The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Department Seal

Volume X
Cuba, 1961-1962



Cuba, 1961-1962

286. Memorandum for the Record

//Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by Parrott.

Washington, January 11, 1962.


Minutes of Special Group Meeting, 11 January 1962


General Taylor; Mr. Johnson; Mr. Gilpatric, General Lemnitzer (Items 2-5); Mr. McCone (Items 1-3) and Mr. Bissell

The Attorney General (Item 1 and part of 2)

Mr. Richard Helms (Item 1)

General E.G. Lansdale (Item 1)

1. Progress Report on Cuba

General Lansdale summarized progress to date, identifying four major broad programs. He emphasized that the current bottleneck is the procurement of suitable Cubans to accomplish the initial task of infiltration. He also touched on other activities which are being undertaken while this problem is being solved, including such things as covert prop-aganda actions in connection with the OAS meeting of 22 January and selective harassment of the Cuban Government in the form of limited sabotage, etc.

Several members of the Group noted the difficulty of the task ahead, with Mr. McCone calling attention to the fact that the prevailing spirit within Cuba appears to be one of apathy rather than resistance, and that a fanatical pro-Castro minority exists along with an efficient police mechanism.

It was noted that the prevailing policy on sabotage is still in effect, i.e., that no actions which would be dangerous to the population will be undertaken, nor will major demolitions be done at this stage. It was agreed that whenever this policy appears to require change, the matter will be discussed with the Special Group.

It was noted that CIA is proceeding to set up an interrogation center for Cuban refugees in the Miami area and that this will be carefully examined to insure that it will be adequately staffed to produce the optimum amount of intelligence on conditions inside Cuba.

The Group agreed that maritime capabilities for infiltration should be clearly sufficient for any foreseeable tasks of this nature. The need for isolated and uncontaminated real estate was also brought out.

General Lansdale was asked to produce for next week's meeting a consolidated summary of progress to date and an overall plan showing departmental tasks and responsibilities, along with timing of implementation. This plan would then be shown to higher authority.

[Here follows discussion unrelated to Cuba.]

Thomas A. Parrott/1/

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

287. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, January 12, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Box 2, DCI (McCone) Memo for the Record, 29 November 1961-5 April 1962. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by J.S. Earman.

The Director met with the Attorney General on 11 January 1962 and discussed the following subjects:

[Here follows discussion of other subjects.]

3. Cuban operation

The Attorney General asked the Director for his frank and personal opinion of General Lansdale and the Cuban effort. The Director pointed out that (a) an operation of this type, as presently planned, has never been attempted before, (b) it will be extremely difficult to accomplish, (c) the CIA and the U.S. Government are short on assets to carry out the proposed program, and (d) the Agency, however, is lending every effort and all-out support.


Executive Officer

288. Memorandum From the Officer in Charge of Cuban Affairs (Hurwitch) to the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale)

Washington, January 16, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501, Gen. Agency Report. Secret. Approved in ARA by Goodwin and Woodward.


Diplomatic, Political and Economic Action With Respect to Cuba

As requested at your meeting of January 12, 1962,/1/ there is attached a description of the principal causes of action in the diplomatic, political and economic fields with respect to Cuba which the Department of State is prepared to undertake. While the Department will push ahead vigorously with this program right after the OAS MFM,/2/ further details with respect to timing must await results of our initial efforts.

/1/No other record of this meeting has been found.

/2/The reference is to the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, held at Punta del Este, Uruguay, January 22-31, 1962. Documentation relating to this meeting, which focused on the "Communist Offensive in America," and led to the formal exclusion of Cuba from participation in the Inter-American system, is printed in vol. XII, pp. 250 ff. For text of the Final Act, signed at the conclusion of the meeting on January 31, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, pp. 320-331.


Diplomatic and Political Action

1. The Department of State is engaging in continuous discussions and negotiations with the other OAS member nations with a view toward reaching wide agreement at the forthcoming MFM on resolutions which would condemn Cuba and in effect isolate it from the rest of the Hemisphere.

2. At the same time, we expect that publicity emanating from the MFM will result in arousing the sympathy of the rest of the Hemisphere for the plight of the Cuban people, oppressed by the Castro-Communist dictatorship.

3. If the MFM does not result in mandatory sanctions against Cuba and it probably will not result in such sanctions, we would continue our efforts on a bilateral basis to persuade appropriate Latin American governments to take steps designed to isolate Cuba.

4. To maintain the momentum against Cuba stemming from the MFM, the Department of State will right after the MFM send guidance to U.S. Embassies in Latin America instructing them to exploit every available opportunity with such local groups as students, labor organizations, rural organizations, and businessmen's groups to gain sympathy for the Cuban people, and increase hostility to the Cuban regime.

5. As U.S. plans crystallize with respect to a people's movement in Cuba, the Department would be prepared to explore with Latin American nations such as Venezuela the feasibility of obtaining cooperation where required and of stimulating them to undertake a similar program of their own.

6. The Department of State will initiate action to obtain from our Embassies an inventory of operational assets in the Caribbean area.

Economic Action

1. The outcome of the forthcoming OAS Foreign Ministers Meeting will have a direct bearing on economic actions which the United States may undertake with respect to Cuba. Assuming that as a minimum the Meeting results in agreement to condemn Cuba as an accomplice of the Sino-Soviet Bloc and in general adopts language to the effect that Cuba presents a threat to the peace and security of the Hemisphere, the Department of State would be prepared to recommend to the President that remaining trade between the United States and Cuba be barred.

2. In imposing the embargo, the Department, in collaboration with other appropriate U.S. agencies, would continue to ensure that U.S. controls are as effective as possible./3/

/3/Specific measures to this end have been already proposed by the Department and have been incorporated in the basic paper. These proposals are under active study as to their feasibility and we expect action on many, if not all, these suggestions in the near future. [Footnote in the source text. Reference to a "basic paper" is an apparent reference to Document 291.]

3. If the United States embargoes remaining trade with Cuba as a result of the OAS MFM, the Department would be prepared to undertake a determined effort with our NATO allies (bilaterally and in the NATO forum, as appropriate) in order to persuade these nations to take steps to isolate Cuba from the West. We would undertake similar steps with Japan, which engages in comparatively significant trade with Cuba.

4. If the United States embargoes remaining trade with Cuba, appropriate U.S. agencies would be in an enhanced position to explore discreetly the desirability and feasibility of enlisting the cooperation of U.S. private sectors to join the U.S. Government in its efforts to isolate Cuba economically from the West. The AFL-CIO, the International Transport Federation, and the National Foreign Trade Council, among others, would appear to be promising possibilities in this regard.

5. With respect to timing, the Department of State will push ahead vigorously on the economic front immediately after the OAS MFM. While a specific timetable cannot otherwise be presented, all opportunities to isolate Cuba economically will be thoroughly explored and exploited where feasible.

6. The Department of State has explored with negative results the feasibility of a program of preclusive buying of essential items entering the Cuban trade as well as pre-emptive action with respect to tanker charters. Other than major sabotage efforts, the foregoing suggested causes of action would appear to be the principal economic measures that might be undertaken against Cuba.

289. Special National Intelligence Estimate

SNIE 80-62

Washington, January 17, 1962.

//Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD (C) A Files: FRC 71 A 2896, McNamara Briefing Notebooks, 12 Jan. 63. Secret. A covering note indicates that this estimate, submitted by the Director of Central Intelligence, was prepared by CIA and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Joint Staff, and NSA. All members of the USIB concurred on January 17 except the representatives of the AEC and the FBI who abstained on the grounds that the topic was outside their jurisdiction.



The Problem

To estimate the threat to US security interests in the Caribbean area over the next two decades.

The Estimate

1. US security interests in the Caribbean relate principally to the maintenance of independent and friendly states in the Western Hemisphere. The Caribbean is not only the basin around which are located a large number of American republics, but it is the link between the US and the larger American republics in the southern continent. In addition, the US is concerned with keeping its southern flank free of hostile military power, and with maintaining the unrestricted operation of the Panama Canal and of other US installations.

