236. Briefing paper for Secretary of State-designate Rusk, January 19611
Briefing of Secretary of State Designate Rusk
On 17 March 1960, the President authorized the Agency to undertake a program designed to replace the current Cuban government [Typeset Page 572] with one more suited to the democratic ideals of the Cuban people and compatible with long-range U.S. interests. Since that date we have conducted this program along five major lines, namely: Political Action, Propaganda, Paramilitary Action, Foreign Intelligence, and Counter-Intelligence. Each of these activities is summarized in the following sections of this paper, which concludes with a résumé of the principal currently pending policy questions.[Facsimile Page 2]
I. POLITICAL ACTION
We have conducted our political activities under the following concepts:
Opposition to the CASTRO regime should have as its goals full restoration of the 1940 Constitution and return to the basic principles of the revolution as enunciated in the 1958 Caracas Declaration.
The opposition should be pro-Western, strongly anti-Communist, embrace factions ranging in political orientation from a little to the right of center to somewhat left of center, and be able to appeal to and muster the broadest possible support of the Cuban population as a whole.
In order to implement these concepts, it was found necessary to establish an exile central management group, which would be used as a cover for covert actions, a catalyst for the unification of approximately 184 different anti-CASTRO groups, and a possible nucleus for a Provisional Government of Cuba.
The Agency gave much consideration to the composition of this central management group. Since it was felt unwise to include individuals closely associated in the past with the BATISTA regime, our primary attention was focused on personalities and groups who had participated directly in the original government of CASTRO but had left it, or who had [Facsimile Page 3] collaborated with CASTRO’s revolutionary effort but—because of the failure of his government to uphold wthe basic principles of the revolution—had gone into early opposition.
A. Formation of the Frente Revolucionario Democratico (FRD)
As a result of the foregoing considerations, we were able to forge—in April/May 1960—five political groups into one anti-CASTRO organization, which adopted the name Democratic Revolutionary Front (FRD). The groups spearheading the campaign against the CASTRO regime, under the umbrella of the FRD, are:
1. The Autentico Party, headed by Manuel Antonio de VARONA;
2. The Monticristi Group, headed by Justo CARRILLO;
3. The Christian Democratic Movement, headed by Jose Ignacio RASCO;
4. The Movimiento Revolucionario Recuperadora (MRR), headed by Manuel ARTIME; and[Typeset Page 573]
5. The Movimiento Institucional Democratico (MID), headed by Ricardo Rafael SARDINA. (It might be mentioned that the AAA organization, headed by Aureliano SANCHEZ Arango, was a charter member of the FRD; SANCHEZ Arango chose, however, for reasons of his own, to leave the FRD and [Facsimile Page 4] the MID organization was then brought into the FRD.)
The FRD has its ostensible headquarters in Cuba and branch offices in the U.S. (primarily Miami) and a number of Latin American countries. Its components consist of a 5-member Executive Committee (the policy-making body of the organization), a General Coordinator (Manuel Antonio de VARONA, who is the de facto general manager of the organization), and 10 action departments, such as Plans and Programming, Propaganda, Transport, and Military Affairs.
B. The Political Posture of the FRD
The political posture of the FRD, which is less homogeneous than we would like it to be, ranges from somewhat right of center (SARDINA) to a little left of center (Justo CARRILLO). The MRR and the Autenticos can be considered centrist, with the important difference that the MRR represents the young generation, while the Autenticos, under VARONA, are a somewhat up-dated and much cleaner version of the early PRIO era.
On 22 June 1960, the FRD issued its Manifesto in Mexico City. This Manifesto strongly condemns the dictatorial and communist nature of the CASTRO regime and calls upon the people of Cuba, other Latin American nations, and the world to help the FRD to overthrow Fidel CASTRO’s dictatorship. The FRD is dedicated to re-establish in Cuba a representative, democratic system and full civil liberties under the [Facsimile Page 5] 1940 Constitution. The FRD is pledged to hold free general elections within 18 months after the establishment of a Provisional Government. It desires to ban the Communist Party; it promises an extension of social gains for the working classes, and agrarian reform that will develop the national riches and raise the rural standard of living; it desires a true trade union movement and a maximum enlargement of Cuba’s gross national product, and more equitable distribution thereof. In other words, the FRD favors political, social, and economic evolution in Cuba.
