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Department Seal

Volume X
Cuba, 1961-1962



Cuba, 1961-1962

301. Memorandum From the Deputy Legal Adviser (Meeker) to Secretary of State Rusk

Washington, February 2, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 1/62-8/62. Confidential. On February 8, Rusk sent this memorandum to McGeorge Bundy for the President with a covering memorandum that reads: "I believe the President might be interested in the attached legal comment on our position in Guantanamo. The political aspects are also being studied." (Ibid.)


Guantanamo Base


What are the rights and legal position of the United States in the event of a Cuban denunciation of the Guantanamo Base arrangements?


If Cuba were to denounce and repudiate the arrangements by which the United States has a base at Guantanamo, the United States would be on strong ground to assert (1) that the Cuban denunciation and repudiation were ineffective; (2) that we retained our base rights; and (3) that we would be justified in resisting with force any attempt to evict our armed forces from the base. These conclusions stem from the following considerations:

(a) The right of the United States in Guantanamo is more than a right to maintain a base on territory under the sovereignty of Cuba and governed by Cuban law; by international agreement and treaty the United States obtained the lease of a defined area and received from Cuba the right of "complete jurisdiction and control" in that area.

(b) No date was set for the termination of these rights, and the relevant international instruments specify that they are to continue until modified or abrogated by agreement between the United States and Cuba.


In February 1903 the President of Cuba and President Theodore Roosevelt signed an "Agreement for the Lease to the United States of Lands in Cuba for Coaling and Naval Stations"./1/ This included a lease covering the Guantanamo base, whose boundaries were described in Article I of the Agreement. Article II stated: "While on the one hand the United States recognizes the continuance of the ultimate sovereignty of the Republic of Cuba over the above described areas of land and water, on the other hand the Republic of Cuba consents that during the period of the occupation by the United States of said areas under the terms of this agreement the United States shall exercise complete jurisdiction and control over and within said areas . . . ." The Agreement contained no terminal date and no provision for termination.

/1/See footnote 2, Document 6.

The Treaty of Relations with Cuba which was signed in May 1903/2/ (and ratified the following year) stated in Article VII:

/2/For text of the treaty signed by the United States and Cuba on May 22, 1903, see 6 TIAS 1116-1119.

"That to enable the United States to maintain the independence of Cuba, and to protect the people thereof, as well as for its own defense, the Government of Cuba will sell or lease to the United States lands necessary for coaling or naval stations, at certain specified points, to be agreed upon with the President of the United States."

On the basis of the February 1903 Agreement for Lease and the above-quoted Article VII in the 1903 Treaty of Relations, a lease was signed July 2, 1903/3/ and ratified later that year. The lease specified a rental, and contained certain other provisions in pursuance of the February Agreement.

/3/See footnote 2, Document 6.

In 1934 a new Treaty of Relations was signed with Cuba in May and brought into force June 9 of that year./4/ The 1934 Treaty expressly abrogated the Treaty of Relations signed May 22, 1903. However, Article III of the 1934 Treaty contained the following provision on Guantanamo:

/4/See footnote 3, Document 6.

"Until the two contracting parties agree to the modification or abrogation of the stipulations of the agreement in regard to the lease to the United States of America of lands in Cuba for coaling and naval stations signed by the President of the Republic of Cuba on February 16, 1903, and by the President of the United States of America on the 23d day of the same month and year, the stipulations of that agreement with regard to the naval station of Guantanamo shall continue in effect. The supplementary agreement in regard to naval and coaling stations signed between the two Governments on July 2, 1903, also shall continue in effect in the same form and on the same conditions with respect to the naval station at Guantanamo. So long as the United States of America shall not abandon the said naval station of Guantanamo or the two Governments shall not agree to a modification of its present limits, the station shall continue to have the territorial area that it now has, with the limits that it has on the date of the signature of the present Treaty."

As to the Isle of Pines, the 1903 Treaty of Relations had provided as follows in Article VI:

"That the Isle of Pines shall be omitted from the proposed constitutional boundaries of Cuba, the title thereto being left to future adjustment by treaty."

In March 1904 the United States and Cuba signed a Treaty/5/ by which the United States relinquished in favor of Cuba "all claim of title to the Island of Pines." Article II of this treaty provided:

/5/For text of this treaty, signed on March 2, 1904, see 6 TIAS 1124-1125.

"This relinquishment, on the part of the United States of America, of claim of title to the said Island of Pines, is in consideration of the grants of coaling and naval stations in the Island of Cuba heretofore made in the United States of America by the Republic of Cuba."

The treaty was ratified and entered into force 21 years later, in March 1925./6/

/6/The treaty was ratified by the Senate on March 13, 1925, and entered into force with an exchange of notes on March 17. (6 TIAS 1125-1127)


The United States presence in Guantanamo rests upon international agreements containing no termination date and making no provision for unilateral termination. Our rights subsist "until the two contracting parties agree to the modification or abrogation" of the Guantanamo lease arrangements.

These arrangements differ from the military base agreements concluded in recent years, since the United States is given a right of "complete jurisdiction and control" in a defined base area. The Guantanamo arrangement more nearly resembles the arrangements with Panama concerning the Canal Zone than the military base agreements concluded by the United States with NATO allies and others during the last 12 years. In the case of the Canal Zone, the United States was granted "in perpetuity the use, occupation and control" of the Zone. The grant covered "all the rights, power, and authority within the Zone . . . which the United States would possess and exercise if it were the sovereign of the territory." Another analogy is Article III of the Treaty of Peace with Japan,/7/ under which the United States received "the right to exercise all and any powers of administration, legislation and jurisdiction over the territory and inhabitants" of the Ryukyu Islands, pending the placing of these islands under trusteeship. It has been recognized that Japan retains residual sovereignty.

/7/Signed on September 8, 1951; for text, see 3 UST (pt 3) 3169.

A declaration by Cuba that it denounced, repudiated, or abrogated the Guantanamo Base arrangements would be legally ineffective. Those arrangements are to continue, according to their terms, until agreed otherwise between the United States and Cuba. An allegation of the doctrine of rebus sic stantibus (changed circumstances) as a ground for unilateral termination would not be well founded. Application of the doctrine has never been upheld by an international judicial tribunal. The leading writers on international law state that the doctrine may be applied only by agreement of the parties or through the decision of a tribunal.

Thus, if Cuba should claim that unilateral statements or actions on its part operated to deprive the United States of its Guantanamo base rights, we would be on strong legal ground in refuting this contention, and in using the necessary force to defend the base at Guantanamo and maintain our position there.

The treaty stipulations regarding the Isle of Pines, made in the Treaty of Relations of 1903 and the separate 1904 treaty ratified in 1925, do not affect the status of the Guantanamo Base. The latter treaty merely stated that the transfer of the Isle of Pines was in consideration of the "grants of coaling and naval stations . . . heretofore made" (i.e., Guantanamo). United States rights in the base were fixed by the terms of those grants and are not affected by any political connection with the transfer of the Isle of Pines.

[1 paragraph (13 lines of source text) not declassified]

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

Washington, undated.

//Source: Department of State, State-JCS Meetings: Lot 70 D 328. Official Use Only. Drafting information on the source text indicates that the memorandum was drafted in ARA/RPA by W.G. Bowdler on February 8.


Accomplishments of the 8th Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the American Republics, Punta del Este, Uruguay, January 22-31, 1962/1/

/1/See footnote 2, Document 288.

United States Objectives

The essential objective of the United States at the Meeting was to achieve maximum agreement by the Members of the Organization of American States upon a program of action which would, in the most effective manner possible, (1) isolate and consequently weaken the Castro-communist regime's position in this Hemisphere, and (2) strengthen the determination and capability of the Member States to act individually and collectively to defend their political independence against the continuing Castro-communist efforts to undermine and overthrow their governments.

Negotiating Situation

During the preparatory stage for the Meeting, there was one group of governments, made up mostly of States bordering on the Caribbean including the United States, which believed that the most effective way of achieving the over-all objective was to approve an obligatory break in diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba. The second group, consisting of governments most of whom were somewhat farther removed from the immediate source of Castro-communist infection, were clearly opposed to any such obligatory break. They expressed their opposition in terms of doubts about the juridical bases for taking such action, particularly the applicability of the Rio Treaty to the situation as it was described in the convocation of the Meeting.

During the early stages of the Meeting, there developed a unanimity of opinion that the point of major importance to the OAS was the clear incompatibility between the Marxist-Leninist nature of the Castro regime and the principles and objectives of the inter-American system. The issue then became what action should be taken as a result of this incompatibility. The group which had favored obligatory sanctions came out in support of an immediate decision to exclude the present Cuban Government from the system, leaving implementation of the decision to the various organs and agencies of the system. The other group argued that exclusion could not be decided on immediately and that this matter should be studied to determine the proper juridical basis. The negotiations which followed centered upon this basic difference. The efforts of the United States were directed toward finding a formula to exclude the present Government of Cuba from participation in the organs and agencies of the inter-American system which would command the widest possible support. In the end, it was not possible to bridge the gap between the two points of view.

