729. Memorandum from McGeorge Bundy to President Johnson, December 151

[Facsimile Page 1]


  • Meeting on Cuba—December 19, 1963

At 11:00 A.M. on Thursday, you will be meeting primarily with State, Defense, and CIA, to discuss further possible measures we can take against Castro, which stop short of invasion and blockade. The following is an attempt to describe the Cuban problem as a whole—where we have been since January, 1963: where we are now; and where we seem to be headed. The paper ends with a brief description of a number of further possible measures we can take against Cuba. State, Defense, and CIA, which, by and large, have reserved their positions on these measures, will be prepared to discuss them with you in detail at the meeting.

I. Current U.S. Policy

The bare minimum objective of our policy is a Cuba which poses no threat to its neighbors and which is not a Soviet satellite. In moving towards this objective we have rejected the options of unprovoked U.S. military intervention in Cuba and of ineffective, total blockade around Cuba—primarily because they would risk another US–USSR confrontation. Instead, we are engaged in a variety of unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral measures, both defensive and offensive, which stop short of these drastic measures.

II. Review of U.S. Measures Against Cuba Since January, 1963

On January 2, 1963, the White House set up an interdepartmental task force, headed by State, to coordinate all matters pertaining to Cuba. [Facsimile Page 2] With the establishment of the Cuban Coordinating Committee, our post-missile crisis measures against Cuba began. These measures have been essentially either defensive or offensive in nature.

A. Defensive Measures

Our defensive measures have primarily aimed at three targets:

(1) Cuba, the Military Threat—We have been intent on ensuring that Cuba does not become again an “offensive weapons” (e.g. missiles) [Typeset Page 1869] threat to the U.S. or Latin America. To this end we have conducted intensive air and sea surveillance around and over Cuba and have collected intelligence from within Cuba. So far as we know, we have been entirely successful in this effort and Cuba is not now an “offensive weapons” threat to either the U.S. or to Latin America.

But even without “offensive weapons” Cuba remains a powerful military establishment in Latin America. To discourage possible Cuban military attacks against its neighbors, we have put ourselves clearly on record that any such Cuban moves will have dire consequences for Cuba.

(2) Soviet Troops—We have been intent, for domestic political, as well as national security reasons on effecting the removal of all Soviet military personnel from Cuba. To this end we have made it eminently clear to the Soviets on numerous occasions that we strongly oppose the permanent assignment of Soviet military personnel to Cuba. As a result of Soviet self-interest and our pressures, there are now 4,000 to 7,000 Soviet military personnel (mostly advisers and technicians) remaining in Cuba, representing a drop of about 65% to 75% from the peak reached in the autumn of 1962: a net outflow appears to be continuing. However, the issue remains a delicate one. At any moment the Russians could [Facsimile Page 3] arbitrarily decide to send more troops into Cuba. Also, the fact that possibly volatile Cubans will probably control the surface-to-air missile sites by mid-1964 is disturbing.

[Facsimile Page 4]

(3) Subversion—We have been intent on impeding and if possible stopping Cuban based and supported subversion in the Hemisphere. To this end we have made a special effort, bilaterally and in multilateral forums, to direct Latin American attention to, and to assist (materially where appropriate) Latin American efforts in the problem of controlling internal insurgency and in controlling the subversive movement of people, funds, arms, and propaganda between Latin America and Cuba. On the one hand we have had some success—there is now an increased awareness in Latin America of the extent and nature of the threat along with an increased capability and will in Latin America to do something about the problem. One measure of our success is Venezuelan readiness, in contrast to previous reluctance, to make an international issue out of the discovery of [illegible in the original]. Another small measure of this success is that primarily through the use of travel control by Latin American governments, there has been a 50% drop over the past year in the number of Latin Americans traveling to Cuba.

On the other hand, with Castro still exceedingly intent on producing “another Cuba” in the Hemisphere, and with many Latin American governments still unwilling or unable to cope effectively with subversive efforts, much remains to be done. In this regard proper exploitation [Typeset Page 1870] of the recent discovery of the Cuban arms cache in Venezuela might take us a long way towards getting wholehearted Latin American cooperation in the fight against subversion. Such cooperation is a vital key to success in this field.

