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Department Seal

Volume X
Cuba, 1961-1962



Cuba, 1961-1962

406. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State and Chairman of the Policy Planning Council (Rostow) to President Kennedy

Washington, September 3, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, President's Office Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Security, 1962. Top Secret; Sensitive.

At your request, I have reviewed the Cuban position over the week end. Herewith my reflections. You will understand, of course, that I have not been following the matter closely over recent months.



Situation and Problem.

On the basis of existing intelligence the Soviet military deliveries to Cuba do not constitute a substantial threat to U.S. security. They do constitute a deterrent to certain types of surveillance and a means for improving certain types of Soviet intelligence. They also constitute evidence that Moscow, having been frustrated in certain directions, is in a mood to double its bet rather than cut its losses, at least on a selective basis. In this case, Moscow has moved strongly but defensively to meet Castro's anxieties about overflights and other intrusions, and to shore up his flagrantly weak economy.

These deliveries constitute, further:

1. A psychological move of some power in the Caribbean (where the fear of Cuba is authentic) and in the rest of Latin America (where the move could be regarded as the extension of a challenge to U.S. military hegemony in the Hemisphere).

2. A psychological move likely to heighten U.S. domestic anxiety with respect to Cuba.

3. A testing thrust by Moscow, which, at considerable financial cost and further commitment of prestige, places before us the question of where and how we should draw the line with respect to unacceptable action and behavior by the Communists in Cuba and the Hemisphere.

We face, therefore, a problem of both formulating a reaction and articulating it in ways designed to: diminish the political costs under 1 and 2, above; minimize the likelihood of any further extension of Cuban capabilities or Soviet capabilities emplaced in Cuba; and provide the legal and policy basis, under certain contingent circumstances, for the liquidation of communism in Cuba by force.

The following memorandum outlines the possible elements of both policy and exposition designed to meet the circumstances.


A. Drawing the line. The ambiguities in the public mind, here and abroad, about the military meaning of the Soviet deliveries require not merely that we explain what they are and why--up to a point--we are prepared to regard them as acceptable, but that we also clarify the kinds of installations and capabilities emplaced in Cuba which we would regard as unacceptable. The President must consider going beyond his statement of April 20, 1961: "I want it clearly understood that this Government will not hesitate in meeting its primary obligations which are to the security of our Nation!"/1/ These deliveries, rightly or wrongly, raise the question in the public mind of the security of the Nation; and it may, therefore, be appropriate to indicate what we would not be prepared to accept without direct military riposte. In general, that line should be drawn at the installation in Cuba or in Cuban waters of nuclear weapons or delivery vehicles, sea or land based. There may be other types of aggressive instruments that we would wish to include in this definition. In addition, this may be an appropriate occasion to underline our willingness to act with others in the Hemisphere against Cuba should Castro undertake direct or indirect aggression against other Latin American nations.

/1/Reference is to the speech President Kennedy made concerning Cuba to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, pp. 304-306.

B. Legal basis for the line. If we are to put ourselves in a position at home and abroad to back this line effectively with the full weight of U.S. force and commitment, the line should be carefully grounded in law. Although the Monroe Doctrine is emotionally acceptable to most Americans as a legal basis for U.S. military action, it is not acceptable to our allies, either in the Hemisphere or abroad. On the other hand, various Hemispheric documents recognize the special status in this Hemisphere of "extra-continental" intervention (including the Rio Treaty of 1947); and Resolution II of the Punta del Este conference of January 1962 includes as paragraph 3 the following: "To urge the member states to take those steps that they may consider appropriate for their individual or collective self-defense, and to cooperate, as may be necessary or desirable, to strengthen their capacity to counteract threats or acts of aggression, subversion, or other dangers to peace and security resulting from the continued intervention in this Hemisphere of Sino-Soviet powers, in accordance with the obligations established in treaties and agreements such as the Charter of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance."

I am not an expert on Latin American law and agreement; but I believe it is possible and essential for us to establish our position in terms of our interpretation of those commitments. Having had a direct hand in drafting and negotiating the paragraph quoted above, I can attest that it was designed to provide two types of flexibility: with respect to various types of aggressive threats from Havana; and with respect to various possible groupings of Latin American states which might be prepared, under varying circumstances, to operate with us.

The Communist position will, undoubtedly, be that we have established on the Eurasian land mass military installations proximate to their borders, including nuclear delivery capabilities. Our reply must be and can be that by regional security action, provided for under the Charter of the United Nations, this Hemisphere operates under a different set of rules than the Eurasian land mass. In this context it should be noted that we would be playing directly into Moscow's hands to use the occasion of pressure on us in Cuba to withdraw Thors from Turkey. There is no clear stopping place for Communist activities based in Cuba unless we hold fast to the special status in Hemispheric law and agreement of "extra-continental" intervention.

C. Heightening deterrence to indirect aggression. In association with those Latin American states willing to work with us on a bilateral or other basis, we should examine much more intensively than we have thus far the exact nature of the subversive activities operating out of Havana into Latin America. I understand that these are probably now at a relatively low level, involving the training and infiltration of agents; the passage of funds; and various forms of propaganda. We should heighten our efforts to interfere with these activities for two reasons: to strengthen the sense of confidence of the Caribbean countries; and to try to surface some firm evidence of this activity so that we have, in legal reserve, the right to invoke the collective security provisions of the Punta del Este conference of 1962. We need to prepare a "Jorden Report"/2/ on the Communist operation in Latin America. I am fully conscious of the difficulties of accumulating hard evidence. But I am not convinced a determined and professional effort has been made.

/2/Reference is to a two-part report entitled "A Threat to the Peace: North Viet-Nam's Effort To Conquer South Viet-Nam," which was issued by the Department of State on December 8, 1961. The report was based upon a fact-finding trip to Vietnam undertaken by William J. Jorden, a member of the Department's Policy Planning Council, and it was referred to informally within the government as the Jorden Report.

D. Increased economic pressure. These new Soviet deliveries give us the occasion to increase somewhat the economic pressure on Cuba and the cost to the Communist bloc of maintaining Cuba by diminishing Cuban trade with the Free World. That trade is not large and is not, at its present level, a major strategic variable in the fate of Cuba. We should not, therefore, expend an excessive amount of diplomatic capital trying to reduce it drastically. On the other hand, it is essential that our allies understand that we take seriously this new Soviet commitment to Cuba; that we are committing ourselves to the drawing of a line; and that they would be well advised to contract their trade with Cuba. This should be a quiet, determined, sustained campaign, not a one-shot effort at the level of the North Atlantic Council. Our NATO allies must come to understand that we are not prepared to accept symmetry between the Allied position on the Eurasian land mass and the Communist presence in this Hemisphere; and that a condition for understanding with Washington is their recognition of the seriousness of this matter to us.

