119. Memorandum From the Presidentʼs Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Kennedy0

I think you will find at noon that the situation in Cuba is not a bit good.

The Cuban armed forces are stronger, the popular response is weaker, and our tactical position is feebler that we had hoped. Tanks have done in one beachhead, and the position is precarious at the others.

The CIA will press hard for further air help—this time by Navy cover to B-26s attacking the tanks. But I think we can expect other pleas in rapid crescendo, because we are up against a formidable enemy, who is reacting with military know-how and vigor.

The immediate request I would grant (because it cannot easily be proven against us and because men are in need), but the real question is whether to reopen the possibility of further intervention and support or to accept the high probability that our people, at best, will go into the mountains in defeat.

In my own judgment the right course now is to eliminate the Castro air force, by neutrally-painted U.S. planes if necessary, and then let the battle go its way.

McG. B.1
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, Presidentʼs Office Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, April 1961. Top Secret
  2. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.