288. Memorandum From the Officer in Charge of Cuban Affairs (Hurwitch) to the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale)0

SUBJECT

  • Diplomatic, Political and Economic Action With Respect to Cuba

As requested at your meeting of January 12, 1962,1 there is attached a description of the principal causes of action in the diplomatic, political [Page 704]and economic fields with respect to Cuba which the Department of State is prepared to undertake. While the Department will push ahead vigorously with this program right after the OAS MFM,2 further details with respect to timing must await results of our initial efforts.

Attachment

Diplomatic and Political Action

1.
The Department of State is engaging in continuous discussions and negotiations with the other OAS member nations with a view toward reaching wide agreement at the forthcoming MFM on resolutions which would condemn Cuba and in effect isolate it from the rest of the Hemisphere.
2.
At the same time, we expect that publicity emanating from the MFM will result in arousing the sympathy of the rest of the Hemisphere for the plight of the Cuban people, oppressed by the Castro-Communist dictatorship.
3.
If the MFM does not result in mandatory sanctions against Cuba and it probably will not result in such sanctions, we would continue our efforts on a bilateral basis to persuade appropriate Latin American governments to take steps designed to isolate Cuba.
4.
To maintain the momentum against Cuba stemming from the MFM, the Department of State will right after the MFM send guidance to U.S. Embassies in Latin America instructing them to exploit every available opportunity with such local groups as students, labor organizations, rural organizations, and businessmenʼs groups to gain sympathy for the Cuban people, and increase hostility to the Cuban regime.
5.
As U.S. plans crystallize with respect to a peopleʼs movement in Cuba, the Department would be prepared to explore with Latin American nations such as Venezuela the feasibility of obtaining cooperation where required and of stimulating them to undertake a similar program of their own.
6.
The Department of State will initiate action to obtain from our Embassies an inventory of operational assets in the Caribbean area.

Economic Action

1.
The outcome of the forthcoming OAS Foreign Ministers Meeting will have a direct bearing on economic actions which the United States may undertake with respect to Cuba. Assuming that as a minimum the Meeting results in agreement to condemn Cuba as an accomplice of the Sino-Soviet Bloc and in general adopts language to the effect that Cuba presents a threat to the peace and security of the Hemisphere, the Department of State would be prepared to recommend to the President that remaining trade between the United States and Cuba be barred.
2.
In imposing the embargo, the Department, in collaboration with other appropriate U.S. agencies, would continue to ensure that U.S. controls are as effective as possible.3
3.
If the United States embargoes remaining trade with Cuba as a result of the OAS MFM, the Department would be prepared to undertake a determined effort with our NATO allies (bilaterally and in the NATO forum, as appropriate) in order to persuade these nations to take steps to isolate Cuba from the West. We would undertake similar steps with Japan, which engages in comparatively significant trade with Cuba.
4.
If the United States embargoes remaining trade with Cuba, appropriate U.S. agencies would be in an enhanced position to explore discreetly the desirability and feasibility of enlisting the cooperation of U.S. private sectors to join the U.S. Government in its efforts to isolate Cuba economically from the West. The AFL-CIO, the International Transport Federation, and the National Foreign Trade Council, among others, would appear to be promising possibilities in this regard.
5.
With respect to timing, the Department of State will push ahead vigorously on the economic front immediately after the OAS MFM. While a specific timetable cannot otherwise be presented, all opportunities to isolate Cuba economically will be thoroughly explored and exploited where feasible.
6.
The Department of State has explored with negative results the feasibility of a program of preclusive buying of essential items entering the Cuban trade as well as pre-emptive action with respect to tanker charters. Other than major sabotage efforts, the foregoing suggested causes of action would appear to be the principal economic measures that might be undertaken against Cuba.
  1. Source: Department of State, ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501, Gen. Agency Report. Secret. Approved in ARA by Goodwin and Woodward.
  2. No other record of this meeting has been found.
  3. The reference is to the Eighth Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the American Republics, held at Punta del Este, Uruguay, January 22-31, 1962. Documentation relating to this meeting, which focused on the “Communist Offensive in America,” and led to the formal exclusion of Cuba from participation in the Inter-American system, is printed in vol. XII, pp. 250 ff. For text of the Final Act, signed at the conclusion of the meeting on January 31, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, pp. 320-331.
  4. Specific measures to this end have been already proposed by the Department and have been incorporated in the basic paper. These proposals are under active study as to their feasibility and we expect action on many, if not all, these suggestions in the near future. [Footnote in the source text. Reference to a “basic paper” is an apparent reference to Document 291.]