202. Paper Prepared for the National Security Council by an Interagency Task Force on Cuba0


Before deciding on a Cuba policy, it is essential to evaluate the nature of Cubaʼs threat to the national interests of the United States and the basic strength and vulnerability of the Cuban communist regime.

I. The Nature of the Threat


The Military Threat

Continuing bloc arms shipments to Cuba—while strengthening Castroʼs own ability to withstand attack—will probably not be an important threat to U.S. interests. There is no danger of effective direct attack against the U.S. It is highly unlikely that Castro will overtly attack other nations in the Americas. If he did so, we would be able to intervene pursuant to our Treaty obligations and use the occasion to crush Castro. There is some possibility that Castro would use Cuba as a base for monitoring and harassing U.S. operations, e.g. interfering with communications, etc.

There is the remote possibility of an attempt to convert Cuba into a Russian base for strategic attack on the United States. If this happens, we would have to consider military intervention. (See Sec. B, infra.)1

As an exporter of physical aids to revolution—there is no doubt that Cuba is being used as a base for export of the communist-fidelista revolution. This is done through the supply of funds, counsel to subversive activities, and propaganda—mainly through the embassies. It is done through widespread propaganda apparatus of varying effectiveness, including a news service (carried by 24 newspapers) and a radio network. [Page 460] It is done, too, by making a supply of Spanish-speaking agents available for communist subversion and propaganda. At the present time, there is no hard evidence of an actual supply of arms or armed men going from Cuba to other countries to assist indigenous revolutionary movements. There have been allegations of such support being given in Colombia and other countries. There has been some movement of individual armed agents into other countries and some Cuban effort to train the revolutionaries of other countries. The export of physical aid to revolutionary movements, while important, is much less significant than the threat posed by Castroʼs example and general stimulus to these movements. (See C, infra.)

As an example and stimulus to communist revolutionCastroʼs basic aim (supported by the Chinese and principally the Soviets) has been to capture indigenous social revolutionary movements for the communists, strengthen existing communist movements, and, by supporting these movements, weaken the fabric of constitutional government throughout the hemisphere.

To some extent he has been successful in identifying his regime with the cause of economic and social progress. And as he moves forward economically his example may become more attractive. He has provided a rallying point and a source of ideological support for communist movements everywhere; and often for left-wing nationalist movements. One of his principal objectives is to identify and unify the nationalist left and the communists. He has provided a working example of a communist state in the Americas, successfully defying the United States. Thus he has appealed to widespread anti-American feeling, a feeling often shared by non-communists. His survival, in the face of persistent U.S. efforts to unseat him, has unquestionably lowered the prestige of the United States and the presence of Castroist extremist elements are often an important obstacle to orderly social and economic reform.

This picture is not all dark however. As Castroʼs Soviet-communist identification has become more apparent the communist-fidelista elements have suffered an increasing isolation from the democratic left. Several leaders of the Democratic left have already condemned him publicly. Castroʼs erratic and often extreme personal behavior has helped to increase this isolation.

There is no doubt that Castroʼs regime adds significant support to communist efforts to take over the hemisphere, and is a source of strength to communist efforts in every country. However, Castro could not hope to succeed without the conditions of social unrest, widespread poverty and general economic discontent on which the Communist Revolution prospers. If the island of Cuba should sink beneath the waves tomorrow, we still would have to face a significant and steadily growing communist threat in the hemisphere. The fall of Castro would be a severe [Page 461] defeat for the Sino-Soviet bloc, but it would not be, by any means, the end of the battle.

II. The Present Situation in Cuba


The Armed Forces

The armed forces of the Castro regime number approximately 250,000, of whom some 200,000 are militia. The regular forces have been shaken by purges of officers and men who previously supported Castro against Batista but later became disillusioned.

Bloc arms deliveries and intensive training have increased the military capabilities of the army, but its tactical training is still deficient. The militia is composed of people who generally serve only part-time, but some full-time units are now being trained. The Air Force and Navy suffer from a lack of trained and qualified personnel.


Control Mechanisms

The Castro regime has established a complex of interlocking mechanisms enabling it to control virtually every phase of life in Cuba.


Class and Regional Attitudes

The upper class has been destroyed as an effective political or economic force in Cuba. The middle class provides the principal organized opposition to the Castro regime. It is that part of the newly self-conscious lower class—perhaps 25-30% of the total population—which has already received positive benefits from the Revolution, or still hopes for future improvement in conditions, that now provides the real mass support for the Castro regime.

