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Department Seal

Volume X
Cuba, 1961-1962



Cuba, 1961-1962

421. Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency for the Executive Director

Washington, September 10, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (Dulles) Files: Job 80-B1676R, Box 17, Walter Elder Recop. No classification marking. Prepared on February 28, 1963.


Genesis of White House Meeting on 10 September/1/

/1/The only other record of this September 10 meeting which has been found is a brief, one-paragraph summary prepared by General Carter on September 10. Carter noted that the meeting was generated by Secretary Rusk's concern over Cuban overflights and his desire to avoid any incidents. (Ibid.) See the Supplement.

1. Mr. McGeorge Bundy called a meeting in his office at approximately 5:45 on 10 September to allow the Secretary of State to express his concern over the Agency's overflight program for Cuba. Attending were Secretary Rusk, the Attorney General, Mr. Bundy, General Carter, General Lansdale, Dr. Scoville, Mr. Reber, and Mr. Cunningham.

2. Mr. Bundy opened the meeting by turning to the Secretary and saying, "Dean has some points he wants to raise because of the incidents" (the 30 August SAC-U2 overflight of Sakhalin Island, which the USSR protested on 4 September, and the loss of Mission GRC-127 over Communist China). Secretary Rusk, nodding toward General Carter, half joshingly said, "Pat, don't you ever let me up? How do you expect me to negotiate on Berlin with all these incidents?" The Attorney General's riposte: "What's the matter, Dean, no guts!"

3. Secretary Rusk quickly went into the risk standpoint of the Agency's proposal for two extended overflights covering the remainder of the island not covered in the 29 August and 5 September missions. He asserted that although we need this information we must minimize the risk element and avoid a third incident. He insisted that photographic coverage should be designed so that peripheral flights over international waters would not be combined with overflights of Cuban territory. To meet his wishes, the program was divided into four flights--two overflights and two peripheral--all geared for maximum safety.

4. General Carter cautioned that this program, while satisfactory for the moment, was not enough and added, "I want to put you people on notice that it remains our intention to fly right up over those SAMs to see what is there." To this, there was no response--positive or negative. With adjournment of the meeting implied and with the attendees starting for the doors, General Carter is reported to have said, "There they all go again and no decisions."

5. The above information was provided by Messrs. Reber and Cunningham and to some extent the Lehman report. Dr. Scoville, who was on the Coast, was not reached.

Ernest deM. Berkaw, Jr./2/

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

422. Memorandum Prepared in the Office of Current Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency

OCI No. 3196/62

Washington, September 12, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Intelligence Material, 1/62-9/62. Secret.


Soviet Statement on Cuba

1. Moscow's statement of 11 September on Cuba/1/ appears to be designed to further a variety of Soviet objectives, foremost among them being to deter the US from active intervention in Cuba.

/1/In a statement issued on September 11 through the Soviet news agency TASS, the Soviet Union warned that any attack by the United States on Cuba or upon Soviet ships bound for Cuba would lead to war between the United States and the Soviet Union. The statement accused President Kennedy of preparing for "an act of aggression" against Cuba when he asked Congress on September 7 for stand-by authority to order 150,000 military reservists to active duty. The statement cited Soviet nuclear capability and warned that no aggressor could expect to be "free from punishment." The text of the Soviet statement was reprinted in The New York Times, September 12, p. 16.

2. The statement does not significantly alter the nature of the USSR's commitment to defend the Castro regime. The Soviets have once again used deliberately vague and ambiguous language to avoid a clear cut obligation of military support for Cuba in the event of an American invasion. They carefully refrain from spelling out their precise reactions to any attack on Cuba. In some respects, the statement is less specific than previous Soviet warnings, such as that contained in Khrushchev's letter of 18 April 1961 to President Kennedy./2/ As before, however, Moscow attempts to create the impression that Cuba is under the protection of the full range of Soviet nuclear and missile power. The statement is also calculated to enable the USSR to claim full credit for having protected Cuba if no US invasion or interference with Soviet shipping materializes.

/2/See Document 117.

3. The statement displays great sensitivity to the implications of the President's request for authorization to call up reserves. The Soviets probably felt that they had no choice but to respond with a strong statement of their support for Castro. Thus, while avoiding a definite commitment to defend Cuba, Moscow has further engaged its prestige in ensuring the survival of the Cuban Government.

4. In addition to its deterrent effect, the Soviet statement is intended to check growing alarm in the US and Latin America over Soviet intentions in Cuba. It stresses the defensive nature of Soviet military equipment being furnished the Cubans and implicitly denies any Soviet intention to establish military bases in Cuba. The statement, moreover, conveys an indirect assurance that Moscow will not confront the US with simultaneous challenges in both Cuba and Berlin.

5. At the same time, however, Moscow strongly advances the argument that the USSR has a right to provide military assistance to Cuba, citing the existence of US military alliances and bases on the periphery of the Sino-Soviet bloc and the presence of American fleets in the Mediterranean and the Taiwan Strait. The statement reflects the Soviet leaders' long-standing desire to "settle old accounts" with the US by establishing a military and political presence close to the US in an area which traditionally has been an American sphere of influence. Moscow's policy toward Cuba has been strongly influenced by this desire to establish the USSR's claim to great power equality with the US.

6. The statement can be characterized as brusque and strong regarding Cuba but moderate on Berlin. We anticipate that the Soviets will launch a strong attack on US policy at the UN, and we think that they recognize that these tactics will rule out any progress in the Berlin talks for the time being. The statement tacitly acknowledges this by noting that a "pause now has been reached" in these talks and by observing that it is "difficult" for the US to negotiate during an election campaign. It reiterates the usual line that the USSR favors the "earliest conclusion" of a German peace treaty and a Berlin settlement.

7. The Soviet leaders probably do not wish to break off diplomatic contacts altogether and envisage a resumption of high level talks on Berlin late this year or early next year. They may feel that, in the meantime, propaganda denunciations of US "aggressive actions" will enable them to further delay a separate peace treaty with East Germany without appearing to retreat. Such a delay would permit them to assess the impact on the West's negotiating position of this offensive as well as of probable maneuvers on their part to involve the UN in a Berlin settlement.

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

Washington, September 12, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 9/62. Top Secret; Noforn; Special Handling. An attached distribution list indicates that six copies of the memorandum were prepared. Copies were sent to Robert Kennedy, Johnson, Gilpatric, Lemnitzer, McCone, and Bundy.


Phase II, Operation Mongoose

At the Special Group meeting of 6 September,/1/ several activities listed in the 31 August projection of Phase II/2/ were noted for further clarification. Appropriate changes are reflected in the attached addendum to the 31 August projection.

/1/See Document 417.

/2/Document 399.

Request your approval for the Mongoose Operation team to proceed with Phase II as indicated.




As noted by the Special Group, clarifications are given below on numbered activities listed in the 31 August projection of Phase II:

10. (Broadcasts). USIA was asked to take a further hard look at the capabilities for radio and TV broadcasts to Cuba. USIA has done so, with the help of State and CIA. The study is attached./3/ USIA concludes that improvement would result by raising Key West station WKWF to 50 kw, that medium wave and TV operations must be tied to short term tactical operations, and that it does not favor the U.S. engaging in all-out electronic warfare with Cuba at this time.

/3/The attachment was an eight-page USIA memorandum from Wilson to Lansdale entitled "Broadcasting to Cuba." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 9/62)

20. (Balloons). CIA plans to present details of this proposal, including content of material to be delivered by balloon, to the Special Group for the 20 September meeting. Suggest that consideration of this item be deferred until then.

21. Note change, as underscored:/4/ "Direct propaganda at Soviet and other Bloc personnel in Cuba. (CIA and USIA)."

/4/Printed here as italics.

25. [2-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]

28. (Sabotage Cuban assets outside Cuba, as targets of opportunity.) Note change of purpose: "To cripple harass Cuban commerce and place strain upon regime security forces."

32. (Sabotage agriculture.) Delete the suggestive details in the "Considerations." If and when specific proposals are developed, appropriate policy approval will be requested.

47. (Actions against Bloc personnel.) As a means of emphasizing such activity, as desired, delete item 47c and add a new item (numbered 57) to read:

Activity: Cause actions by Cubans against Bloc personnel in Cuba. (CIA)

Purpose: To make the mission of Bloc personnel in Cuba as difficult as possible.

Considerations: In addition to aggressive propaganda fostering Cuban action against Bloc personnel, exile groups will be encouraged to exploit their internal contacts to provoke incidents between Cubans and Bloc personnel. Minor acts of sabotage by Cubans against Bloc equipment and facilities will be encouraged. Consideration will be given to provoking and conducting physical attacks on Bloc personnel.

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

424. Memorandum From the Department of State Operations Officer for Operation Mongoose (Hurwitch) to the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale)

Washington, September 12, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501, Operation Mongoose, Phase I. Top Secret.


Task 54/1/--Develop post-Castro concepts, leaders, and political groups

/1/See Document 399.

Post-Castro concepts, leaders, and political groups must emerge from the dynamics of exile politics and internal developments in Cuba. We do not intend to impose concepts, select leaders or form political groups.

The broad limits of political concepts acceptable to the United States have already been provided. As to leaders, Dr. Miro Cardona has, as you know, considerable backing from the United States. Other leaders may emerge who, in our judgment, merit support as well. We do not intend to create them, however. To the extent we support them, we shall have contributed to their development. I believe we should compile a list of the more qualified anti-Castro Cubans both in exile and inside Cuba, together with their biographic data.

