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Department Seal

Volume X
Cuba, 1961-1962



Cuba, 1961-1962

316. Notes on Special Group Meeting

Washington, March 22, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files: Job 91-00741R, Box 1, Mongoose Papers. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by McCone.

Operation Mongoose: General Lansdale and Air Force reported on aerial resupply problems indicating high degree of safety although possibility of loss with consequent attribution could not be dismissed. Attorney General considered this most serious, as resulting public opinion would probably cause stand-down of all other operations. Resupply plan with one C-54 and one C-46 now being sanitized. Initial operation 30 days, probable rate between 6 and 15 per month. Following questions which I wish to discuss with Helms, Harvey and others were raised:

1. Is it not possible to conduct immediate intense training of a few Cuban pilots and have them available for these missions? Noted some Cuban airline pilots are now in Florida. As an alternative, could other nations (such as Turks) be readied for these missions?

2. Can we procure unattributable aircraft? Is it possible to buy from third countries and use Soviet aircraft for this purpose? Reported that American manufacturer had stated he could produce and deliver Russian-type MIGs or Russian-type IL 14's in 90 days. Has this matter been explored and if so should such equipment be available for covert operations in various parts of the world?

3. What evidence do we have of Cuban supply of arms to insurgent groups in the Caribbean, Central or Latin America?

4. Clandestine operations.

5. Could we now develop a policy for action if missile bases are placed on Cuban soil?

John A. McCone/1/


/1/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

317. Memorandum of Conversation

Washington, March 29, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/3-2962. Secret. Drafted on March 13 by Hurwitch.




Dr. Jose Miro Cardona--Chairman, Cuban Revolutionary Council

Dr. Antonio Varona--Cuban Revolutionary Council member

Dr. Ernesto Aragon--Cuban Revolutionary Council member

Dr. Carlos Piad--Cuban Revolutionary Council member

Mr. McGeorge Bundy--The White House

Mr. Hurwitch--Deputy Director, CMA

Mr. Bundy regretted that due to his heavy responsibilities the President had been unable personally to receive Dr. Miro and the members of the CRC at this time. He assured Dr. Miro, however, that whenever he had a matter of a most urgent and crucial nature, the President would be pleased to see him.

Cuban Invasion Prisoners

Mr. Bundy expressed the President's deep personal concern over the prisoners' fate and said that the U.S. would continue its diplomatic efforts on behalf of the prisoners.

U.S. Cuban Policy

Dr. Miro and Dr. Varona urged that the CRC be given the wherewithal to invade Cuba and overthrow the Castro regime. Mr. Bundy replied that the U.S. was determined that, if the U.S. were to support any military action against Castro, such action must be decisive and complete. In view of the military state of Cuba, it did not appear that decisive action could be accomplished without the open involvement of U.S. armed forces. This would mean open war against Cuba which in the U.S. judgment was not advisable in the present international situation.

Future of the CRC

Dr. Miro said that present U.S. policy drastically limited the CRC's sphere of activity. Mr. Bundy acknowledged that inactivity placed a revolutionary group such as the CRC in a very difficult position. Dr. Miro stated that the CRC would either have to be permitted to organize and conduct commando raids, sabotage operations, or similar activities, or disband. Mr. Bundy replied that he was not in a position to decide this question, but that the matter would be carefully studied and Dr. Miro given a reply reasonably soon.

318. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, March 29, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files: Job 91-00741R, Box 1, Mongoose Papers. Secret; Eyes Only. The memorandum, which is dated March 30, was prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency, but no other drafting information appears on the source text.


Discussion of Operation Mongoose on 29 March 1962

It was the consensus of the meeting/1/ that some attempt should be made to arrange an exchange of food for the Cuban prisoners. (Bill Harvey and General Lansdale opposed.) This effort is to be explored with heavy emphasis on the humanitarian angle. In a discussion of handling this problem, through a third country approach, the Department of State proposed Canada. Mr. McCone was opposed. The DCI suggested France, and State was opposed. It was decided that the Department of State should choose a third country and carry through with the approach. The Attorney General is to make an exhaustive study of the legal ramifications of Public Law 480/2/ in connection with this idea.

/1/The meeting is not further identified.

/2/For text, see 68 Stat. 454.

The meeting decided that we would have to proceed on the assumption that the Communists have penetrated and will continue to influence refugees in southern Florida. This provides a fertile field for Communist tactics including demonstrations and riots. The Agency, the FBI, and the local police will have to watch this problem very closely.

319. Memorandum for the Record

//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 McCone.

Washington, April 5, 1962.


1. CIA should be familiar with General Thomas White's responsibilities and activities as a member of the Latin American Subcommittee on Security which apparently is a part of the OAS. Mr. Wym Coerr, of State Department, is familiar with details.

2. Alexis Johnson reported that discussion between [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] and Cord Meyer having to do with the possible escape of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] from the Isle of Pines.

3. Protracted discussion of entire Cuban operation at which time McCone expressed the following points of view:

A. He had given serious consideration to suggesting immediate military action to bring back the prisoners now concentrated in Havana but had withdrawn suggestion because of possibility of exchange of food for prisoners.

