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Note from Nikita. The potential of the Cuba situation was also underscored earlier in the week when President Kennedy called congressional leaders of both parties to the White House. He held up a note from Nikita Khrushchev, read an excerpt in which the Soviet Premier promised to remove "some thousands" of Soviet troops from Cuba by "mid-March." Later, however, Khrushchev donned his general's uniform, assumed a tough stance beside Soviet Defense Minister Rodion Malinovsky at the Moscow observance of Army-Navy Day. Declared Malinovsky: "We would like to warn the aggressive circles of the U.S. that an attack on the Cuban Republic would mean a third world war. The Soviet Union will be in the first ranks of those who come to [Cuba's] assistance."
Despite Malinovsky's tough talk, the greatest present danger in Cuba lies in Communist subversion throughout the hemisphere. That threat was stressed by Venezuela's visiting President Rómulo Betancourt (see THE HEMISPHERE) in talks with Kennedy. And a 45-page report of the Organization of American States detailed the subversive activities of the Castro government, urged that all Latin American countries modernize their intelligence and subversion control apparatus, "organize, train and equip security forces."
If there had been any doubt, the events of the week should have dispelled them: Cuba is going to get hotter before it gets cooler, and the uproar is much more than a matter of U.S. partisan politics.