawley: This was six weeks before Fidel came into power. [It is appropriate to interject here that in a conversation between a Washington journalist and Mr. Wieland shortly after Castro came to power Mr. Wieland expressed the opinion that the US had not sufficiently recognized the potential danger of Castroism. He referred to a document of the Castro movement that had come into the Department's hands and commented that "parts of it read extraordinarily like Mao's statement of the 1930's in China." He also said that "this is a situation of two gorillas in a cage. Batista is as bad as Castro might be." The reporter with whom Wieland talked has offered to testify. He has not been called.]
The Chairman: Mr. Pawley, you made some statements that a man named Wieland in the State Department had leftist tendencies. Could you be more specific . . . ?
Mr. Pawley: Well, Senator, I felt that in the area of press representative for the US Embassy there, that you needed a person who was completely in sympathy with those policies and those ideals for which I think the country stands, and my observation of Wieland at that time indicated to me that he had tendencies that were somewhat contrary to what I thought to be in the best interests of the United States.
The Chairman: Well, would you be specific, Mr. Pawley?
That turned out to be "very difficult" for Mr. Pawley; for, as he said, "these things are matters of degree."
The Chairman: Do you think he had a Marxist philosophy, I don't mean Communist now, I mean Marxist? Well, Mr. Pawley didn't think he "could say that." Still, Wieland "had strong views that seemed to me not sympathetic to our private enterprise system, and the so-called capitalistic basis under which this country has prospered. . . ."
Mr. Sourwine: Have you any reason to believe that William Wieland is a Communist?
Mr. Pawley: No, I don't have any reason to believe that. I only know that many of these men. that get involved in this type of thing over the years that I have had any connection with, are serving the cause of our enemy, that is all. That is quite a bit, but it was not "all."
Mr. Sourwine: You think he is doing this wittingly, intentionally? Mr. Pawley: I have got to say that he is either one of the most stupid men living or he is doing it intentionally. At this point, a curious and seemingly irrelevant question is introduced.
Mr. Sourwine: Do you know anything about Mr. Wieland's activities as a newspaperman in Cuba when he used the name Montenegro?
Mr. Paivley: That is all I know, Montenegro. He did have —
Mr. Sourwine: Arturo Montenegro, I believe. Mr. Pawley: Yes; that is right.
Mr. Sourwine: I have no other questions.
This interchange took place in executive session on September 8, i960. It was the first time the name Montenegro had been mentioned in the hearings. The edited transcript of the testimony was released on February 20, 1961. But on December 30, i960, nearly two months earlier, the following appeared in a syndicated column by George Sokolsky: "And this brings me to the question of what will be done about William Arthur Montenegro, by whatever name he goes in the State Department. I have been told that the Eastland Committee has been investigating William Arthur Montenegro, by whatever name he goes, for many months and that this Committee possesses more information concerning him and his activities than I possess, although I doubt that, for I have the entire story. However, if the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee possesses such data, what is it waiting for?"
What indeed? And what has Mr. Sokolsky been waiting for, since he wrote in December? No further information about William Arthur Montenegro has appeared in his columns.
There may be an explanation for this.
There are quite a few men who have written on Latin America by the name of Montenegro (for example, Ernesto Montenegro, Daniel Montenegro, Abelardo, Adelmo, Braga, Carlos, Jose, Pedro, and Olivio Montenegro) - all listed in the index of the Reference Library of the Pan American Union. But there is no Arturo Montenegro listed there. And Mr. Wieland did not write under that name. The story is this: Mr. Wieland's mother remarried when he was a boy. Montenegro was the name of her second husband. Growing up in Havana, William Wieland was often called William Montenegro. If there is a Montenegro whose writings the Subcommittee had reason to believe were subversive, he is in no way related to William Wieland. Mr. Sourwine appears to have been trapped by a coincidence. But what about Mr. Sokolsky, who appears to have known of the reference to Montenegro in the hearings in advance of the transcript's being made public? "I have been told. . . .," he writes. By whom?
Mr. Wieland has not been made an Ambassador, but he too has left the fourth floor. He wa'fe transferred to a training school where he has been learning German in preparation for assignment in Switzerland. He appeared more than once before the Subcommittee for interrogation, yet not a word of his testimony has been released. Nor is it admitted that he was even called. Fortunately, the respect in which he is held by Adolf Berle - Mr. Kennedy's trusted adviser on Latin America - has been helpful. Mr. VVieland is probably safe, though scarred, despite the efforts of Mr. Pawley.
