DISCUSSION IN SECRETARY RUSK'S OFFICE AT 12 O'CLOCK,
21 AUGUST 1962
Secretary Rusk, Secretary
McNamara, Alexis Johnson, the Attorney General,
DCI, General Taylor, General Lemnitzer and McGeorge Bundy
McCone stated that the purpose of
the meeting was to again review the situation in Cuba in light of the most
recent intelligence findings.
DCI recalled that in the August 10th Meeting
he had reported such information as was then available on the accelerated
Soviet supply of personnel and materiel to Cuba. However, information
available to the Agency since August 10th indicated that the extent of the
Soviet supply operations was much greater than had been reported on August
10th; furthermore, there were indications that construction work was
undertaken by Soviet personnel, technicians with newly delivered Soviet
equipment and while the nature of the construction was not known, it was
probably either highly sophisticated electronic installations or COMINT and ELINT and possible electro-countermeasure efforts or missile
sites, probably ground-to-air.
DCI then stated that on August 10th in
discussing the arguments for and against the so-called stepped-up Plan B, or
alternatively the modified Plan B, he had stated that if it was decided to
accept the modified Plan B and such a course is pursued, it is the opinion
of the DCI that continuing Soviet aid and
technical assistance will present the United States with a more formidable
problem in the future than it now confronts or has confronted in the past.
McCone then stated that
conclusive evidence indicated such a stepped-up Soviet effort.
DCI then read 21 August paper entitled,
“Recent Soviet Military Aid to Cuba”1Printed as
an attachment to Document 383. as
prepared by DD/I. He then referred to 21 August paper of the Office of
National Estimates, subject, “Soviet View of the Cuban Economy”2Not found. emphasizing the conclusion that under
energetic Soviet direction, the
potential of the Cuban agricultural, industrial and natural resources could
be so developed that the economy would be reasonably viable and over a
decade might even earn sufficiently from export surpluses to repay credits
and advances already made to Cuba by the Soviet Union. Therefore, the CIA's conclusion that Soviet economists in
analyzing Cuba would conclude that in supporting Cuba the Soviets were not
involving themselves with a permanent liability; furthermore, there was an
opportunity of creating a viable and reasonably prosperous economy which,
while not a showcase, would always be an annoyance to the United States and
a model for all dissident groups in Latin America.
DCI then referred to the 15th August paper
of the Board of National Estimates, subject, “The Soviet Stake in Cuba”3Document 379. and read the summary of
this paper which is in numbered paragraph 7, page 3.
In support of the above DCI then briefly
reviewed a chronology of unevaluated reports on recent Soviet military aid
to Cuba, 21 August, and noted my reference to maps; location of the reported
There was general agreement that the situation was critical and that the most
dynamic action was indicated.
There was discussion of various courses of action open to us in case the
Soviets place MRBM missiles on Cuban
territory. There was also discussion of blockades of Soviet and Bloc
shipping into Cuba or alternatively a total blockade of Cuba.
Throughout these discussions, it was abundantly clear that in the minds of
State, and Mr. Bundy, speaking for the White House,
there is a very definite inter-relationship between Cuba and other trouble
spots, such as Berlin. It was felt that a blockade of Cuba would
automatically bring about a blockade of Berlin; that drastic action on a
missile site or other military installation of the Soviets in Cuba would
bring about similar action by the Soviets with respect to our bases and
numerous missile sites, particularly Turkey and southern Italy. Also, there
is a reluctance, as previously, to the commitment of military forces because
of the task involved and also because of retaliatory actions of the Soviets
elsewhere throughout the world.
McNamara expressed strong feelings
that we should take every possible aggressive action in the fields of
intelligence, sabotage and guerrilla warfare, utilizing Cubans and do such
other things as might be indicated to divide the Castro
regime. McCone pointed out that all
of these things could be done. Efforts to date with agent teams had been
disappointing. Sabotage activities were planned on a priority basis and in
all probability, we would witness more failures than successes. To date we had experienced a very tight
internal security situation and probably this would become more so in the
The Attorney General queried the meeting as to what other aggressive steps
could be taken, questioning the feasibility of provoking an action against
Guantanamo which would permit us to retaliate, or involving a third country
in some way.
It was Mr. Bundy's opinion that all overt actions would
involve serious consequences throughout the world and therefore our
operations must be covert at this time, although we should expect a high
degree of attribution.
The meeting was inconclusive with respect to any particular course of action.
It was felt that the President should be informed on the evolving situation
and the DCI agreed to brief him at the
Meeting on Wednesday, August 22nd at 6 o'clock.
We further agreed that the entire matter should be reviewed with the
President by Rusk, McNamara, Bundy and
Bundy undertook to arrange for this meeting
following the Special Meeting scheduled for ten o'clock on Thursday, August
Following this discussion, there was a brief discussion of the Donovan matter as covered in DCI's memorandum to Rusk and the Attorney General, copy of which is
attached.4Document 381. It was agreed that Mr.
Hurwitch would meet with Mr.
Donovan on Thursday, together
with the Attorney General, and determine the extent of the commitment we
would make for the government which would permit Mr. Donovan to engage in the prisoner release
negotiations. DCI made it abundantly clear
that the existing commitments to Committees of the Congress prevented CIA from using covert resources for this
McCone stated that in view of these
commitments to the Congress he did not feel that he should meet with Mr.
Donovan. Furthermore, McCone stated that he felt that if a
reasonable deal could be made for the release of the prisoners, the
Committees of Congress would change the view expressed a year ago at the
time of the tractor negotiation.
Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Box 2,
DCI (McCone) Memo for the Record, 7 April-21 August 1962.
Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by McCone.