304. Memorandum for the file, September 241

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  • Discussion with Attorney General Robert Kennedy on Monday, 24 September, Subject “Donovan Negotiations”

McCone and AG met alone. Discussed the subject for about an hour, DCI took strong position advocating pursuit of negotiations after AG had briefly reviewed his personal discussions with Donovan. DCI support was based on (1) humanitarian aspects, (2) responsibility of the United States toward the prisoners, (3) importance of the prisoner group together with their relatives and friends as a hard core of continuing support of U.S.-Cuban relations as future political situation in Cuba evolves, and (4), and most emphatically, Castro held prisoners as hostages and would use them even to the extent of execution of them in the event of further action by U.S. against Cuba. Such actions [Typeset Page 999] might be necessary as would be the case of the defense of Guantanamo, should it be attacked.

In a brief discussion of the political aspects, DCI stated that he felt that this matter could be handled so that there would be no serious adverse political reactions. In fact the pluses and minuses would in all probability balance off each other.

AG and DCI were in substantial agreement. It was decided to discuss subject with the President at 4:00 p.m. the following day.

At the close of the discussion, DCI asked AG his views on the performance of CIA during DCI absence. AG spoke most enthusiastically for the operations of General Carter for whom he holds the greatest respect, the functioning of the organization, and most particularly the relationship between CIA and FBI as reported to him by J. Edgar Hoover. AG stated that J.E.H. told him that the change in climate between the two organizations was miraculous, that the two were working together now whereas they had been fighting one another for years, that he was highly pleased, that our servicing of certain FBI operations was most satisfactory to J.E.H. and the AG.

  1. Discussion with the Attorney General on proposed Donovan negotiations for release of Cuban exile prisoners held by Castro. Secret. 1 p. CIA, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80–B01285A, Box 2, Memo for the Record, 24 Sept–31 Dec 1962.