702. Memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to McNamara, July 221

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  • US Courses of Action in Case of a Revolt in Cuba (C)

1. Reference is made to a memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), I–35752/63, dated 24 June 1963, subject as above.

2. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have reviewed the revised draft State-Defense plan transmitted by the reference and have concluded that although it is generally compatible with their views, specific changes as indicated in the Appendix hereto are necessary. One change recommended is to recognize that a US invasion would not invariably be the least desirable course of action from a political point of view. For example, the effect of propaganda accusations of aggression would be significantly reduced or eliminated if any US overt actions were preceded by a call for help from the Cuban insurgents. Also, a serious Castro-communist provocation could provide political justification for [Typeset Page 1807] US invasion. For the most part, the other changes are designed to eliminate any ambiguity concerning the concept of overt military operations. The concept should be clear that once the United States is committed to overt support of a revolt in Cuba, the principal course of action should be prompt and orderly execution of preplanned operations in areas of our own choosing and with appropriate forces. Interim operations to sustain the revolt should be considered as ancillary to, and not a substitute for, the principal course of action. Moreover, the objective of all US operations should be the establishment of a government in Cuba acceptable to the United States.

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3. The Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that the changes in the Appendix be incorporated in the draft State-Defense plan.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Maxwell D. Taylor
Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. U.S. courses of action in case of a revolt in Cuba. Top Secret. 2 pp. WNRC, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 69 A 0926, Cuba Sensitive, 1963, 000.1—.