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Department Seal

Volume X
Cuba, 1961-1962



Cuba, 1961-1962

91. Memorandum From C. Tracy Barnes, Assistant Deputy Director (Plans) for Covert Action, Central Intelligence Agency, to the President's Special Assistant (Schlesinger)

Washington, April 11, 1961.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Intelligence Material, 1961. Secret. Schlesinger passed the memorandum from Barnes on to McGeorge Bundy on April 12, under cover of a note suggesting that Bundy would be interested in the memorandum. (Ibid.)



I have mentioned our conversation to Mr. Dulles and Dick Bissell, both of whom are thinking about the two main points, i.e., how to answer the direct question regarding support or involvement; and, secondly, should anything further be done with respect to particular individuals "on the Hill." The latter question might appropriately be raised at the meeting Wednesday afternoon./1/

/1/April 12. The President's appointment book indicates that the President met with a number of the leaders of both Houses of Congress on April 12, along with the senior officials of the Departments of State and Defense, but no record has been found that indicates that the issue of Cuba or the impending invasion was discussed at that meeting. (Kennedy Library)

With regard to the other question, if we have any brilliant thoughts we will pass along. In the meantime, I would like to list a few ideas, some of which repeat part of our conversation:

1. The support or involvement question unavoidably requires the answer to a specific issue, namely, do you want directly to deny or to avoid denial by using some less direct and therefore inevitably ambiguous form of words. The working press is too smart and, at the moment, too well informed to assume anything but an affirmative from an answer failing directly to deny. Assuming a denial is not feasible, I would suggest consideration of the following:

a. A statement that there have been many allegations regarding U.S. support, all of which have been denied and none of which have been proved. In addition, it might be said that any specific evidence indicating impropriety will, of course, be considered. (I believe that we can live with this one. You will remember that it is the same position all agreed should be used in New York.)

b. If possible, it would be fine to include in an answer a few of the good ringing phrases that were to be used by Stevenson in New York in case his speech does not occur. The ones I have in mind deal with the placing of blame on the Castro regime and the fact that the anti-Castro efforts, such as they are, are Cuban not American.

c. Roa's appearance is now definitely off until Thursday./2/ Moreover, there have been reports (Tuesday and Tuesday night) that he is very shaky, upset and possibly (repeat possibly) going to collapse. Also note the attached cable/3/ which, I think, is probably petty accurate. A point can at least be made that having come to New York like a lion with all sorts of bluster and fire, he has now failed to show twice when given an opportunity to state his case. If anything further develops, I'll let you know immediately.

/2/April 13.

/3/Not found attached.

d. I have been thinking about the opening phrase in Mac Bundy's suggested paragraph/4/ which has to do with not speaking of the doings of the Agency, and I hope that any such phraseology can be avoided. As you know, historically, intelligence activities have been denied but not with a preamble of this sort. I feel certain that such a preamble will not go down well with the press or the public. Moreover, it will always be construed, in the particular case where used, as evidence that the Agency is involved. The press is sophisticated enough to interpolate the preamble where a denial is given and would, in my opinion, prefer to do so than to have it explained.

/4/On April 11 Bundy sent a memorandum to Schlesinger in which he suggested the following answer for the President in response to a question regarding CIA involvement:

"This Administration does not propose to discuss in public at any time the work of CIA, but I can say this: the people and the government of the U.S. have inevitably had a sympathetic interest in the plight of Cuban patriots--anti-Communist and anti-Batista. But no effort has been made--and none will be made--to put U.S. interests in the place of Cuban interests. As far as we are concerned, any revolt against the Castro dictatorship inside Cuba, and any return to Cuba by exiled patriots, will be altogether Cuban in spirit, membership, and purpose.

"--And let me say one word more. There have been contingency plans, in another Administration, for U.S. armed forces to respond, if called on, in any Cuban civil war--on the side of freedom, of course. This Administration has shelved those plans. The armed forces of the United States will stand guard against any act of external aggression by the Castro dictatorship, and against any intervention in the hemisphere by foreign imperialists of left or right. They will not be used in the internal struggle for freedom of the people of Cuba." (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 1/61-4/61)

2. The arrest of Rolando Masferrer may be brought up with an inference that he may have been discriminated against since he is persona non grata to the Revolutionary Council. The answer to this is pretty easy, namely, Mr. Masferrer was, indeed, one of Batista's most notorious aides but a violation of the Neutrality Act/5/ was the reason that his asylum was rescinded by the State Department and that he was arrested by the I&NS and indicted by a Federal Grand Jury. There would be no harm in this connection in indicating that similar action would be taken against any other individuals where the evidence was sufficient to justify a comparable charge.

