I hope that I may be permitted to add some further “notes” to the article in your issue of May-June 1961, “Notes on the Cuban Dilemma,” by Stuart Hall and Norm Fruchter. Since much of it was devoted to my article in the March 1961 issue of Encounter, I may, perhaps, contribute something to the problems you raise by criticising your criticism.
1. One point, I think, was unworthy of your polemical zeal. In order to give the impression that my views are not really my own, arrived at quite independently of official US policy, you went well beyond the bounds of simple fairness and accuracy. You wrote: “Mr. Draper’s attack echoes, in more sophisticated terms the language and ideology of the White Paper.”
I completed my article in December 1960. The issue of Encounter in which it appeared went to press in February 1961. The State Department’s “White Paper” on Cuba was issued on April 3, 1961. Without knowing all these details, it should have been clear to you that a magazine dated March 1961 could not “echo” an official statement dated April 1961.
This was, of course, a careless slip on your part. But it was neither unrevealing nor insignificant. Your article is full of subtle and not-so-subtle allusions linking me to the State Department and Mr. Kennedy, a form of political incrimination which Leon Trotsky used to call “amalgams” and which has more recently been known as “guilt by association”. Evidently you thought that you needed something more concrete to pin on me and thoughtlessly overreached yourselves.
2. Another point struck me as factually unfortunate.
You charge me with making Castro’s 1953 speech, History Will Absolve Me, into “revolutionary programme” and with treating it as if it had anticipated the problems and policies of 1959. I am baffled by the gap between what I wrote and what you have ascribed to me.