576. Memorandum from Gilpatric to the Secretary of the Army, December 81

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  • Future Plans for Cuban Volunteer Inductee Program

The basic political reasons for which the Cuban Volunteer Inductee Program was originally designed are still valid, and in fact may have a greater validity in the light of recent developments. The successful accomplishment of this program is still considered an important objective.

Mr. McNamara and I are aware of the difficulties inherent in conducting this program, and appreciate the thoroughly professional fashion with which the Army has handled it to date. As a result of reports from representatives of the Department of the Army and a personal inspection by a member of my staff, however, we realize that the program is now at a critical stage, particularly because of the increasingly low morale of the Cuban volunteers.

It should be understood that the Department of the Army has complete responsibility for the Cuban Volunteer Inductee Program. To facilitate the successful completion of the program, the following guidelines are provided:

a. The Cuban Volunteer Inductee Program should be continued in its present form with the 22-week training schedule followed by a two-week resettlement period.

b. As units of Cuban inductees complete their full training cycle, they should be placed, on an individual basis, in a ready reserve mobilization pool. There is no requirement in this program to train Cuban officers, Cuban NCOs or Cuban common specialists. Those individuals, however, who upon completion of their training desire to remain in the active Army, and who meet the appropriate prerequisites, should be allowed to do so.

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c. Special handling of Cuban volunteer inductees at armed forces induction and examining stations will be terminated upon induction of approximately 2,400 Cuban volunteers. In any case, however, such special handling will be terminated by 1 February 1963. To achieve this objective as expeditiously as possible, the Army will raise the age limit for induction of Cuban volunteers as required. Thereafter, Cubans [Typeset Page 1530] desiring to enlist in the Army will be handled in a similar fashion to U.S. enlistees, except that the Army is authorized to assign them to Fort Buchanan for initial individual training, including English language training. A public announcement of this action will be coordinated with the Department of State and with my office.

d. Steps should be taken to bolster the morale of the trainees and to strengthen their resolve to complete the program.

e. Use should be made of the Cuban refugee leaders in bolstering the morale of the Cuban trainees and in encouraging them to remain with the program until they have successfully completed it.

f. The Department of the Army is authorized to transfer the Cuban training program from Fort Knox to a location with a warmer climate.

g. The Department of the Army should deal with disciplinary problems arising during the remaining portion of the program through whatever means it finds necessary. As a last resort, and then only on an individual basis, the Department of the Army is authorized to discharge a trainee for the convenience of the Government.

h. The Department of the Army is authorized to deal directly with the Department of State in connection with this program.

Roswell L. Gilpatric
  1. Future plans for Cuban Volunteer Inductee Program. Secret. 2 pp. WNRC, RG 330, OASD (C) A Files: FRC 72 A 2896, Yarmolinsky Files, Cuban Volunteer Program.