216. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Bowles to President Kennedy
Washington, May 13, 1961.
//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 5/61. Confidential.
Application of the Battle Act/1/ to Cuba
/1/The Battle Act was the Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act of 1951. (65 Stat. 644)
The possible invocation of the Trading With the Enemy Act,/2/ and other actions under consideration with respect to Cuba raises the question of whether the United States should also invoke the Battle Act.
/2/See Document 12.
The terms of the Battle Act provide that it shall be applied with respect to any "nation--threatening the security of the United States, including the USSR and all countries under its domination". Notwithstanding the large extent to which Cuba appears in fact to be dominated by the USSR, no finding to this effect has yet been made by the Battle Act Administrator (the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs). Such a finding is required in order to bring its provisions into effect with regard to Cuba.
Actions Required Under the Battle Act
The application of the Act would require that we approach foreign aid recipient countries to inform them of the inclusion of Cuba within the Act and to request their cooperation in extending an embargo on shipments of arms and strategic materials to Cuba. It would then be mandatory (except where you wished to exercise your discretionary power or in cases where the Act is waived under Section 451 of the Mutual Security Act/3/) that all foreign aid must be cut off from any country which knowingly fails to cooperate. Of the strategic Battle Act items only quartz crystals from Brazil and borax from Argentina and Chile are produced in Latin America. Neither of those is consumed by Cuba in significant amounts. The Act would have a minimal economic effect on Cuba because that country's demand for strategic items (except for arms which it is now receiving from the Bloc) is very limited.
/3/Mutual Security Act of 1954. (68 Stat. 832, et seq.)
Although the effect of application of the Battle Act on Cuba may be minimal, the logic of our other actions and public and Congressional pressures may lead us eventually to invoke the Act. The immediate question is whether we should act now or whether we should delay until a multilateral framework has been established within which this action can take place.
In support of immediate invocation of the Battle Act are the following points:
(1) Castro has openly declared his allegiance to the Sino-Soviet Bloc and this action would therefore be logical and generally approved by public and Congressional opinion in the United States.
(2) It will probably become increasingly difficult to explain to Congress our failure to invoke this Act, particularly should we invoke the Trading With the Enemy Act.
In support of delay in the invocation of this Act are the following points:
(1) Because of the requirement that the United States seek cooperation from aid recipient nations (which might be interpreted as requiring of them a similar policy judgment with regard to Cuba), its immediate application would probably cause some unfavorable response, particularly in Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia.
(2) Any harmful effect on Latin American countries would be mitigated if invocation of the Battle Act was part of a multilaterally agreed program on a Hemisphere basis to deal with the Cuban problem.
(3) It is probable that certain of the COCOM countries which might occasionally be sources of Battle Act items for Cuba would be much more ready to cooperate if this Act had the apparent support of a majority of the Latin American countries.
The Executive has a considerable degree of flexibility as to any finding that Cuba is "Soviet-dominated" for the purposes of the Act. Moreover a finding that Cuba is "Soviet-dominated" for the purpose of one Act does not require that it be found "Soviet-dominated" for the purpose of all other Acts. For example, while Poland is considered as a "Soviet-dominated" country for the purpose of the Battle Act, it is not considered "Soviet-dominated" for the purposes of Public Law 480/4/ or Section 5 of the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1951,/5/ even though these latter two Acts use similar language.
/4/P.L. 480 is the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954. (68 Stat. 454, et seq.)
/5/65 Stat. 72.
Should the Trading With the Enemy Act be invoked against Cuba, there is no legal requirement that the Battle Act must also be invoked.
1. Because of our commitment to the multilateral approach with regard to Cuba and our interest in making every effort to insure its success, I propose that any finding that the Act is applicable to Cuba be delayed until the chances of obtaining multilateral agreements or actions by the OAS with regard to Cuba have been fully explored.
2. I propose also that we immediately begin discussing with our NATO allies and bilaterally with Japan and other interested countries the probability of this eventual action.
/6/Printed from a copy that indicates Bowles signed the original.
217. Editorial Note
On May 16, 1961, Brazilian Finance Minister Clemente Mariani called
on President Kennedy to express appreciation for U.S. financial
assistance to Brazil. During the conversation, President Kennedy
stressed the importance of inter-American isolation of Castro,
whom he called "for all practical purposes an agent of international
communism," and he pointed out the difficulty of agreement
when President Quadros asserted a "strongly divergent view."
After Mariani noted that Quadros had been moving away from his
previous position in favor of Castro, he promised to report fully
on the conversation to Quadros. The memorandum of conversation
is in Department of State, President's Memoranda of Conversation:
Lot 66 D 149. It is printed in full in volume XII, pages 435-436.
218. Memorandum for the Record
Washington, May 16, 1961.
//Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Box 12, Cuba, Paramilitary Study Group Correspondence. Secret. This record of the meeting is marked as a draft, which apparently means that it was not subsequently cleared with the White House. There is no drafting information to indicate who drafted the memorandum, but internal evidence suggests that it was drafted by General Taylor.
Meeting with President on May 16, 1961
Attorney General Kennedy
Mr. Allen Dulles
The Cuba Study Group met at luncheon with the President to give orally an interim report on their conclusions to date. In the course of the conversation the following points were developed.
There was no formal governmental review after March, 1960 of the necessity for a paramilitary operation to replace the Castro government. Although the President had many doubts with regard to such an operation, the pressure for an affirmative decision arising from the need to use the Cuban Brigade quickly or disband it was a strong factor in causing an affirmative decision. In the President's mind there was reasonable hope for a popular uprising following a successful landing as well as the possibility of setting up a free Cuban government in the beachhead after it had been firmly secured.
The President was always reassured by the assumption that the Cuban Brigade in an emergency could pass to a guerrilla status. There was a breakdown in communications some place between the training base in Guatemala and the senior officials in Washington which occasioned the misunderstanding of the feasibility of exercising the guerrilla option.
It was clear to the President that the Trinidad Plan had military advantages over Zapata. However, the choice of the latter overcame many of the political objections raised against Trinidad.
With regard to the cancellation of the D-Day strikes, the President is inclined to think that a special NSC Meeting should have been called to deal with this important matter. However, the CIA officials in charge of the operation did not speak to him directly with regard to the critical nature of the cancellation.
The President was aware of the serious shortage of ammunition in the beachhead at the end of D+1. However, he was never approached for authority to extend the Navy air cover over the ammunition convoy in its movement to Blue Beach.
In connection with paragraph 14 of the Committee's paper "Study of the Anti-Castro Invasion Zapata" dated 11 May 1961,/1/ the Chart and paper entitled "A Mechanism for the Planning and Coordination of Cold War Strategy" were discussed. The President encouraged the Group to develop this organizational concept in greater detail for inclusion in their final report. The latter is to be oral, supported by a written memorandum. It was agreed that this final report and the supporting memorandum would not go beyond the President, but the possibility was left open of some sanitized document to set right the past misstatements of the press.
/1/Admiral Burke's copy of this paper, which was an initial version of the final report submitted to the President in June (see Document 230), is in Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials.
There was some discussion of the desirability of changing the
name of CIA in order to reduce its visibility. Mr. Dulles undertook
to study the matter and see if he could make a recommendation.
219. Memorandum for the Record
Washington, May 16, 1961.
//Source: Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials. Top Secret; Hold Closely. Prepared by Admiral Burke.
Debrief of Luncheon conversation with the President, 16 May 1961
1. I attended a luncheon with the President, in company with General Taylor, Mr. Allen Dulles and Mr. Robert Kennedy.
2. General Taylor presented a question paper entitled "Topics for Tuesday", copy enclosed./1/
3. The President's answers to the questions in general were as follows:
a. Question 1. Was there any doubt about the necessity of some such military action against Castro?
He had some doubt about the necessity for military action against Castro and so did some people in State, but there were pressures such as what to do with the forces being trained, the rainy season coming up and the conduct of covert actions in the atmosphere at the time, that led the President to believe that Castro should be overthrown. It was much better, for example, to put the guerrillas on the beach in Cuba and let them fight for Cuba than bring them back to the United States and have them state that the United States would not support their activities. The end result might have been much worse had we done this than it actually was.
b. Question 2. What was the estimate of the probability of success of Zapata before D-Day?
It was thought that the possibility of some success of the Zapata Plan was fairly good, since if they could not establish a beachhead and hold it, they could go into guerrillas. This was probably the biggest error, as it turned out, but it was thought that they could hold the beachhead for some time and that a Cuban Government could be established on the beachhead which perhaps could be recognized later. He realized that not knocking out the Cuban air precluded this as it turned out.
c. Question 3. What was the feeling of likelihood of a popular uprising following the landing? How essential was such an uprising regarded for the success of the operation? How rapid a reaction was expected by Castro?
He felt that there was a good chance for a popular uprising following the landing but that the beachhead was not held long enough to permit a popular uprising. Although an uprising would be necessary for the overthrow of Castro, if there was no general uprising the members in the landing party could become guerrillas and they would do more good as guerrillas than they would outside of Cuba. This also answered question 4 which was "What was expected to happen if the landing force effected a successful lodgment but there was no uprising?"
d. Question 5. What was the understanding of the position of the JCS as to Zapata? Was it appreciated that they favored Trinidad over Zapata? What did the President expect from the Chiefs?
The President understood that the JCS preferred the Trinidad Plan to the Zapata Plan from the military point of view. However, policy implications were overriding in that it would be quite evident in the Trinidad operation that it was a United States operation since control of the air would be required, which could be accomplished only with the assistance of the United States. He thought that the Chiefs could very well have stated that if the Zapata Plan was adopted and there was not absolute control of the air, that it would fail. He felt that this could have been more forcibly said than it was.
e. Question 6. Was it understood that control of the air was considered essential to the success of the landing?
