Department Seal

Volume X
Cuba, 1961-1962



Cuba, 1961-1962

346. Memorandum From the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale)

Washington, June 14, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501, Inter-Agency Staff Study. Top Secret; Noforn; Special Handling. A copy was sent to General Taylor.


Edwin Martin, State

General Craig, Defense

William Harvey, CIA

Donald Wilson, USIA


Spontaneous Revolts in Cuba, Contingency Planning

This confirms the oral assignment of tasks for further contingency planning.

The Defense operational representative is responsible for the preparation of a contingency plan for U.S. actions in a situation of open, wide-spread revolt in Cuba. This contingency is seen as a non-U.S.-initiated situation, similar to that rumored as being activated for mid-June 1962. U.S. actions are seen as including the use of U.S. military force.

The State operational representative is responsible for the preparation of a contingency plan for U.S. actions in a situation of open revolt in one or a few localities in Cuba. This contingency is seen as a non-U.S.-initiated situation where the people in one Cuban locality (or several neighboring localities) openly defy the Communist regime, are being suppressed with force, and U.S. help is requested (by the Cuban revolters or Latin American opinion).

All U.S. Departments and Agencies participating in Operation Mongoose will assist in the preparation of these plans, as required. Plans should include a description of the assumed contingency situation, specific actions to be taken and by whom, timing required, and an indication of post-action requirements.

Although current operations take priority, it is expected that working drafts of these contingency plans will be ready by 16 July. A working meeting of operational representatives will then ready these plans for submission to the Special Group (Augmented).

EG Lansdale

Brigadier General, USAF

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

Washington, June 14, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501, Mongoose Operations. Top Secret; Sensitive; Noforn; Special Handling. An attached distribution list indicates that seven copies of the memorandum were prepared. Copies were sent to Robert Kennedy, Taylor, Johnson, Gilpatric, Lemnitzer, and McCone. One copy was kept by Lansdale.


Progress, Operation Mongoose

Political Actions. At its 7 June meeting,/1/ the Group desired that my 17 May list of suggested priority actions/2/ be re-issued, to include agreed-upon tasks for State. Completion of this is awaiting the appointment of a representative for the Department of State who can devote full time to Operation Mongoose, as agreed upon. When the appointment is announced to the Special Group, it is my plan to hold a meeting promptly with him and other representatives to work on the schedule of special-effort activities. Meanwhile, we are working on the accepted tasks. State reports that briefing papers have been given to Secretary Rusk on Cuba-European trade, for his forthcoming trip to West Europe and that the Directing Council of the Pan-American Institute of History and Geography has voted to exclude Cuban delegates from meetings.

/1/See Document 343.

/2/Document 338.

Cuban Recruits in U.S. Armed Forces. Concept approved and directive issued by the Secretary of Defense./3/

/3/Not found.

Outstanding Studies (including Blockade). My 8 June memorandum to the members of the Special Group (Augmented)/4/ reported on the current status of all outstanding studies. The desired Defense and CIA papers on the means required for and possible effects of a blockade of Cuba were transmitted with this memorandum.

/4/Document 345.

Also transmitted by my 8 June memorandum was a Defense reminder of the Attorney General's question about U.S. actions in case the Soviets established bases in Cuba. Mongoose representatives were alerted to the last paragraph of the Defense paper, which asked for comments by the 14 June Group meeting.

Possible Contingency. The rumored uprising of the Cuban people in mid-June continues to be watched closely. The CIA coverage inside Cuba has not confirmed this uprising from resistance organizations there, and still concludes that this is an attempt by the Castro regime to get opponents to come out into the open, where they can be dealt with. It is believed worth some extra intelligence effort to keep a close eye on possible developments in Cuba in this period, and the Group is being asked separately to approve means for doing so. Meanwhile, Dr. Miro Cardona issued a warning (while in Costa Rica) to Cubans not to revolt prematurely; this was picked up by press services and played back into Cuba by VOA and other information means.

In response to the Group's desire for ready plans in case of similar contingencies in the future, Defense has been tasked with developing a plan in case of a surprise wide-spread revolt and State has been tasked with developing a companion plan in case of a localized revolt (in a provincial city, etc.)./5/ The Group will be informed of these plans, when completed.

/5/See Document 346.

"Voice of Cuba." On the planned broadcasts from a submarine, simulating a small radio station for the resistance inside Cuba, details have been firmed to start these by the end of June. CIA and State have been brought together on content themes and programming. Navy has reaffirmed the low risk factor, after working out operational details with CIA. Broadcasts are designed to be brief (the longest, 5 minutes) at the start, and build up credibility slowly. A brief monitor's report will be surfaced, through a U.S. news service, after the broadcasts are established.

Cuban Defector. Pedro Roig Ortega, representative in Mexico of the Cuban Ministry of Commerce, has defected in Mexico City. CIA and State are working on means to exploit this action, especially noting value of impact within both Cuba and Mexico.

Cuban Subversion Through Key Population Groups. CIA has completed a summary analysis of the travel and activities of Cuban student, labor, and cultural organizations, which will be distributed to Group members separately./6/ The analysis reports that this Cuban effort is being pushed aggressively in Latin America, in the pattern of familiar Soviet subversion activities through international organizations.

/6/Not found.

Information. VOA exploited current vulnerabilities: Moscow news of agricultural problems and price rises, the Cuban disastrous season of sugar production, and Castro's discouraging comment that it would be ten to twelve years before living conditions improve in Cuba. Orders from Latin America for the latest comic book on Cuban children have reached 1,235,000.

USIA Participation. Although the Director of USIA is not a member of the Special Group (Augmented), both Ed Murrow and Don Wilson have ensured vigorous USIA participation in Operation Mongoose, and have a definite need to be kept informed on matters which the Mongoose team report to the Special Group (Augmented). The simplest way to do so would be for me to give an information copy to Murrow/Wilson ("eyes only") of such reports to the Special Group (Augmented). Request approval to do so.

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

Washington, June 27, 1962.

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


Priorities Schedule for Cuba

There is attached for your information the list of the Department's courses of action with regard to Cuba which I had shown to you and was subsequently provided General Lansdale.

General Lansdale indicated that he thought this was a good start, although he was, of course, disappointed that the list contained no dramatic event that could be accomplished before the review.



1. Attempt to organize impressive pro-Kennedy and pro-United States manifestations in Mexico in connection with Presidential visit./1/ Feed this back into Cuba to give impression of Mexico-United States solidarity thus undermining one of Cuba's most important sources of hemispheric support--the goodwill of Mexico.

/1/President Kennedy made a State visit to Mexico June 29-30.

2. Make effort to elect pro-United States, anti-Castro candidates in the Brazilian congressional election. At the same time, encourage formation of non-Communist campesino leagues to offset the work of Juliao. Encourage anti-Cuban editorials and stories in Brazilian newspapers.

3. Work toward the election of a moderate democratic government in the Dominican government and the defeat of left extreme forces in the Dominican Republic supporting Castro.

4. Encourage Christian democratic student groups in Venezuela and elsewhere to make anti-Castro statements and resist election of pro-Castro student leaders. In this connection it is important to work with the forthcoming youth festival in Helsinki (where there will be 2000 Latin American students) to take the festival away from the Communists and ensure a good amount of anti-Communist propaganda emanating from this support.

5. Increase support to Cuban exiles for travel throughout Latin America making well publicized anti-Castro speeches.

6. In Chile work to splinter popular front support of Communist candidates.

7. Attempt to secure anti-Castro statements by conservative members of MNR in Bolivia as well as political action designed to lessen strength of extremists in the MNR and in miners' unions.

8. Secure statements of determination to defeat Castro communism by members of Venezuelan government and military. In addition, secure public charges of Cuban involvement in efforts to unseat the liberal democratic government of Betancourt.

9. Encourage Latin American nations to review their passport procedures and take other measures designed to prevent travel to Cuba. Encourage the SCCS to take an active interest in this as well.

10. Pursue vigorously the program of isolating the Castro regime from hemispheric organizations.

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

Washington, July 3, 1962.

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


I. The Castro regime is well along in the process of reorganizing its political, economic, military, and police system in the Soviet pattern.

A. In Communist terminology, Cuba is in the stage of "building socialism," and differences in the developing Cuban institutions from those of the Soviet Bloc are either transitory or relatively minor expressions of national individuality.

B. Cuba's main difference from the Soviet satellites lies in the absence of an explicit Soviet commitment to defend Cuba militarily.

1. Soviet statements in this sense have thus far been vague and general.

II. A single political machine, avowedly based on Marxist-Leninist principles and interlocking in its functions and leadership with the organs of the state, is being formed at local, provincial, and national levels.

A. Called the Integrated Revolutionary Organization (ORI), it is to become the United Party of the Socialist Revolution at such time as the leaders determine that it has become sufficiently well organized and entrenched to perform the role of the single party in a Communist state.

B. It is governed by a 24-man National Directorate. The Directorate in turn is dominated by a six-man secretariat headed by Fidel and Raul Castro as first and second secretaries.

1. Raul Castro is also Deputy Premier, making him second to Fidel in both the party and government hierarchies.

C. Since last August, major government decrees have been issued in the names of both the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) and the national leadership of the ORI.

III. The split in the ORI leadership between Fidel Castro and a group of veteran Communists led by Anibal Escalante, which came into the open with Castro's bitter public blast against Escalante on 26 March, appears to have been not over ideological issues, but over the means and tactics for reaching agreed goals.

A. The Escalante group had been moving rapidly to secure control of the country's political and governmental institutions to the exclusion of Castro followers; Castro's 26 March speech and the maneuvering which preceded it leave no doubt as to his position of primacy in the leadership of the revolution.

1. Escalante was expelled from the ORI National Directorate, the membership of which had been announced less than three weeks earlier, and left for Czechoslovakia.

B. Castro in his 26 March and subsequent speeches on the issue charged Escalante with "sectarianism" and with attempting to build his own power machine "divorced from the masses." These machinations, he charged, had alienated the "masses" and threatened, by undermining public confidence in the revolution, to destroy it.

1. Escalante has subsequently become, along with "imperialism," one of the chief whipping boys for the regime's difficulties.

C. Other veteran Cuban Communists have dutifully followed Castro's lead in condemning Escalante, but try to imply that Escalante's "harmful activities" were the result of personal faults. They are now dutifully praising Castro as "our great Marxist-Leninist leader."

D. Castro himself has left no doubt that his objective is the construction of a Communist society in Cuba and has frequently appealed for an end to any differences between the "old" and the "new" Communists.

E. Veteran Communists hold nine of the 24 seats on the ORI National Directorate, as well as numerous key administrative jobs such as President of the Agrarian Reform Institute and Minister of Domestic Trade.

1. Blas Roca, the ranking Cuban Communist for more than 25 years, is a member of the key six-man Secretariat of the ORI National Directorate, and director of the ORI newspaper Hoy.

F. Blas Roca, in an article in Pravda on 13 June, said Escalante's "harmful activities" had done such damage to the construction of a Marxist-Leninist party in Cuba, that "now we have to rebuild . . . and begin again from scratch."

1. Since March, the provincial ORI directorates in at least two provinces--Matanzas and Oriente--have been thoroughly reorganized. Veteran Communists in top provincial party positions have been replaced by "new" Communists associated with the Castro brothers. Similar changes are apparently underway in municipal party units.

G. Whether or not the rivalries between the "old" and the "new" Communists will result in new top-level purges and crises cannot be clearly predicted.

1. Moscow, while probably sympathetic to the veteran Communists and distrustful of Castro's emotionalism and his unpredictability, has publicly supported him and condemned Escalante's tactics. It has also granted Cuba important new economic support since Escalante's ouster.

2. Communist veterans such as Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, President of the Agrarian Reform Institute, probably recognize that they have no substitute for Castro in his unique ability to rouse the people.

IV. A plethora of "mass organizations" have been organized during the past year to foster popular identification with the objectives of the regime, to transmit political indoctrination, and to exercise control and surveillance over the membership.

A. The Union of Young Communists, formed last April from the former Association of Rebel Youth, is described as "the political organization of all Cuban youth."

1. It claims a membership of more than 100,000 and is charged, among other things, with "helping" the Union of Cuban Pioneers, an organization for children between six and 13 years old.

B. The Federation of Cuban Women, headed by Raul Castro's wife, claims a membership of more than 160,000 members.

C. The Central Organization of Workers of Revolutionary Cuba, built on the foundations of the powerful pre-Castro labor confederation, is an instrument of the state for control of organized labor.

D. The militia and the Revolutionary Defense Committees (block warden informant system) are also effective as mass organizations.

