259. Chronology of Bay of Pigs operation from January 1960 to April 19, 1961, dated April 231

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18 January 1960 Established Branch 4 within Western Hemisphere Division. Began period of organizing and acquiring personnel—established with 18 permanent positions at Headquarters—provision built in for handling additional personnel as needed for other Project installations.
18 January to 17 March 1960 (A) Began exploratory work on opening [less than 1 line not declassified] black area for training of small initial cadre to be used in training of greater force, which force to be used as teams introduced into Cuba to aid and assist the guerrilla units in the field.
(B) Reconnoitered the Miami area for covert office space and safehouses, from which to initiate covert action operations into Cuba, including in/ exfiltration operations into Cuba of men and matériel, propaganda, and setting up recruiting offices.
(C) Conducted active screening of Cuban political figures in conjunction with the Habana Station in view of setting up at the appropriate time (after policy approval) a Cuban front which would serve as the covert instrumentality through which clandestine operations, primarily propaganda and paramilitary, could be conducted.
(D) Conducted map reconnaissance in the Caribbean area for territory on which to build a quasi-clandestine radio transmitter for broadcast into Cuba.
(E) Conducted physical reconnaissance of Greater Miami area in view of locating suitable site for a major communications center.
17 February 1960 Paper on “Covert Action Operations Against Fidel Castro” (Sabotage Against Sugar) approved by Special Group (Designated Representatives under 5412), but disapproved by the President.
14 March 1960 Paper on “General Covert Action Plan for Cuba” approved by Special Group subject to preparation and submission of a rewritten proposal to the President.
17 March 1960 “A Program of Covert Action Against the Castro Regime” approved by the President.
17 May 1960 Radio Swan completed testing and was ready for regular, scheduled broadcasting.
21 July 1960 Approval granted by Special Group this date for sabotage actions against Cuba. Paper originally forwarded on 12 July. DCI made reservations (1) be non-attributable to U.S. and (2) no loss of life if possible.
18 August 1960 President and Cabinet briefed on Project progress and budget. Approval given to continue and budget of $13,287,611 for FY 1961 approved. As we understand it, DOD agreed to make available to the Agency the personnel and equipment needed to support training and logistical phases of the Project. [text not declassified]
7 September 1960 The DDP approved the reorganization of the FRD to institute the General Coordinator operation through his specialized action staffs.
8 September 1960 Approval granted by the Special Group for supply overflights over Cuba utilizing a Cuban crew with flight originating from Guatemala. Our requests for overflights were initiated in August, asking for permission to run a supply drop from U.S. bases with aircraft manned by Agency covert contract crews. This request was disapproved by the DDCI and DCI. On 1 September we submitted a request to run an overflight with the aircraft [Facsimile Page 3] manned by a CAT crew. The flight idea seemed to receive agreement, but use of the CAT crew was denied. The approval finally received included the provision that we did not have to brief the Special Group formally before each supply [Typeset Page 624] flight, but that Mr. Parrott, DDP/EBM, would touch base by telephone with members of the Group on each drop.
13 September 1960 Department of State turned down the concept of use of foreign nationals in a PM Contingency Force (this according to note on routing sheet from C/WH/4 to Mr. Stanulis).
28 September 1960 We completed our first successful maritime operation, infiltrating 300 pounds of demolitions and exfiltrating two personnel from a rendezvous off the north coast of Cuba.
28/29 September 1960 First supply overflight mission over Cuba. C–54 dropped cargo in Escambrays but not on DZ. A/C landed in Mexico and is still being held by the Mexican Government.
6 October 1960 The Special Group approved the Agency’s request to begin screening lists of potential volunteers (American) for use in Project operations with the understanding that none of these volunteers would be committed to action in Cuba without additional Special Group approval.
12 October 1960 The Special Group agreed that the Agency could run U–2 photographic mission over target country.
17 October 1960 At a meeting with the DDP it was agreed that, although we will continue to back the FRD, we will give aid to any other politically-acceptable groups which can provide evidence of Cuban assets worthy of support.
27 October 1960 DDP approved the spotting, recruiting and training of U.S. contract-type personnel for Project maritime operations. Utilization of these types in operations in Cuban waters will require further approval and must be under FRD cover.
