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Department Seal

Volume X
Cuba, 1961-1962



Cuba, 1961-1962

391. Telegram 984 From the Embassy in France to the Department of State

Paris, August 26, 1962, 11 a.m.

[Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/8-2662. Secret; Niact. 2 pages of source text not declassified.]

392. Letter From the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Gilpatric) to the President of the Cuban Revolutionary Council (Cardona)

Washington, August 28, 1962.

//Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 65 A 3501, Cuba, 1962, 121-373.5. The letter was addressed to Dr. Cardona in Miami Beach, Florida.

Dear Dr. Cardona: It was a great pleasure to meet with you last Friday to discuss the Department of Defense program for the enlistment of Cuban refugees in the United States Armed Forces. As you know, we are anxious to provide opportunities for training and service to these men, many of whom have already distinguished themselves in the serv-ice of freedom.

I am writing now to confirm the steps we have taken to revamp our Cuban refugee program so that we shall be better able to take advantage of the skills of Cuban refugees.

As Mr. Paul told you, the new program for enlisted training, which should be announced within the next two or three weeks, will permit the recruitment of Spanish speaking individuals who will receive their basic training in the Spanish language and in units made up primarily, if not exclusively, of their fellow countrymen. We will be able to accept applications for this program in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and New Orleans, as well as in Miami, and we are looking into the possibility of accepting applications in Puerto Rico. Under the new program, the fact that a man has several dependents will not be a bar to enlistment, and applicants will be informed that their training will prepare them specifically for combat-type assignments.

You will recall that in the former program several enlistees claimed they had understood they were being recruited for action against Cuba, although they had been clearly informed to the contrary by U.S. authorities. In order to avoid this kind of unfortunate misunderstanding, every applicant in the new program, as a part of his regular processing, will receive specific briefing on this point, explaining also that he will be given the same opportunity to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces as is provided U.S. citizens, including service overseas and, if necessary, in combat.

In the matter of training for former Cuban officers, we are, as you know, making plans for the assignment of twelve former officers to serv-ice schools. We are planning to provide these officers two consecutive 18-week training courses at Army and Air Force schools. At some future time we may want to consider increasing the number of such officer assignments.

I look forward to our continued cooperation.

Sincerely yours,

Roswell Gilpatric

393. Extract From a Paper Sent to the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale)

Washington, August 29, 1962.

[Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 8/62. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. 1 page of source text not declassified.]

394. Memorandum From the Legal Adviser (Chayes) to Acting Secretary of State Ball

Washington, August 29, 1962.

[Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 8/62. Secret. 1 page of source text not declassified.]

395. Editorial Note

Photographs obtained from a U-2 reconnaissance mission flown over Cuba on August 29, 1962, revealed that surface-to-air missile sites were under construction on the island. The photographs were interpreted on August 30, and Acting Director of Central Intelligence Marshall Carter conveyed the information on August 31 to McGeorge Bundy at the White House and General Lyman Lemnitzer at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to a memorandum prepared by Carter on September 7, President Kennedy called him on the afternoon of August 31 and instructed him to limit access to the information to a minimum. "The President said to put it back in the box and nail it tight." (Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (Dulles) Files: Job 80-B1676R, Box 17, Walter Elder Recop)

396. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom

Washington, August 30, 1962, 7:22 p.m.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Cables, 7/12/62-9/7/62. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Hurwitch and Martin and cleared with EUR/SOV and EUR. Also sent to Paris as telegram 1301, to Bonn as telegram 590, and to Rome as telegram 470. Repeated to Copenhagen, Lisbon, Oslo, Athens, Brussels, The Hague, Luxembourg, Ankara, Moscow, and USRO.

1205. Since late July Soviet ship arrivals Cuba in addition normal tanker and cargo vessel movements are estimated total at least 26 including vessels now en route. Six passenger vessels have debarked and four more reported en route.

Cargo vessels known carried both military and economic goods, with high proportion former. Information to date indicates military goods consist large quantities transportation, electronic and construction equipment such as communications and radar vans, trucks, mobile generator units, tracked and wheeled prime movers, cranes, trailers and fuel tanks. Possible limited quantity weapons. Such equipment points to probable establishment sophisticated communications and radar net, possibly surface to air missile sites and installations.

Passenger vessels arrived or now en route estimated will have carried some 5,500 passengers. At least about 1,500 are believed to be economic technicians. Composition remainder unknown but are thought to include additional civilian as well as large number military technicians (including possibly military construction and engineer crews). No evidence presence Bloc combat units. Since debarkations, equipment and personnel reported concentrated eight areas in Cuba primarily coastal regions. Construction activity of as yet undetermined nature underway some these areas.

While the US realizes that there have been earlier shipments of munitions to Cuba in substantial volume, accompanied by military technicians, and that there have been even larger bloc shipments of munitions to other countries (FYI--such as Indonesia--end FYI) nevertheless this sudden and major increase in movement of military goods and personnel to Cuba cannot help but arouse great apprehension throughout the Western Hemisphere. The volume of arrivals is exceedingly great for such a short period of time. The aggressive activities and intentions of the Castro regime backed by the Soviet bloc toward the countries of Latin America and particularly the small, relatively weak, countries of the Caribbean have been all too evident ever since Castro came to power in Cuba. Castro regime has built up and is supporting with money, literature, and extensive training in Cuba, including training in street and guerilla warfare, revolutionary elements who are a threat to democratic and peaceful governments.

Castro is an emotional, irresponsible and dynamic leader, faced with difficult domestic economic problems and increasing unrest at home, and equipped with what is now the strongest military force in the whole Caribbean area, and in some elements, in any Latin American country. US not concerned about utilization of this force in overt agression. US would deal with that situation immediately within Hemisphere system. However, this amount military force in Castro hands creates psychological pressures and opens up possibilities for illicit trade or supply of arms for subversive elements. Thus such force is a power to be reckoned with in the struggles, increasingly vigorous, of Latin American political forces.

This renewed evidence of Soviet willingness to make sacrifices on behalf of Cuban strength is also significant of Soviet interest and willingness to invest scarce resources, not only in Cuba, but also in an attempt to expand its influence in other areas of Latin America. Cuba is in no position to pay for these items and will not be for some time to come. These deliveries therefore represent a significant Soviet policy decision to strengthen Cuba.

The US believes that its NATO allies with whom we are so closely engaged in other areas in combatting the spread of Soviet power will be concerned with this new development and will wish to join with us in examining what more can be done to limit the capacity of the Soviets and their agent, Castro, from further extending their power in the Western Hemisphere and to make it more difficult for the Communists to maintain their control of the future of Cuba. While it is in no sense an immediate prospect, a failure of Communism here where it has been so openly backed by the Soviets would represent a major loss of prestige with impacts far wider than the Western Hemisphere and of a nature which could only be beneficial to the interests of the free world.

Attention is called to the fact that Canada has managed quietly but effectively to maintain a close embargo over shipment of items to Cuba which originate in the US and over those which are under COCOM control. It is hoped that other NATO countries will reexamine their situation ensure that they are doing at least this much to avoid assisting and strengthening economic and military potential of Cuban regime.

It would also seem desirable to ensure that Castro is not able to meet his present needs by borrowing against future repayment prospects. These do not presently appear very great outside of his trade with Soviet bloc. For both commercial and political reasons it would seem desirable that we all continue to refrain from extending government credit for purchases by Cuba. FYI. It would also be helpful if at early stage special report by NATO countries on extension of credits to Cuba, as agreed in NAC, could be submitted. We recognize this has mainly psychological significance but believe it would exercise certain pressure on countries re surveillance of trade with Cuba. End FYI.

The US recognizes that a more complex and difficult question is involved in the question of availability of ships to maintain the flow of goods to Cuba. Nevertheless we feel that it behooves the NATO countries in the light of these new moves to reexamine with care their position in order to determine if there is any way in which they can make it more difficult for the Soviets to meet the needs of their partner at the end of this long line of communications. Since the effectiveness of any such moves is greatly diminished in view of the surplus of ships available for charter, unless most of the principal maritime countries concur, this is perhaps a subject which might be discussed in an appropriate NATO forum.

Department desires action addressees drawing on foregoing inform host government at high level US concern over this most recent evidence of increased Soviet military involvement this Hemisphere and urge reexamination its policy toward Cuba. Department may send additional instructions this subject info addressee posts.

For USRO. You should discreetly and informally undertake parallel action with delegates of countries action addressees, and inform SecGen Stikker. Would also appreciate your personal assessment desirability and feasibility having subject introduced agenda one of upcoming NAC meetings.


397. Memorandum Prepared by Acting Director of Central Intelligence Carter

Washington, August 30, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (Dulles) Files: Job 80-B1676R, Box 17, Walter Elder Recop. No classification marking.

1. Special Group Meeting--General Lemnitzer stated that Mr. McCone (sic)/1/ had called him and posed a possible requirement for low-level photography of critical Cuban targets. General Lemnitzer said that from the military point of view this was feasible, utilizing either RF 101 or F8U aircraft flown by US pilots from various bases or carriers in the Caribbean area. The use of Cuban pilots would involve a delay of some months due to the precise training required.

I pointed out that we are accused daily of overflights in any case and that the possibility of Cuban protests should not dissuade us from making these flights if they are necessary. It was pointed out that other types of photography, while useful in pinpointing critical targets, do not give sufficient detail for precise identification of certain types of equipment. After some discussion, the Group agreed to take cognizance of this matter and requested that it be reopened at an appropriate time when specific targets and information needs could be identified. (Minutes of Meeting of the Special Group, 30 August 1962)/2/

2. Also mentioned that there might be an additional requirement for flights over Cuba. (Draft Rept. to PFIAB)/3/

/1/According to an undated memorandum to the Director of Central Intelligence from Executive Director Lyman B. Kirkpatrick, it was Acting Director Carter who called General Lemnitzer on August 27 to discuss low-level photography over Cuba, not McCone. (Ibid., Box 17, Mongoose, Cuban Reconnaissance/Overflights)

/2/A copy of the minutes of this meeting is in Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files.

