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Department Seal

Volume X
Cuba, 1961-1962



Cuba, 1961-1962

210. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, May 8, 1961.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report. Secret; Eyes Only; Ultrasensitive. No drafter is indicated but it was probably Colonel Tarwater. The meeting was the 12th in the series conducted by the Cuba Study Group and took place at the Pentagon. The participants in the meeting, in addition to Taylor, Kennedy, Dulles, and Burke, included General White, General Decker, General Shoup, Bissell, Mitchell, and Tarwater. A note on the source text reads: "The following notes are not a verbatim record, but represent the general substance of the statements made."

General White

Question: What action was taken on the over-all U.S. plan of action for Cuba developed by the JCS in late January?

General White: I don't know.

Question: What was the JCS view of the military feasibility of the Trinidad and Zapata plans?

General White: Our evaluation was that the operation had a fair chance of success based on (1) the mission and (2) the intelligence, which indicated that popular uprisings were likely. The next point that weighed heavily in my mind was the probability that this force could escape into the hills to the northwest of the search area and join with guerrillas there if they were unable to enlarge the beachhead. The third point was the importance of surprise, particularly in the air part of the picture. The Zapata plan was briefed at a JCS meeting. I was not there. Curt LeMay was, however, and he filled me in on the three alternatives; and the fact that the Chiefs thought that the Trinidad operation was still the best, but that of the three alternatives presented, Zapata was probably the best.

Question: As you learned more about the Zapata plan, did you ever make an appraisal in your own mind as to the probability of success?

General White: I felt all along that the success or failure of this operation depended almost entirely upon the reaction of the Cuban people. If we were able to establish and enlarge the beachhead somewhat, plus other subsidiary operations, if we did these things, the Cuban people would join in.

Question: Describe your recollection of the beachhead plan. How did you visualize that this force would behave when they got ashore?

General White: Well, the number one thing that I felt was vital was surprise air attacks on the several air fields. While I don't have a high regard for the Cuban air force, certainly it is a prerequisite for going ashore that you have air control, and I think the air strikes were the key to it and surprise was the key to the key so to speak. It seemed to me that if the location and timing of the attack were not known, that they would have a very good chance of establishing at least sufficient lodgment to be able to escape without disaster.

Question: Assuming the air strikes?

General White: Yes, and that the air strikes were achieved with surprise.

Question: When the Joint Chiefs commented on Trinidad and as Zapata initially developed to have the only strikes on D Day, did that appear adequate to knock out the Castro force?

General White: It was felt that heavy surprise attack, and if I could have only had one, I would have picked the one on D Day rather than one earlier, for two reasons: (1) I think the early one may have tipped off that this thing was coming, (2) I remember mentioning down there that I was a little bit worried about the relationship between Cuba and Guatemala because it would be obvious that the aircraft were coming from there, and I wasn't quite sure what the situation would be. At another point I thought that if we did do the pre-D Day strikes, there was a pretty good chance that world reaction would be such that the thing would be called off, and I had been keen on the United States seeking the initiative in some areas, and I thought that on balance this was a feasible show and I wanted to see it go on.

Question: How did you feel about the final limited plan of eight sorties against the air fields?

General White: In my opinion, it was fatally weak.

Question: Would it have been better not to have had them?

General White: I think the best operation would have been to launch as heavy a strike as we could on the air fields on the day of the attack.

Question: Who was the proponent of the D-2 strikes, Allen? I don't recall that point.

Mr. Dulles: I think that it was partly in our shop and partly with Mac Bundy, as I recall. The idea of the defections--this was one of the keys to the idea that the planes that were striking Cuban airfields were operating from Cuba.

Mr. Dulles: I can't say whether that limited strike concept was ever brought over here or not. I think it must have been known to General Gray, but I don't know whether it was discussed in the Joint Chiefs.

Admiral Burke: It was, but not before it was decided to do it. I think that this was done at the behest of State in order to get a Cuban defector ahead of time, so that it would be believed that Cubans were conducting the air strikes from Cuba.

Statement: Well, we'll see what Gray's record shows on that.

Question: You thought that Zapata looked like a feasible plan?

General White: Yes. However, I felt it was inferior to the Trinidad plan.

Question: Did you feel that you had a reasonable understanding of what the plan amounted to by the time D Day approached?

General White: Yes, I had a reasonable understanding of the plan as it was supposed to go but didn't.

Question: Would you say you made a personal study of this, at least of the air elements?

General White: Yes, and I had action officers who were privileged with this information who worked very close with the Joint Staff and with CIA and on appropriate occasions they briefed me on what was going on in addition to the meetings we had formally in the JCS.

Question: Do you recall when you learned about this D-2 plan?

General White: No, I do not. I have no memory of any change. The D-1 strike and the D Day strikes were the ones that I was under the impression would go.