/5/The Neutrality Act of 1939; 54 Stat. 4, et seq.

C. Tracy Barnes/6/

/6/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

92. Editorial Note

According to summary notes on the meeting prepared by General Gray, a meeting was held at the White House at 5:45 p.m. on April 12, 1961, to consider final preparations for the Zapata operation against Cuba. According to the President's appointment book the meeting lasted an hour and a quarter and was attended by Rusk, McNamara, Robert Kennedy, Lemnitzer, Bissell, Barnes, and McGeorge Bundy. (Kennedy Library, President's Appointment Book) Although Gray is not listed in the appointment book, his notes indicate that he attended and it is probable that some of the other responsible officials from the Department of State attended as well. Gray's notes summarized the meeting as follows:

"At this meeting CIA presented a paper which outlined the latest changes for the Zapata operation including the defections and air strikes on D-2. Many questions were discussed concerning training of additional forces, statements, if any, on D-2 operations, how to prevent headlines, and acceleration of internal troubles. The President stressed the necessity for non-association with the US and directed that all training activities being conducted within the US should stop. He was informed that no-go time for preliminary operations would be 1200, Friday, 14 April, and for the main landing 1200, Sunday, 16 April." (Summary notes prepared on May 9, 1961; ibid., National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report. For the text of the CIA paper, see Document 93.)

The President did not give final approval to the CIA plan at this meeting. (Memorandum No. 1 from the Cuba Study Group to the President; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report)

93. Paper Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency

Washington, April 12, 1961.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files: Job 85-00664R, Box 1, Source Documents, DCI-8, Vol. I, Part III. Top Secret. A handwritten note on the source text, in an unknown hand, indicates that the paper was the final revised version. Another handwritten note reads: "Bissell Briefing on Zapata Update."


1. Orientation and Concept: The present concept of the operation being mounted to overthrow Castro is that it should have the appearance of a growing and increasingly effective internal resistance, helped by the activities of defected Cuban aircraft and by the infiltration (over a period of time and at several places) of weapons and small groups of men. External support should appear to be organized and controlled by the Revolutionary Council under Miro Cardona as the successor to a number of separate groups. To support this picture and to minimize emphasis on invasion, the following steps have been taken:

a. The public statements of Cardona have emphasized that the overthrow of Castro was the responsibility of the Cubans, that it must be performed mainly by the Cubans in Cuba rather than from outside, and that he and his colleagues are organizing this external support free of control by or official help from the U.S. Government.

b. The plans for air operations have been modified to provide for operations on a limited scale on D-2 and again on D-Day itself instead of placing reliance on a larger strike coordinated with the landings on D-Day.

c. Shortly after the first air strikes on D-2 a B-26 with Cuban pilot will land at Miami airport seeking asylum. He will state that he defected with two other B-26 pilots and aircraft and that they strafed aircraft on the ground before departing.

d. A preliminary diversionary landing of true guerrilla type will be made in Oriente Province on D-2. The main D-Day landings will be made by three groups at locations spaced some distance apart on the coast. These will be followed about one week later by a further guerrilla type landing in Pinar del Rio (at the western end of the island).

e. Ships carrying the main forces leave the staging base at staggered times. (The first one sailed on Tuesday morning.) They will follow independent courses to a rendezvous for the final run-in. Until nearly dusk on D-1 they would appear to air observation to be pursuing unrelated courses so there will be no appearance of a convoy.

f. All the landings will be at night. At least in the first 24 hours, supply activity over the beaches will be at night. There will be no obtrusive "beachhead" to be seen by aircraft. Most troops will be deployed promptly to positions inland.

2. The Time Table of the plan is as follows:

D-7: Commence staging main force--staging completed night of D-5.

D-6: First vessel sails from staging area--last vessel departs early morning D-4.

D-2: B-26 defection operation--limited air strikes.

D-2: Diversionary landing in Oriente (night D-3 to D-2).

D-Day: Main landings (night D-1 to D)--limited air strikes. Two B-26s and liaison plane land on seized air strip.

D to D+1: Vessels return night of D to D+1 to complete discharge of supplies.

D+7: Diversionary landing in Pinar del Rio.

