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238. Memorandum for the Record0

SUBJECT

  • Meeting with General Eisenhower at Gettysburg, June 23, 1961

PRESENT

  • General Eisenhower
  • General Taylor
  • Mr. Allen Dulles
1.
The purpose of the visit to Gettysburg was to brief General Eisenhower on the findings of the Cuban Study Group in particular relation [Page 613]to the contents of an article by Stewart Alsop in the Saturday Evening Post of June 24, 1961. In the course of the meeting the following points were discussed and the findings of the Cuban Study Group on these points were explained to General Eisenhower.
a.

The Alsop article allegation contained in the following paragraph:

“That plan (the Eisenhower plan), like the final Kennedy plan, was based on the assumption that there would be widespread anti-Castro uprisings and defections. It was hoped that these would make any overt American military intervention unnecessary. But the Eisenhower plan also envisaged American intervention on a ‘contingency basis.ʼ American aircraft would intervene, either openly or in unmarked planes, if necessary to maintain control over the beachhead and prevent destruction of the anti-Castro forces.”

In response to questions, General Eisenhower emphasized that there never had been an operational plan presented to him, hence no “Eisenhower plan” could have existed. He does not believe that he ever knew of the proposal of an amphibious operation, and certainly was not aware of any plan approximating the Trinidad Plan.

b.
The role of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to include their attention to logistics.
c.
The air strike plan and the circumstances surrounding the cancellation of the D-Day strikes.
d.
The cause of the ammunition shortage and the effectiveness of the T-33ʼs.
e.
The loss of communications equipment. General Eisenhower had the impression that all of the communications equipment was in one ship, which was sunk through air attack. It was explained to him that communications equipment was on two ships, and an auxiliary means of communication to Washington existed from the Brigade Commander by way of the landing craft.
f.
The eleven conclusions reached by the Cuban Study Group.
2.
General Eisenhower listened to the presentation, took issue with none of the points raised and appeared to indicate general approval. He observed that the over-all lesson seemed to be the danger of changing an operational plan at the last minute. This observation led him to discuss the pressure placed upon him just prior to D-Day in Normandy to cancel the airborne landings.
3.
One reaction on General Eisenhowerʼs part was to suggest the need for a public statement which would correct some of the misapprehensions about the Cuban affair. However, after discussing the difficulties inherent in such an action, he withdrew the suggestion.
4.
He recognizes the need for improving governmental machinery for handling complex interdepartmental operations such as the Cuban affair. In the course of discussing this point he expressed some concern over the present status of the National Security Council resulting from the elimination of the Planning Board and the OCB. He agreed that some [Page 614]new agency was probably necessary to fill the gap, and that the 5412 Committee with an expanded charter might provide the vehicle.
5.
He commented upon his closeness to the 5412 Committee and the support given him in covert matters by the Presidential Board on Intelligence.
6.
The entire discussion was most cordial. I received the impression that General Eisenhower perceives the need of suppressing further public debate of the Cuban operation. He expressed disapproval of the recent TV appearance of Mr. Miller and Senator Clark in which the Cuban operation was argued.1
MDT
  1. Source: National Defense University, Taylor Papers, Box 12, Cuba, Bay of Pigs. Secret. Drafted by Taylor. Taylor and Dulles briefed Eisenhower at President Kennedyʼs request. This was the last task associated with Taylorʼs responsibilities on the Cuba Study Group. On June 26 President Kennedy addressed a letter to Taylor asking him to become Kennedyʼs military adviser in the White House with the title of Military Representative of the President. Taylor accepted and began to exercise his new responsibilities on July 1. (Taylor, Swords and Plowshares, pp. 196-197)
  2. Taylor added a final handwritten paragraph to the typed text that reads:

    “7. General Eisenhower expressed the feeling that the U.S. would have to get rid of Castro—preferably using as a reason for intervention some Castro mistake. As the visitors left, he reiterated his appreciation to President Kennedy for arranging the briefing.” The final sentence had been typed as the closing sentence of paragraph 6 before Taylor crossed it out and revised the text.