Question: I forgot the D-1 air strikes, Allen. That was discussed I know, but did that ever get going?

Mr. Dulles: Well, that was discussed, but it never went.

General White: May I say I remember very well the discussion of defectors. We got into it because we had the air defense force moving down to Homestead in Florida with its additional radar, and we wanted to get the defectors in and to be on guard in case the Cuban air force made a strike against Florida.

Question: You were in favor of this plan then?

General White: Yes, to the degree that it had a fair chance of success on the basis that the objective was to get a rallying of Cuban people.

Question: Did you make any distinction between Zapata and Trinidad?

General White: In my opinion the Trinidad operation was a better one, but once the decision was made to go into Zapata, we backed it.

Question: You wouldn't have backed it if you didn't think there would be a chance of success?

General White: I think it also had a fair chance of success, but I think the chances were better in the Trinidad operation.

Question: Viewing this from the point of view of the President, you, of course, felt that the JCS were the primary military advisors. He heard nothing from the Chiefs with regard to any infeasibility of this plan. Is it fair to say that the Chiefs would have volunteered their comment if they really thought that this thing was going badly?

General White: Without any question. The problem was that there were last minute changes of which we did not know.

Question: You refer to the last minute cancellation of the air strikes?

General White: Yes.

Statement: But that was just one factor.

General White: I think that was a very key factor, sir.

Statement: Well, in this operation, I think we would be convinced that the plan wouldn't have been any more successful if we had had the air strikes.

General White: Well, I really believe that the Cuban air force had a whale of an effect on the bad outcome. It is difficult to say what an air strike on D Day at dawn would have done, but it might very well have made the difference in my opinion.

Question: In the performance of the T-33s, were you surprised at how effective they were?

General White: I was surprised to find that they were armed.

Question: You did not consider that they were combat aircraft?

General White: We did not.

Question: Well, had you known they were armed?

General White: Well, there again you come back to how effective the air strikes would have been. I certainly would have wanted the T-33s to be one of the main targets of the strike force.

Question: Was it any surprise to you that these T-33s could take out the B-26s?

General White: No, there was no surprise about that. That's another thing, the B-26s were used as air cover over the beaches. The B-26 is a light bomber.

Statement: Yes, but you knew that was the case--that that was the only cover they would have on the beach.

General White: Yes, but they were supposed to have air strikes which would come first and the B-26s, as I understood it, would be used largely for ground support.

Question: You said that you would have recommended that the T-33s be knocked out?

General White: In planning these strikes for the three airfields, certainly I would have urged that we concentrate strikes on the fields that had the T-33s.

Question: Would you have made a recommendation that they be knocked out?

General White: We didn't know that they were armed.

Question: Based on the information you had, then you would never have recommended that they be knocked out?

General White: They would have been included in the over-all plan to knock out Castro's air force.

Statement: Yes, but they were on the field on D-2, but they didn't knock them out.

General White: Had we known that the T-33s were armed, we might well have highlighted the field where the T-33s were located.

Question: Did you think that the crews they had were sufficient in number? Did that concern you at all?

General White: I think the numbers were adequate. We sent an Air Force officer down as part of a team to make an evaluation. They made quite a complete report. The report was very favorable on the quality of the Cuban pilots.

Question: By the time D Day afternoon came, the crews were exhausted because they had to fly from Nicaragua to Cuba in a seven-hour trip.

Statement: This is a very important point. I think the record shows that they had 17 Cuban pilots and about six American pilots. Now, suppose they had knocked out Castro's aircraft and then provided air cover over the beach because the invasion force immediately attracted very heavy forces of the Castro ground units. As I picture it, this would have put a major strain on this little air force.

Admiral Burke: I think some of the pilots' energy was dissipated in sitting up all night waiting to go and they didn't go, but this was just as bad as going.

Question: How many pilots would it take to keep two planes over the airfield during daylight?

General White: Do you want me to check it or give you an off-hand answer?

Question: Did that ever occur to you during this time?

General White: Perhaps not specifically, but I'm sure I evaluated it in my own mind and my people did.

Question: What was your concept of this plan? What was it intended to do, and how would they go about it?

General White: It was intended to make a lodgment and then fan out to gain as much of the beachhead as possible, expecting that there would be a great many of the guerrilla people and other defectors that would join in, and we had ammunition and equipment to give them as they came in to the fold.

Question: The guerrillas were to come in to the beach?

General White: Yes, wherever they could join in.

Question: Then they would just come down into that area where the landing took place?

General White: I understand that there were leaflets to be dropped and a general call for the people to rise against Castro.

Question: When was the uprising to take place?

General White: I think as soon as it could be generated.

Question: Was it to take place simultaneously or within a short period?