E. Other groups, such as the National Institute for Sports and Recreation, the Institute for Friendship with Peoples, and the National Tourist Industry (which arranges vacations for "superior" Cuban workers) also serve the standard purposes of Communist mass organizations.

V. There is widespread discontent in Cuba, particularly over consumer goods shortages, and resentment over the regime's regimentation of the people and its authoritarianism. Active resistance is, however, confined to a few small groups and the most common attitude is hopelessness and apathy. The regime is in no danger of being toppled at this time.

A. Perhaps only a quarter of the population remains positive in its support for the regime.

1. Many of Castro's original followers have become disillusioned and are now in exile or in prison; some have been executed.

B. The regime's large and pervasive security machinery has intimidated most of the people.

C. Active resistance is confined to small, scattered groups of guerrillas in the mountains and to more important clandestine groups in the cities, where sporadic acts of sabotage have been increasing in recent months.

D. In Matanzas province on 13 June food shortages touched off public demonstrations which led the regime on 16 June to stage an unusual show of military force in the city of Cardenas. Troops, tanks, artillery and MIG jet fighters participated in the show of force, following which President Dorticos addressed a rally.

1. These events were broadcast and televised throughout Cuba and were apparently designed to make an example of Cardenas for the rest of the country.

VI. Cuba now faces an economic crisis attributable to the confusions and dislocations caused by the drastic and rapid changeover of the economy to state control, to poor management in many enterprises, and to the sudden shift in foreign trade, formerly almost exclusively with the West, but now almost exclusively with the Sino-Soviet Bloc.

A. Carlos Rafael Rodriguez, writing in a Soviet publication late last year, claimed that 80 percent of agricultural production in Cuba is now accounted for by farms operated by or under the close control of the state and that a similar percentage of industrial production comes from state-owned plants.

B. This year's just completed sugar harvest, the keystone of the Cuban economy, is not quite 5 million tons-- the lowest in many years.

1. An internal Cuban government memo on the prospects for the sugar industry states that Cuba will have only about 1.4 million tons this year to export to "the capitalist market" for convertible currencies; the rest is committed to the bloc and to domestic consumption. This will not only exhaust stocks carried over from last year but there will be no carry-over to next year.

2. The memo, sent by the director of Cuba's Consolidated Sugar Enterprise to Minister of Industries Che Guevara, predicts poor crops for 1963 and 1964.

3. The poor sugar prospects highlight what has been one of the most immediate economic problems--the shortage of foreign exchange to finance needed imports from the Free World of foodstuffs and replacement parts for Western-made machinery. Cuba's main source of foreign exchange is now the 20% of the value of sugar sold to the USSR which is paid for in convertible currency, amounting to about $50 million per year.

C. The Soviet Bloc has demonstrated its willingness to extend itself considerably to help the Cuban government ease its more pressing problems.

1. On 14 May a supplementary protocol to the Cuban-Soviet trade agreement was signed, increasing total trade between the two countries for this year to $750 million--about $50 million above the level called for in the protocol signed in January./1/

/1/On January 9 the Soviet Union and Cuba signed a prococol in Havana relating to reciprocal goods deliveries that provided for a substantial increase in trade between the two countries as compared to 1961. (American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, p. 315)

2. Since Cuba has reduced export capabilities, the increase probably involves mainly an increase in Soviet shipments of needed consumer goods to Cuba, probably financed by commodity credits.

D. The Sino-Soviet Bloc is also giving considerable support to Cuba's long-term economic development plans.

1. Sino-Soviet Bloc long-term credits to Cuba for industrial development total at least $357 million and there are strong indications that the USSR granted Cuba an additional $100 million credit in May.

2. A $100 million Soviet credit given Cuba in June of last year was specifically for the development of Cuba's nickel industry. Soviet technicians have been active, though thus far apparently with only partial success, in the two Cuban nickel plants confiscated by the Castro regime in 1960, one of them, at Nicaro, US-government owned.

3. Except for light industrial plants set up by Czechoslovakia, most of the bloc projects in Cuba are not expected to become operational before 1963 or 1964 and have thus far had little impact on the economy.

E. In recent weeks Cuban leaders have repeatedly warned the Cuban people that they face a long period of austerity and hard work in the drive to "build socialism"; they note their gratitude for "the generous assistance" provided by the Soviet Bloc, but emphasize that the future depends on the Cubans themselves.

1. Castro announced on 31 May that it will take ten years to solve Cuba's housing problems.

2. Numerous sessions of "criticism and self-criticism" have resulted in frank admissions by Cuban leaders for past shortcomings in economic management and in assurances to the people that these "errors" are being overcome "on all fronts."

VII. For the past three and a half years, the Castro regime has been engaged in a massive military buildup, supported by more than 30 major shipments of bloc military equipment bringing in some 70,000 tons of material for the ground and air forces.

A. The ground forces now total about 75,000.

1. The regular ground forces are supported by a large ready-reserve force of about 100,000.

B. Bloc military deliveries have included field and anti-aircraft artillery, heavy and medium tanks, rocket launchers, and thousands of modern small arms as well as military vehicles.

C. Aircraft delivered have included at least 40 MIG jet fighters, at least 20 helicopters, 12 prop trainers, and 12 transports.

D. This year the Cuban navy has received its first bloc equipment in the form of six Khronstadt-class submarine chasers and 12 motor torpedo boats.

E. Introduction of bloc equipment has made it necessary to send numerous Cubans to the bloc for training, and to bring Soviet and Czech military personnel to Cuba to supervise assembly and instruction.

F. The capabilities of the Cuban armed forces have increased steadily, and now probably surpass those of any other Latin American country.

1. During 1961, the armed forces were subjected to a thorough reorganization, as units of the former civilian militia merged with regular army units to form a more centralized body.

2. The Cuban armed forces, however, still have little offensive capability outside Cuba, and the equipment sent them by the bloc has not included some items, such as bombers, required for offensive capability.

G. The Soviet Union is not believed to have sent to Cuba any guided missiles or nuclear weapons; it is possible that some surface-to-air missiles are to be delivered to Cuba, but none are believed to have arrived thus far. On 2 July Raul Castro, who is Minister of Armed Forces, arrived in Moscow, probably seeking additional weapons.

VIII. Czech police technicians took part in the reorganization of the Cuban government's police machinery.

A. The Department of State Security within the Ministry of Interior is now the instrument for domestic control.

B. The most pervasive arm of the security apparatus is the network of Revolutionary Defense Committees. According to regime leaders, more than 100,000 of these informant groups have been organized throughout the country.

IX. Cuban foreign policies are dictated by the government's dependence on the Soviet Union.

A. Wherever possible, the Cubans have sought to avoid confronting the issue of Sino-Soviet rivalry; when pressed, however, they have adopted the Soviet position.

B. Cuba's voting record in the UN General Assembly clearly demonstrates its adherence to the Soviet positions.

1. On 37 roll-call votes during the first half of the 16th session of the General Assembly, Cuba voted with the Soviet Bloc 33 times; in the other four cases, one or the other abstained. On five important issues, including the vote appealing to the Soviet Union not to explode a 50-megaton bomb, Cuba was the only country voting with the ten formal members of the Soviet Bloc.

C. Cuba maintains diplomatic relations at the embassy level with all Sino-Soviet Bloc countries except East Germany; it exchanges "missions" not designated as embassies with the latter to avoid a complete rupture with Bonn.

1. The new Soviet ambassador in Havana, Aleksandr Alexseyev, appointed on 11 June, has been in Soviet intelligence work for a number of years.

2. Polish Foreign Minister Rapacki has just concluded a six-day visit to Cuba.

X. Cuba is still attempting to maintain good relations with "non-aligned" governments.

A. Cuba is to attend the Cairo meeting in July of "non-aligned" nations; its conduct at previous meetings of this group in Belgrade and in Cairo was so violently anti-US and so clearly pro-Soviet as to annoy Tito, Nasser, and Nehru.

XI. The Cuban leaders have repeatedly stated that the US holds the naval base at Guantanamo Bay illegally, and that the base will at some time revert to Cuban control.

A. The Cubans maintain that they will never use force against the base but will "at the appropriate time" demand that an "international body" rule that the base be returned to Cuba.

B. The Cuban government still obtains about $10 million annually in foreign exchange from the wages and salaries of Cubans working on the base.

C. These workers are systematically harassed by the authorities, and the area around the base has been converted into a military defense zone.

XII. The Castro regime considers that Cuba is setting the "example" which other Latin American peoples will eventually follow in destroying the "imperialist-controlled regimes" which now "oppress" them.

A. The Castro regime has provided covert financial assistance and perhaps other types of material aid to Communist or pro-Communist opposition groups in other Latin American countries.

B. It has also provided hundreds of "scholarships" annually to Latin American students for study in Cuba, and has become a leading transit point for Latin American travel to the Sino-Soviet Bloc. In addition, frequent international gatherings in Havana bring delegates from Latin America and other parts of the world to Cuba.

C. Castro's influence in other Latin American countries has declined steadily since he came to power.

1. The Eighth Meeting of American Foreign Ministers in Punta del Este last January effectively excluded the Castro regime from participating in the Organization of American States and subsidiary organs of the inter-American system.

2. Only five Latin American countries still maintain diplomatic relations with the Castro regime. These are: Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and Bolivia. Bolivia does not have any mission in Havana, but there is a Cuban mission in La Paz./2/

/2/On an otherwise blank page attached to a copy of this memorandum in the Kennedy Library, President Kennedy wrote: "Summaries of underdeveloped world. We are getting richer--Commodity prices going down--getting poorer." (Kennedy Library, President's Office Files)

350. Memorandum of Discussion

Washington, July 3, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Box 2, DCI (McCone) Memo for the Record, 7 April-21 August 1962. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by McCone.



Met with the Attorney General for about an hour this morning; following was covered:

[Here follows discussion unrelated to Cuba.]

3. DCI brought up the question of the Cuba ransom committee, which had been discussed earlier by the AG with Mr. James Donovan./1/ AG indicated sympathetic attitude but did not indicate that we should at this time seek covert means of supporting or contributing to the fund raising effort of the ransom committee. AG raised the question of possibility of negotiating a "lower price", the need for negotiation by an independent negotiator whose relatives were not in prison, the possibility of meeting part of the demand with food and medicine and some money (he mentioned four or five million dollars).

/1/Reference is to James Donovan, an attorney who became involved in renewed negotiations with the Cuban Government concerning the possible release of the prisoners held in Cuba who were captured during the Bay of Pigs invasion.

DCI stated that on the one hand, from the humanitarian standpoint and the preserving of the goodwill and support of the 1400 prisoners and their several thousand relatives and followers, it appeared important to secure their early release as the group would be a very valuable asset at some future time when the Castro regime collapsed. On the other hand, DCI pointed out that the payment of either money or food would probably prolong the existence of the Castro regime possibly for such an extended period that the regime would become permanent in Cuba. Subject was left for further discussion; however, it was agreed that this question would be compartmented and would not be discussed with others in CIA, DOD, or State who are active in Cuban operations.

[Here follows discussion unrelated to Cuba.]

John A. McCone/2/

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

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

Washington, July 5, 1962.

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


Progress, Operation Mongoose

President in Mexico. State reported that President Kennedy's visit to Mexico greatly enhanced U.S. good-will in Mexico, was marked by the absence of pro-Castro propaganda, and fulfilled U.S. plans to impress upon Castro that Mexico, upon whom the Castro regime counts as an ally, is solidly with the United States and the West. In discussions about Cuba, President Lopez Mateos expressed the Mexican view that Castro was in trouble and that his regime would fall of its own weight. President Kennedy expounded the U.S. view of the Cuban problem; State believes this should ease the way for future discussions about Cuba with the Mexicans.

Joint Communique. The joint communique issued by President Kennedy and President Lopez Mateos,/1/ included a topic of interest to Operation Mongoose: "Both presidents reaffirmed the dedication of their countries to the ideals of individual liberty and personal dignity which constitute the foundation of a civilization which they share in common. In consonance with their dedication to these ideals and acting always as sovereign and independent countries, which decide their own policies and their own courses of action, they propose to respect and maintain the principles of non-intervention--whether this intervention may come from a continental or extra-continental state--and of self-determination of peoples."

/1/For text of the joint communique, issued on June 30, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, pp. 477-479.

The UPI reported that the Mexican press and political observers hailed this joint message as evidence of President Kennedy having "surrendered" to Mexico's policy of "hands off Cuba." In response to my query, the Department of State said: "There were no developments resulting from the President's trip to Mexico, including the text of the joint United States-Mexico Communique, which alter the basic guidelines governing the Cuba project."

