New York Times correspondent and CFR member Herbert L. Matthews interviewed Fidel Castro in April 1957 at his mountain retreat. In three successive front page articles he compared Castro to Lincoln, and presented him as a “peasant patriot,” “a strong anti-communist,” a “Robin Hood,” and a “defender of the people.” The State Department’s William Wieland looked the other way as Battista set the stage for a new Cuban nationalist to emerge.
Bernhard Thiuersam, www.circa1865.org
The Cloak of Social Revolution
“A Senate Internal Security sub-committee, on September 10, 1960, blamed US State Department officials and segments of the American press for helping bring Castro to power. Senators James O. Eastland, Democrat of Mississippi, and Thomas J. Dodd, Democrat, of Connecticut, members of the sub-committee, after hearing testimony of former Ambassadors Earl E.T. Smith and Arthur Gardner said: “Cuba was handed to Castro in the same way China was handed to the communists.”
The two Ambassadors singled out William Wieland, director of the State Department’s Caribbean division, Roy R. Runbottom, Jr., former Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, at the time Ambassador to Argentina, and Herbert Matthews of the New York Times. The Senators charged that the State Department group “misguided the American people.”
When Wieland was in Havana during the Castro revolution, I asked him why the State Department did not tell Batista to stop torturing and killing, either oust his corrupt military men or get out and let the OAS or the UN hold elections. Wieland insisted that the United States could not “interfere.”
I pointed out that the United States was interfering all over the world – so why not in Cuba before the United States had something worse to contend with there?
This idea of “social revolution” has a great appeal for our so-called “liberals,” who do not realize that social revolution is the cloak under which the Communists hide.
About that time an old Cuban friend came into the office much excited over a book on Communist brainwashing. He had been a devout follower of Castro and now was completely disillusioned.
“I haven’t read the book,” I said, “but I can tell you the American who is the easiest to brainwash. It is the educated person who has usually gone through college and is trying to be a liberal. He is frightened by any talk of conservatism and really doesn’t know what he believes. You were one of them when Castro got hold of you.”
The Cuban grinned and said, “You are right, that is about what the book said. Now tell me, who is the hardest to brainwash?”
“A person, not too well educated perhaps, but one who has been raised by a God-fearing family, who has been taught honesty and respect of property and all the virtues we are supposed to have in the United States.”
“How right you are,” he said. “The book points out that the Communists were unable to brainwash the Southern Negro prisoners they captured in Korea who had been raised in such religious families as you describe.” Then he added, “There must be something wrong with the American education.” He [the Cuban] was a graduate of one of the United States great universities.”
(The Cuban Dilemma, R. Hart Phillips, Ivan Obolensky Publishing, 1962, pp. 251-252)