/3/Not found.

398. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State

Moscow, August 31, 1962, 6 p.m.

//Source: Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Historian's Office, Cable Files, Cuba, Jan.-Aug. 1962. Secret.

561. Department telegram 501./1/ In the absence unmistakable clear and official indication from US of seriousness with which unusually large shipments of heavy military goods is viewed, see no reason why Soviets should not continue increasingly provide such materials to Cuba. Preparations for present shipments must have been underway for long time and presumably were keyed to Soviet belief that American comments on the applicability of the Monroe Doctrine signified serious intent to mount full scale and overwhelming invasion. There is little doubt (viz Hungary) that in an equivalent situation the Soviet Union would have undertaken immediate measures to resolve the problem in terms of sheer force. Thus present shipments appear explainable apart from any intended psychological effect in the rest of Latin America.

/1/Telegram 1205 to London, Document 396, was repeated to Moscow as 501.

Soviet press play of so-called "cannonading" of Havana gives no indication that armament of attacking ships was no greater than 20MM capacity./2/ Soviet people therefore, should they learn of the extent of Soviet military materiel shipments, would have no reason to think Cuba is not, in fact, in danger of early all-out invasion.

/2/Reference is to an incident that occurred on the night of August 24, when two motorboats armed with .20 calibre guns and piloted by a group of young Cuban exiles penetrated Havana harbor to within a kilometer of shore and opened fire on several buildings in the Miramar section of the city for several minutes before escaping out to sea. Cuba protested the attack to the United Nations as an instance of U.S. -sponsored aggression. (Telegram 633 from USUN, August 30; Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/8-3062) Within the senior levels of the Kennedy administration a debate developed involving President Kennedy, the Attorney General, and Under Secretary of State Ball, and others, over whether to arrest and prosecute the Cuban exiles involved after they returned to Florida. President Kennedy decided to issue a statement deploring such "spur-of-the-moment" raids as counter-productive, and warning against any future raids. Memoranda of a number of telephone conversations on August 25 involved in this debate are in the Kennedy Library, Papers of George W. Ball, Subject Series, Cuba, 1/24/61-12/30/62.

Suggest desirability of early unpublicized demarche to Soviet Government--possibly Dobrynin would be best channel--expressing active and serious concern U.S. Government over penetrating Soviet military equipment accompanied by large numbers of at least technical personnel in area practically impinging on U.S. frontier. It might be indicated that our concern is necessarily based on what may be not entirely accurate information and that we would welcome a statement by the Soviet Government of the kinds of aid being given which would remove these doubts. In the absence of such clarification, we can only assume that the Soviet Government is, for reasons of its own, putting in the hands of what they as well as we know to be an unstable dictator, equipment which, if improperly used, could ignite a conflagration which would extend far beyond the Caribbean.

It would further appear helpful in our approach to allies for cooperation (reftel) if US itself had taken further direct step vis-a-vis USSR.


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

Washington, August 31, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 8/62. Top Secret; Sensitive; Noforn; Special Handling. An attached distribution list indicates that 21 copies of the memorandum were prepared and sent to Robert Kennedy, Taylor, Johnson, Gilpatric, Lemnitzer, McCone, Bundy, Rusk, McNamara, Murrow, Hurwitch, General Johnson, Harvey, and Wilson. Lansdale kept seven copies.


Phase II, Operation Mongoose

Pursuant to your instructions, transmitted herewith is a proposed projection of actions to be undertaken as Phase II, Operation Mongoose. This projection incorporates the suggestions of the operations team designated by the major departments and agencies charged with Mongoose planning and implementation.

The format employed is responsive to the 16 August 1962 guidelines for Phase II, Operation Mongoose,/1/ and to your comments at recent meetings. The projection is divided into each objective contained in the 16 August guidelines, and then lists proposed actions to attain that objective. The guideline objectives have been given short titles as follows:

/1/See Document 380.

A. Discredit and isolate the regime

B. Harass the economy

C. Intensify intelligence collection

D. Split regime leadership and relations with Bloc

E. Assist Cuban exile groups and Latin American governments to take actions

F. Be prepared to exploit a revolt

In preparing this projection of actions for Phase II, Operation Mongoose, an effort was made to restrict proposals to the "B plus" frame of reference provided and to assume that a broader frame of programming under the NSAM/2/ would supplement Mongoose by separate planning.

/2/Reference is to NSAM No. 181, Document 386.


(1 August 1962 until ____)

Objective A: Discredit and Isolate the Regime

Political Activity: 1. Encourage Latin American nations, bilaterally and through the OAS Special Consultative Committee (SCCS), to establish controls over the travel of their nationals to Cuba. (State, with CIA support)

Purpose: To diminish travel by Latin American nationals to Cuba and to facilitate the collection of intelligence on persons travelling.

Considerations: Most Latin American nations have constitutional provisions regarding freedom of travel.

Political Activity: 2. Encourage Latin American nations, bilaterally and through the SCCS, to limit or prohibit entry of Cuban propaganda. (State, with CIA and USIA support)

Purpose: To diminish the influx of Cuban propaganda into Latin America.

Considerations: Many Latin American countries have legal bars against admitting foreign publications.

Political Activity: 3. Provide intelligence of arms smuggling from Cuba to other Hemisphere nations. (CIA, State, Defense)

Purpose: To obtain and exploit hard evidence of Cuban subversion in the Hemisphere.

Considerations: Commanders requested to develop and encourage Latins to develop alerting systems, to include anti-infiltration training.

Political Activity: 4. As opportune, initiate action or support another nation's initiative in the OAS with respect to countering the Communist regime in Cuba. (State, with CIA support)

Purpose: To maintain the multilateral hemispheric context of the Cuban problem.

Considerations: Deep division within the Hemisphere over the Cuban issue may be surfaced. As an example of this activity, the current Dominican initiative in the OAS should be supported and exploited.

Political Activity: 5. Continue the program of excluding Cuba from Hemisphere organizations. (State, with CIA support)

Purpose: To strengthen the isolation of Cuba.

Considerations: Possible exceptions, such as in public health, should be examined to determine U.S. national interest.

Political Activity: 6. Stimulate manifestations critical of the Castro/Communist regime by Latin American political, labor, religious, and student and other significant impact groups. (State, with CIA and USIA support)

Purpose: To demonstrate that Latin America has rejected Cuba as a model to be imitated.

Considerations: To be productive, such demonstrations should stem naturally out of Cuban events, as they happen. "Events" could include Cuban refugee publication of substantive facts on what is happening to students, workers, etc. inside Cuba.

Political Activity: 7. Encourage and exploit the defection of Cuban diplomats, officials, and delegates abroad. (CIA)

Purpose: To make utmost political use of revelations by Cuban "insiders."

Considerations: Although keeping defectors "in place" can be more valuable, it is not always so, and if they cannot be recruited in place, then exploiting the defection fully for propaganda is important. Note items 45 and 46.

Political Activity: 8. Keep friendly nations fully informed of the nature of the Castro/Communist regime and of U.S. policy with respect to it. (State, with CIA and USIA support)

Purpose: To provide for coordinated action.


Psychological Activity: 9. Beamed to Cuba, initiate a planned series of statements by U.S. and other free world official and non-official spokesmen which support developing and maintaining the will to resist within Cuba. (USIA, with State and CIA support)

Purpose: To maintain resistance morale within Cuba.

Considerations: Moderation must be the keynote. Some unfavorable comment from Cuban refugee groups should be expected, demanding a harder line.

Psychological Activity: 10. Continue Voice of America short-wave broadcasts to Cuba. (USIA)

Purpose: To maintain regular, overt communication with the Cuban people.

Considerations: The activity is based on nine hours of daily broadcasting in Spanish, with three hours daily specifically programmed for Cuba. Carefully documented programs of the failures of the Castro/Communist system will be increased, to maintain a subjective basis for Cuban disaffection. Emphasis will be given to repudiations of the Castro/ Communist regime elsewhere, particularly the Western Hemisphere.

Psychological Activity: 11. Continue U.S. broadcasting to the Western Hemisphere. (USIA)

Purpose: To keep the people of the Hemisphere awake to the Cuban situation.

Considerations: This activity now includes both VOA shortwave broadcasts. Renewed efforts will be made to enlist support from Inter-American Broadcasters Association members and other groups. "Soap operas" and special commentaries on anti-Castro themes will be included.

Psychological Activity: 12. Produce propaganda cartoon books. (USIA)

Purpose: To build and reinforce a negative image of Castro/Communism among youth, labor, and other groups in Latin America.

Considerations: Themes can be updated quickly (agrarian reform problems, prisoner treatment, Soviet technicians, guerrillas, etc). Final Congressional action on USIA's FY 63 budget will determine if additional funds will have to be sought.

Psychological Activity: 13. Produce photo-novels carrying the propaganda story. (USIA)

Purpose: Same as 12 above.

Considerations: An anti-Castro pilot model is under development. These novels would complement the cartoon books (in 12 above), particularly in urban working groups.

Psychological Activity: 14. Supply TV outlets in Latin America with materials. (USIA)

Purpose: Same as 12 above, plus impact on key leader audiences.

Considerations: In addition to supplying documentaries and news clips, a series of one-minute puppet shorts will be tried. Commercial TV now covers all major cities in Latin America except Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile, and La Paz, Bolivia.

Psychological Activity: 15. Produce short films for commercial outlets and impact groups in Latin America. (USIA)

Purpose: Same as 12 above.

Considerations: Government censorship of all films in Latin America presents a potential problem.

Psychological Activity: 16. Produce propaganda exhibits ("before" and "after") for public and organizational display. (USIA)

Purpose: Same as 12 above.

Considerations: Three such exhibits are now being developed. The first one contrasts Castro's promises with his actions. An electric motor turns the slats on a venetian blind exhibit, changing the picture.

