U.S. Department of State
96/04/19 Release of Documents: U.S. Policy Toward Cuba
Office of the Historian

For Immediate Release April 19, 1996

Release of Documents: U S Policy Toward Cuba

The Department of State is releasing today a list of nearly 450 documents declassified for inclusion in a planned volume in the Foreign Relations series: 1961-1963, Vol. X, Cuba, January 1961-September 1962, as well as a microfiche supplement. The volume seeks to present the official, authoritative documentary record of U.S. policy toward Cuba, including the ill-fated Bay of Pigs operation that took place 35 years ago this week.

Although the volume and its supplement have been in preparation for several years, they cannot be published until 1997 because the editors are continuing to add recently located documents that are essential to publishing a complete record of this critical set of events in American foreign policy during the Kennedy administration. At the same time, the Department wants to assure that the necessary delay in publishing this volume does not thwart public access to and use of the many documents that have alre ady been declassified for the volume. Carrying out this objective is especially urgent in light of the President's Executive Order 12958 of April 1995 aimed at making the nation's Cold War historical record open and available as soon as possible. The an niversary this week of the tragic events at the Bay of Pigs is all the more reason to postpone no further the fuller access to the relevant records.

Releasing this list of documents now is also consistent with the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation at its quarterly meeting in March. The Committee, which was established by the same October 1991 law that set s standards for compiling and deadlines for the publication of the Foreign Relations series, unanimously urged that the list of already declassified documents be made public for any volumes significantly delayed beyond the statutory 30-year publication li ne and not already in the final publication process. Apart from the aforementioned Cuba volume and one other covering the 1961-1963 period (Vol. V, Soviet Union) all of the other volumes delayed beyond the 30 year line will be published within the next year.

This year the Department expects to publish up to 18 or more volumes in the Foreign Relations series, including the remaining volumes documenting aspects of the Eisenhower and Kennedy foreign policies together with the first installment of the volumes for the Johnson administration. This publication schedule will eliminate a long-standing backlog and bring the series fully within its statutory 30-year line. Measures are being put in place now to ensure that documents declassified for inclusion in Foreig n Relations volumes will be promptly made available to the records repositories and agencies where the original documents are located on a routine basis. Scholars and journalists will have the earliest possible access to the most important declassified f oreign policy records.

Most of the State Department documents on the list released today are among the many Department files turned over in recent years to the National Archives and Records Administration II in College Park, Maryland. The original copies of Presidential and ot her White House documents included in Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, Vol. X are mainly at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Massachusetts. Because the originals of the documents declassified for the volume do not exist as a single separa te file but are located in their appropriate archival depositories, arrangements are underway now to facilitate public access to these documents. In the interim, the State Department will make available a copy of the working manuscript of the still incom plete volume at the Department's FOIA Reading Room. This manuscript will also include the texts of those Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency documents declassified thus far for the volume but included in larger files not yet available t o the public. Neither the list released today nor the manuscript can in any way fully substitute for the volume to be published next year with its complete scholarly editorial apparatus.

This notice will appear on the Department of State's World Web Site (http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/dosfan.html) and will also be posted to H- Diplo, the E-mail list for diplomatic historians. Copies of the list of documents released today will be available at the Department Press Office and the FOIA Reading Room. Additional copies may be requested from the Office of the Historian (telephone (202) 663-1123; fax (202) 663-1289; E-mail histoff@ix.netcom.com). For further information, contact David Patterson, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, Office of the Historian, (202) 663-1127.

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