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Digital National Security Archive (DNSA): Cuba and the U.S.: The Declassified History of Negotiations to Normalize Relations, 1959-2016

About this Collection

Cuba and the U.S.: The Declassified History of Negotiations to Normalize Relations, 1959-2016

Cuba and the U.S.: The Declassified History of Negotiations to Normalize Relations, 1959-2016 is a collection of 1,704 declassified records documenting the largely unknown history of dialogue and negotiations between the United States and Cuba. The set covers more than half a century of bilateral relations--from the 1959 Cuban revolution to the restoration of diplomatic ties during the Barack Obama administration. The collection records back-channel diplomacy between Washington and Havana, along with multiple episodes of negotiations for bilateral agreements. The set also contains highly detailed documents on several major efforts during the administrations of John F. Kennedy, Gerald R. Ford, and Jimmy Carter to negotiate a modus vivendi with Castro’s Cuba and normalize relations. A breakthrough was finally achieved by President Obama and President Raúl Castro in 2014, and the final documents of the collection reflect the Obama administration’s new approach to Cuba.

Research Value of This Collection

The history of U.S. policy toward Cuba has become one of the most internationally renowned case studies of U.S. intervention and regime-change efforts in Latin America during the Cold War--and even in its aftermath. The survival of the Cuban revolution in the face of assassination plots, paramilitary invasions, and near-nuclear Armageddon has created a dramatic David vs. Goliath narrative. But with the publication of the documents in this collection, Cuba becomes not only a case study of conflict but also a case study of conflict resolution, creative diplomacy and, at times, a unique quest for détente. These documents shed light on a rich history of dialogue; and record a recognition in both countries, known for their mutual hostility, that diplomacy, negotiation, and cooperation offer real and potential benefits over a perpetual state of antagonism and aggression. For that reason, the records in this collection should serve the multifaceted interests of a wide variety of students and scholars, as well as policy advocates and policymakers.

Time Period

Administration Number of Documents
Eisenhower Administration 108
Kennedy Administration 291
Johnson Administration 216
Nixon Administration 81
Ford Administration 174
Carter Administration 357
Reagan Administration 95
Bush Administration 77
Clinton Administration 131
Bush II Administration 124
Obama Administration 50