General White: Within a short period, I would say beginning with D Day it ought to snowball.

Question: How did you visualize any great number of these civilians coming in to the beachhead area with Castro's forces coming down the same route, in, behind, and along the lines of communication?

General White: I understand there were a good number of defectors who came over even under the circumstances.

Question: Did you think that this group of 1,200 people could hold this beachhead?

General White: There was a fair chance of holding the beachhead if the air was knocked out. We had also anticipated that there would be more uprisings throughout Cuba which would divert the Cuban armed forces elsewhere and they would not be able to concentrate on this one place.

Statement: Just so the record is complete, when we had a briefing from one of the pilots, we asked him about the T-33s and he said they weren't aware at the time of the problem or difficulty with the T-33s and they concentrated on the B-26s.

Question: The question of going guerrilla has come up. It was thought that if things went badly, these people could operate as guerrillas. How was this presented to the Joint Chiefs and how did they regard that alternative?

General White: On this particular operation, I cannot say. On the Trinidad operation, I've a very clear memory.

Question: Would you say that the guerrilla phase was specifically studied by the Joint Chiefs?

General White: Only the fact that there were guerrillas in the area and that it was anticipated that the people would join with them.

Question: Was there any thought to evacuating by sea?

General White: Not until later in the game.

Question: How did the Joint Chiefs follow the course of the operation after D Day? Were you kept informed of what was going on?

General White: I was kept informed generally by my action officer.

Question: Did you have liaison with General Gray's office?

General White: Yes, sir.

Question: Were you aware of the criticality of the ammunition situation at the end of the second day?

General White: I had heard about it.

Question: But you didn't have any realization that the battle would be won or lost the night of D+1-D+2 unless they got ammunition?

General White: No. My impression is that in general we had very little knowledge of what was actually taking place at the beachhead.

Question: How would you define the responsibility of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in this operation?

General White: Number one, we were called on for our views; we gave them to the best of our ability; and once the decision was made to go into Zapata, we supported it any way we could.

Question: Would you say you had the responsibility to volunteer advice to the President and since he received no contrary advice he had a right to assume that all was well?

General White: Yes, except that a number of things took place that I did not know about. I knew nothing about the cancellation of the air strikes.

Question: I am going to ask the same question I asked General Shoup. Do you feel that the JCS studied this plan and gave it that cold hard look which they would have given it had it been their plan?

General White: Certainly they did with the Trinidad plan. I don't know about Zapata. I was not there when it was briefed. It was my understanding, however, that the basic over-all considerations were similar. I would say we did not make as detailed an evaluation of the alternatives as we did the Trinidad plan.

Question: Looking back on this thing now with the benefit of experience, how do you feel about the covert nature of the plan? Was it realistic to consider that this could be kept covert--by that I mean a plan that cannot be attributed plausibly to the United States?

General White: I am sure that we could not expect to train a very sizable group of people with aircraft in any part of the world, at least any populated part of the world, without the world knowing. So I am sure that the training base in Guatemala was well known to the Cubans. This is hearsay. I was told that somebody briefed many Latin American governments about this forthcoming operation to get their views and met with almost unanimous disapproval. I'd say this alone was enough for a tipoff.

Statement: I believe this was Mr. Berle's mission down south.

Question: Do you have any comment on a landing on a hostile shore which is covert?

General White: I don't object to the military doing covert things; in fact, this may be a wise way for the future on this sort of thing. But there are certain considerations; I don't believe you should have U.S. officers in uniform because this puts them into a different category and they take risks beyond those which are usually expected of them in peace time. As far as covert operations are concerned, I think probably they should be done under the aegis of some agency other than Defense.

Mr. Dulles: The question is, can there be a section in the Department of Defense that has been sheep-dipped or something. How are we going to do this in the future?

General White: I think there should be greater Department of Defense participation; in fact, I think perhaps the responsibility ought to be placed on military professionals, but I believe it still should be under the aegis of some other agency. I would not like to see this type of operation attributable to the Department of Defense.

Statement: It might have been done something like this. The CIA could have done everything up to and including recruiting, assembling, and putting them into a covert training area, and organizing the covert protection around it. Training at that point could have been turned over to the Department of Defense. Planning could have been turned over to the Department of Defense and the execution turned over to the Department of Defense.

General White: That's all right with me. However, I think that the cover should be with the CIA or some agency other than the DOD.

Mr. Dulles: When you get an operation this big, the cover blows off.

Question: What do you say about the quality of interdepartmental coordination on this plan?

General White: I think it could be improved very much. I don't know of a formalized body short of the NSC that takes a problem like this and integrates all the interested Government agencies into a planning group.

Statement: It's been a problem for a long time.