Not all of the Cuban lower class can be considered to favor the Castro regime. His major strength is with rural workers, whereas there has been considerable disaffection among the labor unions. The failure of the government to carry out many of its earlier promises has led to increasing disappointment and dissatisfaction. This does not mean, however, an equal increase in willingness to act against the regime.



The Cuban economy continues to decline both in terms of physical output and in living levels; although basic needs for food and textiles are being met. Output in the industrial sector has been adversely affected by parts and raw material shortages, although sugar production may match or exceed last yearʼs level and the regime is making strenuous efforts to expand agricultural production. Cubaʼs trade has been redirected largely to the Soviet Bloc, whose economic support is vital for the Castro regime.

[Page 462]

III. Probable Trends Within Cuba, Assuming No Major U.S. Intervention


Political Prospects

Over the short term there will be no major change in internal political conditions. However, by the end of one year organized anti-Castro opposition will probably have increased its activities, but with Castroʼs intensified controls this will not offer a threat to the stability of the regime. Over the long term (5 years) all effective opposition to the regime will probably have been eliminated. However, such a long-term estimate is based on many variables and is highly contingent. It may be the most probable outcome but many other outcomes—including growing resist-ance—cannot be discounted.


Probable Trends in the Armed Forces

With Bloc assistance the combat effectiveness of the Cuban armed forces will substantially increase.


Economic Prospects

The economy will deteriorate further over the short term, but it will not jeopardize the regimeʼs stability. Within a year the economic situation will have improved slightly, and within five (5) years Cubaʼs natural resources and Bloc economic assistance will permit greater self-sufficiency and gradual economic growth. There is a possibility that the Communists—through an extensive program of aid—might try and make Cuba a showcase of economic progress.

IV. Cuban Vulnerabilities



Economic vulnerabilities of the Castro regime include its foreign exchange position, spare parts and raw materials shortages, lack of sufficient technical and managerial personnel, declining per capita income, and consumer shortages and the growing black market. Imposition of the Trading with the Enemy Act against Cuba (which would inter alia reduce Cubaʼs foreign exchange earnings from the United States and would extend the U.S. export embargo to all products) and a campaign of limited sabotage against Cubaʼs industries and utilities would aggravate these problems, though not sufficiently, by themselves, to jeopardize the regimeʼs stability.



Castroʼs elimination from the scene would cause serious problems, but the bureaucracy and apparatus are so firmly entrenched that they could continue to operate without him.

Popular resentment against the totalitarian controls imposed by the regime has steadily increased. This resentment is open to exploitation. The hold of the regime depends in large part on control of mass communications media. Sabotage of these facilities would deprive the regime of [Page 463] this advantage; sabotage of other communications would impair the effectiveness of police controls.

We recommend a study of possible weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the elements which exert control in Cuba (e.g. military, key political figures, labor leaders, etc.) and weaknesses in their relations to each other, assessing discontent, possible disaffection, etc. This would be an anatomy of the Castro regime.

Increased guerrilla operations, effectively supported by the U.S., would disrupt normal activities in Cuba and serve to keep resistance alive against heavier controls and repression.

(For complete Intelligence appraisal see Annex I.)2


There is no sure way of overthrowing Castro short of U.S. military intervention. There is a possibility, although a slight possibility that lesser meas-ures—covert and overt—might result in the overthrow of the Castro regime from within. As long as Castro thrives, his major threat—the example and stimulus of a working communist revolution—will persist.

V. The Decision to Intervene with U.S. Forces


The Consequences of Intervention at this time and under present conditions:

The Castro regime would be destroyed, but the possibility of protracted guerrilla conflict cannot be discounted.
There would be a direct and perhaps substantial loss of life—Cuban and American.
General World Reaction to Intervention—Reaction to the use of U.S. force to eliminate Castro would be clearly negative. It would severely impair the general international image of a non-aggressive, non-imperialist nation which we have tried to build over the past fifteen years. It would severely weaken our ideological position by blurring differences with the Soviet Union—differences based on their aggressive nature, imperialistic system etc. It would revive fears, especially in Latin America, about our intention to dominate and direct the affairs of all American States. There would be a general nervousness about the possibility of the conflict spreading—and a loss of confidence in the United States.

