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Department Seal

Volume X
Cuba, 1961-1962



Cuba, 1961-1962

256. Memorandum From the President's Assistant Special Counsel (Goodwin) to President Kennedy

Washington, August 22, 1961.

//Source: Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Security, 1961. Secret.

The following is an extremely condensed statement of first thoughts regarding some aspects of our Cuba policy.

The Conference at Punta del Este/1/ adds, I believe, two new factors to our consideration of Cuba policy.

/1/A special meeting of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council, attended by representatives of all of the American Republics, was held at Punta del Este, Uruguay, August 5-17, to establish the Alliance for Progress. The charter for the Alliance was signed at the conclusion of the meeting on August 17. For text of the charter, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, pp. 395-409.

First, is the conversation with Che Guevara which is appended to this paper./2/ I believe this conversation--coupled with other evidence which has been accumulating--indicates that Cuba is undergoing severe economic stress, that the Soviet Union is not prepared to undertake the large effort necessary to get them on their feet (a Brazilian told me "you don't feed the lamb in the mouth of the lion"), and that Cuba desires an understanding with the U.S. It is worth remembering that Guevara undoubtedly represents the most dedicated communist views of the Cuban government--and if there is room for any spectrum of viewpoint in Cuba there may be other Cuban leaders even more anxious for an accommodation within the U.S. This is only a speculative possibility but it is, I believe, a reasonable speculation.

/2/Document 257.

Second, is the emerging fact that any hope for OAS action--along the lines of the Colombian initiative/3/--is dead. It is my strong belief that the big countries (Brazil and Mexico especially) are not prepared to buy this, that they feel such action would be a meaningless gesture at great internal political cost to them, and that there is no point on going ahead without the support of the large countries. A numerical majority--led by Nicaragua and Peru--would not be in our interest.

/3/On May 6 the Government of Colombia proposed a meeting of Latin American Foreign Ministers to discuss the Cuban problem. (Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/5-661) For documentation on this initiative, see vol. XII, pp. 250 ff.

This being so I believe we should consider the following general lines of action.

(A) Pay little public attention to Cuba. Do not allow them to appear as the victims of U.S. aggression. Do not create the impression we are obsessed with Castro--an impression which only strengthens Castro's hand in Cuba and encourages anti-American and leftist forces in other countries to rally round the Cuban flag.

(B) Quietly intensify, wherever possible, the economic pressure. This means selectively discouraging those doing business with Castro, aiming sabotage activities at key sectors of the industrial plants such as refineries, invoking the Trading with the Enemy Act upon the first apparent provocation, and focussing some expert attention on the problem of economic warfare.

This also means quiet military pressure--perhaps through frequent unpublicized naval maneuvers off the Cuban coast, Guantanamo buildups, the spread of false intelligence, etc. The object of this is to continue the diversion of important resources into military activities and equipment. This should be done as quietly as possible to avoid adverse propaganda effects as well as an invasion psychology here.

(C) Continue and step up covert activities aimed, in the first instance, at destruction of economic units, and diversion of resources into anti-underground actitivies. This should be done by Cuban members of Cuban groups with political aims and ideologies.

(D) Step up propaganda aimed at:

1. Telling the Cuban people how their government is sacrificing their welfare to international communism.

2. Widely publicizing the economic failures of the Castro regime throughout Latin America.

(E) Form the Caribbean Security pact strictly as a defensive meas-ure. Aside from the substantive value of such an organization in dealing with the spread of revolution, it will have an adverse impact on the psychology of peaceful coexistence which Castro is now trying to create, and might prove a useful screen for some of our activities.

(F) Seek some way of continuing the below ground dialogue which Che has begun. We can thus make it clear that we want to help Cuba and would help Cuba if it would sever communist ties and begin democratization. In this way we can begin to probe for the split in top leadership which might exist.


257. Memorandum From the President's Assistant Special Counsel (Goodwin) to President Kennedy

Washington, August 22, 1961.

//Source: Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Security, 1961. Secret.


Conversation with Commandante Ernesto Guevara of Cuba

The conversation took place the evening of August 17 at 2 A.M. Several members of the Brazilian and Argentine delegations had made efforts--throughout the Punta del Este Conference--to arrange a meeting between me and Che. This was obviously done with Che's approval, if not his urging. I had avoided such a meeting during the Conference. On Thursday we arrived in Montevideo and I was invited to a birthday party for the local Brazilian delegate to the Free Trade area. After I arrived, and had been there for about an hour, one of the Argentines present (who had been on the Argentine delegation) informed me they were inviting Che to the party. He arrived about 2 A.M. and told Edmundo Barbosa DaSilva of Brazil and Horatio Larretta of Argentine that he had something to say to me. The four of us entered a room, and the following is a summary of what took place. (The Argentine and Brazilian alternated as interpreters.)

Che was wearing green fatigues, and his usual overgrown and scraggly beard. Behind the beard his features are quite soft, almost feminine, and his manner is intense. He has a good sense of humor, and there was considerable joking back and forth during the meeting. He seemed very ill at ease when we began to talk, but soon became relaxed and spoke freely. Although he left no doubt of his personal and intense devotion to communism, his conversation was free of propaganda and bombast. He spoke calmly, in a straightforward manner, and with the appearance of detachment and objectivity. He left no doubt, at any time, that he felt completely free to speak for his government and rarely distinguished between his personal observations and the official position of the Cuban government. I had the definite impression that he had thought out his remarks very carefully--they were extremely well organized. I told him at the outset that I had no authority to negotiate my country's problems, but would report what he said to interested officials of our government. He said "good" and began.

Guevara began by saying that I must understand the Cuban revolution. They intend to build a socialist state, and the revolution which they have begun is irreversible. They are also now out of the U.S. sphere of influence, and that too is irreversible. They will establish a single-party system with Fidel as Secretary-General of the party. Their ties with the East stem from natural sympathies, and common beliefs in the proper structure of the social order. They feel that they have the support of the masses for their revolution, and that that support will grow as time passes.

He said that the United States must not act on the false assumptions that (a) we can rescue Cuba from the claws of communism (he meant by other than direct military action); (b) that Fidel is a moderate surrounded by a bunch of fanatic and aggressive men, and might be moved to the Western side; (c) that the Cuban revolution can be overthrown from within--there is, he said, diminishing support for such an effort and it will never be strong enough.