3 November 1960 Special Group would not approve Agency suggestion that consideration be given to the use of U.S. bases for training and operations. (This request had been originated by the Agency because of Assistant Secretary of State Mann’s opinion that attention focused on Guatemala in the U.N. made such a change necessary.)
3 November 1960 In light of the above, at a meeting with DDCI and DDP it was agreed that we would develop the proposed facility at Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, for a training, holding and staging area. It was agreed that a time loss was inevitable under this new arrangement.
16 November 1960 A new concept of paramilitary operations was discussed with the DDP. It envisaged landing a force of some 600 men by LST on beaches from which they would move inland and create a safe area in the mountains. This group and those joining it internally are to be resupplied by airdrop. D-Day to be 1 February. After discussion, it was agreed WH/4 would proceed on this plan, pending any further word from higher authorities.
29 November 1960 The President made it clear at a meeting with General Goodpaster, Messrs. , Merchant, Gates, Douglas, General Gray and Mr. Dulles and Mr. Bissell that he wanted all done that could be done on the Project with all possible urgency and nothing less on the part of any Department. There was general agreement that training in the U.S. was out of the question.
8 December 1960 Special Group, augmented by Messrs. Mann and Scott of State and General Lansdale from Defense were briefed on current status and proposed plan for PM operations with admittedly optimistic D-Day toward end of February. Approval was granted for concept of regular leaflet drop flights over Cuba with stipulation the Group be given customary advance notice of flights. Agreement reached later in the day with Mr. Mann to allow recruitment of U.S. contract types for maritime operations into Cuban waters. There was no firm decision on our request to fly [Facsimile Page 5] supply drops from U.S. bases. In regard to protection of the U.S. Special Forces we plan to utilize as trainers in Guatemala, it was agreed that the Agency would negotiate a secret agreement with the Guatemalan Government outlining their status and rights.
11 December 1960 First propaganda leaflet drops made by three aircraft over Cuba.
15 December 1960 Special Group had no objection to the Project budget submitted; it was agreed that their function was not to examine details but simply to be aware of the general magnitude of and the principles on which the budget was based.
3 January 1961 At a meeting with the President, it was agreed that our PM forces should be increased to the greatest extent possible, but that U.S. bases could not be used for training.
3 January 1961 (2030 hours) Break in relations between U.S. and Cuba as direct result of Castro’s demand Embassy staff be cut to eleven.
4 January 1961 DCS/OPS/DA consulted as to basis for DA’s objections to our request to use FA teams for training in Guatemala.
6 January 1961 Mr. Esterline briefed M.G. Woodnough at DA’s request for liaison with the Project in view of alert of 18th Corps.
10 January 1961 Mr. Esterline briefed General Cabell as to Project problems w/DOD so that General Cabell could raise these points with JCS members at the Puerto Rico meeting.
11 January 1961 DCI appeared at a closed session with the Foreign Relations Committee and provided material on the FRD.
12 January 1961 At the Special Group meeting, Mr. Willauer outlined a proposal to establish a task force consisting of representatives of State, Defense, the Joint Staff and the Agency to draw up [Facsimile Page 6] contingency plans covering the possible use of overt U.S. forces. All members agreed that such planning is an essential step and a preliminary report was requested for 19 January.
13 January 1961 Proposed prop drop turned down by Mr. Barnes due to impending change of administration.
17 January 1961 DCI briefed Secretary of State designate Rusk on basic paper.
19 January 1961 Mr. Willauer presented to the Special Group the highlights of a paper on contingency planning. He concluded that several major aspects of the overall plan required clarification or further policy decisions, citing the following: (1) use of U.S. bases for air strikes before and after D-Day; [Typeset Page 627] (2) staging of invasion force (possibly from U.S.); (3) specific actions, including timing, to obtain support from other Latin American countries; (4) how and when to recognize a provisional government; (5) possibility of providing more overt support than originally planned. The Group agreed that our maritime missions could proceed, but that a high-level meeting, to include new Secretaries of Defense and State, should be set up as soon as possible to reaffirm basic concepts of projects.