General White: I think not only in this type of thing but in the cold war. After all, in hot war, we're certainly organized for it and we hope ready for it. Limited wars--we're organized for and we hope prepared for, but this kind of covert operation we're talking about now is part of the cold war. The cold war is on every day of our lives and I think we need a similar organization to fight the cold war.

Question: Have you spelled that out?

General White: OCB started this kind of a thing I believe, but it was always kind of loose. The organization we need is not only to oppose Soviet power, but to take the initiative.

Statement: I wish you would give us your thoughts at your leisure.

General White: My staff has prepared a study on this subject which I subscribe to.

General White: Almost every agency in the Government is involved in fighting this cold war.

Question: Are you suggesting that possibly the NSC framework is the place to hang this or are you talking about something separate?

General White: I think the NSC is too high level an organization. I don't think it should be an operating organization. I conceive this to be an operational group. They undoubtedly would have to report to the NSC or send it to the President.

Question: Would you give us your views on this thing?

General White: My views will be just what is contained in this study.

Question: Will you send us a copy of the study?

General White: Yes, sir.

Question: Will you go back to the operations for a minute? Do you think that in view of the circumstances, this was given sufficient time and attention by the Joint Staff?

General White: Yes, up to the word "go" but there were a lot of last minute changes.

Question: I understand that, but as of the 15th of March, the "go ahead" signal from a military point of view to the President and to those who were making the decisions was given. Thereafter, there were continuous meetings that took place and nobody came forward and said, this is going to be fatal; we shouldn't go ahead. Really considerable support developed from individual members and from the Chairman. The President understood that it was supported by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In view of all this, do you feel it was given sufficient time and attention by you as an individual and by the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

General White: I will make the single point that General Shoup made. I think there were times when the Chairman was consulted and although he has been extraordinarily conscientious to keep us informed, I think that things took place at levels above the Joint Chiefs of Staff about which we were not fully informed. On those things which we had cognizance of, I believe the Joint Chiefs accomplished their task.

Mr. Kennedy: For instance, as I look at the records, I see that the original Zapata plan plus the alternatives were considered by the JCS for twenty minutes.

General White: I can't tell you the times because I wasn't there, but I believe by virtue of the study that was made on the Trinidad plan, that it was fairly easy to have a good look at the Zapata plan and come up with a statement that the Trinidad plan was still the best, but that of the three alternatives Zapata was the best.

Question: Then your answer is that you feel that you gave sufficient time, opinion and study.

General White: On an over-all basis, yes, sir.

211. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Posts in Latin America

Washington, May 8, 1961, 10:52 p.m.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/5-861. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drated by Achilles and W.G. Bowdler of ARA/RPA. Cleared in L by Chayes and Whiteman and by Bowles and in substance by Rusk. Also cleared in Defense by General Polk, and in the White House by Goodwin and in substance by President Kennedy. Repeated to Rusk at Oslo as Tosec 19, to USUN for Stevenson, and to the Consulate at Cuidad Trujillo.

1755. Depcirtel 1661./1/ Under President's guidance highest officials this Government in past few days have been carefully and deliberately reviewing problems posed by Castro regime.

/1/Document 171.

We have concluded that its complete subservience to Sino-Soviet bloc as evidenced by repeated statements of regime itself culminating in May 1st statement,/2/ complete crushing freedom in all aspects of Cuban life, including refusal to permit self-determination through free elections and hundreds of executions without trial, and presence of massive quantities of bloc armaments, leave no doubt that regime has become base in this Hemisphere for extracontinental power and constitutes threat to peace and security of Americas. There is no question of bilateral dispute between Cuba and U.S. U.S. has on contrary shown long restraint but considers that threat to Hemisphere as whole must be reduced and eventually removed. We believe that this requires recognition by all governments in Hemisphere of the danger and appropriate action to reduce and eventually eliminate danger.

/2/See Document 189.

While we do not wish to miss currently favorable psychology in Latin America, neither do we wish to give appearance of rash or precipitate action. We also realize differences in situations in each country and wish to leave you maximum discretion in carrying out following instructions. We recognize that governments will require time to consider action proposed and have no thought of requesting meeting of consultation unless assured that sizable majority are agreed upon program of this nature.

Decision has been made to seek as promptly as possible inter-American program to condemn, isolate, and weaken Castro regime and assist other governments to counter its subversive activities. Take earliest occasion to present orally to President or Foreign Minister, pursuant to helpful consultation recently held in your capital and Washington, outline of action set forth below which USG believes Organ of Consultation should adopt as resolution in response threat posed by Castro regime as clearly demonstrated in recent events, particularly continued intervention Sino-Soviet bloc through Cuba in hemispheric affairs and proclamation by Castro placing Cuba clearly in Sino-Soviet bloc.