[Facsimile Page 5]

B. Offensive Measures

Offensively, our ultimate minimum target is to remove the Soviet satellite from the Hemisphere. We hope to achieve this by concentrating mainly on three intermediate targets—intensifying Cuba’s already-serious economic difficulties; increasing the cost and unpleasantness to the Soviets of maintaining Cuba; and stimulating direct and indirect internal resistance to the regime. Our chief weapons for achieving these offensive targets are two—isolation measures and covert measures (which also have an impact on our defensive targets, particularly Cuban subversion).

(1) Isolation Measures—The most outstanding characteristic of our isolation measures is that they have been exceedingly difficult to implement—primarily because implementation depends on the cooperation of others and not on U.S. will alone. Nevertheless, while one could have reasonably expected our isolation policy to break up as the world moved away from the heat of October, 1962, in fact, this has not happened.

Instead, while far from performing [illegible in the original] over the past year, our isolation policy generally has held the ground already made in some fields, while making further progress in others. About a year ago, only 5 OAS countries maintained diplomatic relations with Cuba; the number not only remains the same now, but anticipated OAS reaction to the discovery of the Cuban arms cache in Venezuela gives me reason to hope for further ruptures. The low level of Free World trade with Cuba reached in 1962 has generally been maintained in 1963. Air isolation of Cuba has been fairly successful; a dramatic demonstration of this is the fact that many Latin [Facsimile Page 6] Americans have had to travel to and from Cuba via Prague. The total number of Free World shipments in Cuba in 1963 is running at roughly 40% of 1962 levels. Prospects for further reduction are good since we now seem to be making good progress with the three principal shipping countries—Greece, Lebanon, and the UK. In this regard, the Greeks have recently issued stiffer laws to prevent their ships from going to or from Cuba, while the Lebanese have drafted (but have not yet enacted) legislation to the same end; and some important British shipping companies (e.g., [less than 1 line not declassified]) have finally decided that they should play ball with us.

But there is plenty of room for improvement. There are still roughly 30 Free World ships per month in the Cuban trade. Free World countries still send many commodities other than [illegible in the original] to [Typeset Page 1871] Cuba which Cuba needs desperately. And there are still air routes between Cuba and Spain and Mexico.

The effectiveness of our isolation policy in hitting the target is impossible to gauge accurately. While Hurricane Flora, in a few days, probably hit the target more squarely than our isolation measures did in a year, it is generally agreed that the economic chaos which now in fact exists in Cuba and the enormity of the Soviet aid bill is, in part at least, due to our efforts. Castro’s repeated and loud public protestations about our isolation policy and his serious and energetic efforts to break out of Free World isolation substantiate the view that the isolation measures probably hurt him, economically and politically.

[Facsimile Page 7]

(2) Covert Measures—Our covert program over the past year has covered essentially six areas. First, through a variety of techniques, we have collected intelligence for both U.S. strategic requirements and for operational requirements; the quantity and quality is good but there is always room for improvement. Second, CIA-controlled radio programs and other propaganda media, directed at Cuba, have been used to encourage low risk, simple sabotage and other forms of active and passive resistance, and to stimulate tension within the regime and between Cuba and the Soviet Bloc. Third, CIA has worked with State and other agencies to deny to Cuba commodities which it urgently needs. Fourth, we have been trying to identify, seek out, and establish contact with potentially dissident non-Communist elements in the power centers of the regime, with a view to stimulating an internal coup which would dislodge Castro; we currently are in direct contact with several people in Cuba who may be of significance. Fifth, we have directed four small-scale externally-mounted sabotage operations for the purpose of stimulating resistance and [illegible in the original] economically. Sixth, in order to expand sabotage and resistance activities we have been involved in aiding autonomous Cuban exile groups and individuals, who will probably be ready to begin infiltration and sabotage in mid-January, and who will not necessarily be responsive to our guidance. (A financial breakdown of CIA’s covert Cuban operations since 1960 attached at Tab I.)