Resolutions Approved

The clear and unequivocal decision contained in Resolution VI that Cuba's adherence to Marxism-Leninism is incompatible with the inter-American system and that Cuba's alignment with the communist bloc breaks the unity and solidarity of the Hemisphere represents the most significant outcome of the Meeting. It was approved unanimously, with the exception of Cuba. The accompanying decision that this incompatibility "excludes the present Government of Cuba from participation in the inter-American system" received the support of 14 countries (Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, United States and Venezuela). Cuba voted against and 6 countries abstained (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Ecuador). These two points constitute the principal action taken by the Meeting and paved the way for the adoption of other Resolutions which further contributed to the achievement of our objectives.

The Meeting approved five additional Resolutions directed specifically at the Cuban problem by unanimous (except for Cuba) or close to unanimous votes. They include: (1) a declaration and warning of the true nature of the communist offensive in America and the means to combat it--Resolution I, "Communist Offensive in America", adopted 20-1 (Cuba); (2) the creation of a Special Consultative Committee on Security to advise the OAS and member governments on problems of communist aggression and intervention and which also calls upon the member governments to cooperate in the measures needed to anticipate and prevent communist intervention--Resolution II, "Special Consultative Committee on Security against the Subversive Action of International Communism", approved 19-1 with 1 abstention (Bolivia); (3) a strong reiteration of the importance of the Alliance for Progress--Resolution V, approved unanimously (without Cuba); (4) the immediate exclusion of Cuba from the Inter-American Defense Board--Resolution VII, "Inter-American Defense Board", approved unanimously (without Cuba); (5) the suspension of trade in arms and implements of war with Cuba and a directive to the Council of the OAS to study and recommend the extension of such suspension of trade to other items, particularly those of strategic importance--Resolution VIII, "Economic Relations", approved 16-1 with 4 abstentions (Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Mexico).

The Meeting also adopted Resolutions on the importance of free elections--Resolution IV; on the principles of nonintervention and self-determination--Resolution III; and on strengthening the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights--Resolution IX. Only Cuba voted in the negative.

These actions mark a significant step forward by the OAS in dealing with the communist threat which confronts the system and the member countries. The exclusion of Cuba and other defensive measures agreed upon at Punta del Este will place the OAS and the member governments in a vastly improved position to anticipate and counteract the existing and future efforts of international communism, with the cooperation of the Castro regime, to destroy the political independence of each of the other American Republics.

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

Washington, February 16, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/1-1862. Top Secret.


Status Report on Cuba Project


Your memorandum dated January 18, 1962/1/

/1/Document 291.

Re paragraph F. Diplomatic Actions

Resolution adopted at the OAS Meeting of Foreign Ministers/2/ resulted in condemning Cuba and isolating it from the rest of the Hemisphere. The substance of the meeting and the degree of unanimity were gratifyingly beyond that which had been initially expected. The Department of State is vigorously pressing for rapid implementation of the resolutions adopted. On February 14, 1962 the Cuban Government was by vote excluded from the OAS Council. Similar actions will be sought in other OAS organs. The early departure from the U.S. of the Cuban delegation to the OAS is anticipated.

/2/See footnote 2, Document 288.

Implementation of Resolution II (Special Consultative Committee on Security) is underway through an inter-Departmental committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Rostow. It is envisaged that the work of the Special Consultative Committee will complement U.S. unilateral and bilateral efforts in this field.

The feasibility of encouraging Latin American governments to develop independent operations leading to an internal revolt of the Cuban people is being scrutinized. Consideration is being given to sending a person down to explore this question with one or two of the Latin American Presidents.

The Department has sent cable instruction to all posts in Latin America to exploit all opportunities to enlist local sympathy for the Cuban people and increase hostility towards the Communist regime in Cuba. (Task 8)

Re para 6. Economic Warfare

The outcome of the OAS meeting provided excellent political basis in a multilateral context for a U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba. Upon termination of the MFM the Department re-iterated its previous recommendation that an embargo be imposed. The President took this action on February 3, 1962./3/ (Task 11)

/3/On February 3 the White House released a statement by President Kennedy announcing an embargo on trade between the United States and Cuba. The President stated that the embargo was to be total, with the exception of certain foodstuffs, medicines, and medical supplies, which would be excepted on humanitarian grounds. He noted that the embargo was being imposed in accordance with the decisions of the recent meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Inter-American system at Punta del Este. The intent of the embargo, the President stated, was to reduce the economic capacity of the Castro government to engage in acts of aggression, subversion, or other activities endangering the security of the United States and other nations of the hemisphere. (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1962, p. 106)

The Secretary has designated Mr. Rostow to make the presentation of the U.S. view of the Cuban problem and seek NATO cooperation. This presentation is scheduled to take place in Paris on February 20, 1962 at a NATO Council meeting especially called for this purpose. (Japan will be represented) (Tasks 22 and 23)

Mexico has adopted improved procedures for halting diversion to Cuba of U.S. origin products. Canada, whose controls have been generally effective, has been impressed with U.S. keen interest in this area. (Task 12)

The Department of Commerce is examining the question of licensing "positive list" items to Latin America. (Task 13)

Cuba is treated the same as the Sino-Soviet Bloc with respect to export controls of technical data. (Task 14)

State is terminating the staff work and the draft letter to Commerce recommending the issuance of transportation order T-3. (Task 15)

Bloc and Cuban chartered vessels are subject to port security regulations. (Task 16) Tasks 17, 19, and 20 do not appear to be feasible.

Task 18 is yet to be fully explored.

Re paragraph K. Major Elements of the Population

The Department has appointed a labor specialist to fill a newly created position for the purpose of invigorating and strengthening the non-communist Latin American labor movement.

Under the direction of Mr. McGhee, the Department is preparing instructions to go out next week to inventory all youth (under 35) assets. In addition, the Department is actively searching for an appropriate person to chair a special committee to be established for the purpose of influencing and using Latin American intellectual groups in support of the democratic cause. (Task 9)

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

Washington, February 20, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 2/62-4/62. Top Secret; Sensitive. An attached distribution list indicates that 12 copies of the program review were prepared. Copies were sent to the President through Bundy, Robert Kennedy, and Taylor; to Rusk through Johnson; to McNamara through Gilpatric; to McCone through Helms; to Murrow through Wilson, Goodwin, Craig for the JCS, and Harvey. Two copies were kept by Lansdale. In a covering memorandum to the same addressees, also dated February 20, Lansdale noted that the attached action plan had been developed in response to a request from the Special Group (Augmented) for such a plan. (Ibid.) For text of the action plan, see the Supplement.


The Goal. In keeping with the spirit of the Presidential memorandum of 30 November 1961,/1/ the United States will help the people of Cuba overthrow the Communist regime from within Cuba and institute a new government with which the United States can live in peace.

/1/Document 278.

The Situation. We still know too little about the real situation inside Cuba, although we are taking energetic steps to learn more. However, some salient facts are known. It is known that the Communist regime is an active Sino-Soviet spearhead in our Hemisphere and that Communist controls inside Cuba are severe. Also, there is evidence that the repressive measures of the Communists, together with disappointments in Castro's economic dependency on the Communist formula, have resulted in an anti-regime atmosphere among the Cuban people which makes a resistance program a distinct and present possibility.

Time is running against us. The Cuban people feel helpless and are losing hope fast. They need symbols of inside resistance and of outside interest soon. They need something they can join with the hope of starting to work surely towards overthrowing the regime. Since late November, we have been working hard to re-orient the operational concepts within the U.S. government and to develop the hard intelligence and operational assets required for success in our task.

The next National Intelligence Estimate on Cuba (NIE 85-62)/2/ promises to be a useful document dealing with our practical needs and with due recognition of the sparsity of hard facts. The needs of the Cuba project, as it goes into operation, plus the increasing U.S. capability for intelligence collection, should permit more frequent estimates for our guidance. These will be prepared on a periodic basis.

/2/Document 315.

Premise of Action. Americans once ran a successful revolution. It was run from within, and succeeded because there was timely and strong political, economic, and military help by nations outside who supported our cause. Using this same concept of revolution from within, we must now help the Cuban people to stamp out tyranny and gain their liberty.

On 18 January, the Chief of Operations assigned thirty-two tasks to Departments and Agencies of the U.S. government, in order to provide a realistic assessment and preparation of U.S. capabilities./3/ The Attorney General and the Special Group were apprised of this action. The answers received on 15 February provided the basis for planning a realistic course of action. The answers also revealed that the course of action must contain continuing coordination and firm overall guidance.

/3/See Document 291.

The course of action set forth herein is realistic within present operational estimates and intelligence. Actually, it represents the maximum target timing which the operational people jointly considered feasible. It aims for a revolt which can take place in Cuba by October 1962. It is a series of target actions and dates, not a rigid time-table. The target dates are timed as follows:

Phase I, Action, March 1962. Start moving in.