C. FRD Activities
1. Unification of Exile Groups: In view of the particularities of Cuban exile politics, complete unification of exile groups is an almost impossible task. The FRD, however, has succeeded in causing the coalescence of various exile elements and is in contact with the more significant ones. By its sheer presence inside and outside Cuba, the FRD has much contributed to mobilize public opinion against CASTRO and has [Typeset Page 574] induced individuals and groups to actively oppose the regime. We are in contact with other acceptable exile groups, and we are examining every operational proposal these groups make with the intent to support them on a unilateral basis if their proposals have merit.
2. Paramilitary Activities: The FRD originally fronted for the selection and establishment of training sites in Guatemala. Through [Facsimile Page 6] the mechanisms of the FRD military department, recruitment activities were undertaken; the FRD has also furnished the military manpower for those actions on land, in the air, and on the seas, which have taken place so far.
3. Planning Activities: The FRD has prepared many papers on a variety of subjects designed to provide as orderly as possible transition from the CASTRO regime to a new government: an agrarian law, amendments to the Constitution, a labor code, a military code, a judicial code, and others.
4. FRD Branch Office Activities: There are FRD branch offices in 15 Latin American countries. These branch offices are engaged in destroying the CASTRO image in these areas by utilizing local press and radio contacts and by engaging—on appropriate levels—in behind-the-scenes lobbying activities among governmental circles. These branch offices also are distributing written material attributable to the FRD (see below). Until these branch offices appeared on the local scene in the various Latin American countries, there were no focal points for the expression of anti-CASTRO sentiment in these areas. FRD branch offices have filled this void.
5. FRD Affiliates: The FRD has several affiliated organizations undertaking tours of Latin America to present to those who are in danger of being swayed by CASTROISM the true picture of the Cuban Communist dictatorship and the plight of all classes in the country. Teams composed [Facsimile Page 7] of Labor Representatives (FORD), Students (DRE), Women’s Group (CFC), Teachers’ Group (DFR), and Jurists (AFJ) have already been organized and several have embarked on propaganda tours of Latin America. One clandestine student propaganda team has been infiltrated into Cuba and recently effected a successful clandestine broadcast over a dormant TV channel.
The FRD “Affiliates” and the independent Crusada Feminina Cubana (CFC) have given excellent results, particularly with respect to their tours throughout Latin America. The excellent press and other media coverage of their activities during these trips attests to the favorable impact they have had.[Facsimile Page 8]
Starting with press conferences in June in New York, Mexico, and Miami, and the publishing of a Manifesto which has been widely [Typeset Page 575] distributed, the FRD propaganda efforts have now reached the point where the FRD is well known as the principal resistance coalition dedicated to the overthrow of the CASTRO Communist dictatorship. The FRD propaganda mechanism now has representatives in many Latin American countries; this mechanism is responsible for two radio programs beamed into Cuba (one of them from a boat broadcasting from international waters), facilities for the production of printed material for infiltration into Cuba, three regular weekly publications, and is preparing a study called “Listen, Mr. Mills”, in reply to C. Wright Mills’ book, “Listen Yankee”.
Special propaganda operations undertaken by the FRD include the “Caravan of Sorrow”. In September 1960, 62 Cuban women dressed in black and “mourning the death of freedom in Cuba” went from Miami to New York City in a protest against the visit of Fidel CASTRO to the United Nations. Reportorial coverage of this operation was excellent in Miami, New York, and Washington. During this same time in New York City, FRD student groups demonstrated against CASTRO and the Communist leaders. The effect of these demonstrations was evident in the press coverage and in the attempt by the 26th of July Movement in New York City to assassinate members of the student group on 22 September, which unfortunately resulted [Facsimile Page 9] in the death of a Venezuelan child, an innocent bystander.
In addition to the FRD propaganda mechanisms, we have developed a great number of other propaganda operations to combat the CASTRO government and to generally support both the FRD and the United States’ position in the Caribbean.
A. Primary Radio: The primary mechanism utilized is Radio SWAN. This station, owned ostensibly by a private company, started broadcasts to Cuba and the Dominican Republic in May 1960, and now broadcasts five hours nightly and four hours each morning, both short and medium wave. In addition to straight news reporting and a few general entertainment programs, the broadcasts include programs prepared by leading anti-CASTRO newspapers now in exile. There is every evidence that Radio SWAN broadcasts are hitting Cuba and that they are hurting CASTRO. CASTRO and the Cuban governmental propaganda organs have attacked the radio and the government is jamming it; we have received many letters from Cuban listeners, supplying useful evaluations of the broadcasts and an unexpected source of intelligence.
