314. Memorandum from Sloan to Gilpatric, October 81

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  • Release of Cuban Prisoners

At a special meeting at State Saturday afternoon, John McCone advised the status of the Donovan mission to Havana. Following the meeting, contact was made with the President who approved the general conclusions. One of these conclusions was that little or no attempt at secrecy would be useful for more than a short time and that admission of the U.S. Government backing of the exchange would be made (without details) upon press inquiry.

The quid pro quo is $50 million in drugs and medicines ($20 million cost to Government) plus approximately $7 million collected by the Prisoners’ Committee, in cash, to be transferred to the Royal Bank of Canada.

Donovan, after flying to Miami yesterday for some last minute instructions from Mr. McCone, was to return to Havana and fly out with the last group of prisoners. A contract with Pan American had already been affected by CIA to bring the prisoners out commencing today or tomorrow if all goes well.

I am available to brief you on further details of the meeting if you wish.

Frank K. Sloan
Deputy Assistant Secretary
  1. Release of Cuban prisoners. Top Secret. 1 p. WNRC, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 65 A 3591, Cuba 1962, 00.1 (383.6 Cuba).