592. Memorandum for the record, January 91

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  • Leadership Meeting—8 January 1963

I attended the meeting and made the remarks as in the attached paper. There were no significant questions.

Secretary McNamara briefed on South Viet Nam, expressing an optimistic point of view.

Secretary Rusk reported on the Cuban negotiations, summarizing the situation as it had been reported without any deviation. He also reported on the Congo situation, giving the meeting all information included in dispatches received in the late afternoon. There was no significant question.

John A. McCone
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I. By a careful examination of all photography and other intelligence sources, we have concluded that the Soviets have withdrawn 42 strategic missiles and 42 jet bombers and their related equipment, and about four or five thousand personnel probably associated with the maintenance and operation of this equipment.

A. We believe, but we cannot prove by aerial reconnaissance, that this represents all the strategic weapons placed in Cuba by the Soviets.

1. The strategic missile bases have been dismantled and no IL–28 bomber aircraft remain in sight.

B. Several categories of missiles remain in Cuba. These include surface-to-air, short range surface-to-surface coastal defense, and missiles for KOMOR type coastal ships. Quantities of these missiles may be stored in caves in Cuba together with other items of conventional armament. However, we doubt that attempts have been made to hide [Typeset Page 1553] intermediate range strategic missiles in caves but this can not be proven by the aerial reconnaissance which we are carrying on each day, weather permitting. Our program of aerial reconnaissance which calls for a complete coverage [Facsimile Page 3] of the entire Island every week will, in our opinion, reveal any effort to reintroduce strategic missiles or reactivate strategic weapons systems.

II. Nevertheless there is still a substantial Soviet military presence in Cuba.

A. From all intelligence sources, including photographic reconnaissance, agent and refugee reports and other intelligence assets, we conclude that:

1. Many thousands of Soviet military personnel remain—from known table of organization of Soviet units, and from other sources, this number may be in the order of 17,000.

2. the Soviets are operating the advanced MIG–21 fighters in Cuba,

3. Soviet pilots flew 26 of the 42 aircraft that appeared in the January 2nd demonstration,

4. The Soviets continue to man the 24 surface-to-air missile sites and the related sophisticated communications systems. (Although these SAM remain operational and their radars occasionally are activated against our U–2s, no missile has to our knowledge been fired since the shootdown of a U–2 on 27 October.)

5. the Soviets are maintaining four mobile ground units of [Facsimile Page 4] some 1,500 men, each fully equipped with tanks, mobile field pieces, short-range surface-to-surface tactical missiles, and other unit equipment.

6. permanent barracks and other facilities are under construction to house these units.

III. We have witnessed no introduction of new military equipment into Cuba since late October.

A. However, we have indications that one ship, which passed Gilbraltar 5 January, probably is carrying military equipment and supplies.

B. Soviet Bloc shipping continues at an average of about one ship per day; this is comparable to the rate of deliveries during the first half of 1962, but considerably below the rate maintained during the military build-up.

IV. In addition to the military equipment in the hands of the Soviets, we note large concentration of tanks, trucks, mobile field pieces, etc., which are at the disposal of the Cuban themselves.

V. There is no detectable change in the Castro regime’s goals or methods.

A. Some reports indicate sharp differences between Castro and the Soviets over the withdrawal of offensive weapons but these differences have not reached a breaking point, nor [Facsimile Page 5] have they impaired Castro’s control of the political life of Cuba and its economic program.

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B. Castro’s hatred for the United States and his determination to foment revolutions in Latin America were repeated in his January 2nd speech.

C. Castro’s decision to release the Cuban prisoners was based on his judgment and the judgment of his advisers that the arrangement represented a good deal from his standpoint, though there is some evidence that it brought criticism from the hard-line Communists within his organization.

VI. We see no evidence of a Soviet decision to make major withdrawals of military equipment and personnel from Cuba. However, this is a possibility with the passage of time. We note for instance that a few short-range rocket transporters have recently been loaded on an outbound ship.

At the present, however, we summarize the situation in Cuba as follows: Castro remains in control, his attitudes seem unchanged, but the Soviets have retained sufficient military capability in Cuba to give them powerful leverage on Castro should he oppose their policies too actively.

  1. Leadership meeting on January 8. Attached DCI Briefing on latest overview of Cuban developments. Top Secret. 5 pp. CIA, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80–B01285A, Box 6, DCI Meetings With the President, 1 January–31 March 1963.