124. Telegram From the Chief of Naval Operations (Burke) to the Commander in Chief, Atlantic (Dennison)0

182023Z. Exclusive for Adm Dennison and RAdm Clark from Burke. There is little information here on status of operation. Few reports available indicate operation may be in desperate straits. No general uprising in Cuba yet.

What is most urgently needed here is information on which to make an assessment of the situation or a judgment on what to do at high levels.

Following questions at high-level conference were asked:

Can anti-Castro forces go into bush as guerillas?
Could anti-Castro forces be evacuated from beach by unmarked United States amphib boats?
Is there a possibility that anti-Castro forces can break through?

Following possible United States actions were discussed:1

Unmarked Naval aircraft fly cover over beach area to protect anti-Castro forces from air attack.
Unmarked Naval aircraft destroy Castro tanks.
Unmarked Naval aircraft furnish close air support.
Unmarked amphib boats from United States evacuate anti-Castro forces from beach.
Land experienced Marines by either helicopter or boat to assess situation and give judgment on what to do.
Large air drops by United States Air Force aircraft to anti-Castro forces.
Danger in all above actions of United States involvement. No decision was made to do any of these but air drop. The same subjects may be discussed later.

  1. Source: Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials. Top Secret; Limited Distribution. A “chronology of events on Cuba taken from the records in Op-00 immediate office” indicates that this message was sent as a back channel message. (Ibid.)
  2. In his initial draft of this message Burke wrote: “Nobody here wants to commit United States forces to bail out this affair, but if situation is as bad as reported something may have to be done.” (Ibid.)