He spoke of the great strength of the Cuban revolution, and the impact it has had on liberal thought throughout Latin America. For example, he said, all the leftwing forces in Uruguay were joining forces under the banner of Cuba. He said civil war would break out in many countries if Cuba were in danger--and such war might break out in any event. He spoke with great intensity of the impact of Cuba on the continent and the growing strength of its example.

He said that in building a communist state they had not repeated all of the aggressive moves of the East. They did not intend to construct an iron curtain around Cuba but to welcome technicians and visitors from all countries to come and work.

He touched on the matter of the plane thefts./1/ He said he didn't know if I knew but they had not been responsible for any hijackings. The first plane was taken by a young fellow who was a good boy but a little wild and who is now in jail. They suspected that the last plane was taken by a provocateur (a CIA agent). He is afraid that if these thefts keep up it will be very dangerous.

/1/See Document 252.

He began to discuss the difficulties of the Alliance for Progress. He asked me if I had heard his speech at the closing of the conference. I said I had listened to it closely. He said that it explained his viewpoint on the Alliance for Progress. (In this speech he said the idea of the Alianza was fine, but it would fail. He spoke also of the play of historical forces working on behalf of communism, etc.--that there would be either leftist revolutions or rightist coups leading to leftist takeovers, and there was also a strong chance that the commies would get in through popular election.) He then said he wished to add that there was an intrinsic contradiction in the Alianza--by encouraging the forces of change and the desires of the masses we might set loose forces which were beyond our control, ending in a Cuba style revolution. Never once did he indicate that Cuba might play a more direct role in the march of history.

He then said, now that he had discussed our difficulties he would like to discuss his own problems--and he would like to do so very frankly. There were in Cuba, he said, several basic problems.

1. There was disturbing revolutionary sentiment, armed men and sabotage.

2. The small bourgeoisie were hostile to the revolution or, at best, were lukewarm.

3. The Catholic Church (here he shook his head in dismay).

4. Their factories looked naturally to the U.S. for resources, especially spare parts and at times the shortages of these resources made things very critical.

5. They had accelerated the process of development too rapidly and their hard currency reserves were very low. Thus they were unable to import consumer goods and meet basic needs of the people.

He then said that they didn't want an understanding with the U.S., because they know that was impossible. They would like a modus vivendi--at least an interim modus vivendi. Of course, he said, it was difficult to put forth a practical formula for such a modus vivendi--he knew because he had spent a lot of time thinking about it. He thought we should put forth such a formula because we had public opinion to worry about whereas he could accept anything without worrying about public opinion.

I said nothing, and he waited and then said that, in any event, there were some things he had in mind.

1. That they would not give back the expropriated properties--the factories and banks--but they could pay for them in trade.

2. They could agree not to make any political alliance with the East--although this would not affect their natural sympathies.

3. They would have free elections--but only after a period of institutionalizing the revolution had been completed. In response to my question he said that this included the establishment of a one-party system.

4. Of course, they would not attack Guantanamo. (At this point he laughed as if at the absurdly self-evident nature of such a statement.)

5. He indicated, very obliquely, and with evident reluctance because of the company in which we were talking, that they could also discuss the activities of the Cuban revolution in other countries.

He then went on to say that he wanted to thank us very much for the invasion--that it had been a great political victory for them--enabled them to consolidate--and transformed them from an aggrieved little country to an equal.

Guevara said he knew it was difficult to negotiate these things but we could open up some of these issues by beginning to discuss subordinate issues. He suggested discussion of the airplane issue (presumably, we would use the airplane issue as a cover for more serious conversation).

He said they could discuss no formula that would mean giving up the type of society to which they were dedicated.

At close he said that he would tell no one of the substance of this conversation except Fidel. I said I would not publicize it either.

After the conversation was terminated I left to record notes on what had been said. He stayed at the party, and talked with the Brazilian and Argentine.

The Argentine fellow--Larretta--called me the next morning to say that Guevara had thought the conversation quite profitable, and had told him that it was much easier to talk to someone of the "newer generation."

The above is substantially a complete account of the entire conversation./2/

/2/On August 23 the Department of State summarized in circular telegram 312 to all Latin American posts a statement released by the White House on August 22 in which it was pointed out that the conversation between Goodwin and Guevara at Punta del Este was a casual cocktail party conversation in which Goodwin restricted himself to listening. The posts were authorized to assure their host governments that there had been no change in U.S. policy toward Cuba, as recently defined by President Kennedy and Secretary Rusk in public statements. (Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/8-2361)


258. Memorandum From the President's Assistant Special Counsel (Goodwin) to President Kennedy

Washington, September 1, 1961.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 6/61-12/61. Secret. Another copy of this memorandum is dated September 6. (Ibid., Schlesinger Papers, Box 31, Cuba 1961) Another record of this meeting, drafted by Barnes, is in Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/DDP Files: Job 78-01450R, Box 1, Area Activity-Western Hemisphere-Cuba.

The Cuban Task Force met at the White House on Thursday, August 31. Present were Under Secretary Ball, Assistant Secretary Woodward, two members of the ARA Bureau, Dick Bissell, Tracy Barnes and myself.

The following decisions were made:

1. We would proceed immediately to discuss with other Caribbean governments the possibility of organizing a Caribbean Security Force. This could be organized on the basis of informal understandings within the framework of existing treaty arrangements, as a series of new bilateral treaties, or a formal, multilateral treaty. It was thought that the basis of organization would depend on the judgment of other Caribbean countries as to how they could accomplish the objective of establishing the force without running serious internal political risks. The United States, for its part, would prefer the formal multi-lateral arrangement. Such a Caribbean Security Force would have at least four major aspects:

(1) Advance commitment to come to the aid of other signatories threatened by Castro revolutions and, perhaps the designation of specific units for participation in necessary multilateral actions.

(2) The establishment of a pool of intelligence information concerning subversive activities with provision for exchange of such information.

(3) The establishment of a Caribbean air and sea patrol to watch for suspected infiltration of Castro arms or agents.

(4) A training program in combatting subversive tactics, police organization and procedure, etc.

It was conceded that the substantive aspects of this arrangement could, if necessary, be achieved informally. However, the decision to seek a more formal arrangement was primarily arrived at on the basis of internal political considerations in the United States.

2. It was decided that our public posture toward Cuba should be as quiet as possible--trying to ignore Castro and his island.