However, there would be some favorable response to our firmness in eliminating a nearby communist center. This would come from those governments most closely tied to the United States and which believe that their continued existence depends on the U.S. coming to their support, e.g. Nationalist China. The favorable reaction would be centered in those elements who see security from the communists dependent almost solely on power and the willingness to use it.

[Page 464]

The Soviet Union—through propaganda, agitation etc.—would exploit the situation to the fullest. Direct armed support of Castro is unlikely. Acting against Castro on the grounds that we cannot tolorate a communist base 90 miles away would give the Soviet Union a counter-rationale for acting against our own base system, and the possibility of Soviet intervention in Iran could not be ruled out.

There would be at least a temporary setback to the likelihood of progress toward peaceful settlement of important international issues. Traditional points of confrontation—such as Berlin or Quemoy and Matsu—might become more explosive and dangerous.

Latin American reaction would range from support (e.g. Guatemala and Nicaragua) to outright resentment and opposition (e.g. Mexico, Ecuador and Bolivia). Another group might feel relieved, but political conditions would require them to oppose or remain silent. Reactions within the Latin countries would vary from support by the oligarchy to sharp reaction against Yankee imperialism among students, workers, campesinos, and much of the articulate middle class. This reaction would be exploited by the communists, and might endanger vulnerable democratic governments (e.g. Venezuela). (A more extended discussion of world reaction is found in Annex II.)

From the people, parties and press of Europe we could expect a severely censorious reaction—tempered by some restraint in deference to the Alliance. The Kennedy image and prestige in Europe would be severely weakened, perhaps to the extent of weakening U.S. leadership in the Alliance, and the Alliance itself. European governments would generally be neutral or support us. The CENTO and SEATO allies would react more favorably.

Perhaps the most serious reaction would come from the neutral states in Africa, the Near East and Asia. It would intensify our identification with the colonialist powers and tend to increase the tendency to see the U.S. and Russia as having similar ambitions and goals. An intervention would seriously impair and complicate our ability to work through the U.N. on the entire range of problems confronting that body.


Considerations Bearing on a Future Decision to Intervene

A judgment whether to intervene will depend on many factors.


The degree of provocation offered by Cuba or the Soviet Union, and/or the growing intensity of the Cuba threat. Below are listed, in roughly ascending order of seriousness of provocation, a number of conceivable fact situations:

Present conditions, following the unsuccessful attempt of Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro, without any essentially new action on the part of Cuba;
Upon a unilateral finding by the United States that its own self-defense requires armed intervention in Cuba to terminate the hemispheric threat of Castro-Communism;
Direct Castro regime involvement in an attempt at subversive overthrow in another Latin American Republic, the goverment of which requests United States assistance against Cuba;
Establishment of a Soviet military base on Cuban soil;
Indiscriminate and mass execution by the Castro regime of American citizens in Cuba, without regard to any prohibited activities or claimed offenses on their part;
Conditions of widespread unrest against the Castro regime produced not by United States covert operations but by popular Cuban hostility, with a general breakdown of law and order in Cuba, in which at least some local authorities requested United States intervention;
The event of the United States being asked for support by an anti-Castro provisional Cuban government which had succeeded on its own (without United States Government assistance) in establishing itself in control of a substantial part of Cuba, had maintained that control for a period of time, and had been recognized by the United States;
Systematic or large-scale attacks by the Cuban military establishment on shipping and aircraft of the American Republics on and over the high seas;
A decision by the members of the OAS under the Rio treaty to intervene, once that decision had received the United Nations endorsement or authorization required by the United Nations Charter;
A major and serious Cuban military effort to force the United States out of the Guantanamo base;
An armed attack by Cuba on the United States or another of the American Republics;
Retaliation against the Soviet Union for a Soviet action against the free world serious enough to warrant such retaliation.

Under existing international law and our treaty obligations armed intervention would be justified only under (h), (i), (j), and (k).

