Jerry P. Shinley Archive:
Alpha 66, Leftwing?



Subject: Alpha 66, Leftwing?
Date: 07 Mar 2000 00:00:00 GMT
Message-ID: <8a35ui$o9m$>

    I was surprised to see Alpha 66 listed as being on the left end of the Cuban exile political spectrum in the following document from the State Department's website. Is that an accurate assessment?

345. Memorandum From Gordon Chase of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)

Washington, May 28, 1963.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Exiles, 5/63-6/63. Confidential. A handwritten "P.M." follows the dateline.


Cuban Exiles

Attached is a draft paper, prepared by the Cuban Coordinator, on the subject of U.S. policy towards exile unity. It is being circulated to Coordinating Committee members for comments and clearance.

The Coordinator recommends that the U.S. follow a "hands-off" policy towards exile efforts to achieve unity and that public statements of all U.S. officials be consistent with the recent Ed Martin statement, /1/ as amended. Judging from the tenor of the last Coordinating Committee meeting, I suspect that the draft will be approved with few substantive changes./2/


/1/The statement is quoted in the paper. It was made on May 22 before the Senate Subcommittee on Refugees and Escapees and is attached to a May 28 memorandum from Chase to Bundy, on U.S. policy toward exile unity. (Ibid.) See the Supplement.

/2/Bundy wrote the following on Chase's covering memorandum: "Good: I have cleared this in principle with the President (altho I would not exclude a shift if Bobby felt strongly the other way)."




United States Position on Efforts by Cuban Exiles to Achieve Unity


To determine the position of the Government with respect to efforts by Cuban exiles in the United States to achieve unity.


A. As a result of developments in the past two months especially the U.S. measures against hit-and-run raids, Miro Cardona's resignation as head of the Cuban Revolutionary Council, the withdrawal of U.S. support for the Council, and its consequent decline--a vague, confused and still embryonic movement toward "unity" (usually conceived of as a single body or organization speaking or acting for all exiles) has taken place in the Cuban exile community. The search for a unifying formula arises from a variety of motives: a psychological need on the part of the exiles for a single organization which they can consider as their representative an instructive belief that unity in itself will advance the cause of liberation; the desire for an organization which can address governments, international bodies, and public opinion; the belief that to work toward unity is to conform to the wishes of the U.S. Government, which is the only potential source of major material support; and the hope on the part of the ambitious that participation in unity will lead to political preference in post-Castro Cuba.

B. So far the developments in the effort for unity have resulted in the following line-up:

Left. The Second National Front of Escambray, Alpha-66, the Anti-Communist Liberation Front, and elements of the People's Revolutionary Movement and the 30th of November Movement have reached a working agreement. Although the working agreement is essentially action-oriented, the member organizations tend to the view that the original revolution promised by Castro should be reclaimed and redirected. The adherence of Manuel Ray's Revolutionary Junta (JURE) would increase the influence of this grouping, which probably has the most potential appeal to Castro's opponents within Cuba, but which is an object of concern to more conservative exiles.

Center. Revolutionary Unity (UR), Revolutionary Recuperation Movement (MRR), Christian Democratic Movement (MDC), Revolutionary Student Directorate (DRE), and other less well-organized center groups, have held aloof from attempts at unity.

Right. The Alliance for Cuban Liberty (ALC), and the Association for Economic Recovery of Cuba (AREC) have had difficulty attracting adherents. They principally look to the return of their lost property, rather than action and politics. Recent discussions by these groups with U.S. nationals promising large-scale financial support appear to have had no results.

"Letter of Integration." Stimulated by old-line politicians, Alonso Pujol and Carlos Prio, this grouping has secured a number of signatures of prominent exiles on a document which calls for the liberation of Cuba, the extirpation of Communism, and the return to the 1940 Constitution. Rightist in makeup, heavily weighted on the side of discredited politicians, it is unlikely to have much support within Cuba.

Plebiscite. Jose (Pepin) Bosch (Bacardi Rum) is forming a committee to organize a plebiscite to elect a single leader. There has been little forward movement to date.

Enrique Ruiz Williams. He has formed a unity committee and claims the personal support of Attorney General Kennedy. His efforts have shown only limited results thus far.