Operations. My visit to the Miami area included discussions with the operations staff of the CIA station, which carries the brunt of current work on Operation Mongoose. I was pleased to note that CIA has built a team which has a number of people experienced in operations into Communist-controlled areas (Europe and Asia), whose know-how strengthens the operations of people with Latin American experience. They have some problems, most of which are being resolved on the operating level. Some problems involve policy matters, which are being staffed for presentation to you.

Overall, this is a splendid effort by CIA within present guidelines. On intelligence-collection, the magnitude of the special emphasis given the operation is indicated by the presence of 45 agents now in the Habana area alone (a rather remarkable accomplishment in a Communist capital where there is no official U.S. presence). In addition, there are agents and teams in the provinces; efforts are being made to complete the provincial coverage at an early date, since there are some areas insufficiently covered now.

"Voice of Cuba." The separate CIA weekly report noted the successful initial broadcasts [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] the U.S. publication of the fact that such broadcasts were heard in the U.S., and the replay of this news back into Cuba for the general public. It is noted that UPI carried this news item, but spiced it up with added stories of Castro's use of militia against guerrillas in Matanzas. The two stories put together by UPI have no relationship in reality, and the "Voice of Cuba" broadcasts are being closely directed to fit in with other operations and to keep within Mongoose guidelines.

Diplomatic. State reports that diplomatic efforts are being made to block Cuba's application for accreditation to the European Economic Community. Similarly, efforts are being made to exclude Cuba from the proposed Latin American Free Trade area.

Contingency Planning. Rumors in mid-June of a Cuban uprising led to my tasking Defense for further contingency planning, including an inter-departmental plan. Defense reports this planning is progressing well. As an interim report, Defense notes that while the 18-day reaction time is still basic, a 9-day reaction time is feasible under certain pre-positioning and a 5-day reaction time can be undertaken with certain risks. You will be informed, when this planning is completed.

Defense Intelligence. Defense is reviewing actively its responsibilities for intelligence collection in Cuba, with a view of strengthening the effort considerably, particularly those activities under [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].

Voice of America. USIA reported that VOA concentrated mostly on the President's trip to Mexico. Other telling news items were a Costa Rican labor union condemnation of the Castro tyranny, interviews with Cubans who had escaped from a concentration camp and who gave minute details of the terrible conditions, a quote from Castro's own press about chaotic administration (367 days to answer a letter from a Cuban asking permission to acquire industrial equipment), the story of Cuban students disappointed with Russian agricultural schools (VOA pointed out that Russia, with its own agricultural failures, was not in a position to teach others), and an interview with a person from Cardenas where the recent hunger demonstration led to a big Castro military show of force.

352. Memorandum for the Record

Washington, July 14, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Box 6, DCI Meetings with the President, 1 July 1962-31 December 1962. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by Elder.

The following is taken from DCI notes used at the meeting on 12 July of the Special Group (Augmented):

We know a lot about Cuba and the following are the essential elements in our assessment of the present situation:

1. Cuba belongs to Castro.

2. Castro is apparently strengthening his military forces, and photography and other intelligence have added to our knowledge of the size, composition and deployment of his forces.

3. Police security appears to be good.

4. Popular support for Castro has been substantially diminished.

5. Castro has a number of serious problems including, general economic situation, food, spare parts and lack of competent management of industries and agriculture.

6. No splits are apparent in the top leadership.

7. We have no penetration at the top.


Executive Assistant/DCI

353. Memorandum From the Deputy Director of the Office of Caribbean and Mexican Affairs (Hurwitch) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Martin)

Washington, July 18, 1962.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/7-1962. Top Secret. Also addressed to Goodwin.


Future Courses of Action with respect to Cuba

The members of the Mongoose Operations Group have been requested to submit by July 20 the factors they think should be considered by the Special Group with respect to each of the following four possible future courses of action regarding Cuba:

a. Cancel operational plans; treat Cuba as a Bloc nation; protect Hemisphere from it or

b. Exert all possible diplomatic, economic, psychological, and other pressures to overthrow the Castro-Communist regime without overt U.S. military commitment, or

c. Commit U.S. to help Cubans overthrow the Castro-Communist regime, with a step-by-step phasing to ensure success, including the use of U.S. military force if required at the end, or

d. Use a provocation and overthrow the Castro-Communist regime by U.S. military force.

General Lansdale plans to submit a composite of these factors (including, I presume, his own views) to the Special Group. He has informed me that General Taylor intends to invite Secretaries Rusk and McNamara to attend the Special Group meeting when these courses of action are to be discussed. Final recommendations would then, presumably, be submitted to the President.

Preliminary discussion of these courses of action in the Operations Group reveals that the CIA and Defense representatives favor prior commitment to employ U.S. military force; General Lansdale appears to waver, although I believe he feels his task would be greatly simplified if such a commitment could be obtained; the USIA representative thinks it important that a decision be made regarding use of military force, although he has not indicated his preference.

In my opinion, the concentration of attention upon the employment of U.S. military force against Cuba runs counter to the basic concept of Mongoose which is to bring down the Castro regime from within. In the Department, we have recognized the contingency that U.S. military force may be required, and perhaps could be feasibly employed from a political standpoint if a virtual civil war situation existed in Cuba, where anti-Castro forces held substantial territory, appealed for U.S. assistance, and we recognized these forces as the Government of Cuba.

Mr. Harvey (CIA) at the last Operation Group meeting expressed as his considered judgment that a revolt could eventually be mounted in Cuba. By revolt, however, he meant an assault upon a number of Cuban Government installations, including some in the provinces. He did not think that such assaults could be organized in a fashion where anti-Castro forces held territory for any length of time or could overthrow the regime without outside military assistance.

There is clearly a gap between the present CIA estimate of what it can accomplish and what we feel should be the minimum condition in Cuba where we might consider using U.S. military force. Nevertheless, the situation in Cuba is volatile and unpredictable and CIA may be more successful than it presently estimates to be the case. If, or as we proceed with Operation Mongoose, we should recognize that the pressure within the Executive to employ U.S. military force will become increasingly intense.

I could recommend that the course of action we follow for the indefinite future be the following modification of (b) above:

"Exert all feasible diplomatic, economic, psychological and other pressures to overthrow the Castro regime without prior commitment to employ U.S. military forces overtly, recognizing however that contingencies may arise where employment of U.S. military force might be considered."

There is attached for appropriate approval, the Department's contribution that I would propose be included in the Operation Group's paper regarding the four courses of action.



a. Cancel operational plans; treat Cuba as a Bloc nation; protect Hemisphere from it.


Cuba will probably be mis-managed for the next year or two, even if we did nothing to exacerbate the situation. The spectacle of a mis-managed Cuba with a discontented population would damage the Soviet, communist, and Castro images in the Hemisphere and elsewhere. Cuba would remain an economic and to some extent political burden for the Bloc. If course (a) were adopted, the U.S. could seek to accommodate itself to the presence in the Hemisphere of a nation closely aligned with the Bloc, at the same time attempt to persuade the regime to adopt a more neutralist course without necessarily altering its internal structure.

If this course were adopted, it should be recognized that 1) the Castro regime would be enabled to consolidate its internal position at its own pace; eventually to improve its economic situation with Bloc and perhaps other assistance, thereby enhancing its image; and to continue to engage in and eventually increase its subversive activity in the Hemisphere, which we would probably not be able to control effectively; 2) Cuba may become a base of military operations against the U.S.; 3) the morale of anti-Castro Cubans, both in and out of Cuba, would be destroyed; and 4) the possibility of the Castro regime being replaced in the foreseeable future by one less hostile to the U.S. would be very remote.

b. Exert all feasible diplomatic, economic, psychological, and other pressures to overthrow the Castro-Communist regime without prior U.S. military commitment.


If this course were adopted, the Castro regime would be kept off balance and forced to employ some of its resources defensively. The economic situation would probably continue to deteriorate and popular discontent would probably mount. Isolated anti-Castro manifestations would occur and be repressed. Cuba under these circumstances would be an unattractive model.

Constant pressure upon the regime might produce sufficiently broad popular disaffection, active resistance and intrigue at top governmental levels to cause a change in the regime or possibly bring about a situation of virtual civil war under circumstances in which it might prove politically feasible for the U.S. to intervene with force.

If this course were adopted, it should be recognized that 1) this could be a long term program in which the overthrow of the Castro regime would not be guaranteed; 2) barring the unforeseen, further overt U.S. diplomatic and economic actions against Cuba are limited in scope; 3) Cuban recruits are reluctant to risk their lives in fomenting disorders without a commitment that U.S. military force will be employed if necessary; and 4) Cuba could still act against the Hemisphere although its effectiveness would be continually reduced.

c. Commit U.S. to help Cubans overthrow the Castro-Communist regime, with a step-by-step phasing to ensure success, including the use of U.S. military force if required at the end.


If this course were adopted, the overthrow of the Castro regime could probably be brought about.

If this course were adopted, it should be recognized that 1) employment of U.S. military force in Cuba under circumstances that are considered unjustified under international law would constitute intervention, would place us in violation of the UN and OAS charters, would cause grave adverse repercussions in the Hemisphere, would probably jeopardize the Alliance for Progress program and could make us the object of Rio Treaty Article 6 action; 2) the world situation may be such that it would be politically and military unfeasible for us to fulfill a commitment to employ U.S. military force; 3) such a commitment to Cuban exiles would become quickly and widely known and this could seriously complicate our relations with a number of friendly nations; 4) such a commitment could enable the Cuban exiles to "call the tune" and place the U.S. in an untenable position; 5) knowledge of a commitment to employ U.S. military force would solidify internal support for Castro at least in the short term; 6) if U.S. military force is employed, the Bloc would probably exert strong pressure in areas of the world important to the U.S. national interest and where U.S. military force may have to be made available; 7) as the phases progress, the "noise level" would increase substantially and the U.S. must be prepared to defend convincingly in international forums against charges of plotting to overthrow another government.

d. Use a provocation and overthrow the Castro-Communist regime by U.S. military force.


Without a description of the provocation, it is not possible to comment intelligently. It should be noted that with respect to the employment of U.S. military force many of the considerations described in (c) above are applicable, only more so./1/

/1/On July 19 Martin passed on Hurwitch's memorandum to Johnson, with a covering memorandum indicating that Martin had approved the Hurwitch memorandum as the Department of State contribution to the requested policy review. Martin noted that, in his opinion: "The suggested re-statement of course (b) contained in the attached memorandum is good, I think, and ARA would hope that there might emerge from the Phase I review a policy statement such as that." He asked Johnson to look over the Hurwitch memorandum before it was submitted to General Lansdale. (Ibid.)

354. Memorandum of Discussion

Washington, July 18, 1962.

//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Box 2, DCI (McCone) Memo for the Record, 7 April-21 August 1962. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by McCone on July 19.


[Here follows discussion of other subjects.]

3. The Cuban situation was reviewed in considerable detail, AG expressing the opinion that the last six months' effort had been worthwhile inasmuch as we had gained a very substantial amount of intelligence which was lacking, but that the effort was disappointing inasmuch as the program had not advanced to the point we had hoped. He urged intensified effort but seemed inclined to let the situation "worsen" before recommending drastic action. We discussed several leaders such as [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] however, there was no specific recommendation as to whom we should support or who represented the most dynamic leadership of the Cuban group.

4. Cuban ransoms. The pros and cons of this proposal were discussed in some considerable detail. We both agreed that the sixty two million dollar figure must be negotiated downward and that we should offer our sympathetic interest in the idea of seeking release of the prisoners. I pointed out the injunctions placed upon us by Congress and stated it would be impossible to use CIA funds until these injunctions were removed. The AG brought up the question of Robert Anderson chairing the committee reported on June 27th, and he stated that unless Anderson agreed to chair the committee he thought there would be little interest on the part of the Cubans in pursuing this effort. I pointed out the studies indicated that substantial financial contributions for ransom would perpetuate the Castro regime. Nevertheless we both felt that it was desirable to secure the release of the prisoners if possible. It was decided that I would talk with Anderson and try to get him to accept the chairmanship of the committee, would indicate sympathetic interest in the movement and a desire to help, but would make no commitment of either financial help or help with food. If Anderson accepted then I would discuss the subject with the President and with the appropriate people on the Hill, seek removal of the commitment made last year which enjoins us from financial assistance of such actions to secure prisoner release. In the meantime Anderson (assuming that he assumes the chairmanship) would seek to reduce the figures set by Castro and then we would decide upon a course of action.

[Here follows discussion of other subjects.]

John A. McCone/1/

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

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

Washington, July 19, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 7/62. Top Secret. None of the annexes is printed.

I. What we hoped to accomplish in Phase I

A--Increase U.S. intelligence with respect to Cuba and Cuban activ-ities in the Hemisphere.

B--Undertake as many political, economic, psychological and other actions as feasible, designed to weaken the Castro regime and isolate it from the rest of the Hemisphere.