He did understand that control of the air was important but he did not believe it to be absolutely essential. If he had, then he would have launched the D-Day strikes.
f. Question 7. What were the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of the D-Day air strikes? How serious was the decision viewed? What was the understanding about pre-landing strikes?
Mr. Rusk had talked with the President in regard to the D-Day strikes and in connection with the activities in the United Nations and the strong recommendations of Mr. Stevenson. He felt, in retrospect, that the decision to cancel the strikes should probably not have been made, but he felt that the case for making the strikes was perhaps not recommended forcibly enough, although he understood why General Cabell would not want to dispute the Secretary of State after the President had made a tentative decision. He was very open minded on this and very fair.
g. Question 8. What was the understanding as to the ability of the landing force to pass to a guerrilla status in an emergency? To what extent did this factor influence approval of the operations?
He certainly had understood that the landing force could pass to guerrilla status and it greatly influenced his thinking of the whole operation.
h. Question 9. What was the understanding of the ammunition situation by the end of April 18?
He realized that there was a shortage of ammunition on the 18th of April, but just how acute it was, of course, he did not know. He realized that there was a long delay in communications and that the situation was never clear here as to exactly what was happening. Things were ordered done and it took a long time to find out that they were actually done or whether they were modified.
i. Question 10. What degree of non-attribution was sought and why? Were the operational disadvantages arising from some of the restrictions imposed by the efforts to achieve non-attribution clearly presented and understood?
Before the operation there was every effort made to keep the situation covert, with no attribution being possible for United States forces. The second part of the question I don't think he answered nor did he answer the rest of the questions because the conversation turned to the proposal of General Taylor on the establishment of a Cold War Chairman working group.
[Here follows discussion of the broader implications of organizing
220. Memorandum From the Secretary of Defense's Special Assistant (Yarmolinsky) to Secretary of Defense McNamara
Washington, May 18, 1961.
//Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD (C) A Files: FRC 71 A 2896, Yarmolinsky Files, Cuban Volunteer Program. Confidential.
Memorandum of Conversation
A meeting was called today at 11:00 A.M. by Mr. Richard Goodwin to consider the status of the Cuban exiles program now being developed. The following were present: Mr. Richard Goodwin, Mr. Arthur Schles-inger Jr., from the White House; Dr. Arturo Morales, Liaison Officer for State with the Cuban Revolutionary Council, Mr. Leon Uhlman from Attorney General's Office, Commissioner of Social Security, Mr. William Mitchell, from HEW; Mr. James M. Quigley from the Office of Education and Mr. Adam Yarmolinsky and Mr. Maurice Mountain from Defense.
Mr. Goodwin said there were three problems to be considered; first, the general program for exiles; second, relations with the Revolutionary Council and third, what sort of support might be given to any possible covert activities of the exile group. Only the first two items, however, were discussed.
For the time being, Mr. Goodwin says, we are to deal only with the present Revolutionary Council and on an open basis, both because it will simplify our relations with the exiles and because it may have the effect of keeping them somewhat unified. This means we are to work with Miro Cardona and consult with him and his associates before taking any measures affecting the exiles. In this connection the primacy of the Department of State is to be recognized, with Dr. Morales the individual at State through whom we should work. There is no intention of having Dr. Morales handle all details, but it is desired that he be kept informed and his concurrence obtained on any significant actions.
The program outlined by HEW is one of relief and resettlement with language training to be added. It was indicated that funds could be made available either through the foreign aid bill or the HEW budget. A decision on this, Mr. Goodwin indicated, would be reached within a week.
Mr. Quigley reported an estimated cost of $400 to $600.00 per trainee for 8 weeks of intensive English language training. Mr. Mitchell said that any needed subsistence support of the trainees could be tied in with HEW's cash assistance program. Although no specific location was determined for conducting such training there were some expressions of disapproval of the idea of using vacant Army facilities. Mr. Mitchell, in particular, stressed the general objection to anything resembling a concentration camp.
In general the Defense presentation indicated that other than for language training and some questions on security which are yet to be resolved there appear to be no obstacles to carrying out a program of accepting volunteers in the armed services./1/
/1/In a note to Yarmolinsky on May 26, General Lansdale warned that past experience indicated that the major obstacle to accepting foreign volunteers into the U.S. armed forces might be the minimum mental and physical qualifications established by the armed forces. (Ibid.)
Defense was asked to provide as expeditiously as possible authoritative information on the methods used and problems encountered in the language training of Puerto Rican volunteers at Fort Buchanan. This information is being obtained now.
Mr. Mountain of Defense will join Dr. Morales tomorrow when he meets with representatives from the Cuban Revolutionary Council.
221. Memorandum for the Record
Washington, May 18, 1961.
//Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report. Secret; Eyes Only; Ultrasensitive. No drafter is indicated on the source text, but it was probably Colonel Tarwater. The meeting was the 17th in the series conducted by the Cuba Study Group and was held at the Pentagon. The participants in the meeting included Taylor, Kennedy, Dulles, Burke, and General Lemnitzer. Notes on concluding testimony by two leaders of the Cuban exile community are not printed. A note on the source text reads: "The following notes are not a verbatim record, but represent the general substance of the statements made."
General Lemnitzer: The thing I would like to say at the very beginning is that I consider the JCS role was one of appraisal, evaluation, offering of constructive criticism, and assisting CIA in looking at the training and detailed plans. Defense participated in the role of support.
Question: What action was taken on the over-all U.S. plan of action for Cuba developed by the JCS in late January?
General Lemnitzer: Well, we prepared a plan of action for Cuba and forwarded it to the Secretary of Defense. There's some question of what happened to it up in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. I did discuss it with Dean Rusk and Mr. Dulles at one of the high level Governmental meetings on the 22nd of January. Several attempts were made by General Gray, at his level, to interest State and CIA in preparing a national plan based on the Trinidad concept. State was pretty receptive, but the people at CIA were not quite as receptive because they were involved in planning this operation and were already pretty well under way, as a result of a previous decision taken way back in March 17, 1960.
Question: What was the JCS view of the military feasibility of Trinidad and Zapata?
General Lemnitzer: Well, Trinidad first. Assuming control of the air, we felt that the landing could be effective against a light opposition which was the most that was anticipated in that area, but like all other considerations, the ultimate effect centered upon the uprisings that would be generated throughout the islands and the reinforcements which would be gravitating toward this particular beachhead.
Question: Control of the air--what did that mean to you?
General Lemnitzer: It meant that the air plan would succeed in knocking out the limited facilities available to Castro.
General Lemnitzer: Not 100%, but a great majority of the aircraft.
Question: How could you deal with any remaining aircraft, since you had only B-26s?
General Lemnitzer: It was expected that the initial strikes would be generally successful, since Castro's aircraft were concentrated on several fields. Following the initial strike, it would be a matter of matching the aircraft that were allocated to this plan against what remained of Castro's aircraft.
Question: In recurring strikes thereafter?
General Lemnitzer: That's right. We didn't intend to stop with just the strike on D-Day.
Question: It seems to me that several times there was a confidence in 100% control of the air and this just never happens.
General Lemnitzer: I never heard of a 100% success. On the other hand, you didn't have too many aircraft, and if we did some of the things that were anticipated and one important thing that I haven't heard discussed, the question of the diversionary landing has not received the attention that it deserves. Having been involved in this type of operation during the war, we always put great stress on diverting the enemy. This was a very important part of the Cuba plan but, unfortunately, it didn't go. When you only have one diversionary attack to attract the enemy's attention to another area and it doesn't get in, this is very detrimental to the over-all success of the plan.
Statement: There was a feeling that a 100% job would be done on Castro's air force, which just doesn't happen.
General Lemnitzer: I wouldn't go along with the idea that there was a feeling there would be 100% success in any kind of an operation.
Statement: This is Colonel Hawkins' reply to a message: "Since the plan called for the destruction of Castro's aircraft, there seemed to be no point in putting anti-aircraft guns on the ships."
General Lemnitzer: I inquired as to what machine guns, or anti-aircraft equipment they had aboard the ships, and they mentioned the 50 caliber guns, and so on, and this seemed reasonable for the type operation that was envisaged.
Question: Did the Chiefs approve Zapata?
General Lemnitzer: I don't regard our actions as approval as such--I'd like to make clear that we have supported the thing, but we didn't consider that it was within our purview to approve the plan. However, we did believe the plan was feasible, therefore, the plan was all right to go.
Question: Was there any question about the feasibility of the plan in your mind?
General Lemnitzer: The guerrilla aspects of the Trinidad Plan were much more obtainable than the Zapata Plan. We felt that in the Zapata Plan the same importance was attached to the whole air operation to the extent that the landing could be effected and the beachhead held for a period of time, but there again the success of this plan was dependent upon the full gravitation of guerrilla forces to the beach area.
Question: The ultimate success, or were uprisings a pre-condition to getting ashore?
General Lemnitzer: No, not for getting ashore. Ultimate success would be determined by the invasion serving as a catalyst for further action on the part of the anti-Castro guerrillas or elements throughout Cuba.
Question: By ultimate success, do you mean the overthrow of Castro?
General Lemnitzer: Yes. I never did count on an indefinite maintenance of this beachhead. When you get committed to a beach, the question of ultimate success depends on whether you can pump in resources faster than the enemy can build up around you. I think we generally believed that the establishment of the beachhead would constitute a trigger to set off a series of other events. It was never intended that this entire force would lodge themselves on the beach and maintain themselves there indefinitely since there were no reinforcements coming in.
Question: Was it anticipated that the military would be able to land in force on the beachhead and maintain the beachhead for a period of time?