3. Diversion or Cancellation: It would now be infeasible to halt the staging and embarkation of the troops. In the event of a decision to modify the operational plan or to cancel the operation, ships will be diverted at sea, either to Vieques Island or to ports in the U.S. If cancellation is directed, the troops and ships' officers will be told that the reason for the diversion is that all details of the operation, including time and place of intended landings, had been blown to the Castro regime and that under these circumstances the landings would be suicidal. This explanation would be adhered to after the demobilization of the force in the U.S. The U.S. Government could take the position that this enterprise had been undertaken by the Cubans without U.S. Governmental support, that it had failed because of their poor security, and that the U.S. could not refuse to grant asylum to the Cuban volunteers. If by reason of either new intelligence or policy considerations it is necessary to effect a major change in the operational plan, it will be necessary to divert to Vieques Island so that officers of the brigade and ships' captains can be assembled and briefed on the new plan. (The advantages of this location are its security together with the opportunity for the troops to be ashore briefly after some days on board ship.)

4. Naval Protection: The ships carrying the main force will receive unobtrusive Naval protection up to the time they enter Cuban territorial waters. If they are attacked they will be protected by U.S. Naval vessels but following such an intervention they would be escorted to a U.S. port and the force would be demobilized.

5. Defections: Every effort is being made to induce the defection of individuals of military and political significance. At the present time contact has been established by and through Cuban agents and anti-Castro Cuban groups with some thirty-one specific military and police officers, including [4 lines of source text not declassified]. There are, of course, in addition many others rumored to be disaffected but to whom no channel of approach is available. The objective of these efforts is not to induce immediate defections but to prepare the individuals for appropriate action in place after D-day.

6. Internal Resistance Movements: On the latest estimate there are nearly 7,000 insurgents responsive to some degree of control through agents with whom communications are currently active. About 3,000 of these are in Havana itself, over 2,000 in Oriente, about 700 in Las Villas in central Cuba. For the most part, the individual groups are small and very inadequately armed. Air drops are currently suspended because available aircraft are tied up in the movement of troops from their training area to the staging base. After D-Day when it is hoped that the effectiveness of the Castro air force will be greatly reduced, it is planned to supply these groups by daytime air drops. Every effort will be made to coordinate their operations with those of the landing parties. Efforts will be made also to sabotage or destroy by air attack the microwave links on which Castro's communication system depends. The objective is of course to create a revolutionary situation, initially perhaps in Oriente and Las Villas Provinces, and then spreading to all parts of the island.

7. Propaganda and Communications: Currently medium and short wave broadcasting in opposition to Castro is being carried on from seven stations in addition to Radio Swan. Antennae modifications of the latter have increased its effective power in Cuba and it is believed that there is now good medium wave reception of Swan everywhere except in Havana itself where it can still be effectively jammed. The number of hours of broadcasting per day will be increased beginning immediately from about 25 to almost 75 soon after D-Day. The combination of multiple long and short wave stations which will then be in use, supplemented by three boats which carry broadcasting equipment (two short wave and one medium wave) will assure heavy coverage of all parts of the island virtually at all times. Radio programs will avoid any reference to an invasion but will call for up-rising and will of course announce defections and carry news of all revolutionary action. Soon after D-Day a small radio transmitter will be put in operation on Cuban soil.

8. The Political Leadership: As of the present moment, the six members of Cardona's Revolutionary Council, notably including Ray, have reaffirmed their membership. Although no specific portfolios have been confirmed, the following possibilities are currently under discussion: Varona, Defense; Ray, Gobernacion (Interior); Carrillo, Finance; Hevia, State; Maceo, Public Health. The political leaders have not yet been briefed on the military plan but they will be informed at each phase of military operations. Advance consultation with the political leaders is considered unacceptably dangerous on security grounds and although last minute briefings will be resented, it is believed that the political leaders will want to take credit for and assume control as quickly as possible over these major operations against Castro. The present plan is that one of them (Artime) will go into Cuba with the main force, others will follow as soon as possible after D-Day and they will announce the establishment of a Provisional Government on Cuban soil.

9. Command: Military command will be exercised in the name of the Revolutionary Council and later of the Provisional Government. In fact, however, the CIA staff constitutes the general staff of the operation and the Agency controls both logistics support and communications. Accordingly, in the early stages at least, the functions of a general head-quarters will be exercised from the Agency with the Cuban brigade commander exercising field command over the units that land on D-Day.

94. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State

New York, April 12, 1961, 9 p.m.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/4-1261. Confidential; Priority.

2833. Cuban item. Yost this morning gave Amadeo text US substitute res./1/ Amadeo's immediate reaction was while he personally could accept res, he was sure paras 5 and 6 referring specifically to Cuba would be unacceptable to some LAs and would be virtually impossible to get approved in comite. He promised to consult LA group on US text and give us their reaction.

/1/See Document 90.