Phase II, Build-up, April-July 1962. Activating the necessary operations inside Cuba for revolution and concurrently applying the vital political, economic, and military-type support from outside Cuba.

Phase III, Readiness, 1 August 1962, check for final policy decision.

Phase IV, Resistance, August-September 1962, move into guerrilla operations.

Phase V, Revolt, first two weeks of October 1962. Open revolt and overthrow of the Communist regime.

Phase VI, Final, during month of October 1962. Establishment of new government.

Plan of Action. Attached is an operational plan for the overthrow of the Communist regime in Cuba, by Cubans from within Cuba, with outside help from the U.S. and elsewhere. Since this is an operation to prompt and support a revolt by the people in a Communist police state, flexibility is a must for success. Decisions on operational flexibility rest with the Chief of Operations, with consultation in the Special Group when policy matters are involved. Target actions and dates are detailed in the attached operational plans, which cover:

A. Basic Action Plan Inside Cuba

B. Political Support Plan

C. Economic Support Plan

D. Psychological Support Plan

E. Military Support Plan

F. Sabotage Support Plan

G. Intelligence Support Plan

Early Policy Decisions. The operational plan for clandestine U.S. support of a Cuban movement inside Cuba to overthrow the Communist regime is within policy limits already set by the President. A vital decision, still to be made, is on the use of open U.S. force to aid the Cuban people in winning their liberty. If conditions and assets permitting a revolt are achieved in Cuba, and if U.S. help is required to sustain this condition, will the U.S. respond promptly with military force to aid the Cuban revolt? The contingencies under which such military deployment would be needed, and recommended U.S. responses, are detailed in a memorandum being prepared by the Secretaries of State and of Defense. An early decision is required, prior to deep involvement of the Cubans in this program.

[Here follows the 39-page action plan. For text, see the Supplement.]

305. Memorandum From the Director of Intelligence and Research (Hilsman) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)

Washington, February 20, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, S.G. 31, February 21, 1962. Top Secret.


The Cuba Project

Although I am not familiar with the context in which the paper dated 18 January 1962/1/ has been discussed and developed, I think it may be useful for you to have a few observations on it from a bystander's viewpoint.

/1/Document 291.

1. I believe that the Objective as stated is sound and desirable.

2. With regard to the Concept of Operations, I have serious misgivings. The concept appears to depend in large measure on building up an internal political action organization in Cuba which would enjoy the support of the majority of the Cuban people. Presumably, it would be primarily CIA's job to build such an organization. I have seen no hard intelligence which would lead me to suppose that there exists, or that the Agency has assets for bringing into existence in the near future, an internal political action organization which would assure the support of the majority of the Cuban people against the Castro regime. On the contrary, the evidence we have points toward the present regime's tightening its controls. This leads me to conclude, as others have, that unless a popular uprising in Cuba is promptly supported by overt U.S. military action, it would probably lead to another Hungary. Briefly, I do not believe we can unseat the present regime in Havana by anything short of outright military intervention.

3. There exist, of course, contingency plans for taking Cuba over in a matter of days. What does not exist, to my knowledge, is any agreement (a) to carry out such an intervention, (b) on a means of provoking it, or (c) an analysis of the possible consequences of intervention. I think we should bite the bullet and address ourselves to these points. Unless we are at least willing seriously to consider such a course of action, I am afraid we may be heading for a fiasco that could be worse for us than the ill-fated operation of last year. In a word, on the basis of the information available to me on the Lansdale approach, which is fragmentary to say the least, I tend to agree with the position taken by John McCone in the Special Group as reflected in the minutes of the meeting of January 25/2/ (copy attached).

/2/See Document 296.

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

Norfolk, Virginia, February 24, 1962, 3:54 p.m.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Cables, 2/4/62-7/10/62. Top Secret; Priority. Also sent to CG USCONARC, COMTAC, CGUSARLANT, CG USAFLANT, CJTF 122, CINCPAC, CINCPACFLT, and CINCSTRIKE. Repeated to JCS. The White House copy of this telegram indicates that it was seen by McGeorge Bundy and General Taylor.

241554Z. CINCLANT OPLANs 314/316-61./1/

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

A. JCS 3385 DTG 220013 Feb 1962./2/

/2/Not found.

1. Ref A contains planning direction for development of quick reaction capabilities in connection with subject plans. The criteria set forth in ref A were discussed at a conference conducted at this Headquarters on 7 and 8 February. For your information, a summary of the conference is contained in paragraph 4.

2. In accordance with the directive contained in ref A, it is desired that:

A. Plans supporting CINCLANT OPLAN 314-61 be completed as expeditiously as possible.

B. In view of the information contained in ref A, adees review the info contained in the appended report and submit additional information required to CINCLANT.

3. As noted in Part II of the report contained in para 4 below, CINC-LANT believes that further development of plans supporting CINC-LANT OPLAN 316-61 may be unnecessary. In connection with submission of the information required by ref A, CINCLANT will re-open this question with the JCS. In the interim, OPLAN 314-61 takes precedence.

4. There follows a report in two parts entitled, "Planning Considerations for Reduction in Reaction Times."

"Part One--Fast Application of U.S. Airpower

1. Concept.

A. Naval and Air Force forces designated for CINCLANT OPLAN 314 will maintain a posture of readiness to conduct air strikes against Cuba within six, twelve or twenty-four hours from the time of receipt of an execution order.

B. The following order of priority for the selection of targets will apply:

Priority I: Cuban airfields, aircraft, missile and radar installations.

Priority II: Selective disruption of communication and transportation facilities limited by avoiding unnecessary destruction of populated areas.

Priority III: Troops and armor concentrations.

Air strikes will be concentrated on Priority I and II targets for the first twelve daylight hours.

C. The primary purpose for the fast application of U.S. airpower will be to eliminate the capability of Cuban Air Force to conduct air warfare, and to reduce the capability of Cuban ground forces to wage war.

D. Marine forces at Guantanamo will, in coordination with the execution of air strikes, break out and obtain surrounding high ground in order to assure permanent retention and use of this U.S. base and its airfields.

E. Coordination between CINCLANT and CINCONAD will be effected by CINCLANT in order to assure the air defense of forces located in CONUS.

2. Assumptions.

A. Required prepositioning of Air Force and Naval forces will be authorized.

B. The airborne/amphibious assaults against Cuba will not begin earlier than four days following the day initial air strikes commence. (This limitation does not apply if forces are prepositioned for a four or two day reaction time for CINCLANT OPLAN 314 as discussed in Part II.)

C. Cuban forces will attack the U.S. naval base, Guantanamo, immediately after commencement of U.S. air strikes on Cuban soil. (Provided such an attack, prior to the utilization of U.S. air power, is not the cause for initiation of hostilities.)

3. Requirements.

A. Army forces: Assume increased readiness posture at home bases.

B. Naval forces: Consideration for the defense of Guantanamo is essential and must be included in prepositioning requirements for the fast application of U.S. air power as set forth below:

(1) One CVA for general participation in air strikes in eastern Cuba.

(2) One Marine Air Group (MAG) located in Mayaguana to provide air cover and close air support for Marine forces at Guantanamo. If unable to obtain base rights for use of the Mayaguana airfield and associated facilities or equally suitable airfield, a second CVA will be necessary.

(3) One MAG located at Key West, available for support of Air Force forces with air attacks on western Cuba and to augment CONAD forces in southern Florida.

(4) Class V (A) ammunition available to support this concept is extremely limited. Air strikes in support of the fast application of air power will have to be curtailed to insure that sufficient stocks remain for execution of CINCLANT OPLAN 314.

(5) One Marine RLT headquarters and two reinforced battalions at Guantanamo in addition to present base defense forces. The Caribbean ready battalion and one air lifted battalion plus sea tail could be prepositioned on short notice. This would release amphibious vessels of the ready group, creating a relief in Naval assault shipping.

(6) Evacuate dependents from Guantanamo.

(7) It is imperative that the reinforcement of Guantanamo and evacuation of dependents be undertaken prior to the initiation of air strikes.

C. Air Force forces:

(1) Prepositioning requirement for tactical units are:

(a) 8 tactical fighter squadrons at Homestead AFB, Florida.

(b) One tactical fighter squadron and one tactical reconnaissance squadron at Opalocka Airfield, Florida.

(c) One tactical fighter squadron at NAS Key West, Florida.

(d) One air refueling squadron at MacDill AFB, Florida.

(2) Prepositioning requirements for control and support forces are:

(a) Activation of AFTF 126 and subordinate headquarters.

(b) Activation of Opalocka Airfield with a group and facilities sufficient for initial prepositioning of tactical squadrons and additional squadrons arriving after order to execute strikes is given.

(c) Establishment of necessary communications and control facilities.

(d) Distribution of POL and ordnance required for prepositioned units.

(3) Cost, impact on plans and programs and other considerations.

(a) Reduces availability of air refueling aircraft for other operations.

(b) Reduces reaction capability for other contingencies.

