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Goldwater on Guantanamo Crisis: Send in Marines

Feb. 6, 1964 - Senator Barry Goldwater said today that the U.S. Marines should be sent into Cuba to restore the water supply to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo. The Arizona Republican said he hoped President Johnson would have the “courage” to tell Premier Fidel Castro: “Turn it on, or the Marines are going to turn it on for you and keep it on.” Later, he said he would advocate the use of a “military escort,” if necessary, to restore the water. He indicated he did not favor wider military action against Cuba.

Mr. Goldwater was campaigning in New Hampshire for the Presidential primary on March 10. He commented on the situation at Guantanamo before 200 persons in a rustic square-dance hall and then later to newsmen. Afterward, addressing a crowd of 400 at the Hampton Junior High School, he said that U.S. police should be “to tell Castro to walk back and turn the water on, or we are going to march out with a detachment of Marines and turn it on.” There was sharp applause. Then the Senator declared: “Our flag can be spat upon and torn to the ground, and as an American I’m sick and tired of it. I think I can promise President Johnson the backing of the American people if we don’t take this one lying down.” He said Castro’s action had made the U.S. almost a “laughing stock.” It “points up once again that we have reached such a low point in our foreign relations that any bum can kick us around,” he asserted.


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