The swiftness and cleanness of an effective, completed intervention in Cuba. An armed intervention executed quickly and without large casualties on either side would have smaller costs than a prolonged conflict. It is estimated that at the present time United States armed forces might have to engage in long and difficult military operations to bring under control the whole of Cuba—rural and mountain districts as well as the centers of population and lines of communication. The best estimate is that the passage of time will tighten Castroʼs political grip and increase his actual military strength in Cuba. On the other hand, we should not rule out the possibility that the passage of time might see increased popular hostility and resistance toward his regime, and the development of local conditions in which an American armed intervention would be generally welcomed throughout the island.
The success obtained by the United States in its over-all Latin American program by the time of U.S. armed intervention. The costs of intervention, at least in Latin America, would be reduced to some extent in proportion [Page 466] as various elements in the United States Latin American program are successful:
Economic development and social progress through the Alianza para Progreso:
Achievement of a wider understanding in Latin America of the Castro-Communist threat, and the undertaking of measures to defeat internal subversion.
The development of a new theory or doctrine of international law justifying U.S. armed intervention in cases of Castro-inspired takeover. Such a doctrine would materially improve the basis for our intervention only if it were generally accepted by the countries of Latin America and elsewhere throughout the free world, and if those countries generally were convinced that the doctrine was applicable to the facts of the Cuban situation.


Conclusion: The Choice of a Policy

The cost of eliminating Castro by military intervention would be substantial at the present time and under present circumstances. These costs might include significant loss of life and other military and civilian casualties, and would severely endanger the U.S. position of leadership in the Free World. It is our judgment that these costs outweigh the advantages of intervention.

In view of these considerations, it is the recommendation of the Task Force that:

We should not undertake military intervention now.
We should make no statements or take no action that would foreclose the possibility of military intervention in the future.
We should work to reduce the Castro threat through measures discussed in the balance of this paper—thus seeking to avoid the need for more drastic and costly action at some time in the future.
We should attempt to reduce the costs of intervention should it become necessary. There is not a great deal the United States by itself can do along these lines as a matter of deliberate policy. We can, however, plan for various contingencies so that intervention will be sufficient and more effective. We should strive to develop a creditable doctrine based on self-defense against indirect aggression which would justify more drastic action, and we should seek to have that doctrine generally accepted by world opinion. At the same time, we should seek to continue our efforts to establish a multilateral base for action.3

[Page 467]

Measures Short of Armed Intervention

VI. U.S. Policy Toward Cuban Exiles

There are approximately 116,000 Cuban aliens, largely middle class and educated with 23% professionally and semi-professionally trained, who could be an asset, but a diminishing asset to a liberated Cuba. Annex III outlines a detailed plan under which their training could be undertaken. It includes a program for the training of approximately 4,000 military.

Approval of the plan, with the exception of its military component, is recommended by the entire task force.

The following arguments have been advanced for and against the military component.

Arguments for:
Such a contingent would be helpful should an invasion become necessary. It would give Cuban participation and military assistance to the invasion.
In the event of an overthrow of the Castro regime, whether by invasion or by internal overthrow, it would furnish leadership cadres, counter-guerrilla teams and civil affairs units.
The military potential of these Cubans will be a rapidly wasting asset if their training is not promptly organized.
Not to train these men would be taken throughout Latin America as a decision not to intervene in Cuba.
Arguments against:
The United States would be faced with continuing questions in the U.N. and by world opinion as to the purpose of such military training. It would be asserted that such a program implies an intention to intervene in Cuba.
Should an invasion become necessary, such a contingent would be a useful, but not an essential, element.
It would be difficult to disband the contingent once organized without a serious morale impact on the Cuban exiles.