Psychological Activity: 17. Publish books in Spanish and Portuguese, with distribution through commercial sales and presentation. (USIA and CIA)

Purpose: Same as 12 above, plus impact on intellectuals and other opinion leaders.

Considerations: Volume will depend in part on results of USIA's request for supplemental funds for the Latin American book program, now pending before Congress. Several new books are now in the pipeline.

Psychological Activity: 18. Special propaganda exploitation of U.S. information about the agricultural, labor, and public health situation in Cuba. (State, with CIA and USIA support)

Purpose: To make full use of the factual basis for propaganda actions exposing true conditions inside Cuba.

Considerations: Current research on Cuba by U.S. departments and agencies, outside Mongoose, should be maintained and then be passed into Mongoose channels for use in the project. This includes Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor, and the Public Health Service.

Psychological Activity: 19. Expand the delivery of propaganda material into Cuba via the open mails, legal travellers, and controlled couriers. (CIA)

Purpose: To disaffect the Cuban people and to help maintain the will to resist.

Considerations: The "Gusano Libre" theme deserves much wider exploitation, since this is a theme created by resistance within Cuba itself.

Psychological Activity: 20. Develop specific proposal for use of balloons to deliver propaganda. (CIA)

Purpose: To provide a means of distributing propaganda inside Cuba.

Considerations: This distribution technique must appear as a genuine Cuban refugee project. It must consider risks of injuring population or being exploited along that line by the Castro/Communist regime to the detriment of Mongoose objectives.

Psychological Activity: 21. Direct propaganda at Soviet and other Bloc personnel in Cuba. (CIA)

Purpose: To make them disaffected with their role in Cuba.


Psychological Activity: 22. "Voice of Free Cuba" broadcasts from submarine. (CIA, with Defense support)

Purpose: To have a "voice" for resistance inside Cuba.

Considerations: The initial broadcasts indicated that this can be made into an effective medium, at small risk. In strengthening the effectiveness, full use should be made of talents in the Cuban refugee community. CIA will coordinate this activity closely with State and USIA.

Psychological Activity: 23. Continue "Radio Americas" broadcasts from Swan Island as appropriate. (CIA)

Purpose: To provide an irritant to the Castro/Communist regime.


Psychological Activity: 24. Make available to the International Narcotics Commission documented evidence of Cuban exportation/importation of narcotics. (State)

Purpose: To create increased awareness in Latin America of Cuban subversive activities.

Considerations: Documented evidence available or obtainable should be fully exploited for impact upon hemisphere and world opinion.

Psychological Activity: 25. [4 lines of source text not declassified]

Purpose: To sow and increase distrust in Latin America of the Castro/Communist regime.

Considerations: This activity will be undertaken only on a spot basis, coordinated with U.S. objectives in the specific country.

Objective B: Harass the Economy

Activity: 26. Encourage the Cuban people, as appropriate, to engage in minor acts of sabotage. (CIA)

Purpose: To cause breakdowns of communications, power, and transport facilities; to reduce availability of raw materials; to encourage the spirit of resistance, even in a limited way.

Considerations: "Minor acts of sabotage" include such actions as excessive use of electricity or short-circuiting of telephone equipment, immobilizing vehicles (stealing parts, puncturing tires, contaminating gas tanks), material spoilage, and crop burning.

All forms of media, non-US government attributable, will be used to get the message to the Cuban people; however, unless a method of mass distribution of leaflets is used, it is probable that this activity will be minor and spotty.

Activity: 27. Conduct selected major sabotage operations against key Cuban industries and public utilities, with priority attention being given to transportation, communication, power plants, and utilities. (CIA)

Purpose: To reduce available economic supplies and services.

Considerations: Depending upon circumstances, the sabotage will be conducted either by especially trained, carefully selected commando/ sabotage teams infiltrated especially for the operation and exfiltrated at the completion of the operation, or by internal assets if such can be developed with the necessary access to the target. The following are currently selected targets:

Matahambre Mine-Santa Lucia

Texaco Refinery-Santiago

Shell/Esso Refinery-Habana

Regla Steam Electric Plant-Habana

Matanzas Steam Electric Plant-Mantanzas

[1 line of source text not declassified]

Moa Bay Nickel Plant

Paper Mill--Cardenas

Micro Wave Towers

Each operation entails risk, not only physical risk for the saboteurs, but also risk of attribution to the U.S. in case of capture. Care will be taken to give these actions the appearance of being done by internal resistance groups, and in isolating team members from press sources upon return. The U.S. handling of information, in case of contingency, will be established by CIA in coordination with USIA and State.

Activity: 28. Sabotage Cuban assets outside Cuba as targets of opportunity, provided this does not unduly affect food and medical supplies, or the Cuban people, as such. (CIA)

Purpose: To cripple Cuban commerce and place strain upon regime security forces.

Considerations: Things, not people, are the targets. This activity requires a capability to act quickly on spot intelligence. Targets are seen mostly as shipments of products into or from Cuba. Sabotage would be to cause undue delay of shipment, using additives to spoil a commodity, fire or water damage, etc. A recent example was reported, post-action, on a shipment to the USSR.

Activity: 29. Inspire labor groups outside Cuba to obstruct free world trade with Cuba. (CIA and State)

Purpose: To force the use of more Bloc resources, including shipping.

Considerations: This is an activity mostly in third countries.

Activity: 30. Discourage free world trade with Cuba. (State, supported by CIA)

Purpose: To force the use of more Bloc resources, to deny Cuba hard currency earnings, and to hasten deterioration of Cuba's essentially free world equipped industrial plant.

Considerations: Most free world trading nations are opposed to imposing necessary trade controls. Importers might be dissuaded from using Cuba as a source of supply, such as the example of Japan recently. Preclusive buying and other forms of economic warfare deserve hard consideration.

Activity: 31. Encourage the OAS Special Committee to recommend further trade measures against Cuba by Latin American countries. (State)

Purpose: To provide a basis for renewed pressures upon NATO to recommend trade controls to NATO members.

Considerations: OAS Special Committee action should be geared to SCCS reports or other developments in the Hemisphere which might provide a good basis for Special Committee action.

Activity: 32. Reduce production of export agricultural commodities in Cuba, by covert means. (CIA)

Purpose: To cripple Cuban commerce vital to the regime's domestic economic program.

Considerations: The main export commodities are sugar, tobacco, tropicals, and coffee. Activities would include [1-1/2 lines of source text not declassified], hampering of harvests by work slow-downs, destruction of bags, cartons, and other shipping containers, sabotage of sugar mill machinery, etc.

Activity: 33. [2 lines of source text not declassified]

Purpose: To sabotage Cuba's transportation and defense capability.

Considerations: The operational difficulties in this activity are recognized. However, a priority alert for this is warranted.

Objective C: Intensify Intelligence Collection

Activity: 34. Spot, recruit, and train legally established Cubans in Cuba or in Cuban Government Posts abroad. (CIA, supported by State and Defense)

Purpose: The purpose of all activities under this objective is to provide maximum intelligence coverage of Cuba with particular emphasis on the following:

a. Capabilities and intentions of the Castro Government.

b. Soviet activities in Cuba including details of Soviet military personnel, units, locations, capabilities, et al.

c. Activities of Cuban G-2.

d. Military and militia order of battle and morale.

e. State of resistance including the tone and temper of the population.

f. Focus of power and/or stress and strain among the "Power Centers" in the Cuban Government.

g. Evidence of Cuban subversive activities in the hemisphere.

In addition to meeting the above cited intelligence objectives, operational intelligence, and recruitment leads as well as agent material result from the Opa-locka [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] operations. In addition to meeting basic intelligence requirements above, timely operational intelligence is vital to CIA current operations.

Considerations: When possible they will be recruited and trained while visiting outside Cuba; however when necessary recruitment and training will be done inside Cuba either by established agents or by agents infiltrated especially for the task. Whether this is done unilaterally or jointly with a third country intelligence organization is determined on a case by case basis.

In some cases the travel as generated specifically by CIA; in other cases the travels can be utilized to meet intelligence requirements.

Activity: 35. Spot, recruit, and train third country nationals resident in Cuba. (CIA, supported by State and Defense)

Purpose: See 34 above.


Activity: 36. Spot, recruit and train legal travellers who have potential access to significant information. (CIA, supported by State and Defense)

Purpose: See 34 above.


Activity: 37. Continue Caribbean Admissions Center, Opa-locka, Florida. (CIA, with Defense, USIA, and other support)

Purpose: See 34 above.

Considerations: The continuation of the refugee flow and the selective debriefing of refugees provide the most significant source of intelligence. Follow up debriefing of selected refugees after departure from Opa-locka will continue.

Activity: 38. [2 lines of source text not declassified]

Purpose: See 34 above.

Considerations: [6 lines of source text not declassified]

Activity: 39. Maintain PAA service between the U.S. and Cuba. (State, with CIA support)

Purpose: [2 lines of source text not declassified] to continue the exodus of skilled manpower from Cuba.

Considerations: PAA requires financial assistance to continue this activity.

Activity: 40. [3-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]

Purpose: See 34 above.

Considerations: [3 lines of source text not declassified]

Activity: 41. Continue monitoring overt Cuban broadcasts. (CIA)

Purpose: To obtain intelligence and propaganda material.

Considerations: This is done on a regular basis by FBIS.

Activity: 42. [4 lines of source text not declassified]

Purpose: See 34 above.

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

Activity: 43. [3 lines of source text not declassified]

Purpose: See 34 above.

Considerations: [3-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]

Activity: 44. Establish program of periodic reports from U.S. Embassies in Hemisphere analyzing the effects of existence of the target area regime on host country. (State)

Purpose: To maintain a reasonably current estimate of the impact of the target area regime on the Hemisphere.


Objective D: Split Regime Leadership and Relations With Bloc

Activity: 45. Collect personality information on key Cuban individuals, their personalities, their attitudes, their associations, and their influences. (CIA and others)

Purpose: To identify channels to key individuals and to identify frictions between the individuals.