B. Thought we were not making sufficient progress with Cuban problem and expressed discouragement over possibility of success because our national policy was too cautious.

C. Questioned very much whether the military strength of Castro government was as large and effective as reported and noted that aerial photography did not reveal military installations sufficient to house, support, train and supply a force ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 men.

D. Intelligence gathered from various sources indicated Castro may be having extreme difficulty and therefore we should take a good look at our policy.

E. Finally, stated that if one or two hundred prisoners were shot, we would probably have very serious problems with the 100,000 Cuban refugees in Florida.

For all of these reasons, McCone recommended that we review our policy and perhaps decide upon more aggressive action including direct military intervention. Johnson raised question of loss of friends and support of other South American countries. McCone stated maybe a show of strength would assist us to win friends rather than lose them.

It was decided to have a Special Meeting for the purpose of discuss-ing Cuban Policy on Wednesday, April 11, at 2:00 p.m.,/1/ to be attended by Special Group and Sec/State and Sec/Defense, Joint Chiefs and others.

/1/See Document 325.

The following was requested for the meeting:

1. Detailed analysis of Castro's military posture from all available photographic interpretations.

2. A summary of current appraisal of internal conditions gained from debriefing of agents recently exfiltrated, results from Opa-Laka Center and all other intelligence sources.

3. Any other information available on conditions in Cuba.

Question of weekly CIA progress and operational reports was brought up and it was concluded that CIA should issue these reports regularly every Tuesday, and that General Lansdale, reporting to the Special Group augmented, would summarize them as he did on 3 April.

This memorandum is to be used by Mr. Helms on an "Eyes Only" basis in preparation for the CIA actions necessary for the Wednesday meeting.

John A. McCone/2/


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

320. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Board of National Estimates (Kent) to Director of Central Intelligence McCone

Washington, April 6, 1962.

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


The Internal Situation in Cuba


A. NIE 85-62, "The Situation and Prospects in Cuba," dated 21 March 1962/1/

B. Memorandum for the Director, "Comment on Tad Szulc's New York Times Article on Castro's 26 March Speech," dated 5 April 1962/2/

/1/Document 315.

/2/Szulc's article appeared in The New York Times on page 1 on April 4 rather than April 5. Szulc analyzed a televised speech by Castro on March 26, in which Castro severely criticized Cuban Communist Party leader Anibal Escalante and other Communist "militants" whom Castro accused of trying to dominate the Cuban Government. Szulc reported that analysts in Washington had concluded that "the split between Premier Castro and the orthodox Communist leadership could result in a cooling of Cuba's relations with the Soviet bloc."

1. At the request of the Chief, Task Force "W" we have reviewed the conclusions of NIE 85-62 relating to the internal situation in Cuba in the light of more recent information. We perceive no reason to modify those conclusions except insofar as the Escalante affair enables us to speak more positively on the subject of Castro's present relations with the veteran Cuban Communists.

2. The salient conclusions of NIE 85-62, which we now reaffirm, are:

a. The initial popular enthusiasm for the Revolution has steadily waned. Nevertheless, Fidel Castro retains the positive support of at least a quarter of the population. There is some active resistance in Cuba, but it is limited, uncoordinated, unsupported, and desperate. The majority of the Cuban people neither support the regime nor resist it, in any active sense. (Paras. 7-10)

b. 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 next year or two will be a critical period for the Castro regime. Nevertheless, the regime's apparatus for surveillance and repression should be able to cope with any popular tendency toward active resistance. In the 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. (Paras. 6, 11-12)

3. In NIE 85-62 we discussed at length Castro's relations with the veteran Communists of the PSP, the prerevolutionary Communist party, and the prospect that the latter would eventually gain control of Cuba through working control of the ORI, the prototype of the more inclusive Communist party now in process of organization. (Paras. 30-37, 133) The Escalante affair sheds new light on this subject and requires modification of our conclusion that, while Castro would remain the titular leader, the real power in Cuba would probably come to be vested in a collective leadership dominated by the veteran Communists. (Para. 2)

4. Castro himself has now confirmed our estimate of tension within the ruling group, between the "old" and the "new" Communists. Escalante was purged precisely because he was working toward the end which we judged to be likely on the basis of the information available through mid-March. It is evident, however, that Castro has now checked the trend toward old-line Communist control of the ORI and has reasserted his personal leadership of Cuban communism.

5. It would be a mistake, however, to interpret this development as a revulsion by Castro from communism, or as an open split between Castro and the veteran Cuban Communists. Castro's dramatic expulsion of Escalante was almost certainly intended as a warning to other old-line Communists against distinguishing between themselves and the new Communists, but, in deploring such tendencies, Castro called for unity within the new party organization. Blas Roca responded by echoing Castro's denunciation of Escalante, making Escalante the scapegoat for the old Communist group.

6. Tension and mutual distrust between the "old" and the "new" Cuban Communists will probably continue, but Castro's goal is still the communization of Cuba--with the collaboration of the old Communists and the support of the USSR, but under his own leadership and control. Castro has now reasserted his authority and the old-line Communists will take care to avoid provoking him further. However, their covert struggle for power within the regime will probably continue.

