Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas was a man of principle amongst politicians with few principles. With routine US military invasions and interventions in the affairs of other countries today, Fulbright’s moral, ethical and Constitutional reasoning would be laughed at in the District of Corruption.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com
Southern Senator Advises Against Invasion
“Fulbright stood in the back of the room while [President John] Kennedy handled the press with his usual grace; then he went up to the seventh floor and entered a room where he received the shock of his life.
From what Kennedy had said, Fulbright thought it would be a small, perhaps informal meeting. Instead, he found an intimidating array of key American officials as would be assembled in one place. Three members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff . . . Allen Dulles, the CIA chief . . . the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara . . . the Secretary of State, Dean Rusk . . . Secretary of the Treasury Douglas Dillon; Adolf Berle, the old Latin American expert . . . all sitting around a long table surrounded by maps and charts.
“God, it was tense,” Fulbright would remember. “I didnt know quite what I was getting into.”
It was in fact, the full-dress and final major policy review for the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy waved Fulbright to a seat near him and directly in front of Dulles. The CIA emissary spoke in glowing terms of the combat readiness of the Cuban soldiers, Brigade 2506, of their zeal and determination, and of the American belief that everything was ready for the invasion. “Then Dulles took it up and made his pitch,” Fulbright said. “He told what would happen in Havana and all over Cuba after the landing . . . their source in Havana believed there would be a sympathy uprising.”
Although it was the first time he had heard any details of the invasion plan, Fulbright had been singularly unimpressed with the arguments advanced by the CIA. The point that the US would be in a terrible dilemma if it called off the invasion “Didn’t appeal to me a damn bit,” he said.
Besides, because of his experiences with John Foster and Allen Dulles, he was highly dubious of such advice. Fulbright spoke up strongly. He denounced the entire undertaking.
It would be a mistake no matter how one looked at it, he said. It would be a mistake if the military invasion succeeded, because without question the United States would be left with the task of rebuilding Cuba in our own image.
Cuba would become an American puppet, an American Hungary, and the US would be branded an imperialist. It was a mistake, obviously, if it failed, and despite what he had heard he was unconvinced the plan was so foolproof. Beyond that, it was the kind of undertaking that went against the very grain of the American character.
It was a violation of our principles and our treaty obligations. No matter what the final outcome, it would clearly compromise America’s moral position in the world.”
(Fulbright, The Dissenter; Haynes Johnson and Bernard M. Gwertzman, Doubleday and Company, 1968, excerpt, pp. 176-177)