The co-author of a new book about negotiations between the US and Cuba says Henry Kissinger was the secretary of state who tried the hardest, in secret, to establish normal relations with Havana, NPR reports. So when Castro launched a military mission in Angola in late 1975, Kissinger was "insulted that a small country would ruin his plans for Africa," says Peter Kornbluh. So he set into motion the drafting of secret plans to launch airstrikes against Cuba, saying he wanted to "smash" and "clobber" the island nation, the New York Times reports. Recently unclassified documents now in the hands of the National Security Archive and featured in William M. LeoGrande and Kornbluh's Back Channel to Cuba, due out Oct. 13, reveal that an "apoplectic" Kissinger didn't want to be shown up by a country of 8 million people.
He put together a contingency plan in which the US would hit Cuban ports and military targets and deploy Marines to take care of business at Guantanamo Bay. Other elements of the plan included a military blockade of Cuba, which Kissinger realized might cause problems with the Soviet Union, Cuba's ally. "There should be no halfway measures," he reportedly said in one meeting. "We would get no award for using military power in moderation. … [It] must be ruthless and rapid and efficient." LeoGrande says the documents indicate Kissinger may have been ready to recommend the strike after the 1976 presidential election; Jimmy Carter's win over Gerald Ford dead-ended things. Kissinger, 91, had no comment for the Times.