A member of the Harvard Faculty may take part in a televised debate with a spokesman for the Cuban Revolutionary Council within the next month.
The Revolutionary council yesterday published an open letter in the New York Times to the professors who last week criticized the "present drift of U.S. Cuban policy." In it, the Council expressed its desire "to discuss this question in a public forum televised from coast to coast on television and/or elsewhere."
Four faculty members, Donald Fleming, professor of History, David Riesman '31, Henry Ford II Professor of Social Sciences, H. Stuart Hughes, professor of History, and Eric Bentley, Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry, telegramed the Council yesterday afternoon requesting a meeting "to consider the best way in which to carry forward discussion." They emphasized that they are not spokesmen for the 70 professors who signed the statement, and said that they have not yet studied the best way of conducting the debate.
When the Harvard statement was first published, Dr. Jose Miro Cardona telephoned John N. Plank '45, instructor in Government, to express his concern over the statement. He felt, according to Plank, that the signers had little comprehension of the real issues in the Cuban situation and was afraid of a trend of thought in this community which assumes that social revolution inevitably entails a violation of human liberties.
Worried about the widespread influence of the Harvard name, Cardona suggested that Plank attempt to circulate a counter-petition. Plank declined, reminding Cardona that the faculty members who signed the first petition did not represent the entire faculty, but telling him that few other faculty members were likely to sign a statement of any sort.
At the same time, according to Plank, the statement had distressed officials in the Kennedy Administration who essentially agree with the Council's argument.
Signed by Cardona, Dr. Manuel de Varona, Dr. Antonio Maceo, Dr. Justo Carillo, Manuel Ray, and Carlos Havevia, the statement asserted that "you, the illustrious professors of Harvard, steeped in learning, should have explored the statistical facts in this situation before making such an irresponsible statement."