279. Program review by Brigadier General Lansdale, February 201

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The Goal. In keeping with the spirit of the Presidential memorandum of 30 November 1961, the United States will help the people of Cuba overthrow the Communist regime from within Cuba and institute a new government with which the United States can live in peace.

The Situation. We still know too little about the real situation inside Cuba, although we are taking energetic steps to learn more. However, some salient facts are known. It is known that the Communist regime is an active Sino-Soviet spearhead in our Hemisphere and that Communist controls inside Cuba are severe. Also, there is evidence that the repressive measures of the Communists, together with disappointments in Castro’s economic dependency on the Communist formula, have resulted in an anti-regime atmosphere among the Cuban people which makes a resistance program a distinct and present possibility.

Time is running against us. The Cuban people feel helpless and are losing hope fast. They need symbols of inside resistance and of outside interest soon. They need something they can join with the hope of starting to work surely towards overthrowing the regime. Since late November, we have been working hard to re-orient the operational concepts within the U.S. government and to develop the hard intelligence and operational assets required for success in our task.

The next National Intelligence Estimate on Cuba (NIE 85–62) promises2 to be a useful document dealing with our practical needs and with due recognition of the sparsity of hard facts. The needs of the Cuba project, as it goes into operation, plus the increasing U.S. capability for intelligence collection, should permit more frequent estimates for our guidance. These will be prepared on a periodic basis.

Premise of Action. Americans once ran a successful revolution. It was run from within, and succeeded because there was timely and strong political, economic, and military help by nations outside who supported our cause. Using this same concept of revolution from within, we must now help the Cuban people to stamp out tyranny and gain their liberty.

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On 18 January, the Chief of Operations assigned thirty-two tasks to Departments and Agencies of the U.S. government, in order to provide a realistic assessment and preparation of U.S. capabilities.3 The Attorney General and the Special Group were apprised of this action. The answers received on 15 February provided the basis for planning a realistic course of action. The answers also revealed that the course of action must contain continuing coordination and firm overall guidance.

The course of action set forth herein is realistic within present operational estimates and intelligence. Actually, it represents the maximum target timing which the operational people jointly considered feasible. It aims for a revolt which can take place in Cuba by October 1962. It is a [Facsimile Page 2] series of target actions and dates, not a rigid time-table. The target dates are timed as follows:

Phase I, Action, March 1962. Start moving in.

Phase II, Build-up, April–July 1962. Activating the necessary operations inside Cuba for revolution and concurrently applying the vital political, economic, and military-type support from outside Cuba.

Phase III, Readiness, 1 August 1962, check for final policy decision.

Phase IV, Resistance, August–September 1962, move into guerrilla operations.

Phase V, Revolt, first two weeks of October 1962. Open revolt and overthrow of the Communist regime.

Phase VI, Final, during month of October 1962. Establishment of new government.

Plan of Action. Attached is an operational plan for the overthrow of the Communist regime in Cuba, by Cubans from within Cuba, with outside help from the U.S. and elsewhere. Since this is an operation to prompt and support a revolt by the people in a Communist police state, flexibility is a must for success. Decisions on operational flexibility rest with the Chief of Operations, with consultation in the Special Group when policy matters are involved. Target actions and dates are detailed in the attached operational plans, which cover:

A. Basic Action Plan Inside Cuba

B. Political Support Plan

C. Economic Support Plan

D. Psychological Support Plan

E. Military Support Plan

F. Sabotage Support Plan

G. Intelligence Support Plan

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Early Policy Decisions. The operational plan for clandestine U.S. support of a Cuban movement inside Cuba to overthrow the Communist regime is within policy limits already set by the President. A vital decision, still to be made, is on the use of open U.S. force to aid the Cuban people in winning their liberty. If conditions and assets permitting a revolt are achieved in Cuba, and if U.S. help is required to sustain this condition, will the U.S. respond promptly with military force to aid the Cuban revolt? The contingencies under which such military deployment would be needed, and recommended U.S. responses, are detailed in a memorandum being prepared by the Secretaries of State and of Defense. An early decision is required, prior to deep involvement of the Cubans in this program.

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(March, 1962)

a. Establish three “pathfinder” agent operations in key areas selected by CIA. Explore operational conditions and requirements. Report on potential and active resistance elements and situation for exploitation by resistance teams. Lay groundwork for bringing in additional agents and teams as conditions warrant. Agent operations must stay alive, make useful contacts and communicate securely with CIA. Risk to the personnel is substantial due to lack of intelligence, but mission is essential to planning and operations.