1. Finding that:

a) International communist movement has come to dominate the political institutions of Cuba, extending to this hemisphere the political system of the Sino-Soviet bloc.

b) Government of Cuba has surrendered Cuban independence to extracontinental powers of Sino-Soviet bloc.

c) Government of Cuba has been carrying on interventionist and subversive activities against other states of hemisphere and has attempted to destroy integrity of inter-American system.

d) Foregoing constitutes type of situation denounced by American States in Resolution 93 of Tenth Inter-American Conference/3/ and Declaration of San Jose./4/

/3/Resolution 93 of the Tenth Inter-American Conference is also known as the Declaration of Caracas of 1954; see footnote 4, Document 202.

/4/See footnote 6, Document 202.

e) Within meaning of Article 6 of Rio Treaty/5/ this constitutes aggression which is not armed attack and a situation endangering peace of America.

/5/Article 6 of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, signed at Rio de Janeiro on September 2, 1947, provides that if the inviolability or the integrity of any American state is affected by an aggression that is not an armed attack, or by a situation that might endanger the peace of America, the Organ of Consultation will meet immediately to agree on necessary measures to assist the victim of aggression, or to maintain the peace and security of the continent. (A Decade of American Foreign Policy: Basic Documents, 1941-1949, p. 228)

f) Government of Cuba has violated principles of representative democracy set forth in OAS Charter/6/ and Declaration of Santiago/7/ and deprived Cuban people of these rights, creating situation which seriously aggravates international tensions and has become danger to peaceful relationships in hemisphere.

/6/For text, see ibid., pp. 230-242.

/7/See footnote 5, Document 202.

g) Foregoing shows that Cuban Government has violated its basic obligations under OAS Charter and deprived Cuban state of its place as respected member of OAS.

2. Condemn Cuban Government for its acts of intervention and subversion against other American states, attempts to destroy integrity of inter-American system and imposition upon Cuban people of a total-itarian regime subservient to extracontinental powers and alien ideologies.

3. Apply following measures to Cuba pursuant to Article 8 of Rio Treaty:/8/

/8/See footnote 7, Document 202.

a) Breaking of diplomatic and consular relations;

b) Suspension of economic relations, including trade in all items except medical supplies.

4. Establish joint naval-air patrol of Caribbean area for surveillance purposes designed to help identify shipments of arms and personnel from Cuba to other countries for support of subversive activities and insurrectionary movements, and assist affected states in preventing such intervention in their territory. COAS, with the advice of Inter-American Defense Board, to prepare immediate plan for organization and coordination of this patrol for implementation by governments.

5. Charge COAS with immediate establishment of an ad hoc committee, composed of representatives of 5 to 7 governments to observe carrying out of measures specified in paragraphs 3 and 4 above, to assist governments in this connection, to observe development of situation in Cuba, and to keep Council appropriately informed.

6. Establish Committee for Defense of Freedom (in tradition of Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense) to identify techniques used by Castro-communist movement to undermine and destroy principles of inter-American system, to expose such techniques to governments and peoples of American states, and to devise and recommend methods required to counteract them.

You should endeavor find out how much of foregoing action program government to which you are accredited is prepared to support. You should also estimate or discreetly ascertain what would be government's attitude toward proposing or attending meeting Foreign Ministers to which Cuba and/or Dominican Republic would not be invited. If your government is one which still maintains diplomatic and consular relations with Castro regime and you believe there is any possibility of government severing these relations, in your discretion you should urge that it do so at early opportunity. Castro May 1 address identifying Cuba as part of Sino-Soviet system and dismissing any intention of holding elections appears offer ample justification.

Report reactions promptly.

Department informing Washington and OAS Ambassadors.

For Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Santiago, La Paz, Quito. Recognizing delicacy of making approach of this nature to government to which you accredited, you should use your discretion in what sections to emphasize, bearing in mind government will know we are consulting all American governments. Advise Dept. of your handling this matter.

Trip mentioned Depcirtel 1735/9/ would be related to situation at time trip made.

/9/Dated May 5. (Department of State, Central Files, 120.1520/5-561)


212. Memorandum of Conversation

Oslo, May 9, 1961, 2:45 p.m.

//Source: Department of State, Secretary's Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330. Confidential. Drafted by R. N. Magill and approved in S on May 13. The conversation took place at the U.S. Delegation Office.


Oslo, May 8-10, 1961


United States

The Secretary of State

Mr. Kohler

Mr. Steeves

Mr. Magill


The Honorable Howard C. Green, Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs

Mr. G. Ignatieff, Assistant Under Secretary for External Affairs

Mr. R. Campbell

Mr. J.J. McCardle



The Secretary said the U.S. had taken the initiative three times recently in attempting negotiations with Cuba, but had been rebuffed each time. He asserted that the U.S. nevertheless remained prepared to negotiate with Cuba on any issue except that of Cuba's Sino-Soviet ties, which was not negotiable from the U.S. viewpoint. He cited as one aspect of these ties that there were over 2,000 Soviet and Chinese Communist technicians in Cuba. The Secretary said that the U.S. must work for the downfall of the Castro regime so long as this situation obtains. This objective is in line with traditional U.S. policy based on the Monroe Doctrine and it is also inter-American policy. The U.S. takes this policy very seriously.

