John F Kennedy: The President of the United States

Following the failed attempt by Cuban exiles to invade and overthrow Castro, Kennedy outlines his concerns for the future of Cuba, concerns that are heightened by fear of communism and the apparent threat to US security. Kennedy regards Castro as a totalitarian who is intent on bringing communism to America's door. The message is clear: the US policy of non-intervention does not mean non-action, and the USA will act if necessary, using unconventional forms of resistance to combat this new threat.

Relations between the USA and Cuba declined due to a lack of US support for Castro. After the April 1961 invasion of the Bay of Pigs, in October of the following year the situation came to a head with the Cuban missile crisis. Having acquired the Soviet Union as an economic and strategic ally, the island became a base for Soviet nuclear missiles with a 30-mile range that could deter a US attack.

Photo credit: US National Archives and Records Administration

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