300. Telegram 23209 to McCone, September 161

[Facsimile Page 1]

Opim Dir Cite [less than 1 line not declassified]. Eyes Only [less than 1 line not declassified] from [less than 1 line not declassified].

1. Following August meeting principals when we first reported Soviet Cuban buildup I suggested BNE study economic prospects of Cuba assuming Soviet technical assistance and guidance could correct present mismanagement of industry and agriculture by Castro organi[Typeset Page 995]zation. I then felt and stated that Soviets would reason that proper management could build Cuba into a viable economy with sufficient export of agricultural and manufactured product and other natural resources to cover needs for import and provide some excess for social betterment. In view of very extensive press comment on deterioration of Cuban economy leaving impression situation can never be reversed and possibility of such reasoning influencing U.S. policy importantly I believe the study proposed will be revealing and useful.

2. Also believe we must carefully study the prospect of secret importation and placement of several Soviet MRBMs which could not be detected by us if Cuban defenses deny overflight. In reflecting on my observations of Thor installation in Britain and Jupiters [Facsimile Page 2] in Italy I can envisage a Soviet plan to package missile, control and operating equipment in such a way that a unit could be made operational a few hours after a site cleared and a modest concrete pad poured. Do not wish to be overly alarming this matter but believe CIA and community must keep government informed of danger of a surprise and also that detection of preparatory steps possibly beyond our capability once Cuban defense system operative.

3. Thrust of press reports reaching me is that there exists a clear demarcation between defensive and offensive preparations and I question if we can be sure of this. I recognize Cuban policy decisions most delicate and beyond agency or my competence. However believe we must give those making decision our best estimate of possible developments and alternative situations which might evolve and unexpectedly confront us.

  1. Soviet Cuban buildup including possible MRBMs. Top Secret. 2 pp. CIA, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80–B01285A, Box 4, DCI–DDCI Cables—Cuba, 4 Sept–21 Sept 1962.