VII. Steps To Quarantine and Weaken the Castro Communist Regime


Steps Designed to Isolate Cuba morally and diplomatically in the hemisphere

Endeavor to persuade other Latin American governments to take steps aimed at completing Castroʼs isolation—such as withdrawal of Ambassadors, diplomatic breaks, appeals to Cuba to free itself of Sino-Soviet ties, etc. The greatest prospect for success with these measures—among those nations which have not already broken ties—is Venezuela and Colombia, and possibly Argentina.
We can apply the Trading with the Enemy Act. There is a difference of task force opinion on this point. This cut-off of trade will not appreciably harm the Cuban economy; although it will intensify their foreign exchange difficulties. It is, however, a political step aimed at increasing isolation and an expression of our intention not to finance, to any extent, the communist revolution in Cuba. It will make more difficult—by emphasizing his isolation from the Western Hemisphere—Castroʼs effort to persuade his people that he can solve his long-run economic problems. This could be a prelude to a blacklist of Cuban commercial activities in Latin America. A large part of the trade is in foodstuffs and medicines.
The plan for OAS action, discussed below, would also contribute to the effort to isolate Castro.
Steps To Weaken Castro
Make public statement setting forth our liberal aspirations for a post-Castro Cuba in the political, economic and social fields—our general agreement with the original objectives of the revolution.
Formulate and announce concrete measures whereby we intend to assist the Cuban people and economy after Cuba is free.
Continue to give open support to the Cuban liberation movement and to the Revolutionary Council. Conduct relations with that body on a more overt basis.
Continue understanding with allies that no arms will be shipped to Cuba.
See measures discussed below in the plan for OAS action which will make some, although minor, contribution to weakening Castro.
Steps Designed To Quarantine the Castro Communist Regime
Plan to provide assistance to any Latin American country requesting help against Castro inspired subversion or attack. Wherever possible this understanding between us and other governments should be formally incorporated into a bilateral defense treaty. This would be an effective way, within the existing framework of international law, to provide a basis for U.S. action in coming to the defense of any nation threatened by the techniques of subversion, infiltration and/or guerrilla activity. Although a broader doctrinal basis for such action might be thought desirable, and is discussed further on in this paper—such a series of arrangements would provide a basis for action and would, in themselves, signal a new doctrine.
Obtain the necessary legislative authorization and budgetary support to enable us to help other countries build up their internal security forces.
Offer intelligence liaison and assistance to other Latin American countries to enable them to identify Castro and other communist inspired subversive efforts, discover shipments of arms and funds, cope with subversive political organizations, etc. This means aiding and building-up local intelligence efforts and making our own information available.
Encourage Latin governments to bring pressure to stop use of Castro press service in their country.

Attempt to build a Caribbean force within the framework of the OAS. This would be a series of bilateral arrangements within a multilateral framework among the Caribbean nations and the United States.

We would enter into formal bilateral commitments with all Caribbean nations willing to participate to do those things outlined in the first three paragraphs of this section, i.e. provide assistance against subversion and threatened attack. We would pledge armed forces to a Caribbean Security Force in which other member nations would participate. As a step in accomplishing this we would renegotiate the MAP agreements which we now have with five of the proposed member states (Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Nicaragua and Colombia) to incorporate these commitments and permit MAP trained forces to be deployed against internal as well as external threats, and we would seek to negotiate similar agreements with non-MAP states.

In return the Central American countries would bilaterally (a) accept our assistance in internal security field, (b) earmark forces for a Caribbean security force, and (c) pledge themselves to orderly economic [Page 470] and social development within the framework of country development plans.

This would be coupled with a multilateral agreement which (a) recognized the common threat, (b) set up the Caribbean Security Force, (c) provided for an exchange of information and intelligence on the Castro threat, and (d) contained a commitment on the part of each member to deny its territory to Castro activities aimed at another member.

The agreement, although based on the Caribbean nations, would be open to all OAS members who wished to join.

Aside from its potential effectiveness in dealing with the Castro threat, such an organization could provide an effective legal and international basis for U.S. action where necessary.

Either within a Caribbean arrangement or outside it conduct a navy patrol and other feasible surveillance of possible movements of arms and men from Cuba to other nations. Halt these shipments when discovered: even if unilateral action is necessary. It is possible that such a surveillance operation might be approved by the OAS. See below.

OAS Action: To the extent that OAS action can substitute or reinforce the goals of a Caribbean Force it should be used. Therefore the possibilities of OAS should be explored.

The following program to propose for OAS action is deemed feasible, in the sense that all of the measures could be adopted without undue physical strain upon the Latin American governments, and probably would be supported by them once they have made the decision to take a stand in the OAS against Castro. There would be reluctance on the part of certain of them to contribute to a Caribbean surveillance operation, but token assistance for this purpose would be forthcoming from several. The big question now is the extent to which any program will be supported by certain of the major governments, particularly Brazil. We do not have an estimate of likely support on this or any program because we have not had an agreed program to propose, but present indications are that Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Paraguay would support action against Castro. Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Haiti might go along. It is almost certain that Chile, Bolivia and Brazil would oppose forthright OAS action and the position of Mexico and Ecuador is certain to be opposed.

Adoption of such a program would contribute immeasurably to the moral isolation of Castro. Physically, it would contribute to weakening him, but not greatly in addition to steps we might take unilaterally, since Cuba has little trade and direct communication with Latin America. It would eliminate Castro diplomatic and other missions as focal points of propaganda and subversion, and the Committee on Defense of Pan-American Principles could contribute to ferreting out Castro-communist activities, depending on our leadership. It would also provide an important [Page 471] OAS umbrella for actions which we have taken or desire to take. It would put the United States in a stronger position for more forcible measures which might at some time be required.

