Saturday, April 25, 2009

Robert Kennedy tried to lift Cuba travel ban: documents

WASHINGTON (AFP) — One month after president John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, his brother, attorney general Robert Kennedy, tried to convince the US government to lift its travel ban to Cuba, according to documents released Thursday by the National Security Archive.

Freedom to travel to Cuba, Kennedy wrote in a memo to then secretary of state Dean Rusk in December 1963, "is more consistent with our views as a free society and would contrast with such things as the Berlin Wall and Communist controls on such travel."

President Dwight Eisenhower broke diplomatic relations and imposed the travel ban on Cuba in January 1963, only days ahead of John F. Kennedy's inauguration as the 35th US president.

President Kennedy was subsequently assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.

"It is going to be extremely difficult, under the best of conditions, to prevent travel to Cuba and this problem is likely to be increasingly embarrassing to us," Robert Kennedy wrote in a memorandum.

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