Considerations: This is a long term continuing program. The degree to which these channels can be developed depends on basic professional work plus the "breaks of the game." The exploitation of the channel or of any splits in the regime will be determined in the light of existing circumstances at the time the channel is effectively established or the split is detected.

Activity: 46. Develop channels of communications to selected key individual and "power centers" of the regime. (CIA)

Purpose: To permit exploitation of the key individuals.


Activity: 47. Conduct psychological and political action. (CIA and State)

Purpose: To attain the objective.

Considerations: Activity will include:

a. By public and private comment, to stimulate distrust and disaffection in the leadership and ranks of the supporters of the Castro regime, principally among the militia, the government bureaucracy, by organized labor, youth and students, farmers.

b. [8 lines of source text not declassified]

c. Provoke incidents between Cubans and Bloc personnel to exacerbate tensions.

Objective E: Assist Cuban Exile Groups and Latin American Governments to Undertake Actions

Activity: 48. Stimulate, support and guide covertly the propaganda and political activities of all Cuban exile groups and individuals offering useful impact inside Cuba and upon world opinion. (CIA, with State and USIA support)

Purpose: To encourage and maintain the will of the Cuban people to resist Castro/Communist rule. To provide an articulate, meaningful symbol and voice of free Cuba to inform and influence public and official opinion outside Cuba.

Considerations: Major popular impact groups can be most effective in production and dissemination of propaganda that reports on the true state of Cuba's enslavement and misery under Communist dictatorship. Cubans speaking for Cuba are the most credible witnesses possible. Groups such as a "Free Cuban Judicial Committee" could publicize and openly prepare for eventual punishment of those committing "crimes against the people of Cuba." This program of support for exiles should consider exiles in hemisphere countries and Spain as well as those in the USA. As possible, the exiles should manage and lead in this effort, with U.S. assisting and advising.

Activity: 49. Provide covert support to the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC). (CIA)

Purpose: To provide a degree of cohesion within the exile community and to provide a cover and funding mechanism for the invasion survivors and prisoners. In addition some funding of constituent exile grops is handled thru CRC. To support and guide CRC propaganda activities directed at Latin America and Cuba itself.

Considerations: In spite of its many inadequacies, the CRC performs a variety of useful functions which, if it were to be disbanded, would have to be handled by possibly less efficient means.

Activity: 50. Encourage and support other governments in the hemisphere to undertake programs for Cuba along lines of our own effort. (State, CIA)

Purpose: To develop a multi-national program with common goals and timing, upon a separate-but-collective basis. To direct attention and effort toward initiative of Latin American countries instead of placing focus mainly on the U.S.

Considerations: This will require the highest order of overt and covert U.S. actions, to stir and support initiative in other national leaders. Reasonable but not prohibitive criteria for consultation and coordination is involved, with recognition that the U.S. is helping not employing the third nation efforts.

Objective F: Be Prepared To Exploit a Revolt

Activity: 51. Continue to develop and refine contingency plans. (Defense)

Purpose: To assure maximum readiness from the standpoint of military planning for military intervention if directed.

Considerations: These plans are well advanced.

Activity: 52. Continue planning with Defense and the various sub-commanders for the participation of others in military contingency plans for Cuba. (State, CIA and USIA)

Purpose: To provide support to the military in the event of execution of military contingency plans.


Activity: 53. Establish and maintain in being the necessary communication and crypto links between CIA and Defense, including various subcommands. (CIA)

Purpose: To provide the communication capability to support the military contingency plans.

Considerations: These links have been or are in the process of being established.

Activity: 54. Develop post-Castro concepts, leaders, and political groups. (State, with support of others)

Purpose: To provide a focal point for anti-Castro resistance elements and to facilitate the transition of a post-Castro government in the event of a successful overthrow of Castro/Communism.

Considerations: This is a matter which will require continuing study and which may be subject to substantial change due to circumstances which exist at the time.

Activity: 55. Cache arms, ammunition, and other supplies in areas of Cuba accessible to known resistance elements and in potential resistance areas. (CIA)

Purpose: To have available in Cuba a reserve of arms and ammunition.

Considerations: This will require extensive maritime infiltration/exfiltration operations. It is considered likely that Cuban maritime patrolling will be such that in the near future if the job is to be done, submarines must be used in lieu of surface craft.

Activity: 56. Recruit, train, and supply small resistance cells in the major cities and in other selected areas of Cuba. (CIA)

Purpose: To provide controlled intelligence sources and to be available in the event of an uprising.

Considerations: Experience and continually tightening security controls have demonstrated the difficulty of infiltrating and monitoring individuals or "Black Teams" in the target country for an indefinite period. Nor has any method yet been devised by which infiltrees can become "legalized." Therefore, two to five man teams will be infiltrated to recruit and train small "legal" compartmented intelligence and/or resistance cells. Upon completion of training, the infiltrated team will be withdrawn if it is seriously endangered or if its continued presence jeopardizes the "legal" residents. The program will be developed to the extent that proves feasible and possible in the light of existing circumstances, including Cuban security controls, morale and motivation of agent material and the willingness of the Cuban population to support infiltrees. Increased Cuban defensive capabilities may require the utilization of submarines or aircraft as a means of infiltration and/or exfiltration in lieu of surface maritime facilities.

400. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State and Chairman of the Policy Planning Council (Rostow) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)

Washington, August 31, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, NSAM 181, Cuba (A). Top Secret; Sensitive. Rostow added by hand the word "only" after Bundy's name at the top of the memorandum.

Initial questions raised by reading Cuba folder./1/

/1/It is not clear which papers were in the folder Rostow was reading.

1. It may be crucial to any set of moves that we make that we establish a clear legal basis for our action. This seems to me necessary because we will be inhibited from bringing to bear such forces as may be required at some stage, by our own inhibitions, unless such a basis exists. The optimum legal basis is not the raw Monroe Doctrine. I think we should look hard at the Rio Treaty and the Punta del Este resolutions which bear on indirect aggression.

2. A political basis within the hemisphere and within NATO is, to a degree, necessary; but if we have a legal basis satisfying to ourselves, a certain degree of unilateral, of "High Noon" action is probably acceptable.

3. As the papers note, it may be extremely important within the hemisphere to distinguish defensive from offensive installations, downplaying what has already apparently been delivered by references to Indonesia, Iraq, etc. The embarrassment here is mainly to our covert operations and therefore need not enter into the psychological impact of the deliveries.

4. As the paper suggests we should consider very seriously drawing a line which we would not only state publicly but to Moscow and Havana as well. This line should assert unacceptability to us of nuclear delivery capabilities within the hemisphere either on land or submarine-based. Here is where the legal foundation for our position is important. The Soviets may argue that we have emplaced nuclear weapons close to their borders. Our response should be that this hemisphere has set up its own regional security arrangements; that the U.S. is part of this hemisphere; and that we intend by our own force and with those allies who read the hemispheric documents as we do to enforce those regulations.

5. Against this background we should consider informing Moscow that among the actions we may take in response to any interference with Berlin access is a Cuban blockade. They have increased their pressure on us in Cuba, but they also have given hostages to fortune by this commitment. This is of course a deterrent with respect to Berlin, not a matter of Cuban policy itself.

6. In the light of these Soviet moves, we should be able to get NATO and the Latin Americans to reduce their trade with Cuba--and increase the Soviet bill for this operation; but only if we put much more diplomatic muscle into the effort than we have thus far.

7. The occasion is also propitious for our trying to tighten up from the relatively low level but still disruptive Cuban efforts at subversion in Latin America. As I understand it this effort now mainly consists in withdrawing training and reinfiltrating agents, disbursing money and disseminating propaganda. On a bilateral basis we should put more muscle into interfering with this game as well as underlining our willingness to bring the Punta del Este resolutions to bear./2/

/2/At the end of point 7, Rostow made the following handwritten addition: "i.e., those relating to indirect aggression." He also added, in his own hand, points 8. "Commando raids," and 9. "A Caribbean Security agreement?"

401. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Kennedy

Washington, August 31, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, NSAM 181, Cuba (A). Top Secret; Sensitive.



I attach at Tab A a first element in the reports on Cuba which will be coming in first thing next week. I have also started Walt Rostow on an intensive personal review of the problem and his thoughts will be available on Tuesday./1/ What Rostow and I both think as a first reaction is that we have two problems here which should be kept separate. The first is our reaction to the current step, and the second is our preparations to react against something which would require or make possible a major military operation against Cuba. The present actions in Cuba do not justify such action.

/1/September 4.

If this distinction is correct, we probably should make it plain during next week that while the activities in Cuba are further evidence of Castro's sell-out to the Soviets, they do not pose any new active threat to us or to the hemisphere. We should distinguish these activities from any form of aggressive action, or any activity which could aggressively threaten us or any other American state. We should make it plain that we know exactly what is going on and will continue to be able to watch it from inside and outside Cuba. We might also indicate that we expect the Cuban people to show their own opinion of this Soviet intrusion--and Walt suggests that Lansdale's operation might well be enlarged to include harassing actions by Cubans against bloc personnel.

Meanwhile, we should of course do what we can to intensify Castro's isolation from our allies. There is not a great deal to be done here, because trade is already very small and is limited mainly by Castro's own shortage of foreign exchange. Shipping is very hard to control because of the number of different flags under which there is excess cargo capacity, mainly managed by owners who would trade with anybody and passionately resist political guidance.

In the longer run, we need to clarify both here and abroad the grounds on which aggressive action or offensive capability would call us into action.

This is less a matter of the Monroe Doctrine than one of elemental national security. It is not the same as missiles in Turkey. It is like the Soviet attitude toward the Black Sea or the Baltic states. In domestic politics, again, we need to draw this same sharp distinction between what is now going on and what we would not tolerate. This will require a careful exposition from you, and it is the only reason for thinking that a press conference toward the end of next week may be important. I myself believe that if we make it clear that short of war we have done everything we can and that war is not justified by antiaircraft installations, we shall be on fairly solid ground.

McG. B./2/

/2/Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.