B. Other Radio: Daily short-wave broadcasts to Cuba are made over WRUL; these are repeated by SWAN on its medium wave transmission. A morning and evening broadcast is made over WMIE, Miami. We have just completed arrangements to start on 19 January two one-hour Spanish-language broadcasts daily over WGBS, Miami. These [Typeset Page 576] broadcasts will be [Facsimile Page 10] sponsored by the Cuban Freedom Committee, which also utilizes Radio SWAN facilities; the programs, containing news, music and commentary, will endeavor to present the U.S. viewpoint in a calm, dignified manner.
C. Publications: We support financially three major exile newspapers:
[less than 1 line not declassified] This is a sensational tabloid-type newspaper published in Miami by [less than 1 line not declassified]. Beginning in June 1960, it has gradually increased its distribution to approximately 25,000, two-thirds of which go to Latin America or Cuba.
[less than 1 line not declassified]. A middle-of-the-road weekly newspaper produced in Miami by [less than 1 line not declassified] but published in Wilmington, Delaware. This first appeared on 5 October in 12,000 copies. It is being mailed into Cuba and throughout the hemisphere.
[less than 1 line not declassified] This conservative paper is published in Miami and control is exercised through [less than 1 line not declassified].
We also support:
[less than 1 line not declassified] This most widely-known Cuban weekly magazine, now with a Caracas dateline but published in Atlanta by [less than 1 line not declassified] first appeared on newsstands throughout [Facsimile Page 11] Latin America on 7 October. Heralded as the “magazine which CASTRO could not kill,” it is now receiving orders for 140,000 copies weekly (ABC Chicago guaranteed circulation). Beginning with the Christmas issue, a clandestine copy was printed in pocket-book size. The owners hope to have 40,000 copies smuggled into Cuba.
The Cuban Information Service Weekly Newsletter: Published in both English and Spanish in approximately 1,000 copies and mailed to editors and writers throughout Latin America. It summarizes the important news from and about Cuba and contains editorials which can be reproduced in other papers and used over the radio. It also contains a historical supplement which exposes Communist tactics, especially as regards Cuba.
D. Propaganda Air-Drop Operations: To date we have dropped the following Agency-produced leaflets over Cuba:
1. “A Call to the People of Cuba” asking for resistance to CASTRO and Communism. (About 4,000,000 during three different air operations)
2. “Land Title” addressed to the campesino audience (100,000 during two missions)[Facsimile Page 12]
3. “Hungarian”, comparing Communist control over Hungary and Cuba (300,000 on one mission)
In addition to further supplies of the above, we are printing supplies of a “Milicia” leaflet, targeted against the militia; a “Sabotage” [Typeset Page 577] leaflet, containing instructions; and a “Fish Symbol,” a non-political sign of resistance; all of these will be used in future drops.
We have also dropped 700 pounds of clandestine-sized copies of Avance, El Mundo and Bohemia Libre, stamped “Compliments of the FRD” and we will continue to drop these publications.
Future leaflet operations will be in support of our paramilitary objectives. We plan to have “D-Day” leaflets asking the people to join the anti-CASTRO forces or engage in sabotage.[Facsimile Page 13]
A. Strike Concept: The concept envisages the seizure of a small lodgement on Cuban soil by an all-Cuban amphibious/airborne force of about 750 men. The landings in Cuba will be preceded by a tactical air preparation, beginning at dawn on D-1 Day. The primary purpose of the air preparation will be to destroy or neutralize all Cuban military aircraft and naval vessels constituting a threat to the invasion force. When this task is accomplished, attacks will then be directed against other military targets, including artillery parks, tank parks, military vehicles, supply dumps, etc. Close air support will be provided to the invasion force on D-Day and thereafter as long as the force is engaged in combat. The primary targets during this time will be opposing military formations in the field. Particular efforts will be made to interdict opposing troop movements against the lodgement.
The initial mission of the invasion force will be to seize and defend a small area, which under ideal conditions will include an airfield and access to the sea for logistic support. Plans must provide, however, for the eventuality that the force will be driven into a right defensive formation which will preclude supply by sea or control of an airfield. Under such circumstances supply would have to be provided entirely by air drop. The primary objective of the force will be to survive and maintain its integrity on Cuban soil. There will be no early attempt to break out of the lodgement [Facsimile Page 14] for further offensive operations unless and until there is a general uprising against the CASTRO regime or overt military intervention by United States forces has taken place.