(April–July 1962)

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a. Establish up to five more agent operations in key areas selected by CIA. Report on resistance potential and lay groundwork for additional agent operations. These additional teams should provide current reporting on major Cuban areas, so broad political action program can be planned. Risk to teams will continue high, but mission is essential.
b. “Voice” of Cuban movement goes on the air. Establishes vital psychological assurance to people that a movement exists to overthrow the regime. Preferably, the “voice” should be from mobile transmitter inside Cuba. Broadcasts can be brief ones at first: identifying music, slogan, and short news. News to include reports on “resistance” acts, taking credit for all sabotage. As daily broadcasts are established, “criminals against people” should be named and promised swift justice, two names per broadcast. If operational judgment dictates transmitter can be aboard submarine for early broadcasts, as a strictly temporary measure. It is vital to take risks by having it inside Cuba; a second transmitter and crew should be moved in if the first is lost.
c. Re-supply agent operations as necessary. Deliver supplies to satisfy needs developed by agent operations, if valid. The agents will have to prove to local partisans that outside support is a reality. Thus, as arms, ammunition, and equipment, etc. are needed to equip resistance groups, we must be able to respond effectively to these needs. Maritime and, as feasible, air re-supply will be used. This capability will have to expand as resistance is developed.
d. By June establish 12 more agent operations in key areas selected by CIA. Mission is the same as for previous “pathfinder” operations. These will be the last agent operations infiltrated into key areas from the outside. Further expansion by “pathfinders,” after these teams are in, can be done from groups inside. It is likely that some of these last “pathfinders” will be replacing casualties.
e. By June, introduce three resistance teams in areas under initial “pathfinder” surveillance, if situation is favorable. This will test acceptance and use of the more highly trained teams that must guide development of the popular revolution within Cuba. This also will check emphasis and timing of program from viewpoint of Cuban situation. Very minor resistance actions by important population elements such as labor must be tried and groundwork laid for broader anti-regime program leading toward firm uprising program. Realism of political platform can be tested.
f. Establish bases for guerrilla operations. To have focal points, with some viability to stockpile for defensive needs and for future attack operations. These bases are to be selected after on-the-ground surveys by the teams inside Cuba. Some may exist already. These will also be logistical bases, for caches and stockpiling of arms and equipment to be used by the resistance. The p.a. teams will need not only supplies for active resistance, but also should be able to provide some welfare aid (such as to families of resistance members, families affected by plants shut-down by sabotage, etc.).
g. Establish clandestine leadership headquarters with means to communicate with all resistance elements. Organize internal direction and control of the popular movement. Leadership will have been emerging and this is about the earliest date possible to establish a clandestine headquarters. It should be of a bare, field type, in the securest area possible. This can become the meaningful source of political-psychological actions, to develop Cuban will to resist and fight.
h. Collection and use of psychological action material. To provide documentary and photographic evidence of tyranny of regime to awaken world opinion and fan fire of revolt inside Cuba, for use by support operations and by resistance teams inside. The resistance teams will use this material with timeliness inside and get it back outside so that it can be exploited fully in Latin America and elsewhere, building official and public opinion in support of the inside operation.
i. By July establish up to 5 more resistance teams in areas prepared by “pathfinder” operations, as operationally feasible. Mission is the same as for the first resistance teams (A II e above). Experience of first resistance teams must be considered in preparing these additional teams for operations. Security of personnel is very important at this point, as the operation expands.
j. Basic organization of underground in vicinity of airfields and communication centers. To prepare the means for sabotage against military aircraft and key communication links of the regime’s security forces. This requires ground surveys, selection of sites for caching of sabotage supplies, and recruitment of local underground, including members of military and communications employees. Popular support must be prepared by resistance teams.
k. Expand infiltration points along coasts. To obtain maximum security for stepped-up infiltration. Original “rat-lines” need to be expanded into a functioning “underground railway” to pass more infiltrees into interior. Means of quick alerts to danger, delaying defenses, multiple routes, coastal watchers and receivers need to be organized and activated.