(c) Limits forces available for exercises.

(d) Reduces operational and training activities at bases providing support items and personnel to operating bases.

(4) This posture can be maintained for an indefinite period of time.

Part Two--Reduction of Reaction Times of CINCLANT OPLANs 314 and 316 to Four and Two Days Respectively

1. Concept.

Execute those portions of CINCLANT OPLAN 314 which will produce a readiness posture in all forces equivalent to that necessary for D-2 or D-4 and suspend action at either one of these points. This will require execution of selected portions of Phases I, II, and III. Due to the continual growth and the estimated current strength of the Cuban armed forces the concept of operations set forth in CINCLANT OPLAN 316 may no longer be adequate to cope with the threat. Any major operations contemplated should be based upon CINCLANT OPLAN 314. Coordination between CINCLANT and CINCONAD will be effected by CINCLANT in order to assure the air defense of forces located in CONUS.

2. Army Forces.

A. Requirements.

(1) Entire air echelon of TF 125 to be prepositioned at staging base in Florida.

(2) Initial surface echelon of TF 125 to be embarked.

(3) Air and surface echelons to be placed in DEFCON 2.

(4) Up-to-date vertical photography of drop zones and other critical areas is necessary, placing a requirement for the removal of overflight restrictions. Current vertical photographic intelligence is urgently required for all other forces as well as for Army forces.

(5) Prestockage at home installations of operational maps will be required for surface movement units. This is now being done for airborne echelon only.

(6) There is a requirement for one aircraft carrier for lift and operation of army helicopters and light aircraft. Provision from presently assigned CINCLANTFLT forces will dangerously reduce ASW effort. CINCLANT is developing a more satisfactory solution which will be forwarded separately to the JCS.

B. Cost, impact on plans and programs and other considerations.

(1) If troops are placed in full ready to launch status, combat effectiveness will begin to decrease after two weeks. After sixty days the combat effectiveness of all units will become very questionable.

(2) These forces are earmarked for use in other contingency plans in support of CINCNELM, CINCPAC and other CINCLANT plans. While in the advance readiness conditions they would be geographically oriented for rapid deployment to Middle East, Europe or Africa.

(3) Numerous programmed training exercises would have to be canceled.

(4) The following is an initial U.S. CONARC cost estimate for prepositioning only, of certain combat units in the air and surface echelon. It does not represent the total cost that would be involved:

Unit: 1 ABN DIV (Ft. Campbell, Ky.)

Move To: Florida

Unit: 1 ABN DIV (Ft. Bragg, N.C.)

Move To: Florida

Unit: INF BDE (Ft. Benning, Ga.)

Move To: Ft. Jackson, S.C.

Unit: Tank Bn (Ft. Benning, Ga.)

Move To: Ft. Stewart, Ga.

Unit: Armd Cav Regt capability (Ft. Hood, Tex.)

Move To: Ft. Stewart, Ga.

Unit: 3 FA bns (Ft. Sill, Okla.) (surface echelon)

Move To: Ft. Polk, La.

Unit: 1 FA bn (Ft. Sill. Okla.) (air echelon)

Move To: Florida

Unit: 1 FA bn (Ft. Knox, Ky.) (surface echelon)

Move To: Ft. Stewart, Ga.

Unit: 1 FA bn (Ft. Campbell, Ky.) (air echelon)

Move To: Florida

Other miscellaneous support units (5,000 personnel) at various installations. The following includes movement of units, opening costs at Ft. Stewart and Ft. Polk, and packing and crating etc.

1. Movement

A. Equipment--$2,697,540 (without per diem)

B. Personnel (one-way, surface elements to surface staging area)--$210,000 (without per diem)

C. Fill personnel and equipment shortages--$1,497,000 (without per diem)

2. Per diem-$58,000

3. Opening cost--$365,240 (without per diem)

4. Installation support costs--$95,500 per day

5. Packing and crating--$1,767,500 (without per diem)

6. Cost of continued operations at prepositioning staging areas, not computed.

7. No MATS reinbursement is computed.

Total: $6,537,280 ($153,500 per day)

3. Naval forces.

A. Requirements.

(1) The entire Naval Task Force, as set forth in 314, will have to be almost wholly loaded and ready for sea in order to meet the four day reaction time. Forces to be employed in western Cuba could be in south eastern coast ports and those earmarked for eastern Cuba could be in Caribbean ports. This applies to MSTS shipping also.

(2) To meet the two day reaction time, the Naval Task Force must be at sea, or in port within required steaming time.

(3) The LANTCOM Marine division (-) to be earmarked.

(4) PACOM forces to be earmarked and deployed to the Caribbean, could be in port in Vieques or Panama depending upon the required reaction time.

(5) One MAG to be prepositioned at Mayaguana. Base rights for use of the airfield, unloading site, ammunition and POL facilities must be obtained. It is estimated that the MAG would be operational thereon in about 16 days, utilizing short airfield for tactical support (SATS) equipment while construction forces pave present graded runway for jet operations. The MAG would provide close air support and air defense for defense of Guantanamo and for the eastern attack group in the Santiago/Guantanamo area. If base rights are unobtainable for Mayaguana or suitable alternate Caribbean airfield cannot be obtained, a CVA can be used to provide this support.

(6) One Marine air group to be prepositioned at Key West to provide air support to western Marine assault forces. This unit will be available in support of Air Force Task Force and CONAD prior to asst landings.

(7) A Marine RLT headquarters and two reinforced battalions to be prepositioned in Guantanamo in addition to present defense forces.

(8) Evacuate dependents from Guantanamo.

(9) The four preceding requirements, 5, 6, 7, and 8 above, are considered essential for both concepts set forth herein and should be implemented without delay.

B. Cost, impact on plans and programs and other considerations.

(1) It is estimated that a four or two day readiness posture can be attained in fourteen and sixteen days respectively.

(2) This posture could be maintained for a maximum of 60 days. If the requirement for reaction time is changed to five days, which would permit minor exercises to be conducted ashore and allow more leeway in sailing distance, a longer period could be held. Troop readiness could be maintained at a higher level.

(3) The readiness condition of most Naval surface and air units will be improved by deployment and by the opportunity for minor training while in an advanced state of readiness.

(4) Naval and Marine forces, less MAGs and Guantanamo reinforcements could be easily shifted in the event they are required in execution of other CINCLANT contingency plans for general war, until committed.

(5) The strike fleet general war posture will be degraded by units thereof being well south of planned positions. This will be emphasized particularly if a third CVA is required in place of a MAG at Mayaguana.

(6) Project Mercury support will be considerably reduced although some flexibility will exist depending upon the time prepositioning commences and the readiness time imposed.

(7) Use of the 5th MEB will have the following impact on PACOM plans:

(a) Withdrawal of PACOM LSD and LPH support for planned atomic tests by JTF-8 will be required.

(b) A reduction in earmarked forces for defense of SE Asia will be necessary.

(c) Capability to react to PACOM contingencies will be reduced.

(d) Relief of deployed amphibious forces will be hampered.

(e) Curtailment of certain amphibious exercises including support of army training requirements will be necessary.

(8) A comprehensive dollar cost has not been computed, however, some major considerations for costs, chargeable solely to attaining an increased readiness posture, are set forth below:

(a) Pre-loaded MSTS shipping for Marine forces (6 TAP, 20 TAK, 2 TAO), 4 million dollars per month.

(b) Deferred upkeep of ships will result in expensive breakdowns.

(c) There will be a considerable increase in expenditure of POL.

(d) Increased stevedoring and shipping costs will be incurred.

(e) A large increase in TAD funds will be necessary.

(f) Construction costs at Mayaguana Airfield must be funded. An alternative to paving the runway would be to use SATS airfield matting at an estimated cost of 1.8 million dollars.

(g) The cost of prepositioning MAG in Key West with resultant displacement of normal Key West units must be considered.

4. Air Force forces.

A. Prepositioning and alerting requirements for four day reaction:

(1) Prepositioning requirements for tactical units are:

(a) 2 TFS at Homestead AFB.

(b) 1 TFS at Opalocka Airfield.

(c) 2 TFS at Palm Beach International Airfield.

(d) 1 TFS at Key West NAS.

(e) 1-1/3 TRS at Opalocka.

(f) 1 ARS at MacDill AFB.

(g) 1 AEW&C Det at McCoy AFB, Florida.

(h) 1 Air Search and Rescue Detachment, Key West.

(2) Alerting of units at home base requirements:

(a) 4 TFS--6 hours

(b) 7 TFS--12 hours

(c) 1 TRS--24 hours

(d) 3 TCS C-130--12 hours

(e) 2 TCS C-130--24 hours

(f) 5 TCS C-123--24 hours

(g) 14 TCS C-119--recall to active duty within 24 hours.

(h) 6 ATS MATS--12 hours

(i) 6 ATS MATS--24 hours

(j) 1 Search and Rescue Detachment at MacDill--24 hours

(3) Prepositioning of control and support forces required is as contained in paragraph 3C(2) in Part I plus activation of Palm Beach International Airport for use by tactical air forces.