General Lemnitzer: That is correct, and if the enemy forces built up faster than they had planned, they would go into the Escambray Mountains under the Trinidad Plan.
Question: How about Zapata?
General Lemnitzer: It didn't stand out so loud and clear, but never-theless the same general type of ultimate action was contemplated. There were three alternatives in Zapata, after they got on the beach, if it looked as though the uprising would not occur. First, we were in a guerrilla type country. Second, the Escambrays were quite a long way away, but they could be used as a guerrilla base. Third, if we succeeded in getting rid of most of the enemy air, the force could have been withdrawn and reassembled for possibly another type of attack somewhere else.
Question: Do you think they could have been withdrawn without overt U.S. support?
General Lemnitzer: I didn't regard this as a single beachhead. This particular plan never involved a 36-mile beachhead with 1400 men--that would be absurd. Green Beach and Red Beach and Blue Beach were small lodgments that never involved a continuous perimeter.
Statement: In talking to a lot of the operators I find that they felt that they really had impassable obstacles and that anyone coming into the area had to come down the roads.
General Lemnitzer: That is correct. There was no intention that the beachhead would include this whole area.
Question: With regard to the question of being in guerrilla territory, was any independent study made?
General Lemnitzer: Well, so far as I was concerned, I didn't go beyond the information we got from the CIA and from my own staff, that this was an area in which the guerrillas had operated for over 100 years.
Statement: I think this was considered guerrilla territory about 100 years ago and then about 60 years ago, but not recently.
General Lemnitzer: There are few people living in it and few roads, and so on.
Statement: There is no place in which you can maintain yourself in that swamp.
General Lemnitzer: I suppose the same thing could be said about the Escambray Mountains. I'd like to make clear that we did not like this area as well as the Trinidad area, and one of the reasons was that it was more difficult to break out of there.
Statement: You mention the preference for Trinidad--I'm not sure whether you're aware of it, but the Secretary of Defense apparently never appreciated that point. In fact, he had the impression that the Chiefs thought that Zapata was the better of the two plans.
General Lemnitzer: I just don't understand how he got that impression. I can show you in my notes on two accounts where I called it to his attention. We also put it in writing that "of the alternate plans, alternative three is considered the most feasible and likely to accomplish the objective. None of the alternates involved are as feasible and likely to accomplish the objectives as the present paramilitary plan." I don't see how you can say it any clearer than that.
Statement: I think it's just a question of too many papers and being confused.
General Lemnitzer: I'd like to go back to your question about guerrilla territory. This Zapata area is not much different from that in Vietnam, where they're having the devil's own time chasing the guerrillas through the swamps.
Statement: There are several problems. First, in comparison with the area in Vietnam, there isn't an expanse where these people could move. This is more limited. Furthermore, the towns and villages are on the outside where the invasion forces couldn't reach. The second problem is that these people were never trained or told that they were supposed to become guerrillas.
General Lemnitzer: I don't agree with that because they were trained as guerrillas for 9 months.
Statement: That was until November, 1960. There were only about 300 of them at that time, but then the great influx of about 1,000 came in after that time, and the great influx never received any instruction in guerrilla training.
General Lemnitzer: It was our understanding of the plan without any doubt that moving into the guerrilla phase was one of the important elements of the plan, and any idea that the Chiefs considered that they were making an indefinite lodgment on the beachhead is not right. Every bit of information that we were able to gather from the CIA was that the guerrilla aspects were always considered as a main element of the plan.
Question: What I can't understand is when it was presented to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, why didn't it receive a great deal of attention?
General Lemnitzer: That was regarded as one of the alternatives if they weren't successful.
Statement: General, if you look at that area and talk with anybody who has been there, you couldn't possibly become guerrillas in that damn place.
General Lemnitzer: I don't see why not.
Statement: Where are you going to get the water and the food? It's not like Vietnam. They sent helicopters over and shot all these people down.
General Lemnitzer: In Vietnam, for example, they don't get any food. They sustain themselves in an area just like this.
Statement: As I understood it, they did, that's why they put the wire around the villages.
General Lemnitzer: They put the wire around the villages to keep the food in, but there was also the possibility that these fellows would establish themselves as guerrillas in the Escambray Mountains or in the swamps and they would receive air drops.
Admiral Burke: Guerrillas couldn't sustain themselves in any of these areas until they got support from the populace. Supplies would have to be carried in to them until they received support from the populace.
Statement: The President had the same impression that you did--that if worst came to worst, this group could become guerrillas, but as we've gotten into it, it's become obvious that this possibility never really existed.
General Lemnitzer: Then we were badly misinformed.
Statement: Without training and instruction, they would never have gone guerrilla.
Mr. Dulles: I wouldn't wholly buy that. These people had a cadre of leaders--20% to 30% would be the leaders. They knew about guerrilla warfare. The guerrillas in World War II never had any training until they got into a guerrilla operation.
General Gray: It was always considered that the most feasible action was withdrawal from the beach by sea. This came up at one White House meeting when Mr. Bissell made the statement, that if we do have to pull out, the best course of action would be to withdraw from the beach.
Statement: But they had no plan to withdraw by sea. They had no capability to withdraw by sea, except as provided by the U.S. Navy.
General Lemnitzer: Well, it's a question of the time of withdrawal.
Statement: It still isn't clear to me how you're going to get them off if you wait until they are buttoned down on the beaches.
General Lemnitzer: Certainly as far as withdrawals are concerned, and I said this many times when the operation was on, the most difficult operation in the world is the withdrawal under enemy pressure from a beachhead. But that was not the kind of withdrawal that was anticipated, as far as I was concerned.
Question: That's the picture that shaped up and that's one of the unhappy aspects of the picture. Let's go back to Trinidad. The JCS said that Trinidad had a fair chance of success. What was your estimate of the feasibility of Zapata?
General Lemnitzer: Still feasible, but less so than Trinidad. We considered Zapata feasible. I could put words together and say that we said that Trinidad had a fair chance and that Zapata had less than a fair chance, but actually we felt that Zapata had a fair chance but of a lower grade than Trinidad.
Question: If the Chiefs had had any question as to feasibility, the Chiefs would have spoken up. Is that a fair statement?
General Lemnitzer: I'm sure they would.
Question: To what extent had the Chiefs made a personal study of the final operations plan?
General Lemnitzer: The final operations plan was received two days prior to the final D-Day and it was too late for a personal study. Portions of Zapata were proposed on four occasions and approved on the basis of explanations that we got from the working group.
General Taylor: Is it fair to say that you gave it de facto approval on a piecemeal basis?
General Lemnitzer: No other solution was feasible at that time. The rainy season was approaching and one thing that I would like to mention here was the fact that they had 100 MIG pilots being trained in Czechoslovakia, and we didn't know when they were going to be returned, and our thinking was strongly influenced by this fact.
Question: Was any discussion given as to what would happen if a few MIGs appeared?
General Lemnitzer: No, all we could do was to go on the basis of the information we had that the MIGs had not yet arrived. We also felt that if this operation was going to go, it should go before Castro received two Soviet destroyers that we understood were being delivered.
Question: What would have happened if you had had a couple of MIGs there at the time?
General Lemnitzer: Their appearance would have pretty well complicated the operation.
Question: Were any steps taken in order to prepare for that possibility?
General Lemnitzer: None, other than the possibility that you might go to the Navy and ask the Navy for overt support, but that was very unlikely.
Question: What was the Chiefs' view on the suitability of the terrain?
General Lemnitzer: We discussed that somewhat. It was considered not as suitable as Trinidad for the reasons that I indicated. Their success depended upon their ability to seize the approaches to the swamp areas. Now the size of the beachhead question was emphasized before. There was a plan to put lodgments in the entry ways into the swamp area. The size of the area was dictated by the necessity of protecting the airfields, and to prevent access to the swamp. The large area wasn't considered desirable but acceptable if the approaches were held and control of the air was established.
Statement: When you commented on Zapata the first time, the air plan was for D-Day strikes only, but with no limitations.
General Lemnitzer: That's correct.
Statement: Later there were limited strikes on D-2 and limited strikes on D-Day. Would you comment on this watering down of the air plan? Were the Chiefs satisfied with this?
General Lemnitzer: The D-2 strikes were added for non-military reasons. We would have preferred to do without the D-2 air strikes. They were never intended to accomplish the destruction of the Castro air force. They were to lend plausibility to the story that the D-Day strikes had been launched from within Cuba.
Question: Did you object to the D-2 air strikes?
General Lemnitzer: No, we did not object. We would have preferred not to have them, but for non-military reasons they were considered to be of great importance and they were approved.
Statement: They could have been quite disastrous because they could have alerted Castro and he could have dispersed his aircraft.
General Lemnitzer: Yes, but he didn't.
Statement: Yes, but that was just luck.
General Lemnitzer: Yes, but here again you get into the old battle of getting into an operation of this kind covertly, political and psychological considerations against military considerations. My conclusion here is, which I'll explain a little bit later, you have to be very careful about diluting military considerations in order to attain non-attribution and non-association with the United States.
Question: Do you feel that you or the Joint Chiefs were the defenders of the military aspects of the operation, or was CIA?
General Lemnitzer: The defenders of the military parts of the plan were the people who produced it and that was CIA. We were providing assistance, and assuring the feasibility of the plan.
General Taylor: What led to the idea that it was necessary to maintain that all of the air strikes emanated from Cuba?
General Lemnitzer: We were strong for the Trinidad Plan. However, about the middle of March during a meeting at the White House,/1/ Mr. Mann was gravely concerned about the impact throughout the Latin American area of these air strikes coming from outside of Cuba. He hammered at the point repeatedly and wanted to know if there wasn't some area in Cuba where they could land on a ready-made area. At the conclusion of this meeting CIA was directed to review the whole idea and come up with alternative landing areas other than Trinidad, because Trinidad didn't have the kind of airstrip that was required to provide plausibility to the story that the aircraft had come from within Cuba. This was an important consideration.