The testimony of Ambassaddr Pawley needs to be read in full to be fully savored. He has much to say about Wieland, about Assistant Secretary of State Spruille Braden ("involved in a program which appeared to be helpful to the Communist Party in Latin America"). And about himself and that is perhaps the most fascinating. Here is Pawley on Pawley:
"President Truman thought and so did the Secretary of State that I might be useful as an Ambassador to Peru because we had a very serious problem of an unpaid debt of $150 million and Peru had come into the war on our side as the first nation in Latin America . . . and I was selected as Ambassador for that job and I was successful in doing what I was sent to do. . . ."
"I made the arrangements with Franco that got us the bases today . . . and the bases we have today are 100 percent as a result of George Marshall's having sent me there to make the arrangements, August and September of 1948." [This appears to be pure Lanny Budd. Negotiations that led to our acquiring these bases in 1953, began in 1951 - and at no point were they conducted by Pawley.]
"I called Averill, who was Secretary of Commerce. Averill is a good friend of mine and he said OK, you can have the wheat. . . . I called Bob Lovett, the Undersecretary of State. I called Matt Connally of the White House and I said, 'please tell the President. . . .' The President or the Secretary called me over to the White House and said, 'Pawley, we want you to organize the Bogota Conference'."
Mr. Sourioine: Didn't you also have a part in organizing the Flying Tigers?
Mr. Pawley: Yes, I did organize the Flying Tigers . . . but Claire Chennault, whom I employed at the Chinese request, got the credit for it…
He knew everybody. "George Marshall stated at lunch one day in the presence of several friends of my wife, he said 'Bill, the great problem with you, you were right 5 to 8 years too soon'."
Mr. Pawley had "business interests in Cuba, having formed the first Cuban National Airline which is still the only national airline in Cuba." He later sold it to Pan American Airways. He also sold the China National Aviation Corporation, which he established, to Pan American. None of these transactions is known to have depleted his bank account. He gained control in 1949 of the Havana Traction Company (Autobuses Modernos, S.A., Havana), and sold it before the collapse. It was beyond Mr. Pawley why anyone who is loyal to the US would attempt to undercut Batista or Trujillo. In his judgment, dictators are like any other investments - good as long as they pay off. The niceties of democratic forms interest him as little as the niceties of international diplomacy:
Mr. Pawley: Let's take the new Assistant Secretary [for Latin America] Tom Mann. [No longer. He too has been made an ambassador.] Tom is brilliant and could not be a nicer fellow. He wants to solve most of the problems of Communism in the Western hemisphere by meetings of the Organization of American States or of foreign ministers. I do not agree. [Later, Mr. Pawley was to say: "I for one, would like to see us withdraw from the OAS as an active member . . . and we would not be constantly under attack, as an active member, as we are now."] I would also disagree with Tom on the situation between Trujillo and the President of Venezuela.
Senator Keating: Betancourt?
Mr. Pawley: Yes, Betancourt. Tom Mann has excellent relations with him and would like to do everything he can to help him. But Betancourt has had a personal running feud with Trujillo for many years having nothing to do with Communism. One of his primary objectives is the overthrow of Trujillo, and Tom, I think has been understandably influenced by Betancourt's feelings. As to the Dominican Republic, I have been there many times, beginning as far back as 1916. . .. Today it is a beautiful little country that has accomplished more for its people in a shorter time than any other country in Latin America.
Was there no one with an unkind word for one of Latin America's most ruthless, brutal dictators? None. Indeed, if there is any doubt of the Subcommittee's intent to use these hearings as a platform to praise Trujillo and rebuke those (and they include the President and the Secretary of State) who would disengage from entangling alliances with the dictators, that doubt can be removed by referring to an interesting colloquy between Trujillo's sugar-fed friends, Ellender and Eastland (both members of the Internal Security Subcommittee) on the floor of the Senate on the very day, August 24, 1960, that Undersecretary of State Douglas Dillon was appealing to the Congress (vainly) not to allow Trujillo a share in the sugar-quota purchases we had taken away from Cuba:
Mr. Eastland: Is it not true that Trujillo has been a friend of the United States?
Mr. Ellender: I do not believe there is any doubt about that. . . . There is not one country in South or Central America which, since 1952, has shown greater economic progress than the Dominican Republic.
Mr. Eastland: Did the Senator from Louisiana find that the people there were happy and contented?
Mr. Ellender: I saw no evidence of unrest....