(4) Prepositioning of required tactical air forces at Homestead AFB will necessitate the evacuation of certain SAC forces from that base.

(5) Prepositioning of Army forces at MacDill AFB, McCoy AFB and Patrick AFB will require priority for use of ground handling equipment and airfield space facilities necessary to the troop carrier airlift operation.

B. Cost, impact on plans and programs and other considerations.

(1) Same as paragraph 3C(3) in Part I plus increased impact on bases providing logistical support.

(2) SAC will be denied the use of Homestead AFB for air operations and operations from McCoy AFB and MacDill AFB will be limited.

(3) Air research and development command air operations from Patrick AFB will be limited.

C. Requirements for two day reaction:

(1) Prepositioning of all tactical and support forces at operating bases in Florida will be required.

(2) Other requirements as listed in para 4A(4) and (5).

D. Cost, impact on plans and programs and other considerations.

(1) Practically all other TAC operations will have to be deferred.

(2) Others as in para 4B(2) and (3).

E. The Air Force forces can maintain either the four or two day posture for an indefinite period of time with costs and impacts as stated.

5. Joint Task Force 122 Headquarters.

A. It will be necessary to activate and fully staff the Headquarters of JTF 122 as a pre-requisite to prepositioning of forces for any increased capability of contingency forces.

B. For a two day reaction time the JTF 122 Joint Staff must be embarked and the flagship in port or offshore south of latitude 31 degrees N. For a four day reaction time the Joint Staff can be ashore in the Norfolk area ready to embark and sail in the flagship."

307. Memorandum From the Officer in Charge of Cuban Affairs (Hurwitch) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)

Washington, February 26, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, U. Alexis Johnson Files: Lot 90 D 410. Top Secret.


Cuba Project

There is attached the working level draft regarding the use of U.S. military forces in support of the Cuba project. When approved, the paper would, of course, assume the form of a joint memorandum to the President from the Secretaries of State and Defense. Neither Mr. Woodward nor Mr. Goodwin have seen this as yet./1/

/1/On March 1 Hurwitch sent a copy of the working draft relating to the use of U.S. military force to Woodward, through Goodwin. Hurwitch noted that this draft, which was not found attached, "represents considerably wider agreement than appeared possible from earlier conversations and drafts in which DOD entered into second-guessing the world political situation." (Ibid., Central Files, 737.00/3-162) Woodward responded with a brief memorandum to Goodwin and Hurwitch, also on March 1, in which he observed that he felt it might prove possible to make good use of the OAS Special Consultative Committee on Security to organize moral, and perhaps military support for U.S. contingency military action against Cuba. He felt, on the other hand, that it might be a mistake to operate on the assumption that "Time favors consolidation of the political and military powers of the Communist regime." Woodward concluded: "I think we should examine the trends very carefully and analytically to see whether we may not gain steadily increasing advantage by not being in too much of a hurry, now." (Ibid.)

I feel that the significant area of agreement lies in paragraph 3, page 2. The disagreement shown in paragraph 2, page 2 stems from my reluctance to agree to language which is speculative or alarmist. The disagreement shown in paragraph 8, page 8 stems from my belief that reprisals by the Cuban government (even before the revolt began) would not provide politically feasible circumstances for the use of military force. Further, paragraph 8 is inconsistent with the substance of paragraph 3 a. (page 2).

A somewhat more detailed breakdown of paragraph 6, Enemy Capabilities might be useful (we have tried to keep the paper brief).

DOD has been reluctant to provide detail regarding Force Involvement. Paragraph 7 reflects as much as the DOD representative (Col. Seamens) felt at liberty to provide. I understand that military intervention would take place in several areas of Cuba simultaneously, with the preponderance of force focussed in the vicinity of (but not on) Habana.

The DOD representative intimated by telephone today that the JCS was unhappy about the draft--apparently feeling that he had conceded too much to State's position.


/2/Top Secret; Noforn; Special Handling.


1. Scope and Purpose

The objective of the Cuban Project 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. The US has the maximum to gain in the East-West struggle if the Cuban people can accomplish this task without overt US military assistance. As the project matures and a genuine revolt occurs, the Cuban people may fall short of their objective and require external military assistance. The purpose of this paper is to determine the minimum desirable political-military conditions under which military intervention in Cuba by US forces in support of a revolt by the Cuban people would be feasible from both the international political and military standpoint. A policy decision with respect to the political and military conditions under which US military intervention should be undertaken in this context not only is desirable for contingency planning purposes, but also could serve as an added stimulus to the Cuban people to revolt, if the decision were favorable and were to be discreetly made known./3/

/3/McGeorge Bundy's handwritten notes on a meeting of the Special Group (Augmented) on February 26 read, at one point, as follows: "Lansdale Project: Consensus is that we are in no position to say when U.S. commitment." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 2/62-4/62)

In addition, the Communist regime's reaction to incipient internal revolt may be such as to justify US military intervention in Cuba under existing international law and our treaty obligations.

2. General

a. The Marxist-Leninist government of Cuba presents a threat to the peace and security of the hemisphere. The US can not tolerate permanently the existence of such a government which provides the Sino-Soviet Bloc with a stepping stone for subversion of other Latin American states.


Defense: , and which may become a military base at close range, increasing our national vulnerability and defense costs as US forces are developed or shifted to meet this threat.

b. Time favors consolidation of the political and military powers of the Communist regime in Cuba. Almost all aspects of the problem of overthrowing the government continue to increase in difficulty and complexity. Sino-Soviet Bloc material, moral, political, military and financial assistance contributes toward strengthening the Communist regime.


Defense: There is a potential threat of Soviet military bases in Cuba equipped with nuclear ballistic missiles.

The Cuba Project, therefore should be developed and executed as rapidly as prudence may permit.

c. Military intervention in Cuba by US forces should be considered when it is clearly apparent to the world that such action is justified by international law, treaty commitments, or on moral grounds as support for a revolt by the Cuban people as contemplated in the Cuba Project. Such situations are described in Appendix hereto.

3. Circumstances of Recognition of the New Cuban Government and Initiation of US Military Intervention

a. Cuba

The Cuba Project has created a chaotic internal situation in Cuba where:

(1) The revolution is open and seriously threatens the Communist regime;

(2) Areas are taken and held by the revolutionaries, and;

(3) Leadership of the revolt, unable to overthrow the government or sustain the revolution, requests assistance from the United States and/or the Organization of American States (OAS).

b. Latin America

Latin American Governments are in a reasonable position to resist internal pressures aimed at significant anti-US measures domestically and/or in the OAS.

c. Sino-Soviet Bloc

While the threat of general war resulting from US military intervention appears to be remote, an assessment of Sino-Soviet Bloc reaction should be undertaken by the USIB on a first priority basis.

d. Rest of the World

Remaining friendly governments are in a reasonable position to resist internal pressures aimed at significant anti-US measures domestically and/or in the United Nations.

e. US Congress

US Military forces have sufficient hard intelligence upon which to base the maintenance of a readiness posture providing the capability of adequate US military reaction in response to the situation in Cuba.

4. Political-Military Objectives

a. We should intervene militarily in Cuba under circumstances and in a manner which would ensure that the overthrow of the Communist Cuban Government and its replacement by a government with which we can live in peace results in increasing the security of the US and does not result in a net Sino-Soviet Bloc gain in the cold war elsewhere in the world. The leadership position of the US in the free world as a consistent advocate of peaceful solutions to international problems, the stability of friendly governments in the hemisphere, and the future of the Alliance for Progress program are among the significant factors to be considered in this regard. Additional significant factors to be considered include retention of US bases in the hemisphere, sources of strategic raw materials, and US control of the Panama Canal. Military intervention on the basis of international law or our treaty commitments would of course diminish the political risk.

b. To accomplish our objective with respect to the Cuba Project we would make clear to the world that we are responding to an appeal for assistance from a government representative of the people; that we are intervening for the purpose of restoring order and holding free elections; and that we will withdraw as soon as the new government advises that our assistance is no longer required.

c. We would conduct the military operation with sufficient force to overcome the Castro forces as quickly as possible while minimizing indiscriminate destruction, especially in populated areas. To this end DOD would keep close track of the state and location of Cuban forces and would coordinate with CIA in matters pertaining to covert programs in order to provide military assistance as required to hard-pressed elements of the revolt and to avoid inadvertent targeting of friendly forces or installations.

5. Contingencies World Wide

The United States must weigh the effect that the need for ready forces in support of the Cuba Project may have on the over-all US force posture to face contingency situations in other parts of the world. Once the revolt begins, Communist Bloc military and para-military diversions could be expected anywhere. Embassies and unified and specified commands should be alerted to such possibilities.