We are considering the advisability of a high level United States statement at the appropriate time regarding "not turning back the clock in Cuba" post-Castro.

We are giving more thought to the subject. The items listed in the "Considerations" of this task are highly pertinent.

425. Memorandum From the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale) to the Department of State Operations Officer for Operation Mongoose (Hurwitch)

Washington, September 13, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501, Operation Mongoose, Phase II. Top Secret.


Activity 54, Phase II

Your 12 September memorandum/1/ regarding Activity 54 (post-Castro) suggests some further development of information and planning without loss of time.

/1/Document 424.

The idea of listing qualified anti-Castro Cubans and of compiling all available data for assessing their leadership potential is very much to the point. Request that you take the necessary steps to do this, in conjunction with CIA and the FBI, and keep me advised on a continuing basis.

The proposal concerning a high-level statement regarding a post-Castro era is one for priority attention, but should not be restricted to the single theme of "not turning back the clock." This is an actionable idea and follows our earlier discussions on developing a sound frame of reference for anti-regime activities by Cubans and their friends.

Incidentally, your statement that we develop leadership to the extent that we support them leads me to request that you prepare a paper for me indicating the "who and why" of such support.

426. Memorandum From Secretary of Defense McNamara to President Kennedy

Washington, September 13, 1962.

//Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD (C) A Files: FRC 71 A 2896, Yarmolinsky Files, Cuban Volunteer Program. Secret.

This memorandum is in response to your request for a report on the program to enlist Cubans in the US Armed Forces,/1/ which terminated last June, and on my reaction and the reaction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the formation of a Cuban Brigade at the present time.

/1/See Document 418.

Under the previous program, only 142 Cuban nationals joined the US Armed Forces between 29 July 1961 and 31 July 1962, and of these, 30 have already been discharged for the convenience of the government. Of some 4,000 who expressed interest in the program, only 1,000 were registered by the Selective Service local boards as volunteers for military serv-ice. This attrition occurred either because the men were disqualified by reason of age and number of dependents, or because they lost interest when informed that they would not serve in Cuban units. Of the remaining group, more than two-thirds were disqualified at the Armed Forces Examining Station. The largest number of disqualifications (half of the total) was based on "moral and security" grounds. Substantially all of these disqualifications occurred when the volunteers were given lie detector tests (required procedure in the absence of the usual background investigation data) and admitted histories of sexual deviation. Only 135 failed to qualify on medical grounds. Additional drop-outs along the way, particularly in the English language training phase of the program, reduced the number of inductees to 142.

At the direction of the Special Group (Counterinsurgency), the Joint Chiefs of Staff have prepared a plan/2/ for a new Cuban volunteer program which should overcome some, if not all, of the difficulties that arose in the previous program. We are proposing to train Cuban nationals in all-Cuban units, the training to be conducted in Spanish. Volunteers would not be excluded as they were in the previous program, by reason of number of dependents or the inability to speak and understand English. Voluntary induction would be for a minimum of two years, as required by present law. After completion of 20 weeks of basic and advanced individual training, the volunteer may be discharged, transferred to reserve status, or retained on active duty and integrated into a regular military unit. Those who meet requisite standards would be permitted to enter Special Forces training, within available quotas.

/2/JCS memorandum JCSM-713-62 from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of Defense, September 12, 1962. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 66 A 3542, Cuba 432.18 (31 Jan 1962))

Individuals who are placed on reserve status would be organized into separate reserve units, where residence permits. In this connection, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the possibility of organizing such reserve units with a brigade or similar organization as suggested. It is their opinion that an organization of this nature may, at this time, be premature; however, should experience indicate that there are sufficient volunteers and qualified officer and non-commissioned officer personnel from among the Cuban refugees to support such an organization, further consideration may well be warranted.

The over-all plan has been discussed in some detail within the Special Group (Counterinsurgency) and with Dr. Miro-Cardona. I understand Dr. Cardona feels that it would be adequate to stimulate recruiting of qualified Cuban refugees. Because of the experience gained from last year's program, I am still somewhat skeptical as to the number of Cubans who will volunteer and qualify. The prospective establishment of all-Cuban reserve units should assist in attracting additional volunteers for the program. Further, it could also provide means of long-term control over personnel who have received at least 20 weeks of active duty training.

On the other hand, I do not believe that the possible additional recruiting value of an active duty Cuban brigade would offset the numerous additional problems of a political and administrative nature that such an organization might produce.

We expect to put the plan into operation in the very near future, after we have reached agreement with the Department of State on the timing and nature of a public announcement.

As indicated above, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were consulted in the preparation of this reply.

Robert S. McNamara/3/

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

427. Memorandum From the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale) to the Department of State Operations Officer for Operation Mongoose (Hurwitch)

Washington, September 13, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501, Operation Mongoose, Phase II. Top Secret. Also sent to Harvey, Wilson, and James Symington.


Contingency Facilities

As noted in our meeting Tuesday, 11 September, with Mr. McGeorge Bundy and General Lemnitzer on contingency planning, each of you was to inform me of what facilities you will require in the Joint Staff area to permit your organization to be closely linked in with U.S. operations in case of a contingency. Let me know by 17 September.

Your information on this should include the number of persons you would expect to position in the Joint Staff area, either full or part time, your need for secure communications, and your need for secure filing space.

While this will help to ready the physical accommodations in proximity to the Joint War Room, it is noted further that your own readiness should include planning for contingency operations within your own organization, so that they can be undertaken without loss of time or security. Let me know also by 17 September the status of such internal planning./1/

/1/On September 17 Hurwitch responded in a memorandum to Lansdale that present planning called for the continuous presence, if required, of one Department of State officer in the Joint Staff area, with secure communications to the area of the Operations Center in the Department of State, which had been "earmarked for work on Mongoose when the need arises." (Ibid.)

To assure necessary security clearances of personnel for this highly sensitive area, it is desired that you indicate by name officials to undertake this assignment.

428. Current Intelligence Memorandum


Washington, September 13, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDI Files: Job 80-R01386R, Box 1, Cuba, Top Secret. Prepared in the Office of Current Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency.


Analysis of the Suspect Missile Site at Banes, Cuba

1. A review of all available evidence leads us to conclude it is highly likely that the suspect missile site near Banes, Cuba is a facility for launching cruise missiles against ship targets at fairly close ranges.

2. The site, which is located about 300 feet above sea level and 3.5 nm from the sea is oriented in a general easterly (seaward) direction. It consists of two 30 foot rail launchers in revetments, each connected by cable to a Soviet Whiff tracking radar. Ground support equipment consists of eight canvas-covered, missile-type trailers, two probable generators and electronic vans, and other general purpose vehicles. The area is being fenced, and the personnel are housed in tents. The site configuration and the equipment observed are compatible with a cruise missile system and not compatible with surface-to-air or ballistic systems.

3. Although our knowledge of Soviet cruise missiles is incomplete, we know of three systems which could fit those facilities observed at Banes. We have eliminated other operational Soviet cruise missile systems, with ranges from 1000 to 4000 nm, because their missiles probably would be too large for the Banes facility. A 600 nm cruise missile has had a test range firing in the USSR, but it too would be too large for the Banes site.

4. The three remaining possibilities are:

a. SS-N-1--a destroyer-launched cruise anti-ship homing missile launched from 30 foot inclined rails. With destroyer radar, the effective system range is 20 to 30 nm. With the assistance of an air controller, the system range can be extended to 130 nm. This system could be installed at a shore site.

b. SS-N-2--a Komar class patrol craft-launched cruise anti-ship homing missile, launched from inclined rails 25 to 30 feet long. With the Komar radar, the effective system range is 10 to 15 nm. This system could also be installed at a shore site. Eight Komars have been transferred to Cuba.

c. SS-C-1--the "missile-in-a-bottle", first shown in the 1961 Moscow 7 November parade. This missile is launched from an inclined ramp within a tube mounted on a large four axle truck. We know nothing of its guidance system. The missile probably has a range of about 150 nm, but possibly it could be as much as 300 nm. This system could be installed at a fixed site.

5. Although none of the known Soviet cruise missile systems precisely fit the facility at Banes, we believe it is more likely that the site is for a short range 25-30 nm missile system. The Whiff radar seen at the site has not been noted with known cruise missile systems but could be used for target acquisition in this installation. If the missile has an inertial guidance system and a means of target acquisition, the range of the missile at the Banes site could be extended to a range of about 130 nm.

6. There are several items of circumstantial evidence which tend to support the conclusion that the Banes site is for relatively short range coastal defense cruise missiles. The fact that the site is near the coast suggests that the range of its missile is short; otherwise it could be located inland in a less vulnerable area. It is located where short-range missiles could defend against seaborne assault on deep water ports in Nipe Bay south of Banes./1/ Thus far, the Soviets apparently have not given Cuba any weapons which provide them a long range striking capability, suggesting that their policy is to provide for Cuba's defense only. Because neither the SS-N-1 nor the SS-C-1 has sufficient range to hit any target in the United States, such missiles would fit this policy pattern.

/1/Cuba's two nickel plants are in this general area. Their output is being sent to the Soviet Bloc and is equivalent to 20 percent of Soviet production. The more important of these two plants is on the bay protected by the Banes site. [Footnote in the source text.]

7. If the analysis that the Banes missile site is a coastal defense installation is correct, it would follow that similar facilities may be set up at a number of other locations favorable for protecting beaches against amphibious attack.

8. We doubt that Cubans have been given sufficient training in the use of such missiles to allow them to have operational control over the sites. It seems likely that Soviet technical training personnel would be needed for some time to come and would be available for operating the installation in time of crisis.