3. Our covert activities would now be directed toward the destruction of targets important to the economy, e.g., refineries, plants using U.S. equipment, etc. This would be done within the general framework of covert operations--which is based on the principle that para-military activities ought to be carried out through Cuban revolutionary groups which have a potential for establishing an effective political opposition to Castro within Cuba. Within that principle we will do all we can to identify and suggest targets whose destruction will have the maximum economic impact.

4. We will intensify our surveillance of Cuban trade with other countries and especially U.S. subsidiaries in other countries; and then employ informal methods to attempt to divert this trade--depriving Cuba of markets and sources of supply. I understand that we have already had a few successes in this effort.

5. We will establish next week--in the State Department--a psychological warfare group. This will be a full-time group of three or four people charged with the responsibility of assembling all available information on the Sovietization of Cuba, repression of human rights, failure of the Cuban economy, etc.--much of which has been hitherto classified--putting this information into readable, popularized form, and developing methods of disseminating it through Latin America. Such dissemination would not be primarily through USIA channels but would include feeding it to Latin papers for "exclusive" stories, helping to prepare scripts for Latin American broadcasts, perhaps a direct mailing list of intellectuals and government officials to be handled by a front group, etc. The basic idea is to get this stuff into channels of Latin American communication, instead of treating it as official U.S. propaganda. We have selected someone to head this effort--Jim O'Donnell of George Ball's office who was a free-lance magazine writer (including work for the Saturday Evening Post) for many years and whom Ball highly recommends.

6. The CIA was asked to come up--within the week--with a precise, covert procedure for continuing the below-ground dialogue with the Cuban government. The object of this dialogue--to explore the possibility of a split within the governmental hierarchy of Cuba and to encourage such a split--was fully detailed in my last memorandum to you./1/ This is an effort to find an operational technique./2/

/1/Document 256.

/2/In a telephone conversation with Ball on September 7, Goodwin said that he had gone over the results of the Cuban task force meeting with the President. The President had reviewed the memorandum that Goodwin had prepared concerning the meeting, and had "agreed with all of the things that we are doing." Goodwin said that the President wanted "to play it very quiet with Castro" because he didn't want to give Castro the opportunity to blame the United States for his troubles. President Kennedy asked for a study of the current economic situation in Cuba and a prognosis of future developments. Ball indicated that he would get Hilsman and INR started on such a study. (Kennedy Library, Papers of George W. Ball, Subject Series, Cuba, 1/24/61-12/30/62)


259. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Woodward) to the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Ball)

Washington, undated.

//Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Cuba, August 1961. Secret. Drafted on September 7 in ARA/CMA by Park F. Wollam and Hurwitch. Cleared in CMA by Edwin E. Vallon, in ARA by Daniel M. Braddock, and in the CIA by Bissell.


USG Relationships with Cuban Exile Groups


To determine the Department's position with respect to Dr. Miro Cardona's insistence that all U.S. assistance (other than that provided by HEW) to Cuban exiles and underground resistance groups be channelled through the Cuban Revolutionary Council.


During July 1961 when the question of the USG's relationships with Cuban exile groups arose, the Department's position was that the CRC should be accepted and treated as a leading element among the Cuban exile groups; that the U.S. should refrain from affording to the CRC any direct and overt character as a USG instrument in the campaign against Castro; and that the CRC should not be accorded any status as exclusive channel or required point of approval with respect to dealings and relationships established between this Government and other Cuban groups. As far as I have been able to determine, this position was approved by the White House. ARA believes that this basic framework of our relationships to the CRC should be maintained.

An essential element to this relationship is the budgetary support of the CRC which enables it to remain viable. Withdrawal of this support would probably result in the collapse of the CRC, leaving a clear field in the Cuban exile community to the groups backed by Batista and Prio. While we of course have no objection to the activities of Prio, such a development would deprive the Cuban exile movement of the broad base of support which it now enjoys, and would seriously delay the revolutionary effort. ARA believes that it is in our interest to perpetuate the existence of the CRC at this time.

The basic question is what role in our view should the CRC play in present plans regarding Cuba. Miro's contention is that only through a highly centralized operation, fully controlled by the CRC, is it reasonable to hope for eventual success against Castro. A decentralized operation, much of which he maintains is at present kept from CRC's knowledge, signifies in his view deepening rather than healing the split among Cuban exiles and a repetition of past errors. He has stated that he would not continue unless the CRC fully participated in plans and operations regarding Cuba. It is possible that he might retreat somewhat from this first position.

It has been generally agreed that an important mistake was made in the past by not taking the anti-Castro Cubans more fully into our confidence. Clearly, we shall have to rely heavily upon Cubans (both in and out of Cuba) to accomplish our objectives. I feel that the U.S. role should be one limited to purveying funds, materiel and know-how to the Cuban opposition groups based upon plans jointly arrived at. The CRC has been requested to broaden its base and from latest reports appears to have achieved some success in this direction. As far as we are able to determine most of the underground groups now organized in Cuba either have some allegiance to the CRC or at the least do not oppose it.

It would appear reasonable, then, that we should agree with Miro's point of view as far as dealing centrally through the CRC regarding matters involving CRC affiliated organizations is concerned. Two questions arise: security and effectiveness. With regard to the first, it is my understanding that present operations involve dealing with various Cuban opposition groups, separately. The possibility of some security leaks, but not involving the entire plan, is evident under this arrangement. Dealing centrally with the CRC does incur the risk of disclosure of the entire plan. With regard to the second question, centralization may mean wrangling among CRC members, use of funds for political ends, and an ineffective operation.

ARA believes that in general the stature of the CRC both in the U.S. and abroad should be enhanced. To the extent feasible, Cuban exile prop-aganda programs should emanate from the CRC, so that the Cuban exile community speaks with a single voice. Propaganda programs and propaganda activities based upon the utilization of Cuban exiles should be the result of a coordinated US-CRC effort. The CRC should be covertly supported in these programs.

In essence, the ARA view concerning our future relationship to the CRC is that we should display greater confidence in its ability to carry out most of the major tasks confronting us with respect to Cuba, while we at the same time maintain flexibility vis-a-vis other exile and resistance groups.


Ball initialed his approval of each of the recommendations on September 8.

1. That we inform Miro that the USG will continue covert budgetary support for the CRC for administrative expenses and propaganda work.