We should consult individually on the following program for action under the Rio Treaty.

A finding that the Castro regime is in violation of basic OAS principles and specifically that its actions are contrary to concepts set forth in the Declaration of Caracas4 (against communist domination or control); The Declaration of Santiago5 (calling for respect for human rights); and the Declaration of San Jose6 (denouncing extra-continental intervention by Sino-Soviet powers and acceptance of such intervention).
Decisions to apply with respect to Cuba the following measures specified in Rio Treaty Article 8:7
breaking of diplomatic and consular relations;
suspension of trade in all items except medical supplies, and interruption of all other economic relations.
Establish a joint naval-aerial patrol of the Caribbean area for surveillance purposes designed to help identify shipment of arms and personnel from Cuba to other countries for the support of subversive activities and insurrectionary movements, and to assist affected states to prevent such intervention. (Plan to be developed by COAS with the advice of the Inter-American Defense Board.)
Recreate the Committee for the Political Defense of the Continent for the purpose of identifying Castrista or Sino-Soviet infiltration into American States, devising and recommending techniques and methods to prevent or counteract such infiltration, and recommending parallel action by American governments in dealing with such infiltration.
Establish a continuing committee of the OAS to observe compliance with the actions agreed upon and to assist governments to carry them out. Should consultations reveal that required 2/3 or more of the governments are agreed, proceed with OAS action required to formalize [Page 472] that agreement and put steps into effect. If majority not in agreement, press for adoption by individual governments unilaterally of as much of program as they are in a position to carry out. This would include possible establishment of Caribbean surveillance force as discussed above.
Should Castro initiate direct or indirect aggression against any other American State, encourage the affected government to invoke the Rio Treaty, support it with military force if armed attack is involved, and to support maximum feasible application of Rio Treaty if aggression has been indirect.


That quiet negotiation be begun immediately to explore where practicable the willingness of other American nations to join in bilateral, multilateral and OAS-wide arrangements of the type discussed throughout this section. Such consultation should accompany or follow the necessary discussions which will precede the IA-ECOSOC meeting in July. A special team should be appointed for this purpose.

The Dominican Republic and Haiti are two of the countries most vulnerable to a Castro takeover. In both countries democratic alternatives to the present regimes are not developed; and there is little doubt that Castro hopes for a communist takeover when Trujillo and/or Duvalier go. We recommend the following:
That we immediately develop emergency plans for both these nations in case of a blow-up in the next several weeks. These plans should include preparations to send in U.S. troops to maintain order, coupled with an emergency meeting of the OAS to authorize intervention as a preventative to civil strife and bloodshed. We should immediately consult with other nations, especially Venezuela, in an effort to get an advance commitment for joint action. If time allows the meeting should precede the troops. If there is no time troops should land immediately. This would be followed by a provisional government, free elections, etc.
We must immediately develop a longer-range program for these nations. This includes the organization of a democratic alternative to Trujillo and Duvalier. Such a group can be formed basically out of exiles since there is little opportunity for opposition or potential opposition to exist within the framework of the Haitian and Dominican regimes, though possibilities appear to exist in the Dominican Republic. When the formation of democratic alternatives is well under way, we should develop and begin to put into effect a plan for accelerating a transition from the regimes of Trujillo and Duvalier. In this way the timing and initiative on replacement will be ours, and we will gain the tremendous propaganda advantage which will accrue to us as a result of participation, however indirect, in an effort to eliminate these dictatorships. The methods whereby this can be accomplished have not yet been explored.
In this connection, we should step up our campaign against tyranny in the hemisphere and, wherever possible, couple Trujillo and Castro.

Clarification of Juridical and Political Basis for the Protection of Free Nations against Communist Aggression

The present basis of international law is grounded on the nation state system as it evolved largely in Europe, from the 15th to 19th centuries. The present situation involving the duality between a nation state system and loyalties to a political and organizational system that transcends nations and has worldwide pretensions (the communist system) presents wholly new problems which require the development and exposition of an entirely new juridical basis. Existing international law concepts, be they the rights of belligerents, interference in the internal affairs of another state, the legitimacy and recognition of governments or the definition of armed aggression, play into the hands of the communists while they tie the hands, or lead to confusion in the ranks, of those proposing to assist nations attempting to preserve their freedom.