Tab A

Probable military, political, and psychological impact of the establishment in Cuba of surface-to-air missiles or surface-to-surface missiles which could reach the U.S.

1. Soviet missile possibilities in Cuba

The most probable present Soviet missile activity would be the introduction of SA-2 missiles. Preliminary but highly indicative photographic interpretation shows 7 sites which have all the earmarks of such installations in the early stages of construction. The SA-2 is a modern first-line antiaircraft missile, with an engagement range of 30 miles and a high reliability at altitudes from 2500 to 60,000 feet, and with limited effectiveness up to 80,000 feet. Missiles of this sort have been introduced in Indonesia and are on order by the UAR and Iraq.

The SA-2 is probably capable of use with a nuclear warhead, but there is no evidence that the Soviet government has ever provided nuclear warheads to any other state, on any terms. It seems unlikely that such a move is currently planned--but there is also little reason to suppose that the Soviets would refuse to introduce such weapons if the move could be controlled in the Soviet interest.

Other missiles which could be introduced now or later are surface-to-surface missiles of ranges varying from 150 miles to the 2,000 miles of the Soviet MRBM; such missiles would be of little value without nuclear warheads. Longer-range surface-to-surface missiles would require relatively substantial installations; shorter-range missiles of this sort could be introduced very quickly and mounted without elaborate construction.

As missile capabilities increase in the remainder of the 1960's, it will become progressively easier for the Soviet Union to install in Cuba lightweight mobile missiles with increasing range and destructive power against aircraft and against targets in the U.S.

2. Military impact of the introduction of Soviet missiles in Cuba

A. Surface-to-air missiles

If surface-to-air missiles are introduced in Cuba they will substantially increase Communist defensive capabilities there. Currently the Communist air defense depends largely on MIG's which are effective only against planes of medium speed and medium altitudes; additional air defense is also provided by antiaircraft artillery of uncertain effectiveness at low and medium altitudes. Extensive deployment of SA-2's would make reconnaissance overflight and other clandestine air operations difficult and dangerous and would substantially increase the problem of neutralizing air defense capabilities in the event of open conflict. There is no level of SA-2 deployment which would be able to withstand a determined U.S. attack.

SA-2 missiles would not require any significant redeployment of U.S. forces for defensive purposes, since neither these missiles nor the MIG's under their protection would carry any increased direct threat to the safety of the U.S. mainland. Operations at Guantanamo could be interdicted, except for low approaches and departures, but such action would be a strong ground for U.S. reprisal.

B. Surface-to-surface missiles

Surface-to-surface missiles with nuclear warheads would constitute a very significant military threat to the continental U.S. Even short-range missiles would be able to reach important population centers and military installations, and missiles of longer range would give the Soviets a capability of attacking substantial numbers of our most important military installations. Such attacks would have very short warning times, and this capability would be a particular threat to SAC-manned aircraft which now rely on BMEWS warning. It appears probable that on military grounds alone, the establishment of such a capability would be unacceptable.

Surface-to-surface missiles without nuclear warheads would constitute no significant military threat to the U.S. On military grounds, indeed, it may be that the introduction of nuclear warheads into Cuba is a more significant dividing line than the introduction of any given class of missiles as such. But the covert introduction of nuclear warheads would be very hard to detect.

It is believed that attention should be given also to the possibility that the Soviets may attempt to establish a submarine missile base in Cuba. The Soviet submarine fleet is greatly hindered in its operations near the U.S. by the absence of forward bases. Cuban-based missile submarines would be most useful to the Soviets, and the nuclear missiles could be kept under tight Soviet control. The announcement that Soviet trawlers will use Cuban ports may mark a precedent-setting step to this more dangerous use.

3. Political and psychological impact of Soviet missile establishment in Cuba

There is no technical means of making an exact estimate on this subject. In the small group which has reviewed this problem in response to NSAM 181, the general opinion was that the political and psychological impact of any substantial Soviet-provided missile force will be great: in the United States, in Cuba itself, and in the rest of the Western hemisphere.

The Soviet Union, in making a decision to supply the Cubans with missiles of any sort, is obviously staking a claim to a large-scale military foothold in the Western hemisphere. It can be argued that this claim was already staked when MIG's were delivered a year ago, and it is worth noting that the MIG's did not cause great disturbance to American or hemispheric opinion. But missiles are something else again, and we cannot expect that the public mind will serenely distinguish between antiaircraft missiles and a direct threat of missile attack on the U.S.

Any missile deployment in Cuba will strengthen critics of the Administration's "softness" on Cuba. This effect can be somewhat mitigated by words and actions being considered in other responses to NSAM 181, but it cannot be prevented while the missiles remain in place.

Nevertheless there will be a distinct difference in impact between missiles for defensive use against aircraft and missiles capable of use against the United States. The impact of antiaircraft missiles would be less in the U.S. and in the hemisphere--and international acceptance of action against defensive installations would be lower than in the case of action against missiles posing a direct nuclear threat to the U.S.

In Latin America the psychological and political effect of missile installations in Cuba would be substantial, and it would not matter much which kind of missiles were installed. The missile sites would be seen as proof of strong Soviet support for Cuba, and in the absence of prompt and effective U.S. counteraction, it would be judged that Castro is here to stay. In the Caribbean this would lead to heavy pressure for more effective U.S. support against Castro's subversion; outside the area Latin American states would be more inclined than ever to accommodate to Cuba as she is. This divergence of reaction would accentuate existing inter-American strains.


In sum, the expectation is that any missiles will have a substantial political and psychological impact, while surface-to-surface missiles would create a condition of great alarm, even in the absence of proof that nuclear warheads were arriving with them.

McGeorge Bundy/3/

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

402. Memorandum From the President's Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kaysen) to the President's Military Aide (Clifton)

Washington, September 1, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, NSAM 181, Cuba (B). Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only for General Clifton for the President. The attachments were apparently prepared for Gilpatric in DOD/ISA and responded to items numbered 1 and 6 in NSAM No. 181. (See Document 386.) The package also included a draft response, not printed, to item 5 in NSAM No. 181, which was redrafted with additional analysis by McGeorge Bundy and submitted to the President on August 31 in Document 401. A note attached to the source text indicates that President Kennedy saw the attached items.

Ted: Here is some stuff that Secretary Gilpatric had prepared specially. The Joint Chiefs responded directly to a Presidential request as transmitted through Secretary Gilpatric./1/ In my judgment, there is no urgency in showing the President this; however, he may ask for it, and I am accordingly sending it to you.

/1/See Document 403.



/2/Top Secret.

Item 1

[17 paragraphs (3-1/2 pages of source text) not declassified]

Item 6

"Advantages and disadvantages of making a statement that the U.S. would not tolerate establishment of military forces (missile or air, or both?) which might launch a nuclear attack from Cuba against the U.S."

1. It should first be noted that the character of Soviet military aid to Cuba thus far does not indicate the building of Cuban military capabilities designed for attack on the U.S. The nature of arms and equipment being furnished to Cuba, so far as known at present, seems primarily aimed at improving defensive--particularly air defense--capabilities. The main line of propaganda accompanying Soviet Bloc military aid, to the extent that a definite line is discernible, focuses on Cuba's right to defend itself against "aggression" from an "imperialist" USA. With respect to nuclear weapons, it would mark a very significant change in Soviet policy to date if nuclear weapons were to be turned over to the Cubans, or even deployed to Cuba under Soviet custody.

2. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that Soviet policy may shift, and that the creation of a nuclear threat on the U.S. "doorstep" might appeal to the Soviets as an appropriate counter to U.S. deployment of an alleged nuclear threat close to the Bloc periphery.

3. Final judgment on a proposed warning statement by the U.S. would seem to call for better evidence than presently available that a recognizable nuclear threat to the U.S. is being fashioned in Cuba. Pending evidence that elements of such a threat are coming into being, the pros and cons of a warning statement are discussed below.

4. Advantages

a. A strong U.S. statement warning against the establishment of nuclear-capable forces in Cuba would serve clear notice to the Soviets that we are reaching the limits of patience on their military intervention in the Western Hemisphere. To the extent that the Soviets are probing to see how far they can go, a firm commitment of U.S. prestige to stopping the build-up of a nuclear military threat in Cuba could cause the Soviets to weigh the risks of provoking us into action in a part of the world where we hold all the geographic advantages.

b. A U.S. declaration would pave the way for taking firmer sanctions. If the Soviets continued to support a Cuban buildup, we could take the position that their actions threatened the security of the U.S. and of the hemisphere, and that we therefore considered ourselves justified in taking necessary measures to cut off the flow of arms, such as interception and turning back of Bloc shipping. (The critical point would be to establish the "nuclear threat" aspects of the Cuban buildup. There might be no clear-cut proof, in which case we would have to establish the threat by our own definition.) Needless to say if we intend to make declaratory statements at all, we will have to be prepared to back them with some sort of action or take a damaging prestige setback.

c. In many parts of the world the U.S. image would be improved by statements and action showing determination of purpose and a clear concept of vital national interest. In Latin America, reactions would probably be mixed. There would be propaganda charges by Communist and left wing extremists that the U.S. was preparing to intervene by force in Cuba. This would probably be echoed to some extent by non-Communist liberal elements, particularly in Uruguay. However, in the key countries of Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, and Colombia the statement should tend to hearten anti-Communist and pro-U.S. sectors of opinion. This is especially important in Brazil, where these elements are being hard pressed by pro-Communist supporters of President Goulart; in Venezuela, where the extreme left has recently made two unsuccessful attempts to overthrow President Betancourt's Government by force and in Chile, where a left wing popular front movement is being formed for the next elections. On balance, although there would be criticism, it should be offset by the psychological lift which the opponents of Communism and of Castro could be expected to derive from the U.S. position.

d. A warning statement keyed to the nuclear threat would have the advantage also in some quarters of underscoring U.S. tolerance and patience, even to the point of permitting a Communist state on the very doorstep of the U.S. until the unacceptable condition of a nuclear threat from that state came into the picture.

