Philip Bonsal


Philip Bonsal

Philip Bonsal (1903-1995) was a United States foreign diplomat and the last United States Ambassador to Cuba. [ [http://www.cubasocialista.cu/texto/csi0013.htm Moncada: A Vision From Afar] Arnaldo Silva León ]

Biography

Bonsal was born in New York in 1903, his father was Stephen Bonsal, a well-known Far Eastern correspondent. Bonsal became Ambassador to Colombia 1955, Bolivia 1957-59, Cuba 1959-60 and Morocco 1961-62. [ [http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/bondurant-boog.html The political graveyard] biographies] Prior to becoming an ambassador Bonsal had been chief of the Latin American Division and an employee of AT&T in Cuba, he was considered a "Latin American hand" due to his apparent Latino background. After his brief spell as Ambassador to Cuba, Bonsal published the book "Cuba, Castro and the United States".

Cuba

In 1959 Bonsal became the first United States Ambassador to return to Cuba after the Cuban revolution and reportedly attempted to find a working arrangement with the leader of the new Cuban government, Fidel Castro. Bonsal admitted that "animosity was inevitable", but he was hopeful that "at some point we can get down to a reasoned dialogue". [ [http://www.fiu.edu/~fcf/diplobrk1101.html Diplomat Recalls Cuba Break in 1961] Wayne Smith Library of Congress country notes According to reports] Castro was critical of the arrival of Bonsal in the Cuban press comparing him to a colonial Viceroy, [ [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=95138335 Cuba: The United States and Batista, 1952-58] Hugh Thomas] and dialogue was not easily forthcoming. On September 4, 1959 Bonsal met with Castro to express “serious concern at the treatment being given American private interests in Cuba both agriculture and utilities.” Castro responded by saying he “admires Americans, especially tourists, for whom he is planning great things.” [ [http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/bayofpigs/chron.html Department of State] Cable Ambassador Report on Meeting With Castro, September 4 1959]

Bonsal's reconcillatory approach was also poorly received by leading members of the United States Congress, who felt his methods were an appeasement of communism. [ [http://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhist/melby3.htm] Transcript of an Interview with John F Melby US Foreign Service Officer Truman Presidential museaum and library] He was withdrawn after serving barely a year in office. Formal diplomatic relations between the two countries were severed shortly after, and current US diplomatic representation in Cuba is handled by the United States Interests Section in Havana which remains part of the embassy of Switzerland.

References

ee also

* Cuba-United States relations
* History of Cuba


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