For the Board of National Estimates

Sherman Kent

321. Editorial Note

On April 8, 1962, a Cuban Military Tribunal announced a verdict in the trial of the 1,179 prisoners captured following the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion. Ignoring pleas for clemency from the Organization of American States and a number of Latin American governments, the Tribunal sentenced the prisoners to 30 years hard labor for treason, and set ransom at $62 million. At a press conference on April 11, President Kennedy responded to a question concerning the ransom demand by observing: "I think Mr. Castro knows that the United States Government cannot engage in a negotiation like that, and he knows very well that the families cannot raise these millions of dollars." (American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, page 360)

322. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Board of National Estimates (Kent) to Director of Central Intelligence McCone

Washington, April 10, 1962.

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


Probable Reactions to a US Military Intervention in Cuba

1. For the purposes of this estimate, we assume that:

a. The US military intervention in Cuba would be made in sufficient force to overcome, within a few days, the frontal resistance of the Cuban armed forces and to consolidate US control of the principal governmental centers and the primary means of transportation and communications.

b. The US would declare its intention to turn over the control of Cuba, as soon as possible, to a Cuban government responsible to the Cuban people, committed to social reform, and dedicated to the preservation of Cuban national independence within the inter-American community of nations.

Reactions Within Cuba

2. The Castro regime has made extensive preparations to resist a US military intervention. It apparently plans for both a strong initial defense against invasion and protracted warfare in the interior. A portion of the armed forces would be destroyed in the initial battle. Many of the remainder would probably surrender or desert when they realized the strength of the invasion and the hopelessness of further resistance. Substantial numbers, however, would continue a guerrilla resistance in the interior, according to plan. Their operations would be facilitated by caches of arms and supplies already established in relatively inaccessible areas.

3. Some Cubans would welcome the US military intervention as a liberation. At least as many more would regard it as designed to reimpose upon the Cuban people the yoke of "Yankee imperialism" and would accordingly be disposed to resist insofar as they were able. The great majority would be primarily concerned to keep out of harm's way and to avoid exposing themselves to retribution by either side in the continuing conflict.

4. The establishment of a representative and accepted Cuban government would be greatly hindered by the persistence of terroristic underground resistance in the cities, and by continuing guerrilla resist-ance in outlying areas. Out of fear as well as sympathy, most Cubans would probably be disposed to cooperate at least passively with the resistance, unless convincingly assured of effective US protection. Although the overthrow of the present regime might be quickly accomplished, the pacification of the country, to the extent necessary to permit the development of a credible representative alternative regime, might be long delayed.

5. In these circumstances, a prolonged US military occupation of Cuba would probably be necessary. Resistance elements would deliberately seek to provoke the occupying forces to take such arbitrary meas-ures against the general population as would tend to confirm Cuban suspicions that the US intervention was anti-Cuban rather than anti-Castro, to the further detriment of the prospects for a satisfactory political solution.

6. Nevertheless, the bulk of the Cuban people would desire the restoration of peace, order, and national self-government, and the relief of economic distress. If the US was able eventually to establish reasonable security in most of the country, the inhabitants of the pacified areas would probably cooperate in the establishment of a new and more representative Cuban government, in part as the only effective means of obtaining the withdrawal of US military government. In this phase, however, the establishment of such a government would be hindered by the personal factionalism characteristic of Cuban leaders and the desire of all with political ambition to demonstrate their determination to protect Cuban national sovereignty against Yankee domination.

The International Reaction

7. The USSR would have no means to intervene effectively in Cuba with its own forces, and almost certainly would not resort to general war for the sake of the Castro regime. However, the USSR would exert every means of political and psychological pressure at its disposal to procure a universal condemnation of US aggression against Cuba and, if possible, a restoration of the status quo ante. To this end, it might make threatening references to Soviet missile power. Communist China and the other Bloc states would support these Soviet efforts. In the circumstances, there would probably be a first-class war scare, with panic among the neutralists and a high state of alarm in NATO.

8. Latin American political opinion generally would be shocked by a US military intervention in Cuba, regardless of sympathy or antagonism toward the Castro regime. Most Latin American governments would be glad to see Castro effectively disposed of, but would be constrained by domestic opinion to deplore publicly the US action. If forced to vote in the UN, virtually all would probably feel compelled to vote against the US. However, they might seek to forestall that embarrassment by proposing an OAS political intervention designed to get the US out of Cuba as quickly as possible, and at the same time to provide for the establishment of a democratic government in that country.

9. NATO governments would deplore the US action. Remembering Suez and other occasions, they would feel justified in voting to condemn the US. At the same time, however, they would work to find a political solution of the crisis, in order to reduce the risk of general war.

10. The Afro-Asian neutralist states would condemn the US military intervention in Cuba, and would therefore be disposed to support Soviet initiatives against the US in the UN, where their numbers count. At the same time, however, apprehension of the danger of general war might influence the more responsible neutralist governments to work for a political solution of the crisis.

For the Board of National Estimates

Abbot Smith/1/

/1/Smith signed for Kent above Kent's typed signature.

