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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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My answer to the right-wing people, who have been sending me a constant stream of letters for two years at least, asking me whether Matthews is still connected with the Times, is always the same: Matthews is, as he has been for many years, a member of the editorial board of the Times, and I will stand behind anything he has written editorially in the Times that we have published, and I make no apologies for it. Our position on Cuba has been more sympathetic to the Cuban Revolution, and more distressed rather than anything else about the sour turn the revolution has taken under Castro, than most newspapers. It is just not true to say that we are pro-Castro; we are not. But we don't believe in the Bay of Pigs operation. We don't believe in an economic blockade. And we're very doubtful of the validity of even the boycott; we haven't actually opposed it, but we have expressed very serious doubts about the validity of it, and I think that those doubts are so well founded by every day's news that there hardly is even any argument anymore about the actual objective validity of this thing. It obviously isn't working. It can't work when our own allies, the British and the French and even the Spanish - for God's sake, Franco's Spain - will trade with Cuba. So, the boycott, to me, doesn't make any sense, and I think that time is proving this. But our position has been a much more moderate position on Cuba than most papers', and we are getting hell for that all the time. But I'm rather proud of our ability to take this.

We could be wrong. I'm not saying that we're not necessarily right, but we think we're right, and we are taking that position that we've consistently taken. But I want to make it clear in this discussion that we are not defending Castro's totalitarian Communism; we don't like this. We've said repeatedly, and I can cite twenty editorials in which we have

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