249. Memorandum from Barnes to Chief, WH–4, March 211

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  • [less than 1 line not declassified] Points Raised by the DCI

The following is the checklist of points raised by the DCI. You will remember that I mentioned these to you after they were given to me orally on 20 March. The DCI recognizes that many of these points are already being considered and did not mention them for any purpose other than to bring to your attention a number of points which occurred to him.

1. With regard to Puerto Cabezas, have we planned all possible steps with regard to security. This, of course, means not only the pattern of activity previously discussed but the need to place in the town some CI types to sound out local gossip, etc. I would hope that some sort of report on exactly what can be done with regard to both of these can be made to DD/P by the evening of 23 March or the morning of 24 March.

2. A number of points with regard to details of the initial portions of the tactical plan. Presumably, these will all be included at the time that DD/P receives a briefing on the plan as finally worked out but, for what it is worth, the points specifically mentioned were:

a. Command authority both over the entire convoy while in transit and at time of arrival and debarkation, plus command of each ship and craft. This should include a specific indication of the nationalities of the two or three top officers in each case, plus the number of contract Americans and the number of Staff personnel. As to the last, their duties throughout should be carefully detailed, and steps should be taken to “sheep dip” all such Staff personnel that might be used in order that they will be ready for use if necessary.

b. Has there been any further consideration of possible AA both on shipboard and on shore. In this connection it is felt that the Cuban pilots will be timid so that evidence of some kind of AA is more important than actual effectiveness. This point may have been resolved in a previous discussion but it is sufficiently important to justify some further consideration.

c. What overt steps, if any, might be suggested which could have a sensible explanation and yet which would act as a deterrent to Soviet action. For example, assume that the State Department were to declare the present Cuban Government to be outside the Inter-American structure [Facsimile Page 2] because it is Communist dominated and that it intended to prevent [Typeset Page 612] this government from exporting revolution to the rest of the Hemisphere. It is recognized that as a practical matter little can be done effectively to prevent such action but quite aside from this, the placing of substantial elements of the U.S. fleet in the Caribbean could have a deterring effect in other ways. It could include a large carrier, plus air patrols, plus perhaps a few destroyers which seems to me might be quite healthy. Of course maneuvers is another obvious excuse but I am in no position to know whether it is a useful one. Another excuse would be to state that the shipment of further arms by the Soviets to Cuba would be considered unacceptable by the U.S. and the equivalent of formenting Hemisphere disruption. On this theory, it would seem to me that ships, plus possibly air cover, could be put on the Atlantic side of Cuba on the theory that they were planning to intercept any destroyers or other ships carrying cargo such as aircraft to Cuba. There are probably other and better possibilities.

3. Finally, there are a few intelligence requirements which should be written up fairly soon. The first is the evidence now in hand of efforts by Castro to export revolution to the Hemisphere. In this connection, special efforts should be made to continue to collect evidence on this point. The second is what evidence exists as to shipment of armament to Cuba. This has recently been drawn together but should be kept current.

4. Evidence regarding the status of the training of Cubans by the Czechs. I am placing this requirement separately on [illegible in the original] through [less than 1 line not declassified] who has responsibility for the Czech [illegible in the original].

C. Tracy Barnes
  1. Checklist of points raised by DCI on Cuba project. Secret. 2 pp. CIA, DDO/DDP Files: Job 67–01083R, Box 1, C.T. Barnes—Chrono, Jan–Jul 1961.