US-USSR Competition for African Civil Aviation Markets and the Cuban Missile Crisis
Chapter eleven details the immense effort that the State Department made during 1961–62 to curtail Soviet civil air service to Africa. Precluding Moscow from obtaining commercial landing and overflight rights in West Africa became an important national security consideration for the Kennedy administration. This effort became important during the Cuban missile crisis when the Kennedy administration successfully persuaded African nations to deny the Soviets landing rights needed for refueling stops for a planed Moscow-to-Havana airlift that was conceived by the Kremlin to circumvent Kennedy’s quarantine of Cuba. This concretely demonstrates how Kennedy’s efforts to court African nationalism paid dividends during the tensest days of the Cold War.
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