2. Threats to US interests could arise from a variety of sources: the vulnerability of the area to attack from outside the hemisphere; the establishment of a military presence within the area by hostile powers; attempts by the Communist powers, with the help of the present Cuban Government, to spread Communist revolution to other parts of the area by military action or subversion; the growth of indigenous radical nationalism; and instability rising from attempts by governments in the area to interfere in the affairs of their neighbors or to impose their will upon them. A discussion of each of these threats follows in the paragraphs below.

3. Vulnerability to outside attack. The area of the Caribbean is within range of Soviet ICBMs and long-range bombers, and cities, canals, and military installations could also be attacked by missile-carrying submarines. In the event of general war, some US installations, such as the canal and air and naval bases, probably would be subjected to Soviet attack.

4. Establishment of a hostile military presence. Cuba and any other Caribbean state which fell under Communist control could be used by the USSR as areas in which to establish missile, submarine, or air bases, designed to bring North America under attack or to add to the deterrents to any conceivable US military action in the Caribbean or elsewhere. On the whole, we believe the establishment of such Soviet bases is unlikely for some time to come. Their military and psychological value, in Soviet eyes, would probably not be great enough to override the risks involved.

5. The Soviet leaders would be concerned lest steps toward the establishment of such bases would provoke the US to overthrow the Castro regime before bases could become operational and would generally heighten the risk of war. Moreover, Soviet bases in Cuba could involve the USSR in difficult political and control problems with the Cuban Government; the Soviets have been very careful to retain control over situations which involve them in any serious degree of risk, and they would be mindful of the danger that Cuban initiatives could expose the USSR to serious risks of general war. Finally, the Soviet leaders, for the present at least, appear to prefer not to make their presence too obvious or apparent, lest they discourage rather than encourage the spread of communism to other Latin American countries. Since their essential aim in Latin America is not military conquest but Communist revolution, we believe they will prefer to use Cuba as a symbol of spontaneous popular revolution and as a base for subversive operations.

6. Nevertheless, the USSR can and probably will augment its naval, air, and communications capabilities in the area by the development of arrangements or facilities not openly identifiable as Soviet military bases. For example, the improvement of Cuban naval and air installations would provide facilities suitable for Soviet use, and special installations and arrangements could be set up for intelligence collection or subversive purposes.

7. This reluctance to establish military bases might not extend over the entire period under review. If communism spread to other countries in the area, and if the US appeared to be weakening in world power and national will, the Soviet leaders might be emboldened to buttress their gains by openly establishing Soviet military bases in the area, with the object of further weakening US prestige and further strengthening and protecting their local satraps. If such bases were established, the first step might be the establishment of jointly-operated submarine or air bases, on the theory that the establishment of such bases would be less likely to incur risk of a US reaction than would the establishment of missile bases, while at the same time constituting a demonstration of Soviet presence and protection.

8. Possibilities of the spread of communism in the area. The area of the Caribbean presents a picture of great variety, in terms of social structure, economic organization, and political direction. A few states have had or are passing through full-fledged social revolutions; in others the pressures for revolution are building up. Some states have very backward economies, while others are moving toward modern industrial societies. Many are single crop or commodity exporters; others are moving toward more balanced economies. In each country there are groups seeking to overthrow the existing order; even Mexico, which can be considered to have completed its revolution, harbors groups who believe that the revolution has been arrested and that a new leftward movement should be set in train. Some of these revolutionary groups are Communist led; some are not.

9. It appears to us very likely that during the next decade or two the Communist element among the revolutionary forces will grow in size, although its growth in influence would not necessarily be proportionate to the growth in size. The important question is not whether communism grows, but whether the non-Communist revolutionary forces can grow more rapidly, can control the revolutionary movement, and can achieve an acceptable level of momentum and progress in social, economic, and political change. This question cannot be answered at this stage of Latin American history; much depends upon such factors as the degree of success of the Alliance for Progress in achieving real social change, the skill and determination of local non-Communist leaders, and the activities and achievements of Castro's Cuba and of the local Communists in exploiting and subverting revolutionary unrest.

10. We believe that Castro's Cuba will continue to do what it can to export its revolution. It has to some degree handicapped itself by openly espousing Marxism-Leninism, but to the extent that it can capitalize on the failure of non-Communists to achieve real reform, it may yet succeed in bringing sympathetic forces to power elsewhere. For some of these countries, Venezuela for example, the critical choice between communism and non-communism may come within the years immediately ahead. For some of the others it may come later. During the next two decades, all could escape communism, but some may fall under Communist control. Local factors of an unforeseeable character, such as the quality of emerging leadership, may prove more decisive than existing political trends or degree of backwardness. In addition, factors external to the area, such as Communist successes or reverses in other underdeveloped countries, developments within the Communist Bloc itself, or changes in the appreciation of the general power balance between the Communist Bloc and the Free World will play a part.

11. Growth of indigenous, non-Communist, radical nationalism. Those states which experience a profound social, economic, and political transformation without coming under Communist control will almost certainly develop a greater sense of national identity and a stronger impulse to assert political independence. As broad-based political movements replace military or personal rule, there will develop a much stronger feeling that the Latin American states can be masters of their own destinies, and the new political leaders will be obliged to stress their devotion to national sovereignty and especially their independence of US policy. In some instances national sovereignty may come to mean that anything can be attempted with little concern or US reaction.

12. This is not to say that the growth of nationalism will necessarily be accompanied by a rise of anti-US attitudes. To the extent the US succeeds, it will tend to reduce the antagonism toward the US among the broad mass of the people, but at the same time it will win the enmity of established elites. In any event, the very emergence of new forces, and the identification--rightly or wrongly--of the old order with the US, will tend to promote suspicion of US motives and policies and will encourage the new leaders at least to strike a pose of independence and self-determination. As a consequence, the US role in the control and operation of canals or other US installations will almost certainly come under heavy attack, and the US freedom of action will probably become increasingly restricted. In the event of open differences with the US, an opportunity might be presented for hostile extra-hemispheric powers to gain a meas-ure of influence.

13. Such a trend toward radical nationalism appears to us to be unavoidable, although it will probably move at a variable and indeterminable pace. In some countries it probably will gather force more slowly than in others. In Panama today, where the Canal Zone offers a visible target for agitation, it appears to be particularly strong; in some of the more isolated countries of the area it may mature only after major reforms have occurred and a new sense of self-confidence develops.

14. Rivalries and tensions within the area. Historically, the Caribbean area has been rife with personal feuds and petty tensions between states. Conspiracies and revolts against some leaders or countries have been organized, armed, and initiated on the soil of others. Combinations and alignments have been developed among groups of countries or leaders against others. We believe this kind of activity will continue in the years ahead, although it may take a somewhat different form than in the past. The pace of social, economic, and political change will not be uniform. Oligarchs cut off from power in one state may move to others and may receive aid and comfort in their plots to reassume control at home. Similarly, frustrated revolutionists will, as in the past few years, use asylum in sympathetic countries to organize and plan revolutions in their home countries. While the form may be the same as in the past, the ultimate stakes will not be personal power so much as the social and economic structure of the nation itself.

290. Editorial Note

During the course of his summary remarks to the National Security Council on January 18, 1962, concerning the problems affecting the foreign policy and national interests of the United States, President Kennedy referred briefly to Cuba as follows:

"We hope that Castro can be effectively isolated at the coming meeting at Punta del Este, but we expect this to continue to be a very large problem on which further action might be necessary. The time has not yet come when we must force a solution to the Cuban problem." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, NSC Meetings 1962, No. 496, 1/18/62)

291. Program Review by the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale)

Washington, January 18, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/1-2062. Top Secret; Sensitive. An attached distribution list indicates that 14 copies of the program review were prepared. Copies were sent to the President, Robert Kennedy, Taylor, Rusk for Johnson, McNamara for Gilpatric, McCone, Murrow, Woodward for Hurwitch, General Craig for the JCS, Helms, and Wilson. Three copies were kept by Lansdale.