l. Low-key resistance sabotage, as a continuing and expanding program. To demonstrate public disaffection with the regime and give examples which will prompt similar actions by many others. To build attitude and morale of the Cuban people to become activists for their cause against the Communist dictators. Actions under resistance team guidance can include:
  • —“Runs” on State food and clothing stores and ransack where possible (prompting similar acts by those who want to get enough to eat and wear).
  • —Sugar in gas tanks of public buses and local official cars and trucks.
  • —Ice-picking tires.
  • —Removing receivers from telephones.
  • —Harassing telephone calls to officials.
  • —Throwing stones with threatening notes into homes of officials.
  • —Disrupting rail switches and sand in gear boxes of trains.
  • —Swiping spark plugs and distributors from vehicles.
  • —Housewives complaints on shortages of food, medicine, doctors, etc.
—Public contempt campaign against Cubans in regime’s puppet organizations, including effigy burning.
(1 August 1962)
m. Final check on resistance elements in Cuba. To have a final look at the situation and at the means in place before giving the signal to initiate actions leading to full-scale revolt. This is a last-minute pause, to be certain that the resistance has a possible organization in key places which will act when needed, that the significant portion of the Cuban people are in sympathy with the aims of the movement and will join in when given the chance, and that the movement will be able to gain an area of Cuba as its own against the regime’s military forces, as a minimum
(August–September 1962)
n. Symbolic work slow-down. To give workers a feeling of participating in the popular movement, without immediate reprisal. 12 August is the anniversary of the overthrow of dictator Machado. The resistance should link the Castro-Communists with Machado and call on workers to lose one hour by slow-down methods on 12 Aug. to commemorate the overthrow of one dictator. Workers should be asked to give either one-hour by slow-down or one act of sabotage. The “Voice” of the movement should thank them the next day for their splendid response (to shame those who didn’t participate by making them feel alone).
o. Symbolic signs painted on walls: “Machado One” To commemorate the downfall of one remembered dictator and give a symbolic pace to the resistance. Timed with the symbolic work slow-down (A IV n above). Spaced a few days apart, the signs should have lines added to them to read: “Machado OneBatista TwoCastro Three.”
p. By August, have actions to penetrate and subvert the regime. To weaken and frustrate organized actions against the popular movement. These are actions on officials of the regime, including the military and the police. Some should be defected in place. Others should be defected and helped to escape to the outside world to tell the inside story of the regime’s tyranny, to evoke world sympathy with the freedom fighters.
q. Cuban paramilitary teams infiltrated to bases in the hills. To provide a trained guerrilla cadre upon which to form guerrilla units. The paramilitary teams must be capable of initiating minor harassment and reprisal actions, as well as organizing and training guerrilla units. Popular support is essential.
r. Guerrilla bands activated in key areas. To build a military striking force for the popular movement inside Cuba. Recruits will be coming in after the symbolic harassment and reprisal actions. They will be screened, organized, and trained for guerrilla action. The regime’s security forces can be expected to be very active. Anti-tank and anti-aircraft tactics are necessary. Increased popular support is a must in this phase.
s. Commence expanding underground to every locality in Cuba. To have a truly revolutionary organization throughout Cuba. The guerrillas are the open arm, but the popular movement must have mass support, which requires intelligence collection and clandestine activists in cities and towns throughout. They will surface when the revolt needs open support.
t. Step-up of guerrilla actions. To season the guerrilla forces with larger scale raids. Actions will be to seize police files, kidnap officials as hostages, capture local militia arms stores, increase road ambushes, and destroy fuel supplies and transport by raid actions.
u. Activate larger-scale “black” operations on bureaucracy, as penetration assets permit. To overburden the regime’s administrative machinery by false orders, increase the amount of paper work by adding new forms, issue regulations to discredit superiors, and sow suspicion and friction between bureaus. This will require intensive preparation, including defection in place of some personnel, intimate knowledge of current procedures within bureaus, and means of producing material which can pass as official.
v. Start entry of volunteer “freedom fighters” from Latin America and elsewhere. To let the Cuban people know that they are not alone in their struggle against tyranny, by the physical presence of foreign “freedom fighters.” A “Marti Battalion” might be formed for foreign volunteers. Recruits from Latin America, from refugee groups (such as Hungarians, Poles, etc.), and Americans, need a controlled means of entering the good fight. Some veterans of the Huk campaign could be a gesture and a practical one.