The most outstanding characteristic of our covert action program so far is that its potential for bringing about a basic change in Cuba is still [Facsimile Page 8] largely unknown. The program which makes use of Cuban exiles and which is not yet fully underway has already achieved a degree of success—e.g. in demonstrating to Cubans that Castro is not invulnerable, in forcing Castro to divert valuable resources for defense against covert activities, in inflicting small, but cumulatively significant economic damage, and perhaps in stimulating to some degree the insurgency which is evident in Cuba. As yet our covert program has not been directed in such a way as to inflict serious economic damage on [Typeset Page 1872] Cuba. There are those who believe that much can be done in this regard, as well as in stimulating further resistance. But our covert program presently operates under almost two [illegible in the original]—present policy prevents covert air attacks on Cuban targets and prevents free-lance exile raids on Cuba from U.S. territory.

III. Where are We Going?

In theory, at least, our present offensive measures, vigorously pursued and, to a degree, complemented by our defensive measures, could lead finally to one of the following three eventualities, each of which constitutes a removal of the Soviet satellite from the Hemisphere.

A. Overthrow of the Castro Regime

Most Cuban experts in the U.S. Government regard this as the most likely of the three eventualities. Hopefully, by exerting maximum pressure by all the means available to the U.S. Government, short of military force, we will be able to bring about a degree of disorganization, uncertainty, and discontent in Cuba which will predispose elements in the power centers of the [Facsimile Page 9] regime to bring about the overthrow of the Castro/Communist group and the elimination of the Soviet presence in Cuba; at some stage of the revolt, it is likely that direct, or indirect U.S. support will be needed to ensure its success. Theoretically, the Cuban people, tired of economic hardship, lack of freedom, and isolation from their Latin American brethern, will embrace the revolt.

B. Accommodation with Castro on U.S. Terms

Under this eventuality, Castro would agree to break his tie-line with the USSR, stop his subversion efforts, and perhaps renounce the Communist ideology. While highly unlikely, it is not inconceivable that such factors as (1) U.S. isolation and covert measures, (2) further Cuban economic deterioration, in spite of Soviet aid, and (3) distrust of the Soviet intentions will lead Castro to believe he has no choice but accommodation. Indeed, there is evidence that Castro may already be thinking along these lines. In the past few months he has made a number of accommodation noises and since he undoubtedly has a pretty good reading of our minimum terms, these noises could conceivably indicate that he is willing to go a long way towards meeting them. Che Guevera’s reported nervousness at Castro’s accommodation tendencies substantiates the view that Castro’s desire to negotiate is genuine and not a ploy to reduce U.S. heat on Cuba.

But there are obvious major problems with this alternative. Not the least of these is whether the American people would tolerate accommodation [Facsimile Page 10] with even a reformed Castro and whether or not we could prove to the American people that we’ve gotten from Castro what we say we’ve gotten. Nevertheless, there is rebuttal for such arguments and accommodation remains a distinct possibility, if not for now then for later.

[Typeset Page 1873]

C. A Soviet Decision to Quit Cuba

This may be the most unlikely of the three eventualities, yet such a Soviet decision cannot be dismissed categorically in view of such factors as (1) the lack of real Soviet progress in making Cuba a “showpiece”, (2) the obvious U.S. determination to make Cuba a Soviet “dead end” in the Hemisphere (no more Cuba’s will be permitted), (3) the magnitude of Soviet aid to Cuba, and (4) the extent of the USSR’s own present economic problems. At the least, these factors would appear to have a bearing on how the Russians would view their eviction from Cuba, either by the overthrow of Castro’s regime or by a Castro decision to accommodate with the U.S. on U.S. terms. Relief would conceivably mix generously with Russian grief, especially if the Russians could find a vaguely credible fig-leaf.