During course of day USDel received various reports that reaction to US text had been sharply adverse. Amadeo at one point reported LAs had decided to drop attempt to work out satisfactory res. Padilla Nervo said one-sidedness US res reflected US not taking LA group seriously and, therefore, they were discontinuing effort.

Yost met with Amadeo and LA group (reps LAs, except Bolivia, still recognizing Cuba) late afternoon. They expressed strong objection to US draft. Principal points: (1) it would divide LAs, many of which for domestic reasons could not support US res; (2) it would draw fire from countries in other areas and provoke debate, instead of providing mechanism for rapid disposition of item.

Yost explained US position and succeeded in quieting LAs down. He made very clear US (1) could not accept any res which envisaged situation as bilateral dispute between Cuba and US and (2) wanted to have res include reference to extracontinental threat. LAs requested time to revise their draft (USUN 2808)/2/ taking into account US views. Promised to furnish new draft tomorrow.

/2/See footnote 4, Document 89.

This afternoon Diallo Telli (Guinea) called on Stevenson to get reaction res they had prepared. Res based on Ecuador-Chile res presented SC last Jan./3/ Text sent ourtel 2835./4/ Stevenson explained US favored no res, Cuban situation not bilateral problem, and Guinea draft unacceptable. Stevenson gave no indication US talking with LAs on res but said we would inform Guinea if it became necessary have res and one acceptable to US presented.

/3/See Document 10.

/4/Dated April 12. (Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/4-1261)


95. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to Secretary of State Rusk

Washington, April 13, 1961.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 1/61-4/61. Top Secret. Also sent to the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Central Intelligence.

The following decisions, of which you are already aware, are reported for appropriate action:

1. There will be no employment of U.S. armed forces against Cuba unless quite new circumstances develop.

2. The specific plan for paramilitary support, Nestor, has been rejected, and the President does not wish further planning of any such operations for an invasion of Cuba. There will be quiet disengagement from associations developed in connection with Nestor.

McGeorge Bundy/1/

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

96. Telegram From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Lemnitzer) to the Commander in Chief, Atlantic (Dennison)

Washington, April 13, 1961, 6:30 p.m.

//Source: Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials. Top Secret. Sent as a JCS/OSD telegram. According to the memorandum for the record prepared by Mitchell, which outlined the evolution of the rules of engagement for Operation Bumpy Road, this telegram was drafted after General Cabell discussed with General Lemnitzer and General Bonesteel the rules of engagement set forth in CM-179-61, Document 85. Cabell was particularly concerned that U.S. naval forces might intervene before seriously needed, thus forcing abandonment of the operation. The message to Dennison printed here was cleared with Admiral Russell, USN, General Dean, J-3, and Admiral Wellings, Deputy Director of the Joint Staff, and was then approved by General Lemnitzer. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report)

JCS 468-61. Exclusive for Admiral Dennison, General Lemnitzer sends.

1. Original concept for U.S. naval support of Bumpy Road was to ensure that when once embarked this operation must not fail. This concept modified by the later plan which provides that cancellation possible until landing phase actually starts. Concept further modified by provision in rules of engagement that if intervention by U.S. military element is required and actually takes place while CEF en route to transport area then operation must abort.

2. In view above a change of emphasis is now required. That is, it now important that premature U.S. intervention not occur which would be the cause for cancellation of this highly important and desirable operation.

3. To this end it is important to success of operation that commanders of all sea and air units of your forces engaged in protection of expedition clearly understand and apply rules of engagement along following lines:

A. It is desired to minimize the need to abort the operation because of U.S. engagement of Castro ships or aircraft in conduct of protective mission assigned to you.

B. Actual engagement of Castro ships or aircraft should be withheld until last possible moment and action taken only after it becomes clear that otherwise total destruction of friendly ship or ships may be imminent. For example, non-engagement in event of initial strafing or bomb run by Castro aircraft on friendly ship is acceptable rather than too hasty U.S. intervention with resultant need to abort the whole operation. Same applies importantly to intervention by U.S. surface ships. Initial firing on friendly ship by Castro surface ship is acceptable and U.S. engagement of Castro ship should await evidence that Castro ship is boring in for a kill or capture.

C. Preliminary maneuvering of U.S. aircraft or ships should take into account the above. Effort should be made to minimize blowing the operation by overly active intervention.

4. In the event actual U.S. engagement of Castro craft takes place, immediate report should be passed to Washington together with salient facts involved. Particularly desired are any facts which would support argument that it could be plausibly denied that U.S. intervention was in direct support of CEF.

5. In summary, hope is that over-all operation will not need to be aborted because of U.S. military intervention and to this end CEF prepared to take substantial risks.

