If you’ve read Nexus or even SWHT you are aware of how significant the highly secret (well other than to Angleton, Helms, the NSA, etc) dialogs between JFK and Fidel’s representatives were by fall 1963. We have extensive documentation on that now, largely from State Department archives – by the way, I’d like to recommend the online State Department history files. There is an amazing amount of primary data there and often we can learn more about CIA activities there than directly from the CIA.
What everyone may not realize is that JFK had good reason, despite the whole thing being a long shot, to believe that Attwood might well pull off something significant in Cuba. Attwood, formally a scriptwriter for JFK, had volunteered for diplomatic assignment to Africa because he felt that the new Kennedy initiative (which accepted nationalism and even saw a place for neutrality in the post-colonial nations) could effectively combat the Soviet outreach on the African continent.
Attwood arrived at his new post in Guinea shortly after the Bay of Pigs disaster, only to be surprised that the U.S. action against Cuba had not actually undermined his mission, as he had feared. At the U.N. Stevenson had just finished voting along with the Soviets and the Asian and African delegations for independance in Angola (against the Europeans) and that had made a major impression.
Attwood was able to approach Sekou Toure, a committed revolutionary and Lenin Peace Prize winner, with success. With help by diplomatic blunders by Soviet personnel in Guinea, Attwood moved Toure back towards a position of dealing more positively with America. In fact, during the Cuban missile crisis, Toure refused a request from Khrushchev to allow Soviet planes to refuel in route to Cuba.
Clearly Attwood represented the sort of New Frontier diplomacy that was more pragmatic and not totally wedded to the standard Cold War dialectic found among so many American Ambassadors. At the time Attwood was enjoying modest success in separating Guinea peacefully from Soviet influence, Ambassador Timberlake in Angola was becoming much more deeply involved in the standard confrontation, turning to his military mission and the CIA for covert combat action.
OK, so this is not pure assassination stuff, but as I’ve said, I plan to report back on things that turn up as I wade through my study of 50 years of deniable warfare around the globe.