I. Objective

The U.S. objective is to help the Cubans overthrow the Communist regime from within Cuba and institute a new government with which the United States can live in peace.

II. Concept of Operation

Basically, the operation is to bring about the revolt of the Cuban people. The revolt will overthrow the Communist regime and institute a new government with which the United States can live in peace.

The revolt requires a strongly motivated political action movement established within Cuba, to generate the revolt, to give it direction towards the object, and to capitalize on the climactic moment. The political actions will be assisted by economic warfare to induce failure of the Communist regime to supply Cuba's economic needs, psychological operations to turn the peoples' resentment increasingly against the regime, and military-type groups to give the popular movement an action arm for sabotage and armed resistance in support of political objectives.

The failure of the U.S.-sponsored operation in April 1961 so shook the faith of Cuban patriots in U.S. competence and intentions in supporting a revolt against Castro that a new effort to generate a revolt against the regime in Cuba must have active support from key Latin American countries. Further, the foreignness (Soviet Union and Bloc) of the tyranny imposed on the Cuban people must be made clear to the people of the Western Hemisphere to the point of their deep anger and open actions to defend the Western Hemisphere against such foreign invasion. Such an anger will be generated, in part, by appeals from the popular movement within Cuba to other Latin Americans especially.

The preparation phase must result in a political action organization in being in key localities inside Cuba, with its own means for internal communications, its own voice for psychological operations, and its own action arm (small guerrilla bands, sabotage squads, etc.). It must have the sympathetic support of the majority of the Cuban people, and make this fact known to the outside world. (It is reported that the majority of Cubans are not for the present regime, but are growing apathetic towards what appears to be a hopeless future or the futility of their status.)

The climactic moment of revolt will come from an angry reaction of the people to a government action (sparked by an incident), or from a fracturing of the leadership cadre within the regime, or both. (A major goal of the Project must be to bring this about.) The popular movement will capitalize on this climactic moment by initiating an open revolt. Areas will be taken and held. If necessary, the popular movement will appeal for help to the free nations of the Western Hemisphere. The United States, if possible in concert with other Western Hemisphere nations, will then give open support to the Cuban peoples' revolt. Such support will include military force, as necessary.

III. Estimate of the Situation

Our planning requires sound intelligence estimates of the situation re Cuba. The latest National Estimate (SNIE 85-61) of 28 November 1961/1/ contains operational conclusions not based on hard fact, in addition to its intelligence conclusions; this is a repetition of an error in the planning for the unsuccessful operation of last April.

/1/See Document 271.

The planning indicated herein will be revised, as necessary, based on the hard intelligence estimate of the situation by the U.S. Intelligence community. A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE 85-62 on Cuba), due on 23 January, apparently has been postponed until 7 February./2/

/2/Not issued until March 21. See Document 315.

It is recognized that one result of the Project, so far, has been to start the collection of Intelligence on Cuba in depth, to provide facts on which to base firm estimates and operations.

IV. Initial Phase (30 Nov 61-81 Jan 62)

A. Establish a U.S. mechanism for the project

Status: The President's directive of 30 November 1961/3/ was implemented by creating a U.S. operations team, with Brig. Gen. Lansdale as Chief of Operations, and with tasks promptly assigned. His immediate staff are Mr. Hand and Major Patchell. Representatives of Secretaries and Agency Directors are:

/3/Document 278.

State--Woodward (Goodwin, Hurwitch)


Defense--Brig. Gen. Craig


B. Intelligence Support

Status: CIA made a special survey of U.S. capabilities to interrogate Cuban refugees in the USA (1,700-2,000 arriving per month) and on 16 January approved a program increasing the staff at the Opa Locka Interrogation Center in Florida from the present 2 people to 34. CIA will build up agent assets (positive intelligence assets inside Cuba are very limited and it has no counter-intelligence assets inside). Special intelligence assets will be exploited more fully. The Cuba Project needs far more hard intelligence in depth than is presently available. CIA will require further assistance from Defense and other U.S. organizations in this intelligence effort, and is submitting specific qualifications for personnel on 19 January.

C. Political platform for peoples' movement inside Cuba.

Status: State has sketched in a broad outline./4/ CIA is to produce the firm platform statement of aims for which the Cubans who will operate inside Cuba are willing to risk their lives, and upon which popular support can be generated.

/4/An apparent reference to Document 288.

D. Nucleus for popular movement

Status: To date, CIA has been unable to produce the necessary political action agents for this purpose. Upon re-evaluation of its capabilities, CIA now hopes to complete spotting and assessing eight to ten Cuban political action agents by 15 February, from among Cubans available in the United States. The minimum need for the Project to be effective is 30 such political action Cubans and CIA is tasked to make a priority search for them among Cubans in the U.S. and Caribbean area.

E. Deployment of nucleus

Status: CIA is tasked to select 20 localities within Cuba where political action groups can be established. Initial selection and plans for establishing these action groups are now due 1 February. Havana, and localities in the provinces of Camaguey and Las Villas will receive priority consideration, according to present intelligence. Planning on this must be adjusted as firmer intelligence is acquired.

F. Diplomatic actions

Status: State is concentrating on the OAS Meeting of Foreign Ministers, which opens 22 January, hoping to get wide Western Hemisphere support for OAS resolutions condemning Cuba and isolating it from the rest of the Hemisphere. A companion resolution, to offer OAS relief directly to the suffering Cuban people (similar to U.S. relief to Russia, 1919-20) is being considered, as a means to reach the Cuban people sympathetically without going through their Communist government. The OAS meeting is to be supported by public demonstrations in Latin America, generated by CIA, and a psychological campaign assisted by USIA.

The major task for our diplomatic capability is to encourage Latin American leaders to develop independent operations similar to this Project, seeking an internal revolt of the Cuban people against the Communist regime. This is yet to be initiated by State and must be vigorously pressed.

G. Economic warfare

Status: This critical key to our political action Project is still in the planning stage under State leadership. State is basing future economic actions, including plans for an embargo on Cuban trade, on the outcome of the forthcoming OAS meeting. Meanwhile, State has chaired an Economic action group, which agreed on developing 13 actions. 15 February is set for a report on implementing plans, so that actions can be initiated. CIA was unable to undertake action to sabotage the sugar harvest, which commences about 15 January, and upon which Cuba's one-crop sugar economy depends. (Sabotage of transport, mills, sugar sacking and cane fields was explored.)

H. TV intrusion

Status: Equipment to enable TV intrusion of Havana TV broadcasts has been reactivated on a small vessel under CIA control. CIA plans to attempt intrusion on 22 January during Castro's forthcoming speech and parade demonstrations.

I. Special sabotage support

Status: State has explored, with negative results, the feasibility of pre-emptive action with respect to tanker charters (most Bloc shipments to Cuba are carried in Western bottoms). CIA has initiated action to contaminate POL supplies for Cuba, although visible results (stoppage of some Cuban transport) are not expected until mid-1962. [5 lines of source text not declassified]

J. Military actions

Status: Defense has been tasked with preparing a contingency plan for U.S. military action, in case the Cuban people request U.S. help when their revolt starts making headway. This contingency plan will permit obtaining a policy decision on the major point of U.S. intentions, and is looked upon as a positive political-psychological factor in a peoples' revolt, even more than as a possible military action. Defense also has been tasked with fully assisting State and CIA, as commitments of Defense men, money, and materiel are required.

K. Major elements of the population

Status: Both State and CIA are continuing to explore their capabilities (with results largely negative to date) for mounting special group operations inside Cuba focused upon dynamic elements of the population, particularly [1 line of source text not declassified] through Labor contacts to reach the workers. Other elements include enlistment of the youth and professional groupings. Special consideration is to be given to doing this through Latin American operational contacts. This is vital to the success of our political action nucleus when CIA can put it into place.

