267. Memorandum from C. Tracy Barnes to the Chief, Covert Action Staff, July 31

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  • Possible Funding of Cuban Revolutionary Council

1. At a recent meeting called by Mr. Goodwin and attended by State, HEW, Bureau of the Budget, and ourselves (Jake Esterline and me), there was a long discussion as to what should or should not be done by the U.S. Government in relation to the Cuban Revolutionary Council. The major problem is created by the question of support (i.e., money) which arises due to the historic fact that support has been provided for the maintenance of the CRC/FRD political organization for some months. Consequently, support must be either continued or broken off which makes the problem much more difficult than if it were merely a decision regarding support in the first instance.

2. It was, I believe, the general consensus of the meeting that the present Council in all likelihood does not represent the political “wave of the future” as far as Cuba is concerned. Moreover, it was felt that the post-Castro political leaders may not even be visible as yet, since in all probability, as pointed out by Dr. Morales-Carrion, they will emerge from the ranks of those now living in Cuba who are being forced into the opposition as a result of their experience of life in a police state.

3. In view of this, the meeting agreed that someone (preferrably Goodwin’s boss) should have a candid talk with Miro Cardona advising him of these views and urging him to broaden the base of the Council in an effort to make it more representative and saying that the matter will again be discussed at the end of July or early August. It should be noted in this connection that Miro’s illness may make this schedule difficult.

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4. Conceivably, Miro may be unable to expand the Council and it may very well fall apart as a result of its inability to provide representative leadership. In many ways, this result has some advantages, i.e. it clears the decks of any Cuban political group with special privileges [Typeset Page 654] and the breakdown of the Council would have been the result of failure on the part of the Cubans rather than something which could be blamed on the Americans such as refusal to provide support. On the other hand, if Miro should produce a more effective and representative Council, it is then conceivable that the U.S. should try to produce support but on a clandestine basis. It is this last point on which I would like your help. How can such support be best achieved without being blown at an early date to the U.S. press or elsewhere? Rich contributors, a foundation, plus some additional cash slipped on the side are obvious possibilities. Could you, however, give this matter some thought and see what you can work out in the way of suggestions? Jake Esterline has asked for your help and hopes to get it. Although the problem will not arise for about a month or so, it is not going to be easy to solve and it will unquestionably take a fair amount of preparation even when a system has been adopted.

C. Tracy Barnes
  1. Possible funding of Cuban Revolutionary Council. Secret. 2 pp. CIA, DDO/DDP Files: Job 67–01083R, Box 1, C.T. Barnes—Chrono, Jan–Jul 1961.