IV. Current Estimate of Possible Success

The $64 question—Will our present offensive measures, even if implemented vigorously and flawlessly, ever lead by one way or another, to the removal of the Soviet satellite from the Hemisphere?—is impossible to answer. Castro’s position within Cuba appears to be erroding gradually, while the situation in Cuba is characterized by economic stagnation, depressed living conditions, the loss of revolutionary impetus, and the disillusionment [Facsimile Page 11] of an increasing large majority of the population; moreover, Castro’s stature in Latin America is generally very low. Nevertheless, the general consensus seems to be that Castro still retains control; without stepping up our pressures considerably, the chances are practically nil that we will get to Castro in the near future and only fairly good that we will get to him eventually.

Probably the most we can say for certain is that we appear to be moving in the right general direction; and this, of course, is important. A vigorous, tough, and nasty policy probably lays the best groundwork for bringing about any of the three eventualities which are noted above and which constitute the removal of the Soviet satellite from the Hemisphere. From a domestic political viewpoint, this is probably fortuitous: a tough but no invasion policy is one policy which the American people appear prepared to support at this time.

V. Further Possible Measures Against Cuba

The general consensus in the Government is that we should try to find ways of stepping up our pressures against the Castro regime. One of the most important reasons for this is that the Castro regime continues to constitute a threat to Latin America. While Castro’s efforts in Latin America may not be substantial in absolute terms, he is operating in an area which is politically especially fragile.

It is also generally agreed that we are now in a good time-frame to step up our pressures. The recent discovery of the Cuban arms cache [Typeset Page 1874] in [Facsimile Page 12] Venezuela should permit us to raise the general noise level in and around Cuba. Actions which we may have been reluctant to take several months ago, may now be feasible.

The following is a list of further actions, short of invasion and blockade, which we may want to take in the near future. They can conveniently be divided into unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral measures. The brief description following each measure is meant to give you a flavor for some of the more important implications. At the meeting, State, Defense, and CIA will be prepared to discuss each of the measures with you in depth and in detail.

A. Unilateral Measures

(1) Air Attacks—We can authorize CIA to conduct or to equip autonomous exile groups to conduct air attacks against selected major economic targets such as power plants and oil refineries. As a starter, we [illegible in the original] have [illegible in the original] targets in mind. These are considerably more difficult to attack from the ground but planning for a ground attack on one of these targets is already underway. Planning for an attack on the Santiago oil refinery will be completed [illegible in the original] 1964.

While the concrete and psychological advantages of selected air strikes have always been recognized, and while unauthorized air strikes have in fact already taken place over Cuba, up to now it has been our policy to steer clear of U.S. involvement in his sort of activity. Primarily it has been considered [Facsimile Page 13] a relatively high risk, high noise-level type of operation which would not have a major impact on Castro, which would be hard to control (e.g. innocents might be killed), and which could conceivably lead to a sharp Soviet reaction in Cuba (e.g. shoot down a U–2) or elsewhere.

(2) Unleashing of Exiles—We can relax our present policy of not permitting independent Cuban exile groups to base sea and air attacks on Cuba from U.S. territory; [less than 1 line not declassified]. While such attacks might inflict only small concrete damage on Cuban targets, they have some distinct advantages. For example, they would tend to high-light the regime’s weakness, cause Castro to divert more resources to defense, lift the morale of the exiles and of the anti-Castro elements within Cuba, and provide cover for CIA-controlled raids.

This also is not a new subject, and, in the past, the disadvantages were believed to be over-riding. Such autonomous raids, which would involve the U.S. directly and which would raise the noise-level in the Caribbean, would be hard to control; it is possible that raiders would attack Soviet vessels and installations and precipitate strong Russian reaction, including, possibly the transfer of more Soviet troops to Cuba. Moreover, encouragement of autonomous raids on Cuba from U.S. territory would be in sharp variance with our publicly and privately [Typeset Page 1875] stated position. Since March 30, 1963 we have taken the public position that we will not tolerate the violation of U.S. neutrality laws, even by anti-Castro raiders. Privately, we have [Facsimile Page 14] said the same thing to the Soviets while maintaining the position that we have no control over raiding activities which originate outside of U.S. territory.

