383. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs’ Special Assistant (Hill) to the Assistant Secretary of State (Rubottom)1


  • Contingency Planning for Castro’s Efforts to Recover or Harass Guantanamo

In informal discussions prior to this morning’s opening of the OCB Board Assistants’ Meeting, I was peppered with questions by Bromley K. Smith, OCB Executive Officer, and one or two others about the status of our contingency planning in the event that Castro attempts to recover the Guantanamo base for Cuba by diplomatic demand, by physical occupation, by demonstrators and squatters, or by other means. I sought to reassure the group to the best of my ability that the means of defending our interests could be brought into play [Page 651] rapidly and that the question was a political one which could only be decided in the light of the circumstances prevailing at the time of such a crisis.

The foregoing, however, does suggest to me that we ought to make now every effort to maintain contact with the other interested agencies, especially Defense, to obtain their thinking in advance and a clearer picture of the assets which would be available to us in such a contingency. This would be good for the record as well as in helping us come quickly to a correct decision should something happen.

I was thinking that we ought to give thought promptly of the best way in which we might be able to enlist at least some degree of support from other countries on the Caribbean littoral whose security interests would be affected if a serious effort were made by Castro to render Guantanamo inoperable.

  1. Source: Department of State, ARA Special Assistant Files: Lot 62 D 24, Cuba 1959. Official Use Only. Drafted by Hill and cleared with Dreier.