It is expected that these operations will precipitate a general uprising throughout Cuba and cause the revolt of large segments of the Cuban Army and Militia. The lodgement, it is hoped, will serve as a rallying point for the thousands who are estimated to be ready for overt resistance to CASTRO but who hesitate to act until they can feel some assurance of success. A general revolt in Cuba, if one is successfully triggered by our operations, could serve to topple the CASTRO regime within a period of weeks.
If matters do not eventuate as predicted above, the lodgement established by our force can be used as the site for establishment of a [Typeset Page 578] provisional government which can be recognized by the United States, and hopefully by other American states, and given overt military assistance. The way will then be paved for United States military intervention aimed at pacification of Cuba, and this will result in the prompt overthrow of the CASTRO Government.
Other paramilitary programs are being intensified and accelerated. They include the supply by air and sea of guerrilla elements now in Cuba, the conduct of sabotage operations, the introduction of specially trained paramilitary teams, and the expansion of our agent networks [Facsimile Page 15] throughout the island.
At the present time we have over a half-dozen Agency-trained agents with radio communication facilities conducting clandestine paramilitary operations inside Cuba. These activities range from simple sabotage acts to the organization, training and equipping, via our covert supply missions, of resistance groups.
To date we have delivered, via twelve maritime missions, over 15,000 pounds of arms, ammunition and demolition materials to resistance elements in Cuba. As of 13 January, we had dropped over 36,000 pounds of arms, leaflets and food on thirteen overflights. Some of the items dropped were seized by CASTRO forces but a sizeable amount of them were received by the resistance reception groups.
B. Status of Forces:
1. Air: The Project tactical air force includes ten B–26 aircraft currently based in Guatemala and at Eglin Air Force Base. However, there are only five Cuban B–26 pilots available at this time who are considered to be of high technical competence. Six additional Cuban pilots are available, but their proficiency is questionable.
It is planned that seven C–54 and four C–46 transports will be available for strike operations. Here again, the number of qualified Cuban crews is insufficient. There are two qualified C–54 [Facsimile Page 16] crews on hand at this time, and three C–46 crews.
Aviation ordnance for conduct of strike operations is yet to be positioned at the strike base in Nicaragua. Necessary construction and repairs at this base have commenced, and there appears to be no obstacle to placing this facility in a state of readiness in time for operations as planned.
2. Maritime: Amphibious craft for the operation, including three LCU’s and four LCVP’s, are now at Vieques, Puerto Rico, where Cuban crew training is progressing satisfactorily. These craft with their crews will soon be ready for operations.
The BARBARA J (LCI), now returned to the United States from Puerto Rico, has undergone repairs and is ready for missions. Its sister ship, the BLAGAR, is outfitting in Miami, and its crew is being assembled.[Typeset Page 579]
3. Ground: There are 560 Cuban personnel now in training in Guatemala. All other recruits should shortly be available for at least four to six weeks of training prior to commitment.
The Assault Brigade has been formed into its basic organization (a quadrangular infantry battalion, including four rifle companies, and a weapon company). With the recent [Facsimile Page 17] acquisition of 37 U.S. Army Special Forces instructors, training should be completed by our target date. Our plans call for the assault group to contain five tanks. These tanks are to be moved to Vieques, where Cuban crews will be trained to operate them. They will be loaded with other assault vehicles on the vessels departing from the Vieques area for the strike.
C. Timing of Paramilitary Operation: Since the military training teams are now in position, we feel that the Assault Brigade will achieve acceptable readiness for combat during the latter half of February 1961. All other required preparations can be made by that same time. The operation should be launched during this period. Any delay beyond 1 March 1961 would be inadvisable for the following reasons:
1. It is doubtful that Guatemala can accommodate the Cuban forces at our Guatemalan training base much beyond 1 March 1961.
2. Cuban trainees cannot be held in training for much longer. Many have been in the camp for months under most austere and restrictive conditions. They are becoming restive and if not committed to action soon there will probably be a general lowering of morale. Large-scale desertions could occur with attendant possibilities of surfacing the entire program.[Facsimile Page 18]
3. While the support of the CASTRO Government by the Cuban populace is deteriorating and time is working in our favor in that sense, time is working to our disadvantage in a military sense. Cuban jet pilots are being trained in Czechoslovakia and the appearance of modern radar throughout Cuba indicates a strong possibility that CASTRO may soon have an all-weather jet intercept capability. His ground forces have received vast quantities of military equipment from the Bloc countries, including medium and heavy tanks, field artillery, heavy mortars, and anti-aircraft artillery. Bloc technicians are training his forces in the use of this formidable equipment. Within the near future CASTRO’s hard core of loyal armed forces will undoubtedly achieve technical proficiency in the use of available modern weapons.