L. Outlook

Status: As reported to the Special Group last week, there has been a period of a realistic second look at CIA capabilities to mount the required clandestine operations against Cuba, and a subsequent start in "tooling up." After this second look, CIA has concluded that its realistic role should be to create at least the illusion of a popular movement, to win external support for it, to improve CIA operational capability, and to help create a climate which will permit provocative actions in support of a shift to overt action. This outlook, although arrived at thoughtfully within CIA, is far short of the Cuba Project's goals. CIA must take yet another hard look at its potential capabilities, in the light of the following tasking, to determine if it cannot make the greater effort required.

V. Target Schedule

A. Intelligence

Task 1: NIE 85-62 on Cuba due 7 February (CIA).

Task 2: By 15 February, Opa Locka Interrogation Center to be made an effective operation for collection and processing of intelligence (CIA with support of Defense, State, I&NS, FBI).

Task 3: Intelligence collection from Cuban refugees elsewhere than Miami area. CIA to survey other refugee points ([less than 1 line of source text not declassified] etc.) and on a priority basis to ensure maximum coverage of all such source points. 15 February target date.

Task 4: CIA to continue its re-examination of intelligence assets, with priority on agents inside Cuba, and report on capability by 15 February. Also included is coverage of intelligence through third country sources, particularly those having diplomatic relations with Cuba.

B. Political

Task 5: CIA to submit plan by 1 February for defection of top Cuban government officials, to fracture the regime from within. The effort must be imaginative and bold enough to consider a "name" defector to be worth at least a million U.S. dollars. This can be the key to our political action goal and must be mounted without delay as a major CIA project.

Task 6: CIA to complete plans by 1 February for Cover and Deception actions, to help fracture the Communist regime in Cuba. Defense, State and FBI are to collaborate on this.

Task 7: By 1 February, CIA to submit operations schedule for initiating popular movement within Cuba. This must include localities selected inside Cuba, assessment of selected Cubans, their infiltration, activity assignments, and political platform. One section must deal with the "underground," assess its true status and plans to use it.

Task 8: State to follow up the OAS meeting by having U.S. Embassies in Latin America exploit all opportunities to enlist local sympathy for the Cuban people and to increase hostility towards the Communist regime in Cuba. State to submit report on results of this assignment by 13 February, so further planning can be programmed.

Task 9: By 15 February, State to submit an inventory of operational assets in the Caribbean area, including capabilities of local governments or groups to mount operations on their own, to help achieve the Project's goals. Plans for early use of such capabilities are due by 19 February.

Task 10: CIA to submit operational schedule for using assets in the Caribbean area to achieve the Project's political action goals. The objective of working on dynamic elements of the Cuban population (such as workers, farmers) is underscored. Due 19 February.

C. Economic

Task 11: State to prepare recommendations to the President on U.S. trade with Cuba, as follow-up to OAS meeting. (If the minimum result of the meeting is an agreement to condemn Cuba as an accomplice of the Sino-Soviet Bloc and adoption of a general statement that Cuba presents a threat to the peace and security of the Hemisphere, State is prepared to recommend to the President that remaining trade between the U.S. and Cuba be barred.)

Task 12: State to plan, with Commerce and other U.S. agencies, on how to halt the diversion of vital items in the Cuban trade. Due date 15 February. Cooperation of other OAS nations, particularly Canada and Mexico, is to be explored by State.

Task 13: State with Commerce and others involved, to plan on how to make "positive list" items to Latin America be subject to the same licensing procedures as applied to such shipments to other parts of the free world. Due 15 February.

Task 14: State to obtain from Commerce proposal to amend present export controls of technical data (petrochemical, communications equipment) so that Cuba is treated the same as the Sino-Soviet Bloc. Due 15 February.

Task 15: State by 15 February to submit recommendations on issuance of transportation order (T-3) under authority of the Defense Production Act of 1950/5/ forbidding U.S.-owned vessels to engage in trade with Cuba.

/5/Enacted September 8, 1950. (64 Stat. 798, et seq.)

Task 16: State plan due 15 February on feasible extension of U.S. port treatment now given to Bloc and Cuban vessels to charter vessels of Bloc and Cuba (Treasury to advise on this).

Task 17: State to report by 15 February on feasibility of harassing Bloc shipping by refusing entry into U.S. ports (statedly for security reasons), if vessels have called or will call at Cuban ports.

Task 18: [2-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]

Task 19: State to report by 15 February on possibilities for obtaining the discreet cooperation of the National Foreign Trade Council to urge U.S. shippers to refuse to ship on vessels which call at Cuban ports. (Commerce to assist on this.)

Task 20: State to report by 15 February on possibilities to obtain the discreet cooperation of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers to influence U.S. firms having subsidiaries abroad to adhere to the spirit of U.S. economic sanctions. (Commerce to assist on this.)

Task 21: CIA to submit plan by 15 February for inducing failures in food crops in Cuba. [1 line of source text not declassified]

Task 22: State to report by 15 February on status of plans to gain cooperation of NATO allies (bilaterally and in the NATO forum, as appropriate). Objective is to persuade these nations to take steps to isolate Cuba from the West.

Task 23: State to report by 15 February on status of actions undertaken with Japan, which has comparatively significant trade with Cuba, along lines similar to those with NATO nations.

Task 24: CIA to submit plan by February on disruption of the supply of Cuban nickel to the Soviet Union. [3 lines of source text not declassified]

D. Psychological

Task 25: USIA to submit plan by 15 February for the most effective psychological exploitation of actions undertaken in the Project, towards the end result of awakening world sympathy for the Cuban people (as a David) battling against the Communist regime (as a Goliath) and towards stimulating Cubans inside Cuba to join "the cause."

Task 26: CIA to submit by 15 February its operational schedule for a psychological campaign to provoke a relaxing of police state control within Cuba. This is to include effective means of publicly indicting "peoples' criminals" for justice after liberation of Cuba (not only individual top officials, but members of the Vigilancia, etc.).

Task 27: CIA and USIA will report on progress as of 15 February in developing identification of the popular movement inside Cuba, as with songs, symbols, propaganda themes.

Task 28: By 15 February CIA will report on plans and actions for propaganda support of the popular movement inside Cuba. Included will be exactly what is planned for use by the movement inside Cuba, and feasibility of using smuggled food packets (such as the "I Shall Return" cigarette packets to Philippine guerrillas in World War II) as morale boosters in generating the popular movement.

E. Military Action

Task 29: Defense to submit contingency plan for use of U.S. military force to support the Cuban popular movement, including a statement of conditions under which Defense believes such action would be required to win the Project's goal and believes such action would not necessarily lead to general war. Due 28 February.

Task 30: CIA to submit by 15 February its operational schedule for sabotage actions inside Cuba, including timing proposed for the actions and how they affect the generation and support of a popular movement, to achieve the Project goals.

Task 31: CIA to submit specific requests to Defense for required support by Defense as early as possible after its plans firm up. Requests for all major needs are expected by 23 February.

Task 32: Defense will submit plan for "special operations" use of Cubans enlisted in the U.S. armed forces. Due 28 February.

VI. Future Plans

By 20 February, it is expected that sufficient realistic plans for individual tasks will have been received, and initial actions started, to permit a firm time-table to be constructed. Since the President directed that the Chief of Operations conduct the Project through the appropriate organizations and Departments of the Government, and since these U.S. organizations are mainly in the initial inventory and development of capabilities phase concerning assigned tasks, a precise operations timetable as of today would be too speculative to be useful.

CIA has alerted Defense that it will require considerable military support (including two submarines, PT boats, Coast Guard type cutters, Special Forces trainers, C-54 aircraft, F-86 aircraft, amphibian aircraft, helio-couriers, Army leaflet battalion, and Guantanamo as a base for submarine operations). Also, CIA apparently believes that its role should be to create and expand a popular movement, illusory and actual, which will create a political climate which can provide a framework of plausible excuse for armed intervention. This is not in conformity with the Presidential directive now governing Project tasking. Actually, the role of creating the political climate and plausible excuse for armed intervention would be more properly that of State and Defense, if such an objective becomes desirable.