E. Communications with Moscow. In addition to explaining diplomatically to the Soviet Union the character and seriousness of the line we have drawn, we might consider suggesting that, given our world responsibilities, stretching from Berlin to Viet Nam, we would have to consider whether we were prepared to accept the continued existence of a Communist state in Cuba should Communist initiatives elsewhere lead to a heightening of tension. If they argue they are only doing in Cuba what we do in Turkey, West Germany, etc., we must underline very hard with them these two points: first, the security arrangements of the Hemisphere have a long history which, by common agreement, places the intrusion of extra-continental military power outside the law; second, the crises in the world--for example, in West Berlin and in South Viet Nam--derive from Communist expansionist initiatives, beyond the legal limits of Communist power. We are now bearing a unique responsibility for meeting those aggressive thrusts throughout the Free World; and we have the right and duty to calculate whether we are prepared to accept the Cuban annoyance on our flank, if their aggressive ventures continue or expand, in Berlin, Viet Nam, or elsewhere.

F. Collective action: Hemispheric or Caribbean? We should consider carefully whether we shall wish to organize in the next several months either a Hemispheric or Caribbean meeting (or both) to consider collectively the problem posed by the present situation in Cuba. We do not wish to have a Hemispheric meeting which results in extended conflict and debate between those who are worried and those who are not particularly worried about the Cuban threat. On a Hemispheric basis it may emerge, however, that the line proposed here would be accepted; that is, the development of an offensive Communist capability in the Hemisphere would be judged unacceptable. In that case the area of security understanding in the Hemisphere would have been clarified and the bases for possible subsequent action would be strengthened. If we should find that no useful Hemispheric meeting can be held--or, perhaps, in any case--it may well be helpful for us to meet with the Caribbean nations who share our interest and anxiety, as a sub-regional grouping of the OAS. The language of Article 3 of Resolution II of the Punta del Este conference of January 1962, quoted above (paragraph B), provides a flexibility which might permit within the OAS a meeting of interested members. This involves certain risks of splitting the OAS; but these might be mitigated if such a meeting reported its findings to the Council. In any case, the heightened situation in Cuba dramatizes further the split between the Caribbean nations and the rest. A great deal of OAS maneuvering has been designed to limit the possibility of unilateral U.S. intervention in other Latin American countries. We must make clear that, while we are prepared to accept that inhibition, we are a Caribbean as well as a Hemisphere nation; there are others who share our anxiety about the Cuban situation; and we cannot permit the less interested members of the OAS preventing the more interested nations from protecting their vital interests centered in the Caribbean.

In facing this issue we should be conscious of the following possibility: the whole Hemisphere may agree with the line we draw with respect to offensive and defensive arms in Cuba; only the Caribbean nations (plus a few others) may be willing to act with respect to indirect aggression or cooperate with us in covert operations against Cuba. This distinction could pull the Hemisphere apart; or, with skillful diplomacy, it might be turned to our advantage.

G. Covert action. As I understand it, our position with respect to covert action against Cuba is determined by three situations.

1. We command a limited, U.S.-dominated, professional covert capability against Cuba. It promises, at most, certain acts of sabotage, annoyance, propaganda, etc. These have a small--but very small--chance of triggering a larger political result favorable to our interests. They do not promise a broadly-based political movement capable of challenging the Castro regime's control system.

2. The Castro control system is massive--not as efficient as that operating in Eastern Europe, but a quite different, more substantial, and more effective affair than any hitherto seen in Latin America.

3. Castro's popular support has diminished to the point where it embraces perhaps 20% of the population, mainly those directly involved in his apparatus; there is sporadic, scattered, and ill-organized resistance within Cuba; there is a will among a reasonable proportion of the Cuban refugees to involve themselves more deeply in serious efforts to liberate their country, but they have real reservations about recruitment, in effect, into our clandestine service for the type of action under 1, above.

I believe we should consider the possibility of a Two-Track covert operation.

Track One would consist of a heightened effort to move along the present Mongoose lines. The minimum objective here would be harassment: the maximum objective would be the triggering of a situation where there might be conflict at the top of the Cuban regime leading, hopefully, to its change or overthrow by some group within Cuba commanding arms.

Track Two would consist of an effort to engage Cubans more deeply, both within Cuba and abroad, in efforts for their own liberation. This requires an operation with the following characteristics:

a. Authentic Cuban leadership with a considerable range of freedom to implement ideas and to assume risk.

b. Minimal U.S. direct participation: ideally, one truly wise U.S. adviser--available, but laying back; equipped to provide finance, but not monitoring every move; capable of earning their respect rather than commanding it by his control over money or equipment.

c. Basing outside the United States.

d. A link-up with the scattered and sporadic groups and operations now going forward of their own momentum in Cuba.

e. A plan of operation which aims at the overthrow of Castro primarily from within rather than by invasion from without.

f. A long enough time horizon to build the operation carefully and soundly.

In suggesting that Tract Two be studied--and sharply distinguished from Track One--I am, of course, wholly conscious of our failure of last year. But, as I read that failure in retrospect, its root lay in: U.S. bureaucratic domination; the lack of a Cuban political and organizational base; and a plan of operation that hinged on a type of overt invasion by a fixed date rather than the patient build-up of a true movement of national liberation. I'm sure it would be easy to argue that such a movement could not be generated against a Communist control system; that the Cuban refugees lack the capacity to play their part in such an enterprise with skill and minimal security; etc. And I am in no position to reply with confidence to such argument. On the other hand, Cuba is not located in Eastern Europe; and, presumably, some Cubans have learned something from last year's failure, too.

On balance, I am prepared to recommend that Track Two be sympathetically studied and that General Lansdale be asked to formulate a design for it.

H. Contingencies. Evidently the contingencies suggested for planning in NSAM 181/3/ deserve urgent attention. Among the tactical possibilities not listed in that memorandum might be included, under circumstances of heightened tension (but short of justification for blockade, invasion, or counterforce air strike), the possibility of commando landings (with quick withdrawal) to destroy the Soviet installations. The political track and diplomatic track covering each contingency deserve attention equal to the military track. We may be required to apply U.S. force against Cuba in the following circumstances at least: the established presence of a Soviet nuclear capability; solid evidence of indirect aggression, mounted from Havana, against Latin America; heightened tension in Berlin or elsewhere; attack on Guantanamo; the climactic phase of a degenerative political situation in Cuba, emerging from the dynamics of Cuban politics. Each requires a different legal, diplomatic, and political rationale.

/3/Document 386.

These should now be prepared and the contingent military operations should be related, in each case, to the relevant rationale.