323. Memorandum From the Chief of Task Force W (Harvey) to Director of Central Intelligence McCone

Washington, April 10, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files: Job 91-00741R, Box 1, Mongoose Papers. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Sent to McCone through Deputy Director for Plans Helms.


Operation Mongoose--Appraisal of Effectiveness and Results which can be Expected from Implementing the Operational Plan Approved at the Meeting of the Special Group (Augmented) on 16 March 1962/1/

/1/Regarding the March 16 meeting, see the source note, Document 314. No other record of the meeting has been found. The Operational Plan referenced here is apparently the plan submitted to the Special Group (Augmented) by Lansdale on March 13, Document 312.

1. Action: This memorandum contains the conclusions reached as a result of the reassessment of the Mongoose operational plan, conducted pursuant to your oral instructions to Mr. Helms on 5 April 1962./2/ The recommendations for action are contained in Paragraph 11 below.

/2/See Document 319.

2. Under the Mongoose operational plan as approved, CIA is authorized and directed between now and 31 July 1962 to mount a concentrated operational program to collect intelligence concerning Cuba and to develop, insofar as possible, clandestine resistance cadres inside Cuba. This plan permits intelligence, political, economic, and covert actions, short of those reasonably calculated to inspire revolt within the target area, or other developments which would require U.S. armed intervention. These actions, insofar as possible, will be consistent with overt policies of isolating Castro 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 United States prestige. The plan provides that major operations going beyond the collection of intelligence be approved in advance by the Special Group. The plan does not provide for maximum, or even extensive, use of U.S. military personnel, bases, and facilities. No decision has been made that U.S. Military Forces will be committed at any time to support a revolt within Cuba or to intervene for any other cause.

3. Barring unforeseen difficulties, CIA can substantially fulfill the requirements of the present operational plan. However, this plan does not provide for a maximum intelligence and covert action program against Cuba. It probably does represent the maximum such program that can effectively be created within the current policy and other limitations. Fully effective implementation of the present program may require some limited use of U.S. military facilities, particularly training areas and submarines for agent infiltration and exfiltration. If a more intensive effort is to be undertaken, maximum use must be made of U.S. military facilities, personnel, and bases.

4. Under the present program, by August 1962 we will have far better hard intelligence coverage of Cuba, but it is doubtful if we will have achieved fully effective penetration of the top hierarchy of Cuban leadership. During the same period, we will have materially increased the clandestine resistance potential controlled by us in Cuba, but it will not be possible for us to field, activate, and keep alive large resistance groups. Our assets will consist of a number of small clandestine teams with limited supplies and possessing varying degrees of resistance and revolt potential. The teams will not be knit together into any central organization within Cuba. It is unlikely that by this time we will have developed any viable long term political leadership for a new Cuba. Such leadership does not exist in the emigration and it is doubtful if it can be developed within Cuba at any time prior to the forceful overthrow of the Castro regime, although some potential leaders of promise possibly can be developed.

5. Given the anticipated success in carrying out the currently approved plan, we should be able by August 1962 or within a reasonable time thereafter, provided policy approval is given, to begin to prepare these assets for an organized revolt of substantial proportions. This additional time will be required since under existing limitations we are not permitted to prepare the teams or cadres from their inception for any concerted revolt nor, in fact, give them any assurance of ultimate U.S. assistance which would support and preserve such revolt.

6. Any revolt we are able to generate within a reasonable time after the expiration of Phase I of the current plan, although possibly substantial in size, could not be considered a really full scale revolt in the sense that it alone could overthrow the regime. In the face of Cuban counteraction, the revolt could only be kept alive for a few days unless supported by active U.S. military intervention.

7. The increased operational activity of the present program will attract some attention, may raise the Cuban and U.S. "noise level", and could lead to some public criticism and an increase in Cuban propaganda play. Any intelligence or covert action which is surfaced will, of course, be charged to the United States and specifically to CIA. If a maximum program is undertaken it will inevitably attract more attention and possibly lead to more intense criticism. The level of activity envisaged by the present plan is not likely to convince the Castro regime or the Cubans themselves that the United States is seriously contemplating either invading Cuba or intervening to assist any planned revolt.

8. There is substantial dissatisfaction in Cuba and a considerable latent resistance potential which is disorganized and dispirited at the present time. Internal Cuban conditions, including the availability of food and the general state of the economy, will probably deteriorate during the next several months. Basically, however, time is running against us and Cuba is likely to be tougher nut to crack a year from today than it is now. The effective communization of the Cuban State, the increasing effectiveness of its security and control apparatus, the increased discouragement of the populace, including a measurable loss of hope and lessening of sporadic spontaneous resistance can only lead to this conclusion. We cannot completely rule out the possibility of a spontaneous uprising of greater or lesser proportions, but the possibilities of this are not believed great and, in any event, unless the United States is at the time of any such spontaneous uprising prepared to and does intervene, this uprising will be ruthlessly and rapidly crushed. Even if the Cuban economy continues to deteriorate, it will in our opinion be bolstered to the extent necessary to preserve the status quo by the Soviet Bloc which cannot afford to lose the Cuban bridgehead in the Western Hemisphere. The Castro regime will not fall as a result of such deterioration or such economic counteraction as we can take. In fact, after a period of deterioration, it is entirely possible that the economic situation may gradually improve. There are some possibilities that the Castro regime may be seriously threatened by a power split at the top level or by a palace guard revolt. These possibilities do not appear at the present time great and certainly any such development is insufficiently probable to count on, although efforts are being made to develop and exploit any opportunities to this end. In any event, even if such opportunities develop and can be exploited, this is likely to be a long and involved operation with marginal chances of complete success.