II. What was accomplished in Phase I

A--With reference to A above, the following were accomplished:

1. An increased number of reports from friendly embassies in Habana and improved mechanism for distribution of these reports to agencies concerned.

2. Greater vigilance on the part of our embassies and improved reporting on Cuban activities throughout the world.

3. Regular de-briefing of U.S. and foreign newsmen as well as foreign diplomats who have visited or are posted in Cuba.

4. An improved program of acquisition of Cuban newspapers and other publications.

5. Provision of a list of U.S. citizens now in the U.S. who have lived in Cuba, as possible sources of intelligence information.

6. Publication and dissemination of several intelligence reports covering Cuba (as well as contributions to USIB reports).

B--With respect to B above, the following were accomplished:

1. Political

a. As a result of the major U.S. effort at the Punta del Este meeting, Cuba was excluded from the OAS, and two Special Committees were established to deal with Cuban-Communist subversion. (For the actions taken to implement the Punta del Este decisions, please see Annex #1.)

b. Fifteen American republics no longer maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba.

c. Overwhelming defeat in the UN of Cuban sponsored resolutions charging U.S. with planning an invasion of Cuba.

d. As a result of efforts by the Secretary and Mr. Rostow, NATO has become more aware of U.S. concern over Cuba. No significant actions that might materially affect the situation in Cuba are expected from NATO in the near future, however, since NATO continues generally to regard Cuba as a U.S. problem.

e. A wide variety of conversations held both by Embassy officers throughout the Hemisphere and by Departmental officers in Washington with government officials, politicians, labor, student and other groups have constituted an important factor in their greater awareness of Castro-Communist subversive techniques as well as their increasingly low opinion of Castro and Castroism. These conversations have contributed to influencing the policies of the governments concerned and stimulating a large number of anti-Castro statements throughout the Hemisphere which were then exploited for their propaganda value (for a sampling of such statements, please see Annex #2).

f. The President's trip to Mexico which demonstrated dramatically for the Castro regime the close relationship between the peoples and governments of the two nations.

g. Special reference to the plight of the Cuban people by Latin American clergy during religious services.

h. Examples of labor activity include a symbolic work stoppage in Costa Rica on 7 January 1962 designed to call attention to the plight of Cuban laborers. The Archbishop instructed priests to toll church bells at the beginning and end of the five-minute period. On 3 June 1962 in Venezuela, Jose Gonzalez Navarro, President of the Venezuelan Federation of Labor, decried conditions in Cuba and organized demonstrations in support of President Betancourt. In July 1962 a Chilean labor leader, recently returned from Cuba, spoke of the disillusionment in Cuba. During February 1962, seventeen Secretaries General of Campesino Unions in La Paz approved a resolution against Cuba. In March the La Paz Federation of Teachers chastised the Bolivian National Federation for its pro-Castro attitude. In January 1962 the Venezuelan Labor Confederation adopted a resolution condemning the Communist dictatorship in Cuba and, finding the Cuban CTC not a free labor movement, abrogated its mutual assistance pact of 1960. In April 1962 the National Congress of Bolivian Railroad Workers rejected a resolution supporting the Castro regime. A number of other actions, initiated outside this project, are designed to assist Latin American Unions and will contribute indirectly to this project.

i. Instructions to all posts emphasizing the importance of developing youth assets in the cold war struggle and urging the inclusion of student and other leaders in the exchange of persons program.

j. Instructions to block Cuban accreditation to the ECE.

k. Instructions to deny Cuban participation in the ILO.

l. Instructions to block Cuban entry into the proposed Latin American Free Trade Area.

m. Examples of actions initiated outside of the project which contribute indirectly include arrangements for sending eight U.S. coaches to thirteen Latin American countries for a period of three weeks in each country to assist in training for the Caribbean games and world-wide guidance on the Helsinki Youth Conference, to which the Cubans reportedly plan to send a large delegation.

2. Economic

a. U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba.

b. General decline of trade between the free world and Cuba. (While a variety of factors have contributed to this situation, U.S. Embassy activities in this field have made a substantial contribution to the decline in trade. For a list of specific actions taken, please see Annex #3.)

c. Tightening of transshipment controls, particularly in Canada and Mexico.

d. Extension of technical data controls to include Cuba.

e. Extension of U.S. Customs control procedures to U.S. ports in addition to Miami for the purpose of guarding against transshipment of U.S. goods to Cuba.

f. Application to Cuban or Cuban-chartered vessels of port security measures in force for Soviet Bloc vessels.

g. Denial of bunkering facilities at U.S. ports to vessel under Sino-Soviet Bloc charter carrying cargo between Cuba and Bloc ports.

h. In the early stages of the project an inter-agency committee consisting of representatives of State, Commerce, Treasury and CIA met to explore further possibilities of economic action against Cuba. As a result of following up with the individual members, the above listed actions were accomplished. Mention should be made of the thorough study undertaken to determine the feasibility of entering the tanker charter market. The results of this study indicated that since there was an over-supply of tankers, preclusive action on our part would prove very expensive without compensatory effect. It is difficult to predict when opportunities might arise in the Cuban situation in which economic warfare would be effective. If Cuba's convertible currency position continues to deteriorate (and the poor sugar crop would so augur), we can look for a continued decline in trade between Cuba and the free world, thus reducing the opportunities (and perhaps necessity) for economic warfare. Nonetheless, we should develop this capability in advance, so that opportunities, when and if they arise, can be exploited.

3. Psychological

(The Department chairs a working-level inter-agency psychological warfare committee which supports the Cuba project, although it is not an organic part of the operation. The Committee coordinates the propaganda activities of the agencies involved, determines themes for exploitation and assigns operational responsibility.)

The principal themes that have been emphasized are:

a. the failures and betrayed promises of the Castro regime;

b. the suppression of human rights, economic deterioration and social injustice in Cuba;

c. Cuba's domination by Communism and alignment with the Sino-Soviet Bloc;

d. Cuban subversive attempts elsewhere in the Hemisphere;

e. Cuba's isolation from the rest of the Hemisphere;

f. opposition to Cuba at international conferences;

g. activities of democratic anti-Castro groups;

h. the Castro regime is not permanent.

The Committee has had a role in bringing about the following accomplishments:

a. Indictment of the Prensa Latina representative in New York.

b. Exposure of author Waldo Frank's acceptance of money from the Cuban Government.

c. Exploitation of the poor quality of Soviet Bloc medicines in Cuba.

d. Widely distributed pamphlet on the subversion of the University of Habana.

e. Effective anti-Castro activity at the UNESCO-ECLA conference on education in Santiago, Chile, March 1962.

f. Exposure of the Cuban "troika" attempt to appear pro-Western, neutralist and pro-Communist at the same time.

g. Publicized Cuban charge declared Persona Non Grata by Philippine Government in October 1961.

h. Dissemination of reports on Cuban attempts to subvert a peaceful solution of the Dominican problem after Trujillo's assassination.

i. Establishment of a program under which U.S. Embassies in Latin America forward clippings from all available publications, which indicate anti-Castro attitudes.

j. Compilation of material for magazine length article on Cuba in all languages by Readers Digest.

k. U.S. television programs on Cuba.

4. Refugee Matters

a. Cuban Groups--Since the adoption of the policy of open liaison with the CRC and other exile groups, the Department has been the focal point of innumerable visits from Cuban exiles who raise a wide variety of problems. The Department uses these visits to re-assure exiles that Cuba has not been abandoned and to resolve policy problems as they arise. Constant liaison is maintained with HEW. At present, the Department is assisting in the arrangements for the training of a small group of exile military officers at advanced US military schools.

b. Pan-American Airways is seeking financial assistance through the Department to ameliorate the loss PAA sustains from its Miami-Habana-Miami run. PAA reports it has 2,500,000 pesos in Habana which it is unable to convert and that this sum is increasing at the rate of approximately 900,000 pesos annually. In addition, PAA maintains it loses approximately $1,000 a day operationally, since their aircraft fly to Habana virtually empty. PAA appears reluctant to continue the service indefinitely without US assistance. The Department believes that since the PAA flights are the main avenue of escape for anti-Castro Cubans, the US has an interest in seeing that the flights are maintained both from the standpoint of our public posture and of intelligence collection. Investigation of the availability of funds for this purpose, including discussions with the CAB, have not proved fruitful to date.

c. Prisoner Exchange--The Department has assisted the Cuban Families Committee to the extent possible in the Committee's efforts to obtain the release of the Brigade prisoners. Tax deductibility was arranged and official public statements favoring its efforts were stimulated. During the trials public statements from a number of Latin American Presidents and from the Prime Minister of Canada urging humanitarian treatment were arranged and were probably largely responsible for the fact that no death sentences were passed. Indirect efforts to obtain the prisoners' release in exchange for food were attempted through the Cuban UN Ambassador and through the Families Committee.

III. Operational Estimates

Political and Economic

Given the present attitude toward the Cuban problem of friendly nations in the Hemisphere and elsewhere, and barring the unforseen, the potential for accomplishing significant and effective, new, overt political and economic measures against Cuba (unilaterally, bilaterally and multilaterally) appears limited. In the economic field, there may arise opportunities when we might covertly engage in economic warfare with good effect. The present unavailability of funds specifically designed for economic warfare purposes would prevent us from taking advantage of such opportunities.

Robert A. Hurwitch/1/

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

356. Memorandum From the United States Information Agency Operations Officer for Operation Mongoose (Wilson) to the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale)

Washington, July 20, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 7/62. Top Secret.

The following information is supplied for inclusion in your report on Phase I, Operation Mongoose.

1. Our objectives during this period were: (1) to utilize all media in mobilizing public opinion in the other countries of Latin America against the Castro/Communist domination of the Cuban people by demonstrating its failure to satisfy the aspirations of the people, by its totalitarian nature and by its subservience to Sino/Soviet policy dictates, and (2) to utilize short wave radio directed at Cuba in order to maintain overt communications with the Cuban people and to assist in undermining their support for and confidence in their Castro/Communist rulers.

Specific tasks assigned to USIA within the general framework of the two principal objectives included those of exploiting Castro defectors and children refugees, examining and reporting on medium wave broadcast and stratovision possibilities and research on musical and visual symbols.

2. Accomplishments during Phase I.

During this phase reporting from our field posts and limited public opinion surveys indicate a continuing decline of Castro's public prestige among the general public in Latin America. However, this does not mean that we feel there is any general repudiation of Castro and, much less, that there is any strong upsurge in public support for the need for action against Castro. The present general attitude might best be described as "negatively apathetic." (A subsequent memorandum from USIA/1/ indicates that these surveys are based on broad samplings in seven Latin American countries. The usual scientific sampling technique was applied, as in the Dominican Republic where 814 persons were contacted.)

/1/Not found.

We assigned a full-time representative to Opa Locka. His duties have been to identify and develop the most exploitable material from the refugees who go through that center. He has also made a continuing appraisal of VOA programing and reception.

The principal themes upon which we concentrated during this phase were:

A. Economic. Our heaviest continuing output has concentrated on the deteriorating economic situation and the consequent failure of the Castro regime to satisfy the needs of the Cuban people. Media content has relied heavily on our Miami office which has supplied a constant flow of interviews with arriving refugees. Particular emphasis has been placed on the bungling management by the Cuban Communists. Parallels with agricultural failures in the Soviet Union and famine conditions in Red China have also been utilized in order to pin Cuban failures on the Communist system. The power struggle between Castro and the old line Communists has also been treated, not as an ideological struggle, but rather as another cause of economic chaos and inefficiency in running the government.

B. Refugees. The refugee situation received heavy play by our Press Service and the Voice of America. Several interviews per week were used, stressing chaotic economic conditions, rising unemployment and food shortages. Special attention was given to the fact that the refugee groups now include growing numbers of negroes and persons from the lower income groups--people on whom Castro had depended for his initial support.

C. Labor. We have stressed in our general media output the repression of the labor movement under the Castro regime with specific emphasis on lower pay, longer hours and growing unemployment in Cuba. On this theme we have been particularly successful in Venezuela where the Confederation of Venezuelan Workers (COV) is distributing our materials on the Cuban situation.

D. Students & Intellectuals. This has been the most difficult target group to work on. Paradoxically, this group appears to be the least susceptible to logical and reasoned appeal. The Castro problem is so highly charged emotionally that no broad avenue of approach has yet been found. The themes which have been helpful in building a negative attitude in the general public--revulsion at mass executions, immediate, concrete economic hardships, attacks on the Church and the social structure, regimentation of labor and other infringements of individual liberties--have not proved particularly effective with this group. Castro's Messianic appeal to this group elicits an emotional response which so far has proven most difficult to overcome. Nevertheless, we are working very hard on developing materials capitalizing on his takeover of the university and attacks on individual liberties.

