President Jimmy Carter appealed to the people of the United States not to over react to the recent disclosure that there are Soviet combat troops stationed in Cuba.
CU President Jimmy Carter of USA speaking in Washington D.C.
TRANSCRIPT: CARTER: "We have concluded as the consequences of intensified intelligence efforts that a Soviet combat unit is currently stationed in Cuba. We have some evidence to indicate that such a unit has been in Cuba for some time. Perhaps for quite a few years. The brigade consists of two thousand to three thousand troops. It's equipped with conventional weapons, such as about forty tanks and some field artillery pieces, and has conducted training as an organised unit. It is not an assault force. It does not have airlift or seagoing capabilities and does not have weapons capable of attacking the United States. The purpose of this combat unit is not yet clear. However, the Secretary of State spoke for me and for our nation on Wednesday when he said we consider the presence of a Soviet combat brigade in Cuba to be a very serious matter. And that this status quo is not acceptable. We are confident about our ability to defend our country or any of our friends from external aggression. The issue posed is of a different nature. It involves the stationing of Soviet combat troops here in the Western Hemisphere in a country which acts as a Soviet proxy in military adventures in other areas of the world like Africa. We do have the right to insist that the Soviet Union respect our interest and our concerns if the Soviet Union expects us to respect their sensibilities and their concerns. Otherwise relations between our countries will inevitably be adversely affected. We are seriously pursuing this issue with the Soviet Union and we are consulting closely with the Congress. Let me emphasise that this is a sensitive issue that faces our nation--all of us. And our nation as a whole must respond, not only with firmness and strength but also with calm, and a sense of proportion. This is a time for firm diplomacy, not panic and not exaggeration."
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Background: President Jimmy Carter appealed to the people of the United States not to over react to the recent disclosure that there are Soviet combat troops stationed in Cuba. Echoing Secretary of State Cyrus Vance's statements about the presence of the brigade, President Carter said the country should respond in a calm way. Nevertheless he said both his administration and the Congress considered it a serious matter and Mr. Vance would continue to pursue it with the Soviets. He assured the American people however that the troops in Cuba were not equipped to attack the United States.