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  • Editor’s Note

Starting with this issue, the average page length of the journal will increase by 20 percent, permitting us to publish more articles, review essays, research notes, and shorter book reviews. The volume of submissions to the journal has increased sharply over the past few years, and although the acceptance rate for submitted manuscripts has remained roughly the same (20-25 percent), the growing number of items we have received has meant that we have been accumulating a good deal of material for publication. Hence, I was eager to expand the amount of space available, and I am pleased that MIT Press agreed to the request.

This issue of the journal begins with the concluding segment of James Hershberg's two-part article on the role of Brazil in the Cuban missile crisis. Until Hershberg pored over the documentation pertaining to Brazil in the archives of several different countries, little was known about the actions that Brazilian leaders took behind the scenes in 1962. The Brazilian authorities, as Hershberg shows, later exaggerated and put an unduly positive gloss on their mediation efforts, but they carefully refrained from mentioning that the United States itself had inspired the whole venture. The Kennedy administration initially had been wary of relying on Brazil as anintermediary—a wariness that proved well-founded—but when the crisis reached adesperate stage, the administration sought almost any plausible alternative to war.Because a secret mediation plan involving Brazil had been in the works for some time, the administration enlisted Rio de Janeiro to convey a secret message to the Cuban leader Fidel Castro. It turned out that U.S. and Soviet leaders achieved a settlement on their own before the Brazilians delivered the message, but the U.S.-inspired mission moved ahead in case the U.S.-Soviet deal broke down. Ultimately, though, the mission was in vain. Castro was unreceptive to Brazil's overtures, and even if theCuban leader had been more inclined to bargain, Brazilian officials botched the effort by failing to heed U.S. concerns. This episode is more than an interesting historical footnote. It brings to light a newdimension of the missile crisis and provides valuable insights into U.S.- Brazilian relations and Soviet-Cuban ties.

The next article in this issue, by Michael Lumbers, considers how the Vietnam War affected the Johnson administration's policy toward the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1965 and 1966. After the Communists seized power in mainland China in 1949, the United States refused to establish diplomatic relations with the new government and continued to regard the exiled Chinese Nationalists on Taiwan as the only legitimate representative of the Chinese people. By the mid-1960s, some U.S. officials began to push for closer U.S. ties with the PRC and even to contemplate a full-fledged rapprochement, but the Johnson administration was unwilling to make any sweeping changes in U.S. policy. The PRC's support for North Vietnam and the [End Page 1] radical orientation of Mao Zedong's foreign policy as China plunged into its Cultural Revolution convinced President Lyndon Johnson that it would be unwise to abandon the long-standing U.S. approach. Nonetheless, as Lumbers shows, one of the ironies of the Vietnam War is that it did help spur a few important modifications of U.S. dealings with the PRC. Because the Johnson administration wanted to prevent China from intervening in the war and to bolster public support within the United States, the administration eased travel restrictions with the Chinese mainland, encouraged unofficial contacts, and toned down its rhetoric. These steps, modest though they were, adumbrated the much more far-reaching changes adopted by the Nixon administration five years later.

The third and fourth articles in this issue are review essays. The essay by Richard Drake complements his article in the previous issue of the journal. The four books surveyed in the two essays include translations of declassified documents from the former Soviet archives and commentaries based on those documents. The two books discussed in Drake's latest essay underscore the heavy dependence of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) on the Soviet Union for financial and material support...