w. Attack on the cadre of the regime, including key leaders. To express popular anger against the regime’s tyranny and to give harsh reality to the listing of “criminals against the people.” [text not declassified]
x. Operations liberating political prisoners held by regime, if possible. To liberate prisoners for impact upon popular support of guerrillas and general resistance program. [text not declassified]
y. Start blocking assistance from the Communist Bloc. To shut off Bloc assistance to the island of Cuba by all possible means from the inside. While appealing to the free people of the world to help shut off Communist shipments of arms being used to kill the Cuban people, the resistance must act on its own inside Cuba—striking against ships delivering Bloc supplies, denying harbors by mining, sabotaging transport aircraft, destroying Bloc supplies in warehouses, and acting against Bloc technicians.
z. Commence active sabotage of military aircraft, ground transport and communications. To hamper the ability of the regime’s security forces to strike at the resistance movement as it emerges into more open guerrilla bands. More sophisticated sabotage devices, contaminants, etc., should be in target area by this time.
a. General strike by the Cuban workers. To make public the popular support of the militant revolt, signifying the passing from underground to open rebellion. Strike must tie-up transportation and communications. The resistance teams must have set the readiness of the workers for this defiance of the regime. Arms must be available. Military cells will be activated. Funds will be needed to help the workers hold on and to bait defections of groups.
b. Anti-regime demonstrations. Same purpose as noted above (A V a) for the general strike. The resistance teams must have set the readiness of all population elements (youth, farmers, Church, etc.) to openly defy the regime. Arms must be available, including anti-tank weapons. Military cells will be activated.
c. Declaration of the revolt. To initiate the hour of decision by calling on all Cubans for open support. Since the aims of the liberation will have been publicized previously, this is the “go” signal. All Cubans and the world need to hear it.
d. Open revolt by the Cuban people. To overthrow the Communist regime. This is the combat phase, fighting to take and hold ground.
e. Return of Cuban refugees who are qualified and want to help liberate their homeland. To start a more open movement back to Cuba of those Cuban refugees who are able and willing to risk their lives in overthrowing the Communist regime. Cuban refugee organizations will be tested with a “put up or shut up” proposition. Those who have ability to contribute to the popular movement inside Cuba should be given a chance to go home and act. Their screening and infiltration will have to be controlled. It must be a joining-in, not a taking-over of the inside movement.
(During October 1962)
a. Establish a new Cuban government, which can be recognized by the U.S. To give legality to the moral right of the Cuban revolt. When the popular movement is holding meaningful territory in Cuba, it should form a provisional government. This should permit open Latin American and U.S. help, if requested and necessary. A military government situation will exist for the initial period and we must insist upon realism in this interim period preceding reasonable civilian control.
1. Use OAS and its organs. To reaffirm strong official condemnation of Communist rule in Cuba. To influence Latin American and world opinion against Communist grab of Cuba and favorably toward Cubans recapturing their freedom. OAS members must be firm and open about this being a regional concern. OAS must build support for the cause of the Cuban people against the Communist regime, by statements and reports about the police state methods and foreign domination in Cuba. This will require official and personal diplomacy with a real sense of mission, and must be an effort by Latin American as well as U.S. officials. (State responsibility, with CIA and USIA support.)
2. Use United Nations members and U.N. organs. To enlist world opinion for plight of Cuban people under domination of a foreign sponsored government. Build hostility to Communist regime and a favorable attitude to people’s revolt. Develop basis for outside support of Cuban people. Statements of world leaders for humanity and justice can come from speeches and comments about misery of Cubans under Communist political-economic program. Plight of trade unionism, religion, health, education all fall within UN interest. Phoney Communist maneuvers about persecution of Castro regime can open way for a challenge to a UN inquiry team from OAS states re the true status of popular support within Cuba. A challenge to hold free elections under UN monitor could be timely and place Cuban Communists on the defensive. A UN “aid for Cuban poverty and health” would be sound move to highlight situation. (State responsibility.)
3. Use US officials and news releases at Washington level. Indicate policy and commit prestige of U.S. government to appropriate support of the Cuban people vs. Communist dictatorship. Top officials of Executive and Legislative branches can keep pressure upon Castro regime directly by timely statements. This also supports similar attitude by leaders of other nations and helps spirit of Cubans. Development of sympathy leading to favorable opinion about outside support for Cuban people is a goal. (State has responsibility to lead in this very important line.)