Mr. Eastland: Is it not true that the Dominican Republic has had more revolutions than any other country in the history of the world, and that Trujillo has given the country stability - something it never had before?
Mr. Ellender: There is no question about that.
Mr. Eastland: Is it not also true that it takes a strong arm to rule in the countries of that sort.. . ?
Mr. Ellender: That is certainly true in many instances.
Mr. Eastland: If it were destroyed and if a vacuum were left, who would march in?
Mr. Ellender: Another Castro, without a doubt.
Mr. Eastland: Is not Trujillo the foremost enemy of Communism in Latin America?
Mr. Ellender: I never met anyone there who so often and vocally professed his opposition to Communism.
John O'Rourke summed it up in his story for the Washington Daily News on February 3,1961: “So the policy tug-of-war can be said to be roughly between long-haul ideological diplomacy, as outlined in President Kennedy's inaugural address and his recent stateof- the-nation speech, and short-haul bipartisan dollar diplomacy, with key men in the President's own party working against him. If the 'Who-helped-Castro?' witch-hunt can scare off opposition to what certain sugar interests want for Trujillo, the McCarthyesque brush fire started in Congress will have been well worth while. That is, worth while for them; not for President Kennedy's stated policy.”
But there is more from Pawley. He of all the witnesses, most explicitly lends himself to another of the Committee's purposes: to equate the loss of Cuba with the loss of China. The theme is introduced very early in the hearings by Mr. Sourwine, who placed into the record a statement by John Foster Dulles made in January, 1953: “If we don't look out, we'll wake up some morning and read in the newspapers that there happened in South America the same kind of thing that happened in China in 1949.”
Mr. Sourwine: Sir, during your service in the diplomatic services of the United States, have you ever had occasion, other than the one you have already described, to come up against Communist infiltration?
Mr. Pawley: Well, I think the episode with which I became involved, in which we had the loss of China, constitutes for me what I believe to be one of our greatest losses and one that in my judgment might be the inevitable cause of World War III... . Now, while I was in Chungking - and prior to that even, in Hangchow when the headquarters were there - I found young men working for the American Government and the Department of State whose views I did not agree with. They thought, and were so telling our Ambassador and also Stilwell, that the Communist movement was an agrarian reform movement of great benefit to China - that Chiang was too dictatorial and that we should align ourselves with this agrarian reform group.
Pawley then speaks of “endeavors to sidetrack” a memorandum he submitted to the State Department on November 7, 1949, in which he suggested that American civilians and ex-military officers advise the Chinese Nationalist Government, “on its efforts to save Formosa, Hainan Island, and re-establish itself on the mainland of China.” [Italics added.]
Mr. Pawley: It is my judgment, and I was in the Department of State at the time, that this whole fiasco, the loss of China and the subsequent difficulties with which the United States has been faced was the result of the mistaken policy of Dean Acheson, Phil Jessup, Lattimore, John Carter Vincent, John Service, John Davies, Jr. - did I mention him? - Clubb, and others. This has to' be nailed down too. And Senator McClellan has a hammer at hand.
Senator McClellan: Do you think those mistakes were all sincere mistakes of judgment, or what?
Mr. Pawley: No, I don't. Senator. .. . My experience in the Department of State has been a very disturbing experience for an American who feels that the security of this country is in jeopardy.
It hardly needs saying that hindsight is in plentiful supply throughout the hearings. Ambassadors Gardner and Smith came to Cuba when things were bad; they left it worse than they found it; they rake over the ashes of failure, looking for embers of foresight. Ambassador Pawley does likewise. He tells the Subcommittee that he thought Fidel Castro was a Communist back in 1948. But Jules Dubois, Latin American expert for the Chicago Tribune, has been quoted as saying that “Mr. Pawley has evidently changed his mind. When I saw him at Miami Airport in January, 1958, on his way to the Dominican Republic, he said then he didn't think he was a Communist.”
Mr. Smith and Mr. Gardner were sure they had advised the Department (if it had only listened!) how dangerous it was not to support Batista.
Senator Dodd: Mr. Gardner, when did you first have doubts about Castro, do you remember?
Mr. Gardner: Well, I saw a manifesto that he had printed in Mexico, which stated his principles, what he was going to do. He was going to take over the American industries, he was going to nationalize everything. I mean I don't remember the words of this particular manifesto. . .. That, to me, really only one thing, that this man was a radical. I couldn't tell how much of a radical.
