Lot 1280

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RICHARD M. NIXON (1913 - 1994) Thirty-seventh President of the United States who led during the Vietnam War, re-opened diplomatic ties with China and the U.S.S.R., resigned his office due to the Watergate scandal. NIXON LECTURES CASTRO: "THERE ARE CERTAIN INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS THAT EVEN A MAJORITY SHOULD NEVER HAVE THE POWER TO DESTROY..." Historically important grouping of materials to include a letter to a journalist mentioning his April 19, 1959 meeting in his Washington office with Cuban dictator FIDEL CASTRO, and the "rough draft" summary of the conversation between the two polar opposite leaders. Nixon's letter is on his vice presidential letterhead, 1p. 8vo., Washington, May 8, 1959 to powerful television journalist Lawrence Spivak, founder and producer of "Meet the Press." Nixon writes: "...I am enclosing a copy of the memorandum on my conversation with Castro. There was no one else in the room with us and that is the reason for classifying it as "˜confidential'..." Also included is the mentioned: "Rough draft of summary of conversation between the Vice President and Fidel Castro April 19, 1959", 5pp. 4to. typed manuscript, each page headed: "CONFIDENTIAL" . There is a wealth of information in Nixon's report, far more than can be set forth here. In small part: "...[Castro] seemed somewhat nervous and tense. He apparently felt he had not done as well on "˜Meet the Press' as he had hoped...[he stated] the people did not want elections because the elections in the past had produced bad government...almost slavish subservience to prevailing majority opinion - the voice of the mob - rather than his naïve attitude toward Communism...I spent as much time as I could trying to emphasize that he had the great gift of leadership...[I stated] that while we believe in majority rule, that even a majority can by tyrannous and that there are certain individual rights which a majority should never have the power to destroy...he was incredibly naïve with regard to the Communist threat...he paid lip service to such institutions as freedom of speech, press and religion...He indicated it was very foolish for the United States to provide arms to Cuba or any other Caribbean country...He is either incredibly naïve about Communism or under Communist discipline - - my guess is the former...his ideas as to how to run a government or an economy are less developed than those of almost any world figure..." Nixon's letter is fine, the typed manuscript bears largely marginal glue stains on the last page. We know of only one other recorded original draft copy of this memorandum, that being sent to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, although President Eisenhower (who avoided Castro's visit by playing golf at Augusta) almost certainly received a copy as well. It was most likely Castro's appearance on "Meet the Press" that prompted Nixon to send his friend Spivak this historic memorandum.

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November 14, 2018 10:00 AM EST
Elkton, MD, US

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