4. Use U.S. diplomats and staffs in official and other contacts. To influence attitude of political leaders favorably for the Cuban people and hostile to Communist dictatorship. To influence key staffers of foreign leaders along same line and, as appropriate, influence leaders in intellectual and major population groups. Personal influence upon foreign officials is vital to build sympathy and support for Cuban revolution against Castro regime. Can lead to independent actions by other nations to build the case for the Cuban people. Latin American nations are most important, but NATO also important. Official attitude of Spanish government can be key to operational values in homeland ties to Spanish colony in Cuba. (State responsibility, with support by others as required.)
5. Activate Latin American leaders, government and public. Commit national prestige and power of Latin political, intellectual, labor, youth, religious, military leaders to cause of Cuban people against Communist regime. For own public impact, international support, and morale of resistance within Cuba. Timely and strong public statements will be encouraged. Maximum publicity at country of origin, other key countries and into Cuba by CIA assets. (State responsibility, with support by CIA and USIA.)
6. Activate labor leadership in other countries, especially Latin American area. To lead major population groups in opinion formulation and in actions impressing upon political leadership a demand for support of the Cuban people against their dictator regime. To counter and steal the Communist maneuver using labor to defend the Cuban grab and launch other takeovers. To employ any contacts with working class in Cuba as a means to help generate the resistance and revolt. [text not declassified]
7. Use exile Cuban labor leaders. To help develop labor assets and actions in Latin America and to assist main operation by communications and infiltration of personnel inside Cuba. [text not declassified]
8. Use exile groups under Cuban Revolutionary Council. To maintain a significant symbol of special groupings for contacts within Cuba and impact upon Latin American public opinion. Special groupings such as students, youth, professions, women are under the CRC and must be used with care and avoid political imprint of CRC to maximum.
9. Use exiles as touring teams for political action in Latin America. To give personal witness against the Communist regime and ask support for the people recapturing their freedom. Teams of students, lawyers, ex-Castro associates can tell impressive story that is newsworthy.
10. Special news coverage for Latin America, to generate political action. To arouse public and official sympathy for the suppressed Cuban people and to sharpen appreciation of the Communist threat to other Latin American countries. Will provide leads for popular actions such as public pressure through petitions to local political and public leaders. [text not declassified]
11. Radio programs for Cuban political activation. To inform and keep basic interests within the Cuban population. Religious programs, interviews with exile workers, students, fishermen, families to help keep Cubans in touch with the way of life they must recapture from the Communists. CIA capability for daily and special broadcasts exists, noting Swan Island station, and arrangements with private stations in Miami, New Orleans, and some 75 small outlets in the Caribbean area. (Use of printed materials for dissemination inside Cuba is possible through mails and drops, but hazard to receiver too great prior to climax.) (CIA and USIA responsibility.)
12. By October, official U.S. and Latin American policy support. To provide a positive basis for more open support of the people’s revolution, possibly a foundation for military assistance upon request of recognized new government. The policy line for recognition of a revolutionary government is involved directly at this point.
1. Persuade OAS, NATO and countries friendly to freedom to desist from trading with the Communist dictatorship in Havana. To build anti-regime feelings among Cuban people, by economic squeeze. The regime may be weakened as the Cuban dollar market is depleted through loss of credit line. Requires full cooperation of allies and friends. (State responsibility with CIA and Commerce.)
2. Stop trans-shipment of U.S. items to Cuba, especially via Mexico and Canada. To reduce supply of items and parts critical to the Cuban regime’s economic program. Target is Cuban sugar economy, power petroleum, communications, transport. (State responsibility with CIA, Commerce, Justice.)
3. A “positive list” for Latin America subject to licensing procedures for other parts of the Free World. To reduce supply of special interest items. (Responsibility of State with Commerce and CIA participating.)
4. Harassment of shipping destined for or arriving from Cuba. To delay and reduce supplies Cuban regime needs in economy. [text not declassified]