9. Even if the current operational plan attains maximum success, it is our firm conclusion that it will not lead to the overthrow of the Castro regime and that if that overthrow is a serious objective of the U.S. Government, it will be necessary at the conclusion of the present plan to face the decision of military intervention, then prepare for it and intensify the preparation for any necessary revolt or provocation upon which it is based. This will require additional time and will be more difficult to do some months from now than it will be if it is commenced now.

10. Conclusions: Based on the reassessment that has been made and following the above comments, set out below are our conclusions:

a. The current plan does not constitute and does not permit a maximum intelligence and covert action program against Cuba. The plan is not likely to result in the overthrow of the Castro regime unless followed by extensive additional preparation and action based on a firm decision to use U.S. Military Forces at the appropriate point to destroy the regime.

b. If a maximum effort is to be mounted, the decision to use military force must be made now and the planning must go forward in phase to permit a concentrated and planned uprising with the immediate support of military forces to prevent its destruction. In addition, in preparing for the necessary revolt and/or provocation endangering U.S. lives and property, maximum use must be made not only of CIA assets and capabilities, but of the assets and capabilities of the respective military serv-ices.

c. To permit requisite flexibility and professionalism for a maximum operational effort against Cuba, the tight controls exercised by the Special Group and the present time-consuming coordination and briefing procedures should, if at all possible, be made less restrictive and less stultifying.

d. The planning for the use of U.S. Military Forces must contemplate minimum reaction time and sufficient pre-positioning to permit the most rapid possible elimination of organized opposition within Cuba. If at all possible, the military intervention should be so planned and prepared that from the time of decision to intervene until the elimination of organized military opposition is only a few days, preferably not more than four or six. It is believed that this is extremely important in order to cut down the time available to the USSR and the Bloc to react and take counteraction elsewhere using Cuba as a pretext, and also to cut down the available time for a coalescing of intense domestic and foreign political press and propaganda opposition to this action. If the U.S. Forces to be committed can be pre-positioned in such a way that a landing in force takes place rapidly, it is believed that a substantial number of Cubans, including those in the militia and the armed forces, will give up quickly. The United States must, however, be prepared to cope with at least some substantial prolonged hard core resistance. In addition, the U.S. Government must be prepared with plans and resources to establish a military government within Cuba and maintain it for an appreciable period, probably at least a year, until the situation can be stabilized, political parties, movements, and leadership developed, and free elections insured.

11. Action:/3/

/3/There is no indication on the source text that McCone or Helms approved these actions.

A. If you concur with the above conclusions, it is recommended that you propose to the Special Group (Augmented) at its meeting on 11 April 1962 that it approve and propose for the approval of higher authority a plan of operations against Cuba requiring decision now to:

(1) Make maximum use of CIA and military resources to create a revolt in Cuba and/or provocation endangering U.S. lives and property, and

(2) Upon the activation of this revolt and/or provocation intervene immediately with sufficient military strength to eliminate organized military opposition within Cuba at the earliest practicable time.

B. If such a plan is not approved, or if the decisions to take the actions necessary to ensure the overthrow of the Castro regime are indefinitely delayed, it is believed that you should give careful consideration as to whether, in the face of other heavy demands and commitments, the Clandestine Service can long continue to afford the present level of effort against Cuba and the heavy expenditure of funds and manpower involved in the operation of Task Force W, which comprises a substantial percentage of the overall assets of the DD/P.

William K. Harvey/4/

/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

324. Memorandum by Director of Central Intelligence McCone

Washington, undated.

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


/1/The meeting was held at the Department of State. (Johnson Library, Rusk Appointment Book) See Document 325.

1. Program approved. Can be implemented on the approximate timetable, although some slippage exists at the present time, but there is also some prospect to make up the lost time.

2. The program falls short of:

(a) Gathering all possible intelligence, and

(b) Representing maximum effort to create internal dissension within the country.

3. Therefore probable that even though the program as outlined is accomplished, the results attained by July-August will be disappointing.

4. Size of effort has grown substantially--[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] CIA personnel engaged and probably equal number from other departments. The question is raised whether with this large effort a more aggressive program should not be authorized.

5. A review of U-2 photography indicates military capabilities most recently estimated are the very maximum and probably military force less formidable because of absence of adequate support facilities, logistics, transportation, training facilities, etc., which do not appear in the photography.

6. Monolithic structure at the top seems to be fractionated.

7. We therefore recommend:

(a) More aggressive action.

(b) Large-scale training at U.S. installations.

(c) Preparation for the introduction of guerrilla forces and their subsequent support, in addition to the authorized espionage teams.

(d) Preparation now for necessary military action.