5. Disadvantages

a. If it is granted that the unequivocal existence of Cuban-based nuclear weapons would be unacceptable from the standpoint of U.S. security--and that we would therefore take action to neutralize the threat--then consideration of disadvantages from a declaratory warning hinges mainly on the effects accruing from a warning made in advance of clear establishment of a nuclear threat.

b. An advance warning confined to the nuclear threat would have the disadvantage of casting U.S. policy in a rigid mold. It could be inferred that the U.S. intended to do nothing unless Cuba actually established a nuclear capability, which would tend to increase Castro's freedom of action in other matters and lower the morale of Cuban resistance elements. Unless accompanied by supporting indications of U.S. firmness and unanimity, an advance declaration would probably have a questionable deterrent effect on Soviet efforts to enlarge a military foothold in Cuba.

c. An advance declaration would give the Soviets legalistic propaganda leverage to argue that in view of U.S.-controlled nuclear bases ringing the Bloc, the U.S. was in no moral or political position to proscribe the establishment of a modest nuclear counter-force on the periphery of North America. Thus, a statement might very well have a reverse effect and help provide the justification for establishment of a nuclear capability in Cuba.

d. In the case of either an advance declaration or one made while indications of a nuclear capability were still highly uncertain, the U.S. would be vulnerable to a large-scale propaganda counter from the Communist side to the effect that Soviet aid to Cuba was only for purposes of defense against American aggression and interference in the affairs of a free and independent country.

6. Conclusions

a. The disadvantages of an advance declaration concerned with a nuclear threat only would appear to outweigh the advantages.

b. A declaration made after the existence of nuclear forces had been determined would be useful to the extent that it was followed up by action to eliminate the threat.

c. Making introduction of a nuclear capability the criterion for U.S. action has the inherent disadvantage that it allows time for further strengthening of Cuban armed forces, air defense capability, naval installations and possibly bases for submarines, so that any eventual military operations that might prove necessary against Cuba would become more difficult and costly.

d. The final conclusion which emerges is that any declaratory warning issued by the U.S. should not be confined only to the nuclear aspect of a Cuban military buildup, and should not be made at all unless the U.S. is prepared to take action to thwart the buildup.

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

Washington, September 1, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, NSAM 181, Cuba (B). Top Secret; Noforn; Special Handling. Copies were sent to Rusk and Kaysen.



Attached are answers prepared by the Joint Staff to a series of questions which I put to them yesterday after our telephone conversation.

By the time of your return Tuesday,/1/ Defense and the CIA will be prepared to give you an analysis of the recently acquired intelligence on Cuba, and we will also have ready for submission to you a proposal for further intelligence.

/1/September 4.

Roswell Gilpatric


Washington, September 1, 1962.


Response to Questions Pertaining to Cuba

1. In compliance with your oral request to Brigadier General Harris on 31 August 1962 for a response to specific questions concerning recent intelligence on Cuba, the attached staff paper is submitted.

2. The responses highlight the recent increase in Cuban offensive/defensive capability but obviously do not constitute a detailed analysis of the overall military threat posed by the Cuban/Soviet build-up. Current US contingency plans and force structure are capable now of meeting this new threat, however, there are additional risks involved which were not present six weeks ago. A projection of the current build-up indicates that the risks will increase in the future and that US involvement in an operation to rid Cuba of communism will become progressively more costly in terms of time, personnel and equipment.

John M. Reynolds

Major General USAF

Vice Director



1. What was the military capability of the Cubans for attacks against the United States prior to receipt of equipment recently?

a. Approximately 25 operational MIG aircraft capable of carrying two 500 pound bombs, in addition to their 20 and 37 MM cannon. These MIGs could attack targets as far north as Tampa and, on a one-way mission, they could attack targets stretching between New Orleans and Savannah.

b. Approximately eight operational B-26 aircraft, each capable of carrying five 500 pound bombs and attacking targets on round trip missions in an arc between Mobile and Savannah and, on one-way missions, they could attack targets stretching from San Antonio in the west, Cleveland to the north and New York in the east.

c. Approximately 15 small craft including 12 Motor Torpedo Boats (MTBs) which could make nuisance raids against southeastern coastal cities and lines of communication.

2. What is the effect of the acquisition of missiles and missile carrying torpedo boats?

a. Extensive deployment of surface-to-air missiles (SA-2's) will make reconnaissance more hazardous. It will increase the problem and costs involved in neutralizing air defense capabilities in the event of open conflict.

b. Missile carrying torpedo boats greatly enhance Cuba's coastal defense. Offensively, these boats can be used against shipping, coastal cities and industrial complexes in southeastern United States consistent with the following capabilities: KOMAR class boats are capable of a sustained maximum speed of 45 knots for over 500 miles or a 1400 mile range at 22 knots. Each carries two Mach-1 missiles with a range of 10-15 NM carrying a 2000 pound warhead.

3. How much more secure are they for launching attacks against the United States?

The SA-2 is a modern, first-line anti-aircraft missile, with an engagement range of 30 miles and a high reliability at altitudes from 2,500 to 60,000 feet and with limited effectiveness up to 80,000 feet. The presence of these missiles in Cuba is an added hazard to our air reconnaissance and will make it more difficult for us to determine that offensive preparations are underway.

4. What was required for the United States to deal with the situation before the latest acquisition?

Contingency plans envisioned the seizure of key strategic areas in Cuba within 10-15 days after landing with the minimum of casualties to both sides. Plans are based on the premise that an adequate amount of time will be allocated for pre-assault preparations. Major units involved in the initial assault include: two Army airborne divisions, an Infantry brigade, an Armored combat command, one and one-third Marine Division/Wing Teams, a Navy Striking and Covering Force together with an amphibious task force, 17 USAF tactical fighter squadrons and 53 troop carrier or transport squadrons.

5. How much more difficult is it for the United States to deal with the situation now?

The strengthening of Cuban military capabilities will increase the resistance which must be overcome in the event of US operations in Cuba. It may take somewhat longer to achieve the same degree of neutralization, since it will be necessary to neutralize the SA-2 installations and MTBs before major airborne and amphibious operations can begin. There also exists the possibility that the opportunity of obtaining strategic and tactical surprise may be prejudiced because of the increased period of time required for preliminary operations against these targets.

6. What added forces would be involved? This to be in terms of armaments currently known to be available to the Cubans.

None. Those US forces committed in current US contingency plans are considered sufficient.

7. What damage can the torpedo boats do to the United States?

These boats can be used effectively in high speed day or night hit-and-run raids against shipping and against coastal cities and industrial complexes in southeastern United States consistent with the following capabilities: KOMAR class boats are capable of a speed of 45 knots for a 500 nautical mile range or a 1400 NM range at the economical speed of 22 knots; each carries two Mach-1 surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 10-15 NM carrying a 2000 pound warhead, as well as four 25 MM AA guns. The missile warheads have a reported CEP of 100 feet.

8. What damage can aircraft do to the United States?

a. Approximately 25 operational MIG aircraft capable of carrying two 500 pound bombs, in addition to their 20 and 37 MM cannon. These MIGs could attack targets as far north as Tampa and, on a one-way mission, they could attack targets stretching between New Orleans and Savannah.

b. Approximately eight operational B-26 aircraft, each capable of carrying five 500 pound bombs and attacking targets on round trip missions from the tip of Florida in an arc between Mobile and Savannah and, on one-way missions, they could attack targets stretching from San Antonio in the west, Cleveland to the north and New York in the east.

9. Added Comment

In addition to the foregoing, the military, psychological and political impact on other countries of the Caribbean littoral should not be overlooked. The recently acquired missile carrying torpedo boats could be used effectively in offensive operations against Latin American countries in the support of communist-oriented insurgency. Also, attacks could be made on industrial complexes such as the vulnerable oil refineries of Venezuela. The MTB's would be particularly effective in the harassment of shipping in the Windward Passage or in an attack on the Panama Canal.

404. Memorandum From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hilsman) to Secretary of State Rusk

Washington, September 1, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, NSAM 181, Cuba (B). Secret; Noforn.


The Meaning of Increased Soviet Aid to Cuba

This paper attempts to analyze both the Soviet and Cuban motives behind the recent Soviet economic and military shipments to Cuba.


1. The recent increased Soviet economic and military commitment to Cuba is new and significant evidence of the value Moscow places on the Castro regime as a serious threat to US prestige and position in this Hemisphere.

2. Cuban leaders have sought this assistance eagerly, believing that it will enable them to improve internal and external security and restore forward momentum to their revolution.

3. The Soviet decision to give more help came at at time when economic deterioration and growing popular discontent raised fears of failure, and of invasion, among Castro supporters.

4. In addition to training and arming Castro's force, the Soviets may be establishing some kind of overt military presence with Soviet-manned installations in Cuba. But we believe that at present such activities are likely to be limited to the setting up of unacknowledged intelligence collection and defensive facilities. They will attempt to derive propaganda advantage by comparing their "peaceful" presence in Cuba with US bases in Turkey and Iran.

5. Current Soviet moves in Cuba do not appear to be synchronized with Soviet moves in Berlin, but they have a common root in Moscow's growing sense of power, and Moscow may hope that increased tensions in one area will lead to Western concessions in the other.

6. It is not likely that this assistance presages a direct military move against Guantanamo.

I. Cuban Needs and Soviet Involvement

The present Soviet economic and military shipments to Cuba are probably the outcome of Soviet-Cuban agreements made last Spring. At that time there were two compelling factors favoring such agreements:

(1) The Cuban economy was in deepening trouble with no breakthrough in sight. The pervasive disruption which had been evident earlier in industry and transportation showed up in the agricultural sector as well, most conspicuously in the sugar industry, the very heart of the economy. Food shortages produced rising discontent. These circumstances apparently produced a crisis of confidence during which regime leaders probably calculated that the inter-related threats of internal revolt and external attack were increasing to a dangerous degree. The regime increasingly warned the people of the danger of US-supported invasion. Cuban demands for Soviet economic and military assistance probably became insistent at this time.