97. Telegram From the Director of the Joint Staff (Wheeler) to the Commander in Chief, Atlantic (Dennison)

Washington, April 13, 1961, 7:55 p.m.

//Source: Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials. Top Secret; Limited Distribution.

JCS 469-61. Exclusive for Adm Dennison, Gen Wheeler sends. Operation Bumpy Road contingency planning.

1. If operation aborted

A. Main force will be diverted or moved to Camp Garcia Vieques Island for billeting. In order to prepare for this eventuality HQ MC is directing FMFLANT airlift camp equipment and rations for 1500 men to Camp Garcia commencing 14 April.

B. Request you reschedule MarCorps BLT training exercise scheduled for 15-18 April at Vieques to a date not earlier that 25 April.

C. Request you have contingency plan for use of armed MarCorps unit to seal compound of Camp Garcia to maintain order in CEF group if necessary.

2. If operation executed

A. If operation proceeds as planned, a force of about 175 CEF men with 25 US instructors will train in the Camp Garcia maneuver area for about three weeks commencing about 23 April.

B. It is anticipated that about 160 US Army personnel may be sent to Vieques to establish a 100 bed hospital if the need arises.

C. The foregoing units will be supported by camp equipment and rations prepositioned at Camp Garcia under paragraph 1 A above.

3. New item same subject. A report has been received from CIA that a Navy P2V7 flew over Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua at low altitude during the morning of 13 April. If possible, without arousing undue interest, desire US aircraft stay clear that area. CIA has also requested US military aircraft remain south of line between 2146 N 8431 W and 1951 N 7714 W from 14 April until operation completed. We do not desire undue attention directed to that area so this request is passed to you for such action as you consider appropriate and consistent with performance of assigned missions.

98. Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency to General Maxwell D. Taylor

Washington, April 26, 1961.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report. Top Secret. General Taylor, former Chief of Staff of the Army, was brought back to Washington on April 22 by President Kennedy after the failure of Bay of Pigs operation, to try to help piece together what went wrong. He chaired a committee composed of himself, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh Burke, and Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, which was charged by the President with responsibility to investigate the causes of the Bay of Pigs failure and to make recommendations to the President.

1. Following is the text of a precedence Emergency cable sent to Col. Jack Hawkins (USMC) at Puerto Cabezas on 13 April 1961 by the Project Chief:/1/

/1/Copies of the two telegrams quoted in this memorandum are in Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/LA/COG Files: Job 82-00679R, Box 3, Papers Furnished the Green Committee.

(a) Please advise Emergency precedence if your experiences during the last few days have in any way changed your evaluation of the Brigade.

(b) For your information: The President has stated that under no conditions will U.S. intervene with any U.S. forces.

2. Following is the text of Col. Hawkins' reply of the same day:

(a) My observations the last few days have increased my confidence in the ability of this force to accomplish not only initial combat missions but also the ultimate objective of Castro's overthrow.

(b) Reference (paragraph 1 above) arrived during the final briefing of the Brigade and Battalion commanders. They now know all details of the plan and are enthusiastic. These officers are young, vigorous, intelligent and motivated with a fanatical urge to begin battle for which most of them have been preparing in the rugged conditions of training camps for almost a year. I have talked to many of them in their language. Without exception, they have utmost confidence in their ability to win. They say they know their own people and believe after they have inflicted one serious defeat upon opposing forces, the latter will melt away from Castro, who they have no wish to support. They say it is Cuban tradition to join a winner and they have supreme confidence they will win all engagements against the best Castro has to offer. I share their confidence.

(c) The Brigade is well organized and is more heavily armed and better equipped in some respects than U.S. infantry units. The men have received intensive training in the use of their weapons, including more firing experience than U.S. troops would normally receive. I was impressed with the serious attitude of the men as they arrived here and moved to their ships. Movements were quiet, disciplined and efficient, and the embarkation was accomplished with remarkable smoothness.

(d) The Brigade now numbers 1,400; a truly formidable force.

(e) I have also carefully observed the Cuban Air Force. The aircraft are kept with pride and some of the B-26 crews are so eager to commence contemplated operations that they have already armed their aircraft. Lt. Col. George Gaines (USAF) informed me today that he considers the B-26 squadron equal to the best U.S. Air Force squadron.

(f) The Brigade officers do not expect help from U.S. Armed Forces. They ask only for continued delivery of supplies. This can be done covertly.

(g) This Cuban Air Force is motivated, strong, well trained, armed to the teeth, and ready. I believe profoundly that it would be a serious mistake for the United States to deter it from its intended purpose.