8. Acceptance on the part of the United States of possible attribution for the program.

John A. McCone/2/

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

325. Memorandum by Director of Central Intelligence McCone

Washington, April 12, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files: Job 91-00741R, Box 1, Mongoose Papers. Secret; Eyes Only. The memorandum apparently comprises McCone's notes on the April 11 meeting of the Special Group (Augmented) at the Department of State; see Document 324.


General discussion of Wednesday's/1/ meeting at State. General [Taylor] reviewed the guide lines approved by the President./2/ It was agreed that actions in addition to those now approved could be taken within the guide lines and therefore the group decided not to revise the guide lines but to ask for suggestions as to additional actions. McCone pointed out that original concept was to have a situation within Cuba developed by August, and that present plan of action would not bring this about; therefore it was decided to eliminate the August date but not to eliminate the original intention of the effort.

/1/April 11.

/2/See Document 314.

Questions were asked concerning additional actions. McCone suggested (a) more intense training and proposed that Defense modify regulations under which Cubans could be brought into military for training purposes as part of special forces but not as Cuban units; (b) guerrilla action indicated in addition to espionage teams; (c) probably necessary to supply arms to dissident groups which now have been identified; (d) we must be prepared to take a high level of noise and if we are to continue the present level of activity or increase it the noise level will increase materially. All of this was recognized.

Question of manufacturing MIG-type planes brought up. McCone said he would explore.

JCS paper/3/ on pretext or provocative actions was discussed. We should have and review this paper as it is considered to be a very thoughtful and useful document.

John A. McCone/4/


/3/Not found.

/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

326. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Brazil

Washington, April 14, 1962, 6:48 p.m.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/4-1462. Top Secret; Eyes Only; No Distribution. Drafted by Martin and cleared in S/S.

2979. For Ambassador Gordon from Martin. In private conversation Thursday/1/ with Foreign Minister Dantas I told him that the two points which were nonnegotiable in our relations with Castro were his political-military ties to the Soviet bloc and his subversive activities in this Hemisphere.

/1/April 12. On April 10, however, McCone and Rusk discussed this same conversation, which was between Rusk and Dantas. (Memorandum of discussion by McCone, April 11; Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Box 2, DCI (McCone) Memo for the Record, 7 April-21 August 1962) See the Supplement. The conversation between Rusk and Dantas apparently took place on April 10 rather than April 12.

Reporting on his conversations in Mexico City with his Ambassador in Havana he said his Ambassador felt that a serious struggle for power was going on between the Castroites and the old line Communists.

It was agreed that he would ask his Ambassador to seek an appointment to see Castro alone and inquire whether Brazil could be of any assistance in freeing Castro from the pressure of the old line Communists./2/

I told Dantas that you had a special line of communication to me personally and that he should report to you any results of this initiative. Send your messages this subject eyes only for me.

I cannot emphasize too much the importance of limiting this whole matter to your personal knowledge only./3/


/2/On April 15 the Department sent another telegram to Ambassador Gordon, drafted in the Secretary's office and cleared by Rusk, to clarify that the conversation referred to in telegram 2979 took place between Rusk and Dantas, not Martin and Dantas. The telegram noted that Dantas informed Rusk that he would ask his Ambassador to seek an appointment with Castro, but there was no agreement between Dantas and Rusk on this point. (Telegram 2987 to Rio de Janeiro; Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/4-1562)

/3/On April 27 Martin sent an eyes only telegram to Gordon instructing him to inquire of Dantas if there had been any further developments concerning the proposed Brazilian initiative. (Telegram 3113 to Rio de Janeiro; ibid., 737.00/4-2762)

327. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy

Washington, April 18, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/4-1862. Secret. Drafted by Hurwitch on April 17.


Cuban Prisoner Exchange

I understand that representatives of the Families Committee for Liberation who recently returned from attempting to negotiate the liberation of the prisoners with Fidel Castro may be calling upon the State Department within the course of the week to secure our further advice. By the end of the week I hope to have suggestions to you on the Government's position.

This memorandum contains the most complete information we now have on the discussions leading up to the recent Cuban prisoner exchange.

Dr. Ernesto Freyre, one of the four members of the Families Committee who went to Habana to negotiate terms of release of the April 17 prisoners, reported the following results of two interviews with Fidel Castro.

First Interview

1. They offered Castro some $26 million worth of food in exchange for all of the prisoners; an offer which he rejected on the grounds that it was contrary to the tribunal's decision. The only basis for negotiation he would accept was the sentences passed by the tribunal.

2. Castro offered to release the sick and wounded for the price the tribunal had set, a price which "they could pay whenever they had the money."

3. The Committee members' request to discuss this proposition with the Brigade leaders was granted. The Brigade leaders told the Committee members to accept the offer.

Second Interview

1. The Committee members told Castro they would accept the sick and wounded and would try to raise the approximately $2.5 million involved.

2. The question of an exchange based on foodstuffs was again broached. Castro replied that he would probably find acceptable a formula for releasing the remaining prisoners based on $26 million in foodstuffs and medicines and the balance of the $62 million in cash (he talked about $10 million in medicines, and the remainder of the $26 million in cereals, cattle feed, etc.). Castro told the Committee not to be discouraged; that he was confident something could be worked out within ninety days.