(2) The Soviet interest in, and commitment to, the Cuban regime had significantly increased by last March. The Soviet leaders had always valued the Castro regime as a symbol in strategically important Latin America of anti-US forces they have been encouraging throughout the world. Moscow's commitment to Cuba increased considerably when it acquiesced (with some reluctance) in Castro's attempt to push into full membership in the communist fraternity by proclaiming his affiliation with international communism last December and forcefully putting himself at the head of the Cuban communists last March. The Soviet Union thus became more susceptible to Cuban demands for economic and military assistance.

While these two factors laid the groundwork for concluding the agreements for the present Soviet shipments to Cuba, the agreements were very likely not achieved without Soviet-Cuban friction. In exchange for their increased economic assistance, the Soviets probably insisted on a greater role in direction of the Cuban economy than the Cubans wanted to give them. The risks involved for the Soviets in a military buildup in Cuba probably made them reluctant to meet Cuban demands for military assistance, although Moscow probably calculates that the risk of a direct US intervention in Cuba is not high.

II. The Soviet Game in Cuba

General Outlook and Policy

Moscow's policy toward Cuba must be considered within the context of its view of Latin America. It is clear that for at least the last half decade the post-Stalin leaders have viewed Latin America--with its unstable military dictatorship, depressed standards of living, economic difficulties, social malaise, and widespread resentment (real or imagined) against overlordship of the "big brother" to the North--as a most promising area in which to pursue their policies of exploiting grievances to the detriment of the West, and especially the US. In addition, the Soviets are undoubtedly eager to penetrate Latin America because of that region's great strategic significance vis-a-vis the US. The major difficulty was that the Soviets had almost no entree to the area. The communist parties were small and weak and diplomatic relations were confined to a handful of the Latin American countries.

Developments in Cuba significantly changed this situation. The Castro regime provided the Soviets with a beachhead in Latin America, and a pro-Soviet, anti-US example which Moscow hoped other Latin American countries would emulate. The Soviets responded to developments in Cuba with approval and support.

However, the Castro regime's claims to communist status raised problems for Moscow. The Soviets originally did not want a full-blown communist regime in Cuba. They wanted a regime with a nationalist facade, but tolerant of and amenable to local communist influence. They invented a special name for such a regime in their Marxist eschatology: "national democracy." Moscow's hope was that this regime would be almost as amenable to Soviet influence as a purely communist one, while its nationalist facade would enhance its attractiveness to other Latin American countries. Soviet recognition of Castro's claim to communist affiliation meant modification of these plans and, more significantly, a deeper Soviet involvement with the highly volatile and impulsive Castro. Moscow nevertheless recognized Castro's claims to communist status, probably because a new communist regime is always welcome as a sign of the onward march of world communism, and partly from a feeling that there was little choice. The Soviet leaders now refer to Castro as "Comrade." The Soviet commitment to sustain him has deepened accordingly.

A further Soviet objective in Cuba is the development of an economically and politically viable internal system that will provide an example of militant, dynamic progress for other Latin American countries. Although the Soviet Union has made a sizeable contribution to keeping the Castro regime afloat economically, until quite recently it has been conspicuously niggardly about providing economic development assistance that would turn the Castro regime into the attractive example we think the Soviets want it to be. This is probably due to a variety of reasons, which include traditional Soviet caution about expending resources abroad, Cuba's deteriorating economic situation, and Soviet-Cuban disagreement over what to do about it.

On the latter point, there is evidence beyond reasonable doubt that the departure from Cuba last spring of Soviet Ambassador S. Kudryav-tsev was directly connected with, and probably a result of, Soviet-Cuban disagreements over management of the Cuban economy. Reliable reports indicate that Soviet-Cuban frictions also arose as a result of Cuban resentment at Moscow's effort to dictate policies, and Soviet resentment of Cuban assistance demands which Moscow thought exorbitant.

However, developments since the Spring of this year suggest that Soviet-Cuban agreement has been reached on Moscow's role in Cuba, and that the USSR is implementing policies designed to ensure the security and domestic development of its Latin American beachhead.

On May 14, after one-and-a-half month's negotiations in Moscow, a Soviet-Cuban supplementary trade protocol for 1962 was signed which provided for increased Soviet economic deliveries, including consumer goods, to Cuba. In early June a Soviet delegation headed by Uzbek Party leader Rashidov made an on-the-spot investigation of the Cuban economic situation which may have cleared away Soviet-Cuban disagreements over Cuban domestic problems and indicated an enhanced Soviet role in Cuban developments. Finally, Raul Castro during his visit to Moscow the first half of July also was reported to have taken up economic-military assistance with the Soviets, although the visit could hardly have planned the increased Soviet military-economic shipments to Cuba that took place shortly thereafter in late July and August. Cuban leader Che Guevara is presently in Moscow, reportedly to discuss Soviet construction in Cuba of a steel mill with an annual capacity of 1.3 million tons, which would give Cuba the largest steel producing capacity of any Latin American country.

There are very definite limits to any Soviet effort to build up Cuba as a "showcase" for other Latin American countries. To build Cuba into a truly prosperous country with a high standard of living would contrast it starkly with most countries of the communist bloc, including the Soviet Union itself. Furthermore, the communist system appears to have built-in obstacles of a political and economic nature to the establishment of a society with widespread prosperity. Within these limitations, however, the Soviet Union may hope to contribute to an economic progress and viability in Cuba that will serve to impress visitors from less fortunate Latin American areas.

In summary, we believe the current heavy Soviet shipments of military and economic material to Cuba are basically the culmination of a logical sequence of developments which took place within the framework of Soviet outlook and policy toward Cuba and Latin America, specific Cuban developments, and growing Soviet-Cuban interdependence despite friction between the two countries.

Secondary Objectives

Apart from the specific objective of strengthening the Cuban regime, Moscow undoubtedly looks for more general benefits from its activities.

Discredit Monroe Doctrine. One of the collateral purposes of Soviet penetration in Cuba, and particularly the military build-up even though the latter is not publicly acknowledged, has been to discredit the Monroe Doctrine and to assert Moscow's right to intervene anywhere on the globe where it feels Soviet interests are involved, including Latin America. The Soviets have taken direct issue with US reassertion of the applicability of the Monroe Doctrine with specific relation to Cuban developments. For example, Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko issued a statement on August 30, 1960, in answer to Secretary Herter's August 25, 1960, speech to the OAS Conference/1/ which referred to the "rotten corpse of the Monroe Doctrine" and contested the allegedly claimed US right to do what it wants in Latin America "while others have no right to fulfill their direct duty as members of the United Nations with regard to the Western Hemisphere, even if events are taking place there which touch upon the interests of insuring peace over the whole of our planet." To the extent that Moscow establishes a recognized presence, particularly of a military nature, in Cuba, the effectiveness and validity of the Monroe Doctrine appears called in question.

/1/For text of Secretary Herter's speech at the Seventh Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, at San Jose, Costa Rica on August 24, 1960, see Department of State Bulletin, September 12, 1960, pp. 395-400.

Establishment of Military Installations under Purely Soviet Control. Cuba's strategic location and its proximity to the US have undoubtedly led the Soviets to consider the desirability of setting up various kinds of military installations there. In weighing the pros and cons, the chief disadvantage of a major, identifiable Soviet installation is its ultimate vulnerability to US attack and Soviet inability to reinforce or otherwise support such an installation rapidly.

The advantages of a Soviet-manned base or other form of overt military presence would be that it (1) would in their view thoroughly discredit the Monroe Doctrine, and put into serious question US resolve, prestige and capabilities in the eyes of the Latin Americans and the world generally, and (2) would be useful in efforts to intimidate adjacent countries including, conceivably, the US. In this latter connection Moscow might seek to use its military presence in Cuba as a bargaining counter for liquidating the US military presence in countries around the Soviet periphery--a long sought Soviet objective.

Weighing the risks and advantages of a military presence, Moscow is probably now prepared, in addition to training activities and installing military facilities for the Cubans, to install covertly various kinds of Soviet-manned intelligence collection facilities and defensive installations (such as anti-aircraft artillery and missiles and coastal defense systems). Moscow would feel that such installations, which might eventually be turned over to the Cubans, could be plausibly justified in any case because of alleged aggressive US plans and would be difficult for the US to attack without provocation.

More risky, and politically less justifiable, would be demonstrably offensive installations, such as bomber bases or pads for missiles capable of reaching adjacent countries. We believe that the Soviets would rule out this type of military presence for the foreseeable future.

In sum, we think there is some possibility that intelligence and defensive installations may be set up at least temporarily under purely Soviet control, while offensive installations would not be likely, certainly for a considerable time.

It should be noted in this connection that presently available information makes it extremely difficult to assess Soviet intentions in this field and that a harder estimate must await more clearcut evidence.

USSR in Cuba vs. US in Turkey. The Soviets are also attempting to derive propaganda advantage by comparing their "peaceful" presence in Cuba with US military bases on the Soviet periphery. In his September 1961 interview with New York Times correspondent Sulzberger, Khru-shchev compared the US-backed invasion of Cuba the previous April with a Soviet right to intervene in Turkey or Greece, whose regimes are allied with the US and "unfriendly" toward the Soviet Union. This theme has reappeared in Soviet propaganda in connection with the current Cuban invasion scare. It is not likely that the Soviets hope, or would be willing, to trade their presence in Cuba for US withdrawal from areas on the Soviet periphery; but they obviously hope to make propaganda mileage out of the situation.

Relationship to Berlin. The mounting Soviet involvement in Cuba has no doubt served in the Soviet view to underscore the change in the world "correlation of forces" which, the Soviets argue, makes an end of the "abnormal" situation in Berlin overdue. In this general sense there is a relationship between Soviet conduct and objectives in this hemisphere (and, indeed, throughout the world) and in Berlin. Moreover, the Soviets presumably feel that to the extent that tensions and anxieties are stimulated over Cuba (up to a point, at least), pressures for new efforts at conciliation, including over the Berlin issue, will be generated in the West.