4. CASTRO is making rapid progress in establishing a Communist-style police state which will be difficult to unseat by any means short of all-out overt intervention of U.S. military forces.[Facsimile Page 19]
IV. FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE
Primary emphasis has been placed on the collection of intelligence to support our paramilitary operations. The recent break in relations [Typeset Page 580] and the withdrawal of our staff personnel from Cuba will necessarily mean a reduction in the speed and volume of our collection, however, due to our preparations for this event, we do have staybehind networks active with radio and secret writing communications. In the Habana area we have one collection net and one propaganda distribution/collection net. In the Santiago de Cuba area we have two collection nets. In addition to the three radio sets being used by these active nets, we have 22 other radio sets cached throughout Cuba. We are also running collection operations from the United States and other countries utilizing Cuban and third-country nationals.[Facsimile Page 20]
Our counter-intelligence effort has developed along the lines of attempting to protect our operations from CASTRO and other opposition infiltrations, to uncover other individuals who are a threat to our objectives, and to penetrate Cuban intelligence/security organizations. We have identified and neutralized several known Cuban agents and provacateurs who have penetrated our activities, and have identified and have under close observation several others who pose a potential threat. Efforts to penetrate Cuban services have been relatively unsuccessful, [less than 1 line not declassified]. An intensive study of the services is being made and all possible leads are being followed in the anticipation that we will have additional successes.
We are also actively engaged in organizing, training, and providing guidance to an FRD security and intelligence group. In the short time that this group has been operating, they have developed amazingly well. A greater part of our effort is now being channeled in this direction with the thought that this group will not only help us now, but will become more necessary during the action phase, and will be a durable asset after a successful displacement of the present Cuban Government.[Facsimile Page 21]
VI. PENDING POLICY GUIDANCE AND DECISIONS
A. Composition of Provisional Government: A primary factor in our planning to date has been the assumption that an anti-CASTRO Cuban provisional government would be formed (and recognized by the U.S. and Latin America countries) during our paramilitary strike phase.
With reference to the composition of any future provisional government, we have received lists of suggested candidates from a number of responsible anti-CASTRO leaders or groups. We have checked and evaluated these lists and can provide them to the State Department for a decision on a provisional government which might be acceptable to a broad segment of the anti-CASTRO leaders and the U.S. Government.
Requirement: A decision by the State Department on the members of a future provisional government which would be acceptable within the political objectives of the U.S. Government.[Typeset Page 581]
B. Recognition and Support of Provisional Government: Even though a successful paramilitary lodgment with a provisional government is established, it may be necessary that the U.S. Government provide overt assistance to this government to enable it to overthrow the CASTRO regime. We should be able to assume that the U.S. will recognize a provisional government and also promptly extend support to maintain it and, if necessary, to enable it to extend its control to all of Cuba.[Facsimile Page 22]
Requirement: A decision that the U.S. Government will recognize a provisional government and will provide the overt support that will enable that government to extend its control to all of Cuba.
(Concerning recognition of any future provisional government by Latin American countries, there appears to be some need for bilateral talks with these countries in order to assure that they take the action desired. The Agency is prepared to assist the Department in this action if desired.)
C. Policies of Future Cuban Government: Another factor closely related to any future provisional government is the policy to be followed by that government once established. An objective of our operation was to have a future Cuban government compatible with U.S. national interests. Today we are in contact—in varying degrees—with anti-CASTRO Cubans who range from right to extreme left in the political spectrum and their views will necessarily be reflected in any future government actions. Thus we should, at an early date, begin to influence and back—to a greater extent than heretofore—those elements which mostly are responsive to U.S. objectives. An acceptable solution, in light of the pragmatic facts facing us, would seem to be a middle-of-the-road complex, favoring an evolution of social, economic and political changes in Cuba under the 1940 Constitution.[Facsimile Page 23]
Requirement: A decision regarding the acceptable political, social and economic governmental procedures and policies within which we may attempt to mold the future Cuban government.
D. Other policy decisions required concern our paramilitary effort against the target. The requirements involved and our recommendations are as follows:
1. Timing: As stated before, our plans for this operation are predicated on a strike date of not later than 1 March 1961, and we are conducting our training and developing our strike support preparations to meet this date.
