U.S. Stand Against Reds in Cuba Has Its Roots in Monroe Doctrine
The United States Government's determination to halt Communist subversion in Latin America, and Cuba in particular, has its roots in the Monroe Doctrine, first outlined 138 years ago.
President James Monroe announced in 1823 that the United States would consider any attempt by European powers to extend their "system" to this hemisphere "as dangerous to our peace and safety." The President's unilateral statement gained increasing acceptance as the United States grew stronger, and in the last century has served as a basic precept in this country's hemispheric policies.
In the Eighteen Twenties, as now, both Cuba and Russia figured in the formation of the United States' policy toward Latin America. At the time President Monroe made his "hands off" declaration to the Old World, in his annual message to Congress, it was rumored that Cuba, then a Spanish colony, might be ceded to France. There were also growing fears that Russia might attempt to colonize the Pacific Northwest.
The first major challenges to the doctrine came during the Civil War, when Spain annexed the Dominican Republic and French troops occupied Mexico City. Dominican revolutionaries overthrew Spanish rule within a few years and Napoleon III withdrew from Mexico shortly after the war ended as a result of American pressure.
Monroe's policy came to be considered a permanent "doctrine" at the turn of the century. Secretary of State Richard Olney referred to it in 1895 when he declared that the United States was "practically sovereign on this continent."
In that same year, a rebel Cuban junta, directed by Thomas Estrada Palma, an exile in New York, received United States sympathy in its efforts to incite a revolt against the Spanish in Cuba. In 1898, the doctrine was invoked as one of the justifications for the Spanish-American war and United States occupation of Cuba, following the blowing up of the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor.
The occupation lasted until 1902, when the Republic of Cuba was formed.
In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt added what was known as the "Roosevelt Corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine. He proclaimed that the United States would act as a "police power" to force Latin-American republics to honor their obligations to foreign-principally United States-investors. In the years that followed, United States Marines intervened in Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti.
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt repudiated the practice of intervention and instituted a "Good Neighbor" policy of mutual cooperation.
Communism New Target
Shortly before the United States' entry into World War II, the doctrine was revived as a warning against possible German seizure of the French Islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe after the fall of France in 1940.
With the advent of the "cold war," the United States took the initiative in attempting to curb the threat of communist subversion. At the Rio conference in 1947, the American republics signed a pact agreeing to consult immediately should any neighboring state "be affected by an aggression which is not an armed attack."
More importantly, the pact bound the republics in the hemisphere to consider "an armed attack by any state against an American state * * * as an attack against all the American states." The republics also vowed to "assist in meeting" any such attack.
When Premier Fidel Castro showed increasing evidence of serving Communist ends, the United States tried, but failed, to expand on the principles of the Rio pact and get other American republics to agree on joint measures to apply sanctions against Cuba.
On July 12, 1960, Premier Khrushchev pronounced the Monroe Doctrine dead. Its remains, he said, "should best be buried as every dead body is so that it does not poison the air by its decay."
President Eisenhower responded by saying that he would "not permit the establishment of a regime dominated by international communism in the Western Hemisphere." The State Department followed up the President's statement by reaffirming that "the principles of the Monroe Doctrine are as valid today as they were in 1823 when the doctrine was proclaimed."
President Kennedy has also applied the doctrine to the Cuban crisis. On April 3 he declared that Dr. Castro's Cuba offered "a clear and present danger to * * * all the republics of the hemisphere."
He went to call upon Cuba to cast off its Communist ties. "If this call
is unheeded, we are confident that the Cuban people * * * will join hands
with other republics in the hemisphere in the struggle to win freedom,"
7 Cubans Saved at Sea Regret Missing Battle
KEY WEST, Fla., April 18 (AP)-Nine Cubans rescued at sea arrived here today, and seven expressed exasperation, that they had left before the shooting started.
"If we had known the invasion would come, we would have stayed and joined the rebels in Cuba," one gaunt, unshaven fisherman said.
He and six companions were picked up by the Coast Guard cutter Travis off a reef near Cay Sal, Bahamas Island. They said they had left Calbarien, on Cuba's North Coast, April 3 in a motor boat, intending to join the rebels in Miami.
The engine quit not far from shore, and the boat broke up, they said. They reached the reef and subsisted on shellfish until they were rescued today.
The other Cubans were a couple, both about 60, who said they were trying out a new boat, and it became disabled. They were picked up by a banana steamer, the St. Cuthbert, en route from Central America to Tampa, Fla.