Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Politics

New RFK documents are window into early Cold War

BOSTON — Newly released papers from Robert F. Kennedy's tenure as U.S. attorney general offer a window into the Cold War's early years, when Kennedy and his brother's administration were consumed with countering the communist threat worldwide.

In one note, a general frets to Kennedy about putting "the right spirit into bureaucrats" to get them to support part of a broad operation to destabilize Fidel Castro's Cuba.

Another memo outlines the case for a congressional resolution to repel communism in Southeast Asia, after U.S. reconnaissance planes were shot down over Laos in 1964.

The documents were among 7,500 pages released Wednesday from Kennedy's tenure as attorney general from 1961 to 1964 under both his brother, President John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson.

They range from innocuous letters from ordinary citizens to top-secret CIA reports. A "verbatim translations of a Soviet TOP SECRET training manual" from 1961 is included. Its origins are identified only as "reliable Source (B)."

Some papers allude to documents so sensitive that only the record that they were burned remains.

National Archives officials say the release is part of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's administration.

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