I. Policy conclusions. To sum up, I propose that you consider that we:

--expose the reasons why the recent shipments do not constitute a threat to national security sufficient to justify our destroying communism in Cuba with our own arms;

--draw the line on the basis of Hemispheric agreements on which we would go to war;

--use the occasion to underline the illegitimacy of indirect aggression in the Hemisphere, on the basis of Hemispheric agreements, and heighten our efforts to develop hard evidence which might be the basis for later collective action against Cuba on such grounds;

--use the occasion to move our NATO allies towards a deeper understanding of our concern and gradually press them towards a reduction of their trade with Cuba;

--communicate to Moscow the possible unacceptability of communism in Cuba under protracted or increased tension initiated by Communist thrusts into the Free World;

--consider whether Hemispheric, Caribbean, or two-level collaboration is feasible or desirable in reinforcing our position;

--press forward with Mongoose, but consider Track Two;

--prepare and relate intimately military and political contingency plans for the full spectrum of possible occasions when the direct application of U.S. force may be appropriate.

J. Articulation.

1. The public articulation of our reaction--if policy should assume something like the form suggested here--might well involve two major statements: one by the President; the other, a substantial speech by Secretary Rusk. Since we do not propose to bring U.S. force to bear now, it would be inappropriate for the President to go to the country with a major address. But, since we may wish to draw a line, with rather complex contingent consequences, underlining its relation to Hemispheric agreements, a more spacious exposition by the Secretary of State may well be appropriate.

2. What follows is an outline for a speech by Mr. Rusk. Some of its major themes might constitute also the substance of a prior statement by the President at, say, a Press conference.

3. Outline of speech by the Secretary of State.

Note: The general tone of the speech should be low key, factual, somewhat legalistic, confident, with its warning to Moscow and Havana and its seriousness for our allies and our own people unmistakable.

a. Recall Castro history and takeover as part of 1957-61 Communist offensive embracing Southeast Asia, Berlin, Congo, as well as Cuba. Describe what has happened to that offensive.

b. Describe degeneration of Cuba and relate to degeneration in East Germany, China, etc.

c. Describe Soviet moves in some detail, emphasizing their character as a shoring up operation on the economic side. Comment on bleak prospects for Cuban agriculture under collectivization.

d. On military side, emphasize the defensive character of new installations and equipment. Recall President's April 20, 1961 reservation with respect to national security; and characterize new installations as not now constituting a threat to national security. Reference Indonesia, Iraq, U.S. ability to cope should a crisis come.

e. Draw the line, with extensive references to mutual commitments in the Hemisphere going back at least to 1947.

f. Recall Castro's earlier activities against Caribbean nations; recall Punta del Este Resolutions; issue sharper warning than ever before on indirect aggression, perhaps in context of Castro's December 2, 1961 references to guerrilla warfare being "the match thrown into the haystack." Describe our efforts with Latin American states to deter and deal with such efforts.

g. Reaffirm our intent to hold the frontiers of freedom on a world basis, from Berlin to Viet Nam, adding, perhaps: "We do not intend to permit communism in Cuba to distract us or to interfere with us in the conduct of this mission."

h. Express confidence that Cubans, in old Latin American tradition, will find ways to rid themselves of this dictatorship.

i. Close with references to Alliance for Progress; beginnings of serious movement forward (first DAC meeting on Colombia scheduled for second week in September); confidence that Latin America will carry through Alliance for Progress successfully; and assert that we shall not only contribute to Alliance for Progress but, if necessary, assure, by our combined action in the Hemisphere, backed by total U.S. capabilities, that communism shall not disrupt this decade of constructive effort.

407. Memorandum From the Deputy Director for Intelligence (Cline) to Acting Director of Central Intelligence Carter

Washington, September 3, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDI Files: Job 89-T01385R, Box 1, Cuba Crisis (cont.). Top Secret.


Recent Soviet Military Activities in Cuba

1. U-2 photography of 29 August confirms extensive Soviet military deliveries to Cuba in recent weeks. Surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites, guided missile boats, and additional land armaments were observed.

2. The photography shows eight SAM sites being set up. One probable assembly area has been identified and SAM equipment has been located at one additional site.

A. The small amount of permanent construction at these sites and the speed of the work indicate the program is proceeding on a crash basis.

B. Some of these sites could be operational within a week or two.

C. A minimum of 125 technically trained personnel will be required to operate each site.a

1. This figure excludes security and support personnel.

2. No indications that Cubans are trained for SAMs. Soviet personnel doubtless will man the sites for at least the 9 to 12 months while Cubans are being trained.

3. Additional SAM sites probably will be set up in the near future.

A. All sites now confirmed are in the Western one-third of the island.

1. The one area of SAM activity in Oriente province probably will be followed by several others in the vicinity.

2. Defector and clandestine reports from Las Villas province indicate that at least two sites will be located there, but no confirmation or definite locations thus far.

B. The pattern now emerging suggests as many as 24 sites may eventually be set up--enough to blanket the entire island.

4. At least 8 Komar-class missile boats have been delivered to Cuba in recent weeks.

A. These PT-like boats carry two missile launchers each, with the radar guided missile effective against surface targets to ranges of between 15 and 17 miles. The missile carries a 2,000 lb. HE warhead.

B. Some Cuban naval personnel have received training in the USSR, but it is not known if this included Komar training.

C. These boats are in addition to 13 or more torpedo boats and 6 submarine chasers delivered by the USSR earlier this year.

5. The photography shows that current deliveries to Cuba also contain land armaments, including tanks and possibly self-propelled guns.

A. Reports indicate other shipments have contained artillery, tanks, and possibly combat aircraft, but these are not confirmed.

B. The photography of 29 August turned up the highest number of MIG aircraft yet noted, some 37.

1. We believe Cuba's aircraft inventory includes approximately 60 MIG jet fighters, including at least a dozen MIG-19s.

2. No MIG-21s or any type of bomber have been noted.

6. Soviet shipments of military equipment and personnel to Cuba show no sign of letting up.

A. About 16 Soviet dry-cargo ships are now en route to Cuba, of which at least 10 probably are carrying military equipment.

1. Total number of military or military-related shipments to Cuba since the current deliveries began in mid-July may be as high as 65.

2. Routine Soviet deliveries of economic aid and trade goods are being made largely on Western ships.

B. At least 1,700 Soviet military technicians arrived in Cuba in late July and early August in connection with these military activities.

1. Most of these Soviets appear to be involved in setting up SAM facilities but thus far we cannot conclude that this is their only objective.

C. At least 1,300 more Soviets are arriving unannounced this week; no reports on their activities so far.

1. Still additional bloc personnel probably have arrived on some of the cargo ships.

Ray S. Cline/1/

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

408. Memorandum From the Secretary of Defense's Military Assistant (Brown) to Secretary of Defense McNamara

Washington, September 4, 1962.

//Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD (C) A Files: FRC 71 A 2896, Cuba 1962 (McN Working Papers). Top Secret. A stamped note on the source text indicates that McNamara saw the memorandum.