292. Memorandum From the Chief of Operations in the Deputy Directorate for Plans (Helms) to Director of Central Intelligence McCone

Washington, January 19, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Box 5, DCI (McCone), Caribbean Survey Group. Secret; Eyes Only.


Meeting with the Attorney General of the United States Concerning Cuba

1. I attended a meeting on Cuba at 11:00 A.M. today chaired by the Attorney General. Others present were:

Brig. General E.G. Lansdale (OSD)

Major James Patchell (OSD)

Brig. General William H. Craig (JCS)

Mr. [name not declassified] (CIA)

Mr. George McManus (CIA)

(The Department of State was not represented although invited.)

2. The Attorney General outlined to us "How it all started", findings as they developed, and the general framework within which the United States Government should now attack the Cuban problem. Briefly, these were the main points:

(a) After failure of the invasion, the United States Government became less active on the theory "better to lay low."

(b) Over the months the complexion of the refugee flow changed (i.e. upper classes out first, then middle classes--dropping to lower middle class, etc.) which, he stated, indicated a strong feeling of opposition to Castro within Cuba.

(c) Progress in Cuba toward a police and Communist state was more rapid during this period than that made by any country in Eastern Europe in an equivalent period of time. Because of the rapidity of advance, immediate action on the part of the United States Government was necessary.

(d) With these factors in mind, the Attorney General had a discussion at the White House during the autumn of 1961 with the President, the Secretary of Defense, and General Lansdale. The Secretary of Defense assigned General Lansdale to survey the Cuban problem, and he (Lansdale) reported to the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General (in late November) concluding:

(1) Overthrow of Castro regime was possible

(2) Sugar crop should be attacked at once

(3) Action to be taken to keep Castro so busy with internal problems (economic, political and social) that Castro would have no time for meddling abroad especially in Latin America.

Detail: United States Government was precluded from destroying the current sugar crop (1) we were late and overly optimistic and (b) "the assets of the United States Government were not as great as we were led to believe".

(e) Accordingly, a solution to the Cuban problem today carries "The top priority in the United States Government--all else is secondary--no time, money, effort, or manpower is to be spared. There can be no misunderstanding on the involvement of the agencies concerned nor on their responsibility to carry out this job. The agency heads understand that you are to have full backing on what you need."

(f) Yesterday (18 January 1962), the President indicated to the Attorney General that "the final chapter on Cuba has not been written"--it's got to be done and will be done.

(g) Therefore, the Attorney General directed those in attendance at the meeting to address themselves to the "32 tasks" unfailingly (see program review--The Cuba Project dated 18 January 1962/1/). He said, "It is not only General Lansdale's job to put the tasks, but yours to carry out with every resource at your command."

/1/Document 291.

3. The Attorney General inquired about the progress in establishing a refugee interrogation center at Miami and was informed that this would be in operation by 15 February 1962--the target date. With respect to interrogating the back-log of Cubans in the U.S.A., we agreed that we would attack this problem by getting at the more recent arrivals first. The Attorney General was informed that one could not relate, in time, the establishment of an interrogation facility with the placing of agents in Cuba--in other words, a body of information would have to be developed by intensive interrogation of many sources over a period of time.

4. It was General Lansdale's view that there were several tasks among the "32" outlined upon which action could be taken without awaiting this detailed intelligence information. He noted, for example, the defection of top Cubans as being within the immediate capabilities of the CIA.


293. Memorandum From the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale) to the Members of the Caribbean Survey Group

Washington, January 20, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/1-2062. Top Secret; Sensitive. An attachment to the memorandum indicates that the Caribbean Survey Group was composed of the Project Officers within the Departments of State and Defense, CIA, and USIA who had day-to-day responsibility for the management of Operation Mongoose, under the oversight of the agency principals represented on the Special Group (Augmented). The distribution list for this memorandum indicates that copy 1 went to Assistant Secretary Woodward at State for Goodwin and Hurwitch as well, copy 2 went to Brigadier General Craig at Defense, copy 3 went to Helms at CIA, and copy 4 went to Wilson at USIA.

At yesterday's meeting,/1/ the Attorney General underscored with emphasis that it is your responsibility to develop and apply the maximum effort of your Department (Agency) to win the goal of the Cuba Project.

/1/See Document 292.

As he so adequately tasked us, there will be no acceptable alibi. If the capability must be developed, then we must acquire it on a priority basis. It seems clear that the matter of funds and authority offers absolutely no defense for losing time or for doing less than the very best possible effort in your tasks.

In reviewing our program, I appreciate the difficult problems inherent in getting bureaucratic procedures and personnel aroused to do the dynamic thinking and actions demanded by this project. However, I also am very clear about the unreserved requirement laid upon us. You should be equally clear about this. As the Attorney General said, it is untenable to say that the United States is unable to achieve its vital national security and foreign policy goal re Cuba. Castro and his Communist henchmen have many difficult problems to meet in maintaining even a status quo, and we have all the men, money, material, and spiritual assets of this most powerful nation on earth.

It is our job to put the American genius to work on this project, quickly and effectively. This demands a change from business-as-usual and a hard facing of the fact that we are in a combat situation--where we have been given full command.

It is my firm intention to avoid impeding your thinking and actions, except where coordination and constructive direction in the overall interest are involved. In turn, it is your responsibility to keep me informed adequately of your plans and progress. As the Attorney General made plain, you are to call on me, as the Chief of Operations for the Project, at any time for advice and help. He offered the same for himself.

In the meantime, we must believe that you are getting fully into action on your assigned tasks, and are working towards additional tasks you can come up with to win the Project goal. You were given dead-line dates in the tasks listed in my 18 January paper to the President./2/ I trust that you are not merely attempting to just meet those dates, but are making your own time-table and making it with shorter dead-lines. The urgency and importance of our Project must be reflected in the thinking and actions of the U.S. government people who are to help us win--and that is up to you.

/2/Document 291.

294. Memorandum for the File

Washington, January 20, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Box 2, DCI (McCone) Memo for the Record, 29 November-5 April 1962. Secret. Prepared by McCone on January 22.


[Here follows discussion unrelated to Cuba.]

4. McCone brought up the Lansdale paper of January 18th,/1/ pointing out that the paper was extreme in some regards, most particularly its criticism of the estimate of the Cuban situation. McCone stated that since his estimate was an official DCI paper he would request General Lansdale to support his criticism; McCone also questioned the conclusions in the final paragraph of the paper under Future Plans. No comment was made on the 32 tasks, however, McCone stated that from quick reading he questioned whether many of them could be done in the time schedule, and some of them probably not at all. However, comments on the paper were being prepared and would be submitted.

/1/Document 291.

It was agreed that General Taylor was to call a special meeting of the 5412 committee to be attended by Lansdale and the AG for the specific purpose of discussing this paper. The meeting would be held in all probability on Saturday, January 27./2/ Action: McCone should discuss this meeting with General Taylor and the Agency's position on the Lansdale paper prepared well in advance of the meeting and circulated to the appropriate parties concerned.

/2/The meeting was held on January 25. See Document 296.

[Here follows discussion unrelated to Cuba.]

John A. McCone/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

295. Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency for the Special Group

Washington, January 24, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Box 5, DCI (McCone), Caribbean Survey Group. Secret; Eyes Only.


The Cuba Project


In accordance with the objectives of the Cuba project program review presented to the President and the Special Group by Brig. Gen. E.G. Lansdale on 18 January 1962,/1/ CIA will collect and process intelligence and counterintelligence, conduct covert propaganda and political action operations, and develop a covert resistance movement to help the Cubans overthrow the Castroite-Communist regime.

/1/Document 291.