E. Media products developed in support of the Operation (in addition to the usual daily and weekly output in our normal operations) have included:

(1) Books. (Spanish)

(a) Lequerica Velez--600 dias con Fidel (1,000 copies)

An account of the Castro regime as seen by the author during his two years as Colombian Ambassador in Havana.

(b) Baeza Flores--Las Cadinas vienen de lejos (20,000 copies)

An account of the inner workings of the Castro regime and its takeover by the Communists by a Chilean journalist who worked closely with Castro in the early days of the Revolution and who later escaped to Mexico.

(c) Gilbert--El Infidel Castro (Castro l'Infidele) (6,000 copies)

A French newsman's very unfavorable commentary on Castro's Cuba as he saw it in a 1961 visit.

(d) James--Cuba, 1st Soviet Satellite in America (6,000 copies)--(A Portuguese edition is now under way)

(2) In English we also distributed widely in Latin America both the James book (d above) and Theodore Draper's Castro's Revolution.

Cartoon Books. During the period we have had in production and/or distribution throughout Latin America a total of 5 million copies of the following six cartoon books:

La Estafa--(Castro's takeover of the universities)

La Punalada--(Castro's attack on the Church)

Los Secuestradores-- (Brainwashing of children)

La Mordaza--(Takeover of the press and radio)

El Despertar--(Betrayal of the land reform)

La Traicion--(Takeover of the labor movement)

Films. The Agency produced one film on Cuba during this period:

La Tierra Prometida (10 minute animated on economic failure in Cuba)--Shown in commercial theatres throughout Latin America, also by mobile film units.

Two more similar films are now in production. Exact titles are not yet available but they will cover Castro mistreatment of organized labor and children.

We also supplied newsreel clips on Cuban refugees, Ecuador's break with Cuba, the COSAC Meeting, and the Punta del Este MFM.


(a) Broadcasts to Cuba:

Opa Locka reports indicate listenership to be high at least among this group. Short wave is, of course, always somewhat limited as we indicated in our detailed memoranda on this subject. Nevertheless, it does give us a direct channel to certain sectors of Cuban society.

Of 1370 refugees interviewed at Opa Locka in the past two months, 625 said they listened to the Voice of America and were able to identify at least one program on the Voice.

Three of the daily nine hours of Spanish broadcast by the VOA are aimed directly at Cuba. Fourteen different programs make up this package. These include news, commentary, dramatic, sports, Cuban news, agricultural, and historical features, all carrying some freight for our objectives.

(b) Broadcasts to Latin America. For radio coverage of the rest of Latin America, we depend to some extent on local retransmission of VOA shortwave feeds and, principally, on local transmission of VOA taped shows, and shows produced by our field posts. Our placement record is good and we have access to the large majority of radio listeners in the area by these means. News and commentary shows together with serialized anti-Castro and anti-Communist dramatizations are our best outlet in this medium.

Listenership surveys show our soap opera, La Garra Escondida (The Hidden Claw) to have a very high rating throughout the area. Pitched to the urban working class audience, the program is built around family life in a suburban area and the villain of all episodes is the Communist Party or Fidelista front groups.

TV. We have acquired the rights for the Armstrong Circle Theatre show--Anatomy of a Broken Promise--which is now in Spanish and Portuguese production and should be on the air throughout the area in from 30 to 60 days.

We have also acquired the rights to a half-hour West German newsreel on Cuba which is now being put into Spanish and will be circulating in a very short time.

Cuban material has also been included regularly on our fifteen minute show--Panorama Panamericano--shown weekly to 15 million people throughout the area.

Medium Wave Broadcast and Stratovision

Our evaluations of medium wave broadcasting and stratovision wave were presented to the special groups with negative recommendations for strategic, overt U.S. Government utilization. However, tactical utilization was not ruled out.

On visual symbols, in collaboration with CIA we examined a series of possibilities and concluded the worm (gusano) is the best and most widely accepted symbol for an anti-Castro campaign. CIA is now implementing this project. In an effort to develop musical themes identifiable with the resistance, we have been less fortunate. Several possibilities have been researched with all results negative thus far.

3. Potential for psychological operations.

In all psychological planning special attention should be given to avoiding, insofar as is practical, any indications which might be construed as plans to return to the status quo ante. All information output should be pointed toward reassuring the populace that the anti-Castro movement is designed to carry forward programs supporting the social and economic aspirations of the Cuban people.

Particular attention should be given to the tactical utilization of medium wave radio prior to and during any operations. Short wave radio broadcasting would also be stepped up in support of operations. Propaganda leaflets should also receive a high priority.

[4.] Immediate food distribution and medical attention programs should also be given priority because of their psychological value in enlisting local populous support for the liberating forces.

5. We do not consider items a and d feasible at this time and therefore limit our presentation to b and c./2/

/2/See Document 353 for a listing of the four possible future courses of action regarding Cuba upon which the Mongoose Operations Group was requested to comment.

Factors worth consideration in deciding on a future course:

b. Exert all possible diplomatic, economic, psychological, and other pressures to overthrow the Castro-Communist regime without overt U.S. military commitment.

1. Positive factors supporting this course of action would include:

i. This would be a Cuban operation directed for and by Cubans, thus making for possibly wider acceptance from the bulk of the Cuban people.

ii. There would be minimum static at the UN and OAS on "intervention" charges.

iii. There would be a minimum propaganda base for exploitation of ever-present anti-Yankee sentiment in the rest of Latin America.

iv. This operation would have a psychological advantage in forcing the various Cuban anti-Castro factions to come to a working agreement with each other rather than separate arrangements with CIA. This should provide a better psychological base for long-range political development in a free Cuba.

v. This option would provide the new GDC with a better psychological base for developing policies more responsive to the demands and aspirations of the Cuban people. (I.e., operations with overt GUS support would probably result in strong pressures from U.S. business firms and Batistianos for significant action pointing towards a return to the status quo ante.)

2. Negative factors include:

i. Failure of this operation due to U.S. nonintervention would have disastrous effects on the morale of all opposition groups in and out of Cuba.

ii. Failure would also have very negative effects on U.S. prestige and stature in the hemisphere and probably damage our position of power in regional and other international organizations.

iii. Less chance of strong moral and material support from U.S. business interests, vital to rebuilding process.

iv. Less chance of effective U.S. guidance of information media during and immediately after landings.

v. Much more difficult to control information media support in time and space after landings.

c. Commit U.S. to help Cubans overthrow the Castro-Communist regime, with a step-by-step phasing to ensure success, including the use of U.S. military force if required at the end.

1. Positive factors.

i. With a better chance of a short struggle and a cleancut victory, psychological operations would be more easily handled and controlled.

ii. The U.S. power position and prestige in Latin America and probably the rest of the world would be greatly enhanced.

iii. U.S. guidance and direction of media content during and immediately after the operations would be facilitated.

iv. These operations would serve as a strong warning to leftist, non-communist parties in Latin America that the U.S. will not tolerate alliances with Communists. This could be effective in Bolivia, Chile and Colombia.

2. Negative factors.

i. Much more difficult to justify to world opinion in terms of traditional U.S. policy of nonintervention and respect for the rule of law.

ii. There would be a much higher noise level on intervention at the UN and OAS.

iii. It would provide the Sino-Soviets a good propaganda base for possible operations in Berlin, Laos, Quemoy, etc.

iv. It would provide a strong propaganda base for indigenous Communist group actions against pro-U.S., anti-Castro governments in neighboring countries (Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, Ecuador).

v. Greater difficulty in evolving a post-overthrow political ideology suitable to all elements involved. (I.e. U.S. leadership during the operation will be strongest factor holding diverse groups together and will thus probably have to combine after overthrow.)

vi. Possibility of remaining guerrilla-type operations acting on the propaganda base of anti-foreign invaders.

Donald M. Wilson/3/

Deputy Director

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

357. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts in the American Republics

Washington, July 21, 1962, 1:59 p.m.

//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/7-2162. Secret. Drafted by Hurwitch and cleared in ARA by Martin, in CIA by Harvey, in DOD by Gilpatric, and at the White House by Bundy. Approved for transmission by Johnson. Sent to Bogot#, Caracas, Guatemala City, Panama City, San Jose, San Salvador, Santo Domingo, and Tegucigalpa, and repeated to Asuncion, Buenos Aires, La Paz, Lima, Managua, Mexico City, Montevideo, Port-au-Prince, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, and USUN. On July 20 Lansdale had complained, in a memorandum to U. Alexis Johnson, that the proposed draft of this telegram had not been cleared properly with him, before it was presented by the Department of State representative to the Special Group (Augmented) on July 19 as having been cleared with Lansdale, as well as with the other agencies represented in the group. Lansdale noted: "We want to guide and direct the actions of exile groups, but not `cut them off at the ankles' as proposed in this message." From the details of the proposed message discussed by Lansdale, which has not been found, it is clear that the circular telegram was revised in the light of his complaints. (Ibid., S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Mongoose)

109. Increasing number reports reaching Department indicate some Cuban exiles contemplating destruction major Cuban installations, primarily oil refineries, through bombing raids. These exiles apparently convinced Castro regime tottering, internal anti-Castro resistance well organized and time therefore ripe for such bombing raids which in their judgment would, if successful, provide necessary element increase resistance to point of overthrowing Castro regime. One such group headed by ex-Cuban pilot Matias Farias who claims group has access several bombers and he under heavy pressure from exile Cuban pilot friends "do something."

Combination reports of Castro regime difficulties and exile frustration could possibly lead some action such as bombing raids.

Department estimates destruction major Cuban installations at this time, particularly if accomplished by external means, would probably: (1) arouse Cuban nationalism and rally support for regime; (2) result intensified repression internal opposition; (3) gain sympathy for regime in many sectors world opinion on basis such raids arranged by "powerful US against helpless island;" and (4) as premature and uncoordinated effort prove ineffective as means overthrowing Castro regime.

Accordingly, Department has sought discourage Cuban exiles from such actions and taking all feasible actions prevent any bombing raids originating US territory. Since some reports indicate such raids may emanate country bordering Caribbean, action addressee posts should promptly report any developments this subject. If questioned by officials host government or local press re US attitude possible bombing raids Cuba by exiles, you should adopt line such raids as uncoordinated effort probably premature be effective overthrow Castro regime; US not involved organizing such raids; we remain nevertheless seriously concerned over threat peace and security hemisphere posed by Castro-communist regime.


358. Memorandum From the Department of Defense Operations Officer for Operation Mongoose (Harris) to the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale)

Washington, July 23, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 7/62. Top Secret.


End of Phase I

In response to the questions posed in your memorandum of 11 July 1962, subject: End of Phase I,/1/ I have prepared 5 paragraphs each of which is directly responsive to your questions:

/1/Not found.

1. Statement of What DOD Hoped to Accomplish During Phase I.

a. DOD hoped to provide all required support to CIA, State and USIA necessary to the accomplishment of the objectives of Operation Mongoose during Phase I.

b. DOD hoped to accomplish all the planning and essential preliminary actions necessary to establishing a decisive capability for US Military intervention in Cuba.