5. Obtain cooperation of National Foreign Trade Council in delaying or refusing charters to vessels calling at Cuban ports, by mid-March. To reduce supplies the Cuban regime must have to keep economy going. (Responsibility of State, with Commerce and CIA participating.)
6. [text not declassified] To disrupt Cuban economy. [text not declassified]
7. Obtain by mid-March the cooperation of U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers to influence U.S. firms having subsidiaries abroad to adhere to the spirit of U.S. economic boycott of Cuban regime. To harass Cuban economy. (Responsibility of State, with Commerce and CIA participating.)
8. By June, rumor campaign against Cuban items in free world market. To discourage sales of Cuban produce and to further deplete Cuba’s dollar market. Tropicals, tobacco, and sugar could be targeted. (Responsibility of CIA with State and USIA participating.)
1. Create atmosphere of a “crusade” for human liberty.” To set the deeply-moving tone and motivating force for the liberation of Cuba. All media. This means maximum use of spiritual appeal (such as the prayer for Cuba by Bishop Boja Masvidal who has a genuine Cuban revolutionary background), recapturing the ideal of Marti by taking use of his memory away from the Communists (even to issue of commemorative U.S. stamp), and popularizing songs by commercial recordings. (USIA and CIA responsibility.)
2. Ready broadcast means for “Voice” of inside Cuban movement, to commence broadcasting in April. To ensure maximum effectiveness of broadcasts. These broadcasts entail considerable work and risk to mount. They have to pay-off every second while on the air. They need identifying music (by guerrilla instruments such as guitar or harmonica), identifying slogan, and a format worth risk to the listener inside Cuba. If operationally required, initial broadcasts can be taped and transmitted by submarine. As soon as feasible, portable transmitter(s) must be established inside Cuba. (CIA responsibility, with support by Defense and USIA as required.)
3. In March, commence visits of prominent U.S. and Latin American personalities to Cuban refugee camps in Florida. To demonstrate concern for plight of refugees, particularly parentless children. Mrs. Kennedy would be especially effective in visiting children refugees. (One camp near Miami has about 1,000 children who came out without their parents.) Her impact upon Latin Americans on the recent Presidential visit to Venezuela and Colombia suggests this. (USIA responsibility.)
4. Publicity for selected defectors from Castro team. To demonstrate Cuban regime’s failure to live up to promises of original 26th of July movement. Feature stories, documentaries, etc. (USIA responsibility, with help of CIA, Justice, and State.)
5. Publication of weekly reports with human-interest stories about Cuban refugees, starting in March. To illuminate intolerable conditions in Cuba and the plight of the Cubans who remain inside. This should include supporting reports giving statistics on the numbers of refugees who have fled, and keep fleeing, to the U.S., Jamaica, Venezuela, Mexico, and Spain. (USIA responsibility, with support of others as required.)
6. Activate bi-partisan group to provide medical supplies to Cuba, by September. To dramatize plight of the Cuban people and the failure of the Communist regime to care for the people. (Responsibility of CIA and USIA.)
7. Dramatize individual stories of Cuban refugees representative of major population groups: workers, youth, farmers, fishermen, women, church. To publicize that ordinary citizens, not just the rich, have fled tyranny. Documentaries, etc., of these refugees now at work in the U.S. (not just in refugee centers), awaiting the day they can return to strike a blow for liberty. (USIA responsibility.)
1. Provide logistic, personnel and training support. To insure optimum implementation of the basic plan. The basic plan requires complete and efficient support of the military, to include the use of facilities and military cover. (Defense responsibility.)
2. Induce actions against Cuba through bilateral and multilateral military organizations, to include personal contacts. To enlist support of military elements of the Free World for the resistance movement, to encourage opposition to the Cuban regime and actions against that regime. Make full use of the Inter-American Defense Board, the Joint Mexican-U.S. Defense Commission, the Joint Brazil-U.S. Defense Commission, and the Permanent Joint Board for the Defense, Canada-U.S. Additionally, use should be made of extra-hemispheric military organizations. (Defense responsibility, with State support.)
3. Prepare to increase military activity in the Caribbean area. To deceive Cuban government or to divert attention, to provide psychological support for the resistance, to frustrate the Cuban regime, and to demonstrate U.S. determination to other states. Increases in flights or naval shipping, moves of dependents, reinforcement or increased supply will improve readiness posture in the area. (Defense responsibility.)
4. Prepare to intrude Cuban sea or air space. To divert attention of the Cuban regime, and to help impede transport of supplies the regime needs. Unattributable. (Defense responsibility with CIA support.)
5. Prepare to harass Cuban civil aviation and surface shipping. To delay, confuse, or deter Cuban transportation and communication. Unattributable. (Defense responsibility with CIA support.)
