US Plans to Re-Establish Embassy in Havana

PHOTO: The U.S. Embassy in Havana was flooded with visa applicants at the time the U.S. broke diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961.PlayPaul Schutzer/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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In a true mark of the extent of the policy reversal that President Obama announced today, the U.S. will open an embassy in the previously-banned country.

Obama announced that the Secretary of State and his department will be tasked with re-establishing an official embassy in Havana.

Secretary of State John Kerry did not specifically address the embassy re-opening when he released a statement about the new policies, but did reiterate plans for American officials, himself included, to travel to the country in the coming months.

"I look forward to being the first Secretary of State in 60 years to visit Cuba," Kerry said.

The first American embassy opened in Havana in 1923, but it was closed when America formally cut diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961.

PHOTO: Ambassador Philip W. Bonsal meets with his staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba in 1960. Hank Walker/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Ambassador Philip W. Bonsal meets with his staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba in 1960.