2. Air Strikes: It is axiomatic in amphibious operations that control of air and sea in the objective area is absolutely required. The Cuban Air Force and naval vessels capable of opposing our landing must be [Typeset Page 582] knocked out or neutralized before our amphibious shipping makes its final run into the beach. If this is not done, we will be courting disaster. Although every effort will be [Facsimile Page 24] made to select a landing area where our assault force will be unopposed by enemy ground forces, our invasion force is very small in comparison to forces which may be thrown against it, and we must compensate for numerical inferiority by effective tactical air support, not only during the landing but also thereafter for so long as the force remains in combat. It is essential that opposing military targets (such as artillery parks, tank parks, supply dumps, military convoys, and troops in the field) be brought under effective and continuing air attack. Psychological considerations also make such attacks essential. The spectacular aspects of air operations should go far toward producing the uprising in Cuba that we seek.
3. Use of American Contract Pilots: The paragraph above outlines the requirement for precise and effective air strikes, while an earlier paragraph in our paramilitary section points up the shortage of qualified Cuban pilots. It is very questionable that the limited number of Cuban B–26 pilots available to us can produce the desired results unless augmented by highly skilled [Facsimile Page 25] American contract pilots to serve as section and flight leaders in attacks against the more critical targets. The Cuban pilots are inexperienced in war and of limited technical competence in navigation and gunnery. There is reason also to suspect that they may lack the motivation to take the stern measures required against targets in their own country. It is considered that the success of the operation will be jeopardized unless a few American contract B–26 pilots are employed.
With regard to logistical air operations, the shortage of Cuban crews has already been mentioned. There is no prospect of producing sufficient Cuban C–54 crews to man the seven C–54 aircraft to be used in the operation. Our experience to date with the Cuban transport crews has left much to be desired. It is concluded that the only satisfactory solution to the problem of air logistical support of the strike force and other forces joining it will be to employ a number of American contract crews.[Facsimile Page 26]
4. Use of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua: The airfield at Puerto Cabezas is essential for conduct of the strike operation unless strike base is made available in the United States. Our air base in Guatemala is 800 miles from central Cuba—too distant for B–26 operations and for air [Typeset Page 583] supply operations of the magnitude required, using the C–46 and C–54 aircraft. Puerto Cabezas is only 500 miles from central Cuba—acceptable, although too distant to be completely desirable, for B–26 and transport operations.
Puerto Cabezas will also serve as the staging area for loading assault troops into transports much more satisfactorily than Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, which is exposed to hostile observation and lacks security. It is planned that troops will be flown in increments from Guatemala to Puerto Cabezas, placed in covered trucks, loaded over the docks at night into amphibious shipping, which will then immediately retire to sea.[Facsimile Page 27]
Recommendation: That firm policy be obtained for use of Puerto Cabezas as an air strike base and staging area.
5. Use of U.S. Air Base for Logistical Flights: An air base in southern Florida would be roughly twice as close to central Cuba as Puerto Cabezas. This means that the logistical capability of our limited number of transport aircraft would be almost doubled if operated from Florida rather than Puerto Cabezas. Logistical support of the strike force in the target would be much more certain and efficient if flown from Florida.
There is also a possibility that once the strike operations commence, conditions would develop which would force us out of the Nicaragua air base. Without some flexibility of operational capability including an additional logistical support air base with pre-positioned supplies in the United States, we would conceivably be confronted with a situation wherein the Assault Brigade would be left entirely without logistical air support. Supply by sea cannot be relied upon, for the Brigade may be driven by superior forces from the beach area. Such a situation could lead to complete defeat of the Brigade and failure of the mission.[Facsimile Page 28]
It seems obvious that the only real estate which the United States can, without question, continue to employ once the operation commences is its own soil. Therefore, an air base for logistical support should be provided in the United States. This will offer the possibility of continued, flexible operations, if one or both of our bases in Guatemala and/or Nicaragua are lost to our use.
Recommendation: That policy be established to permit use of an air base in southern Florida (preferably Opalocka, which is now available to us and has storage facilities for supplies) for logistical support flights to Cuba.
- Presidentially authorized program to replace current Cuban Government with one suited to democratic ideals of Cuban people and compatible with long-range U.S. interests. Secret. 28 pp. CIA, DDO/DDP Files: Job 78–01450R, Box 5, Area Activity—Cuba Task Force.↩