In the best of all possible worlds, we would prefer that these completely autonomous, amateur exile raiders operate from non-U.S. territory. However, we may not have this option. Generally speaking, such amateurs have their homes in Florida and don’t want to move. Moreover, the fact that U.S. territory is physically very close to Cuba makes a difference to the relatively poorly-equipped amateurs who would be involved in this sort of raid.

(3) Military Feints—We can move U.S. air and surface units over and in international waters near Cuba in a manner designed to keep Cuban military forces in a state of alert and uncertainty.

This is a measure which has not been explored to the extent of the first two. On the positive side, it would harass Castro, cost him resources, and, if desired, offer opportunities for escalation. On the negative side, there is the ever-present problem of possible escalation which we may not want as well as the investment of U.S. forces, over time, in an essentially psychological exercise. Implicit in this measure is the assumption that we would be able to conduct military feints on a level at which the Cubans would get jumpy but the Russians would not.

(4) Low-Level Flights—We can reintroduce low-level reconnaissance flights over Cuba in such a way as to minimize the chance of Cuban counter-action. Publicly, we can rationalize the resumption of the flights on the [Facsimile Page 15] grounds that they will give us more intelligence on Castro’s capabilities to ship arms to Latin America. In fact, the primary advantages to low-level flights are psychological; they would indicate a tougher U.S. line and would be extremely irritating to Castro—a blatant disregard for Cuban sovereignty.

Much discussed, the reintroduction of low-level flights has been turned down in the past primarily because of the noise-level problem, and because it might lead to Soviet reaction against our U–2 flights and in other areas. Also there is a real possibility that low-level flights might lead to escalation we would not want; the Cubans are on record that they might try to shoot one down.

(5) Free World Shipping to Cuba—We can take further unilateral measures to reduce Free World shipping to Cuba. For example, we can close U.S. ports and deny U.S. Government sponsored shipments to lines of some or all countries which have ships in the Cuban trade.

This is a subject which has probably received as much attention as any in the whole realm of Cuban Affairs. Briefly put, we have thus [Typeset Page 1876] far rejected further unilateral measures mainly because the nature of the Cuban trade is such (small shipping lines with a greater involvement in Cuban trade than in U.S. trade) that our unilateral measures would simply not provide the leverage needed to produce a substantial reduction in Free World shipping to Cuba; the slight reduction we would get would not be enough to [Facsimile Page 16] compensate for a number of foreign policy losses we would suffer.

Generally speaking, we have instead concentrated on applying intense bilateral pressures on the governments of Free World countries to control their shipping to Cuba; and have had considerable, but not total, success (see also Section V B (2) below). At the same time, we have not entirely ruled out further unilateral sanctions. Some shipping experts seem to feel that if we apply certain unilateral sanctions in March, 1964, the Soviets and Cubans will have to scramble seriously in order to adjust charters and shipping schedules in time to be prepared for the heavy Cuban shipping season which begins in May.

(6) Public Presidential Statement—You can issue an early policy declaration on Cuba, making clear that the U.S. regards the current situation in Cuba as intolerable. Such a statement would be designed to stimulate anti-Castro/Communist dissident elements to carry out a coup. It would also have a salutory effect on those Latin American leaders who have indicated a willingness to follow a positive U.S. lead in taking more forceful action against Cuba.

Your statement might also include the point that the U.S. will not permit the establishment of “another Cuba” in the Hemisphere. This point would be designed to make it clear to the Soviets and Castro that they have reached a “dead end” in the Hemisphere.

On November 18 in Miami, President Kennedy included both of the [Facsimile Page 17] above points in his speech to the Inter-American Press Association (excerpts are attached at Tab 2). Whether or not you would want to take a more vigorous line in your own statement would have to depend on many factors—e.g. upon U.S. willingness to pursue a more active anti-Cuba policy over the next months, upon possible adverse Latin American reaction to a statement which hints of U.S. interventionism and upon domestic political considerations.

