597. Memorandum from Gordon Chase to McGeorge Bundy, January 151

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  • Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee on Cuban Affairs—Progress Report

The Committee has been quite active. The following is a status report on Sterling Cottrell’s work and the work of the Committee.

1. Pan American/Prisoner Exchange Package

Although the outcome is not yet clear, so far, the wheels seem to be turning fairly smoothly and quickly.

PAA appears cooperative. Mr. Adams, in a meeting on Saturday with Bob Hurwitch, said (1) that PAA does not expect U.S. Government financial support for future flights to Havana, and (2) that PAA will resume flights whenever the Government gives the word. Mr. Adams added that while he hopes that Mr. Donovan will help PAA in working out a better payments arrangement with Castro, the resumption of flights is in no way contingent on such an arrangement.

Mr. Donovan hopes to talk to Castro next week about the release of the American prisoners and the resumption of PAA flights (Castro has asked Mr. Donovan to make inquiries about the resumption of PAA services). Mr. Donovan has asked for a Castro meeting (via Mrs. Bareto/Celia Sanchez/Castro communications system). He has not yet had a reply. If Castro does not reply soon, Mr. Hurwitch plans to ask Mr. Donovan to contact Castro again.

2. The Brigade

The Committee had a meeting this morning regarding the future status of the Brigade. The advantages and disadvantages of alternative courses of action were discussed. The discussion was not completed and will be resumed on Wednesday.

Attached for your information is a memorandum which outlines the points presented by the Brigade leaders when they met with Mr. Cottrell on Friday.

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3. Future Policy Toward Cuba

The Committee met this afternoon to discuss the future policy toward Cuba; Secretary Vance represented DOD and Mr. Helms represented CIA. A revised version of the policy, not including the covert section, was drafted. It will be available on Tuesday; this, as well as the covert annex, will be discussed Thursday. (Mr. Vance wants to clear the draft first with the JCS.)

I mentioned your concern to Mr. Cottrell and Bob Hurwitch about the absence of the Florida dimension in the policy paper. The matter was discussed briefly at the meeting and the consensus seemed to be that the Florida dimension was a complicated one, that it required a lot more study, and that it should not unnecessarily hold up the policy paper. After the meeting, I spoke to Bob Hurwitch and asked if he would give me a brief note of his views on the subject; it will be here today.

4. Press Interest

Mr. Cottrell mentioned that the press is becoming increasingly interested in his work. He warned against leaks and suggested that Committee members only go as far as to admit that our Cuban policy is under study; Committee members should feel free to buck questions to him.

How should the White House play this? Can we buck everything over to the Coordinator?

5. Schedule of Committee Meetings

The Committee’s schedule of meetings over the next few days is as follows:

Tuesday, January 15, 1963 —10:00 AM —Actions in OAS
—2:00 PM DOD Contingency Planning
Wednesday, January 16, 1963 —10:00 AM —The Brigade
—2:00 PM —The Miami Office
Thursday, January 17, 1963 —10:00 AM —Open
—2:00 PM —Future Policy Toward Cuba, including the Covert Annex
Gordon Chase
  1. Progress report of Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee on Cuban Affairs: Pan American/Prisoner exchange package; the Brigade; future policy toward Cuba; press interest. Top Secret. 2 pp. Kennedy Library, NSF, Countries Series, Cuba, General, Vol. VII (B), 1/63.