Mr. Green observed that last summer Canada had explored the possibility of joining with Mexico and Brazil in an effort to resolve the Cuban problem, but that this had not succeeded. He had the impression that the U.S. did not want outside intervention. The Secretary said that twice last year the U.S. had tried to have the Cuban problem taken up in the Peace Committee of the OAS but that Cuba had spurned these efforts. He expressed the hope that Canada would inform the U.S. if it saw any indications of a possibility of severing Cuba's Sino-Soviet ties. Mr. Green said that Canada was not close enough to the Cuban situation to be likely to know of such possibilities if they should develop.

The Secretary emphasized that the U.S. concern regarding Cuba did not arise from Cuban expropriation of U.S. properties. Mr. Green said that if the U.S. intervened directly in Cuba, it would stir up a hornet's nest in Latin America and the U.N. and would not settle the problem in the long run. He said that last year's rumors of U.S. intervention had greatly disturbed the Canadians despite the fact that they were more removed from the problem. The Secretary said he could understand some differences in attitude between the U.S. and Canada on Cuba. Canada was more remote geographically, and the U.S. lay between Canada and Cuba. Furthermore, Canada did not have the tradition of the Monroe Doctrine. Mr. Green said that the Canadian Government was giving serious consideration to the possibility of joining the OAS. However, he had the impression that drastic actions seem to push the Cubans further into the arms of the Communists.

The Secretary said that by January 20 of this year the course had already been set by the U.S. in its handling of the Cuban situation. Mr. Green asked whether U.S. possession of Guantanamo Base strengthened the U.S. position. The Secretary said that if the Cubans attacked Guantanamo Base, supported aggression against other countries in the area, or accepted Soviet missile bases, the U.S. would be faced with a very difficult decision regarding counter action. Mr. Green surmised that such Cuban action would provide the U.S. with a basis for direct intervention. The Secretary said he could not prejudge U.S. action in such circumstances, but it was quite clear that the U.S. could not tolerate having the Soviets operating through a Cuban "cut-out." Mr. Green said he thought the U.S. had been right in deciding not to use its armed forces against Castro.

Mr. Green said if there was any way in which the U.S. thought Canada might be able to help, he hoped that the U.S. would let Canada know. The Secretary suggested that one possibility for such help might be the need for arranging a rescue service through the International Red Cross. He thought Canada might be able to help with the Europeans in working this out.

Mr. Green asked what in the Secretary's view would be a liquidation of Cuba's ties with the Sino-Soviet Bloc. The Secretary said Cuba would have to send the Communist technicians home and realign itself with the OAS. Mr. Green said that it was very important that the U.S. should move with the Latin American countries on Cuba. The Secretary observed that covert Latin American support was much stronger than the overt posture because of Communist penetration in many Latin American countries. The Governments of these countries were worried and inhibited by the attitudes of their own people. The U.S. has been moving with the Latin American states although the latter have not been able to say so publicly.

213. Telegram From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Atlantic (Dennison)

Washington, May 9, 1961, 12:28 p.m.

//Source: Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials. Top Secret; Priority. Repeated to CGUSCONARC, Ft Monroe, Virginia, and TAC, Langley AFB, Virginia.

JCS 995627. Exclusive for Adm Dennison, Gen Powell, Gen Everest. Subject is Guidance for Development of Operations Plan on Cuba.

1. Submit to the JCS for approval a plan for military assault of Cuba. The plan must:

a. Assure overthrow of the Castro government in minimum time.

b. Assure necessary control of Cuba following overthrow of Castro government.

c. Assure continuous control of the US base at Guantanamo.

d. Provide the capability of initiating the assault without prior warning and within five days after the order to execute.

e. Be capable of execution at any time during a prolonged period after required forces and equipment are positioned.

