278. Memorandum From President Kennedy 0


The Secretary of State

The Secretary of Defense

The Director of CIA

The Attorney General

General Taylor

General Lansdale

Richard Goodwin

The following is a summary of the major decisions which have been made in regard to the Cuba Operation.

We will use our available assets to go ahead with the discussed project in order to help Cuba overthrow the communist regime.
This program will be conducted under the general guidance of General Lansdale, acting as Chief of Operations. It will be conducted by him through the appropriate regular organizations and Departments of the government.
The program will be reviewed in two weeks in order to determine whether General Lansdale will continue as Chief of Operations.
The NSC 5412 group will be kept closely informed of activities and be available for advice and recommendation.
The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency will appoint senior officers of their department as personal representatives to assist the Chief of Operations as required. These senior officers should be able to exercise—either themselves or through the Secretaries and Director—effective operational control over all aspects of their Departmentʼs operations dealing with Cuba.
Knowledge of the existence of this operation should be restricted to the recipients of this memorandum, members of the 5412 group and [Page 689] the representatives appointed by the Secretaries and the Director. Any further dissemination of this knowledge will be only with the authority of the Secretaries of State or Defense or the Chief of Operations.
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, Presidentʼs Office Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Security, 1961. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Internal evidence indicates that the memorandum was apparently drafted by McGeorge Bundy. An earlier version of this memorandum was sent to the same seven people on November 22. (Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/11-2261) The most significant difference between the two memoranda was that the responsibilities assigned to General Lansdale under point 2 in the November 30 memorandum had been assigned to Attorney General Kennedy in the November 22 memorandum, with Lansdale in a subordinate role as the Attorney Generalʼs Chief of Operations. Point 4 in the November 22 memorandum reads “The NSC 5412 group will be informed of activities.” The Attorney General was included under point 6 in the November 22 memorandum among those listed as controlling dissemination of knowledge of the operation.