6. Prepare to protect elements of the resistance movement. To insure success of resistance at critical juncture. Air cover or escort and sea and air rescue operations. (Defense responsibility with CIA support.)
7. Prepare to intrude or jam Cuban communications. To confuse and block Cuban communications. (Defense responsibility—CIA and USIA support.)
1. Sabotage Cuban supply of nickel to Soviets. To deny supply to Soviets and to hinder Cuba’s ability to pay for Bloc imports. [text not declassified]
2. Sabotage fuel supply. To cripple transportation. [text not declassified]
3. Sabotage communications. To dramatize and encourage the spirit of resistance. Prime targets for hit-and-run teams based outside Cuba are CMQ TV and the Czech radio transmitter (believed now used to jam U.S. broadcasts). Attacks mounted only when operationally feasible. The G–2 micro-wave net should be dealt with when there are sufficient assets inside to make sabotage coincide with a critical need, in August–September.
4. Sabotage power supply. To increase strain on regime and bring daily business to a standstill, by dramatic action all people will note. This should be a concerted attack, as feasible in July–August, on power plants at Havana, Santiago, Cinfuegas, Vicente, Santa Clara, Cuatro Caminos, Matanzas. It is of a type requiring detailed planning and special equipment, and can be mounted from outside Cuba.
1. Special Operations Room fully activated, by 1 March 1962. To provide the Chief of Operations and the project team with current intelligence and daily developments. To provide top U.S. officials with status briefings, as useful. A maximum security room for this project will be maintained in the inner JCS security area of the Pentagon. (Defense responsibility, with support by CIA and others as required.)
2. Caribbean Admission Center, Opa-Locka, Florida, fully activated by 15 March 1962. To collect intelligence required for the operations, to identify and earmark assets as refugees arrive, and to provide security against Communist agent operations. This operation, in response to early recommendation as essential by the Chief of Operations, is moving at utmost speed to become fully active by 15 March, with a new building completed and occupied, and with a staff of 42 at work. The staff is now being increased in phases, as quickly as personnel are trained, to supplement the initial staff of 9. (CIA responsibility, with support by Defense, Justice, State, USIA.)
3. Develop additional Interrogation centers in other areas, during March 1962. To collect intelligence in a Latin atmosphere, at different levels than now seem possible in the continental U.S., to spot additional assets for the operation, and to provide security against Communist agent operations. As Opa-Locka becomes fully activated, as first priority, CIA must survey means and methods for activating other interrogation centers where useful. [text not declassified] should be included in this survey. The new centers should be activated as quickly as feasible. (CIA responsibility, with support by Defense and others as necessary.)
4. Expand special intelligence and other sensitive intelligence coverage, as required. To develop increased “hard” intelligence. (Defense responsibility, in collaboration with CIA.)
5. Develop intelligence potential of Cuban “colonies” in U.S. To exploit the intelligence possibilities of former residents of Cuba (including U.S. citizens) now in the United States. There are “colonies” in Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities which are “little Cubas.” Family, Church, and business interests provoke unusual personal ties inside Cuba for some of these residents; a real potential exists for collection of intelligence not otherwise available. (Justice/FBI responsibility, with support from CIA and others as required.)
6. Develop the means of the Inter-American Defense Board to provide substantive intelligence on Cuban activities. To add to the increased U.S. intelligence coverage on Cuba and to strengthen the concern of Latin American states for security. (Responsibility of Defense, with support by others as required.)
7. Periodic intelligence estimates, as required by progress of operations. To up-date NIE 85–62, so that current estimates can be considered at national policy levels. As the operations develop, there will be both increased intelligence collection and a need for as current an Intelligence Estimate as the U.S. can produce meaningfully. It is likely that a more informal method of producing an Intelligence Estimate for use at the national level (than now governing the issuance of NIE’s) may have to be followed. (CIA responsibility, with support of others as required.)
  1. “The Cuba Project.” Top Secret 26 pp. Kennedy Library, NSF, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 2/62–4/62.
  2. A marginal note at this point on the White House copy, in McGeorge Bundy’s hand, reads: “Will be got ready and held on call. A big job for USN.”
  3. The Attorney General and the Special Group were apprised of this action. The answers received on 15 February provided the basis for planning a realistic course of action. The answers also revealed that the course of action must contain continuing coordination and firm overall guidance.