22 January 1961 Mr. Barnes informed Col. King he had participated with Mr. Bissell and DCI in briefing Secretaries Rusk and McNamara, the Attorney General, and others at which Project generally endorsed and to proceed with steps now underway.
24 January 1961 CINCLANT planning meeting JCS to issue Admiral Dennison a planning directive to prepare to support Project with overt assistance.
25 January 1961 Mr. Barnes attempting to get State approval to train tankers at Fort Knox. Agreed with Mr. Bissell it was necessary that General Lemnitzer designate someone to receive full [Facsimile Page 7] project briefing so that subsequent meetings with President can have a better informed DOD view.
27 January 1961 Met with DCI in preparation for 28 January meeting with President and State/Defense. Agreed to press for decision by 10 February and to abet that decision by giving JCS designees a full briefing as basis for joint planning.
28 January 1961 Meeting with President, Secretaries of Defense and State, General Lemnitzer and aides, Mr. Bundy and DCI. Decisions made were: (1) to continue our present propaganda and political action activities, sabotage, ex/infiltration and overflights; (2) to present the tactical PM plan as soon as possible to a limited number of senior officers designated by General Lemnitzer in order that a DOD position may be formulated.
30 January 1961 Col. Hawkins presented his plan in a detailed briefing of Generals Cabell and Bull and Admiral Wright.
31 January 1961 Col. Hawkins presented his plan in a detailed briefing of General Gray and party from JCS Staff.
1 February 1961 DOD indicated policy would not permit Armed Forces personnel in Nicaragua.
6 February 1961 General Lemnitzer forwarded to DCI the JCS favorable evaluation of Project strike plan, including a number of suggestions.
7 February 1961 Meeting with Mr. Berle at which Assistant Secretary Mann urged going slowly.
9 February 1961 Prepared paper for Mr. Berle at his request outlining bad effects of disbanding strike force.
9 February 1961 Prepared paper on alternatives to using strike force (i.e.—air and sea infiltration), and briefed Mr. Bundy thereon. He indicated there would be delay in Presidential decision.
11 February 1961 Reviewed General Gray’s outline of field trip, and suggested Nicaragua base not be visited.
11 February 1961 Meeting with Mr. Bissell as to forming a Revolutionary Council.
15 February 1961 Met with Mr. Bissell to discuss Cuban civilian/military relations, composition of the Cuban political organization, and relations between the Project’s PM section and the JCS Staff.
17 February 1961 DDP paper presented to President outlining several courses of action possible to the Agency.
20 February 1961 Understood from meeting with President it will be two weeks at least until a decision as to using force; decided not to expand up to 1,000 at this time, although that is possible.
25–27 February 1961 Three JCS officers visited Guatemalan and Nicaraguan sites for inspection of our forces in training.
1 March 1961 Meeting with Mr. Bissell to brief him on evaluation of force during JCS representatives’ trip to the camps.
2 March 1961 Meeting in Assistant Secretary Mann’s office to review JCS Staff’s draft inter-agency plan.
3 March 1961 Assistant Secretary Mann asked that we not announce formation of Revolutionary Council or take any untoward act until after this 5–9 March Mexico City “Peace Conference”.
3 March 1961 Began preparation of paper on military alternatives to the Trinidad plan for forthcoming meeting with President.
4 March 1961 C–54 drop flight down in Jamaica.
7 March 1961 Emissaries from President Ydigoras met with the President who stated a decision would be forthcoming.
7 March 1961 Noted we had 16 PM W/T men in target, 8 current in touch, and 48 agents geographically spread.
8 March 1961 Agreed to use Belle Chase facility for training of up to 200 of Nino Diaz PM group.
10 March 1961 First ship (“Atlantico”) loads to depart for Nicaragua. Decision expected by noon 11 March. Meeting with Mr. Bissell to consider security necessary to achieve surprise.
11 March 1961 Meeting with President.
14 March 1961 DCI, General Gray, MacGeorge Bundy met and latter then briefed President.
15 March 1961 Morning meeting with Mr. Barnes to prepare revised military plans to meet limitations imposed.
15 March 1961 Afternoon meeting with Mr. Bissell to prepare for 1600 meeting with President. Reviewed paper as to political requirements last said to condition and limit the military plan.