6. Enemy Capabilities

a. Cuban ground forces including regular forces, the ready reserve and the home guard are estimated at 275,000.

b. Significant aircraft of the Cuban Air Force are estimated at 35 MIG-15s and 10 MIG-19s. Personnel strength is unknown.

c. The Cuban Navy is capable of moderately effective patrol operations along selected portions of the Cuban coast. Combat capabilities are negligible. 4 PT and 3 PC type vessels have been received.

d. In addition to normal combat forces indicated above, extensive military preparations have been undertaken such as the organization of large arms depots, tunneling, fortification of large gun emplacements around Havana, construction of beach defenses and installations of fire control and surveillance radar.

7. Force Involvement

a. The application of US force in Cuba will be accomplished by the execution of prepared contingency plans by employing Army, Navy, and Air Force forces under the Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Command (CINCLANT). In brief, US forces employed will be two Army Airborne Divisions, two Marine Division Wing Teams, tailored supporting forces to improve armor and artillery capabilities, Naval airpower and gunfire support and Air Force tactical air units as required. One additional Army division will be designated as ready reserve in the United States.

b. It is not feasible to define limitations to the application of US force under each separate situation which requires US military intervention since enemy resistance will probably be the same in each situation. US military plans, however, provide a degree of selective application of force to primarily military objectives and resistance areas. Basically it is the DOD position that the operation be conducted as rapidly as possible, quickly confronting enemy forces with sufficient strength to be clearly beyond Cuban capability to resist, with the view toward early capitulation of Cuban units and avoidance of needless loss of life.

Appendix A/4/

/4/Top Secret; Noforn; Special Handling.


1. The Cuban Project has created a chaotic internal situation in Cuba where:

a. The revolution is open and seriously threatens the Communist regime;

b. Areas are taken and held by the revolutionaries, and;

c. Leadership of the revolt, unable to overthrow the government or sustain the revolution, requests assistance from the United States and/or the Organization of American States.

2. An attack on the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. Such attack, however, must be more than simply a threat or demonstration. It should be a serious physical attempt--chemical, biological or force of arms--to oust the United States from the base.

3. An armed attack by Cuba against territory, people, or the land, sea or air forces of the United States or another American republic.

4. A decision by the members of the OAS under Article 8 of the Rio Treaty that armed force should be used, once the UN Charter requirement of UNSC authorization of "enforcement action" has been discharged.

5. Open Soviet military assistance to the Communist Cuban regime at any stage after initiation of the revolt.

6. Significant and/or repeated attack by the Cuban military establishment on commercial shipping or aircraft of the United States or another American republic on or over the high seas.

7. Significant sabotage or attack by the Communist Cuban government, of US military or naval installations.


Defense: 8. Reprisals by the Communist Cuban government against counter-revolutionary forces which include those Cuban nationals friendly to the United States and who are closely associated with the US inspired resist-ance movement. This situation would require rapid action by the United States in an effort to preserve the lives of those Cubans who must be available to form the new government. Extermination of a limited group of counter-revolutionaries that are not connected with the over-all US plan would be con-sidered insufficient provocation for US force employment unless requested by the primary group or groups of Cuban insurgents.

308. Memorandum of Conversation

Washington, February 27, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/2-2762. Secret. Drafted by G.H. Summ (ARA/CMA) on March 13.


Cuban Revolutionary Council Spokesmen Stress Need for Military Action to Eliminate Castro Regime


Jose Miro Cardona, Chairman, Cuban Revolutionary Council

Manuel Antonio de Varona, Cuban Revolutionary Council

Arturo Morales Carrion, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs

Robert A. Hurwitch, Deputy Director, Office of Caribbean and Mexican Affairs

During the course of two interviews, first with Mr. Hurwitch and later with both Mr. Morales and Mr. Hurwitch, Messrs. Miro and Varona stressed the need for military action as the only way to get rid of Castro and the threat of communism to the hemisphere. They said that now that the Meeting of Foreign Ministers was over, Cuban exiles were insistently raising the question as to what came next. According to Miro and Varona, neither the deteriorating economic situation, nor sabotage, nor commando raids, nor propaganda could succeed in overthrowing the Castro regime, and therefore the only possible solution was military, involving either U.S. forces, or U.S. plus Cuban forces, or Cuban forces supported by the U.S., or Cuban plus Latin American forces, or some combination of the above. They said that the exile community was becoming increasingly impatient over the need for action, and that if they could not get an encouraging reply from us, they would probably have to resign from the Council. They could not go on any longer promising and deluding the exiles, they said, unless they had some encouragement that there was some plan underway to help them along military lines.

Mr. Morales made the following points:

(1) Action of the kind requested might bring on Soviet retaliation, either in Cuba or elsewhere in the world. Miro and Varona perhaps had not been giving sufficient attention to this serious Cold War aspect of the problem.

(2) The results of Punta del Este, and the change which it revealed in the attitudes of Latin American governments toward the problem of Cuba since the 7th Meeting of Foreign Ministers in San Jose, Costa Rica, were reasons for moderate optimism. Several Latin American countries are very disturbed about the threat Castro poses for their survival. In time they may be willing to take stronger steps. Punta del Este was a way station, not the end of the line.

(3) At the first Punta del Este meeting in August 1961 the Cubans were accepted and even popular to a degree. At the second meeting they were completely ostracized.

(4) There was considerable respect for Miro at Punta del Este.

(5) A look at the internal situation in Cuba indicates that things are not going well there. Economic failures and the ascension of Communists to key posts have probably met with the disapproval of the Cuban people.

(6) The recent debate in the UN reveals that the Cuban regime is almost hysterical at the way things are going.

(7) If the Castro regime were to disappear tomorrow, the Communist threat in Latin America would still exist.

(8) The Council must continue working on hemispheric public opinion. They should stress the point that Castro is a star being eclipsed by the Communists.

309. Program Review

Washington, March 2, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Mongoose. Top Secret; Sensitive. Drafted by Lansdale. An attached distribution list indicates that eight copies of the program review were prepared and copies were sent to Attorney General Kennedy, Taylor, Rusk through Johnson, McNamara through Gilpatric, McCone through Helms and Harvey, and Craig for the JCS. Two copies were kept by Lansdale.


The Goal: The United States will help the people of Cuba overthrow the Communist regime from within Cuba and institute a new government with which the United States can live in peace.


30 November 1961: The above goal was set for the United States, with Brig. Gen. Lansdale as Chief of Operations and with operational lieutenants appointed as direct representatives of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director, Central Intelligence. The Special Group (NSC 5412) was to be kept informed and be available for advice and recommendation.

December-January. Decisive effort was made to re-orient the operational concepts within the U.S. government and to develop the hard intelligence and operational assets required for success. A joint effort was mounted to obtain intelligence in depth from refugees at Opa-Locka, Florida, and to provide more thorough access to operational assets. At the same time, reports from significant population groups, including religious and labor groups, indicated that the spirit of the Cuban people was dying under the Communist police-state controls and that some evidence on which to base hope for a better future was needed promptly to prevent this death of spirit. A review of operational assets dictated that the U.S. was powerless to hamper the sugar harvest, without U.S. attribution.

18 January 1962. The Chief of Operations assigned thirty-two tasks to Departments and Agencies, for a realistic assessment and preparation of U.S. capabilities./1/

/1/See Document 291.

15 February 1962. Detailed staff papers were received from Departments and Agencies, responding to assigned tasks. A basic action plan was then made, for the step-by-step development of an internal revolution, by the Chief of Operations with joint consideration and approval by the operational representatives (CIA, State, Defense, and USIA).

20 February 1962. Completed basic plan for paced operations inside Cuba, and support plans for political, economic, psychological, military sabotage, and intelligence actions./2/ The outlined concept would develop assets inside Cuba for a popular revolution in October (judged to be the earliest possible date by those responsible for operations), with U.S. and Latin American help from the outside. Each step would be taken as operationally feasible, collecting intelligence, building revolutionary assets, and taking advantage of targets of opportunity.

/2/Document 304.

21 February 1962. Plan was discussed by Special Group (NSC 5412) and decision was made to meet again on it the following Monday, with Secretary McNamara.

26 February 1962. Special Group (NSC 5412) met with Secretary McNamara. Chief of Operations was asked to submit a plan for an initial intelligence collection program only.

1 March 1962. Special Group (NSC 5412) agreed that the immediate objective of the U.S. during March, April, and May will be the acquisition of intelligence, and that other U.S. actions must be inconspicuous and consistent with an overt policy of isolating Castro and of neutralizing his influence in the Western Hemisphere. At the end of May, the situation will be reviewed and a decision made as to the next phase. The Chief of Operations is to report to the President through the Special Group (NSC 5412 augmented by the Attorney General and the Chairman, JCS); the Special Group will be responsible for providing policy guidance for approving important operations, and for monitoring progress.

Intelligence Plan

As requested by the Special Group (NSC 5412), a plan for basic intelligence collection, upon which to base the decision to undertake actions to cause the overthrow of Castro, is submitted herewith./3/ In view of the new requirement for a comprehensive and definitive intelligence finding concerning the Cuban population vis-a-vis the regime, CIA requested that the initial period be extended through July 1962. This practical realism is reflected in the plan. Also, responsible CIA operational officers noted that at least 6 months should be added to the timing of phases set forth in the original basic action plan, if a decision to seek an internal revolution is deferred until the end of the collection and reporting period.