II--Concept of Operation

Fully recognizing the urgency and necessity of achieving our objective in this grave undertaking, CIA will use all available assets to develop a resistance organization inside Cuba to assist in bringing about a revolt of the Cuban people. Because of the present severity of Communist and police controls inside Cuba, it is not likely that we can make the resist-ance groups self-sustaining as is envisaged in General Lansdale's "Concept of Operation" section (p.1). External support will be essential to their survival. Except for the results of sabotage which will become known during the development of the movement and intended uprisings at the climactic moment, the movement will be primarily underground and clandestine. Since the movement will be clandestine, it will have to be highly compartmented and secure, thus limiting the size of the unit in each area where agents will be established. Open and significant political action by members of the movement would result in the destruction of these elements of the resistance. CIA will, however, create and expand a resistance movement which will help develop a political climate in which a large scale uprising may be possible. If the movement develops an impetus of its own, we shall not be able to control it from start to finish and at any time it may be sparked suddenly and prematurely into an uprising. It should be recognized that an uprising of this kind, which might result from our plan of action or from causes which we do not control, constitutes a serious danger. Because of this danger we must enlarge the "Concept of Operation" to include plans for this contingency in order that the United States Government will be ready with sufficient military assistance to guarantee the success of any uprising within the framework of our objective. If our efforts achieve the optimum result of generating an uprising of significant size, the U.S. Government will probably wish to support it by military action because the alternative would be to see the revolt fail. If a revolt does not develop of its own momentum, then consideration should be given to provoking an uprising and supporting it with military action. The consequences of a ruthlessly suppressed uprising encouraged even remotely by the United States could spell the end to any deniable efforts to unseat the Castro government and the end of Cuban faith in the United States and the practical end of resistance inside Cuba.

III--Estimate of the Situation

Although CIA will act on the basis of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) 85-62 on Cuba, scheduled for completion in February 1962,/2/ our operational plans and actions will require significantly additional basic intelligence. To acquire this information, we are now urgently expanding our intelligence collection facilities.

/2/Document 315.

Our collection, covert action and resistance activities will have to overcome the repressive Cuban police controls of the population based on refinements introduced by experts from the Sino-Soviet Bloc. The pervasive informant system, efficient propaganda machine, and military and civil suppression are supported by jet fighter, radar, patrol boats, and communications capabilities far beyond the level of April 1961.

Internal purges and escapes from Cuba have seriously diminished those groups from which leadership could be expected and the failure of the invasion has lessened our current recruitment capability inside and dampened the will to resist. Nevertheless, the deteriorating economic situation provides a climate in which opposition is more likely than in a rising economy. We believe, however, that the Soviet Bloc will seek to maintain its Cuban foothold in the Western Hemisphere, thus challenging the Monroe Doctrine, by extending economic aid to Cuba to help offset losses which will result from our actions. Our efforts must be concentrated within this period of economic difficulty to prevent improvement which might hinder the resistance movement from taking firm roots. We must recognize that our efforts to destroy the Cuban economy by sabotage, sanctions, and other measures of economic warfare will run a major risk of attribution to the U.S. and of Cuban propaganda exploitation. In addition, sabotage actions will inevitably result in a considerable attrition of resistance potential and assets.

IV--Initial Phase

In the initial period of three to four months this Agency will move toward the completion of assigned tasks. Although all CIA assets are now being directed to meet target deadlines, clandestine operations are ill-suited to rigid scheduling. The timetable for clandestine operations depends step by step upon the introduction of more and more concealed assets inside Cuba plus an increasing flow of information from Cuba. As our assets and knowledge grow, we shall move with greater speed. If we were to adhere to all the elements of the proposed Cuba Project timetable, we should be forced to act on the basis of extremely inadequate information. CIA will attempt, therefore, to adhere to or improve upon assigned deadlines but with full cognizance that the imposition of arbitrary scheduling upon clandestine operations can be used only to prod the participants but not to predetermine results.

Tab "A" of this paper discusses the tasks currently assigned to CIA, progress to date, and reporting deadlines.

Tab A


Tasks Assigned to CIA in General Lansdale's Program Review

A. Tasks

Part V, pp. 5-8, of General Lansdale's program review of the Cuba Project, dated 18 January 1962, assigns 32 specific tasks to elements of the U.S. Government. Of these, 16 are assigned to CIA solely or jointly. The tasks have been reviewed by this Agency, and it has been determined that substantially all reporting and planning deadlines can be met. Work on all tasks, with and without assigned dates for completion, is in progress. The following detailed observations are keyed to General Lansdale's paper.

1. Task 1, p. 5. The intelligence community is hard at work on NIE 85-62 and is attempting to meet the deadline of 7 February. As was agreed in a conversation of 23 January 1962 with General Lansdale, a short extension may be necessary.

2. Task 2, p. 5. The Opa-Locka Interrogation Center in Florida will be in operation on 15 February--the deadline date.

3. Task 3, p. 5. The survey is in progress and will be completed on the stipulated date. On the basis of the information obtained the possibility of establishing additional interrogation points will be determined.

4. Task 4, p. 5. An operational assessment of the stay-behind net in Cuba will be completed and reported by the deadline of 15 February. Because communication with singleton agents is by SW, not W/T, it is unlikely that assessment can be completed by the date stipulated; an extension to 28 February may be necessary, although every effort is being made to complete the work before that date. [3 lines of source text not declassified] A progress report on the status of this program will be made by 15 February, although this Agency cannot be sure that the cooperation of all intended participants will have been obtained by that date. CIA has also taken the following additional steps in respect to Task 4.

a. A cable has been sent to field stations to give added impetus to the search for assets and the development of both unilateral and joint operations. Progress reports have been required by 1 March.

b. A survey of the Cuban Chinese community and of operational access to it is under way. Target date: end of February.

c. An assessment of more than one hundred persons to determine their suitability for return to Cuba as agents in the guise of students is also being conducted. Target date: end of February.

5. Task 5, p. 5. The 1 February deadline will be met, and by that date we shall also have begun the search for suitable intermediaries. [10 lines of source text not declassified]

6. Task 6, p. 5. By the assigned date we shall complete and submit a coordinated plan. We shall also have begun action on cover and deception operations by that date.

7. Task 7, p. 5. By 1 February CIA will submit an operational schedule for the initiation of an organized resistance movement inside Cuba. The schedule will include the localities selected and the assessment of some candidates. A full assessment will be completed in accordance with the schedule listed in para. 4, above, in conformance with Task 4. It should be noted, however, that this operational schedule (like the schedules called for in Tasks 10, 26, and 30) will necessarily be tentative and subject to later revision as the number of assets inside Cuba increases and as the flow of intelligence is augmented. Moreover, the development of a resistance movement will not remain controllable, so that operational timetables produced during the next four weeks can serve only as guides for a proposed sequence of actions.

8. Task 10, p. 5. CIA has on hand both propaganda and political action assets in the Caribbean area and elsewhere in Latin America. It is planned to use those assets both to support the Project inside Cuba and to generate and mobilize public and official opinion against Castro outside Cuba. The operational schedule will be submitted on the stated date.

9. Task 18, p. 6. Discussions with the appropriate AFL-CIO officials have been conducted and a report of developments will be submitted by 15 February.

10. Task 21, p. 7. Plans for inducing the failure of crops will be submitted by 15 February. [4 lines of source text not declassified]

11. Task 24, p. 7. This deadline will also be met. Primary methods of disrupting the supply of Cuban nickel to the USSR could, if approved, [11 lines of source text not declassified]. It is suggested that consideration be given to assigning to the economic action group, chaired by the Department of State, responsibility for overt action designed to deny Canadian nickel to the USSR.

12. Task 26, p. 7. Together with Tasks 27 and 28, Task 26 constitutes an outline of a plan for a psychological warfare operation. These tasks are so closely interrelated that CIA proposes to submit by 15 February a single plan dealing with all three tasks.