15 March 1961 Met with President to present revised plan.
16 March 1961 DCI, DDCI, DDP briefed in war room.
17 March 1961 DDCI and party briefed Vice Admiral Beakley and party as to Navy support requirements in view of recent decisions regarding Project.
17 March 1961 Started intensive defection project.
17 March 1961 Started survey of trainees’ knowledgeability of U.S. involvement.
27 March 1961 Revolutionary Council members visit Guatemala training camps.
27 March 1961 Sent representative to President Somoza.
28 March 1961 Decided not to use Sanchez Mosquerra troops.
29 March 1961 Prepared papers on internal support to a landing and on the status of defection program for use at 1500 meeting in White House.
30 March 1961 Reviewed and prepared for release cables on 200 MIGS and on 4 Czech aircraft.
31 March 1961 Prepared contingency demobilization plan, and contingency plan for emergency evacuation.
1 April 1961 After meeting with Mr. Bissell and his inquiry to Mr. Bundy, informed bases there would be 24-hour delay in start of movement from Guatemala to Nicaragua.
3 April 1961 Briefed General Gray and Mr. Braddock on propaganda plan.
4 April 1961 Meeting with President, with decision promised for morning 6 April.
5 April 1961 Prepared B–26 “defection” plan.
5 April 1961 Agreed that if decision is not to use force, then we will move them until they get to sea, then divert on grounds of new intelligence.
6 April 1961 Prepared for U.S./U.N. a rebuttal of the New York Times preview of what Roa would charge (indicating what true and what not), and a collection of Castro’s anti-U.S. statements.
7 April 1961 Agreed strike force briefing team to leave for Nicaragua 9 April.
8 April 1961 Briefed Mr. Bissell in war room on strike and on Diaz operation.
8 April 1961 Attended air briefing in 1717 H Street.
9 April 1961 Discussed with Nicaraguan representative back on 1-day consultation tightening up of Nicaraguan security.
10 April 1961 Reviewed agents’ requests for drops in light of aircraft commitment to transporting troops.
11 April 1961 Received permission from Department of the Navy to move Diaz group this night from Belle Chase to Boca Chica for loading in ship.
12 April 1961 Sent CINCLANT plan to General Cabell.
12 April 1961 Meeting with President. Agreed Mr. Berle to tell Miro Cardona no overt U.S. support; we to close out U.S. training; take all steps necessary to divert to Vieques if necessary.
13 April 1961 All Headquarters sections on 24-hour duty.
14 April 1961 Briefing team returned from Nicaragua.
14 April 1961 U.N. Cuba question possibly today, probably 17 April.
14 April 1961 Consulted General Cabell, Mr. Bissell and Mr. Braddock in State re using sonic boom. Mr. [Typeset Page 631] Braddock said Acting Assistant Secretary Coerr could not approve as too obviously U.S.
14 April 1961 Composed open code for DCI to use in telephoning from Puerto Rico for progress report noon 17 April.
14 April 1961 Reinstituted FBIS coverage of Radio Swan.
15 April 1961 Pilot deception operation.
15 April 1961 Reviewed photography and sent mission cable to air base.
16 April 1961 At 2200, General Cabell and Mr. Bissell to Secretary of State, following calls from Mr. Bundy re foregoing H-hour spoiling raids on airfields in favor close support of beach. At 2300 sent revised missions.
17 April 1961 (0130) meeting with General Gray to discuss additional military action.
17 April 1961 DCI met at 2340 at Friendship Airport on return from Puerto Rico and briefed as to situation as to that time (men ashore, supplies not, 2 ships sunk by enemy air).
18 April 1961 Revolutionary Council briefed in Miami safehouse on situation as of 1400: beachhead under attack by tanks and air.
18 April 1961 President asked at 1130 to authorize Navy air cover 19 April A.M.
19 April 1961 Discussed evacuation cable in DCI’s office, and released at 1130. Held telecon with air base 1230–1315.
  1. Top Secret. 12 pp. CIA, DDO/LA/COG Files: Job 82–00679R, Box 3, Papers Furnished the Green Committee.