2. That we encourage Miro to intensify his efforts to broaden the CRC's base.

3. That we inform Miro that with respect to clandestine activities in Cuba involving underground groups not opposed to working with the CRC, U.S. assistance will be coordinated under the strictest terms of secrecy with him, based upon plans mutually agreed upon.

4. That we inform Miro that we must retain freedom to give direct assistance to groups that decline to work with the CRC.

5. That we inform Miro that we plan to keep him generally informed as to our activities regarding groups not represented in the Council.

6. That we inform Miro that in the event of security leaks or ineffectiveness the arrangements described in recommendation 3 and/or 5 would be modified.

7. That we step up the level of U.S. representation to plan and coordinate with the CRC on matters of common interest herein referred to.

260. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, September 9, 1961.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/DDP Files: Job 78-01450R, Box 1, Area Activity-Western Hemisphere-Cuba. Secret.


Meeting in the White House on 9 September 1961 re Status of the Cuban Revolutionary Council


Mr. Richard Goodwin, Assistant to the President for Latin American Affairs

Mr. Robert Woodward, Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs

Mr. Park Wollam, Department of State

Mr. Robert Hurwitch, Cuban Desk Officer, Department of State

1. Before the meeting with Dr. Miro Cardona, the head of the Cuban Revolutionary Council, and his secretary, Mr. Ernesto de Aragon, at 11:30 a.m., there was a preliminary meeting held in the office of Mr. Goodwin with him, Mr. Woodward, Mr. Wollam, and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to reach agreement on the suggested statement to be made to Dr. Miro Cardona as to the United States Government's relationship to the Revolutionary Council. There is attached hereto a copy of the guidance/1/ which was not to be handed to Dr. Miro but to be read to him. The only question that I had was under Section C, Paragraph 2, where it was stated that, where all groups are not willing to work with the Revolutionary Council, Dr. Miro would be kept informed "of these activities." I suggested that this should be somewhat limited to state that he would be kept informed "in general of these activities." Mr. Goodwin said that he did not expect to give a copy of this paper to Dr. Miro, and that he thought that we could play it so that Dr. Miro would simply have a general idea of what we were doing, sufficient to neutralize his protests.

/1/Not found attached but printed as Document 261.

2. At the meeting Dr. Miro was given the substance of the attached, which was translated from English as Mr. Goodwin gave it into Spanish by Mr. Aragon. The Spanish translation was followed very carefully by those in attendance who spoke Spanish and several corrections were made, so that an exact translation was the result.

3. Dr. Miro made no comments, but then stated that if he were to be informed of everything that he had one other basic requirement. He pointed out that the President of the United States had said that Cuban exiles would be accepted into the United States Army. He said that he was faced with a dilemma in that in his position he was called upon to encourage Cubans to join the Army. The question in his mind was whether he was simply encouraging them to become professional soldiers or whether they were equipping themselves for an invasion of Cuba. He recognized the fact that the United States, due to the international situation, could not afford to have a unilateral invasion of Cuba. However, he needed to be reassured that these Cubans were being recruited into the American Army for an eventual joint action with other nations and Cuban exiles to overthrow Fidel Castro. He felt that for the Cuban Revolutionary Council to participate in propaganda activities and clandestine operations aimed at sabotage within Cuba was not sufficient in itself. Likewise, he felt that he could not encourage young Cubans to enter the Army when they might instead be going to college to prepare themselves to become professional men and residents of a new country. Plus that, he objected strenuously to the fact that CIA and the United States Government would back individual groups of Cubans who refused to deal with the Cuban Revolutionary Council. He insisted that by not centralizing all authority in the Council we were creating di-versified groups, and actual gangs would muddy the future of Cuba even if Fidel Castro were overthrown.

4. Mr. Goodwin showed extreme patience and made what might be described as rather eloquent pleas to Dr. Miro's realism and patriotism to understand that the United States could not go so far as to commit itself at this point to armed invasion of Cuba, and to the fact that all Cubans could not be united at this point within the Cuban Revolutionary Council. In spite of these lengthy pleas on the part of Mr. Goodwin, there were rebuttals on the part of Dr. Miro, and Dr. Miro stated that he would not commit himself to continuing as head of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. He said that he would retire to Baltimore to meditate until Monday,/2/ when he would make a final decision, but that his belief was that at that point he would write an "eloquent and gracious" letter to the President thanking him for his support but declining his continuance as the director of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. Instead he would revert to the status of adviser and common soldier in the resistance to the Communist regime in Cuba.

J.D. Esterline/3/

/2/September 11.

/3/Printed from a copy that indicates Esterline signed for [text not declassified], Deputy Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division.

261. Memorandum Prepared by the President's Assistant Special Counsel (Goodwin)

Washington, September 9, 1961.

//Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Cuba, August 1961-. Secret. A typed notation at the top of the source text reads: "Goodwin Memo." A September 20 memorandum from H. Bartlett Wells of INR/DDC to Deputy Under Secretary Johnson describes the memorandum as Goodwin's record of the points made in his conversation with Miro Cardona. (Ibid.)


1. The United States regards the Revolutionary Council as the central point of contact in its dealing with the Cuban exile and underground activity. Dr. Miro Cardona--as Chairman of that Council--has the complete confidence of the United States Government. The following is a complete outline of the structure of our future relationships with the Council:

A. Budgetary--A basic administrative budget will be allocated. This will be somewhere in the neighborhood of one million dollars per year. There will be considerable flexibility in the use of this money allowed to the Council. Detailed advance justification will not be required, but complete accounting for monies spent will be essential.

All other allocations of money will be on the basis of specific projects submitted by the Council and approved by the United States. In this category will fall most of the propaganda activities and all clandestine activities within Cuba.

B. Composition of Council--The Council will continue to broaden its base, allowing entry to all substantial exile groups which are not identified with Batista or with Communism.

C. Underground Activities--

1. All groups willing to work with the Council in connection with their underground activities will be dealt with through Dr. Miro. This means that the operating U.S. Agency will meet jointly with Dr. Miro and with the appropriate representative of the underground group to discuss activities, including the transfer of supplies and money.

2. All groups which are not willing to work in this manner will be dealt with bilaterally (the U.S. and the group involved); but Dr. Miro will be kept informed of these activities.