(7) Talks with the Soviets and Cubans—We can, through normal diplomatic and private channels attempt to drive a wedge between the Soviets and the Cubans and possibly, to encourage some Russian thinking in favor of withdrawal and some Castro thinking in favor of accommodation with the U.S. terms. To the Soviets, we can emphasize (a) that we are never going to let things stand as they are in Cuba, (b) that the Soviets, despite considerable expense, are making and can expect to make, no further real progress in Cuba or elsewhere in the Hemisphere, (c) that the existence of the Soviet tie-line in Cuba is a [Typeset Page 1877] serious impediment to a U.S./USSR détente, and (d) that the U.S. is prepared to assist the USSR in finding a fig-leaf to cover Soviet withdrawal from Cuba.

To Castro, very well aware that the Russians pulled the rug out from him in October, 1962 and aware that he is making no progress despite massive Soviet aid, the following type of message might have some appeal. It could be confident in tone to mitigate the possibility of relieving Castro [Facsimile Page 18] of any anxieties he may have which work in our favor.

“Fidel, we are content to let events continue on their present course. We intend to maintain, and whenever possible, to increase our pressures against you until you fall; we are pretty certain that we will be successful. Moreover, you can forget about getting ‘another Cuba’ in the Hemisphere. We have learned our lesson and ‘another Cuba’ is simply not going to happen. However, we are reasonable men. We are not intent on having your head per se; neither do we relish the suffering of the Cuban people. You know our central concerns—the Soviet connection and the subversion. If you feel you are in a position to allay these concerns, we can probably work out a way to live amicable together and to build a prosperous Cuba. If you don’t feel you can meet our concerns, then just forget the whole thing; we are quite content to continue on our present basis.”

B. Bilateral Measures

Further efforts in this field essentially would represent a continuation, sharpening, and intensification of programs already in effect. A basic limiting factor is the degree to which we are willing to expend credit with our allies to obtain this cooperation in making life difficult for Cuba.

(1) Free World Trade with Cuba—We can through overt and covert, legal and extra-legal, diplomatic and private means, make a greater effort to deny Cuba access to Free World markets and sources of supply; extra-special attention can be directed to those Free World commodities which [Facsimile Page 19] are critical or important to the Cuban economy.

There are some real obstacles to further progress in this field—a world-wide shortage of sugar which increases Cuba’s leverage over Free World sugar consumers, and a reluctance among many Free World countries to interfere in non-strategic trade. Nevertheless, there appears to be general agreement that more can be done in this area. Among other things, we can interpret more restrictively various legislative provisions which bear on Free World trade with Cuba; we would have to be prepared, however, to accept political losses in the offending countries as well as the domestic political losses inherent in tacitly admitting that our former interpretations were wrong.

(2) Free World Shipping to Cuba—We can increase our bilateral pressures to eliminate the slowly dwindling number of Free World ships [Typeset Page 1878] which remain in the Cuba trade. We can try to ensure that the Greeks enforce their new shipping legislation against ships in the Cuba trade. We can press the Lebanese to enact the necessary shipping legislation which has already passed through a number of constitutional processes: a letter from you to the Lebanese Prime Minister might help. Although we appear to have recently found a way to reduce British shipping to Cuba without HMG help (through direct dealings with the shippers), we can continue to press for HMG cooperation, which, if obtained, would be most helpful.

Since our prospects seem to be good with respect to the three major shipping countries, it is axiomatic that we should keep pressure on other [Facsimile Page 20] Free World countries to ensure that they don’t pick up the slack which the Greeks, Lebanese, and selective British shippers will soon be leaving. In this regard, the selective refusal to exercise the Presidential waiver of the Cuban transportation provisions of the new Foreign Aid Authorization Act (cessation of aid to any country which has not taken steps to prevent the transport of commodities, by plane or ship, to or from Cuba), could increase our diplomatic pressures on the maritime nations, assuming of course, we are ready to incur the foreign policy costs involved in this step.