/2/J.D. Esterline signed for Colonel J.C. King above King's typed signature.

99. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State

New York, April 13, 1961, 10 p.m.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/4-1361. Confidential; Priority; Verbatim Text.

2848. Cuban item. Sosa Rodriguez (Venezuela) informed Yost late today Amadeo LA group had held long session on US suggested revisions (USUN 2847) to LA group revised res (USUN 2845)./1/ He reported our desire retain original language of first operative para accepted by group. Our additional preambulary para (third in text given below) provoked extensive discussion. Group reached tentative accord on dropping following words in para: "Causes of" and "acted on". Several dels indicated they wished consult their govts on draft and are doing so tonight. Amadeo (Argentina) later told us he was pessimistic about group's reactions.

/1/Both telegrams 2845 and 2847 are dated April 13. (Ibid.)

Res with modification listed above would read:

"The General Assembly

Having heard the statements made by the Minister of State of Cuba, by the Rep of the US of America and by other representatives;

Deeply concerned by the situation pointed out in the above-mentioned statements, which threatens the peace and security in the Western hemisphere;

Noting that the present tensions in the Western hemisphere were considered at the seventh meeting of consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics;

Taking into consideration the communication addressed by the SYG of the OAS to the SYG of the UN, dated Nov 7, 1960;

Considering that the member states of the UN are bound to find a solution to their controversies by negotiation and other peaceful means in order that international peace and security and justice would not be endangered;

1. Urges the member states who integrate the OAS to provide all the assistance necessary to reach a solution conforming with the principles and precepts of the Charter of the UN and the Charter of the OAS;

2. Urges all the states members to refrain from any action that could aggravate the existent tensions."

USUN considers foregoing draft covers basic points US position and is best res that can be obtained. Unless Dept feels otherwise, plan tell LAs tomorrow we agreeable to their introducing this text and to urge them do so promptly.

Sosa Rodriguez indicated he did not believe Cuba would speak before Mon, April 17.


100. Telegram From the Commander of Special Task Group 81.8 (Clark) to the Commander in Chief, Atlantic (Dennison)

USS Essex, Caribbean, April 14, 1961, 12:26 p.m.

//Source: Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials. Top Secret; Exclusive; Bumpy Road. Repeated to Lemnitzer, Burke, Smith, McElroy, and O'Donnell.

141726Z. Exclusive for Dennison, info Lemnitzer, Burke, Smith, McElroy, O'Donnell from Clark. Completed fueling 141630Z/1/ at lat 18-38N long 85-28W. Units proceeding independently to station. Have assigned 1 DD to escort each CEF ship with orders to remain outside visual range during daylight. Plan launch from lat 18-30N long 81-00W at 151030Z/2/ as follows; 3 VS for search ahead of CEF, 1 AD to assist in location CEF ships as required. Will begin routine Bumpy Road reporting at 151030Z.

/1/April 14, 11:30 a.m.

/2/April 15, 5:30 a.m.

Intelligence. No surface contacts. Will maneuver to avoid being sighted. 6 aircraft contacts within 60 miles. 4 engine transport passed overhead at 1710Z./3/ All aircraft probably commercial airlines. No apparent surveillance activity. Elokomin proceeding via South Mariposa Bank to station at 19-00N 80-00W ETA 171200Z./4/ SOA controlled to avoid contact with CEF.

/3/12:10 p.m.

/4/April 17, 7 a.m.

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

Washington, April 14, 1961.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 731.00/4-1461. Secret.


Conversation with Dr. Miro Cardona

On April 13 Mr. Berle and I had a conversation with Dr. Miro Cardona at the Century Club in New York.

Our purpose was to put over to him the two points mentioned in last Wednesday's meeting:/1/ (1) that no U.S. troops would be sent in support of the Cuban anti-Castro operations; and (2) that, if the Revolutionary Council goes to Cuba and proclaims itself a Provisional Government, recognition will not be automatic.

/1/April 12; see Document 92.

1. On the first point, Dr. Cardona displayed considerable resist-ance. He said that, if the Cuban movement against Castro failed, not only the Revolutionary Council but the United States would be held responsible. Everyone knows, Dr. Cardona said, that the United States is behind the Cuban operation.

Dr. Cardona declared that, if the Cuban patriots succeeded in establishing a provisional government on a Cuban beach-head, and if things then began to go wrong, he plans to call for help from all the countries of the hemisphere--including the United States. "This help must come," Dr. Cardona said. If the Cuban patriots win as a result of U.S. intervention, no one will care. If they lose, then the U.S. will have suffered a severe defeat on its own doorstep, Communism will be consolidated in Cuba, and the Castro movement will move on to tear down the Inter-American system. "You must understand what will happen to your interests if we lose. You must commit yourselves to full support of our efforts."

