Not even McCarthy's Senate colleagues or even most of his aides knew of his clandestine meeting with Guevara, then the Cuban Minister of Industry and Fidel Castro's closest confidant. The meeting took place on Dec. 16, 1964, in the Park Avenue apartment of Lisa Howard, a TV journalist with close ties to the Cuban dictator.
The only account of the meeting, which set off alarm bells in the White House, is contained in a secret memorandum in the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, which was uncovered by Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archives, a Washington-based public policy research center. . .
Kennedy was reportedly moving towards a rapproachment with Cuba at the time of his assassination, and Howard continued her efforts in the Johnson administration, but got nowhere because President Johnson feared it would damage his election prospects in 1964. But after Johnson won a landslide victory over Barry Goldwater, his aides resumed efforts to explore closer Cuban ties.