Facts and Estimates Concerning Cuba

Attached for your information is a memorandum for the record of Captain Hadden's conversation with Secretary Rusk concerning Cuba,/1/ together with a fact sheet on the SSN-2 Soviet missile corrected in pencil to agree with the NIE, and a fact sheet on the Komar boat./2/

/1/The attached memorandum by Captain M.A. Hadden, USN, recorded a conversation on September 3 in which Hadden briefed Rusk, at Rusk's request, concerning the defenses of the Guantanamo base. Rusk indicated that it might be wise to consider the desirability of reinforcing and augmenting the Guantanamo defenses. (Ibid.)

/2/Reference is to NIE 85-2-62, Document 363. The fact sheets cited have not been found.

I am informed that in Oriente Province there is estimated to be approximately 40,000 organized military troops including regular and militia. In the immediate Guantanamo area there are estimated to be 7 battalions at a strength of 300-1,000 men per battalion. The troop strength in the Guantanamo area has varied since January 1962 from "a few hundred" up to 5,000-6,000. There are estimated to be 30-50 tanks and artillery of all types. There is a prepared antitank defensive line north of the Base which is being extended south to the west of the Base. There are many prepared artillery positions in the hills and in the rain forest to the east, north and west of the Base.

The current U.S. strength at Guantanamo is:


Enlisted: 754

Officer: 36

Naval Ships Complement

Enlisted: 1627

Officer: 152


Enlisted: 437

Officer: 11


Enlisted: 2818

Officer: 199

Total: 3017

A paper on capability of U.S. destroyer against the Komar boat/3/ should be in my hands by 5:30 this afternoon. I can give you the essentials of the paper briefly should you need them prior to that time.


/3/In a memorandum to McNamara, also dated September 4, General Benjamin T. Harris outlined the capabilities of U.S. destroyers if confronted in combat by the missile-equipped Komar class patrol boat being supplied to Cuba by the Soviet Union. Harris noted that the information was being provided in response to questions posed by President Kennedy. Briefly, Harris concluded that World War II vintage destroyers might be at a disadvantage in such a confrontation, but that with post-World War II destroyers with missile capability, "the outcome would be in our favor." (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD (C) Files: FRC 71 A 2896, Cuba 1962 (McN Working Papers))

409. Memorandum From the Department of Defense Operations Officer for Operation Mongoose (Harris) to Secretary of Defense McNamara

Washington, September 4, 1962.

//Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD (C) A Files: FRC 71 A 2896, Cuba 381, 22 Oct-27 Oct 1962. Top Secret; Special Handling; Noforn.


Air Defense in Southeast US Area

1. Pursuant to oral instructions, the following represents a brief statement of the facilities and aircraft involved in the defense of the Southeastern US.

2. Prime radar installations exist at Naval Air Station, Key West (an Air Force installation operated on a full time basis and with a full crew; also used for training of Navy operators), and at Miami (FAA operated but with a full time military crew). These prime installations have a capability of about 160 NM against small targets, such as MIG type aircraft. Additionally, there is one picket ship station and one AEW aircraft station off the Southern Tip of Florida. These provide low and high intercept cover respectively. Three gap filler radar installations (unmanned automatic stations) are being installed in the Southern Florida area to provide additional low altitude coverage. These should be operational in October at which time the picket ship station will be removed.

3. Current aircraft devoted to the defense of the Southern Tip area include a detachment of eight F4D Navy fighters at Key West and four F-102 Air Force fighters at Homestead. These aircraft are in a continual alert status.

4. Backup defense-in-depth can be provided by Naval fighters in the Jacksonville area; the aircraft carrier(s) normally in the Mayport area; the F-101, F-102 and F-106 (a total of 59) Air Defense Command augmentation aircraft at Tyndal AFB, Florida; one F-102 ANG squadron at Jacksonville; one F-101 squadron at Charleston, S.C.; one F-102 squadron at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.; etc.

5. Additionally, CINCONAD has been authorized to request that CINCSTRIKE provide from his own resources a second AEW station and SAM units on a contingency basis. Air Force is currently studying means of aircraft augmentation for Southern Tip.

Benjamin T. Harris/1/

Brig General, USA

DOD/JCS Representative

Caribbean Survey Group

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

410. Memorandum From the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)

Washington, September 4, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 9/62. Top Secret; Special Handling; Noforn. A copy was sent to Parrott.


Phase II, Operation Mongoose

Pursuant to our telephone conversation this afternoon, it would seem worthwhile to get the consensus of the Group's views as to the type and timing of the actions in Phase II. The reaction of the Group to any or all of this can be worked on quickly by the operations team, in terms of additions or deletions.

In my opinion, the following numbered activities/1/ may pose possible policy questions: 20 (balloons), 23 (Swan Is.), 27 (sabotage), [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] 40 (COMINT), 48-49-50 (Cuban exiles, Carib. nations), 54 (post-Castro).

/1/The numbered activities cited by Lansdale relate to the proposed program of actions listed in Document 399.

411. Editorial Note

On September 4, 1962, the White House released a statement by President Kennedy relating to the flow of weapons from the Soviet Union to Cuba. The President noted that the United States had evidence that this build-up included antiaircraft defense missiles with slant range of 25 miles, and motor torpedo boats equipped with ship-to-ship guided missiles. He indicated that some 3,500 Soviet technicians were thought to be in Cuba or en route to support the establishment and use of this equipment. He added, however, that there was no evidence of organized Soviet combat forces in Cuba, nor any evidence of military bases provided to the Soviet Union, nor the presence of weapons with an offensive capability, such as ground-to-ground missiles. "Were it to be otherwise, the gravest issues would arise." The statement concluded:

"It continues to be the policy of the United States that the Castro regime will not be allowed to export its aggressive purposes by force or the threat of force. It will be prevented by whatever means may be necessary from taking action against any part of the Western Hemisphere. The United States, in conjunction with other hemisphere countries, will make sure that while increased Cuban armaments will be a heavy burden to the unhappy people of Cuba themselves, they will be nothing more." The statement was read to the White House press corps by Press Secretary Pierre Salinger. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, September 24, 1962, page 450.

412. Memorandum of Conversation

Washington, September 5, 1962, 4 p.m.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/9-562. Confidential. Drafted by Allen and approved in the Secretary's office on September 18.


Cuban Developments; Possible Informal Meeting of Foreign Ministers


List of participating Ambassadors is attached./1/

/1/Not printed. The list indicates that the Ambassadors from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela attended the meeting.