429. Editorial Note

At a press conference at the Department of State on September 13, 1962, President Kennedy made a statement concerning the situation in Cuba. He noted that there had been a good deal of speculation, prompted by statements made in Moscow and Havana, concerning the possibility of an imminent invasion of Cuba by United States forces. The President dismissed the speculation as a "frantic effort" by Castro to bolster a troubled regime. Military action by the United States against Cuba would be triggered, Kennedy stated, only if Cuba posed a threat to any other nation in the hemisphere, or if Cuba became an offensive military base for the Soviet Union. The President noted that, despite the increasing flow of Soviet arms and military personnel to Cuba, conditions had not reached the point that would justify military action against Cuba. He made it clear, however, that the United States would not hesitate to act if threatening conditions developed:

"If at any time the Communist build-up in Cuba were to endanger or interfere with our security in any way, including our base at Guantanamo, our passage to the Panama Canal, our missile and space activities at Cape Canaveral, or the lives of American citizens in this country, or if Cuba should ever attempt to export its aggressive purposes by force or the threat of force against any nation in this hemisphere, or become an offensive military base of significant capacity for the Soviet Union, then this country will do whatever must be done to protect its own security and that of its allies."

He added, with respect to the military build-up occurring in Cuba:

"If the United States ever should find it necessary to take military action against communism in Cuba, all of Castro's Communist-supplied weapons and technicians would not change the result or significantly extend the time required to achieve that result." (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1962, pages 674-675)

430. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, September 14, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, S.G. 60, September 27, 1962. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by Parrott.


Minutes of Meeting of the Special Group, 14 Sept. 1962


Mr. Bundy, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Nitze, General Lemnitzer, General Carter

The Attorney General was present for Item 1.

Colonel Steakley was present for Items 1 through 3.

Mr. FitzGerald was present for Items 4 and 5.

1. Reconnaissance, Cuba

Colonel Steakley outlined the capabilities for low-level coverage of certain targets in Cuba. It was noted that the Secretary of Defense does not wish this operation considered further until the results of Agency reconnaissance in the same area are available. Further consideration was thus deferred until next week's meeting.

General Carter said that special efforts will be required to identify certain installations the nature of which is not clear at present.

Colonel Steakley distributed charts for the monthly book,/1/ on supplementary ELINT coverage of Cuba, which has begun today. The Group had no objection to these missions.

/1/Not found.

It was agreed that the Joint Reconnaissance Center should keep an eye on all military flights in the Cuban area.

[Here follows discussion unrelated to Cuba.]

Thomas A. Parrott/2/

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

431. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, September 14, 1962.

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


The Acting DCI informed the meeting of our firmer identification of the site at Banes./1/

/1/According to another record of the meeting, prepared by Carter, the missile site at Banes had been tentatively, rather than conclusively, identified as a cruise missile site. (Ibid.) See the Supplement.

The 12 September addendum to the Phase Two Mongoose Operation/2/ was discussed and the entire Phase Two was approved in principle as a platform from which to proceed. Activities which may be especially sensitive are to be brought before the Group, and this body wishes to be kept generally advised on progress.

/2/See Document 423.

General Lansdale indicated that papers on a "blockade" are being generated outside Mongoose channels. (Elder talked to George Carroll on Saturday who identified such papers as part of the DOD contingency planning exercise and indicated that there is very little interest or steam in them.)

[1 paragraph (3 lines of source text) not declassified]

CIA Headquarters and all WH stations are to be especially alert for any shipments of arms or other subversive material from Cuba to other Latin American countries. (Chief, Task Force W says this alert has been laid on and is in force.)

There was some discussion of a State-JCS meeting with McGeorge Bundy on contingency plans for Cuba.

Bruce Cheever attended for the Agency. He reports that no decisions were made, no new ideas were brought up, and nothing useful emerged from the meeting.

It was generally agreed that we should make an effort to get Pan American to continue some flights to Cuba. We are not to accept PAA prices, but to continue negotiations, try to get a lower figure, and to make no commitments at this time. A status report is to be furnished to the Special Group (Augmented) on this subject.

The Attorney General expressed concern that activities by certain Cuban exiles are reaching the point where the Government may be forced to take action against them rather than to simply state that "we are investigating." The Agency is requested to see what it can do to help reduce the noise level of these activities.

Walter Elder/3/

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

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

Washington, September 19, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501, Policy--1959, 1961, 1962. Top Secret. Drafted by Hurwitch.


Policy Recommendation with respect to Cuba

The coming 18 months are likely to prove the most gruelling that the Cuban people will have to endure. The nadir of the Cuban economy will probably be reached during this period. The western equipped sectors of the economy will continue to deteriorate for lack of foreign exchange to purchase spare parts and equipment, while the Soviet capital equipment will not have begun to produce. Managerial and administrative personnel trained in the complexity of running a state controlled economy will continue to be lacking. At the same time, the Castro regime, under heavy Soviet pressure and with Soviet assistance, will probably undertake harsh measures to keep the economy from floundering. Experience in other Communist countries would indicate that there is approaching one of the most dangerous periods (from the Communist standpoint) in the process of transition toward a complete "socialist" state. This process will probably be accompanied by severe regimentation and perhaps terror.

We can, therefore, reasonably look for the highest point of Cuban popular dissatisfaction toward the Castro regime during this period. Three factors favor the Castro regime's ability to survive this critical period: (1) the charisma of Fidel Castro; (2) the State security apparatus supported by Soviet involvement; (3) the absence of organized resistance with a political base in Cuba confident of United States support during the Castro regime and afterward. The presence of the third of these factors together with the absence of the first, could place in doubt the survival of Cuban-Marxist-Leninist government.

While we have been moderately successful in infiltrating some Cubans, we have been singularly unsuccessful in creating a political base of internal opposition. Our failure stems primarily from our practice of "controlling" or "managing" the Cuban exiles as individuals. We have not taken advantage of them as groups--as political entities with assets in Cuba. In effect, we have sought to make this a "U.S. show" using Cubans. To this extent, we are probably repeating past mistakes.

To create an opposition with a political base in Cuba, we should adopt a policy of giving assistance to Cuban groups without establishing rigid rules of planning or controlling. Our criteria for assistance (which should consist primarily of sabotage materiel, arms, radio equipment and transport) should be:

1. that the groups have assets in Cuba (cf., NIE August 1, 1962)./1/

/1/Document 363.

2. that the groups will undertake only those actions against the Castro regime which can be reasonably believed to have been accomplished from inside Cuba.

3. that the groups agree to maintain a high degree of security.

This program would be supplemental to rather than a replacement for existing programs using refugees. The United States role would be primarily that of purveyor of materiel, financial assistance and technical know-how. Under this policy, we should be prepared for a number of failures and probably a fair amount of publicity. On the other hand, the student or other groups will probably continue to embarass the U.S. with their improvised schemes for attracting attention to the Cuban cause. We would hope, although we cannot be certain, that by providing exile groups that have assets inside Cuba the wherewithal for an internal struggle against Cuba, political opposition would be created and nurtured and that a minimum of external attacks on Cuba by refugees would recur.


That you advance the foregoing view for policy approval at the next Special Group meeting. (We would prefer to by-pass the Lansdale group this time for the sake of speed.)

/2/No indication of Johnson's approval appears on the source text.

433. Special National Intelligence Estimate

SNIE 85-3-62

Washington, September 19, 1962.

//Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD (C) A Files: FRC 71 A 2896, McNamara Briefing Notebooks, 12 Jan. 63. Secret. A covering note indicates that this estimate, submitted by the Director of Central Intelligence, was prepared by CIA, and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Defense, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and NSA. All members of the USIB concurred with the estimate on September 19, except the representative of the AEC, who abstained on the grounds that the topic was outside his jurisdiction.


The Problem

To assess the strategic and political significance of the recent military buildup in Cuba and of the possible future development of additional military capabilities there.


A. We believe that the USSR values its position in Cuba primarily for the political advantages to be derived from it, and consequently that the main purpose of the present military buildup in Cuba is to strengthen the Communist regime there against what the Cubans and the Soviets conceive to be a danger that the US may attempt by one means or another to overthrow it. The Soviets evidently hope to deter any such attempt by enhancing Castro's defensive capabilities and by threatening Soviet military retaliation. At the same time, they evidently recognize that the development of an offensive military base in Cuba might provoke US military intervention and thus defeat their present purpose. (Paras. 1-11)

B. In terms of military significance, the current Soviet deliveries are substantially improving air defense and coastal defense capabilities in Cuba. Their political significance is that, in conjunction with the Soviet statement of 11 September/1/ they are likely to be regarded as ensuring the continuation of the Castro regime in power, with consequent discouragement to the opposition at home and in exile. The threat inherent in these developments is that, to the extent that the Castro regime thereby gains a sense of security at home, it will be emboldened to become more aggressive in fomenting revolutionary activity in Latin America. (Paras. 18-21)

/1/See Document 422.