3. In all contacts with underground groups it is understood that the nature of these contacts and the matters discussed will be held in the strictest secrecy between the United States, Dr. Miro and the group concerned. It is not intended that information of this sort be disseminated to other members of the Council. Where Dr. Miro is informed of clandestine activities it is for his information only, or that of a specially appointed assistant for these matters. It is further understood that if this arrangement proves insecure, i.e., if information is not kept completely secret, it will be terminated.

4. A CIA agent will keep in constant contact with Dr. Miro.

D. Council Relationships--

1. All problems arising out of the activities of the Council will be discussed between the Council and the Bureau of ARA of the State Department. However, Dr. Miro will still retain his contact with the White House in such cases where he considers such contact to be urgently necessary.

262. Letter From President Kennedy to the President of the Cuban Revolutionary Council (Miro Cardona)

Washington, September 14, 1961.

//Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Cuba, August 1961-. Secret. A note on the source text indicates that the letter was seen and approved by Hurwitch, Vallon, Coerr, Woodward, Braddock, and Wollam.

Dear Dr. Miro Cardona: I write to express my confidence in your leadership of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. The United States Government deeply admires the distinguished service you have already rendered to the cause of a free Cuba; and I hope you will continue to lead this fight until your country is liberated from the tyranny which has been imposed on it. I am sure that any problems arising from your relationship with the United States can be worked out in the spirit of mutual cooperation and common aspirations which lie behind all our efforts.


John F. Kennedy/1/

/1/Printed from a copy that indicates President Kennedy signed the original.

263. Memorandum of Conversation Between President Kennedy and Senator Kubitschek of Brazil

Washington, September 15, 1961.

//Source: Department of State, Presidential Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 149. Confidential. Drafted by DeSeabra. Approved in the White House on October 26. Senator Juscelino Kubitschek, former President of Brazil, was visiting Washington as part of a trip that took him to several countries around the world.

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

President Kennedy pointed out that even the neutralization of Western Germany could have a definite weakening effect on the rest of Europe. Then the Chief Executive asked Senator Kubitschek for his comments on the Cuban problem and, specifically, what Senator Kubitschek thought the U.S. should do. Senator Kubitschek said that Cuba was a most serious problem for the entire Hemisphere, and it had become another Berlin for the more vocal and articulate left-wing elements in Latin America. One disturbing fact was that many people thought of self-determination only in terms of Cuba, never of Berlin. As for the best line of action to be taken by the U.S., it should be kept in mind that any act or even attitude on the part of the U.S. that could be construed as aggression would immediately bring about a strong anti-U.S. reaction from Latin American left-wing groups. At the same time, it is an obvious fact that Cuba can readily become a dangerous focus of political agitation in the Hemisphere. Senator Kubitschek mentioned next that he was in Europe at the time of the attempted invasion of Cuba and was keeping in close touch with events. He noticed that many Europeans and Latin Americans held the secret hope that Castro would be toppled. Instead his position and that of his supporters were much strengthened by the failure of the invasion. In an effort to forestall expansion of Castro-type movements, is it better to concentrate solely on assistance to underdeveloped countries or is it desirable in addition to contain or somehow blockade Cuba so that its revolutionary ideology cannot be exported to the rest of the Hemisphere?

President Kennedy commented that he realized that direct action by the U.S. or the OAS might easily be regarded as a positive threat to the independence, sovereignty and right to self-determination of nations in the Hemisphere. As for possible lines of action, one would be to stress the present general policy of ignoring Cuba, thus depriving Castro of the publicity on which he flourishes; another, to undertake appropriate political and economic action that would circumvent the danger posed by the Castro regime to the entire Hemisphere.

Senator Kubitschek agreed that any direct military action against Cuba would rouse vast areas of public opinion against the U.S. He himself would favor some form of indirect action. With reference to public opinion in Brazil, Senator Kubitschek pointed out that the Brazilian press was infiltrated by Communist sympathizers, and even in the more conservative dailies there were writers who consistently presented the Cuban regime in a favorable light. He felt that some understanding was needed among nations in the Hemisphere with a view to taking some action with regard to Cuba that would not be construed as an aggression that in turn would build up Castro as a martyr or hero. A small committee could be set up to sound out the Latin American governments on what to do about Castro. He went on to add that there was no serious Communist threat in Brazil. Out of a population of 70 million, there were 20 million voters, and no more than 500,000 Communists or Communist sympathizers, which are at worst an active minority. In his view, the bulk of the population is anti-Communist and essentially friendly to the U.S. Therefore, a well-thought-out plan of indirect action would probably receive a good measure of popular support, even though Dr. Goulart has taken a stand favoring Cuba. Senator Kubitschek mentioned in passing his talks with Prado of Peru and Frondizi of Argentina on the need for discreet action to isolate Cuba.

President Kennedy indicated that Colombia was also concerned about the Cuban situation. All in all, it was a difficult choice to make regarding the course to be followed because even indirect action might precipitate a reaction that would rouse Castro to hurl more challenges at the U.S. The crux of the problem is to limit Castro's influence while avoiding direct controversy. It will be necessary therefore to weigh in the balance the advantages to be gained by direct action, as contrasted to the disadvantages that would ensue if Castro were put in a position where he would be the voice of revolution and independence, all of it aimed against the United States.

Senator Kubitschek commented that President Kennedy had stated the issues in very clear terms. He felt that even the most indirect and discreet action called for the greatest care. He then went on to review the recent events in Brazil, asserting that Quadros was a man of great nervous instability--as shown by his sudden resignation--who had been moving ever closer to Cuba. Under Quadros' administration Cuba gained prominence in headlines. There was a growing reluctance to accept his pro-Communist and pro-Cuban policies on the part of the military, the whole situation coming to a head with the much-publicized decoration of Che Guevara. The present administration is fully aware of the military's attitude and is expected to move warily, even taking a few steps backward from the extreme positions reached by Quadros. He added that in Brazil the situation had definitely taken a turn for the better. In conclusion, he said that he had been most happy to have had this opportunity to meet President Kennedy, whom he knew through his books and his brilliant career, and for whom he had the greatest admiration. He voiced the conviction that President Kennedy, with his youth, vigor and intelligence, would provide sustained leadership in the defense of the ideals of the Western World.

[Here follows discussion of other matters.]

264. Memorandum of Conversation Between President Kennedy and President Frondizi

New York, September 26, 1961, 9 a.m.

