March 16: William LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh on “Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana”

Authors William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh will talk about their new book chronicling the untold history of attempts at reconciliation between the United States and Cuba. From John F. Kennedy’s offering of an olive branch to Fidel Castro after the missile crisis, to Henry Kissinger’s top secret quest for normalization, to Barack Obama’s promise of a “new approach,” LeoGrande and Kornbluh reveal a fifty-year record of dialogue and negotiations, both open and furtive.

William M. LeoGrande is Professor of Government and Dean Emeritus of the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Syracuse University. In the 1980s, he served on staff in the United States Senate and House of Representatives. He is the author of Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1977-1992 (1998) and co-author of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana (2014), among other books. His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald, LeMonde Diplomatique and other journals and newspapers.

Peter Kornbluh, is a senior analyst at the National Security Archive where he directs the Archive’s Cuba Documentation Projects. From 1990-1999, he taught at Columbia University, as an adjunct assistant professor of international and public affairs. He is the author and editor of a number of National Security Archive books, including Archive document readers, “The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962,” “The Iran-Contra Scandal: The Declassified History,” and “Bay of Pigs Declassified: The Secret CIA Report on the Invasion of Cuba.” His most recent book is Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana, co-authored with William M. LeoGrande, which Foreign Affairs named a “best book of 2014.”

The seminar meets at 4:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop.

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center. It meets weekly during the academic year. See for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support. Reservations requested because of limited seating.