C. As the buildup continues, the USSR may be tempted to establish in Cuba other weapons represented to be defensive in purpose, but of a more "offensive" character: e.g., light bombers, submarines, and additional types of short-range surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs). A decision to provide such weapons will continue to depend heavily on the Soviet estimate as to whether they could be introduced without provoking a US military reaction. (Paras. 22-28)

D. The USSR could derive considerable military advantage from the establishment of Soviet medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles in Cuba, or from the establishment of a Soviet submarine base there. As between these two, the establishment of a submarine base would be the more likely. Either development, however, would be incompatible with Soviet practice to date and with Soviet policy as we presently estimate it. It would indicate a far greater willingness to increase the level of risk in US-Soviet relations than the USSR has displayed thus far, and consequently would have important policy implications with respect to other areas and other problems in East-West relations. (Paras. 29-33)

E. The Latin American reaction will be the evidence of an increased Soviet commitment to Cuba, rather than to the technical implications of the military buildup. Many Latin Americans will fear and resent a Soviet military intrusion into the Hemisphere, but will regard the problem as one to be met by the US and not their responsibility. We estimate the chances are better now than they were at Punta del Este to obtain the necessary two-thirds OAS majority for sanctions and other steps of direct military action aimed at Cuba. If it became clear that the USSR was establishing an "offensive" base in Cuba, most Latin American governments would expect the US to eliminate it, by whatever means were necessary, but many of them would still seek to avoid direct involvement. (Paras. 34-37)


I. Considerations Underlying Soviet Policy in Cuba

1. We believe that the USSR values its position in Cuba primarily for the political advantages to be derived from it, and that the main purpose of the present military buildup in Cuba is to strengthen the Communist regime there against what the Cubans and the Soviets conceive to be a danger that the US may attempt by one means or another to overthrow it. The Soviets evidently hope to deter any such attempt by enhancing Castro's defensive capabilities and by threatening Soviet military retaliation. At the same time, they evidently recognize that the development of an offensive military base in Cuba might provoke US military intervention and thus defeat their present purpose.

2. The Soviets consider that the Cuban Revolution and their association with it have severely damaged the prestige of the US and greatly enhanced that of the USSR, throughout the world. They see in the case of Cuba an effective demonstration that, anywhere in the world, a "colonial" people can throw off the "imperialist yoke" and, with the indispensable aid and protection of the USSR, successfully maintain its independence against "imperialist" counteraction. They especially value the effect of this demonstration in Latin America and also value Cuba as an advanced base for the support of radical revolutionary elements in Latin America.

3. Although initially the Soviets were guarded in their relations with the Castro regime, in the past year both they and Castro have undertaken moves which make their ties much closer. Thus Moscow's commitment to the survival and success of the Cuban Revolution is deepening. The Soviets have apparently concluded that they must invest more heavily to protect their stake in Cuba.

4. Because of heightening Soviet concern over the state of the Cuban economy, Moscow last spring agreed substantially to expand and liberalize its economic assistance program to Cuba. Indeed, Soviet economic aid to Cuba now involves an extensive program planned to sustain and gradually to develop the economy. The Soviets have thus clearly demonstrated their belief that Cuba, with Soviet support, can achieve sufficient progress to serve as a stimulus for revolutionaries elsewhere in Latin America.

5. During roughly the same period (last spring), the Soviets also apparently concluded that the Castro regime would have to be provided with accelerated military aid. Castro almost certainly had long demanded a much more substantial Soviet program. More important, however, we believe the decision reflected Soviet concern that its expanding role in Cuba might be terminated by a US move to overthrow the Castro regime. The rapid military buildup in Cuba was thus intended in large part to impress the US with the increased costs and risks of any attempt to overthrow the Cuban regime by force.

6. In line with this objective, the Soviet statement of 11 September was in part designed to dissuade the US from making any decision to intervene in Cuba. By stressing the "defensive" nature of the Cuban buildup, it sought to convince the US (and the world at large) that the military buildup in Cuba does not constitute a threat. At the same time, however, by raising the spectre of general war, it stressed the gravity of the risks involved in US intervention. The statement as a whole is probably a substitute for the guarantees which the Castro regime almost certainly has demanded. While it carefully avoids an explicit commitment to defend Cuba in the event of US attack, it does further engage Soviet prestige to ensuring the survival of the Castro regime.

7. The absence of such an explicit commitment reflects the Soviets' basic disinclination to hazard their own safety for the sake of Cuba. They are willing, indeed anxious, to deflate US prestige and power in Latin American opinion and to provide the Cubans with the economic instruments of survival and progress, but they remain wary of provoking the US--or of allowing Castro to provoke the US--by going too far and too fast with a military buildup. In their 11 September statement they sought to undercut speculation about Soviet missile bases in Cuba for possible use against the US by, inter alia, stressing the defensive nature of armaments supplied Cuba and by denying any military need for such bases in view of their capability to attack the US from their own territory.

8. While Soviet policies in Cuba may have initially been devised almost entirely in terms of Cuba and Latin America, Moscow now also views the situation in terms of the broader East-West struggle. They relish the demonstration that Soviet power can be extended to an area adjacent to the US, and are using the strong US reaction to justify their own resentment of the "offensive" US bases on the Soviet periphery. Further, in their 11 September statement, the Soviets implied that US action against Cuba would be countered by Bloc moves elsewhere in the world and for the first time publicly linked the Berlin and Cuban crises. The Soviets are also aware that a drastic heightening of tension over Cuba is an important factor in their general relations with the US and has an impact on various other issues. Thus developments in the Cuban situation probably influenced the recent Soviet decision to let the Berlin situation simmer, rather than boil, for the time being.

9. The current Soviet buildup marks a dramatic change of pace in Soviet operations, probably occasioned by a reappraisal of policies and increased determination to insure the survival of the Castro regime. However, we believe that the military buildup which began in July does not reflect a radically new Soviet policy toward Cuba, either in terms of military commitments or of the role of Cuba in overall Soviet strategy. Without changing the essentially defensive character of the military buildup in Cuba and without making an open pledge to protect Cuba under all circumstances, the Soviets have enhanced Cuban military capabilities, repeated in stronger terms their warnings to the US, and tied the Cuban situation to the general question of the East-West confrontation.

10. The Soviets themselves are probably still uncertain about their future military program for Cuba. Indeed, they probably intend to test US and Latin American reactions as they proceed. At the same time they are obliged to tailor their policy to minimize risks of confrontation with the US, avoid friction with Castro, and maintain the best possible propaganda stance in the eyes of Latin America and the world in general.

11. The analysis of Soviet policy toward Cuba given here is based on an overall evaluation of Soviet interests and intentions and on evidence of Soviet actions in and with respect to Cuba to date. While it is our judgment that, even in the light of recent developments, Soviet policy remains fundamentally unaltered, we cannot exclude the possibility that Moscow is at least considering a change in this policy. Consequently, in the sections which follow, we examine in some detail not only the Soviet military buildup in Cuba to date and possible developments in that buildup which might follow, but also the nature and implications of military assistance which the Soviets could provide Cuba in the event of a major change of policy.

II. The Buildup To Date

12. In the first phase of the provision of military supplies, from 1960 to early 1962, the Soviets concentrated on substantial amounts of conventional combat weapons for the ground forces. A number of Bloc technicians were supplied and a training program for Cuban military personnel was inaugurated. The buildup proceeded at a deliberate pace and eventually, after some training of Cuban pilots, about 60 jet fighter aircraft were supplied to Cuba. In addition, some submarine-chasers and motor torpedo boats were delivered. This phase was largely completed by February 1962 with the result that Cuban forces were much better prepared to handle incursions upon their territory.

13. In July the Soviets began a rapid effort to strengthen Cuban defenses against air attack and major seaborne invasion. Between mid-July and early September some 70 ships have delivered various types of military supplies and construction equipment, and more ships are en route. These new shipments have consisted in part of further deliveries of types of weapons already available to Cuban forces. More tanks, self-propelled guns and other ground force equipment have been supplied. But the bulk of the material delivered is related to the establishment of SA-2 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), which will form the basis for a new air defense system.

14. Thus far, 12 SA-2 SAM sites have been installed in the western half of the island. It is likely that similar coverage will be provided in the eastern half. Some missile sites could now be operational. The Soviets are also providing a number of more advanced jet interceptors; about a dozen MIG-21's may have been delivered. The standard armament for this type of aircraft includes two infrared homing air-to-air missiles (AAMs). It is likely that such missiles have accompanied the MIG-21's to Cuba.

15. The current buildup also reflects an effort to improve Cuba's coastal defenses. For this purpose, the Soviets have provided the "Komar" class guided-missile patrol boats which carry two short-range (10-15 n.m.) cruise-type missiles, primarily for use against shipping. This boat has a range of about 650 n.m., but is designed primarily for use in coastal waters. Eight "Komar" class boats have already been delivered and other similar craft may be on the way. In addition, a land-based cruise-type missile installation has been observed near Banes. [2 lines of source text not declassified] its range is likely to be limited to 20-35 n.m. by its radar horizon. This range might be extended by installing the radar on a height, or by employing ships or aircraft for forward observation. We believe that this will prove to be a coast defense installation and that others of this type will be deployed, but we cannot estimate at present the ultimate size of this program.

16. Equally important, particularly in terms of overall Soviet involvement, is the substantial increase in the number of Soviet military specialists in Cuba, from about 350 early this year to the current level of about 4,000. We anticipate that a large proportion of this group will remain in Cuba for some time. Six months to a year would be required before the SA-2 and other sites could be operated solely by Cuban personnel.

17. Because of the extent and rapidity of current deliveries and limitations in our intelligence coverage, we cannot yet identify all of the new equipment which has been introduced. Recent shipments include a great deal of electronic gear, with many vans, crates, and large boxes which could contain various types of this equipment. There is tenuous evidence of the presence of air defense ECM equipment. Although we have no specific evidence of it, we cannot exclude the possibility that COMINT and ELINT equipment is also now present in Cuba.