/1/An apparent reference to the meeting that took place on March 11; see Document 59.
Question: Was this approved beyond Mann?
General Lemnitzer: He was the one who expressed the views. I don't know how much Secretary Rusk or any of the other people were involved. As a matter of fact, it was a disappointment to me, because I thought we had a plan that had been thoroughly worked out and hated to see another delay and another complete evaluation of the island. It caused some concern both in my own group and in CIA. On March 16, when we had another meeting/2/ and were discussing the Zapata Plan, Mr. Mann liked the Zapata Plan because of the airfield and indicated that it provided us with a plausible denial. I indicated that the JCS had gone over the alternatives and didn't think that any of them were as good as the original Trinidad Plan, but of the three to be considered, Zapata was the most achievable. Then I said this, that it was not clear to me why Zapata was any more acceptable from the political point of view than the Trinidad Plan. Whereupon Mr. Mann replied that it gave plausible denial to the launching of air operations from outside Cuba. He said we needed a facade behind which we could deny that these attacks came out of the United States, Guatemala, or Nicaragua.
/2/The Zapata plan was discussed on March 15 and March 16; see Documents 65 and 66.
Question: Why were they so sensitive about the fair name of Guatemala and Nicaragua?
General Lemnitzer: Well, his concern was how much this particular operation might upset or antagonize the other Latin American nations by doing violence to one of the members of the OAS. He was deeply worried about the impact of this type operation conducted with our support and assistance which he felt was generally known, and he was especially worried about the air aspects of the plan.
Question: With regard to the D-2 and the D-Day air strikes both of which were to be limited, did the Joint Chiefs feel they had an adequate plan?
General Lemnitzer: I won't say they regarded it as adequate; it was a reasonable air plan. I'd like to point out that the D-2 air strike was never expected to wipe out Castro's entire force. It was the D-Day strike which was the important one. The D-Day strike involved fragmentation bombs, napalm, 50 caliber machine guns. This was an all-out effort and one of the critical aspects of the whole operation. The air plans for Trinidad and Zapata were the same. They were the same for the reason that the targets were identical. In the examination of the Zapata Plan, we were merely looking at the location of the landing. The same number of aircraft were on the three essential airfields and the air plan was not considered to be affected at all as far as the D-Day strikes were concerned.
Statement: I would like to make two points: First, there were three plans considered and the objection to one of the plans was the fact that the air strip wasn't adequate. That same objection was not made in connection with the Zapata Plan. The second thing is that the Zapata Plan as it was originally considered, anticipated capturing this airport and then have the planes take off from the airport.
General Lemnitzer: No, sir. That's wrong.
Statement: I'm just going by what the paper/3/ says.
/3/This briefing paper is not further identified.
General Lemnitzer: Are you saying that these aircraft were supposed to fly from Nicaragua and then land and load up and take off and bomb and so on?
Statement: I don't know. I wasn't there.
General Gray: I think it's wrong to base that whole Zapata Plan on one paper because this was just the first cut at the Zapata Plan. After that the Zapata Plan was considered again and again over a period of time, and all this became very clear as it went on.
Statement: Yes, I understand, but we're just talking about the beginning. The important thing is that you didn't turn one plan down because of the air strike situation, and yet you did turn another plan down because the air strike situation wasn't adequate. You didn't turn Zapata down because the air strikes weren't considered adequate, and yet the air strikes consisted of taking off after dawn.
General Lemnitzer: I didn't think there was any material change in the air plan. The targets were the same regardless of where you'd land. On D-Day the air plan involved going after the Cuban air force; thereafter, they would take under attack any movements of troops to the area and they would attempt to knock out microwave communications stations on which the Cuban national communications were largely dependent.
Question: What did you think would happen if you weren't 100% successful and didn't get a couple of T-33s?
General Lemnitzer: In war, you never expect 100% success. However, a couple of T-33s are not going to be decisive elements in an operation of this kind.
Question: Were there any comments or discussion about the T-33s in particular?
General Lemnitzer: I think I had information that they were armed, because we had been trying to get some kind of equipment against the Pathet Lao and were considering what the distribution of T-33s was around the world. We saw that some of them had been armed as reconnaissance planes and it was suspected that the Cuban air force had armed theirs--but they weren't bombers.
Statement: Yes, but they hit targets.
General Lemnitzer: Yes, but the T-33s didn't sink any ships.
Statement: Yes, they did.
Statement: No, not the T-33s. I think they were Sea Furies. A Sea Fury was the one that hit the Rio.
General Lemnitzer: I have a long list of the reasons why we preferred Trinidad to Zapata: It was more distant from Havana, the closeness to the Escambray Mountains, there was only one access road into the area, the nearest Cuban army unit of any size was 100 miles away, and considerable support from dissidents was expected in that area.
Question: What was the understanding of the importance of control of the air?
General Lemnitzer: Absolutely vital to success.
Question: Were the Chiefs satisfied with the plan of pre-D-Day strikes?
General Lemnitzer: We first talked about some strikes on the day before D-Day, but the D-Day strikes were regarded as critical. We were particularly interested in napalm, or I was, because I've seen the effects of napalm on aircraft when they're parked close together; also fragmentation bombs. Of course, elimination of the D-Day strike greatly eliminated the insurance against attack from the Cuban air force.
Question: Were the Joint Chiefs of Staff involved in the cancellation of the D-Day air strikes?
General Lemnitzer: They were not. It came as a surprise to me.
Question: When did you hear about it?
General Lemnitzer: At 2 o'clock on the morning of the 17th of April when General Gray and General Wheeler came to my quarters on another matter. They said they had received a call from CIA urging that they get air cover for the beachhead on the 17th. It was then that I heard that they had cancelled the D-Day air strikes. On that occasion I strongly supported putting U.S. Naval cover over the beachhead. I directed that Admiral Dennison be prepared to provide this cover. However, I recognized the major political implications involved and directed General Wheeler and General Gray to consult with the Department of State on this matter.
Question: Was the request for air cover an attempt to neutralize some of the effect of the cancellation of the D-Day strikes?
General Lemnitzer: The way it came to me was that it was an urgent call for putting U.S. air cover over the beachhead.
Statement: Maybe General Gray can tell us.
General Gray: At the time I was called over to the CIA, it was about 1 o'clock in the morning. They informed me then that the air strikes were cancelled. Then General Cabell asked me if I would see what I could do to get air cover from the carrier. We eventually got permission for the Early Warning but not for the air cover.
Question: What was the understanding of the JCS as to the action of the landing force if it effected a lodgment but no uprisings occurred?
General Lemnitzer: Those were the three alternatives. Go guerrilla in the swamps; conduct guerrilla operations from the Escambray; or be withdrawn.
Question: What was the understanding of the ability of the force to go guerrilla?
General Lemnitzer: It might not have been ideal country but it had been used, and it was believed to be feasible guerrilla country.
Question: Did the JCS examine the feasibility of this course of action?
General Lemnitzer: No, no specific study. The Working Group studied the feasibility and presented it to the JCS on several occasions as being feasible.
Question: What did they think of the effect of the swamp on the operation?
General Lemnitzer: We felt that it assisted defense but it was also a double-edged sword--it aided defense but also made it more difficult to break out.
Question: How did the JCS follow the course of the operation?
General Lemnitzer: The Secretary of Defense and I attended briefing sessions held in the special War Room which we set up for this operation. Then Service liaison officers briefed their respective Chiefs with information from the War Room. There was a continual flow of information from the War Room and CIA. It came to our War Room by telephone calls, and messengers from their war room to this one.
Question: There was no electronic gear?
General Gray: Many messages came by teletype and some by phone, and then we had an officer on liaison duty with CIA.
General Lemnitzer: The Joint Staff met on the 17th and 19th of April and considered important action messages. On the 18th, Admiral Burke and I were at the White House for most of the day in conference, and we followed the operations from there. That's in general how we handled it.
Question: Would you say this was satisfactory?
General Lemnitzer: If we were running the operation, no. But we were in a support role. We were primarily concerned with logistic support. We arranged a rather elaborate extensive logistic support plan. We envisioned arming a hell of a lot of Cubans if the uprisings occurred. Our logistic plan was 4 or 5 times larger than the original. The Secretary of Defense was particularly interested in being sure that they had all the support that they could possibly require.
Question: What was the understanding as to the ammunition situation at the end of D+1?
General Lemnitzer: Our understanding was that it was critical. However, we knew there was ammunition on the LCIs and the LCUs, and there was an air drop planned by CIA on the night of D+1.
Question: There was one on D-Day night and one planned for D+1?
General Lemnitzer: Yes.
Admiral Burke: We also tried to get some C-130s.
General Lemnitzer: That is correct. We had some C-130s over at Kelly Air Force Base but they never got into the action.
Question: Did the Chairman know of the flight of the ships?
General Lemnitzer: I sure did. I knew of all the attempts by CIA and CINCLANT to try and round them up.
Question: What recommendations were made regarding U.S. help after D-Day?
General Lemnitzer: Well, Arleigh and I were over at the White House when the question of using U.S. destroyers to pick up people off the beach was discussed. The feasibility and the need was discussed right there, and the decision was made to order them in.
Admiral Burke: We didn't know what was going on at the beach so we asked for reconnaissance, and the reconnaissance was approved.