13. Task 27, p. 7. See preceding paragraph.

14. Task 28, p. 7. See paragraph 12.

15. Task 30, p. 7. By 15 February CIA will submit an operational schedule dealing with the sabotage of (1) shipping in Cuban waters and harbors, (2) Cuban transport facilities, (3) communications facilities, (4) equipment for the refining of petroleum, (5) facilities for producing and distributing power, (6) industry, (7) food supplies, (8) key military and police installations and materiel. The schedule will also include the disruption of military and police communications and harassment of military and police training and personnel.

16. Task 31, p. 8. This deadline will be met.

B. Additional Undertakings

The following comments are keyed to Sections D through K, Part IV (pp. 3 and 4) of the program review.

17. Section D, p. 3. Six men, to form the initial nucleus, have been assessed in depth. Further assessment of candidates inside and outside Cuba is in progress, and it is expected that ten of these will be recruited by 15 February.

18. Section E, p. 3. To date fifteen locations have been selected as suitable centers of resistance because of (1) the presence there of groups among which there is patent or incipient unrest, (2) the presence of strategic and tactical targets for use or deactivation, and (3) proximity to potential unconventional warfare areas. [4 lines of source text not declassified]

19. Section F, p. 3. In support of State's efforts CIA has conducted propaganda operations, including a number of mass demonstrations, [2 lines of source text not declassified].

20. Section H, p. 4. One TV intrusion operation has been conducted, on 16 January. Plans for an intrusion during the scheduled parade and demonstration in Havana are being formulated.

21. Section K, p. 4. Groups with which CIA has exploitable access or entree include women, labor, students, teachers, jurists, and other professional classes. International contacts [1 line of source text not declassified] will also be utilized.

296. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, January 25, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, S.G. 28, February 1, 1962. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by Parrott.


Minutes of Special Group Meeting, 25 January 1962


General Taylor; Mr. Johnson; Mr. Gilpatric, General Lemnitzer; Mr. McCone and Mr. Bissell

Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Helms and General Lansdale were present for Item 1

1. Cuba

The Group considered General Lansdale's paper "Cuba Project," 19 January 1962;/1/ his paper "Task 33," 19 January 1962;/2/ and the CIA paper "Cuba Project," 24 January 1962./3/ In addition General Lansdale circulated, but retained, copies of a paper on actions taken to gain popular support for the U.S. position in connection with the OAS meeting, and another outlining actions taken on the spot, in Punta del Este./4/

/1/For text of Lansdale's program review, dated January 18, see Document 291.

/2/Not found.

/3/Document 295.

/4/Neither paper has been found.

After a lengthy discussion, all agencies currently involved (State, Defense, Joint Staff, CIA) agreed that they accept the tasks assigned to them. In the case of State, this is subject to concurrence by the Secretary upon his return. February 20th is recognized as a target date to take a searching look at progress up to that point and to recommend new lines of policy if appropriate.

General Lansdale commented that it appears that some clarification might be in order as to exactly what is intended in the planning papers. He emphasized that there is agreement that external support of internal operations should be provided for and that it is recognized there might be an internal revolt which could lead to a Cuban group's requesting U.S. intervention. He also said he had met with the JCS and that the latter had responded strongly to the idea of preparing for external action. Additionally, he had met with the intelligence estimators and it had been noted there will be some delay in the NIE/5/ because of the need to acquire more intelligence and to digest a sizeable input from the State Department.

/5/An apparent reference to NIE 85-62, Document 315.

Mr. Johnson then pointed out that before the establishment of the Lansdale group, higher authority had directed State and Defense to prepare a plan for military intervention in the event of the removal of Castro from the Cuban scene. He said a great deal of work has been done along these lines and that this should now be directed into the channel of an integrated politico-military plan to cover any contingency.

Mr. McCone made several points: (a) The NIE of November 28,/6/ which was commented on in General Lansdale's paper, was based on all available intelligence and dealt with certain operational aspects. The latter had been done at Mr. McCone's direction. (b) Clandestine operations are not susceptible to rigid scheduling and must be approached on a step-by-step basis. Therefore, schedules will have to be reexamined periodically. (c) Sabotage, sanctions and economic warfare can all be attributed to the United States. The Special Group should recognize this as a possible consequence. (d) A popular uprising within Cuba could be brutally suppressed in the manner of Hungary. In such an event, unless the U.S. is prepared to give overt assistance, future opportunities to unseat the Castro government would be lost.

/6/See Document 271.

In commenting on Mr. McCone's last point, General Taylor noted that the CIA paper of the 24th appears to question the feasibility of the basic objective of overthrowing the Castro regime without overt U.S. military intervention, and that it suggests the need to accept in advance of implementing the Project the definite possibility of having to use U.S. forces. He said that in his view more than contingency plans are required and that, so far as possible, authority should be obtained in advance to undertake major moves which might be required as circumstances develop. He conceded that it may be impossible to get such a firm determination very far in advance. The Group agreed, however, that every effort should be made to line up various situations that might arise, and to formulate recommended policy to capitalize on these situations at the proper time. It was agreed that no action should be taken before February 20th which could have possibilities of involving the U.S. in charges of overt aggression.

General Lemnitzer noted that military contingency plans now in being provide enough American strength to accomplish the job without internal help. He said that while these plans are up-to-date, it will be necessary to build up a number of them based on varying assumptions. He also warned that planning for operations of this kind should not involve a firm commitment to a time schedule, as was the case in the earlier unsuccessful operation.

Finally, General Lansdale noted that task number 33 (a) has been withdrawn. The others under 33 will not be put into execution until future examination and approval.

[Here follows discussion unrelated to Cuba.]

Thomas A. Parrott/7/

/7/Printed from a copy that indicates Parrott signed the original.

297. Memorandum From the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale)

Washington, January 26, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/1-2662. Top Secret; Sensitive. Copies were sent to Attorney General Kennedy, Taylor, Gilpatric, Johnson, and McCone.


Mr. Hurwitch, State

General Craig, Defense


Tasks 29 and 33, Cuba Project/1/

/1/Task 29 is listed in the section under "Military Action" in the Program Review prepared by Lansdale on January 18. (Document 291) There were only 32 tasks listed in that review. Task 33 apparently was assigned to the Department of Defense in the January 19 memorandum that Lansdale cites in the memorandum printed here. The January 19 memorandum has not been found.

It is desired that there be an early determination of U.S. policy about the possible use of U.S. military force in the Cuba project. The policy determination will require a clear presentation of the factors to be considered. State and Defense are tasked with making the required presentation, under my guidance. Deputy Secretary Gilpatric of Defense and Deputy Under Secretary Johnson of State have agreed that each of the addressees will represent his Department for this purpose.

The presentation of factors to be considered will include a clear statement of the situations under which U.S. military force would be needed and a clear statement of the proposed use of U.S. military force to meet the needs of each situation. The paper presented for a policy determination on possible military intervention in Laos, known as the Plan 5 paper,/2/ provides general guidance for the presentation desired. The considerations noted in paragraph J, page 4, of my 18 January program review, need to be included.

/2/Reference is to SEATO Plan 5/61.

Separate presentations will be made for the use of U.S. military force visualized in Task 29 of my 18 January program review and the use of the U.S. military in Task 33b, for which Defense was asked to develop plans in my 19 January memorandum.

298. Telegram From the Headquarters of the Commander in Chief, Atlantic to the Headquarters of the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet

Norfolk, Virginia January 29, 1962, 8:20 p.m.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Cables, 1/11/62-1/29/62. Top Secret; Priority. Also sent to CJTF 122, CG USARLANT Ft Bragg, CG USARLANT Seymore-Johnson AFB NC. Repeated for information to JCS, CINCSTRIKE, CG CONARC, and COMTAC.

292020Z. Cuban Contingency Plans. A. CINCLANT OPLAN 314-61 (change 2). B. CINCLANT OPLAN 316-61./1/

/1/Neither of these operations plans has been found.