//Source: Department of State, Presidential Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 149. Confidential. Drafted by Barnes and approved in the White House on November 3. The conversation took place at the Hotel Carlyle in New York. President Kennedy and Argentine President Arturo Frondizi were in New York for the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly.

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

Referring to the Cuban problem, President Kennedy said that it was important that it be understood that it was not a question of the United States versus Cuba, or of Castro versus Kennedy, because a debate of this kind would only enhance Castro's prestige. He said that it was necessary to isolate Cuba and increase its economic problems, which were already serious. He said that it was important not to leave the impression of the United States, great imperialist power from the North, attacking poor, brave Cuba, which is the impression Castro wants to give.

President Frondizi said that he believed that the basic action to be undertaken with regard to Cuba was to accelerate the launching of the Alliance for Progress, and that he did not believe that another invasion of Cuba should be attempted. He said that it was necessary to show that with democratic methods, with American support for the Latin American people, it was possible to achieve the conditions Castro was seeking in his own country.

President Kennedy said that there were Cubans in all of these countries trying to influence liberals, leftists, and labor movements, and that it was important to take action to discredit the Cuban revolution, identifying it as foreign, alien, and anti-Christian, and not permitting it to be considered as a revolution that was trying to improve the living conditions of the Cuban people. He said that it was necessary to show that Castro and company were subversives in the hemisphere, and that it was not a problem of the United States against Cuba.

President Kennedy asked whether President Frondizi saw any merit in the Colombian proposal to try to call a meeting of Foreign Ministers, in order to declare that Cuba is a Soviet satellite and that therefore, according to the terms of the Rio Treaty, can no longer be considered a member of the American family. He also asked whether President Frondizi considered that it might be possible, or advisable for Argentina, on the basis of the Cuban documents or for any other reasons, to break relations with Cuba, and if it did so, whether this would create internal problems in the country. He added that any action taken by the United States had to have the support of Argentina.

President Frondizi said that the solution to the problem must be found within the framework of the OAS. On the basis of his conversations with other Latin American Presidents, he believed that it was indispensable to proceed vigorously with the Alliance for Progress, and on this platform later take decisions within the OAS. Then a meeting of the OAS might be called, in which the Colombian proposal would be a good working tool.

President Kennedy said that some time would be required to get the Alliance for Progress organized, and asked as to the possible date for such a meeting of consultation.

President Frondizi said that it might be the beginning of 1962.

President Kennedy said that with regard to this problem he was somewhat concerned about the position of Brazil, Chile, and Mexico, and to a certain degree, Ecuador. As to Brazil, certain doubts existed as to the position to be taken by President Goulart. He said that in his opinion, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina were the key countries, and from the American viewpoint, nothing could be done without Argentina.

President Kennedy said that it was necessary to do something so that Castro, as a Communist, should not be appealing to the Latin American people, and that it was necessary to isolate Cuba, pointing it out as a stranger in the house, so that it would not be so appealing to non-Communist leftists.

President Frondizi said that he was planning on stopping by in Brazil later on in the year to speak with President Goulart, and that the latter had requested him to tell him about the results of his conversations with President Kennedy. He said that if Brazil and Argentina worked together, it would be possible to make progress in Latin America.

265. National Security Action Memorandum No. 100

Washington, October 5, 1961.

//Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD (C) A Files: FRC 71 A 2896, Cuba 381 (Sensitive). Top Secret. Copies were sent to the Secretary of Defense, the Director of Central Intelligence, and Richard Goodwin, as Director of the Cuban Task Force.


The Secretary of State


Contingency Planning for Cuba/1/

For the nature of the contingency planning required, see Document 266.

In confirmation of oral instructions conveyed to Assistant Secretary of State Woodward, a plan is desired for the indicated contingency in Cuba.

McGeorge Bundy/2/

/2/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

266. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, October 5, 1961.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 6/61-12/61. Secret. Prepared by Thomas A. Parrott.



In accordance with General Taylor's instructions, I talked to Assist-ant Secretary Woodward yesterday about the requirement for the preparation of a contingency plan. He told me on the telephone he would be leaving for two weeks and, therefore, his Deputy, Wymberley Coerr, would have to take this project on.

I then met with Mr. Coerr and outlined the requirement to him. I said that what was wanted was a plan against the contingency that Castro would in some way or other be removed from the Cuban scene. I said that my understanding was the terms of reference governing this plan should be quite broad; we agreed, for example, that the presence and positions of Raul and Che Guevara must be taken into account. We agreed that this was an exercise that should be under the direction of State with participation by Defense and CIA. I also pointed out to Mr. Coerr that Mr. Goodwin had been aware of this requirement.

Mr. Coerr said he would get his people started on this right away. As to timing, I said that I did not understand that this was a crash program but that it should proceed with reasonable speed. He then set Monday as a target date for a first draft.

I had mentioned to Mr. Woodward the President's interest in this matter, before General Taylor had told me he preferred this not be done. Therefore, I felt it necessary to tell Mr. Coerr, on the assumption that Mr. Woodward would have already told him. I asked that this aspect be kept completely out of the picture. He understood this fully and volunteered that it could be presented as an exercise emanating from his own office. I said I would leave this up to him but it was perfectly all right to attribute it to General Taylor.

On the covert side, I talked to Tracy Barnes in CIA and asked that an up-to-date report be furnished as soon as possible on what is going on and what is being planned. I asked that this be related to the broad plan that was approved by the Special Group and by higher authority in August. I did not tell Mr. Barnes of Presidential interest. However, during the time that I had been trying to reach him, he had seen Mr. Goodwin who had told him about this requirement./1/

/1/On October 6 Barnes sent a memorandum to Esterline instructing Branch 4 of the Western Hemisphere Division to prepare a contingency plan based on the assumption of the unexpected removal of Castro from power. (Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/DDP Files: Job 78-01450R, Box 1, Area Activity-Western Hemisphere-Cuba) See the Supplement. A memorandum produced in Branch 4 on October 6, entitled "What Would Happen If Castro Died?," is ibid., DDO/WH Files: Job 73-00853R, Box 1, WH Division Liaison with Dept of State. See the Supplement.


267. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Coerr) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)

Washington, undated.

//Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, S.G. 15, October 20, 1961. Secret. Drafted by Hurwitch on October 18 and cleared by Wollam on October 19. Sent through Wells in INR/DDC.