Recommended Courses of Action:

Secretary of State to assemble a group of knowledgeable people in this field to propose a new political rationale and new set of legal principles appropriate to todayʼs realities. (Possible names: Dean Acheson, Herman Phleger, Eric Hager, Arthur Dean, Mike Forrestal, C. B. Marshall.)
After U.S. approval of these principles, the State Department to negotiate their acceptance by as wide a group of our NATO allies as possible.
Then inform the members of OAS bilaterally that we propose to accept these principles and expect their concurrence; after having obtained concurrence from OAS states bilaterally submit the principles to OAS for ratification.

VIII. Measures Designed to Defeat Communist Subversion and Infiltration Generally—as well as to Quarantine the Castro Communist Regime


Strengthening of the Alliance for Progress

The present status of work on the Alliance for Progress is summarized in Annex III. Favorable Senate action on the $500 million appropriation for the Inter-American Program for Social Progress (Bogota Program), passed by the House of Representatives on April 25, is expected by May 5, so that implementation can begin at once. Planning for the Ministerial meeting of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council in July—the next major formal step—is proceeding smoothly.

Action requirements for strengthening the Alliance for Progress are as follows: [Page 474]

Rapid implementation of selected social development projects.
Direct the ICA to negotiate forthwith a number of projects in the fields of education and training and public health assigned to it under the Bogota Program, selecting cases where recipient governments are making the greatest efforts at self-help and institutional reform, and covering a number of countries and a number of types of educational projects. The target for obligation of funds by June 30, 1961, should be a minimum of $25 million and an optimum of $35 to $50 million.
Direct the U.S. Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to encourage the Bank to take similarly prompt action in its assigned fields, giving priority to aid in the realization of agricultural settlement and land reform measures and to low-cost housing in areas of serious unemployment and social unrest, and emphasizing the readiness to assist governments undertaking the most far-reaching self-help measures for social improvement.
Direct the USIA to arrange for the maximum informational coverage of the actions in Latin America.

Acceleration of other Latin American aid implementation.>

Direct the DLF and the Export-Import Bank to accelerate implementation of projects already funded, avoiding “policy” obstacles not required by law (e.g., DLF financing of aided self-help housing in Colombia).


Ensure prompt development of affirmative U.S. positions for Inter-American Economic and Social Council.

Direct the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs to arrange for the prompt development of clear U.S. positions on Latin American economic integration and on commodity market and foreign exchange income stabilization which will be as responsive as possible to legitimate Latin American aspirations in these fields. These positions should be incorporated into the planning documents for the July meeting of the IA-ECOSOC.

Provision of additional resources for Latin American economic and social development.
Direct the Foreign AID Task Force, after completion of its current work in preparing the foreign aid bill for FY 1962, to review the data on Latin American needs and capital absorption capacity with a view to requesting a supplemental appropriation for development loans later in FY 1962 of approximately $300 million, in addition to the $250-$350 million now contemplated.
Direct the ICA and the U.S. Executive Director of the IDB to proceed with the obligation of Bogota Program funds as rapidly as projects can be negotiated which are genuinely consistent with the criteria governing that program, with a view to asking Congress for a second installment [Page 475] of social development funds for FY 1963, rather than waiting for the FY 1964 program as hitherto contemplated.


Organization of a Political Counterforce

A number of liberal, democratic Latin American political parties have organized themselves into an informal League of Democratic Parties. Moreover, an Institute for Political Education in Costa Rica to train young men in the techniques of democratic leadership has recently been established. We should support, in every way possible, this very hopeful effort. The Director of the appropriate U.S. agency should be instructed to give financial assistance in all amounts which can be usefully absorbed, to aid this organization in establishing a permanent headquarters and independent information and propaganda apparatus, expand a training institute, call international conferences of democratic parties in the underdeveloped world, etc. We should also assist with counsel and technical assistance where desired.

Given a firm ideological base and efficient organization this group could become a highly effective political counterforce to Castro.


Psychological and Propaganda Warfare

We must develop a firm propaganda line on Cuba and on communism and provide effective means for disseminating that line.

Annex IV describes the general rationale and suggests several themes for propaganda.

We recommend the establishment of radio broadcasting into Cuba on a 24-hour a day basis independent of the now compromised Radio Swan.