3. Castro agreed that the prisoners would not be placed at hard labor as long as the possibility of negotiations remained open.

4. Castro promised that the prisoners' food would be improved. He also agreed to permit them books and other reading matter.

5. Castro suggested that they return to Habana and he would receive them whenever they had something further to discuss regarding the negotiations.

Dr. Carlos Piad, Washington CRC representative, informed the Department that one of the returning prisoners told Dr. Miro that on or about April 11 Castro visited the prisoners and told them that he had nothing against them (they had only been misguided) but that his anger was directed against the President of the United States. Castro allegedly said that the President had called him a "pirate" whereas in reality the President was the "pirate" for having launched the invasion. Castro reportedly told the prisoners that he was confident they would be released within three months, intimating that the United States would pay the $62 million.

Dean Rusk/1/

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

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

Washington, April 19, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Mongoose. Top Secret; Sensitive. An attached distribution list indicates that seven copies of the memorandum were prepared and copies were sent to Robert Kennedy, Taylor, Johnson, Gilpatric, Lemnitzer, and McCone. One copy was kept by Lansdale.


Operation Mongoose, 13-19 April

The following are the significant highlights of Operation Mongoose for the past week:

Tasks. All tasks agreed to at the 11 April meeting in Secretary Rusk's office and the 12 April Special Group meeting/1/ have been assigned by the Chief of Operations to Departments and Agencies concerned. The State Department, through Assistant Secretary Ed Martin, requested revision of the "total blockade" tasking to be limited to a CIA estimate of the effects on Cuba of a blockade; the tasking was so changed. Status of these tasks will be included in my report to the Special Group next week, when I plan to attend the meeting.

/1/For a record of the April 11 meeting, see Documents 324 and 325. No other record of the April 12 meeting has been found.

Prisoner Ransom. The Chief of Operations met with State and CIA representatives to work on problems arising from Castro's proposed $62 million ransom deal for prisoners. State agreed to contact James Fusca, the New York public relations advisor to the Cuban Families Committee, so that consideration is afforded the propaganda impact of public appearances for Brigade fund raising, suggesting that the theme be in terms of the fight for recapturing human freedom and national independence rather than in terms of disabled Cubans to whom the U.S. owes a debt of guilt.

A more serious problem is the dissension and splintering of Cuban refugee groups. Attention is called to the 18 April CIA Daily Summary (on Cuba), page 2./2/ It reports the threat of Jose Lasaga, of the MRR, to withdraw from the CRC--unless the CRC publishes that it is against "peaceful co-existence" and that the ransom payment is the first step towards peaceful co-existence. This sentiment and criticism is growing among Cuban refugees in Florida. (USIA reports that local reaction in 11 Latin American countries is strongly negative to a deal with Castro, with the consensus that the U.S. government should ignore Castro's efforts to "sell human beings.")

/2/Not found.

The threat of splintering refugee groups over the purpose of their organization, in turn, raises the problem of what the U.S. desires the CRC to be: a central refugee organization with mainly non-political goals, or a central organization of Cuban political-military actionists for liberating their homeland.

Reports of New "Invaders." The New York Times this morning reported a group of Cubans training in the U.S. for guerrilla operations./3/ This is one of several news stories published recently and is an expected outcome of the restlessness of Cuban refugee groups. CIA cited a Chattanooga news item along the same line in its weekly summary. (CIA can report on the facts and meaning of this verbally to the Group.)

/3/The New York Times reported on April 19 that: "A compact guerrilla force built around former officers of Premier Fidel Castro's army is being organized in Florida and Puerto Rico for eventual action against the Cuban regime."

Agent Actions. Upon the return of Mr. Harvey from his current field visit, more specific information on the status of agent training and operations should be available. The CIA Progress Report this week/2/ notes that maritime actions to infiltrate two agent teams into Cuba and exfiltrate one team were unsuccessful.

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

Washington, April 19, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/4-2062. Secret. Sent to Martin through John H. Crimmins, Director of the Office of Caribbean and Mexican Affairs.


The Cuban Exile Community, the Cuban Revolutionary Council, and Dr. Miro Cardona

The Cuban exile community is experiencing a deep sense of frustration and impatience over what it considers "inactivity" regarding the overthrow of the Castro regime. The steps taken at Punta del Este to isolate Cuba and our imposing the trade embargo have stimulated widespread expectations that the "next logical step", i.e., some sort of military action against Cuba, would soon follow. During the intervening weeks the CRC and Dr. Miro Cardona have become the objects of considerable criticism for having failed to convince the United States to embark on a military operations program. Two member organizations have already left the CRC and a third will probably do so within the next few days. The CRC and Dr. Miro are consequently finding themselves in an increasingly precarious position.

Dr. Miro is striving to keep the CRC together. Motivated largely by ambition to be the main instrument of Castro's overthrow (and perhaps his successor), Dr. Miro is also deeply impressed by the President's recent urging that he remain at his post. In a lengthy telephone conversation with him today, however, I gained the impression that he would cease his efforts, resign gracefully and permit the CRC to disintegrate if the Department indicated such a course were desirable. He suggested that he quietly come to Washington in the near future and discuss the matter personally with me.