2. Forces and equipment will be tailored as necessary to accomplish the plan, and may be repositioned as required.

3. Following Forces may be considered available for planning purposes:

a. Army

XVIII Airborne Corps Hdqtrs

82nd Airborne Division

101st Airborne Division

3rd Armored Cavalry Regt

4th/68 Tank Bn

2nd Infantry Brig

4 Helicopter Companies

1 Inf Battle Group (-) for helicopter operations

Special Forces

b. Navy

Striking and Covering Forces

Combatant Air and Naval

Elements as required

Underway replenishment group

Amphibious Task Force

Landing Force


Headquarters, II MEF

2nd Marine Division (-)

2nd Marine Air Wing (-)

Force Troops Atlantic

c. Air Force

1 Command Hdqtrs

Troop Carrier/MATS Wings as required

(Reserve units with quick reaction time may be used)

4 Tactical Fighter Wings

2-1/3 Recon Squadrons

1 TAC Control System (Reduced)

Aerial Refueling as required

d. CIA Force Atlantic

e. Special Operations Task Force Atlantic

f. On Call Forces

(1) Naval: Uncommitted Forces US Atlantic Fleet Amphibious ships and Marine Forces as required, Pacific Command

(2) Army: 4th Infantry Division

CCA, 1st Armored Division

g. Air and Surface Lift

MATS and MSTS provide air and surface lift as directed by the JCS.

4. Submit initially, on a priority basis, an outline plan and a concept of operations. Include estimate of time required to accomplish 1 a and b above. Concurrently submit requirements for:

a. Total forces and equipment.

b. Repositioning and/or prepositioning of forces and equipment necessary to obtain required state of readiness. Include estimate of time required to accomplish these actions.

5. Any recommendation you may have as to an alternate solution which will enhance the feasibility of the plan together with its impact on reaction time and total forces required is invited.

6. This guidance should not be interpreted as an indication that US military action against Cuba is probable.

214. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, May 9, 1961.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files: Job 85-00664R, Box 3, Vol. IV (6). Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency.


Meeting with the DD/P re Cuban Operations


Mr. Richard M. Bissell, Jr.--DD/P

Mr. C. Tracy Barnes--A/DDP/A

Col. J. C. King--C/WHD

[name not declassified]--AC/WH/4

Mr. G. Droller--C/WH/4 [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]

[name not declassified]

1. Mr. Bissell stated that the President is anxious that family allotments to strike force dependents should continue and that they should not be halted without first consulting with the President. Mr. Bissell said the payments must continue through June at which time we should make appropriate recommendations as to their continuation. He said the concept we used would call for continuation in case of families of prisoners. It is understood that the allotments to families of returnees would be paid through May. It was agreed that the 170 recruits who had never left the country and who were now clamoring for their "bonus" should be paid the "across the board" bonus of $250 inasmuch as most of them had given up their jobs to join the brigade.

2. Mr. Bissell then stated that there has been a round of policymaking sessions--externally with NSC and Mr. Goodwin of the White House--and internally. He said that there is an urgent need to decide what we are going to do next--what people and facilities we are going to use. He asked if there was general agreement (there was) that we start building up our internal assets--FI first; plus planning and carrying out sabotage operations which would call for the use of a minimum number of people; that we should start commo training promptly; also think of training programs for resistance and underground types. He said he had read the papers/1/ prepared by Messrs. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] and had found them of interest, but he agreed with [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] comment that it was perhaps too elaborate a plan for current policy restrictions and the idea of setting up another headquarters of "agency" in Miami was not practical. Mr. Bissell commissioned [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], with the assist-ance of Mr. Reichhardt, to come up within a week's time, if possible, with an outline proposal for covert action. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] suggested that the best place to start would be with the old operational plan which could be reviewed, updated and "sprinkled with the experience" which we have gained to date. Mr. Barnes promised to provide a copy of a paper/2/ which was recently prepared on this subject. Mr. Barnes, in response to a statement by Mr. Droller that he understood from Dr. Miro that the President was opposed to sabotage operations, said that the White House is expecting a paper from us as to what we propose to do--recommendations for action, unilateral or otherwise, and on the basis of this we could expect to get some policy approval. That sabotage is still open whenever it seems appropriate. Mr. Bissell said we will want to take the paper to the President and also to State and Defense. We will also need the operational outline for our own internal purposes. He asked if there was general agreement to this approach and Col. King said he would like to see included in the plan the use of B-26 aircraft against refineries and other targets but that we could leave the timing open.

/1/Not found.

/2/Not found.

3. Mr. Bissell then discussed our position vis-a-vis Dr. Miro and the Revolutionary Council. He said we need a clear affirmation of policy position re relations with the Cubans. He said we are looking to Dr. Miro as the senior official of the opposition and that we must not deal with independent groups without Miro's approval. He felt it was important that the Council be strengthened and proposed that Mr. Droller see Dr. Miro to discuss with him the opening of appropriate offices, acquiring a small staff, taking over the welfare and perhaps other functions of the FRD, etc. He said either he or Mr. Barnes would try to check this out first with Mr. Berle but nonetheless Mr. Droller should proceed to make this contact. Mr. Barnes said we would have to come up with our recommendations for Mr. Goodwin re our contacts with the Council. He said that it was not practicable for State to try to handle the day to day problems. Mr. Barnes asked Mr. Droller to work with him on preparation of our recommendations for Mr. Goodwin. He remarked that Mr. Goodwin had suggested that we might lend State an Agency man who could handle the Council for State. Mr. Bissell said it is important that we draw lines as to when they go to State and when they come to us. Mr. Droller presented his ideas with respect to creating a Cuban operations panel.