2. Accomplishments in Phase I.

a. Establishment of a DOD Working Group. A Brigadier General was appointed to full time duty as the DOD/JCS Representative to handle Mongoose affairs. Each of the Services, JCS Directorates and DIA appointed full time representative to serve on the Working Group. Each of these representatives has direct access to his Chief or, in the case of the Services, the Operation Deputies as well. Office space cleared for Top Secret information was established in the Joint Staff area, and secretarial help was assigned.

b. Establishment and Operation of an Interrogation Center at Opa Locka, Florida, on 15 February 1962. DOD assisted CIA in the initial planning for and the establishment of the Interrogation Center. Since the inception of the Center, the DOD has provided personnel support to the Center by furnishing 26 personnel (15 officers and 11 enlisted men) out of a total of 37 personnel manning the Center.

c. PT Boats. DOD reconditioned a PT boat for possible use by CIA. In addition, DOD obtained certain data on characteristics and costs of PT boats manufactured by other countries.

d. Voice Radio Broadcasts from a Submarine. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] available to CIA for the conduct of voice radio broadcasts near Cuba by the CIA.

e. Overflights of Cuba. DOD has conducted several reconnaissance and photographic missions over Cuba for the CIA.

f. Utilization of Avon-Park, Florida, by CIA as a Base for the Training of Cuban Refugees. DOD investigated the feasibility of using certain facilities at Avon-Park for the training of Cuban refugees in guerrilla warfare.

g. [1 line of source text not declassified]

h. Detail of an Officer to CIA. DOD detailed an officer to duty with CIA [1 line of source text not declassified].

i. Contingency Plan for Overt US Military Intervention in Cuba. In order to insure a decisive US military capability for overt military intervention in Cuba, CINCLANT's regular contingency plan for Cuba has been updated. Attempts are being made to reduce the reaction time required for implementation of this plan, without piecemeal commitment of US forces.

j. Alternate Contingency Plan for Overt US Military Intervention in Cuba. CINCLANT developed an alternate plan which accomplished a reduction in reaction time but requires piecemeal commitment of forces. In order to reduce the risk inherent in such an operation CINCLANT is seeking means for reduction of the reaction time without piecemeal commitment.

k. Cover and Deception Plan. This plan has been developed for the purpose of [3-1/2 lines of source text not declassified].

l. Air Strikes Against Cuba. A plan has been developed for the use of airpower only following a national policy decision, to suppress and/or neutralize Cuban forces pending the execution of an assault or to be executed in support of an internal revolt.

m. Air and Sea Blockade of Cuba. A plan has been developed for the complete air and sea blockade of Cuba within 48 hours after decision.

n. Civil Affairs and Military Government. An outline plan providing guidance for the conduct of civil affairs and for a provisional military government for Cuba has been prepared.

o. DOD's Position as to its Stake and Proposed Role in the Removal of the Communist Regime from Cuba. This paper included a statement of conditions under which Defense believes that overt military intervention in Cuba could be accomplished without leading to general war and without serious offense to public opinion.

p. [2 lines of source text not declassified]

q. Air Re-supply. Four aircraft and crews have been readied for air re-supply missions over Cuba.

r. Risk Estimate. An estimate was prepared concerning the risk involved in air re-supply missions over Cuba.

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

t. Military Intelligence. A detailed list of Essential Elements of Information was prepared in February 1962 covering the requirements of the Caribbean Survey Group and CINCLANT and was levied on the Intelligence Community for fulfillment. Reconnaissance activities consisting of overhead reconnaissance, air patrols, electronic collection and special operations were implemented. Specific intelligence requirements to be used in the interrogation of knowledgeable refugees covering items of military, political and economic interest were provided to the Caribbean Admission Center, Opa Locka, Florida. All information obtained from these sources was processed through the Intelligence Community's channels. The flow of information concerning Cuba has been greatly improved as a result of these efforts. However, gaps still exist, particularly in details of military order of battle. Increased efforts are being made to fill these gaps.

u. Utilization of US Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for Joint Navy/CIA Intelligence Operations. DOD investigated the possibility of using Guantanamo as a base of operations for the collection of national level intelligence, in light of the present policy limitations and possible policy changes in the future.

v. Establishment of "Patrol Posts" in the Caribbean. In response to a request from the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose, DOD examined the possibility of establishing "patrol posts" in the Caribbean.

w. Psychological Operations: A survey was conducted in an attempt to increase Naval Base Guantanamo's role in psychological operations. As a result special OSD funds were made available for special baseball sportscasts over the base radio station.

3. Operational Estimate of the Potential for Intelligence Collection.

a. Reconnaissance--a summary of the Cuban reconnaissance operation is given below:


Vehicle: WV-2Q

Code Word: Melrose

Frequency: 13

Vehicle: A3D-2P/2Q

Code Word: Fitbolt

Frequency: 4

Vehicle: USS Moale

Code Word: Operation

Frequency: 19 Mar-12 Apr 62

Vehicle: RB 47

Code Word:

Frequency: 1 May 62

Vehicle: Submarine/UDU

Code Word:

Frequency: 5-6 May 62


Vehicle: F3D-2Q

Code Word: Call Money

Frequency: 6-11 per month

Vehicle: AD-5Q

Code Word: Sleepwalker

Frequency: 2 per month

Vehicle: C-130

Code Word: Quick Fox

Frequency: 10 per month

Vehicle: A3D-2P

Code Word:

Frequency: 6-8 per month

Vehicle: Navy DD

Code Word:

Frequency: daily

Vehicle: Navy P-2V

Code Word:

Frequency: twice daily

In addition to these, there are two special operations per month. The results of all this reconnaissance are satisfactory as far as producing air and navy order of battle information. However, against ground order of battle, they are not able to contribute too much.

b. Refugee Interrogation--Although the quantity of refugees proc-essed at Opa Locka has not diminished, the quality of the information that they have available is not as good as in the past. Particularly in the area of military intelligence, very few refugees can make major contributions. Occasionally, they do fill some gaps in military intelligence and they make considerable contribution in other areas. Therefore, this effort should be continued.

c. Electronic Intelligence--The existing program is producing limited information; however, it is suffering from not only the insufficiency of the effort but also from the recent shift to more sophisticated communication systems by the Cubans. The approved new program should overcome these difficulties and provide increased information in the following areas:

Organization and deployment of Cuban Army, Navy, Air Force and Militia.

Troop, ship and air movements.

Tactics and training Cuban armed forces.

Patrolling and policing information on locations, installation or equipment.

Materiel employed by Armed Forces.

Evidence of Sino-Soviet Bloc technical support, training, volunteers and of the presence of Sino-Soviet military materiel (vessels) or aircraft.

Activities of Department of State security.

Evidences of GOC interception of Cuban resistance forces communications.

Clandestine operations of Cuban government in the United States and other American Republics.

Information on sabotage, dissident activity and defection of Cuban ships and/or personnel.

Restrictive or punitive policies to be applied to Cuban nationals or their property in Cuba.

Strikes, slow-downs and labor problems.

Location and movements of principal Cuban government, military and para-military personalities.

Plots against prominent figures.

Reactions to probes, special activities and reconnaissance flights.

Surveillance of the possible operations against Naval Base at Guantanamo.

Organization, deployment and capability of Cuban communications.

d. Clandestine--The Intelligence Community has put considerable effort into improving their clandestine collection capabilities against the target island. However, these operations suffer from the lack of a definite target date and objective. With an open-end operation, such as Project Mongoose, specific military order of battle information is largely perishable especially when the Armed Forces are in a constant state of reorganization, re-groupment and redeployment. About 25 per cent of all reports on Cuba received from clandestine sources prove to be of definite value.

Collection of information through third-country sources varies widely as to quality. The number and competence of observers and the specific collection requirement levied on the third-country source determine the value of the information obtained. Some very valuable information on specific items has resulted from this effort and this source should continue to be exploited.

e. Summary--Our knowledge of Cuban military order of battle, especially ground order of battle, has dropped off considerably in recent weeks. Changes in unit organization and in the numbering system as well as the militia nature of the organization itself make OB material perishable. Until such time as a definite target date and objective is set making it possible to inject a sufficient quantity of trained observers into the area with specific targets, this situation will probably continue.

4. Estimate of the Potential for Military Operations within Cuba--Should a policy decision be made to militarily intervene in Cuba, the U.S. could:

a. With 18 days of preparation, execute a coordinated airborne-amphibious assault which it is anticipated would gain control of key military installations and the principal centers of population of Cuba within [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] and result in minimum US and Cuban casualties.

b. Should the situation demand, a piecemeal commitment of US forces could be made with reaction times approximately as follows:

2 Airborne Divisions--5 days (para-drop units only)

4 Marine BLTs--7-8 days

Following Forces--15-18 days

(This operation would involve a dangerous element of risk.)

c. [4-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]

d. Air strikes could be conducted against selected targets in Cuba within 6, 12 or 24 hours; the time dependent upon aircraft availability and desired intensity of attack.

e. Air-sea blockade can be initiated within 24 hours with effectiveness increasing to a complete blockade within approximately 48 hours.

5. Factors Worth Considering in Deciding on One of the Following Four Courses of Action for the United States to Follow in Relation to Cuba:

a. Cancel operational plans; treat Cuba as a Bloc nation; protect Hemisphere from it.


(1) This would be temporarily economical in terms of funds, equipment and allocation of forces.

(2) It would demonstrate the US devotion to the principle of non-intervention.


(1) This would be an acceptance of a Communist bridgehead in the Western Hemisphere and an admission that there was nothing that the United States could or would do about it.

(2) This would be damaging to the prestige of the United States and would weaken the will to resist or fight against communism in Cuba, Latin America and elsewhere.

(3) It would increase the probability of the establishment of Soviet military base(s) in Cuba which could ultimately prove to be an unacceptable threat to the security of the United States.

(4) It would become increasing difficult to protect the United States or the Western Hemisphere as Cuban military force capabilities increase.

(5) It would prevent the United States from assuming a posture which would permit exploitation of any "breaks" that may develop within Cuba.

(6) It would permit the Castro Communist regime to consolidate its gains and become even more firmly entrenched.

(7) It might encourage the Communist regime to become even more bold in exporting communism to Latin America.

(8) It would permit the Castro regime to prepare at its own pace the exportation of their revolution of other Latin American countries.

(9) It could eventually cost billions of dollars as US defense forces would have to be developed or shifted to meet the increasing threat from the South.

(10) It would virtually assure the permanent existence of a Communist base for subversion and espionage throughout the Western Hemisphere.

b. Exert all possible diplomatic, economic, psychological and other pressures to overthrow the Castro Communist regime without overt US military commitment.


(1) Would demonstrate US devotion to the principle of non-intervention.

(2) Would be in accord with the UN charter and stated US policy regarding the non-use of military force in settling disputes.

(3) Depending upon the success of the pressures, in the short term, it would conserve US military forces and resources.


(1) Except in matter of degree, this has essentially been the US policy since the severance of relations on 3 January 1962, and it has not been successful.

(2) This would give the Soviets time to develop Cuba as a base for operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

(3) It would give the Communists further time to develop military bases which could cost the United States billions of dollars in developing appropriate defenses.

(4) This would require that US military resources and forces be tied up indefinitely to protect the Hemisphere against the continuing Communist threat.

(5) This would permit the continued indoctrination of Cuban Youth and the progressive strengthening of the internal police state and military forces. These would combine to make the threat to internal revolt more remote and the price of US intervention more costly.

c. Commit the United States to help the Cubans to overthrow the Castro Communist regime, with a step-by-step phasing to ensure success, including the use of US military force if required.


(1) Would permit the United States to control the timing of operations against Cuba and permit a progressive build-up which could be modified or terminated as circumstances require.

(2) It would eventually show that we are willing to back anti-communist efforts and it would reaffirm the Monroe Doctrine.

(3) US action against Cuba would be more acceptable to world opinion as it would cast the United States in the role of aiding Cuban freedom fighters.

(4) Widespread revolution would simplify some of the problems of military intervention.

(5) Revolution could produce leaders from within Cuba who could constitute the new Cuban government.

(6) It would furnish new hope and incentive to anti-communist elements inside and outside of Cuba.

(7) It would be economical in terms of military resources and forces by obtaining maximum support from the Cubans.

(8) It would assure the eventual ousting of the Castro Communist regime.


(1) The time involved in this course permits additional Cubans to be indoctrinated thereby creating more problems during the invasion and after.

(2) Contains the danger of "telegraphing the punch" and thereby putting Castro and the Soviets on notice, which could result in counter-action and possible escalation if the Sino Soviet Bloc provides open assistance. Furthermore, the longer US intervention is delayed, the higher the cost will be in American lives.

(3) This course would further antagonize die-hard non-intervention elements within Latin America.

(4) This would require the United States to establish, control, support and manipulate front organizations, develop Cuban leadership and run covert training and operations which carry the risk of extreme national embarrassment.

d. Use a provocation and overthrow the Castro Communist regime by US military forces.


(1) Would permit the United States to take action against Cuba at a time and place of our own choosing.

(2) Chances of premature disclosure and compromise, compared with other courses of action, would be reduced.

(3) It would demonstrate to anti-communists throughout the world the US determination to oppose communism.

(4) It would reaffirm our adherence to the principles of the Monroe Doctrine.

(5) It would stop further communist indoctrination of Cubans.

(6) It would eliminate the possibility of Soviet bases being established in Cuba.

(7) It would eliminate the utilization of Cuba as a base of subversion throughout the Western Hemisphere.

(8) It would eliminate the possible requirement for a major outlay of funds in preparing to meet in increasing threat from Cuba.


(1) Without a truly plausible provocative act, the United States would pay a very considerable price in terms of world opinion.

(2) It could inspire Soviet counter-action in other areas.

(3) This course of action is contrary to the UN charter and the non-intervention doctrine enunciated at the Bogota Conference.

Benjamin T. Harris/2/

Brig General, USADOD/JCS Representative

Caribbean Survey Group

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

359. Memorandum From the Central Intelligence Agency Operations Officer for Operation Mongoose (Harvey) to the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale)

Washington, July 24, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 7/62. Top Secret; Noforn; Continued Control; Sensitive.