Departmental Personnel:

Dean Rusk, Secretary of State

Edwin M. Martin, Assistant Secretary of State (ARA)

Ward P. Allen, Office of Inter-American Regional Political Affairs

John H. Crimmins, Office of Caribbean and Mexican Affairs (ARA)

John W. Fisher, Office of Central American and Panamanian Affairs (ARA)

Harvey R. Wellman, Office of East Coast Affairs (ARA)

Herbert B. Thompson, Office of West Coast Affairs (ARA)


1. After expressing appreciation for the attendance of the Ambassadors on such short notice, the Secretary initiated a discussion of the Cuban problem by calling attention to the President's statement of September 4,/2/ copies of which were before the Ambassadors. He elaborated on the factual information contained in the first three paragraphs, pointing out that on the basis of such verified information as we have so far been able to obtain, the USSR, based on decisions taken some time previously, have materially stepped up their shipment of defensive military hardware, including antiaircraft missiles and ship-to-ship missiles--both of quite limited range. Apparently it is planned to station the antiaircraft missiles at 10 sites known to us, eight of which are on the northeast coast, one near Habana, and one elsewhere. Much of the equipment, particularly the accompanying radar and electronic guidance mechanisms, is fairly sophisticated and, so far as present information indicates, the number of Russian technicians present or en route is not disproportionate to the number reasonably required to assist in installation and train Cubans in the handling of the equipment.

/2/See Document 411.

The Secretary called particular attention to the fourth paragraph of the President's statement as containing a clear warning to the USSR as well as to Castro of the types of possible future action which the U.S. would not tolerate. The fifth paragraph of the statement was intended, said the Secretary, as a reminder, partly to the U.S. public, that the Cuban problem cannot be viewed in isolation, but rather within the framework of the cold war. The U.S. has more than a million men overseas helping to defend the free world security and in Berlin and elsewhere there is a major confrontation of forces with the USSR. In reaching any decisions on the Cuban situation, prudence, wisdom and necessity require that we take the larger picture into account. The last paragraph of the President's statement is a renewed pledge of U.S. policy in preventing Castro from employing force against any other part of the hemisphere.

When, after raising the points discussed below, the Secretary invited comment on the foregoing, Ambassador Carrillo Flores, Mexico, asked for an estimate of Soviet intentions or reactions to the U.S. position. The Secretary replied that, although trying to guess Soviet thinking is always a hazardous exercise, it is our present impression that the USSR does not at present desire to develop Cuba as a Soviet base in this hemisphere. Under considerable pressure from Cuba and to serve their own purposes, they are stepping up their economic and military assistance; but they have so far been extremely careful to avoid making an unlimited security commitment to Castro. The Soviet position could, of course, change, but the present chances are that the USSR is not prepared to be as highly provocative as to take any of the steps indicated in paragraph four of the President's statement.

Ambassador Campos (Brazil), characterizing the language of paragraph four as indicating the "maximum limits of tolerance", inquired whether if the USSR should take any of those or similar steps, the U.S. plans for response envisage unilateral action or whether multilateral action would be expected and prior consultation with the other American Republics could be anticipated. The Secretary replied that in such matters the U.S. Government, as well as all other Governments, must necessarily start from the premise that its own elementary national security needs are basic; this is a responsibility which no government can abdicate. On the other hand, the U.S. regards its obligations under the Rio Treaty and other Inter-American instruments as also fundamental and to us hemisphere solidarity is highly important. We would, therefore, certainly expect to consult. Moreover, as the threat would be one to the hemisphere--to other countries of the hemisphere--we would hope for action on a hemisphere basis. However, he concluded, this does not mean that we would or could abandon the ultimate responsibility which each government has for its own national security.

2. Turning to the problem of Cuban activities in other hemisphere countries, the Secretary indicated that since the Punta del Este Meeting, the U.S., with the help of many of the governments represented here, has been seeking to perfect its information on this subject. So far, despite a number of reports and rumors, we do not have properly verified evidence that Cuba is engaged in any substantial smuggling of arms and ammunition into the other Republics. This may in part be due to the fact that this is not necessary. Rather, the principal Cuban effort is taking the form of introducing into the other American Republics considerable amounts of money, and quantities of propaganda together with a systematic campaign of training of students and youth from the other American Republics in Cuba (and through Cuba in the USSR) who are then returned to their own countries for subversive purposes. The U.S. is concerned about these forms of interference and is confident the other Republics are also. In our view we think it would be advisable for the SCCS to look into this matter and to consider what possible steps the various countries might take to interrupt this flow of travel.

Informal Meeting of Foreign Ministers

3. The Secretary then referred to the suggestion made by several Governments in the last few days that it is time for the Foreign Ministers of the American Republics to take a fresh look at the whole Cuban problem as it is developing. He also mentioned recent proposals by several governments that there be a Meeting of Foreign Ministers to consider the problem of governments coming into power as a result of coups d'etat. In the light of these suggestions and in view of the fact that many Foreign Ministers are planning to attend the forthcoming session of the UNGA, the Secretary broached the idea that it might be desirable to hold a short, informal, closed meeting of himself and his colleagues in New York to discuss these two matters and, perhaps, other matters. For example, he stated he would take advantage of the occasion to discuss with his colleagues certain global matters, such as Berlin. He indicated we have in mind a consultation, perhaps following a lunch or dinner, in New York around the end of September or first of October, with no formal agenda, no voting and no resolutions. We would, however, hope to come out with a certain consensus of views on possible steps that might be taken on the problems discussed.

During later discussion of possible discussion topics, Assistant Secretary Martin (following the Secretary's departure) indicated we think the Foreign Ministers might also want to discuss the matter of the postponed XI Inter-American Conference, scheduled for Quito, including the possibility of rationalizing and streamlining its overladen agenda. He also mentioned the question of the admission of new members to the OAS, provided our present considerations have progressed sufficiently to warrant it.

The Secretary suggested that in order to determine the most generally convenient date, it would be desirable to know how many Foreign Ministers are planning to attend the GA and the exact dates of their attendance. In response to a question, the Mexican Ambassador indicated the Mexican Foreign Minister is not planning to attend the GA and is scheduled to leave for a tour of the Far East with the President October 4th. Ambassador Arango (Panama) volunteered the view that it would be highly preferable to hold the meeting in Washington rather than New York. Ambassador Muller (Chile) on the other hand was inclined to favor New York as the site. The Secretary stressed that in suggesting New York, he had in mind only that it would be more convenient, and that no question of principle was involved. He sought to make clear that we are simply broaching the idea of a meeting in order to obtain the views of others; that his remarks should not be construed as an invitation and that he is anxious that the other Foreign Ministers not receive the impression from the press that today's talk constitutes a decision to hold the meeting.

Cuban Internal Situation

4. When the Mexican Ambassador requested comments on the Cuban internal economic situation the Secretary requested Mr. Martin to discuss it. Mr. Martin in a brief survey of the state of Cuban economy, stated we understand their situation is serious but not desperate. Their crisis is due in part to the disruption of their natural markets and sources of supply, in part because of beaureaucratic inefficiency, in part because of their poor sugar crop. There is not much prospect of early improvement. On the other hand, there is so far no hard evidence that an economic breakdown is likely, nor does any serious rebellion against the regime appear in the offing because of the economic situation.