Implications of the Current Buildup

18. In terms of their military significance, the current Soviet deliveries are substantially improving capabilities in Cuba for air and coastal defense and defensive surface naval operations. When operational, the SAMs will assure that interception can be attempted under any weather condition, at altitudes up to 60,000 feet, with more limited effectiveness up to 80,000 feet. The system is probably not effective below about 3,000 feet. The MIG-21 has generally better performance characteristics than the earlier MIG models, and will considerably augment defenses against aircraft flying at medium and high altitudes./2/

/2/[Footnote in the source text (5 lines) not declassified]

19. The large number of Soviet military personnel in Cuba will provide the technical assistance and training necessary to bring the newer weapons to operational readiness in the near future. If necessary, Soviet personnel could be employed to operate them before Cuban personnel are fully prepared to do so. It is likely that training and experience have already raised the proficiency of Cuban Air Force personnel somewhat above the low level noted in NIE 85-2-62,/3/ "The Situation and Prospects in Cuba," dated 1 August 1962 (paragraph 24). Soviet guidance and training will continue to raise the combat effectiveness of all branches of the Cuban military establishment.

/3/Document 363.

20. Some of the new weapons in Cuba could be used for offensive as well as defensive purposes. MIG fighters can be equipped for ground attack operations and antiship missiles can be employed against well-defined land targets. Indirectly, the presence of SAMs could release some fighter aircraft for ground attack missions. Nevertheless, the pattern of Soviet military aid to date appears clearly designed to strengthen the defenses of the island, thereby protecting the Communist political beachhead in the Western Hemisphere and raising the price the US would have to pay to eliminate it by military action. The overall composition of the Cuban military establishment remains essentially defensive in character; it has not yet been provided with a significant strike capability. Moreover, the Cuban armed forces still lack the air and sealift necessary for military operations on any significant scale in neighboring territories.

21. Limited as the offensive capabilities of the forces in Cuba are, an increased sense of security instilled by Soviet public statements and by the presence of new weapons may encourage the Cuban regime to engage in small scale filibustering expeditions. It might also encourage them to make new demands on the US regarding the naval base at Guantanamo and to engage in a program of harassment of the base.

III. Possibilities for Expansion of the Buildup

22. The Soviets could expand the present buildup to include additional types of weapons. However, they are well aware that the question of offensive as opposed to defensive weapons in Cuba has become a major political issue. Their recent statement indicates that they believe a strong political case can be sustained for supplying "defensive" weapons in Cuba. Conversely they seem to realize that to provide certain other types of weapons to Cuba would pose a challenge to which the US might forcefully respond.

23. Among the weapons which the Soviets might believe they could add to the Cuban arsenal without creating the appearance of an open defiance of US warnings on offensive weapons, are a low altitude SAM defense system and jet interceptors more advanced than the MIG-21's. However, both of these are believed to be in short supply within the USSR itself, where they are in the early stages of deployment. Moreover, the military potential of these weapons can be fully realized only in conjunction with the USSR's closely integrated system of air defense warning, communications, and control.

24. Apart from such examples, however, the distinction between defensive and offensive weapons is ambiguous. The Soviets might consider supplying Beagle (IL-28) light bombers, for example, which they have already provided to several non-Bloc states. These aircraft can be represented by the Soviets as "defensive" weapons, particularly if present only in small numbers. On the other hand, the IL-28 could reach targets in the southeastern part of the US and could carry nuclear weapons. If these aircraft appeared in Cuba, the US would have to decide whether or not they were to be taken as representing a serious "offensive" capability. On the whole we believe the Soviets might calculate that a modest number of IL-28's could be supplied to Cuba without serious risk of US counteraction.

25. Badger (TU-16) medium bombers might also be supplied to Cuba, ostensibly for such "defensive" uses as armed reconnaissance against invasion shipping, but the offensive capabilities of these aircraft are considerably more obvious than in the case of IL-28's. We believe the Soviets would not supply them to Cuba.

26. It is possible that the Soviets would consider placing other short-range surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs) in Cuba. The SS-1, a ballistic missile with a range of 150 n.m., would not threaten US territory other than Key West, but the 350 n.m. range of the SS-2 ballistic missile would extend to Cape Canaveral. The Soviets also have a 350 n.m. cruise-type missile available. These weapons could employ conventional or nuclear warheads. It is possible that the Soviets would believe that some SS-2's would be tolerated by the US. On the other hand, any real military usefulness they might have to the Cuban defense establishment would be marginal, and the Soviets could not exclude that the US would react very strongly to their presence.

27. Another possibility is the provision of submarines and destroyers. We believe this may eventually be done. Some conventional submarines have already been supplied to non-Bloc countries, but the Soviets certainly realize that such action in Cuba could be interpreted by the US as violating their stated intention of limiting supplies to defensive purposes. However, the level of Soviet naval supply to Cuba will probably remain relatively high in coming months. Soviet merchant ships and trawlers will continue their frequent calls. The Soviets could test the US reaction to visits by Soviet naval ships to Cuban ports. Depending on US reactions over a period of time, the Soviets might then consider whether to turn over some destroyers and submarines to Cuba.

28. Thus the Soviets may experiment with a number of further steps in the military buildup. They may feel that some of these are necessary, if only to demonstrate their continuing support to Castro and refusal to be deterred by the US. The SA-2 defense system will provide a new degree of protection and secrecy for masking additional supplies. But the Soviets would be proceeding over uncertain ground and could not be sure of US knowledge of or reaction to each new move, or that the gains of each further step would be commensurate with the risks. They would also have to consider that Bloc personnel would be required to operate many of the additional weapons. Thus a decision to provide such weapons as bombers, submarines, or additional types of short-range missiles depends greatly on whether the Soviets estimate that these weapons can be introduced without precipitating a US intervention. They will realize that the nature of the US reaction will depend not only on types and numbers of weapons, but also on the offensive capability of the total military establishment in Cuba.

Use of Cuba as a Soviet Strategic Missile Base

29. The establishment on Cuban soil of Soviet nuclear striking forces which could be used against the US would be incompatible with Soviet policy as we presently estimate it. It would indicate a far greater willingness to increase the level of risk in US-Soviet relations than the USSR has displayed thus far, and this would have important policy implications in other areas. However, Soviet military planners have almost certainly considered the contribution which Cuban bases might make to the Soviet strategic posture and, in that connection, the feasibility and utility of deploying nuclear delivery systems to Cuba. Therefore this contingency must be examined carefully, even though it would run counter to current Soviet policy.

30. Soviet planners might see some utility in deploying MRBMs and IRBMs to Cuba in order to supplement the limited number of ICBMs now believed to be operational in the USSR and to reach targets beyond the range of submarine-launched missiles. Cuban-based MRBMs with a range of 1,100 n.m. could reach targets as far north as Philadelphia and Cleveland and as far west as Oklahoma City; the 2,200 n.m. IRBMs could reach all US targets except some points in the Pacific Northwest. All of these targets can now be covered by ICBMs launched from the USSR. However, MRBMs or IRBMs deployed in Cuba would permit nuclear blows at an increased number of targets and would increase the total weight of the attack which could be delivered against the US in the event of general war.

31. The establishment on Cuban soil of a significant strike capability with such weapons would represent a sharp departure from Soviet practice, since such weapons have so far not been installed even in Satellite territory. Serious problems of command and control would arise. There would also have to be a conspicuously larger number of Soviet personnel in Cuba, which, at least initially, would be a political liability in Latin America. The Soviets might think that the political effect of defying the US by stationing Soviet nuclear striking power in so menacing a position would be worth a good deal if they could get away with it. However, they would almost certainly estimate that this could not be done without provoking a dangerous US reaction.

32. A Soviet submarine base in Cuba could be of considerable military value to the USSR. Submarines operating from a Cuban base could be maintained on station off the US coast for much longer periods than can now be sustained in operations from Northern Fleet bases. Such a forward base would permit Soviet missile and torpedo attack submarines, both conventional and nuclear-powered, more readily to conduct routine patrols off the US coast. It is possible that the Soviets might seek to establish such a base in connection with the provision of some submarines to the Cubans. They might reason that even when Soviet use became apparent, the US, with naval bases at Holy Loch and Guantanamo, would be in a poor position to protest. In terms of both feasibility and utility, the establishment of a Soviet submarine base appears more likely than the deployment of Soviet nuclear-armed missile forces to Cuban soil. Even so, the Soviets would probably calculate the risk of US intervention as too great for such an undertaking at the present time.

33. Although the Soviets may see some military advantages in Cuba as a strategic strike base, the risks would be great and the political implications would run counter to the kind of policy they are actually pursuing in Latin America. They do not propose to win the region for communism by military conquest. They count instead on a process of political action which will build a mass following for Communist or Communist-allied leaders who would then be capable of replacing existing governments.

IV. Latin American Reaction and Its Implications

34. Much of the Latin American public will react to the military buildup in Cuba and to evidences of Soviet intent to protect Castro without taking account of the particular weapons involved or of their capabilities and without reading between the lines of Soviet statements. Most of these Latin Americans will consider this intrusion of an extra-continental power to be a bad thing in itself, but at the same time will regard the problem as one to be met by the US and not their responsibility. Any disposition on the part of the Latin American governments to do something about it would depend greatly upon the lead given by the US, and this disposition would tend to fade if the US failed to come up with feasible courses of action. Some Latin Americans, of course, will be quick to note that the Soviets had intruded into the Hemisphere and will infer that the US had failed to rebuff this intrusion because it lacked the power or the will to do so.