4. The question of supporting operations proposed by Manuel Ray was discussed. All agreed that we should have no dealings with Ray or any other independent group unless it has the approval of Dr. Miro. Mr. Bissell said that we should be prepared to work with Ray or any other group, provided Miro agrees, with these provisos:

A. They have the necessary assets.

B. They employ secure commo.

C. They keep us informed of what they are doing.

Mr. Barnes said that Mr. Ray had indicated a willingness to carry out his activities under the aegis of the Council although he naturally will not want to identify precisely his assets, etc. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] said the problem might be simplified if Dr. Miro would re-affirm Mr. Ray as "minister in charge of clandestine activities" or some such designation. Mr. Bissell questioned whether Ray would be able to pull all the groups together in view of his somewhat controversial position. At any rate it was agreed that [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] should meet with Ray for the purpose of drawing up a prospectus. Once this has been done and we have had an opportunity to study it, etc., and if we decided to support it, we would then see that Dr. Miro was apprised of the plan and we would not go ahead with it unless and until he gave it his approval.

5. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] brought up the problems created for the Branch by the multitudinous requests received from Congressmen, newspaper people, etc., for information and briefings, etc., and wondered if a good part of this couldn't be diverted to the State Department so that this pressure could be taken off the Branch. Mr. Bissell agreed that something must be done to relieve the Branch of this burden and maybe the flow could be diverted to State or some of it to the Council office once it is established.

[name not declassified]

215. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Posts

Washington, May 10, 1961, 5:31 p.m.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/5-1061. Secret. Drafted in ARA by F.J. Devine. Cleared in ARA, AF, FE, EUR, NEA, L, USIA, and the White House. Approved for transmission by Achilles. Also sent to the Consulates in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Ciudad Trujillo, and repeated to all other consular posts, and to Bangui, Ouagadougou, and Fort Lamy. Libreville, Niamey, and Cotonou were excluded from the list of recipient posts.

1763. USG following closely all developments fast-moving Cuban situation and has had under continuous study determination this country's policy and posture. Special importance attached Castro's May Day declaration/1/ Cuba now "socialist" republic without further need electoral process which clearly indicates full extent to which Castro regime has taken Cuban people down road toward totalitarianism and full membership Sino-Soviet Bloc.

/1/See Document 189.

US has been consulting Latin American Governments with respect their reactions and attitudes toward Cuban developments. Although impossible predict this juncture exact course inter-American action likely, US firmly believes time now at hand when OAS members must be asked face up serious problem represented by Sino-Soviet penetration this hemisphere through domination Castro regime and need for clarification and modernization of existing interpretations and applications doctrine non-intervention with reference to legitimate self-defense. Accordingly we are consulting all other OAS members except Cuba and Dominican Republic regarding collective action designed to isolate the Castro regime.

US posts throughout rest of world should give priority to enhancing awareness and full understanding by government officials, public media and all other key target groups of true nature Castro regime, including threat posed for LA by Cuban arms build-up, announced intention to spread revolution and repressive domestic actions against Cubans. You should emphasize theme that suppression of liberty within Cuba has now been confirmed and compounded by Castro's rejection any prospects free elections and that sovereign will Cuban people clearly no longer has opportunity for expression. Penetration by Sino-Soviet Bloc in Western Hemisphere is not accomplished fact and members inter-American community have no choice but recognize this and speedily adopt those counter measures mutually agreed to be warranted.

At same time as efforts isolate Castro and as long-range policy far more important, US energetically pushing "Alliance for Progress" program intended to advance social and economic progress in Latin America and thereby contribute correction and elimination fundamental causes social and political unrest. Inter-American meeting for that purpose being called for July 15. It is essential that world opinion recognize and appreciate true US objectives and you should make them clear on every appropriate occasion. Informational material will be supplied by Department on a regular and continuing basis for this purpose.

As inter-American measures are taken, all posts have a responsibility to present them in proper perspective. Significant foreign reactions should be reported promptly./2/


/2/In circular telegram 1764, sent out at the same time to the same posts, the Department provided information on the "repressive inhuman conditions" being imposed on the Cuban people by the "Communist-dominated regime" of Fidel Castro. The country teams receiving this information were instructed to employ their full assets to impress on their host governments the true nature of the Castro government. (Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/5-1061)

[end of document]


Department Seal Return to Foreign Relations of the U.S., Vol. X, Cuba.

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