Operation Mongoose--End of Phase I


Your Memorandum dated 11 July 1962, Subject as Above/1/

/1/Not found.

1. Pursuant to reference memorandum and in accordance with our previous discussions, set out below are comments for inclusion in your overall report to the Special Group (Augmented) at the conclusion of the first phase of Operation Mongoose, 31 July 1962. In preparing these comments it was found necessary to defer finalizing them until we had an opportunity to review and check them against the 23 July 1962 draft of NIE 85-2-62,/2/ a copy of which is available to you.

/2/This draft has not been found. For text of NIE 85-2-62, see Document 363.

2. Background, Purpose, and Accomplishments--Phase I:

a. On 16 March 1962, the Special Group (Augmented) approved Phase I of Operation Mongoose authorizing and directing that between that date and 31 July 1962, CIA mount a concentrated operational program to collect intelligence concerning Cuba and to develop, insofar as possible, clandestine resistance cadres inside Cuba. This plan authorized intelligence--political, economic, and covert actions, short of those reasonably calculated to inspire revolt within the target area or otherwise require U.S. armed intervention. The plan required that actions taken during Phase I should be consistent with overt policies of isolating Castro in the Western Hemisphere and be undertaken in such a way as to permit U.S. disengagement with minimum losses of assets and prestige. Major operations going beyond the collection of intelligence have required approval in advance by the Special Group (Augmented).

b. Phase I of Operation Mongoose did not provide for a maximum operational program against Cuba and did not authorize any extensive use of U.S. military personnel, bases, and facilities. No decision was made to undertake a phased operation to provoke a revolt with the commitment that such revolt would be supported by U.S. military forces.

c. Within the policy limitations of Phase I, it was hoped that the following would be accomplished:

(1) The development of an effective functioning operational unit for the conduct of intelligence, psychological warfare and covert actions against Cuba.

(2) The development in depth of hard intelligence coverage of Cuba.

(3) The establishment of limited resistance cadres inside Cuba and an adequate assessment of the resistance potential, as well as operational conditions affecting the possibilities of organizing and inciting a major revolt.

(4) Keep alive, insofar as possible, the spirit of resistance inside Cuba and exploit any possibilities that appeared for the development of future Cuban leadership and revolutionary doctrine.

(5) Determine the possibilities of and, if possible, take action toward splitting the top Cuban leadership.

d. During Phase I the following has been accomplished:

(1) An effective operational unit for the conduct of multi-purpose operations against Cuba has been established and is functioning well. As of 23 July, 477 CIA staff personnel are devoting full time to this effort. In addition, a very large number of additional personnel are devoting part-time efforts to Operation Mongoose.

(2) Point c(2) above has been accomplished. Hard intelligence coverage of Cuba at the present time exists in depth and has increased substantially since the inception of Phase I. Through this coverage we now have an excellent understanding of military, political, economic and resistance conditions and activities inside Cuba as reflected [not] only by numerous individual intelligence disseminations, but by the intelligence reflected in summation in the forthcoming NIE 85-2-62. The plan for Phase I of Operation Mongoose contemplated that we would have established inside Cuba by 31 July 1962, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] controlled reporting intelligence agents, including legal travelers. In fact, we have at the present time inside Cuba [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] controlled Cuban agents and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] third country controlled agents, a total of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] agents inside the target area. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] third country controlled agents, reporting substantially on Cuba, are located outside Cuba. A substantial number of these will in the near future be dispatched on missions inside Cuba. In addition, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] independent support agents are producing intermittent intelligence reports with some frequency concerning Cuba. The above figures do not include the extensive reporting from the Opa-Locka Intelligence Center, which is now totaling approximately 800 reports a month.

(3) With regard to Point c(3), we have been less successful. The original maximal planning under Phase I contemplated that we would have infiltrated into Cuba by 31 July 1962 at least 23 illegal intelligence reporting and resistance cadre teams. By the conclusion of this phase, we will have actually infiltrated no more than eleven such teams. In addition, four caching operations and one 1,500 pound re-supply operation will have been completed. During August 1962, barring presently unforeseen operational failures or aborts, five more teams should have been infiltrated into Cuba, as well as two additional cache operations and one 3,000 pound re-supply operation. Our failure to meet the original schedule of team infiltrations primarily was due to two factors: (a) lack of policy approval by higher authority to make any extensive utilization of Department of Defense personnel and support, and (b) a series of operational failures and aborts due to weather, enemy action, failure of inside agents to keep rendezvous and, in a few instances, missions aborted by the Cuban agents involved for various reasons, including their dissatisfaction with U.S. lack of aggressiveness against Cuba. Since 1 April 1962, in addition to the operations involved above, 19 maritime operations have aborted or failed due to one or more of the factors listed immediately above. Had we been permitted to mount a more intensive and aggressive effort, the original infiltration schedule probably would have been met, possibly exceeded. You will recall that it was pointed out to the Special Group in March 1962 that the full implementation of the operational plan for infiltration would require use of Defense facilities which were not subsequently, as a matter of policy, forthcoming. The speed with which and the extent to which we can in the future infiltrate black teams for resistance purposes into Cuba will of course depend upon policy approvals by higher authority and the amount of support we can count on thereunder. Although we have had losses in connection with the teams infiltrated, Phase I has demonstrated that we can successfully infiltrate such teams and that, given proper policy approval and sufficient support, we can greatly increase the resistance cadres and activities inside Cuba.

(4) With regard to Point c(4) above, our activities, we believe, have had a substantial effect in supporting a spirit of resistance inside Cuba. This effect has not of course been as great as it would have been had we been able to mount a maximum covert action, paramilitary and psychological warfare operation. We have not been successful in developing an effective revolutionary movement or leadership around which a Cuban revolt inside Cuba could be rallied at the present time.

(5) With regard to Point c(5) above, we have developed a number of promising leads to the top Cuban leadership, but no immediate current possibility of splitting it.

3. Operational Estimate:

a. The operational estimate of conditions and possibilities inside Cuba is well reflected in the forthcoming NIE 85-2-62. In summation, based on the intelligence collected and our operational experience during Phase I, it is our conclusion that there is a sufficiently substantial resistance potential inside Cuba which, given a maximum operational effort, could be organized and incited into open revolt provided the Cubans could be assured that if they themselves revolted their revolt would be supported by U.S. intervention and that the U.S. would not permit it to be crushed by Castro's military and police counteraction. It is our opinion that there is an excellent chance such a revolt could be incited by late 1963 if we embark on a maximum operational program now. Possible dissatisfaction with the Cuban regime inside Cuba has materially increased over the past several months and is likely to continue to increase for some time. It is not likely to result in spontaneous revolt or in major widespread resistance without organized assistance and support from the U.S. The Military/Security/Police apparatus of the Castro regime is effective and its effectiveness can be expected to increase. It is and will remain, in our opinion, for the foreseeable future, capable of containing and eventually destroying the bulk of any unorganized, unsupported resistance or revolt which may arise in Cuba. If a revolt in Cuba is organized and incited, it will be destroyed at best within a matter of a few days if it is not supported by substantial military force.

b. With regard to the influence of Castro and Cuba elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere, the appeal of Castroism as such has dimmed appreciably in other Latin American states during the past several months, although there are many indications that Castro's Cuba is still active in subversive activities elsewhere in the Hemisphere, including firm evidence that Cuba provided $10,000 to the 13th of November Guatemalan revolutionary group in Mexico City. It cannot be overstressed, however, that the Cuban regime has proven that violent social revolution and a break with the U.S. is possible in Latin America and will be supported by the Soviet Bloc without the USSR necessarily insisting on complete traditional communist control. The appeal of the Cuban example will increase in other Latin American states if reform lags and if hopes and promises remain unfulfilled. Cuba also represents and will continue to represent a danger because its subversive activities might at any time provide the spark that would set off explosions in unsettled countries, for example, Venezuela and Guatemala. In addition, Cuba represents of course the dangerous example of a communist regime within the Western Hemisphere in defiance of the United States and breaching hemispheric solidarity.

4. Future Courses of Action:

Set out below are comments on the four possible future courses of action outlined in Paragraph 5 of reference memorandum:

"a. Cancel operational plans; treat Cuba as a Bloc nation; protect hemisphere from it:" If this course of action is adopted by higher authority, it will not result in the overthrow or probably in any material change in the Castro regime in the foreseeable future. If this course of action is adopted, the extent of effort currently being devoted by CIA and other agencies to Operation Mongoose should be reviewed and reconsidered and probably seriously curtailed. If this course of action is adopted, the U.S. Government will of course receive increased pressure from the multitudinous Cuban exile groups and will be faced with an increasing level of irresponsible unilateral Cuban actions based in and from the U.S.

"b. Exert all possible diplomatic, economic, psychological and other pressures to overthrow the Castro-Communist regime without overt U.S. military commitment:" This course of action, which is very close to that undertaken in Phase I of Operation Mongoose, is not likely to result in the overthrow of the Castro regime in the foreseeable future and unless it is intensified to the point of substantially raising the "noise level" inside and outside the U.S., its effectiveness is likely to be limited to the collection of intelligence and to the containing of Cuba at about the present level. If this course of action is adopted, certain portions of the present CIA effort probably should be terminated, particularly the infiltration of black resistance teams, since without some phased plan for action these teams are being jeopardized to little purpose.

"c. Commit U.S. to help Cubans overthrow the Castro-Communist regime, with a step-by-step phasing to ensure success, including the use of U.S. military force if required at the end:" This is, in effect, the original operational proposal presented to the Special Group (Augmented) and disapproved in favor of Phase I on 16 March 1962. If this course of action is adopted, and if we are permitted thereunder in the immediate future to mount an all-out maximum operational effort to establish and support resistance inside Cuba with full covert use of military facilities and personnel, there is an excellent chance of inciting a revolt inside Cuba by late 1963. This would require maximal effort keyed to a phased plan and would require decision now to commit U.S. Forces to support such a revolt since, even if incited, such a revolt cannot be kept alive more than a few days in the face of Cuban military and security counteraction unless the revolt is supported by substantial military forces. This phasing is necessary too since, unless we can assure the Cubans that if they are able to revolt they will be supported, our chances of inducing them to engage in resistance and revolt to a sufficient extent to constitute more than an irritant to the Castro regime are remote. Details and specifics of the necessary actions to implement this course of action have been discussed with you on a number of occasions. Basic to successful implementation of such a course of action, and particularly the clandestine operational phases thereof, are a series of policy decisions by higher authority at the inception which would permit the operational units sufficient flexibility and freedom of action and decision within clearly understood policy parameters to effectively implement the operations involved on a phased basis.

"d. Use a provocation and overthrow the Castro-Communist regime by U.S. military force:" This course of action involves a policy decision by higher authority beyond the purview of CIA. If higher authority decides on this course of action, CIA is of course prepared to assist in developing the necessary provocation to justify such intervention and to assist in implementing this course of action with full intelligence and covert assets.

5. It is hoped that the above comments will be of some assistance to you in preparing your overall report on Phase I of Operation Mongoose to the Special Group (Augmented). It would be most appreciated if you would make available to us copies of your report to the Special Group in order that we may comment as appropriate. If any further details or comments from us would be helpful, please let me know.

William K. Harvey/3/

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

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

Washington, July 25, 1962.

//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 7/62. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. An attached distribution list indicates that 11 copies of the memorandum were prepared and copies were sent to Robert Kennedy, Taylor, Johnson, Gilpatric, Lemnitzer, McCone, Harvey, Hurwitch, Harris, and Wilson. One copy was kept by Lansdale.


Review of Operation Mongoose

This is the Operations report at the end of Phase I. It has been compiled to assist you in reviewing Operation Mongoose thus far and in determining the best course of U.S. action for the future.

This Operations report contains the contribution of each major participant, on objectives, on the planning and operational activity to win these objectives, and on future possibilities to be governed by the policy framework. A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE 85-2-62)/1/ is being submitted separately for consideration in connection with this report.

/1/Document 363.

As Chief of Operations, I am indicating in this covering memorandum what I consider to be the most significant aspects of our policy and program picture. The full report of each major participant is appended,/2/ to ensure that you have access to the exact reporting as submitted.

/2/The appendices consisted of the reports made to Lansdale by the Operations Officers of the Department of State, USIA, the Department of Defense, and CIA, which are printed as Documents 355, 356, 358, and 359.


As desired by higher authority on 30 November 1961, the U.S. undertook a special effort "in order to help Cuba overthrow the Communist regime." After a review of operational planning and programming concepts, the Special Group (Augmented) provided guidelines on 14 March 1962 for Phase I, Operation Mongoose (roughly until the end of July 1962)./3/ The main objectives were seen as:

/3/Document 314.

a. The acquisition of hard intelligence on the target area.

b. Undertaking all other political, economic, and covert actions, short of inspiring a revolt in Cuba or developing the need for U.S. armed intervention.

c. Be consistent with U.S. overt policy, and remain in position to disengage with minimum loss in assets and U.S. prestige.

d. Continue JCS planning and essential preliminary actions for a decisive U.S. capability for intervention.