General Lemnitzer: The afternoon or night of D-Day 4 B-26s were made available which we had been preparing for the Laos operations. Then 4 more were made available on D+1. In addition to that, we offered 5 T-33s and CIA accepted 4. On D+1 action was initiated to use C-130s in dropping ammunition on the beachhead. The aircraft were moved to Kelly, the packing crews were on their way, and the crews were set up for the drops on the night of D+1 but they never went into action.
Question: Why weren't the T-33s turned over to CIA on D+1?
Mr. King: I believe it may have been a question of getting pilots. We were short of pilots by D+1.
Question: When did you sense that the beachhead might be going down?
General Lemnitzer: On the morning of D+2, I made a comment to the President that this was the time for this outfit to go guerrilla.
Question: How were your comments received?
General Lemnitzer: I received a surprise when Mr. Bissell said they were not prepared to go guerrilla.
Question: This was the first time you'd known about that?
General Lemnitzer: Yes.
Question: That being the case, was there any discussion that we were going to lose the war or we were going to have to use the U.S. Navy? Was it realized that they were accepting defeat if that decision wasn't made?
General Lemnitzer: I'm not sure it was put in quite those terms.
Mr. Kennedy: Could I add something? I don't think there was complete information--all the messages showing the critical situation were not transmitted to the President. However, there was general knowledge that there was a shortage of ammunition. We were told on D-Day that the ships had gone out 15 miles and they intended to come back in that night. The President had said that day that he'd rather be called an aggressor than a bum, so he was prepared to go as far as necessary to assure success, but we were always about 5 or 6 or 7 hours behind on our information. The next morning on D+1 we knew the ships hadn't come in for some reason we couldn't understand, and there was a serious ammunition shortage. At this time there was no assurance whether it would be possible to hold the beachhead even if the Navy was ordered in. So at one o'clock Admiral Burke was instructed to send Navy pilots over to reconnoiter and send back a message stating whether they could maintain the beachhead. The message in reply stated there was no fighting going on, so there wasn't any point in going in that they could see. The next morning there was a message saying the beach had collapsed and they wanted to evacuate the men, so the President gave the order for the destroyers to go in, but by this time it was impossible to evacuate the men because the beachhead wasn't large enough, so then it was too late to do anything.
General Lemnitzer: It wasn't just the question of committing U.S. forces and saving the war--it wasn't that simple. It was question of whether or not the Navy could save it if you sent them in.
Mr. Kennedy: We didn't have any idea what the situation was there. The President said he used to walk around on that White House lawn thinking he'd like to do something if he knew what was going on.
General Lemnitzer: This is just like all actions. The Commander didn't have the kind of information that he'd like to have had.
Question: What we're talking about is the difficulty, in fact, the impossibility of running a military operation from Washington. Was this ever recognized during the preliminary considerations?
General Lemnitzer: The difficulty is that no Commander could have made these decisions down there because these were decisions to commit the U.S., and the only place that decision could be made was right here by the Commander-in-Chief. No matter where you had your command ship, you would still have to get the decision out of Washington because this was a decision to commit U.S. forces.
Statement: That's very true. But I thought you might have a number of representatives of different Departments on a first-class ship with first-class communications.
General Lemnitzer: But you would still have to rely on communications from the beach.
Statement: The men on the Blagar had a pretty good picture of what was taking place, but that picture never was transmitted up here.
General Lemnitzer: That's certainly correct.
Question: Were the JCS satisfied to have CIA conduct this operation?
General Lemnitzer: As far as we were concerned, the job was a covert operation and the JCS couldn't legally conduct a covert operation.
General Taylor: I couldn't find that you or anybody else ever raised the question whether or not CIA should have run this operation.
General Lemnitzer: This thing started back in March of 1960, when this assignment of responsibility was made. I didn't get into it until many months after all of this had been decided.
Mr. Dulles: I think some JCS representative was at that meeting at the White House.
General Lemnitzer: I don't know. I wasn't Chairman at that time. Maybe Nate/4/ was there. I was not there and I didn't know a thing about it, but nevertheless there were lots of times when various people indicated that this was something the military ought to run. But again it was a question of the dis-association of the United States.
/4/Reference is to General Nathan F. Twining, USAF, who preceded Lemnitzer as Chairman of the JCS.
Question: Well, the JCS could have been just as dis-associated as CIA was?
General Lemnitzer: How could you?
Statement: Didn't you turn over the training of these people to people from Defense? The only difference would be the responsibility for the execution of the plan.
General Lemnitzer: That's one of the things we have to look at in the United States Government right now. Are we going to run this thing on a covert basis--I think we were trapped by words, by covert.
Question: Do you agree that an operation can be covert and still be conducted by Defense?
General Lemnitzer: Yes, we can. We've conducted some. I think you can do it with CIA provided you provide them with the military staff that they need.
Statement: I think they had a lot of staff and they had what they needed.
Mr. Dulles: I thought we did. We had 38 trainers down in Guatemala that you supplied.
General Lemnitzer: Yes, we did.
Question: We would like to get your views on how you think paramilitary operations should be conducted in principle. Should we make the decision that covert operations of this sort be assigned to Defense?
General Lemnitzer: I think the answer to this question depends upon the size, the magnitude of the operation that is involved.
Statement: General Lemnitzer, we would appreciate it if you would take the time to give us your ideas on where the line should be drawn with regard to covert operations.
General Lemnitzer: I don't see how you can have covert activities by armed forces. I think it's a contradiction in terms. We can have military people that are sheep-dipped and put them in an operation of this kind. But you can't just take any officer and say he's going to be sheep-dipped unless he volunteers for it. He has family problems. The military would have a hell of a time contracting these people.
Question: But there was no question of transferring it--no suggestion?
General Lemnitzer: No.
Question: What is your view of the accuracy of the evaluation of the effectiveness of Castro's force?
General Lemnitzer: The evaluation of the navy was accurate; the air force, fairly accurate--it was inaccurate as to pilots' capabilities, and also regarding the guns on the T-33s; concerning the army, I would say that the information was not accurate. My information was that most of the tanks were up around the Havana area, and how they moved their tanks down there that fast without having some in that area, I don't know and I haven't been able to get into it because I've been away, but I would say the navy information was accurate; the air force, fairly accurate; and the army and the militia not too accurate in terms of reaction time and capability.
Question: What impression did the JCS have of the likelihood of an uprising?
General Lemnitzer: We had no information. We went on CIA's analysis and it was reported that there was a good prospect. I remember Dick Bissell, evaluating this for the President, indicated there was sabotage, bombings, and there were also various groups that were asking or begging for arms and so forth. All they needed were arms and equipment, and the impression that we got was somewhat over-optimistic; particularly in light of measures that Castro took.
Question: Can defeat be properly attributed to any deficiency in the intelligence?
General Lemnitzer: I would say only to a degree. For example, the estimates of the possibility of the population rising up, and I don't think we estimated the effectiveness of Castro's control of the people.
Question: May I just mention the attitude most of us have on that now. This is related to the fact that no call to rise was given, and that this was withheld until they could be sure that these people had someplace to go for support, so the idea of the uprising was never really tried.
General Lemnitzer: I've seen all kinds of reports about the number of people they've put under arrest, in the stockades and so forth, which would have certainly inhibited any uprising.
Question: How should a paramilitary operation be fitted into Governmental machinery?
General Lemnitzer: I think we ought to have a national plan for any one of these situations like we have for Laos. We have a man now who is Mr. Vietnam. He does the coordinating activities for the Department and much more effectively than was ever done in the past.
Statement: We have developed a little chart of the kind of things that we are considering. Would you like to make a comment on this?
General Lemnitzer: This is about what I have in mind. With a permanent Chairman with no other kind of job, you have the representation from the Departments; knowing the nature of the operation ahead of time and determining which department has the paramount responsibility, the Chairman should be selected accordingly.
Statement: We visualized that this framework would be applicable to any situation.
General Lemnitzer: No, I don't think this would be practical. For instance, right now. We're enmeshed in Vietnam, Thailand and Korea. You can be Chairman of just so many things. No more than about one if you're going to do the job right. I think you'd have to have more than just one Chairman.
Statement: This over-all Chairman would get everything all straightened out, say here's your problem and send it to the President to make the decision.
General Lemnitzer: Secretary McNamara has some strong views about this, but I pointed out repeatedly that I had seen this tried and the Chairman can make the decision and then suddenly the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Defense finds that a big chunk of his resources have been allocated for something when he wants to put them someplace else, particularly when you get into the foreign policy field.
General Taylor: Then you feel it is good in theory but not in practice?
General Lemnitzer: That's right.
Question: Do you feel that the Chiefs discharged their responsibilities as military advisors to the President in the course of this operation?
General Lemnitzer: Yes, I do feel that the Chiefs discharged their responsibility.
Question: I mean as military advisors?
General Lemnitzer: Yes, I do.
Question: Were the Chiefs ever consulted as to whether or not this operation was really necessary?
General Lemnitzer: This question was resolved way back in the previous administration.
Question: How do you feel situations should be handled when only the Chairman is present at a conference?
General Lemnitzer: Many times the Chairman has to go to an NSC
Meeting and questions come up which he has to answer from a military
point of view what the Chiefs would have answered if they were
in body, but you can't have everybody at that level all the time.
I think the Chairman has to speak for the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
generally speaking. On special occasions, I think all the Chiefs
should be present.
222. Memorandum of Conversation
Washington, May 19, 1961, 4 p.m.
//Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD (C) A Files: FRC 71 A 2896, Yarmolinsky Files, Cuban Volunteer Program. Secret. Drafted by Mountain on May 22.
Meeting with Representatives of the Cuban Revolutionary Council
At the request of Dr. Morales Carrion, Dept. of State, a meeting of representatives of several departments of the U.S. Government with representatives of the Cuban Revolutionary Council was held at the Department of State at 4:00 p.m., 19 May 1961.