2. On the question of recognition, Dr. Cardona seemed to understand that this was dependent on circumstances and would not be automatic.

3. On the question of possible negotiation with the Castro regime, Dr. Cardona argued that any suggestions to this effect coming from pro-Castro quarters were serving Castro's purposes. "Negotiation is the maneuver of a man who is losing." If such suggestions were taken up, the only effect would be to prolong Castro's tenure of power. The proper response to such suggestions should be that this is a Cuban affair and that, so long as Castro remains in power, there is nothing to negotiate.

4. Dr. Cardona raised the question of the operational plans. "There must be some military plan I don't know about. I would like to know about it for purposes of coordination. I don't want to know these things--but I have to know to make our efforts effective." He suggested the establishment of some sort of liaison with the operational side. We said that we would pass this request on but offered him no hope that it might be fulfilled. We see no reason why it should be.

Dr. Cardona predicted that, once landings take place, 10,000 Cubans would immediately align themselves with the "invading" forces.

5. Dr. Cardona struck me as a proud, intelligent and liberal minded man. He is a serious person and will not be easily moved from his present position. Nonetheless I think a very tough effort should be made to get him to accept the President's press conference statement concerning the non-commitment of U.S. troops as the basis for his future relations with the United States./2/

/2/In response to a question during a press conference at the White House on April 12, President Kennedy stated that "there will not be, under any conditions, an intervention in Cuba by the United States Armed Forces. This Government will do everything it possibly can . . . to make sure that there are no Americans involved in any actions inside Cuba. (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, p. 258)

Arthur Schlesinger, jr./3/

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

102. Editorial Note

On April 15, 1961, a "Bumpy Road" Operations Center was established by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to monitor the operation. At 8:29 a.m. the Center received a message from Admiral Clark reporting that Task Group 81.8 had effected a rendezvous with all of the ships of the Cuban Expeditionary Force and was proceeding according to plan. (Telegram 151329Z from CTG 81.8 to CINCLANTFLT; Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials) At 12:48 p.m. Admiral Dennison reported to the Joint Chiefs that everything was going according to plan. The Commander of the Air Defenses at Key West had reported that a B-26 bomber, bearing the markings of the Cuban Air Force, had made an emergency landing at Key West, after having bombed Havana. (CINC-LANT telegram 151748Z to the JCS; ibid.)

The chronology maintained in the Operations Center for April 15 concludes with the general observation that the purported defection of the Cuban pilot and the air strikes against the airfields at Havana, San Antonio de los Banos and Santiago de Cuba went off on schedule. But a diversionary landing, which was to have been made by a force of 163 men approximately 35 miles east of the Guantanamo Naval Base, was aborted due to "weak leadership" and difficulty in locating the designated landing beach. (Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials)

103. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, April 15, 1961.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files: Job 85-00664R, Box 4, Vol. I. No classification marking.


Air Branch/1/ [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] Combat Mission Report/2/

/1/Air Branch was handwritten on the source text above the excised material.

/2/According to Bissell's memoirs, he was instructed by President Kennedy on April 14 to "play down the magnitude of the invasion," and to reduce the scale of the initial air strike and make it "minimal." Bissell's impression was that the President issued this instruction without consulting the Joint Chiefs of Staff or the Secretary of Defense. Acting on the President's instruction, Bissell cut the size of the air strike for April 15 from 16 aircraft to 8. (Richard M. Bissell, Jr., Reflections of a Cold Warrior (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), page 183)


Both aircraft returned to base safely. Pilots reported airfield completely destroyed and fires everywhere. One B-26 reported destroyed by rockets, one T-33 probably destroyed by .50 calibre fire, and one C-47 destroyed by .50 calibre fire. All aircraft on ramp reported afire. AAA reported as heavy and determined. Aircraft repeatedly exchanged fire with AAA positions until AAA ceased. One aircraft returned base with numerous holes, complete hydraulic failure and one hung rocket. However, landed without incident.

San Antonio

Two aircraft returned base safely and pilots reported attack destroyed 75 per cent of field. Operations building was destroyed and one T-33 on alert exploded. Two additional T-33's were possibly destroyed. Smoke from bombs partially obliterated target and precluded accurate damage assessment. Heavy AAA was reported. One aircraft landed at Grand Cayman Island because of low fuel.


