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JFK Hits Back at Nixon on Cuba

Apr. 24, 1963 - Replying at his news conference to a speech last Saturday by former Vice President Richard M. Nixon, President Kennedy said it would have been easier to act on Cuba when Premier Fidel Castro first won power in January 1959, during the Eisenhower Administration. Mr. Kennedy said it was “unfortunate” that Castro had been permitted to assume power, “but those who were in positions of responsibility did not make that judgment.” Mr. Nixon, in an address before the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington, said the Kennedy Administration had “goofed” the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961 and had given the Russians “squatters’ rights in our backyard.” The President today denied a statement by Republican Senator Kenneth B. Keating that as many Soviet troops had re-entered Cuba as had left in recent months. “It is our best information that 4 or 5,000 have left since January,” the President said. Senator Keating issued a statement later to say that “he stood by his comments.”


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