In view of the relatively long lead time involved in planning the current Soviet deliveries to Cuba, it is extremely unlikely that there could have been a close synchronization of Soviet moves in Cuba and Berlin. Nonetheless, even though fortuitous, the coincidence of recent events in Berlin and Cuba is almost certainly judged by the Soviets to be advantageous as long as present levels of tension are not greatly exceeded. Moscow probably does recognize that at some point a brazen challenge of Western interests and prestige will lead to a reaction which could start a chain of events involving uncontrollable, or hard-to-control risks.

As already indicated, the Soviets view their advances in Cuba and their efforts to make advances in Berlin as the logical concomitant of fundamental forces at work in the world. They probably believe that barring a rash act (either by the US or by Castro) the Soviet position in Cuba and the stability of the regime there is bound to gain in strength. Likewise, the Soviets appear to be confident that over time the Western position in Berlin will inevitably undergo diminution. Based on these expectations it would appear to be unlikely that Moscow would consider offering some sort of quid-pro-quo gambit whereby the USSR would halt or drastically curtail its role in Cuba in exchange for a Western withdrawal from Berlin. This is not to say that if some arrangement deemed advantageous by the USSR were worked out in Berlin, Moscow might not be willing, tacitly, to dampen down its more brazen involvement in Cuba. Indeed, Moscow might calculate that politically it would be feasible for the US to accept a new Berlin arrangement only under conditions of relative communist quiescence elsewhere in the world where Western interests are directly involved. But Soviet restraint based on such calculations would be likely to be transitory and in Cuba, at any rate, the momentum of Soviet involvement could be expected to be resumed in short order.

III. The Cuban Role

Motivations and Intentions

The increased Soviet economic and military aid to Cuba is undoubtedly being received with relief and satisfaction by the regime's leaders who in recent months have made little effort to hide Cuba's increasing economic, administrative and political problems. Cuba's sugar crop, still the mainstay of the Cuban economy, dropped drastically in 1962. With respect to other agricultural products Cuba has clearly not achieved the much needed expansion called for under the regime's plans. Meanwhile, in the industrial sector the deterioration of plants, equipment shortages, poor quality of raw materials, and gross mismanagement continued. Because of the US embargo and the shortage of foreign exchange, the Cubans have not been able to find adequate sources for the machinery and parts formerly imported from the US. The selection of management personnel chiefly on the basis of political reliability rather than technical qualifications continued to be the rule.

The leaders calculated that they needed expanded Soviet assistance both in a material and psychological sense to revive the economy, to overawe internal opposition, discourage any external invasion, stiffen the backs of supporters in and out of the armed forces, and restore Cuba's waning prestige in the Hemisphere. The prospect of sizeable numbers of Soviet military technicians and more sophisticated armament was probably welcomed as a demonstration of Soviet involvement, a possible deterrent to an invasion, a potential forerunner of an all-purpose Soviet defense commitment, and an addition to the fighting capability of the Cuban forces. There is little reason to doubt that Castro's intentions are to arm in such a way as to (in Castro's own words) "be in a position to repulse any imperialistic attack."

The Castro armed forces are primarily organized around missions of internal security and external defense, although it is doubtful that the regime draws much of a distinction between the two requirements. The internal oppositionists draw encouragement--when not material aid--from the fact of US power near at hand. Similarly, the likelihood of that power's being used is affected by the degree of internal unrest in Cuba. Finally, coastal incursions by Cuban exiles pose a challenge to both external defense and internal security forces.

It has always been difficult to discern how much of the regime's invasion talk stems from serious fears of attack and how much is a cynical tool for whipping up nationalistic fervor. It is likely that regime leaders themselves have reached the point where they cannot separate out their own motives. As Caribbeans, the Cubans have undoubtedly feared retaliation from the United States for their behavior since 1959. At the same time, they have acknowledged privately that invasion scares are most useful in maintaining support for the revolution. Scare talk also sets the stage for popular acceptance of greatly expanded numbers of Soviet military personnel.

In considering a new military buildup with the Soviets, Cuban leaders must have been aware of the adverse reaction it would cause in some sectors of Latin American opinion and perhaps in the OAS itself. However, when confronted with similar decisions in the past, the regime has opted for closer involvement with the bloc, preferring the course which would offer tangible support for its security and enhance its reputation for dynamism and defiance. It is probable that Castro, despite his independent nature and pride in Cuba's "unique revolution" has had little trouble concluding that the increased Soviet assistance will serve to strengthen his position and control of the situation.

In dealing with the bloc for arms since 1960 the Cubans have probably displayed almost open-ended desires. While financial considerations were probably important in the earliest deals (financial details on bloc arms remain a mystery but under current circumstances almost certainly are credit or grant), it was probably Soviet, rather than Cuban, desires which determined the final composition of military assistance to Cuba. It is probable that in the latest round of negotiations, in late spring or early summer, the Cubans again expressed an open-ended desire for hardware and tried to push the Soviets into a firm commitment to come to their defense in all contingencies.

The regime's leaders are expected to say little about the Soviet military contribution in public pronouncements. This behavior will probably stem not so much from the fear of provoking the United States as from a desire to emphasize for the internal public the Cuban-ness of the military effort. Effusive praise for bloc economic aid by regime spokesmen has always contrasted sharply with near silence on bloc military aid, although the latter has in fact been more prompt and extensive.

Because of a sensitivity to acknowledging dependence on the Soviets for the actual territorial defense of Cuba, the regime has probably not desired the establishment of full-fledged Soviet military base on Cuban soil. In future, if the leaders believe their security again in imminent danger, they could come to welcome such a base, although they would still prefer a promise of thermonuclear retaliation. In the meantime, their attitude will not preclude acceptance of specialized Soviet units in such fields as intelligence and communications, nor will it limit their desire for growing numbers of Soviet technicians and advisors.

Possible Moves Against Guantanamo. It continues to be unlikely that the Castro regime, fearing US retaliation, will make any direct military move against the Guantanamo Base. However, they may well adopt a more belligerent posture toward the United States presence there. Since the beginning of July the Cuban press and other propaganda media have been giving new and extensive coverage to government allegations (over 150) of US air and sea incursions into Cuban territory and to alleged provocations by the US naval base at Guantanamo. The harassment of marine sentries at the base has increased in the same period.

There is a possibility that the regime intends this publicity as part of an overall campaign to impress world opinion with alleged US disregard for Cuban sovereignty. In addition to providing justification for the new Soviet aid and the further militarization of the island it may also be the principal point of attack in a combined Cuban-Bloc move aimed at Guantanamo at the next session of the UN General Assembly.

405. Memorandum From the President's Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kaysen) to President Kennedy

Washington, September 1, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, NSAM 181, Cuba (B). Top Secret; Sensitive. A covering note from Kaysen to Clifton reads: "The attached is a partial response to some questions the President asked Gilpatric, Shepard and me before leaving yesterday." Kaysen added a handwritten postscript indicating he was also attaching a copy of CINCLANT telegram 10152Z to JCS, September 1, which confirmed that CINCLANTFLT had issued instructions to conform with the new rules of engagement. (Ibid.)

Mr. President:

1. Attached is a memorandum on Rules of Engagement for Aircraft in the area of Cuba. It comes from the Joint Staff via Max Taylor's office.

2. The other review you asked for of all our reconnaissance operations in the neighborhood of Cuba is proceeding. Ros Gilpatric will see that we don't do anything this weekend that might lead to another incident. The whole schedule will be available to you for review on Tuesday./1/ The salient facts are these. All the aircraft we run on regular reconnaissance missions are unarmed. The nature of their equipment and the kind of aircraft involved makes it useless to arm them. However, they are all carefully watched by radar. Fighters are on the alert at Key West and Guantanamo ready to be scrambled if there is any indication of hostile fighter action against the reconnaissance planes. All the flights are well without the range of antiaircraft capability. One mission is possibly within the range of Cuban based missiles. This is now operating at the margin of its capability. If it is moved further out, the mission, an electronic intelligence one, might as well be abandoned. The next flights are scheduled on September 4th. They have both been carefully reviewed and neither of them presents any hazard.

/1/September 4.

3. In addition to these flights, which are directed by the Joint Chiefs, there are the routine patrol missions run by commands subordinate to CINCLANT. The flight that was shot at Thursday/2/ was one of those. From everything we have been able to find out the pilot behaved properly and according to his orders. A low level reconnaissance of shipping is a routine part of antisubmarine operations, and does not contravene accepted international law. We have been looking over Russian trawlers in this way for some time without any shooting incidents. We are now in process of examining the orders under which such flights operate in considering the extent to which they are useful and should be run in similar aircraft.

/2/August 30.



Memorandum for President Kennedy


Rules of Engagement

In General Taylor's absence and at Mr. Bundy's request, I am forwarding a paper on Rules of Engagement, particularly in the vicinity of Cuba, which has been furnished to us by the Joint Staff./3/

/3/Not found.

The paper, which is quite clear, can be summarized as follows:

a. Reconnaissance or other flights near Cuba will be conducted in a non-provocative manner, which is interpreted as generally flying parallel to the coast. In the event that it is necessary to close in on a ship or aircraft to effect identification, this will be done carefully. Such ships or aircraft will not be harassed.

b. In the event that one of our craft is harassed or attacked, unarmed U.S. craft will take evasive action. Armed craft may counter attack if they have actually been fired upon.

c. Hot pursuit into Cuban air space is authorized, but it may not be prolonged. (This is clearly authorized by international law.) However, commanders will not organize a pursuing force.

d. In the event of harassment by Cuban aircraft, U.S. armed craft will attempt to shoulder them off and shepherd them back into Cuban air space or waters.

These Rules of Engagement, which were extracted from an NSC paper,/4/ seem to be quite carefully balanced while still reserving the fundamental right of self-defense.

/4/The reference is unclear.

Julian J. Ewell

Colonel, USA

Executive Assistant to the

Military Representative of the President

[end of document]


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

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