United States Marines will storm ashore in a mock exercise at the United States Guantanamo naval base on Cuba as part of a military show of strength over the presence of Soviet troops on the island.
WASHINGTON DC, USA (OCTOBER 1, 1979) (U.S. POOL)
CU President Jimmy Carter of the United States speaking in English on television
TRANSCRIPT: CARTER: "We have made it clear that the presence of a Soviet combat unit in Cuba is a matter of serious concern to us. The Soviet Union does not admit that the unit in question is a combat unit. However the Soviets have made certain statements to us with respect to our concern, that the unit in question is a training centre, that it does nothing more that they will not change its function or status as a training centre. We understand that to mean that they do not intend to enlarge their unit or to give it additional capabilities They have said that the Soviet personnel in Cuba are not and will not be a threat to the United States or to any other nation. However we shall not rest on the Soviet statement alone. First, we will monitor the status of the Soviet forces by increased surveillance of Cuba. Second, we will ensure that no Soviet unit in Cuba can be sued as a combat force to threaten the security of the United States or any other nation in this hemisphere. My fellow Americans, the greatest danger to American security tonight is certainly not the two or three thousand Soviet troops in Cuba. The greatest danger for all the nations of the world, including the United States and the Soviet Union, is the breakdown of a common effort to preserve the peace and the ultimate threat of a nuclear war. I renew my call to the Senate of the United States to ratify the SALT II (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) treaty. We must not play politics with the security of the United States."
Background: United States Marines will storm ashore in a mock exercise at the United States Guantanamo naval base on Cuba as part of a military show of strength over the presence of Soviet troops on the island. The exercise was announced by President Carter when he went on television to give his answer to the presence of the troops, although he said he has had assurances from the highest level of the Soviet government that the troops would not be used to threaten other nations. Some Congressmen see the issue as a reason for opposing the latest Strategic Arms Limitation agreement with the Soviet Union, but President Carter discounted this.
The effort to secure sufficient congressional backing to ensure ratification of SALT II includes a massed mock attack at this United States beach-head in Cuba. Guantanamo has been a U.S. base since 1903, but since the 1959 revolution President Castro's government has refused to accept rent and has periodically threatened to seize it. The exercise to be held within two weeks will involve about 1,500 troops who will increase the Marine presence four-fold.