35. In the Caribbean states there will be a much more pronounced tendency than elsewhere to interpret the military buildup in Cuba as a direct threat. They are not likely to expect that missiles will be fired at them, but that Soviet weapons and Soviet support will encourage Castro to intervene in their countries on behalf of radical revolutionists.

36. Among Latin American governments there are wide differences of opinion as to the role they as individual governments and as members of the OAS should play in the current situation. We estimate the chances are better now than they were at Punta del Este to obtain the two-thirds majority in the OAS required for sanctions and other steps short of direct military action aimed at Cuba. If it became clear that the Soviets were establishing an offensive base in Cuba most Latin American governments would expect the US to intervene and eliminate it, but many of them would still seek to avoid direct involvement.

37. In the longer run, if the Castro regime remains securely in power and the Cuban economy is developed substantially with Soviet help, the cohesion of the inter-American system will probably weaken further. Several countries would probably assume an "independent" position like that of Brazil. They would thereby position themselves for a closer accommodation with the Soviet Bloc, if and when desired, and would attempt to obtain assistance from both sides, in the manner of India and Indonesia.

434. Memorandum From President Kennedy to Secretary of Defense McNamara

Washington, September 21, 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. A stamped note on the source text indicates McNamara saw the memorandum.

At the meeting with you and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Friday, 14 September,/1/ there seemed to be lack of unanimity between General LeMay and Admiral Anderson as to losses our aircraft would incur in attacking an SA2 missile site.

The President held an off-the-record meeting with the Joint Chiefs and McGeorge Bundy at 11:40 a.m. on September 14. (Kennedy Library, President's Appointment Book)

Would it be useful to build a model of such a site for exercises to be observed by an objective and disinterested party? Judgement as to losses to be incurred should include those that would result from the addition of anti-aircraft guns to protect the site. If you believe such a program would be useful, would you provide me with an estimate as to its cost.

Would you assure that contingency plans with relation to Cuba are kept up-to-date, taking into account the additions to their armaments resulting from the continuous influx of Soviet equipment and technicians.

John Kennedy

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

Norfolk, September 21, 1962, 4:36 p.m.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Cables, 9/9/62-9/21/62. Top Secret; Priority. Also sent to COMJTF 122, COMANTDEFCOM, and CINCSTRIKE. Repeated for information to JCS, CNO, AJCC Ft. Richie, COM 19th AF, COMCARIBSEAFRON, and ALTCOMLANT.

212136Z. Planning Directive CINCLANT No. 118-62./1/

/1/None of the references in this telegram has been found. For brief summaries of CINCLANT Operations Plans 314-61, 316-61, and 312-62, see Document 439.

A. COMJTF 122 OPLAN 314-62

B. COMJTF 122 OPLAN 316-61



1. Situation:

A. General: A blockade of Cuba could bring Cuban economy to standstill in relatively short time. Effect on Cuban economy would be particularly disastrous with respect to POL. CINCLANT forces will be prepared to conduct a naval and air blockade of Cuba in accordance with provisions of this planning directive and other guidance received by higher authority. When this plan is executed, steps must be taken to ensure rapid execution of CINCLANT OPLAN 312-61, or 312-62. All commands should be alert to execute plans ordered in event action escalates to involve Soviet bloc military forces.

B. Friendly forces: Commander in Chief, U.S. Strike Command:

(1) Provides USSTRICOM forces as directed by JCS.

(2) Designates, or assures designation of, commander to serve as JTF 122 Air Force Task Force Commander for planning and execution of this directive.

(3) Provides, or arranges for provision of, Air Force personnel to augment the staff of JTF 122 upon execution of this directive.

2. Mission: CINCLANT will, when directed, conduct a naval and air blockade of Cuba in order to bring about a collapse of the Communist economy of Cuba.

3. Execution and operations: If blockade of Cuba is declared, operations will be conducted as presently provided for in Annexes I to references A and B.

A. Joint Task Force, JTF 122

(1) When directed, assume operational control of assigned forces, establish and conduct a naval and air blockade of Cuba. Provide for defense of blockading forces from enemy air, surface, and subsurface forces.


(1) Provide a Commander Naval Task Force and naval forces with their logistic support, as directed, to COMJTF 122.


(1) Direct defense of the naval base at GTMO, when blockade is declared.

Coordinating instructions: This directive is effective for planning upon receipt. It will be effective for operations when directed. Annexes I to references A and B are considered to be sufficient to support this directive. Additional plans are not required from subordinates.

4. Logistics: In accordance with CINCLANT OPORDER 1-61 and appropriate portions of Annexes J to references C and D.

5. Command and signal: Command relations are in accordance with appropriate portions of Annexes C of references C and D. Communications in accordance Annex K of reference C.

436. Editorial Note

According to a chronology prepared on February 18, 1963, by the Defense Intelligence Agency for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Taylor, a report of the arrival of Soviet MRBMs in Cuba was received on September 21, 1962. The report involved a first-hand sighting on September 12 of a convoy of 20 objects 65 to 70 feet long which resembled large missiles. The objects were carried on long trailers, and the convoy turned into an airport on the southwest edge of Havana. The report was subsequently accepted as the first definite report of MRBMs in Cuba. In view of the fact that many other ostensibly tangible reports of a similar nature had been received and pursued with negative results, however, the September 21 report was assessed by intelligence analysts on September 22 as "potentially significant," and was earmarked for special analytical attention.

The chronology indicates that during the period September 23-September 28, "available photography was checked, reports collated with previous and incoming information, new information was plotted on maps, reports received were analyzed and discussed with other analysts and the pattern formed by confirmed SA-2 sites was examined. This led to the development of a hypothesis that MRBM sites were under preparation in Pinar del Rio province."

On September 28 the Vice Director of the Joint Staff was advised of the emerging hypothesis concerning the Soviet MRBMs. He made arrangements to include the hypothesis and supporting data in a pro-jected briefing on Cuba during the scheduled meeting between the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Monday, October 1. (National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Box 16, Cuba, Congression-al Testimony, Misc. Back-up)

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

Washington, September 24, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 9/62. No classification marking.


Cuban Documents

On reflection, I began to think less well of Memorandum #2 (Caribbean Security Arrangements)./1/ This memorandum calls for (1) the establishment of a system of air-sea surveillance around Cuba; (2) control of travel, funds and propaganda to and from Cuba; and (3) issuance of a joint declaration by governments of the Caribbean area to take all necessary measures to prevent both Cuban aggression and the development of a military capability to endanger Caribbean security.

/1/There is no indication which series of memoranda Schlesinger is referring to. The memorandum on Caribbean Security Arrangements was apparently an advance copy of the memorandum sent to the White House on September 25, under cover of a note from Executive Secretary Brubeck. See Document 438.

The first obvious point is that these measures are addressed to the threat of aggressive action by Castro in the Caribbean. Since this is a remote threat, unless the Cubans take leave of their senses, and since Castro has engaged in very little aggressive action since 1960, the meas-ures proposed (with an exception noted below) are essentially symbolic. The relevant question then is the effects of this symbolism.

Within the United States, the effect will no doubt be excellent. In Latin America it will be mixed--very favorable in Central America (except for Mexico) and northern South America; less favorable perhaps elsewhere. In Europe it will confirm the impression that we are far too excited about Cuba; the predominant view there, as you know, is what are we so scared about and why don't we learn to live with Castro as Khrushchev has learned to live with American bases in Turkey. The Soviet Union will doubtless understand that the measures are symbolic and will be unmoved by them, except as they lend themselves to propaganda exploitation.

The exception is the suggestion that the joint declaration should pledge action "to prevent in Cuba the creation . . . of an externally-supported military capability endangering the security of countries in the area." Do we really mean this? How do we determine the peril point? Are we prepared to follow through when the peril point is reached? I would think that this provision would require the closest possible consideration before we tie ourselves to it.

There is, however, a substantial point in this memorandum--that is, the effort to distinguish the Caribbean problem from the hemisphere problem and to confer special responsibilities for defense on the states closest to Cuba. In a sense, this will represent a movement toward weakening the OAS. But the OAS has demonstrated its ineffectiveness anyway; and the regional arrangement can certainly be rationalized as a means of strengthening the OAS and giving effect to the Rio Treaty.

My own present recommendation would be along the following lines: an announcement that the MFM, after appropriate citations of the Castro threat and appropriate warnings to Havana and Moscow, proposes the establishment within the OAS of a Caribbean Security Organization composed of all states near the Caribbean which feel themselves menaced by the extra-continental penetration of Cuba. These nations have a special interest in adopting defensive measures to prevent the clandestine shipment of men and material from Cuba to their countries for subversive purposes. The other Latin American republics can then hail the Caribbean Security Organization as a legitimate action of self-defense within the Rio Treaty and as a source of strength for the OAS. President Betancourt will invite the Ministers of Defense and Interior of the interested countries to a meeting in Venezuela in mid-October to consider the special measures to be taken.

I would favor a simple and strong statement of this sort, uncluttered by detail about air-sea surveillance, etc. Such detail, beside answering a threat which does not exist, may unnecessarily alarm all-out anti-interventionists in Latin America, as it will excite a certain amount of derision in Europe. A two-stage approach--i.e., announcement of detail after the October meeting--would suggest a greater degree of Latin American initiative and a steady crystallization of hemisphere purpose.

The question remains: what can be done to stop the real threat involved in Cuba--which is not the threat of aggression against the hemisphere, but the threat of international political defeat involved in the extension of Soviet power (even for defensive purposes) into the western hemisphere.