U.S. Relations with the Cuban Revolutionary Council


To determine the desirability of obtaining compliance with the recent inter-agency and White House agreement, pursuant to an NSC decision of May 5, 1961, regarding the means of improving and making more open U.S. relations with the CRC, headed by Dr. Miro Cardona.


1. The Cuban Exile Community Situation.

A power struggle has developed between Miro Cardona and ex-President Prio Socorras. Miro is generally regarded by Cubans as: anti-Batista, anti-Prio, anti-Communist, having been briefly associated with the Castro regime, and personally a man of honor. Prio is generally regarded by Cubans as: anti-Batista, anti-Communist, having remained in Cuba under Castro an inexplicably long time, as having headed a corrupt regime and therefore a symbol of Cuba's past ills which led to Batista and in turn Castro, and opportunistic. Dr. Miro is known in the exile community to have the confidence of the White House. Dr. Prio (who is wealthy) has undertaken a campaign to discredit Miro and to gain the ascendancy in the community. The key organized groups in the community (students, labor, women, legal profession, among others) hold the balance of power, and are financed directly by CIA. As long as this method of financing pertains, these groups will probably remain independent of both Miro and Prio control, although there is clear indication that part of one group (the magistrates) has already been seduced by Prio.

If this situation is permitted to continue, Prio may emerge as the principal spokesman of Cubans in exile. To limit this possibility Miro has repeatedly expressed the desire that these key organized groups be financed by CIA through the CRC as the major means of enhancing his own power position in the community.

ARA believes that if Miro's desire in this were granted, most of the members of these key organized groups would join the CRC.

2. The Underground Attitude Toward the Exile Community.

The Ambassador of Italy at Habana, who of the friendly diplomats is widely regarded as a keen and most knowledgeable observer of the Cuban scene, personally gave ARA the following assessment two days ago:

Although the underground is disdainful of Cubans who live in the security of the U.S., it recognizes the necessity for an exile organization. Miro is the only prominent exile acceptable to the underground. Prio is entirely unacceptable.

The underground expects to have the principal say in any post-Castro government.

The foregoing supports ARA's assessment obtained from a variety of other sources.

3. U.S. Relations with Miro.

Several months ago the White House asked Miro to broaden the CRC base. (As indicated above, CIA direct financial support of the key organized exile groups makes Miro's task in this regard virtually impossible.)

During the first half of September, the White House reaffirmed its confidence in Miro's leadership. He was, however, informed that his requests for a U.S. commitment to invade Cuba and for CRC exclusive jurisdiction over all underground groups were denied. He was at the same time offered the following working arrangement which he accepted:

1. a basic administrative budget of approximately one million dollars per year

2. provision for supplementary budget on a case basis

3. expansion of CRC base

4. underground groups willing to work with Miro to be dealt with through Miro

5. maintenance of secrecy

In addition, he was assured that his additional requests (which the White House considered of secondary importance), including financing of the key organized exile groups through the CRC, would not present insurmountable problems.

The President, to prevent Miro's resignation taking effect, addressed a letter to Dr. Miro/1/ confirming his confidence in Miro's leadership. This letter was delivered by the Department with oral confirmation of all the above points.

/1/Document 262.

Little of the working arrangement has been put into practice, nor is that little functioning satisfactorily. None of Miro's secondary requests have been granted. Miro is consequently seriously dispirited and the Department's relations with him may become precarious. He plans to arrive in the Department today. Unless ARA can offer him something concrete, he will probably ask for a White House appointment. If the White House is unable to reassure him, he will probably resign. Under the emotional strain of the imprisonment of his son in Cuba combined with the six months (since April 17) of delay by the United States in fully clarifying his position, he may feel forced to break his word and make the President's letter public.


/2/The source text is not marked to indicate Johnson's response to the recommendations. On November 13, Joseph Scott of INR/DDC sent a memorandum to Johnson to inform him that "in accordance with the President's wish and your instructions" Miro Cardona had been dissuaded from resigning as President of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Cuba, August 1961-)

1. That you request as soon as possible a report from CIA on its implementation of our commitments to Miro.

2. That, through the Special Group or otherwise, you obtain an agreed line of action by all interested agencies to implement our commitments to Miro in line with our basic objective of seeking the most effective methods of contributing to Castro's downfall.

268. Memorandum From the Assistant to the President's Military Representative (Parrott) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)

Washington, October 20, 1961.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (CI) Meetings, 6/61-10/62. Secret; Eyes Only.


Special Group meeting, Friday, October 20, 1961

The following are things that you will want to follow up on as a result of today's Special Group meeting:

[Here follows consideration of topics unrelated to Cuba.]

5. Cuba: Summary of Covert Program. After you left, it developed that there was some difference of opinion between ARA in State and the Agency on the most desirable US posture toward Dr. Miro Cardona. This came as a surprise to Johnson, Dulles and myself. It was agreed that the presentation of this summary to Higher Authority should be deferred until there is agreement. It was felt that, if agreement can be reached, then there might be some usefulness in Mr. Dulles and Mr. Johnson going along with you at some appropriate time so as to get this matter straightened out. (In case this is more than usually obscure, see the last three paragraphs of the attached summary.)/1/

/1/The attached summary is entitled "Cuban Covert Program Report," October 13. It summarizes an October 12 memorandum for the Special Group entitled "Cuban Program Report." (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, S.G. 15, October 20, 1961) See the Supplement. The first part of the summary deals with operational details. The final three paragraphs read as follows:

"The position of Dr. Miro Cardona presents something of a problem. His organization--the Cuban Revolutionary Council--and portions of the Frente now allied with the CRC, are being subsidized at about $90,000 per month. Miro expects this to continue at least until 29 June 1962.

"Some, but very little, operational benefit is realized. Miro has used the funds to support individuals of his choosing and has not devoted attention to strengthening internal Cuban opposition. Other exile leaders interpret this support as evidence of U.S. selection of Miro as leader of a post-Castro government.

"Since this situation is inconsistent with present U.S. policy, possible solutions are being sought under the leadership of the State Department."

Suggested Action: None, until State and CIA are ready to move. One or the other will be in touch with you at that time.



269. Memorandum From the President's Assistant Special Counsel (Goodwin) to President Kennedy

Washington, November 1, 1961.

//Source: Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Security, 1961. Top Secret; Eyes Only for the President.