/3/Not found attached.

The attached plan reflects the Special Group's desire to collect definitive intelligence inside Cuba prior to a decision, while being consistent with giving the impression that the U.S. effort is to isolate Castro and to neutralize his influence in the Western Hemisphere. The plan gives maximal commitments of U.S. assets for intelligence collection in the periods shown.

310. Memorandum From the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Goodwin)

Washington, March 6, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Mongoose. Top Secret; Sensitive.

At the 5 March meeting chaired by Secretary Rusk, on our favorite subject, the Secretary spoke of "other tracks" which might be opened for the U.S. to achieve its objective. He mentioned proof of "their" plots in Latin America, as an example. Also, there was joking reference to a "Bay of Pigs" in, perhaps, Guatemala, as a notional clandestine action for which "they" could be blamed.

General Taylor has asked me to report on these alternate "tracks," among other things, to the Special Group he chairs. I intend to complete this report on Friday, 9 March. Thus, request that you provide me the section on alternate "tracks" Secretary Rusk sees as possibly open to the U.S., by Thursday, 8 March. I plan to include this, as the State response, in my report. Alexis Johnson was present when Secretary Rusk mentioned this, and perhaps could be of assistance.

Along these same lines, and in response to direction, I am asking the Defense representative (Gen. Craig) to give me a brief but precise description of pretexts which the JCS believes desirable if a decision is ultimately made to use direct military intervention. I would appreciate it if you could provide a companion statement, a brief but precise description of pretexts which the State Department believes desirable in connection with any such direct military intervention.

311. Memorandum From the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale) to the Special Group (Augmented)

Washington, March 12, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 2/62-4/62. Top Secret; Sensitive. An attached distribution list indicates that seven copies of the memorandum were prepared and copies were sent to Robert Kennedy, Taylor, Rusk through Johnson, McNamara through Gilpatric, Lemnitzer through Craig, and McCone through Helms and Harvey. One copy was kept by Lansdale.


Policy Questions, Operation Mongoose

As Operation Mongoose goes into the approved activities of Phase I, a number of policy questions have started to arise. Current problems, needing resolution, are listed below. It is requested that the Special Group (Augmented) provide guidance, as a matter of some urgency.

1. Use of U.S. military installations. CIA desires to train small groups of Cuban nationals on the U.S. Air Force Bombing Range, Avon Park, Florida, immediately. Defense reports that the proposed area is adequate for this training, but that such training of covert agents who will be introduced ultimately into Cuba represents a security problem and a departure from past security procedures, due to the fact that U.S. Government sponsorship will be apparent to trainees. Capture and interrogation of any of these covert agents could result in exposure (in international news media) of U.S. official involvement in efforts to unseat the present Communist Cuban regime. A policy determination is needed as to whether or not agents to be infiltrated into Cuba should be trained on U.S. Government installations.

There are other U.S. military installations and properties, in the Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean areas, which CIA would like to use for similar training and operational purposes in the future. The same policy determination could cover all uses of identifiable U.S. Government properties for training and deployment of Cuban nationals for covert infiltration into Cuba.

2. Arming of Cuban guerrillas. CIA needs a policy determination on the supplying of arms and equipment to deserving Cuban guerrillas, as they are located, assessed, and request help. Such requests are starting to surface, as the intelligence-collection effort is increased, and it is logical that the number of requests will increase as the operation proceeds. There is a need for clearly defining the limits of arming guerrillas (for self-defense, for training, for purposes short of open actions in revolt), to permit operational judgment to be used by designated operations officers, in Phase I.

3. Use of U.S. military personnel and equipment. CIA has requested Defense assistance in air and sea capabilities, including supplying equipment and supplying U.S. military crews to operate the equipment. Included in these requests are 2 LSD's (or similar ships) to lie off the coast in support of CIA maritime operations, with U.S. Navy crews of 200-300 depending upon the missions, 3 USAF cargo aircraft with "sheep-dipped" USAF crews for air re-supply, 2 amphibious aircraft with "sheep-dipped" USAF crews, and 2 submarines for black broadcast operations. (This is in addition to CIA requests for 6 PT type boats, 3 Helio aircraft, 2 82-foot Coast Guard cutters, and arms, communications equipment, etc.). Again, where U.S. military personnel and equipment are involved in Phase I, there is need for a policy determination which will permit operational judgment to be used by designated operations officers, as well as a need for rules of engagement.

312. Memorandum From the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale) to the Special Group (Augmented)

Washington, March 13, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Mongoose. Top Secret; Sensitive. An attached distribution list indicates that 10 copies of the memorandum were prepared. Copies were sent to Robert Kennedy, Taylor, Rusk through Johnson, McNamara through Gilpatric, Lemnitzer through Craig, McCone through Helms and Harvey, and Murrow through Wilson. Two copies were kept by Lansdale. For text of the attached action plan, marked with asterisks to indicate those items approved by the Special Group (Augmented) on March 5, see the Supplement.


Institutional Planning, Operation Mongoose

As desired by General Taylor on 12 March, the planning for Operation Mongoose is now prepared on a format of separate planning for each Department and Agency involved. Revised planning along this line is submitted herewith.

Activities already approved are marked with an asterisk. Further planning must await determination of policy questions raised in my 12 March 1962 memorandum to the members of the Special Group (Augmented)./1/

/1/Document 311.

Planning transmitted to you by my memorandum of 10 March 1962/2/ should be returned to me for destruction as a matter of security.

/2/Not found.

[Here follows the 22-page action plan. For text, see the Supplement.]

313. Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Gilpatric) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Lemnitzer)

Washington, March 13, 1962.

//Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 65 A 3501, Cuba 1962, 121-373.5. Official Use Only. Drafted in DOD/ISA by Mountain. Also sent to the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, the Assistant Secretaries of Defense for International Security Affairs, Manpower, and Public Affairs, the General Counsel, the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, and the Assistant to the Secretary for Legislative Affairs.


(a) SecDef Multi-Addee ltr of 10 Jul 1961--Subj: Service of Cuban Volunteers in U.S. Armed Forces/1/

/1/Not found.


Service of Cuban Volunteers in U.S. Armed Forces

On January 31, 1962 the Department of Defense reported to the President on the status of the program to offer Cuban exiles opportunities to volunteer for service in the U.S. Armed Forces./2/ In view of the fact that the program has not succeeded in bringing any considerable number of Cubans into the U.S. Armed Forces, the Department of Defense recommended that the program be terminated by June 30, 1962.

/2/Document 299.

By a memorandum dated February 21, 1962 from Mr. McGeorge Bundy,/1/ copy of which is attached, this recommendation was approved.

It is therefore directed that appropriate measures be undertaken to terminate this operation by June 30, 1962. The Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower) will be responsible for necessary coordination.

Roswell L. Gilpatric/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that indicates Gilpatric signed the original.

314. Guidelines for Operation Mongoose

Washington, March 14, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Mongoose. Preliminary drafts of this paper indicate that it was drafted on March 5 by General Taylor, and was revised slightly in response to suggestions made by McGeorge Bundy and McCone. (Ibid., and Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 2/62-4/62) The copy of the guidelines found in Department of State files is attached to a handwritten covering memorandum by U. Alexis Johnson, dated March 16, which reads:

"Discussed with the President today--McCone, Gen. Taylor, Gilpatric, Attorney General, Mac Bundy, & Gen. Lemnitzer present.

"The President expressed general approval on the understanding there will be further examination of use of Americans for airdrops etc. during first phase when risk estimates are completed.

"The President also expressed skepticism that in so far as can now be foreseen circumstances will arise that would justify and make desirable the use of American forces for overt military action. It was clearly understood no decision was expressed or implied approving the use of such forces although contingency planning would proceed." (Department of State, U. Alexis Johnson Files: Lot 90 D 410)

Also attached in Department of State files is a copy of the planning schedule of activities for Operation Mongoose, Document 312. It is not clear from Johnson's covering note whether the President approved only the attached guidelines, or also approved some or all of Lansdale's planning schedule.

1. Operation Mongoose will be developed on the following assumptions:

a. In undertaking to cause the overthrow of the target government, the U.S. will make maximum use of indigenous resources, internal and external, but recognizes that final success will require decisive U.S. military intervention.

b. Such indigenous resources as are developed will be used to prepare for and justify this intervention, and thereafter to facilitate and support it.

2. The immediate priority objective of U.S. efforts during the coming months will be the acquisition of hard intelligence on the target area. Concurrently, all other political, economic and covert actions will be undertaken short of those reasonably calculated to inspire a revolt within the target area, or other development which would require U.S. armed intervention. These actions, insofar as possible, will be consistent with overt policies of isolating the local leader and of neutralizing his influence in the Western Hemisphere, and will be taken in such a way as to permit disengagement with minimum losses in assets and U.S. prestige. The JCS will continue the planning and essential preliminary actions to assure a decisive U.S. military capability for intervention. At the end of this first period, or earlier if conditions permit, the situation will be reviewed and a decision taken as to the next phase of the program.

