465. Minutes of the Cabinet Meeting, Washington, February 26, 1960, 9–11 a.m.1

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

Cuba Overflights—Acting Secretary Dillon set forth the problems created by any illegal flights over Cuba that originate from American airfields. He believed Castro could exploit these to the detriment of any efforts we may make through the Organization of American States for improving the situation in Cuba. He outlined the effort being made to stop these, and the help being given by Treasury, Defense, Justice, and the Federal Aviation Agency. He thought the problem was essentially one of the many small abandoned airfields in Florida where it might be necessary to establish guards at all times. The Attorney [Page 813] General agreed that the illegal flights must be stopped somehow, but that the latest known incident was one of a routing flight from a regular field which then deviated from flight plan.

It was agreed that Gen. Persons should get in touch with General Quesada and ask him to discuss the matter further with Mr. Dillon.

Mr. Dulles noted the possibility that some incidents may have been originated deliberately in Cuba to create the impression of United States’ hostility.

Mr. Rogers pointed out that only one airplane incident has occurred since our new system of protective measures was undertaken.2

[Here follows discussion of matters unrelated to Cuba.]

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Cabinet Series. Confidential. Prepared by Minnich. The Vice President presided at the meeting.
  2. According to the Record of Action of the meeting (RA–60–147), the following agreements were reached regarding illegal flights over Cuba:

    • “a) All departments and agencies which can make an effective contribution are requested to employ their powers, personnel and facilities more fully and in closer concert to enforce this government’s policy of interdicting illegal flights or incursions or exports of arms to Cuba.
    • “b) The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Agency is to assume primary responsibility for this intensified effort and will be so notified by the Assistant to the President.
    • “c) Consideration will be given to prompt public statements whenever evidence is conclusive enough to demonstrate the innocence of the United States in any incidents of this sort.” (Ibid.)