Elements of the U.S. government were organized to reach the goals set for Phase I. My assessment of where we are on each objective is noted under appropriate sub-headings below. In general, this has been a remarkably quiet operation, well within the "noise" and "visibility" limits imposed.

Higher authority has been kept informed of progress through the Special Group (Augmented), by frequent reports. The Special Group has provided policy guidance, as required, in Phase I.

The Chief of Operations has coordinated the efforts of participating departments and agencies, through meetings of the Operational Representatives and by constant review of progress. The Operational Representative of each major U.S. participant in Operation Mongoose are William Harvey (CIA), Robert Hurwitch (State), Brig. Gen. Benjamin Harris (Defense), and Don Wilson (USIA).

My assessment of the organization, planning, and actions to reach the goals in Phase I:

Intelligence. CIA had the main assignment to acquire the "hard-intelligence" desired. The headquarters and field staff of CIA are now well organized for a major effort for this aspect of Operation Mongoose, being strengthened by a number of CIA officers experienced in "denied area" operations elsewhere in the world. Planning and actions rate superior, in a professional sense of intelligence collection.

CIA established the Caribbean Admission Center at Opa-Locka, Florida [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]. It undertook a priority plan to collect information on the target from third country areas in Latin America and Europe. Inside Cuba, the recruitment and placement of third country nationals and initiation of Cuban collection nets, particularly in urban centers, has made Operation Mongoose numerically the largest U.S. intelligence agent effort inside a Communist state. However, the effort in more remote provincial areas of Cuba, where guerrilla resist-ance was expected to be spotted, recruited, and organized, was short of the hoped-for goal; this was due to the regime's security precautions and, to some degree, to policy limitations on the risks to be assumed.

Defense contributed the majority of personnel to staff the Caribbean Admission Center, stepped-up SIGINT collection under NSA despite changes and improved sophistication of Cuban communication procedures, and brought into play the available assets of Service intelligence organizations, in coordination with CIA. State stepped up its information collection from diplomatic and refugee organization sources. Justice (FBI and INS) and USIA provided significant support to the Caribbean Admission Center.

Political. State appointed a representative to devote full-time to Operation Mongoose and to develop the required political actions. During Phase I, the Punta del Este conference was a major U.S. political action to isolate Castro and neutralize his influence in the Hemisphere, but was not developed within the context of Operation Mongoose. The successful visit of President Kennedy to Mexico was another major U.S. political action, with a potential impact upon our special goals, but was not developed within the context of Operation Mongoose. Two Operation Mongoose efforts in political action were attempted in Phase I: to counter Castro-Communist propaganda exploitation of May Day and to arouse strong Hemisphere reaction to Cuban military suppression of the hunger demonstration at Cardenas, in June. Ambassadors in Latin America were asked to undertake a special effort, as possible, with the help of their Country Teams; political action results in both instances were mostly negative, due to lack of capability and the local attitude in Latin American countries.

State is responsible for refugee political policy matters, assisted by CIA in daily liaison. This is an area of major interest to Operation Mongoose, since the Cuban refugees have an open objective of overthrowing the Communist regime in Havana and recapturing their homeland. They are given open U.S. assistance to remain in this country, yet are participating in covert actions in a limited way. Only a fractional opening has been made to release the frustrated energy of these refugees in freeing their homeland and in creating a favorable political climate in Latin America for the liberation of Cuba. Policy limitations of "audibility" and "visibility" apply directly in considering the handling and use of this dynamic refugee potential.

As a working document for U.S. operational guidance, State developed a definition of a political program for a free Cuba, with the understanding that any real political program must be developed by the Cubans themselves.

Psychological. Psychological activities for Operation Mongoose make use of existing assignments of responsibilities within the U.S. government: State, having the policy role, chairs an inter-agency Cuba Psychological Operations Group which meets weekly; USIA disseminates any U.S. government information (VOA and Press Service) and generates "gray" or non-official information (5 million cartoon books and thousands of Spanish books on Cuba disseminated in Latin America); CIA passes information appropriate for "gray" and covert psychological channels (radio, mailings to Cuba, and dissemination inside Cuba).

Conditions and events in Cuba have provided many effective themes, which have been promptly and sharply exploited by available means in the Western Hemisphere. However, the U.S. still lacks the capability of effectively getting information to the majority of the Cuban people. Our short-wave broadcasts are highly regarded by the Cuban people, but short-wave receiver sets are limited inside Cuba. Our medium-wave broadcasts compete against stronger Cuban signals; it was felt that greater U.S. competition in medium-wave broadcasts could lead to Cuban interference of U.S. commercial broadcasts over a fairly wide area of the U.S. Clandestine broadcasts from a submarine (appearing as broadcasts by Cuban guerrillas inside Cuba) have been initiated; they are in their infancy, and have a long way to develop before their messages are believed and get passed among Cubans by word-of-mouth. Dissemination of leaflets and propaganda inside Cuba by balloon or aircraft has not received policy approval.

Economic. State has the main responsibility for developing economic actions. State has chaired an inter-agency working group, which generated the U.S. trade embargo, denial of bunkering facilities, increased port security, and control procedures on transshipment, technical data, and customs inspection. Diplomatic means were used to frustrate Cuban trade negotiations in Israel, Jordan, Iran, Greece, and possibly Japan. Under Resolution VIII adopted at Punta del Este, the OAS has established a special committee to study "the feasibility and desirability of extending the suspension of trade with Cuba to other items (than arms)," State has prepared a program to be submitted to this OAS committee in the future.

The evidence is that Cuba's economy is suffering. Trade with the Communist Bloc and others has kept it limping along, despite scarcity of U.S. goods, the bad drought limiting agrarian crops, increased worker non-cooperation and the regime's bungling of economic control meas-ures. Critical spare parts still arrive in Cuba, including shipments from British and Canadian firms. Chartered shipping from Free World sources still plays a major role in Cuba's trade, and the U.S. has little hope of cutting this life-line to Castro.

Guerrilla. CIA had the main responsibility for assessing resistance potential inside Cuba and to start quietly organizing such resistance as feasible. The CIA plan has been to set about doing this through introducing small teams into the Cuban countryside, "over the beach" from boats. Each team is tasked first to stay alive, while getting established in an area. Once able to live in an area, it then starts a cautious survey of potential recruits for a resistance group. Names of such recruits are sent to CIA for checking. As recruits join, they are trained on the ground by the team, and then continue the survey. This is slow and dangerous work.

CIA reports that 11 teams will have been infiltrated by the end of July and that 19 maritime operations have aborted. Of the teams in, the most successful is the one in Pinar del Rio in western Cuba; its success was helped greatly by a maritime re-supply of arms and equipment; the fact that it is a "going concern" and receives help from outside has attracted recruits. Its potential has been estimated at about 250, which is a sizable guerrilla force. With equally large guerrilla forces in other Cuban provinces, guerrilla warfare could be activated with a good chance of success, if assisted properly. However, the teams in other provinces have not been so successful; our best hope is that we will have viable teams in all the potential resistance areas by early October. Bad weather, high seas, and increased security patrols will make the infiltration of teams and their re-supply from small boats a hard task.

Sabotage has not taken place, on a U.S.-sponsored basis. Planning for such action by CIA has been thorough, including detailed study of the structures and vulnerabilities of key targets. Sophisticated actions, such as the contamination of POL has been frustrated by lack of cooperation of nations where POL would be vulnerable to action. Commando type raids would take maritime means which now have priority use in support of CIA teams being infiltrated inside to survey and create a guerrilla potential. CIA has reported that there is now some capability inside Cuba for sabotage action, that target selection has been under further careful review, and that a proposal is forthcoming to be submitted for policy approval.

Intervention Planning. The JCS were given the responsibility for planning and undertaking essential preliminary actions for a decisive U.S. capability for intervention in Cuba. This "Guidelines" objective has been met, fully. Also, U.S. military readiness for intervention in Cuba has been under continuing review within Defense, being improved wherever feasible. In addition, rumors during June of a possible uprising inside Cuba led to further planning for a contingency where a non-U.S. inspired revolt might start inside Cuba; inter-agency staffing of U.S. planning for such a Cuban contingency is being completed, under Defense leadership.

Assets. Whatever we decide to do in the future depends, to a large degree, on the assets available to us. Our own U.S. assets in organization, personnel, and equipment are sufficient to liberate Cuba, given the decision to do so. Assets among the Cubans, to liberate themselves, are capable of a greater effectiveness once a firm decision is made by the U.S. to provide maximum support of Cubans to liberate Cuba, and the Cubans start being helped towards that goal by the U.S. There are enough able-bodied and properly motivated Cubans inside Cuba and in exile to do the job. There is wide-spread disaffection in Cuba, with strong indications that economic distress and demoralization of population is causing real concern and strain for the regime's control officials. Firm U.S. intention to help free Cuba is the key factor in assessing the Cubans themselves as an operational asset for Operation Mongoose.

At the close of Phase I, my concern is strong that time is running out for the U.S. to make a free choice on Cuba, based largely on what is happening to the will of the Cuban people. Rightly or wrongly, the Cubans have looked and are looking to the U.S. for guidance on what to aspire to and do next. They wonder if we are not merely watching Cuba closely, as a matter of our own security, undertaking some economic proscription, and isolating the Castro/Communist gang from contaminating the Hemisphere. Along with recognition of our humanitarian sympathies, this seems to be the fear among Cuban refugees, although they are still hopeful.

If Cubans become convinced that the U.S. is not going to do more than watch and talk, I believe they will make other plans for the future. The bulk of Cuban refugees in the U.S. are most likely to start getting serious about settling down for life in the U.S., dulling their desire to return home with personal risk involved. The bulk of disaffected people inside Cuba will lose hope and incentive for futile protests against the regime and start accepting their status as captives of the Communists. Some Cuban activists will not accept the loss of their homeland so easily and may seek release from frustration by liberation operations outside U.S. territory and control. The recent wildcat Cuban scheme to bomb Habana from Central America is an example.

Our probes of the guerrilla potential inside Cuba have been hampered by similar morale factors. Cubans sent to risk their lives on missions inside Cuba feel very much alone, except for their communications link back to the U.S. They are unable to recruit freedom fighters aggressively by the time-proven method of starting an active resistance and thus attracting recruits; U.S. guidelines to keep this short of a revolt have made the intention behind the operation suspect to local Cubans. The evidence of some intent is seen in the recent maritime re-supply of the team in Pinar del Rio. We brought in extra weapons, for which there were immediate recruits; if we were to exploit the evident guerrilla potential in this province, it appears likely that we would have to furnish supplies by air and probably open the U.S. to strong charges of furnishing such support to Cuban resistance elements.

Therefore, we have been unable to surface the Cuban resistance potential to a point where we can measure it realistically. The only way this can be done, accurately, is when resistance actually has a rallying point of freedom fighters who appear to the Cuban people to have some chance of winning, and that means at least an implication that the U.S. is in support. Word-of-mouth information that such a freedom movement is afoot could cause the majority of the Cuban people to choose sides. It would be the first real opportunity for them to do so since Castro and the Communists came to power. There was little opportunity for the Cuban people to join an active resistance in April 1961; there is less opportunity today. If the Cuban people are to feel they have a real opportunity, they must have something which they can join with some belief in its success.

Projection (Phase II).

As a help towards the making of a U.S. decision on a future course of action, the Operational Representatives developed working statements of four possibilities; at my request they have commented on the positive and negative factors worth considering for each possible course, and it is suggested that these thoughtful statements are worth reading in full. The working statements of the choices open to the U.S. are as follows:

a. Cancel operational plans; treat Cuba as a Bloc nation; protect Hemisphere from it, or

b./4/ Exert all possible diplomatic, economic, psychological, and other pressures to overthrow the Castro-Communist regime without overt employment of U.S. military, or

/4/This copy of this memorandum, which was presumably General Taylor's, was marked by McGeorge Bundy at this point with an arrow pointing to option b.

c. Commit U.S. to help Cubans overthrow the Castro-Communist regime, with a step-by-step phasing to ensure success, including the use of U.S. military force if required at the end, or

d. Use a provocation and overthrow the Castro-Communist regime by U.S. military force.


It is recommended that this review of Phase I be considered by the Special Group as providing the operational basis for guidelines and objectives for Phase II. It is a matter of urgency that these be arrived at by the Special Group, to permit developing specific plans and schedules for Phase II.

[end of document]


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