During a recent meeting, representatives of another Agency indicated that it might be timely to review our relationship with the CRC and Dr. Miro. They are concerned, I believe, that our present relationship presents security and control hazards for their operational requirements.

I view the CRC as of declining usefulness to us as long as the factionalism continues, and see little prospect of the present conflicts abating.


1. That you authorize me to initiate discussions at the working level with appropriate officers of another Agency with a view toward withdrawing U.S. covert support of the CRC.

2. That you authorize me to discourage Dr. Miro tactfully, on appropriate occasions, from his efforts to hold the CRC together and from continuing as its head.

/1/In an April 20 covering memorandum to Deputy Under Secretary Johnson, Martin indicated that, based on earlier conversations with Johnson and Ralph Dungan, Martin had approved Hurwitch's recommendations. On April 30, however, Hurwitch sent a note to Goodwin in which he observed that the CIA seemed to have had a change of heart concerning Miro Cardona and the CRC. [text not declassified] In light of those developments, Hurwitch felt that it would be "prudent to go slow for the time being about discouraging Miro and the CRC" until the CIA attitude on the issue was clearer. (Department of State, ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501, Mongoose Operations)

330. Current Intelligence Memorandum

OCI 1265/62

Washington, April 25, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Intelligence Material, 1/62-9/62. Secret. Prepared in the Office of Current Intelligence of the CIA. A handwritten note on the source text indicates the memorandum was sent to McGeorge Bundy and President Kennedy on April 26.


The Economic Situation in Cuba

1. The economic section, (see attached Annex),/1/ of NIE 85-62, "The Situation and Prospects in Cuba," 21 March 1962,/2/ remains valid. In these paragraphs we said that, despite record exports of 6.4 million metric tons of sugar, 1961 was a year of economic decline in Cuba. The reasons for this were complex, but among the most important were the fact that lower prices and the shift of the largest proportion of sales from the US to the Bloc brought no more returns than a normal crop and the lowest amount of convertible exchange in modern Cuban history. Cuba obtained some foodstuffs and other consumers' goods from the Bloc, but not in the quantity or of the quality of those previously imported from the US. During the first half of 1961 there was an acute shortage of industrial raw materials, but much more serious was the accelerated depreciation of the Cuban industrial plant, including transportation facilities, for want of replacement parts. Bloc credits promised--$357 million for new industrial plants--have thus far had little effect on the economy. The Soviet credits, which make up $200 million of the total, are mainly for industrial and mineral processing plants which are not expected to become operational until 1964-1965. In addition, of course, there have been dislocations due to the reorganization of the economy and the shortage of managerial talent. None of these adverse factors have been or are likely soon to be corrected.

/1/Not printed.

/2/Document 315.

2. We estimated in NIE 85-62 that the Cuban economy would continue to face problems in 1962 like those which caused the decline in 1961. Evidence continues to come in in support of this judgment. Indications are that the sugar cane harvest--still not completed--will be about 4.5 million metric tons, as compared with 6.6 in 1961 and an annual average of 5.6 million tons in the period 1957-1960. Cuba is curtailing its commitments to export to the Bloc in order to maintain the level of sales to the Free World. We believe it unlikely that Cuba's earnings of convertible exchange from all sources will be sufficient to prevent a net worsening of its convertible exchange position during 1962. This and other restrictions on Cuba's capacity to import will seriously hamper the Cuban economy during 1962, and it is likely that the total output of the Cuban economy in 1962 will be below the 1961 level.

3. Castro's recent offer to release the Bay of Pigs prisoners for ransom was probably motivated by his interest in finding additional foreign exchange, as well as by reasons of propaganda.

4. Beyond 1962, the development of the Cuban economy will depend not only on the rate at which capital goods are made available under Bloc credits, but also on the success of the regime's efforts to expand and diversify agricultural production. We believe that Bloc economic commitments to Cuba were seriously made and that the flow of capital goods from the Bloc is likely to increase substantially by the end of 1962. We think it likely that the industrial area of the Cuban economy will begin to expand in 1963, although these sectors most reliant on US replacement parts may continue to deteriorate. In any event, the rate of expansion is likely to be limited by poor production in agriculture. Such expansion will not, however, affect the welfare of the individual Cuban for some time. At any time, of course, the Bloc could take more extensive action to raise Cuba's levels of consumption, but there is no evidence that this is going to happen.

5. The prospect is for two or three years during which the Cuban people will be on short rations, both as to foodstuffs and other common consumer goods. Acknowledgement by Castro and other regime leaders of the country's economic difficulties and the imposition of stringent food rationing in March are indicators of the seriousness of the problem. We believe that we can expect continued efforts to blame the deprivation which Cubans are subjected to upon the US. Castro's success in dealing with the political implications of the economic situation will be limited. Economic dislocations and deprivations are unlikely to affect the attitudes of pro- and anti-Castro groups, but they will probably make the bulk of the population less well disposed to the regime. Still, we do not foresee an economic situation in Cuba during the next two or three years which will be the critical factor in the ability of the Castro/Communist regime to maintain control of the country.

[end of document]


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

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