Note: At this point the Secretary excused himself to keep an appointment with the President and asked Mr. Martin to chair the meeting.

NATO Shipping

Ambassador Berckemeyer (Peru) pointed out that a large portion of the bloc shipments to Cuba are being carried on the ships of NATO countries. He wondered what the U.S. attitude is toward this problem. Mr. Martin responded that we are, of course, concerned and that we have from time to time been in touch with our NATO allies. There are, however, he pointed out, a number of practical factors which operate to limit what can be done. For example, most of the free world shipping used by the USSR is chartered to them under "bare boat charters"--i.e., the Soviet Union hires the ships for a fixed period of time, with no indication of their use and no way for the owners to restrict their use to certain ports or certain cargo. Secondly, shipping is, so to speak, a fungible item in that even if the free world charterers were to deny use of their ships in the Cuba trade, the USSR could shift these ships to other runs and use their own in sending goods to Cuba. In view of the present surplus of shipping, it is out of the question from a practical point of view to try to persuade other countries to deny all shipping to the USSR. Moreover, for some countries, this might not be possible under their constitutions in peacetime.

413. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Schlesinger) to President Kennedy

Washington, September 5, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 9/62. Secret.



I know very little about the present state of our Cuban policy. However, as an old Cuba hand, it seems to me that there are exceedingly dangerous potentialities in the existing situation--particularly when I read intelligence reports describing plans for an uprising inside Cuba in the next few weeks./1/

/1/Schlesinger did not specify which intelligence reports he had seen. President Kennedy responded to this memorandum with a note to Schlesinger on September 5 that reads: "I read your memorandum of September 5th on Cuba. I know of no planned `uprisings inside Cuba within the next few weeks.' Would you send me the intelligence reports to which you refer. In any case, I will discuss the matter with the CIA." (Ibid.)

It is bad enough for the Soviet Union to be moving into Cuba in force. But we can live with this for a time, especially as we begin to devise visible countermeasures. But, if an internal uprising of Cuban patriots should take place in the next few weeks against the Castro regime, then the United States will be confronted with the immediate choice of (a) going to its support, or (b) of not going to its support.

If such an internal uprising took place and we went to its support, we would find ourselves in a difficult war in which, so far as we can presently tell, the majority of Cubans (and very likely the majority of the nations of the world) would be against us. Cuba would become our Algeria.

If we did not go to its support, we would be charged with betraying our friends and letting them be slaughtered by a brutal dictatorship; our world prestige would suffer a terrific blow. Our failure to act in Cuba would be far worse than our failure to act in Hungary in 1956.

It need hardly be pointed out that the fall campaign vastly heightens the pressures and emotions surrounding the Cuban issue. Alternative (b) would be particularly hard to defend in a campaign atmosphere.

All this points to the absolute importance of making sure that there is no premature insurrection in Cuba. I would therefore hope that CIA be given the clearcut and definite responsibility to make sure that no such premature insurrection takes place. I think that the instruction should be issued in these terms, so that the top leadership of CIA will feel impelled to check the situation all the way down the line. One of the most shocking things which emerged after the last Cuban episode was the weakness of top-level CIA control--the discrepancy between what high CIA officials thought their operatives were saying and doing in the field, and what these operatives were actually saying and doing. It is indispensable to be sure that no one down the line is encouraging the Cubans into rash action. Such action would not only confront the government with an intolerable political choice but would expose and condemn brave Cubans, give Castro a pretext for drastic internal repression, and very likely set back the chances of successful action for months or years.


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

Washington, September 6, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 9/62. Top Secret.


Phase II, Operation Mongoose

It seems to me that General Lansdale's paper of 31 August,/1/ on the above subject, is responsive to the guidelines and subsequent comments. Lansdale has noted in his 4 September memo to you,/2/ certain numbered activities which he considers might pose possible policy problems. There are 20, 23, 27, 32, 40, 48-50, and 54. I would tend to agree with Lansdale that all or most of these might pose some policy problems in their implementation. A possible exception would be the Swan Radio. On this, USIA at one time said that this Radio had been "discredited"; however, in later papers/3/ USIA reversed this position.

/1/Document 399.

/2/Document 410.

/3/The reference is unclear.

I think there are other numbered activities, in addition to the above, which raise some policy problems. (This is not to say that they should not all be pursued.) These are: 19 (delivery of propaganda into Cuba), 39 (maintenance of PAA service), 55 and 56 (possible use of submarines or aircraft for caching and infiltration/exfiltration).

I would suggest a couple of additional activities: (a) under number 25, calling for the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Bloc arms in Latin American countries, this could be extended to include [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] propaganda materials and perhaps sabotage materials; (b) the possibility of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] incidents which could lead to the breaking of diplomatic relations by selected countries. (This, of course, would have to be carefully considered in the sense of weighing the intelligence advantages of continued diplomatic representation against the political/psychological gain from severance.)

Obviously our current diplomatic moves, kicked off by the Secretary of State's conference yesterday,/4/ will result in the political section of this operation being expanded somewhat.


/4/See Document 412.

415. Memorandum for the Files

Washington, September 6, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, Papers of Theodore C. Sorensen, Classified Subject Files, 1961-64, Cuba, General, 1962. Drafted by Sorensen who sent copies to Bundy and Tyler.


Conversation with Ambassador Dobrynin--#2

In response to his repeated telephone requests, I saw Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin at the Embassy today from 12:30 to 1:00 P.M. He told me that he had sent a report of our "informal conversation" on August 23/1/ to Moscow and that (somewhat to his own surprise, I gathered) he had received a personal message from Chairman Khrushchev directing him to make known directly to me the following:

/1/Sorensen lunched with Dobrynin on August 23 at Dobrynin's invitation. In a memorandum for the record concerning the lunch, which he prepared that day, Sorensen described the conversation with Dobrynin as "largely general," representing more of a "get acquainted" session than a significant exchange of views. The issue of Cuba did not come up in the discussion, and Sorensen noted that Dobrynin did not discuss current U.S.-Soviet problems to any extent. Sorensen added, however, that the Soviet Ambassador indicated "agreement and understanding" when Sorensen made the point that President Kennedy "could not possibly lay himself open to Republican charges of appeasement in his response to any buildup in Berlin pressures between now and November 6." (Ibid.)

1. First, "nothing will be undertaken before the American Congressional elections that could complicate the international situation or aggravate the tension in the relations between our two countries. We shall follow this course, provided there are no actions taken on the other side which would change the situation. This includes a German peace settlement and West Berlin." (The quotation is approximately, although not precisely, correct, inasmuch as the Ambassador urged me to take notes as he read from his own message.)

2. Chairman Khrushchev is definitely not coming to the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. "If the necessity arises for him to speak" this would be possible "only in the second half of November" and therefore not before the election. The Chairman does not wish to become involved in our internal political affairs.