The participants for the Revolutionary Council were:
Mr. Varona--Military Affairs
Mr. Hevia--Foreign Affairs
Mr. Carrillo--Finances & Propaganda
Mr. Ray--Underground Activities
Mr. Aragon--Secretary to Mr. Miro Cardona, who is ill in Miami
On the part of the United States, in addition to Dr. Morales there were several representatives of the Department of State chiefly from the Caribbean area and the following:
Mr. James Hennessey--Immigration and Naturalization Service, representing Dept. of Justice
Mr. Leon Uhlmann--Office of the Attorney General
Mr. James Quigley--Assistant Secretary, Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare
Mr. William Mitchell--Commissioner of Social Security
Mr. Maurice J. Mountain--Policy Planning Staff, ISA, Dept. of Defense
After introductory remarks by both Dr. Morales and Mr. Hevia to the effect that this was an initial meeting to bring the Council and the United States representatives together in order to see what needs to be and can be done from here on to establish a free and democratic Cuba, Mr. Hevia raised the first problem.
He said that extra planes were needed to get the people out of Cuba who have papers to leave, but who are daily turned away by PanAm because no space is available. PanAm carries out about 100 per day and they are booked up through October of this year. Each day, Mr. Hevia said, as many as 500 are turned away. Mr. Brown of the Department of State was assigned the task of finding out what could be done about the matter.
The second problem was that of obtaining waivers of visas for members of the underground who, for their own safety, should get out of Cuba. These people do not qualify for waivers on ordinary grounds since they have no relatives already in the U.S. When the discussion disclosed that a figure of about 40 people were involved, the problem did not appear to be insuperable to the Immigration and Naturalization Service and Mr. James Hennessey agreed to see what could be done.
The third problem was how to get those Cubans who were now living in various Embassies in Havana, where they had sought asylum, to the United States without having them travel first to the country affording them asylum. The Council was aware of the fact that a Cuban granted asylum in, for example, the Argentine Embassy could claim safe-counduct only to Argentina. They wished to know how such people could be brought to the United States without first having to go to Argentina. The Department of State will study the problem.
The fourth problem was how the Council could dispatch its representatives--teachers, workers, etc.--on official missions abroad and be sure that they would be readmitted to the U.S. on their return. The status of the Cubans as refugees and the absence of customary documentation for reentry now makes it technically impossible for them to return to the United States once they leave. Mr. Hennessey and the Department of State will try to find a solution to this problem.
The fifth problem was what to do about those persons who held four-year visas for the United States which are about to expire. Dr. Maceo explained that he personally was in that position since his four-year visa would expire in another five or six weeks. Mr. Hennessey indicated that this was related to the previous problem and that he would seek a solution for both.
The sixth problem was a question of whether the United States would bring before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights or the Organization of American States, or both, the charge against the Castro regime of inhuman treatment of its citizens. A representative of the Department of State suggested that there were a number of reasons why the United States should not bring this charge, and he suggested that the Council work with other Latin American States to have them take the initiative. He assured the Council that the United States would support such a move, provided the initiative came from some other country.
The seventh problem was a question of finances. First, the Council wanted to know about financial support for the refugees as a group; second, the special problem of survivors and families of the invasion force; and third, the financial support needed for future Council activities, particularly in the field of propaganda. They said that members of the invasion force had been paid $175 per month with $25 per month additional for each child. A total of about 2,400 fighters were involved. 1,000 are now prisoners, 200 are dead or missing, and another 1,200 have returned. They felt these payments should be continued so long as, for those who returned, they are not gainfully employed.
The Commissioner of Social Security, Mr. Mitchell, explained that the United States was now supplying cash assistance to the extent of $100 per month per family, and there were several reasons why this would have to remain the maximum. In addition, he pointed out, the United States is providing surplus foodstuffs free, is making available free education, extensive health services, and resettlement costs for those for whom employment can be found. For unaccompanied children all costs for their complete care are assumed by the United States.
In the discussion which followed, there seemed to be some confusion as to who was paying the $175 per month. The Council members said it was CIA, but it was not clear whether these payments had been cut off for all, or were continuing for some, or what their status was. It was clear, however, that both Mr. Quigley and Mr. Mitchell would take up the question of support for the survivors of those killed, missing or captured in the invasion. Mr. Varona estimated that the fighting force and their families together numbered about 10,000 people. In response to a question by Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Varona stated that he was not asking for support for those Cubans, resident in the United States, who travelled, sometimes from as far away as California, to join the invasion army. He had in mind only those Cuban refugees who had no other means of support. At this point in the discussion there was no further reference to support of the Council's activities.
The eighth problem was brought up by Mr. Ray who suggested a program should be set up at once and carried out vigorously to train doctors, engineers, public administration personnel. It became apparent that he was talking about a morale problem and that such training would be a morale booster to the extent that these people would feel they were training for a post-Castro Cuba. Mr. Mitchell responded to this question by pointing out the efforts that were being made to find employment for exiles who wished to utilize their skills and training in the United States. The Council reiterated their belief that a vigorous program to train people of this sort was needed and that it should be promoted in such a way as to improve the morale of the Cuban exiles.
The ninth problem was posed by Mr. Varona and was addressed to the representative of the Department of Defense. Mr. Varona stated that it was the firm purpose of the exile group to continue the fight to free Cuba and to bring about the downfall of the Castro regime. He delivered an increasingly impassioned statement ending it with the following question which, he said, was the most important of all with which they were concerned. In accomplishing their objective of ridding Cuba and the world of the Castro government, what help, when, where and in what form could they expect from the United States?
Mr. Mountain responded by saying that the question Mr. Varona had asked was a most serious one. He said that he believed there was no American who did not share the desire of the Council to see the establishment of a free and democratic Cuba. The answer to Mr. Varona's question, however, could only come from the highest levels of the U.S. Government, by which he meant the President and his principal advisers. He wished to assure Mr. Varona that the Department of Defense would do whatever the President and the high councils of the U.S. Government demanded of it. However, it was not a question which the Department of Defense, alone, could answer.
Mr. Varona replied saying that he did not expect to get an answer, but that he wanted to bring this matter up at this initial meeting to emphasize the importance that they attach to this matter. Mr. Mountain answered that he understood Mr. Varona's purpose and that Mr. Varona could be assured that his question and the seriousness with which he raised it would be made known to the Secretary of Defense.
Mr. Mountain then went on to say that the Department of Defense was now working on the development of a program along the lines of Mr. Ray's suggestion about further training for Cuban exiles. He explained that for those among the exile group who would like to receive military training, a program by which they could be trained as individuals within the U.S. armed forces was being worked out. Mr. Hevia asked whether the trainees would be separated and scattered or whether they would train as a group. Mr. Mountain replied that it was the view of the Department of Defense that their training would be helped most by being placed within the established units of the U.S. armed forces./1/ The Council as a group took a dim view of any arrangement which would tend to split up the exile group. Mr. Ray said that the psychology of the Cuban group was more important than the efficiency of their training. He said it was absolutely necessary to keep them together, to keep their spirits up, to give them hope for the future, and to give some sense of purpose to their pursuits. He was against any program which would split them up. Dr. Morales entered the conversation by saying that we had apparently identified an area where there was an important difference of views and he was glad to see the Council express itself frankly and openly on the matter. He suggested that perhaps this was a matter which, having been identified, could now be taken up in another forum where the alternatives could be explored. The Council agreed. Mr. Varona said that if it was publicity that the Department of Defense was worried about, the same problem would exist if an attempt were made to train Cuban soldiers scattered throughout the U.S. forces.
/1/On May 26 Yarmolinsky, acting on behalf of the Secretary of Defense, circulated a plan for "Service of Cuban Volunteers in the U.S. Armed Forces" to the various branches of the armed services for comment. The plan was based on the assumption that the Cuban volunteers inducted would be spread throughout the services for training and incorporated into existing military formations. (Ibid.)
Mr. Maceo asked if the Defense program could make provision for keeping Cuban officers in training, and Mr. Hevia asked what provision could be made for military personnel in the age group over 26 but perhaps not older than 35 or 36. Mr. Maceo also asked what provision could be made for doctors in the armed forces.
Mr. Mountain said that the problem of training Cuban officers posed some special difficulties which were not easily solved; that the defense program dealt only with the 17 to 26 age group; and as for the training of doctors, that was a problem which was not specifically a Defense matter. If some such program as Mr. Ray had proposed were worked out perhaps the doctors could be trained in that way. Mr. Maceo, however, repeated that it was training in the armed forces for doctors as well that he thought was important. He pointed out that many of them had been soldiers as well as doctors and he felt that training in military medicine or in medicine within a military organization would be highly desirable. Mr. Mountain agreed that Defense would explore these matters further.
Mr. Carrillo then read a prepared paper on the Council's plans for a world-wide propaganda effort. The paper itself was turned over to Dr. Morales. In effect, it proposes to make of the exile group an activist anti-Communist organization which will engage in propaganda, mobilization of public opinion, and popular agitation principally in the Western Hemisphere, but also in Europe and Asia. They will seek the integration of different local groups in each country, principally against Communists, and will employ for the purpose Cuban exiles and people native-born in the country of their operations. They intend to operate not only in South and Central America, but also in the United States and Canada. They visualize this effort not only as directed toward the overthrow of Castro, but also as a movement to destroy communism. They expect within the next two to three months to have committees established in all Latin American countries and to have enlisted some 50,000 people in their work.
The immediate need, however, they said--and all the Council emphatically agreed--was to construct at Key West a long-wave radio station which could overcome the jamming effect of Castro's device of having 500 ham radio operators in Cuba go on the air to prevent reception of long-wave radio programs from the U.S. They said he had confiscated all short-wave radios, and it was necessary for the people of Cuba to get encouragement and hope from the exile group, but this was not possible without a radio station which could cut through the Castro jamming system.