Additional methods of dissemination are discussed in Annex IV. The key decision is the decision to engage in propaganda activities on a greatly enlarged scale, and making the means of propaganda (e.g. radio transmitters) available to non-US groups (e.g. League of Democratic Parties, Cuban Revolutionary Council, etc.). If this decision is made then the USIA Director and CIA should be asked to prepare an estimate of costs.

IX. Organization of Effort

A. The key to conduct of Latin American affairs is the immediate appointment of a top-flight Assistant Secretary for Latin American Affairs—and a Latin America regional director for the new aid agency. If these jobs are to be done effectively it means the centralization of greater authority than that normally afforded to regional Assistant Secretaries vis-a-vis the aid operation and other government agencies.

In the interim the Cuban task force should be continued to keep a watch over those elements of the above plan aimed specifically at Cuba.

  1. Source: Department of State, S/P-NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Top Secret. This paper, and the five attached annexes, were drafted by an interagency task force on Cuba composed of representatives of the Departments of State, Defense, and Justice as well as CIA and USIA. Much of the drafting was done in ARA in the Department of State and in ISA in the Department of Defense. Paul Nitze, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, had overall responsibility for the final draft. Annex I is an intelligence appraisal. Annex II presented “Considerations Bearing on Major Intervention.” Annex III outlined proposed U.S. policy toward Cuban exiles. Annex IV dealt with psychological and propaganda warfare. Annex V was entitled “A Doctrine to Preserve the Independence of the Latin American Revolution.” None of the attachments is printed. The paper was circulated to the NSC on May 4 under cover of a memorandum from Acting Executive Secretary of the NSC Marion Boggs in advance of the NSC meeting scheduled for May 5. (Ibid.)
  2. An apparent reference to Annex II, not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. On May 3 the final draft of this paper was circulated for comment. In the Department of State, Achilles reviewed the paper in a memorandum to Rusk and concluded that it “comes up with the right answer.” He felt, however, that while the paper accurately presented the risks of intervention, it did not adequately present the risks of allowing Castro to remain in power or of conveying an impression of weakness or irresolution in dealing with Castro. He drafted two paragraphs that he felt should be added to the paper at this point to strengthen the impression of determination to confront the threat posed by Castro. These paragraphs, which were apparently adopted by the NSC on May 5 for inclusion in the paper (see Document 203) read as follows:

    “5) We should keep in mind

    • “(a) the possibility that if the Castro regime remains in power and succeeds all of Latin America may succumb to Soviet-dominated Communism within a relatively few years, and
    • “(b) that the measures recommended in this paper are highly unlikely to cause the regimeʼs fall although they will both cause it difficulties and retard its influence elsewhere.

    “6) It should also be borne in mind that as a result of the Presidentʼs April 20 statement the U.S., Latin American and world opinion is looking to the Administration for strong and prudent leadership with respect to Cuba. We cannot afford weakness, irresponsibility or failure.” (Department of State, S/P-NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, Cuba and the Dominican Republic)

    In a conversation with Admiral Burke at 8:45 a.m. on May 5, shortly before the NSC discussion of the paper, General Bonesteel said that Achilles had called him the previous night to indicate concern that the paper was not strong enough. Bonesteel noted that Achilles had briefed Rusk on the paper and felt that Rusk would take a pretty strong position in the NSC. Achillesʼ implication, Bonesteel felt, was “for goodness sakes for us to get in there and keep pitching for something stronger.” Burke responded that he had taken the same position in discussing the paper with McNamara the previous evening. (Memorandum of telephone conversation, May 5; Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials)

  5. The Declaration of Caracas was the Declaration of Solidarity for the Preservation of the Political Integrity of the American States Against International Communist Intervention, adopted by the Tenth Inter-American Conference, Caracas, Venezuela, March 28, 1954. For text, see American Foreign Policy, 1950-1955: Basic Documents, pp. 1300-1302.
  6. The Declaration of Santiago was approved at the Fifth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, Santiago, Chile, August 18, 1959. For text, see ibid., Current Documents, 1959, pp. 361-363.
  7. The Declaration of San Jose was approved at the Seventh Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, San Jose, Costa Rica, August 29, 1960. For text, see ibid., 1960, pp. 219-220.
  8. For text of Article 8 of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, signed at Rio de Janeiro on September 2, 1947, see A Decade of American Foreign Policy: Basic Documents, 1941-1949, p. 228.