The answer to this question lies in my judgment in pressures directed against the Soviet Union rather than against Cuba. I continue to think that the Secretary should make a tough and cold statement to the Soviet Ambassador saying that Soviet persistence in the arming of Cuba will (a) cause a surge of indignation in the United States which will color every other issue between ourselves and the USSR and preclude the resolution of any outstanding disagreement, (b) require us to increase our defense budget, and (c) may in the end force us to take action to eliminate Castro and his regime. This having been said, the Soviet Ambassador should be brusquely dismissed.

If NATO shipping constitutes a real, and not a symbolic, problem, similar representations should be made privately to the offending countries.

Let us not deceive ourselves about the measures proposed in the memorandum: they constitute a partial answer to the problem of domestic politics but a most inadequate answer to the real problem.

Arthur Schlesinger, jr./2/

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

438. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Brubeck) to the President's Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kaysen)

Washington, September 25, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/9-2562. Confidential. Drafted in ARA/RPA by W. G. Bowdler. Also sent to Ralph Dungan. Sent through McGeorge Bundy.


Caribbean Security Arrangements

At the request of Assistant Secretary Martin I am enclosing a copy of a paper containing suggested courses of action which the countries bordering on the Caribbean could take to demonstrate their determination to work collectively to resist any attempt of direct or indirect aggression by the Castro regime.

This paper has been prepared pursuant to a request made by the President at a meeting with Secretary Rusk and Mr. Martin on September 19./1/ The paper has been discussed with Mr. Sloan of the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who have raised no substantive objection to the courses of action outlined.

/1/The President met off-the-record with Rusk, Martin, Hurwitch, and McGeorge Bundy at 6:03 p.m. on September 19. (Kennedy Library, President's Appointment Book)

E. S. Little/2/

/2/Little signed for Brubeck above Brubeck's typed signature.



There are three courses of action which the countries bordering on the Caribbean can take to demonstrate their determination to work collectively to resist any attempts at direct or indirect aggression by the Castro regime. These courses of action are:

1. Establishment of a system of air-sea surveillance around Cuba and along the coasts of the Caribbean countries. This surveillance would serve to inhibit the Castro regime from trying to send clandestine shipments of arms and men to other countries of the area and would strengthen the capabilities of those countries to intercept any such shipments. We would assume primary responsibility for the Cuban patrol, while the other countries would join with us in coverage of their own coasts. Our conducting the Cuban patrol would not rule out, however, contributions by other Caribbean countries. These contributions would probably take the form of naval units or support facilities for such units (e.g., refueling and provisioning facilities in the Dominican Republic for Venezuelan or Colombian frigates).

2. Intensification of efforts to counter Castro-communist subversion. This would include control of travel to and from Cuba, shipment of subversive propaganda material from Cuba, and transfer of funds from Cuban sources for subversive purposes. The governments could also agree on a system for exchanging information on Castro-communist subversive activities. This exchange would probably best be handled through bilateral channels, although consideration might be given to establishing a centralized system.

3. Issuance by governments of the Caribbean area, including the United States, of a joint declaration that the extension by the Castro regime of its Marxist-Leninist system by force or threat of force to any part of the Caribbean area or the creation or use of a Soviet-supported offensive military capability endangering the security of any country in the area, will call for the taking of any necessary measures to protect the security of the countries concerned. This declaration would be accompanied by an announcement that discussions will be held at a military level to plan for defensive measures for meeting these contingencies.

With regard to the timing and forum for adopting these courses of action, the following steps are recommended:

1. At the informal Meeting of Foreign Ministers we would seek to have several of the Caribbean countries propose inclusion in the final communique of a paragraph recognizing that the Caribbean is the area most immediately vulnerable to aggression or subversion from Cuba and that consequently governments of the area, pursuant to paragraph 3 of Resolution II of the Eighth MFM,/3/ have a special interest in adopting defensive measures to prevent the clandestine shipment of men and material from Cuba to their countries for subversive purposes. Such a paragraph would give a hemispheric blessing to the Caribbean countries taking special defense measures and thus serve to minimize criticism that the Rio Treaty is being bypassed, or that the inter-American system is being fractionized.

/3/In paragraph 3 of Resolution II adopted at the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics at Punta del Este on January 31, 1962, the Ministers resolved:

"3. 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." (American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, p. 323)

2. Based on this paragraph, we would seek to have President Betancourt (President Valencia or President Orlich are other possibilities) invite the Ministers of Defense and Interior of the Caribbean countries to a meeting during the second or third week of October to consider the special measures which should be taken. The courses of action outlined above could constitute the program to be approved. The inclusion of Interior Ministers (which in Latin America generally have jurisdiction over police and intelligence forces) would emphasize that the problem of dealing with the Castro-communist threat is not purely external, but one in which internal measures are equally important.

The foregoing plan presents certain problems. One is the participation of Haiti and Mexico, which for different reasons may refuse to join in the action contemplated. Another is that the agreement on patrol activities will probably give rise to requests for assistance in servicing the surface craft used in the Cuban patrol, and in those cases where a country does not have any, or inadequate, capabilities to patrol its own coast, we can expect requests to furnish patrol boats. Neither of these problems is believed to present insurmountable difficulties.

439. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for Science and Technology (Wiesner) to the President's Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kaysen)

Washington, September 25, 1962.

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


Cuban Blockade Contingency Planning

Planning Directive CINCLANT No. 118-62/1/ contains no new authorizations or directives beyond those contained in the basic Cuban Contingency Plans, all of which have been approved by the JCS. These plans are summarized in the attachment.

/1/See Document 435.

This planning directive was issued to:

(1) focus subordinate commanders' attention on this contingency and the applicable portions of existing OPLANS.

(2) inform coordinate commanders of the possibility of their having to provide forces to support such an operation.

(3) tie together the paperwork and provide a basis for issuing a specific operation order for a Cuban blockade, if one should be ordered./2/

/2/Wiesner added a handwritten note at the end that reads: "Capt. Shepard has read and concurs with this information."




I. CINCLANT OPLAN 314-61 is the basic contingency plan for operations in Cuba. It provides for (1) simultaneous airborne and amphibious assault in the vicinity of Havana; (2) reinforcement of Guantanamo; (3) mop-up operations in eastern Cuba. The time schedule for this plan calls for the first U.S. landings on the 18th day after receipt of the order to execute.

II. CINCLANT OPLAN 316-61 is the quick reaction plan for operations against Cuba. It uses the same forces as OPLAN 314-61 but commits them in increments. The airborne assault occurs 5 days after receipt of the order to execute; the amphibious assault occurs 3 days thereafter. Reaction time can be reduced to 2 days if advance warning permits pre-positioning of forces.

III. CINCLANT OPLAN 312-62 provides for the fast application of U.S. air power to Cuba in time increments of 6, 12, and 24 hours from a no warning condition. Target priorities are: (1) aircraft, anti-aircraft and radar installations, and air fields; (2) selective disruption of communication and transportation facilities; (3) troops and armor concentration, artillery, and naval vessels.

440. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State

New York, September 26, 1962, midnight.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/9-2662. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Sent to the Department with instructions to repeat to all Latin American posts, except Trinidad and Jamaica, and to POLADs CINCLANT and CINCARIB. The Secretary and the Latin American Foreign Ministers were in New York for the opening of the Seventeenth Session of the U.N. General Assembly.

Secto 21. Informal MFM. Following based on uncleared memcon:/1/

/1/A memorandum of this conversation is ibid., Secretary's Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330.

Secy met Sept 25 informally with FonMins Bolivia, CR, Dom Rep, Guat, Nic and Panama for discussion Cuban problem in preparation informal MFM next week. He briefly reviewed situation, pointing out while recent Sov shipments supplied at Castro's urging have neither increased power of Cuba as offensive military threat nor increased Castro's ability control own people, do represent increased Sov involvement. Secy repeated unequivocal assurances US will under no circumstances permit any raids or attacks of any kind by Cuba on LA countries and stated so far Castro acting cautiously in this area. Recent Sov bluster still gives no indication Soviets contemplating actions of type President warned against in press statement.

Secy made clear US not prepared to accept Cuban situation as permanent. Although military action remains eventual possibility, we must think of ways to solve problem without recourse to arms. Objective should be actions which increasingly isolate Cuba so as make abundantly clear to Soviets Cuba is unprofitable enterprise for them, either in itself or as basis Communist penetration other ARs.

Such steps, which worthy discussion informal MFM, would include review of minimal trade relationships with and shipping to Cuba (this matter we also discussing with our NATO Allies); measures to control flow of small arms, propaganda, money, agents from Cuba and movement of groups of Latin nationals to Cuba for training in subversion; measures of increased surveillance Carib area; and measures control Commies in each country.

In making clear our determination isolate Cuba, we naturally hope for complete hemisphere solidarity, at least on general approach. In addition we prepared move on more intensive steps tightened surveillance and controls with those ARs willing do so, particularly Caribbean nations whose special right take extra measures was recognized at Punta del Este (para 3 res 11)./2/

/2/See footnote 3, Document 438.

In ensuing discussion (Bolivia and El Salvador silent) Central Americans expressed agreement Secy's approach; showed real interest in moving forward in Carib concert, but did not suggest any radical or belligerent action. They showed general concern (to which Secy agreed) that one serious impact in their countries of recent Cuban buildup has been to increase confidence and insolence local Commie groups who intensifying their subversive nibbling tactics. Guatemalan suggested all should urge those ARs still maintaining relations with Cuba to break them. Considerable emphasis placed by Latins on importance of intensive combined efforts educate peoples OARs on actual conditions Cuban people to counteract heavy Castro propaganda.