Mr. Gardner was confident that Fidel Castro's visit to the US in April, 1959, had something to do with Mr. Rubottom's giving “his consent.” But the fact is otherwise. Castro was invited to address the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington by two journalists who interviewed him in Havana shortly after he took power.
Mr. Gardner likewise remembered that when he returned to Washington in 1957 the Department “ignored” him. But he later testified that he talked on several occasions with a number of Department officials - Secretary Herter, Mr. Rubottom, Loy Henderson, Robert Murphy.
Then there is this revealing, almost charming portrait of our man in Havana fighting the good fight.
Senator Dodd: What can you tell us, Mr. Gardner, if anything, about Russian and Communist Chinese influence in Cuba?
Mr. Gardner: Well, there is a large Chinese colony there. . . . We did know there were some Communists there. There was one particular instance. The radio station CNQ, was the biggest chain radio station there. And they had a known Communist as leader of the orchestra. And I tried very hard, and had many rows and fights with the chap who heads this organization, and his answer to me was that the orchestra had never been easier to handle, and he was making money out of it. That was his position. And the net was we were able to persuade two or three of the bigger advertisers not to use his orchestra. But that is about the story.
Neither Mr. Gardner nor Mr. Smith nor Mr. Pawley was ever asked to comment on other testimony given the Subcommittee on Communist influence, that of the Deputy Director of CIA, Gen. C. P. Cabell, on November 5, 1959.
Senator Hruska: General, we had testifying before us in open session some months ago Pedro Diaz Lanz, and he gave testimony respecting indications that Communist military supplies were furnished to the Castro forces. Can you tell us anything about the extent to which such aid was provided through those sources?
General Cabell: I could not offhand. I have not seen any information indicating such aid was given... .
Senator Hruska: There was also testimony with reference to submarines, Russian submarines, having been observed in Cuban waters, Caribbean waters and Cuban waters. Can you tell us anything about those?
General Cabell: We have been unable to verify any such reports.
The Chairman: What caused Batista to fall? Just what happened. [What of Wieland, of Rubottom, of Herbert Matthews of The New York Times?]
General Cabell: Well, Mr. Chairman, he did not have a sound base for his regime.
The Chairman: Was his army whipped in the field? Was he deposed by his Generals?
General Cabell: The army disintegrated. Its morale just completely disintegrated in the face of the growing numbers in the Castro movement. It became helpless. . .. Our information shows that the Cuban Communists do not consider him [Fidel Castro] a Communist Party member, or even a pro-Communist…Our conclusion, therefore, is that Fidel Castro is not a Communist; however, he is certainly not anti-Communist.
Which remark. Senator Johnson of South Carolina interpreted as follows: “Is it not true that he is more dangerous than if he would come out and let them know that he [Fidel] was a Communist?”
Now, the charge of subversion or “softness” in the State Department, on whatever floor, hasn't the sex appeal it had in Joe McCarthy's day. Yet the fact that witnesses can be summoned to executive sessions and that a Senate Subcommittee can fashion the case it wishes to make by giving the press only carefully edited excerpts of the hearings is not a procedure that calls for complacency. Fortunately, the President of the United States is not unsophisticated and not a coward. Asked on February 16 whether he had “determined whether any employee of our State Department was responsible, or had any part, in advancing the Communist foothold in Cuba, and if so, will you take steps to remove them . . . ?” he replied: “I think probably miscalculations were made by our country in assessing Cuba . . . but I have no evidence that anyone did it out of any other motive but to serve the United States.”
The members of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, on the basis of the record, have less evidence than Mr. Kennedy. What then is the explanation for their behavior? Do they lend themselves to this farce because Mr. Sourwine wishes to keep himself employed? Is it simply an appetite for publicity? Let us be charitable and assume these are decent public officials trying to do a patriotic service. There is, after all, a Communist threat in the Caribbean. It is right that a Committee of the Congress investigate that threat with an eye to the possibility of legislation.
But if that is the objective, how is it that we have no testimony from anyone who could be said to be a wellinformed student of the Caribbean? Moreover, if information that will be helpful to the Congress in legislating is the aim, why is testimony made public? Or, if it is made public, why not all of it, including that of Mr. Wieland? The attacks on him were widely reported. And why not call witnesses who may not share Mr. Sourwine's or Senator Eastland's views on what the threat is, and how it can be met? These are questions more judicially-minded members of the Subcommittee such as Keating, Dodd, Irvin and McClellan should be asked.