I believe that the concept of a "command operation" for Cuba, as discussed with you by the Attorney General, is the only effective way to handle an all-out attack on the Cuban problem. Since I understand you are favorably disposed toward the idea I will not discuss why the present disorganized and uncoordinated operation cannot do the job effectively.

The beauty of such an operation over the next few months is that we cannot lose. If the best happens we will unseat Castro. If not, then at least we will emerge with a stronger underground, better propaganda and a far clearer idea of the dimensions of the problems which affect us.

The question then is who should head this operation. I know of no one currently in Cuban affairs at the State Department who can do it. Nor is it a very good idea to get the State Department involved in depth in such covert activities. I do not think it should be centered in the CIA. Even if the CIA can find someone of sufficient force and stature, one of the major problems will be to revamp CIA operations and thinking--and this will be very hard to do from the inside.

I believe that the Attorney General would be the most effective commander of such an operation. Either I or someone else should be assigned to him as Deputy for this activity, since he obviously will not be able to devote full time to it. The one danger here is that he might become too closely identified with what might not be a successful operation. Indeed, chances of success are very speculative. There are a few answers to this:

(1) Everyone knowledgeable in these affairs--in and out of government--is aware that the United States is already helping the underground. The precise manner of aid may be unknown but the fact of aid is common knowledge. We will be blamed for not winning Cuba back whether or not we have a "command operation" and whether or not the Attorney General heads it.

(2) His role should be told to only a few people at the very top with most of the contact work in carrying out his decisions being left to his deputy. If that deputy is someone already closely identified with the conduct of Cuban affairs then it would appear as if normal channels are being followed except that decisive attention would be given to the decisions which came through those channels. There are probably three or four people who could fulfill this criterion.

This still leaves a substantial danger of identifying the Attorney General as the fellow in charge. This danger must be weighed against the increased effectiveness of an operation under his command.


270. Editorial Note

At a meeting in the White House on November 3, 1961, President Kennedy authorized the development of a new program designed to undermine the Castro government in Cuba. The program was codenamed Operation Mongoose. The meeting that the President called to consider the program convened at noon and lasted until 12:55 p.m. According to the President's Appointment Book the meeting was attended, in addition to the President, by Attorney General Robert Kennedy; by Ball, U. Alexis Johnson, Wymberley Coerr, and Robert Hurwitch from the Department of State; by Cabell, Bissell, Amory, and King from the CIA; and by McGeorge Bundy and Goodwin from the White House staff. (Kennedy Library, President's Appointment Book) Robert Kennedy's handwritten notes on the meeting, which suggest that McNamara, Nitze, and General Edward Lansdale also attended, read as follows: "McNamara, Dick Bissell, Alexis Johnson, Paul Nitze, Lansdale (the Ugly American). McN said he would make latter available for me--I assigned him to make survey of situation in Cuba--the problem and our assets. My idea is to stir things up on island with espionage, sabotage, general disorder, run & operated by Cubans themselves with every group but Batistaites & Communists. Do not know if we will be successful in overthrowing Castro but we have nothing to lose in my estimate." (Kennedy Library, Papers of Robert F. Kennedy, Attorney General Papers, Handwritten Notes, 11/7/61)

No other record of this meeting has been found, but the decisions that were taken during and following the meeting are summarized in Document 278.

On November 6 Goodwin discussed the meeting in a telephone conversation with Ball:

"Goodwin said the Cuban thing discussed on Friday is moving ahead. Ball said Alex had given him a report on Saturday. Goodwin said it was moderating and toning down and assuming a more logical approach to it. The Lansdale problem with CIA will be worked out. Goodwin talked to Bissell and asked he appoint someone to work with Lansdale. On the over-all thing there are two things: the economic part which is non-covert and the diplomatic relations status. Goodwin asked if a memo could be prepared on what has been done and how it is being handled, since it is non-covert. Then he and Ball should talk with them and decide how to work it in the over-all thing. Ball said he would get the work started on this right away. Goodwin asked that it be done in the next couple of days." (Kennedy Library, Papers of George W. Ball, Subject Series, Cuba, 1/24/61-12/30/62)

According to subsequent testimony before a Senate Select Committee chaired by Senator Frank Church, Lansdale prepared a report, in response to Robert Kennedy's instruction, in which he observed that Castro enjoyed considerable popular support in Cuba. Lansdale concluded that if the United States sought to undermine the Castro government, it should adopt a different approach from the "harassment" operations that had been directed against Castro up to that time. In contrast to operations conceived and led by CIA officials, Lansdale proposed a program in which the United States would work with Cuban exiles who had been opposed to Batista and later became disillusioned with Castro. The objective of Lansdale's proposed program was to have "the people themselves overthrow the Castro regime rather than U.S. engineered efforts from outside Cuba." Lansdale's concept for Operation Mongoose envisioned the development of leadership elements among Cubans opposed to Castro. At the same time he proposed to develop "means to infiltrate Cuba successfully" and to organize opposition "cells and activities" inside Cuba. Lansdale testified that his plan was designed so as not to "arouse premature actions, not to bring great reprisals on the people there and abort any eventual success." (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders: An Interim Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities, United States Senate (Washington, 1975), pages 140-141)

Lansdale's recommendations became the conceptual basis for the Mongoose operation, knowledge of which was carefully controlled and limited. Overall control of the operation was entrusted to a new group established for the purpose, called the Special Group (Augmented), a slightly expanded version of the NSC 5412 Special Group, which oversaw covert operations. The Special Group (Augmented) consisted of the regular Special Group members, McGeorge Bundy, U. Alexis Johnson, Roswell Gilpatric, John McCone, and General Lyman Lemnitzer, augmented by Robert Kennedy and General Maxwell Taylor. Although Secretary of State Rusk and Secretary of Defense McNamara were not regular members of the group, they occasionally attended meetings. President Kennedy appointed Taylor as chairman of the group, but Robert Kennedy was the principal motive force within the group and the informal link between the group and the President. General Lansdale was appointed Chief of Operations and coordinated the CIA's Mongoose operations with those of the Departments of State and Defense. Within the CIA, the Mongoose operation was run by Task Force W, under the direction of William Harvey, with overall guidance from Lansdale and the Special Group (Augmented). The CIA developed an operational force of approximately 400 people at CIA headquarters and at its Miami Station, and had primary responsibility for the implementation of the Mongoose operation. (Ibid., page 140)

[end of document]


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

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