One aircraft returned to base safely and pilot reported target partially destroyed. All bombs fell within confines of the base. (Press reports stated one bomb scored direct hit on an Air Force ammunition dump and explosions were still occurring 30 minutes after the attack.) Heavy AAA was reported. One aircraft was damaged by AAA and forced to feather engine which was on fire. Companion aircraft accompanied toward Key West but observed damaged aircraft in uncontrolled crash into ocean. No parachutes or survivors were observed. Second aircraft, now low on fuel, continued to Florida and landed at Boca Chica. Extent of damage not yet determined.

Special Aircraft

The special aircraft landed at destination as planned./3/

/3/An apparent reference to the B-26 bomber bearing the markings of the Cuban Air Force, which landed at Key West on April 15; see Document 102.

Airborne Spare

One airborne spare aircraft aborted on take-off due to engine trouble.

Stanley W. Beerli/4/

Colonel, USAF

Acting Chief, DPD-DD/P

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

104. Editorial Note

In a communique issued in Havana on April 15, 1961, Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro charged that at 6 a.m. that morning B-26 bombers from the United States simultaneously bombed points in the cities of Havana, San Antonio de los Banos, and Santiago. Castro accused the United States of "imperialist aggression" and added that the Cuban Delegation to the United Nations had been instructed to ask the United Nations to respond to a formal charge of aggression against Cuba by the United States. (American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1961, page 289) In New York a statement issued on April 15 by Miro Cardona, as President of the Cuban Revolutionary Council, contended that the bombing of Cuban airfields that morning was done by "certain members of the Cuban Air Force," who had been in contact with, and were encouraged by the Cuban Revolutionary Council. (Ibid., page 290)

On the afternoon of April 15, an urgent meeting of the Political (First) Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations was called to consider the conflict developing in Cuba. The committee had on its agenda a complaint by Cuba pending from October 18, 1960, that the United States was preparing "various plans of aggression and acts of intervention against Cuba." (U.N. doc. A/4543) The Political Committee took up the agenda item 2 days earlier than scheduled in response to reports of bombing in Cuba, and Cuban Foreign Minister Roa accused the United States of aggression against the territorial integrity and political independence of the Republic of Cuba. Roa's charge was supported by the Soviet Representative, Valerian A. Zorin, who warned that "Cuba has many friends in the world who were ready to come to its aid, including the Soviet Union."

Ambassador Stevenson answered for the United States and denied the Cuban charges of aggression. Stevenson cited President Kennedy's press conference statement of April 12 that United States armed forces would not "under any conditions" intervene in Cuba, and that the United States would do everything in its power to ensure that no United States citizens would participate in actions against Cuba. Stevenson added that President Kennedy was opposed to the use of United States territory to mount an offensive against a foreign government. According to his information, Stevenson told the committee, the air raids against the Cuban cities had been carried out by defectors from the Cuban Air Force who had subsequently landed in Florida and had asked for political asylum. (U.N. doc. A/C.1/SR.1149)

105. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State

New York, April 16, 1961, 6 p.m.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.37/4-1661. Top Secret; Priority; Eyes Only. Another copy of this telegram indicates that it was drafted by Richard F. Pedersen. (USUN Files: NYFRC 84-84-002, Outgoing Tels 1962 (TS, EXDIS, etc))

2892. For Secretary and Dulles from Stevenson.

1. Greatly disturbed by clear indications received during day in process developing rebuttal material that bombing incidents in Cuba on Saturday were launched in part at least from outside Cuba.

2. I had definite impression from Barnes/1/ when he was here that no action would be taken which could give us political difficulty during current UN debate. This raid, if such it was, if exposed will gravely alter whole atmosphere in GA. If Cuba now proves any of planes and pilots came from outside we will face increasingly hostile atmosphere. No one will believe the bombing attacks on Cuba from outside could have been organized without our complicity.

/1/Stevenson was unaware of the planning for an operation against Cuba until several days before the invasion occurred. At that point, he was briefed, in general terms, by Arthur Schlesinger, Tracy Barnes, Harlan Cleveland, and William Bowdler, in a special meeting called for that purpose at the Mission in New York. (Memorandum on Cuba, April 1961; Princeton University, Stevenson Papers, Emb-Box 2, Cuba)

3. I do not understand how we could let such attack take place two days before debate on Cuban issue in GA. Nor can I understand if we could not prevent such outside attack from taking place at this time why I could not have been warned and provided pre-prepared material with which to defend us. Answers I made to Roa's statements about incident on Saturday were hastily concocted in Department, and revised by me at last minute on assumption this was clear case of attacks by defectors inside Cuba.

4. There is gravest risk of another U-2 disaster in such uncoordinated action.


[end of document]


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

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