1. SecDef has expressed dissatisfaction with reaction times envisaged in references A and B.

2. Fast application of US air power against Cuban airfields, aircraft, missile and radar installations is required as first priority. The selective disruption of communications and transportation facilities is second priority with the limitation of avoiding destruction of populated areas. Air strikes against troop and armor concentrations is third priority. Reaction times from a condition of no warning are six hours, twelve hours and twenty-four hours. Armament is limited to conventional weapons only. Naval and Air Force tactical air will be employed. Additionally it is desired to reduce reaction times to 4 days for ref A and to 2 days for ref B.

3. In order to achieve the required air strike capability it will be necessary to:

A. Activate JTF 122.

B. Require COMAFTASKFOR and COMNAVTASKFOR to be prepared to conduct tactical air strikes against designated targets as directed by CJTF 122.

4. From previous studies of the subject it is known that the required reaction times for refs A and B can be achieved only by accomplishing certain of the alert and prepositioning of forces set forth in phases I and II of the referenced plans. Deployment of PACOM amphibious forces and some LANTCOM seaborne forces will be necessary.

5. From previous studies in which adees and their staffs participated in CINCLANT is aware of the magnitude of effort required to realize and maintain the readiness goals set forth above. However, the Cuban military capability and the direct threat presented to the US and Latin America are rapidly increasing.

6. CINCLANT desires action adees review their plans supporting refs A and B with the above in mind and comment by message at their earliest convenience. Specific information desired:

A. Estimate of TAC aircraft required to achieve air strike capability described in para 2 above west of longitude 79W.

B. Estimate of Naval aircraft required to achieve air strike capability described in para 2 above east of longitude 79W.

C. Prepositioning requirements for 6A and B above.

D. Alert and prepositioning requirements (related to phases I and II) to achieve a 4 day reaction time for ref A and a 2 day reaction time for ref B.

E. Estimates of length of time ready posture can be maintained.

F. Estimates of costs, and impact on other major plans and programs of achieving:

(1) Reaction time of six, twelve, and twenty-four hours for air strikes.

(2) The reduced reaction times of four days for ref A and two days for ref B./2/

7. Replies are desired by 5 Feb. based on best estimates available. Action adees should continue to study the problem and be prepared to participate in planning conference in near future.

/2/In CINCLANT telegram 312156Z to CINCSTRIKE, Dennison cited CINCLANT telegram 292020Z and stated that the studies to be conducted in accordance with his instructions in that telegram "will, among other things, be concerned with the provision of combat-ready air force and army forces to this command." He added: "The degree of readiness of these forces, and the speed with which they can move to or be assembled" at stated transfer points were matters of mutual concern. Accordingly, Dennison asked for CINCSTRIKE comments on CINCLANT telegram 292020Z, with particular reference to subparagraphs 6 D, E, and F. (Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Historian's Office, Cable Files, Cuba, Jan-Aug 1962)

299. Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Gilpatric) to President Kennedy

Washington, January 31, 1962.

//Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 66 A 3542, Cuba, 342.18 (31 Jan 1962). Confidential. The memorandum was drafted in DOD/ISA and was forwarded by Assistant Secretary Paul H. Nitze on January 30 for Secretary McNamara's signature. Gilpatric signed for McNamara. In his January 30 covering memorandum Nitze noted that the recommendation to terminate the recruitment policy as of June 30 had the concurrence of the Departments of State and Health, Education and Welfare, as well as that of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower, and the respective Armed Services. (Ibid.)


Service of Cuban Volunteers in U.S. Armed Forces

In accordance with instructions contained in National Security Action Memorandum No. 54 dated June 26, 1961,/1/ the Department of Defense, in coordination with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and the U.S. Selective Service System, instituted a program to offer qualified Cuban exiles career opportunities for service in the U.S. Armed Forces on a volunteer basis, with the clear understanding that they were not being prepared as a combat force.

/1/Document 239.

A suitable interval has now elapsed since the initiation of this program in August 1961 to report on its program. Through the period ending 15 January 1962, 3,504 Cubans who expressed an interest in the program have been interviewed at the Cuban refugee center in Miami. Of this number 920 were determined to be eligible and had sufficient interest in the program to register with the local Selective Service Board.

Of this number 817 reported and were processed at the Armed Forces Examining Station in Miami. On the basis of mental, medical and security examinations, 441 were rejected as not meeting minimum U.S. service standards.

Of the remaining 376 otherwise qualified, 101 demonstrated an adequate level of English language ability, while 275 did not.

Of the former group, 59 entered the U.S. military services. A special school which, for international political reasons, operates under the auspices of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, has provided English language training for volunteers otherwise eligible and qualified. As of 15 January 1962, 29 graduates of this training had entered the U.S. Armed Forces. Out of the total of 376, 194 individuals are currently being processed and 94 have dropped out.

In sum, during the five-month period ending 15 January 1962, the program has resulted in 88 individual Cubans entering the U.S. Armed Services, 11 in the Army, 18 in the Navy, 18 in the Marine Corps and 41 in the Air Force. These modest results when compared to the number of Cubans initially expressing interest in the program are attributable to the following factors:

1. By far the largest drop in numbers occurs after the first interview with those Cubans expressing an interest in the program. Apart from those determined to be ineligible by reason of age or some obvious physical limitation, most who drop out at this stage appear to do so as a result of learning that it is actually volunteer service in the U.S. Armed Forces and not in a new invasion force which is being offered. There is some evidence that many do not accept this explanation and continue in the program only to drop out at some later stage when they become convinced that it is not, as they seem disposed to believe, a cover operation for building a new Cuban combat force.

2. The next point in the processing where a major drop-out occurs is in the medical, mental and security examinations stage. Of the total of 441 rejected, 190 were for mental and medical reasons and almost all of the remaining 251 were found unacceptable on the basis of admitted sexual deviations.

3. Among the 376 who passed the mental, medical and security tests, 77 voluntarily dropped out of the program at one point or another for unexplained reasons, while 17 were unable to qualify in English tests after having completed language training.

This attrition rate, while high, is not surprising when compared to our experience with some groups of U.S. citizens where the rate of rejection for service in the U.S. Armed Forces has been 1 out of 2 and there is no language barrier to be overcome. Nevertheless, to the extent that this program is intended to assist Cuban exiles now in the United States to maintain themselves and to usefully employ and further develop their individual skills and abilities, it cannot be regarded as a marked success. The cost, particularly in the case of the language training funded by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, when compared to the numbers who ultimately qualify and enter the U.S. Armed Services, suggests that this is a somewhat expensive process for the results obtained.

There is little likelihood that our experience with this program will be appreciably different in the months ahead. Interest in it among the Cuban exile population continues but is not great.

I recommend that this program be terminated by 30 June 1962 unless a review by the Department of State should determine that there are sufficient reasons to justify its continuance.

Roswell L. Gilpatric/2/

/2/Printed from a copy that indicates Gilpatric signed the original.

300. Memorandum From the Officer in Charge of Cuban Affairs (Hurwitch) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Woodward)

Washington, February 1, 1962.

//Source: Department of Stare, Central Files, 737.00/1-2062. Top Secret.


"Cuba Project"

Attached for your urgent consideration is the latest version of the basic paper relating to the "Cuban Project."/1/ There is also attached a memorandum to each member of the group from General Lansdale./2/ A number of tasks listed in the basic paper have been assigned to the Department. Although I have done a little preliminary work on some of these tasks, I have been reluctant until now to proceed very far both because of uncertainty as to the final outcome of the Punta del Este meeting and in the absence of your guidance.

/1/Document 291.

/2/Document 293.

I shall appreciate an early opportunity, in view of the deadlines imposed, to discuss the paper with you and obtain your views as to the best manner of proceeding, particularly with regard to Task #9 (page 5)./3/

/3/Woodward responded, in a handwritten note on the memorandum, directed to Hurwitch and Goodwin: "I believe we can now forge ahead on all items feasibly attainable."

[end of document]


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

Join the mailing list