Dr. Morales said that he felt this whole area of propaganda activities was an important one, and that it should be taken up in an appropriate forum. The Department of State would be the agency to which the Council should look for further exploration of these possibilities.
One of the Council members mentioned that before the invasion the passports of about 400 of the fighters in the invasion force had been collected, he did not know by whom, but that he would like to have them returned to the individuals to whom they had been issued. A representative of the visa section of the Department of State said he would look into the matter.
Mr. Ray brought up the question of some 13 Cubans still being held in Camp McClelland and wanted to know what could be done about their release. Mr. Uhlmann and Mr. Hennessey promised to look into the matter.
Dr. Morales suggested, and it was agreed, that a similar meeting be scheduled on a regular basis, initially every two weeks in Washington to canvass whatever major and pressing problems existed and to receive reports on progress made in solving them. He suggested that he be kept informed of actions taken, but that the Council consult with the representatives of the Departments on specific matters without clearance through him. This was agreed, but Mr. Mountain noted that the questions addressed to the Department of Defense had implications extending beyond the competence of the Department of Defense. He, therefore, suggested that more fruitful discussion of some of these problems might be possible if Dr. Morales was present at least for the first few meetings with Department of Defense representatives. This was readily agreed to and the Council will, for the present time, contact the Department of Defense through Dr. Morales.
Maurice J. Mountain
Director, Policy Planning Staff
223. Paper Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency1
Washington, May 19, 1961.
//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/DDP Files: Job 78-01450R, Box 5, Area Activity-Cuba. Secret; Eyes Only. No drafting information is given, but a note attached to the source text indicates that copies were sent to Dulles, Goodwin, and Berle. A May 24 memorandum from Barnes to Dulles identifies this paper as the covert annex to the policy paper prepared for the NSC on May 4 by the interagency task force chaired by Nitze. (Ibid., Job 67-01083R, Box 1, C.T. Barnes Chrono, Jan-Jul 1961) For text of the May 4 policy paper, see Document 202.
1. The proposals submitted in this recommended program of covert action directed against the Castro regime are based on a realistic appraisal of existing assets, both in and out of Cuba; on potential assets, both inside and outside of Cuba which are capable of development within acceptable time limits; and on certain assumptions with respect to United States policy.
2. For the purpose of this paper it is assumed that United States policy:
A. Will not contemplate the use of its armed forces to intervene directly or unilaterally in the absence of an aggressive military action on the part of Cuba directed against the United States or another country of this hemisphere.
B. Will not permit the organizing and training of a Cuban exile military force for further action against Cuba.
C. Will permit United States covert support of Cuban clandestine activities and the carrying out of covert unilateral operations as described herein, including the use of maritime and air facilities within the United States as the bases for the staging of sabotage, in-exfiltration, supply, raider and propaganda (including leaflet dropping) operations.
3. The Situation: The position of the Castro regime within Cuba has been significantly strengthened by the failure of the mid-April invasion. This is principally the result of two factors: (a) the psychological effects of the Castro victory on the Cuban people as a whole and the security forces in particular; and (b) a marked decrease in the capabilities of the anti-Castro forces, both in exile and within Cuba. It is probable, therefore, that there will be no major change in internal political conditions during the next six months.
Given the strength of the Castro military machine and the proven effectiveness of its security services, there is only the slightest possibility that the regime can be overthrown from within during the foreseeable future. With the expected arrival of MIG aircraft and the probable acquisition of a small fleet of fast naval cutters, the military capability of the regime will increase. Coupled with this is the fact that the opposition has lost some of its strongest forces; the underground has been badly hurt and will unquestionably take months to rebuild; and confidence in the United States has been shaken.
4. Background: The failure of the Cuban strike force in April 1961 to achieve its objective requires a careful re-evaluation of the extent of the problem and a re-assessment of the existing and potential assets which could be employed in a covert effort to weaken the Castro regime in order to accelerate its eventual overthrow.
There appears to be general agreement that there is no sure way of overthrowing the Castro regime short of United States military intervention. There is a possibility, albeit slight, that lesser measures--covert and overt--might result in the overthrow of the Castro regime from within. However, as long as Castro thrives, his major threat--the example and stimulus of a working communist revolution--will persist.
In summary, it can be said that Castro's position in Cuba is stronger than before the April 1961 invasion attempt, although more isolated in Latin America as a whole. The opposition has lost some of its strongest forces, its factionalism is greater, and its confidence in the United States has been shaken. Castro's armed forces and militia were effective to an unexpected degree in defeating the invasion. Increased police repression and terror has almost certainly badly weakened existing opposition and underground forces within Cuba. Castro's hard-core supporters are more heavily armed and more enthusiastic in his behalf, and the widespread support he has received abroad has probably increased his stature among many other Cubans. The abortive effort to unseat him will probably provide him with a useful excuse to justify further economic austerity, as well as a lever for additional Soviet aid. In general, unless Castro makes some major mistakes (e.g. direct armed attack on some other Latin American country or prolongation of an extreme reign of terror) or the United States scores some brilliant coup de main, Castro will probably be able to benefit from the fruits of his victory for some time to come.
To plan, implement and sustain a program of covert action designed to exploit the economic, political and psychological vulnerabilities of the Castro regime. It is neither expected nor argued that the successful execution of this covert program will in itself result in the overthrow of the Castro regime. This plan should be viewed only as the covert contribution to an overall national program designed to accelerate the moral and physical disintegration of the Castro government and to hasten the day when a combination of actions and circumstances will make possible its replacement by a democratic government responsive to the needs, the aspirations and the will of the Cuban people.
1. To achieve these objectives a series of short-term and long-term tasks will be undertaken. Wherever feasible and possible, these activities will be carried out under the aegis of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. However, since this will not always be practicable or desirable, for a variety of reasons, unilateral Agency operations and independent operations by acceptable groups and elements outside the framework of the Council will also be undertaken.
Short Term Tasks
A. Operational Intelligence Collection: Every effort will be made to improve and expand our capabilities for the collection of operational intelligence on Castro's plans, intentions and capabilities; on specific industrial, military and communications targets; on candidates for defection; on the morale of the civil population and the extent of its support of and discontent with the Castro regime. This will call for the strengthening of existing internal agent nets; the recruitment of legal travelers; the recruitment, training and infiltration of new agents; liaison with Cuban exile groups and individuals with independent access to targets, and the continuation and intensification of existing special intelligence efforts.
B. Sabotage Operations Against Selected Targets: Sabotage operations will be planned and executed against such targets as refineries, power plants, micro wave stations, radio and TV installations, strategic highway bridges and railroad facilities, military and naval installations and equipment, certain industrial plants and sugar refineries. This will first require building up present capabilities through recruitment, training and infiltration of sabotage teams.
C. Operations in Support of Guerrilla Activities: Operations will be planned and executed in support of guerrilla bands which exist or may emerge in the hills of Cuba utilizing both air and maritime operations for the delivery of arms and supplies and for the infiltration and exfiltration of personnel. Since we believe that there is little likelihood of significant accomplishments by guerrilla activities for some time to come, we will discourage offensive guerrilla activities at this time in order that the strength of such forces may be preserved for a more propitious moment. Depending on success in building solid, reasonably dependable and reasonably compartmented assets, in establishing communication with them, and equipping them, the scale of sabotage and guerrilla activities will be stepped up. Our first concern is the rebuilding of our internal nets and of our capability for mounting significant operations.
D. Operations Directed at Defection of Castro Officials: Operations directed at defection, wherever possible in place, of well-placed officials of the Castro government and armed forces will be planned and executed. The objective is two-fold:
(1) in the cases of defections in place, to gain an insight into the intentions, plans and capabilities of the regime, and
(2) in the cases of open and publicized defections, to cause embarrassment and loss of prestige for the regime, especially in the rest of Latin America.
E. Operations Directed at Destroying the Popular Image of Castro: In the field of psychological warfare, operations will be planned and executed aimed at destroying the image of Castro as a true revolutionary interested in the welfare of his people and the replacement of that image with one of a ruthless dictator who, under the false banners of revolutionary reform, has deprived his people of their basic liberties and turned their country into a Soviet satellite. This will require expansion of existing covert press, radio and other media assets outside of Cuba and the strengthening of clandestine propaganda mechanisms inside of Cuba, including underground printed propaganda, clandestine radio broadcasting stations, radio and TV intrusion operations. Also required will be a re-direction of Radio Swan activities, with the Revolutionary Council playing an important part in the programming of the Cuban propaganda effort.
F. Operations Aimed at Strengthening the Prestige and Acceptability of the Revolutionary Council: Through all available propaganda warfare assets and mechanisms an effort will be made to strengthen the prestige of the Revolutionary Council and its programs, as well as the prestige of its individual members, in order to assure its acceptability as a provisional successor to the Castro regime. Through adoption of a program of political action an effort will be made (a) to maintain close and cordial contact with the Revolutionary Council for the purpose of providing unobtrusive guidance and material support for its organizational structure and its clandestine activities; (b) to improve the position of the Council by encouraging support of the Council by acceptable political groups and personalities who are now opposed to or do not recognize the Council as leadership of the opposition; (c) to encourage the Council to adopt a conciliatory attitude towards all acceptable political groups; and (d) to broaden its base to make it more representative of all political thought (with exclusion of extreme left and extreme right) and important social and economic sectors (church, labor, military, students, intellectuals, etc.)
2. Long Term Tasks:
A. Political Action: Develop friendly and close contact with leaders of the Revolutionary Council, and leaders (and/or potential leaders) of all political parties and social and economic sectors (church, labor, military, students, intellectuals, et al) in order to assure friendly and helpful contacts and attitudes towards the United States throughout the entire political and social spectrum during the post-Castro era.