I told the Ambassador that I appreciate his conveying the message to us; but that he should understand the President's feeling that the recent Soviet actions in Cuba had already caused considerable political turmoil--that this was a far more difficult problem for the administration politically because of the frustration felt by many Americans over the Cuban situation--and that the Chairman's message therefore seemed both hollow and tardy. (Dobrynin demurred at this point that he had tried to reach me with the message a week ago, before the Cuban issue became so hot.) The President, I said, had understood that the Chairman would not want to offer any grounds for attack to our political opponents--he regarded the Cuban action, therefore, as something of a deliberate and personal affront--and, given the current situation in Berlin and elsewhere, the President could hardly be expected to take a very accommodating attitude in the months ahead. (I also mentioned the President's indignation over the nasty comment on the U-2 note, with which the President had taken special pains to demonstrate candor, good faith and conciliation. Dobrynin said that he had seen no report-- that at most there had been only an editorial in a Soviet newspaper, and we all know how the press is--and that judgment should be reserved until there was an official reply.)

With respect to Cuba, Dobrynin said that he would report this conversation in full to the Chairman and that he was aware himself of the political and press excitement regarding this matter. He repeated several times, however, that they had done nothing new or extraordinary in Cuba--that the events causing all the excitement had been taking place somewhat gradually and quietly over a long period of time--and that he stood by his assurances that all of these steps were defensive in nature and did not represent any threat to the security of the United States. He neither contradicted nor confirmed my reference to large numbers of Soviet military personnel, electronic equipment and missile preparations.

[Here follows discussion on outer space.]

Theodore C. Sorensen/2/

Special Counsel to the President

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

416. Editorial Note

During a visit to the Soviet Union to consult on matters relating to the development of natural resources, Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall met with Premier Khrushchev on September 6, 1962, at Khrushchev's villa at Petsunda, Georgia. The conversation ranged over Udall's impressions of his visit and included an important discussion of the Berlin question, in which Khrushchev offered an assurance to President Kennedy that he would do nothing to precipitate a crisis over Berlin before the November Congressional elections in the United States. According to Udall's transcript the conversation also dealt in part with Cuba:

"U: The President is the commander of the military in our country, just as you are in the Soviet Union.

"K: It is true that irresponsible actions occasionally take place. It's up to me to make the decision on going to war, but fools in airplanes do exist, I realize. Now as to Cuba--here is an area that could really lead to some unexpected consequences. I have been reading what some irresponsible Senators have been saying on this. A lot of people are making a big fuss because we are giving aid to Cuba. But you are giving aid to Japan. Just recently I was reading that you have placed atomic warheads on Japanese territory, and surely this is not something the Japanese need. So when Castro comes to us for aid, we give him what he needs for defense. He hasn't much modern military equipment, so he asked us to supply some. But only for defense. However, if you attack Cuba, that would create an entirely different situation. And it is unthinkable, of course, that a tiny nation like Cuba would ever attack the United States.

"U: The responsible people prevail in our country unless intolerable provocations occur.

"K: You have surrounded us with military bases. If you attack Cuba, then we will attack one of the countries next to us where you have placed your bases.

"U: The President has made his position on Cuba clear. A few people in Congress may call for an invasion, but the President makes the policy.

"K: These Congressmen do not see with their eyes, but with their asses. All they can see is what's behind them. Yesterday's events are not today's realities. I remember Gorky recounting in his memoirs how he had a conversation with Tolstoy. Tolstoy asked him how he got along with women, and then ventured his own opinion. `Men are poorly designed. When they're young, they can satisfy their sexual desires. But as they grow old, the ability to reap this satisfaction disappears. The desires, however, do not.' So it is with your Congressmen. They do not have power, but they still have the same old desires.

"U: Nevertheless, most Congressmen are responsible. I used to be a Congressman myself. But there are only a few who are irresponsible.

"K: I'm speaking of the latter. America is no longer the strongest nation in the world. The President knows and understands this. Relations between countries must be built on political and economic realities. If your Congressmen want to attack Cuba, they are like Tolstoy's aging man. I have stated that we could support Cuba even from our own territory. So this shows that some of your Congressmen are stronger in their asses than their heads.

"U: The irresponsible people have a right to speak out but they do not control policy. For example, one of the noisiest Senators is Goldwater from my own state of Arizona. He's a Republican, while I'm a Democrat. He doesn't understand modern times. But the President does, and he makes our policies on foreign relations." (Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 77 D 163)

Udall summarized this conversation in telegram 616 from Moscow, September 7, printed in Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, volume V.

417. Notes Prepared by Acting Director of Central Intelligence Carter

Washington, September 6, 1962.

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

1. NSC Meeting, White House, at 1030.

2. Emphasized at Special Group Meeting continuing necessity for prompt notification of Group members in the event of untoward incidents. This followed Colonel Steakley's briefing of the Group on what had occurred in the Sakhalin incident. (Special Group Minutes)/1/

3. Informed President and Secretaries of State and Defense that more detailed readout of 29 August mission/2/ led our analysts to suspect the presence of another kind of missile site--possible surface-to-surface--at Banes. Since no similar weapon had ever been identified in U-2 photography of the USSR, programs were set in motion to acquire characteristics and range of the missiles. (Lehman Report p. 10, Para. 21, and Calendar Sheet)/3/

White House put complete freeze on information but Bundy gave OK to put the analysts to work on providing information to the policy-makers on a need-to-know basis but without normal distribution.

/1/Not found.

/2/See Document 395.

/3/Neither found.

418. Memorandum From President Kennedy to Secretary of Defense McNamara

Washington, September 7, 1962.

//Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 66 A 3542, Cuba 342.18 (31 Jan 1962). Secret. A stamped note on the source text indicates that McNamara saw the memorandum. An unsigned copy of this memorandum is in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 9/62.

I would appreciate an up-to-date brief report on the number of Cubans who joined the U.S. armed forces as a result of our interest in this matter last year, and an idea of how many applied who were not acceptable.

I would also like your reaction and the reaction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the formation of a Cuban brigade in which we would enlist Cuban nationals for a period of six to nine months for training, with no guarantee, of course, that they would be returned to Cuba, but a promise that if the need arose, a Cuban brigade would be used. It is my understanding that to make a success of this brigade we would have to alter the present physical standards for Army service so that a greater number of Cubans who might want to participate could be included.