(3) Air Service to and from Cuba—We can increase pressure to reduce, restrict and harass Free World and Communist air services to and from Cuba. Strict application of the new Foreign Aid Authorization Act could help in this regard if we are prepared to accept the costs involved in offending certain countries (e.g., Spain). On the other hand, the conclusion of a U.S.–USSR civil air agreement could erode our strong position against Free World air service to Cuba.

(4) Anti-Subversion Program—We can continue to press in the direction of strengthening both the will and the capability in Latin America to take the political and technical measures which have been recommended both bilaterally and multilaterally. The basic lines of the anti-subversion program have been laid out and they are being followed, with varying degrees of success, in the different countries. Constant follow-up, technical advice and assistance, and training are essential to the improvement and execution of the program.

[Facsimile Page 21]

We can also make a tough approach to the Russians with evidence of the Venezuelan arms cache. Gromyko in the past, has expressed doubt that we could show evidence of Cuban subversion. We can show it to him now.

C. Multilateral Measures

(1) Rio Treaty Action Against Cuba—At present, we are in the process of deciding what Rio Treaty action we can get the OAS to take against Cuba as a result of the discovery of the Cuban arms cache in Venezuela. What we push for will depend, in large part on the hardness of the [Typeset Page 1879] evidence presented in an OAS investigating team’s report and on the attitude of other OAS countries towards energetic anti-Cuban action. Best estimates are that we will push for and get 4 or 5 of the following 7 measures:

(a) Stop and search, on the high seas, of selected Cuban in OAS-registery vessels. This measure implies a willingness to use force and involves the concommitant risk of unwanted escalation. The ostensible purpose of this measure is to stop arms shipments, but because the quarantine could be easily by-passed and because the chances are good that arms shipments to Latin America from Cuba are minimal, no arms are likely to be found. The real purpose of this measure is to infuriate, humiliate, and provoke Castro.

(b) Stop and search, in territorial waters, of all suspect vessels. This is a variation of the above, which is probably almost as effective in controlling arms shipments and which does not involve the possible use of force. At the [Facsimile Page 22] same time, it will be easier for Castro to swallow than the “force” option.

(c) The breaking of diplomatic relations with Cuba by the 5 OAS countries which maintain them. On the whole, this would be a highly desirable action. It would dramatically demonstrate Castro’s isolation and deny to Castro the subversive bases which his missions in Latin America provide.

(d) The breaking of remaining economic relations between Latin America and Cuba. This would be helpful as a means of demonstrating Cuba’s isolation and perhaps as a lever to get other Free World countries to break trade relations with Cuba. Of itself, it’s not much. Latin American trade with Cuba is already at minuscule levels.

(e) The breaking of air and surface communications between Latin America and Cuba. On balance, this would be quite helpful primarily because it would shut off the Cuba/Mexico air route and would constitute an important step in reducing Cuba’s ability to move subversives to and from Latin America. The primary obstacles are that such a step will involve a small (but acceptable) loss of intelligence facilities and may involve legal difficulties with respect to bilateral and multilateral civil aviation agreements.

(f) Condemnation of Cuba by the OAS. The OAS certainly will agree to this as one of its actions. But it doesn’t mean much.

(g) A renewed call for alert against subversion and an endorsement of previous OAS recommendations outlining specific measures for combatting the threat. OAS approval for this one should be easy so long as the wording does not obligate states to implement the recommendations. In this form, [Facsimile Page 23] however, such action will be fairly meaningless.

[Typeset Page 1880]

(2) Other Surveillance Measures—Outside the context of Rio Treaty action we can try to conclude OAS-wide or bilateral agreements with Latin American governments to take joint measures to detect and prevent arms smuggling by land, sea, or air into Latin America. Because of the urgency of the threat, Venezuela and Colombia could be given first priority.

  1. Discussion of further possible measures the U.S. can take against Castro that stop short of invasion and blockade in preparation for the President’s meeting with State, Defense, and CIA officials December 19. Top Secret. 23 pp. Johnson Library, NSF, Country File, Cuba, Meetings, 12/63–3/65.