B. Intelligence: From existing and potential assets in Cuba and abroad develop and train unilateral agent networks in all walks of life in order to assure the Agency a flow of reliable and significant intelligence during the confused and chaotic period which will exist during the post-Castro era.
C. Counter Intelligence: In coordination and cooperation with the Revolutionary Council create, train and support a highly motivated and professionally competent apolitical and career security service which will be dedicated to the preservation of the democratic form of government. Assign carefully selected and qualified Agency personnel to work with the service during the current and post-Castro eras.
D. Psychological: Maintain and strengthen the excellent contacts and relations which now exist with exile press and radio entities and personalities in order to assure friendly and helpful contacts and attitudes within mass media circles during the post-Castro era.
The following covert assets are believed to be in existence as of 1 May 1961:
1. [6-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]
[1 paragraph (2-1/2 lines of source text) not declassified]
2. [9 lines of source text not declassified]
[1 paragraph (2 lines of source text) not declassified]
3. [1-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]
[1 paragraph (4-1/2 lines of source text) not declassified]
4. Political Assets: The primary political assets are the members of the Revolutionary Council with our secondary assets being the other exile Cubans on the periphery of political activities with whom we are or easily can be in contact.
It is recommended that the above described program of covert action, designed to exploit any economic, political and psychological vulnerabilities of the Castro regime, be approved.
Washington, May 20, 1961.
1. Practical experience acquired over the past year has taught us certain lessons with respect to security and operational problems in carrying out a covert program of this magnitude. If errors are to be corrected and unwanted publicity avoided, there are certain realities which must be faced at the inception of the Project and certain "ground rules" which must be agreed upon. The more important of these factors are described below briefly but clearly in order that they may be given due consideration at the time this paper is submitted for approval.
2. Training: Training will have to be provided for relatively small groups. With one exception, we feel this must be accomplished outside the Miami area for security reasons. That one exception relates to the training of singleton communicators (W/T operators). Training of such personnel can be carried out in safe houses. If this is done in the southeast of the United States the training can be tied in with practical work with our major covert communications base in the Miami area.
Small Boat Operations: Secure and suitable areas within the United Stares for training in small boat operations are required. Such training will involve relatively few men at a time. We are exploring the possibility of using a deactivated Navy facility at [1 line of source text not declassified]. Other appropriate sites will be sought in the Florida Keys, the West Coast of Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico area. The point is the training should be carried out in the United States where maximum security can be applied.
Sabotage Training: We propose to train up to thirty men at a time in resistance techniques, including the use of demolitions and other sabotage devices. It will be necessary that a site or sites be selected that are either sufficiently remote from centers of population or of such a nature (military installation) that the use of explosives and demolitions will be plausibly explained. If areas in the United States cannot be found, this type of training might well be carried out in the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] (where we have certain facilities) or on the island of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] has a number of separate training sites with capacity for training up to twenty men each in trade craft, resistance techniques (including sabotage). Because of the coral reefs, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] would not be suitable for small boat training.
Radio Operators: In addition to the training of singleton radio operators (which must be closely compartmented), we also propose to train singleton W/T operators and specialist cadres [3-1/2 lines of source text not declassified], although not necessarily in that order of priority.
3. Cuban Air Crews: We propose to maintain control over some Cuban pilots, navigators and ground crews for future operations. They would be placed under commercial air cover (our own proprietary setups) where they will be able to maintain their proficiency and where they will be readily available for operational missions such as re-supply air drops, leaflet raids and, if the need should ever arise, air strikes.
4. American Contract Air and Maritime Personnel: It has been our experience that Cuban pilots do not have the capability of carrying out, with any degree of assured success, night air drops. Most of the deliveries attempted during the past year missed their marks and were either lost or fell into enemy hands. Consequently, if the need arises for extensive air deliveries of arms and supplies to guerrillas in the Cuban mountains, authority must be granted to employ American contract personnel as pilots and navigators in conjunction with Cuban crews. American contract personnel, but to a lesser degree, will also be needed for the successful execution of maritime operations (supply deliveries, infiltration and exfiltration of agents) and, if the need arises, for participation in raider-type sabotage operations.
5. Use of Bases in United States: Geographical reasons, supported
by our experience, dictate the need for the use of United States
maritime and air facilities for the staging of sabotage, in-exfiltration,
supply, raider and propaganda operations. While we may have access
to the Nicaraguan base for occasional air deliveries to Cuba,
the distance is too great and the political hazards too uncertain
for us to place our entire dependency on that one facility, especially
if the guerrilla and resistance movements reach such proportions
that almost daily re-supply operations are called for.
224. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to All Posts
Washington, May 20, 1961, 5:38 p.m.
//Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/5-2061. Official Use Only; Priority. Drafted in ARA by Hurwitch. Cleared in ARA, P, by Achilles, and by Goodwin at the White House.
1840. Castro in May 17 speech offered exchange for 500 bulldozers approximately 1200 prisoners captured during unsuccessful April 17 attempt by Cuban patriots liberate their country. Press reports today Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Milton Eisenhower, and Walter P. Reuther cabled Castro they would assume responsibility raise funds from private non-governmental sources purchase 500 agricultural tractors. They said their proposal not response to demand for political ransom but made out of common humanity.
U.S. Government not sponsoring and in no way connected with this effort prominent American citizens. However for humanitarian reasons we sympathize with this initiative.
In response inquiries Missions may draw upon foregoing but are urged exercise caution and at this stage avoid any expression regarding probable outcome these negotiations. FYI. Castro has laid down number of conditions for exchange which this private group may find difficult to accept or fulfill./1/ End FYI.
/1/These conditions were outlined in a memorandum sent to Goodwin on May 20 by Department of State Executive Secretary Lucius D. Battle. Castro made the offer in a speech on May 17, and expanded on the conditions attached to the offer in a speech on May 19. Battle included extracts from the two speeches in his memorandum to Goodwin, and he summarized the conditions laid down by Castro as follows:
"1. Intermediaries such as the Red Cross are not necessary.
"2. At the rate that bulldozer tractors are delivered prisoners will be delivered to start with `the least important to the more important. . . Let the tractors come on the ferry and the groups of invaders will go on the ferry'.
"3. `The compensation must be made with all guarantees. And the equipment must be in perfect condition. They must have, for example, replacement parts, of course.'
"4. Manuel Artime (a member of the Revolutionary Council) is considered separately. He must be exchanged for Francisco Molina, a Cuban now facing trial in the United States for murder." (Ibid.)
225. Memorandum for the Record
Washington, May 24, 1961.
//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/DDP Files: Job 67-01083R, Box 1, C.T. Barnes Chrono, Jan-Jul 1961. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by Tracy Barnes.
Discussion with Mr. Goodwin, 24 May 1961
Mr. Bissell and I discussed Cuba with Mr. Goodwin in his office on 24 May. It was agreed that his associate/1/ does not want to make any definitive decisions regarding action against Cuba prior to his return from his European trip (about 6 or 7 June) and is anxious during the next two weeks to restrict to a minimum activities which might cause disturb-ances or publicity. This latter desire is accentuated by the interest in having the tractor deal negotiations completed with as little interference as possible. With these premises in mind, it was agreed that the following activities would not, if undertaken, cause any difficulty or conflict.
/1/An apparent reference to Arthur Schlesinger.
1. Continuation of FI type activities, including efforts to maintain or reconstruct existing nets and to create new nets.
2. Training of radio operators, if done on a truly covert basis, i.e., individual by individual and preferably, though not necessarily, outside of the Miami area. In this connection, for the next two weeks, trainees should be those selected by CIA from its own contacts rather than accept-ance of candidates from, e.g., MRP or the UR.
3. Taking steps to provide employment of selected Cuban pilots and ground crews.
4. Undertake negotiations with Somoza in an effort to achieve working relationships with him which might include a limited, cautious use of Puerto Cabezas. This will probably require at least the transfer of some B-26's to the GON and may in addition involve some training of Nicaraguan pilots. If Somoza insists on the latter, it should not be done by Americans but, perhaps, it could be worked out on contract with some company whose instructors might be Cubans.
5. Initiate no negotiations with the Council or other groups with respect to support of covert operations. If pressed, however, the position in each instance should be that the Council, or group in question, should produce a prospectus along the lines already given to the MRP showing what it is believed can be accomplished, what type of activities will be undertaken, extent of U.S. support required (both immediately and over a period of time) and proposed relationships both with the U.S. and the Council. No commitments are to be made under these prospectuses until proper internal U.S. approval is obtained from the 5412 Group.
6. Carry out necessary internal CIA reorganization with a view to preparing for the future and with particular emphasis on removing from dealings with the Cubans (especially in Miami) those individuals who were connected with the former project.
7. Obtain from the Council, presumably through Miro, a statement of what parts of the Council it is believed should be retained and an estimated budget for the continuation of same.
8. Put in as definitive form as possible plans for future covert activity including all aspects, i.e. FI, CA and PM. This will involve some decision as to what to do with Swan Island, particularly now that USIA has refused to accept it./2/
/2/Barnes sent a copy of this memorandum to Dulles on May 24, with a covering memorandum in which he stated: "Unless the Special Group decides to the contrary, the Agency proposes to undertake the activities listed on the attached and will submit to the Special Group additional recommendations for further activities as soon as they have been prepared." (Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/DDP Files: Job 67-01083R, Box 1, C.T. Barnes Chrono, Jan-Jul 1961)
C. Tracy Barnes/3/
/3/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
[end of document]
to Foreign Relations of the U.S., Vol. X, Cuba.