John F. Kennedy

419. Telegram From the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations to the Department of State

Washington, September 7, 1962, 1:07 p.m.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 760.551/9-762. Secret; Limited Distribution. Also sent to COMCARIBSEAFRON, CINCLANTFLT, CINCARIB, DIO FIFTEEN, JCS, DIA, NAVAIDE, and CIA. A copy of this telegram in the Kennedy Library is marked to indicate that it was sent to Bundy. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Cables, 7/12/62-9/7/62)

071807Z. COMNAVBASE GTMO has reported the following info:

1. A reliable source reports that Russian, Czech, Chinese and Po-lish troops have been disembarked at Mariel, Cabanas and Bahia Honda in Pinar del Rio province; Havana in Havana province; Matanzas in Matanzas province; and Casilda in Las Villas province. (B-3)

2. The foreign troops in Pinar del Rio province are reported quartered in Malas Aguas (near Santa Lucia), San Julian base on Mendoza road municipality of Guane, and in place known as the firing range of La Guatana on road to La Coloma. (B-3)

3. It is further reported that contingents of foreign soldiers have taken charge of all coastal artillery from Santa Fe to Esperanza and from San Galletano to Cabanas. The source estimates that several thousand troops are located in places mentioned in para. 2 & 3. ( B-3)

4. A reliable source indicates that the troops that disembarked at Mariel arrived aboard bloc ships Ltgov, Sretensk, Levasagor, and Baltijsk. (B-3)

5. It is reported that bloc troops in Havana province are located at San Antonio de los Banos A/F, Torrens reformatory two and one half miles on the road to San Pedro from Havana, Managua Camp in Bejucal, and at an unlocated place on the road from Caimito del Guayabal to San Antonio de los Banos. Several thousand foreign troops are estimated in these areas. (B-3)

6. Although the present location of foreign troops disembarked at Port of Matanzas is unknown, it is reported that their arrival is common gossip, and a harbor pilot estimated several thousand were disembarked from two bloc ships. (B-3)

7. It is reported that eleven hundred foreign troops were disembarked through the Port of Casilda, but their present location is unknown. (B-3)

8. According to the source the information related para. 1 through 7 is in conjunction with the unloading of war material and equipment from the middle of July thru 11 Aug 1962. The equipment has generally accompanied the troops to the military base which they have been assigned. All the places that have been named are important military bases and camps and, invariably, upon the arrival of the foreign soldiers, the Cuban militia has abandoned the place leaving the establishment under the absolute control of the foreign soldiers. The visit of Raul Castro to the Soviet Union had the principal objective of obtaining help from the Soviet Government and because of that, it is reported that Soviets agreed to send a total of 15,000 Chinese and 15,000 Russians to Cuba. (B-3)

9. It is reported that the area southeast of Banes from Embarcado de Banes VU285135 to the coast at mouth of Bahia de Banes has been evac-uated of all Cuban families, and construction of a naval base has begun. This area is south of missile site reported under construction. One Kron-stadt class PC and two PT boats were reported now operating in this general area. (B-3)

10. Reliable source reports that a Soviet ship arrived in Santiago de Cuba on 29 Aug with cargo and passengers. Upon arrival, orders were given for all Cuban personnel to leave the dock area. Two railroad cars were brought on the pier to take undetermined cargo from the ship. Soviet shipboard personnel actually performed the unloading operation.

11. The unloading of cargo off three bloc ships was completed on 25 Aug in Nicaro. This cargo was loaded on trailers and moved to Banes. Boxes the length of the lowboy trailer were observed on numerous trailers. Cement blocks approx. 8 feet by 4 feet by one foot were also unloaded from the ships and put on trailers. Several hundred trips were made from Nicaro to Banes by the (unknown number) trailers involved to complete this haul. (B-2)

12. On 28 Aug 1962, an undetermined number of tanks were reported on maneuvers near La Maya (VT325300). (B-3)

13. At two schools in Santiago de Cuba, it is reported that foreign students are allegedly there on scholarships. The school of arts in Santiago has 300 Russian, Chinese and New Guineans. Sagrado Corazon college has 200 Chinese "end". Comment: Informant states that all students are well above academic age, the Chinese appear to be polished professionals and are fine physical specimens.

14. On night of 27 Aug 1962, twenty-four flat bed rail cars each containing a AVMG A T-34 tank was observed on a rail siding in San Luis VT115321. Also approx. 100 men in uniform believed to be Soviets or Czechs were with this tank convoy. Cuban nationals present were ordered to leave the area. (B-2) Comment: Possibly same tanks reported in para. 12.

420. Editorial Note

Director of Central Intelligence John McCone was on a honeymoon holiday in France when the August 29, 1962, U-2 mission established that surface-to-air missile sites were under construction in Cuba. The discovery, which was reported to McCone in the daily briefing cables sent to him by Deputy Director Marshall Carter, reinforced McCone's concern that the Soviet military build-up in Cuba presaged the introduction of medium-range ballistic missiles. He concluded that the development of a costly surface-to-air defense system in Cuba could only be explained if it were designed to mask and protect the introduction of ballistic missiles. In a series of cables sent to Carter [text not declassified], McCone pressed his concerns and supported an expanded program of reconnaissance flights over Cuba. Return cables from Carter indicated that CIA analysts had considered McCone's concerns but concluded that the Soviet Union would not run the risk of provoking a military reaction from the United States.

In a cable dated September 7, McCone urged frequent reconnaissance operations and added: "My hunch is we might face prospect of Soviet short-range surface-to-surface missiles of portable type in Cuba which could command important targets of Southeast United States and possibly Latin American Caribbean areas."

On September 10 he argued in a cable that the costly defenses being prepared in Cuba were difficult to rationalize unless they were "for purpose of ensuring secrecy of some offensive capability such as MRBMs to be installed by Soviets after present phase completed and country secured from overflights."

On September 11 Carter cabled that the CIA's Board of National Estimates was still persuaded that the costly crash program to install SA-2s in Cuba was more reasonably explained by reasons other than a desire to hide the introduction of ballistic missiles.

On September 13 McCone reiterated his concern about the establishment of an offensive weapons capability in Cuba.

On September 16 he urged that "we must carefully study the prospect of secret importation and placement of several Soviet MRBMs which could not be detected by us if Cuban defenses deny overflight."

On September 19 Carter cabled to McCone the conclusions from SNIE 85-3-62, which was issued that day to assess the military build-up in Cuba (Document 433). The estimate concluded that a decision to introduce ballistic missiles into Cuba "would indicate a far greater willingness to increase the level of risk in US-Soviet relations than the USSR has displayed thus far."

In the final cable in the series [text not declassified], September 20, McCone took exception to the conclusion drawn in SNIE 85-3-62. He argued that "an offensive Soviet base in Cuba will provide Soviets with most important and effective trading position in connection with all other critical areas and hence they might take unexpected risks to establish such a position."

The cables exchanged between Carter and McCone are in the Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Box 4, DCI-DDCI Cables-Cuba, 4 Sept-21 Sept 1962, and ibid., Job 80-B01676R, Box 17, Mongoose-Cuban Reconnaissance/Overflights. The relevant portions of these cables are in the Supplement.

[end of document]


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

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