Separate meeting of Central American and Caribbean FonMins (excluding Mexico) held 3 pm September 26 with Martin for more concrete exploration possible steps. Secy met 5 pm same day with FonMins South American Reps present for similar initial review of situation./3/


/3/See Document 441.

441. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State

New York, September 27, 1962, 7 p.m.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/9-2762. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Rio de Janeiro for the immediate attention of the Ambassador. Sent to the Department with instructions to repeat to all Latin American posts, except Trinidad and Jamaica, and to POLADs CINCLANT and CINCARIB.

Secto 28. I. Secretary met September 26 with Foreign Ministers Chile, Haiti, Peru, Venezuela and ex-Foreign Minister Arinos of Brazil. Reviewed Cuban situation along lines reported Secto 21,/1/ amplifying following points:/2/

/1/Document 440.

/2/A memorandum of this conversation is in Department of State, Secretary's Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330.

1. Re Soviet military build-up. If it should be necessary US take military action, only 3-4 hours preparation would be required reduce effectiveness of material so far received since July. If should be necessary use force, US would employ maximum, non-nuclear violence order minimize time and casualties, but we most anxious avoid this course since would leave long-lasting wounds in Cuba and elsewhere.

2. This is why we pursuing objective of making Soviet involvement in Cuba as expensive and unprofitable as possible for USSR by measures which will further isolate Cuba and exert maximum pressure on USSR.

3. Made clear US not objecting to whatever type social or economic system Cuban people may freely choose, but only to Soviet intervention there and Soviet-Cuban intervention OARs. Stressed US unwilling negotiate Cuban problem with USSR. Due special IA relationships and agreement, Cuban situation no way comparable to or linkable with situations elsewhere, i.e., Berlin or US MAP relations with other free world countries such as Turkey. Stressed US not seeking import cold war into hemisphere or drag OARs into problems not their responsibilities. Cold war direct result Soviet efforts subvert true independence national states. It they who have now brought cold war to hemisphere through Cuba.

4. Also pointed out intense preoccupation American people with Cuban problem is political fact that must be taken into account--as must public opinion situation OARs as well.

II. Venezuelan Foreign Minister, agreeing Secretary's approach, pointed out fight against Castro-Communist gangsterism OARs closely related promotion democracy. In Venezuelan own experience Communists gained strength under dictatorships. Peruvian Foreign Minister, though agreeing desirability meeting on Cuban problem, opposed distracting attention by reference other issues and stated if any their problems (i.e., coups d'etat) discussed, Peru would not attend.

Secretary responded by stressing informal nature meeting outside institutional framework OAS. US thought has been take advantage presence Foreign Ministers in US (originally preferring New York as locus) to talk about problems hemisphere interest, foremost among which, in US view, is Cuba. All realize are various problems within family, such as US-Panama differences re Canal to which Panamanian Foreign Minister referred in GA, and US-Mexican border problem. One country not participating OAS meetings due differences with another. Upcoming Brazilian elections may complicate Brazilian discussion certain matters. However, view our common interests, obligations and objectives, US strongly hopes will be possible Foreign Ministers can gather to talk without regard for various problems within hemisphere and without raising the difficult and divisive question of what we must formally discuss.

While in situation of complete informality it not possible impose conditions on what any Foreign Minister might mention or call any one to order, this should not pose real problem if we all relatively relaxed and not try give institutional effect to an agenda when there is no agenda.

Chilean and Brazilian made mildly helpful statements re general desirability of meeting. Arinos stated Brazilian information confirms Secretary's description Soviet build-up, but little evidence indicate Castro-directed efforts infiltrate Brazil. Indicated some concern re how reach and express conclusions of meeting, referring to possible press communique. Secretary gave impression probably will be communique but stated at moment US has no flat suggestions re content.

III. We intend follow up this and previous meeting with further talks New York and Washington, exploring more concretely ideas contained Department Circular telegram 508./3/

/3/Not found.

View absence or late arrival in US Foreign Ministers of Ecuador, Honduras, Paraguay and Uruguay Embassies those countries requested consult Foreign Ministers soonest, drawing on background presentation of problem by Secretary reported above and in Secto 21 and stressing US desire discuss at meeting steps indicated paragraph three Secto 21. Unless Department perceives objection recommend Department author-ize other addressees utilize information both telegrams for discussion Foreign Offices as appropriate.


442. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, September 27, 1962.

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

1. The Attorney General and Mr. McCone met with the President twice on matters related to Cuba: Tuesday at 4 PM and Wednesday at 6:15./1/ On Tuesday Mr. McCone presented the Donovan situation and indicated that it was his recommendation that we go ahead with emphasis on medicines and that we give Donovan whatever support he needed. After some discussion the President agreed and suggested that Mr. McCone discuss the matter with General Eisenhower preparatory to briefing the appropriate Members of Congress.

/1/September 25 and 26.

2. [3 lines of source text not declassified]

3. In the second meeting Mr. McCone reported General Eisenhower's views which were broadly favorable. The President suggested that we do the best we can to avoid a clear turn-down now if we didn't get immediate favorable response.

4. [6 lines of source text not declassified]

5. The Attorney General and Mr. McCone had a private conversation with the President for ten or fifteen minutes.


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

443. Message From Chairman Khrushchev to President Kennedy

Moscow, September 28, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, USSR, Subjects, Khrushchev Correspondence, Vol. III-B, 9/15/62-10/24/62. No classification marking. The letter was delivered through the Soviet Embassy in Washington. The full text of this letter is printed in Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, vol. VI, pp. 152-161.

[Here follow the first 10 pages of the letter, which deal with topics unrelated to Cuba.]

Recently I had a talk with your Secretary of the Interior Mr. S. Udall. He made a good impression on me. Our conversation was friendly. And I never expected that at the time I talked with him you would take a decision to request from the Congress an authority to call up 150.000 reservists./1/ Motivating that step of yours you referred to the red-hot state of international atmosphere and to a necessity for you in that connection to react promptly to the dangers that may arise in any part of "the free world". Everybody understands that when the President of the U.S. demands an increase in armed forces and explains that demand by an aggravation of the situation, it means that he considers that the situation is aggravated by the other side, that is by us, the Soviet Union. But we haven't done anything that could give a pretext for that. We did not carry out any mobilization, and did not make any threats.

/1/See footnote 1, Document 422.

I must tell you straightforwardly, Mr. President, that your statement with threats against Cuba/2/ is just an inconceivable step. Under present circumstances, when there exist thermonuclear weapons, your request to the Congress for an authority to call up 150.000 reservists is not only a step making the atmosphere red-hot, it is already a dangerous sign that you want to pour oil in the flame, to extinguish that red-hot glow by mobilizing new military contingents. And that, naturally, forces the other side to respond in kind. What could it lead to, all the more that you consider that the U.S. has right to attack Cuba whenever it wishes? But nowadays is not the Middle Ages, though even at the time it was considered brigandage, and measures were taken against such actions. And in our time such actions are absolutely unthinkable. That is what made us to come out with the TASS statement/3/ and later at the session of the UN General Assembly to qualify your act, to remind of the norms of international law and to say about West Berlin.

/2/An apparent reference to the statement made by President Kennedy on September 13; see Document 429.

/3/See Document 422.

If there were not statement by you on Cuba, we, naturally, as Ambassador Thompson and Mr. Udall were told, would not say anything on West Berlin. Your statement forced us to do so.

We regret that this dangerous line is being continued in the United States now. What is going on, for example, in the U.S. Congress. How can one, for example, fail to notice the decision of the House of Representatives to stop giving U.S. aid to any country that trades with Cuba or whose ships are used for trading with Cuba. Isn't that an act of an unpermissible arbitrariness against freedom of international trade, an act of crude interference into domestic affairs of other countries?

Very serious consequences may have the resolution adopted by the U.S. Senate on the Cuban question. The contents of that resolution gives ground to draw a conclusion that the U.S. is evidently ready to assume responsibility for unleashing thermonuclear war. We consider that if what is written in that resolution were actually carried out it would mean the beginning of war because no country can agree with such interpretation of rights, with such arbitrariness. Then there would be no UN, everything would collapse and roll into abyss as it happened once when the League of Nations collapsed. Who wrecked it then? Japan and Hitler, who quit the League of Nations to untie their hands and start war. And they did start it. Could it be that the US wants to embark on such road?

We would greatly regret if it were so. We still do not lose hope that we will be able to normalize our relations. But this can be achieved only when the United States and its allies will strictly adhere to the generally recognized norms of international law and will not interfere into the domestic affairs of other states, will not threaten other countries. This is the main thing. And this is the coexistence of which we spoke more than once. You spoke of it too. But what kind of coexistence is this if the United States would attack countries whose government or socio-political system are not to its liking? In our time the world has split into two camps--capitalist and socialist: you have neighbours whom, as you say, you do not like while we have neighbours whom we do not like, but they are your friends and allies. How can one, especially under these circumstances, consider it to be one's right to attack another country merely because its government and internal order are not to your liking? If we conduct such a policy, where this will lead to--to world war.

[Here follow the concluding 4 pages of the 17-page letter. There was one other brief reference to Cuba in the concluding section of the letter. It reads as follows: "It has just become known that the Puerto-Rican but actually American authorities detained a British ship and arrested the Soviet cargo aboard that ship--sugar that we have bought in Cuba. If such arbitrariness is not stopped, you yourself realize what it can lead to."]

[end of document]


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

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