Students. Student sectors of eleven organizations are reported to have reached a working agreement. The extent and significance of this attempt is unknown. Significantly, the DRE is not included in this bloc.

Brigade. An association of Brigade veterans, formed in April and claiming a membership of 900, is primarily--at least at present--a fraternal organization, but some of its leaders appear to have hopes that the group might form a nucleus for unity of all exiles.

C. The public attitude of the Government toward unity efforts was expressed by Assistant Secretary Martin last week as follows:

Although many proponents of unity claim to have the approval of the United States Government, we have not been involved in these efforts, which are entirely Cuban in origin and direction. Of course, we believe that in principle a sound and broadly representative unity which reflects real identity of views is desirable. This, however, must come from within the Cuban community if it is to have vitality.

It is desirable that a point implicit in the foregoing statement be made explicit, that is, the requirement that unity reflect the basic desires of the people within Cuba.

D. It is unlikely that the exiles will be able to achieve a unity which meets the criteria set out in the Martin statement. So far the efforts toward unity have been tentative and competitive. Political divisions, both ideological and personal, are deep and there appears to be little disposition or ability to effect a real accommodation of views. The groups on the left distrust those on the right and vice versa; the center groups are wary of both. Any formula for unity would have to be so diluted as to be almost meaningless. Moreover, the ability of a united exile organization to reflect, to any meaningful degree, the attitudes and aspirations of those within Cuba would be minimal.

1. Support of Unity Efforts

Considerations: Through judicious use of our resources, we might be able to force or induce unity among all or the principal democratic groups from right to left. Such a movement or organization would have to be of the least-common-denominator type. It would generally be recognized as an artificial creation of ours, although it might have some favorable effect on domestic public opinion. Our interference would probably be resented by many of the best exile elements (as in the case of the CRC), would deprive any unity movement of spontaneity (one of the sole virtues of a Cuban-originated and directed effort), would commit us to continuing support of the movement or organization, and would probably be suspect within Cuba. Even beyond these considerations, unity in itself does not significantly contribute to the achievement of our present objectives in Cuba. In fact, it is quite possible that a continuation of the present situation in which there is no pre-eminent central organization would be easier and more effective from an operational standpoint.

2. Opposition to Unity Efforts

Considerations: By judicious use of our resources, we probably could thwart movements toward unity. Our interference in this sense would be strongly resented and would be widely interpreted as a demonstration that we are "giving up" on the Cuban question. It would be very difficult to explain, particularly to domestic public opinion, since "unity" on its face is attractive. In any case, the prospects for a spontaneous, effective, and meaningful unity are hardly good.

3. Hands-Off

Considerations: If we were to remain as aloof as a decent public posture allows, the chances are considerably better than even that unity efforts would fail. There is an outside possibility, however, that a unified organization or movement meeting our standards would emerge. If it did, it would have the strength endowed by the free, undistorted (by U.S. interference), competitive play of political currents, and it would not carry the taint of U.S. sponsorship.

A "hands-off" policy incurs the risks of permitting the possibly embarrassing intensification of division among the exiles, of sacrificing some sound but poorly financed groups to the necessitudes of exile politics in which less sound but better-financed elements might become dominant, and of being faced, should a unity movement or organization be formed, with demands for U.S. support. In the last case, the fact that we had not participated in the formation of the movement would give us maximum flexibility.


1. The U.S. Government should follow a "hands-off" policy toward exile efforts to achieve unity.

2. The statement of position made by Assistant Secretary Martin is a good expression of this policy, provided it is expanded by a reference to the requirement that unity reflect the basic desires of the people within Cuba.


1. That the U.S. Government follow a "hands-off" policy toward exile efforts to achieve unity.

2. That public statements by all officers of the U.S. Government on the subject of exile unity be consistent with the following:

Although many proponents of unity claim to have the approval of the United States Government, we have not been involved in these efforts, which are entirely Cuban in origin and direction. Of course, we believe that in principle a sound and broadly representative unity which reflects real identity of views is desirable. This, however, must come from within the Cuban community and be consistent with the desires of the people within Cuba if it is to have vitality.

Jerry Shinley

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