3. In order to get the covert phase of this program in motion, it will be necessary at the outset to use U.S. personnel, bases and equipment for the support of operations inside the target area. However, the CIA will concurrently expedite the development of non-attributable resources in order to reduce or eliminate this dependence should it become necessary after the initial phase.

4. During this period, General Lansdale will continue as chief of operations, calling directly on the participating departments and agencies for support and implementation of agreed tasks. The heads of these departments and agencies are responsible for performance through normal command channels to higher authority. General Lansdale is responsible for coordinating combined planning and execution, reporting to higher authority through the Special Group (5412), augmented by the Attorney General and the Chairman, JCS. The Special Group (5412 augmented) is responsible for providing policy guidance to the project, for approving important operations and for monitoring progress.

315. National Intelligence Estimate

NIE 85-62

Washington, March 21, 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 McCone, was prepared by CIA, and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, the Joint Staff, and NSA. All members of the USIB concurred on March 21 except the representative of the AEC, who abstained on the grounds that the topic was outside his jurisdiction.


The Problem

To analyze the situation in Cuba and the relationships of the Castro regime with both the Soviet Bloc and the Latin American republics, and to estimate the prospects over the next year or so.


Cuba is now, in effect, surrounded by an iron curtain. Our information on internal developments is not as complete or as reliable as we could wish. On some important matters, it is seriously inadequate. These deficiencies are expressly noted where applicable in the text of this estimate: e.g., paragraphs 19, 30, 106, and 111. In general, the information available is sufficient to support the estimate. The estimate will be under continuing review as additional information is obtained.

Summary and Conclusions

1. The pattern of events in Cuba clearly reveals the historical step by step Communist procedure for attaining complete control of a country. During the past year Cuba has, in effect, gone behind an iron curtain. The regime has thoroughly reorganized its political, economic, police, and military systems in the classic Communist ideological fashion. It has also sought to identify itself with the Soviet Bloc in terms that would obligate the USSR to protect it. The Bloc, however, has avoided any explicit military commitment to defend Cuba. (Paras. 17-29)

2. In Cuba there is in process of development a single party organization essentially Communist in character. It is designed to be the means of directing and controlling the operations of the government, the economy, and the mass organizations through which revolutionary indoctrination and leadership are transmitted to the people. Fidel Castro will presumably be the titular head of this organization, but the real political power in Cuba is likely to be vested in a collective leadership including Castro but dominated by a group of veteran Communists. Some degree of friction is probable in this relationship, but an open conflict is highly unlikely. (Paras. 30-37, 133)

3. The regime has sought to commit the Cuban people to positive personal identification with it through propaganda, indoctrination, and mass organizations. At the same time, it has developed a pervasive system of surveillance and police control. (Paras. 38-53)

4. The forces available to the regime to suppress insurrection or repel invasion have been and are being greatly improved, with substantial Bloc assistance through the provision of materiel and instruction. Cuban military capabilities, however, are essentially defensive. We believe it unlikely that the Bloc will provide Cuba with strategic weapon systems or with air and naval capabilities suitable for major independent military operations overseas. We also believe it unlikely that the Bloc will station in Cuba combat units of any description, at least for the period of this estimate. This attitude would not preclude the liberal provision of Bloc advisers, instructors, and service personnel, the provision of such defensive weapons and equipment as surface-to-air missiles and radars, and such improvement of Cuban naval and air facilities as would enable them to service Soviet units. (Paras. 54-69)

5. The state has taken over the direct control of all important economic activities in Cuba, and has developed a more elaborate organization for economic management. (Paras. 70-77)

6. Cuba is now faced with an economic crisis attributable in large part to an acute shortage of the convertible foreign exchange required to finance greatly needed imports of foodstuffs and of replacement parts for machinery and equipment of US origin. The Bloc provides a guaranteed market for Cuban sugar and minerals, and supplies foodstuffs, other consumers' goods, and industrial raw materials in return, but not in sufficient quantity to meet Cuba's needs. The Bloc has also extended credits for Cuban industrial development, but the actual implementation of these projects is slow. Castro has now told the Cuban people that they face years of privation. (Paras. 78-94)

7. The initial popular enthusiasm for the revolution has steadily waned. Many men who fought against Batista have been alienated by the even more dictatorial character of the Castro regime and its increasingly Communist complexion. The vaunted agrarian reform has done little to improve the lot of the peasants. Moreover, people are becoming fed up with the privations, exactions, and regimentation that characterize life in Castro's Cuba. (Paras. 95-103)

8. Nevertheless, Fidel Castro and the Revolution retain the positive support of at least a quarter of the population. The hard core of this support consists principally of those who now have a vested interest in the regime: the new managerial class and the Communists. These are reinforced by the substantial numbers of Cubans, especially those in the mass organizations, who are still under the spell of Castro's charismatic leadership or are convinced the Revolution has been to their advantage. (Para. 104)

9. There is active resistance in Cuba, but it is limited, uncoordinated, unsupported, and desperate. The regime, with all the power of repression at its disposal, has shown that it can contain the present level of resistance activity. (Paras. 107-114)

10. The majority of the Cuban people neither support the regime nor resist it, in any active sense. They are grumbling and resentful, but apparently hopeless and passive, resigned to acceptance of the present regime as the effective government in being with which they must learn to live for lack of a feasible alternative. (Para. 106)

11. The next year or two will be a critical period for the Castro regime. The 1962 sugar crop will be the smallest in years; the difficulty of acquiring convertible foreign exchange will be greater than ever. Want of convertible exchange will limit Cuba's ability to purchase foodstuffs and other needed supplies in the Free World. No substantial increase in the supplies provided by the Bloc is likely during 1962. In these circumstances it is unlikely that the total output of the Cuban economy in 1962 can rise above the 1961 level. Under consequent privations, the Cuban people are likely to become more restive. Much will depend on whether the regime succeeds in directing their resentment toward the US, or whether it comes to focus on the regime. (Paras. 92, 94, 106, 129)

12. The regime's apparatus for surveillance and repression should be able to cope with any popular tendency toward active resistance. Any impulse toward widespread revolt is inhibited by the fear which this apparatus inspires, and also by the lack of dynamic leadership and of any expectation of liberation within the foreseeable future. In these circumstances, increasing antagonism toward the regime is likely to produce only a manageable increase in isolated acts of sabotage or of open defiance on the part of a few desperate men. A sequence of disaffection-repression-resistance could conceivably be set in motion, but would be unlikely to cause major difficulties for the regime in the absence of considerable external support. (Paras. 114, 132)

13. The overriding concern of Cuban foreign policy is to obtain external support and protection against the hostility of the US. The USSR and other Bloc states will continue to render such aid and support to the Castro regime as they consider necessary. If the overthrow of the regime should be seriously threatened by either external or internal forces, the USSR would almost certainly not intervene directly with its own forces. However, interpreting even an internal threat as US intervention, the USSR would seek to deter the US by vigorous political action, including threats of retaliation on the periphery of the Bloc as well as ambiguous references to Soviet nuclear power. Nevertheless, the USSR would almost certainly never intend to hazard its own safety for the sake of Cuba. (Paras. 23-27, 122, 130, 134)

14. By the end of 1960, Castro had few admirers left among politically active Latin Americans, except the Communists, extremist splinter groups broken off from the established social revolutionary parties, and certain student and labor elements. (Para. 116)

15. At Punta del Este the OAS unanimously condemned communism in Cuba as incompatible with the inter-American system and laid the groundwork for increased efforts to combat Castro-Communist subversion. However, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, and Ecuador abstained on the operative resolution excluding the Castro regime from the organs of the OAS. The Castro regime will seek to cultivate those Latin American governments which have shown reluctance to support measures against it and will probably refrain from flagrant acts which could provide the occasion for US or OAS intervention in Cuba. (Paras. 115-120, 128)

16. The Castro-Communist threat in Latin America results from the ability of a well-organized subversive movement centered in Cuba to exploit the natural tendency of entrenched oligarchies to resist the growing demand for radical social reform. What is seen by radical revolutionary elements in Latin America is that, while others have talked of social reform, Fidel Castro has actually accomplished a radical social revolution in Cuba, and has done so in defiance of the Yankees with the support of an apparently more powerful patron. Relatively moderate reformist regimes are now ascendant in most Latin American countries, but, if the Alliance for Progress should fail to produce its intended social reforms in time to meet rising popular demands, the conviction will grow that Castro's way is the only way to get timely and positive results. Thus, despite Castro's alienation of the moderate reformists, there remains a danger that the Cuban example will set the pattern of the impending social revolution in Latin America. (Paras. 66-69, 115-118, 120-121)

[Here follows the 21-page Discussion section of the estimate.]

[end of document]


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

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