3. Memorandum for the Record0


  • Outline of 3 January 1961 Meeting

Points covered were:

A discussion of whether or not to break relations which it was quickly decided should be done. It was stated that it might be more difficult [4-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]. The importance of commo obviously is to know on a current basis what the situation is and what sort of treatment is being accorded to American nationals. The tone of the meeting was clearly in support of overt introduction of U.S. forces if any steps were taken by the Cubans either to harm American citizens or to attack or damage official U.S. property (e.g. Guantanamo).
A fairly detailed discussion followed as to when the break should be announced. The upshot of this was to favor slightly an immediate break, i.e. even prior to the expected Cuban attack in the UN on 4 January but subject to discussions by the Department with Messrs. Braddock and Wadsworth in order to obtain their views. The Department will make the final decision.
There was considerable discussion of the situation in Cuba with general agreement on its seriousness and on the need for action. It again was made clear that action would be taken immediately should the Cubans provoke it in any aggressive way. Even without such provocation, it was clear that the meeting felt that pretty rigorous action should be taken and obviously could successfully be taken—the danger, however, being that if it went too far it might rupture the structure of the OAS which, of course, is undesirable.
As to present preparations, there was some discussion about the use of U.S. soil for training. The consensus of the meeting was against this although it was agreed that efforts should be made to try and increase the number of trainees, possibly up to 1500, which if done [Page 4]would require additional training sites. In this connection it was felt that perhaps some additional trainees might be spread around in relatively small groups and given some training. The cover story could be that enlistment in these small cadres was the best way to keep them together, cover the language problems, provide them with some sustenance and keep them occupied. Another possibility suggested was some military training in refugee camps, some of which have already been created. The conclusion, however, was clear that preparations should proceed and that to the extent possible the size of the force should be increased.
There was some discussion about talking with other Latin American countries on a bi-lateral basis with a view to having them consider providing support against Cuba at an appropriate moment. This would involve breaking of relations at the proper time and possible active support such as recognition of an opposition government and the provision of material, men and conceivably a little money. In this connection it was made clear that action against Trujillo should be seriously pushed. It was urged that in all future propaganda Trujilloʼs name be paired with that of Castro in order to increase in peopleʼs minds the similarity between them as dictators and help overcome distinctions such as one being right and the other being left. It was suggested that possibly Venezuela would be willing to attack the DR if it could be assured of some U.S. support. This plan was thought to be worth examination particularly if it could be worked out so as to occur at the same time as an effort against Cuba.
There was some discussion as to when it might be advisable to recognize a provisional Cuban government. Although there was some argument that it might be well to do so fairly soon, the sense of the meeting was that it would be preferable to wait until the individuals involved were located on Cuban soil.
It was clearly the sense of the meeting that all possible reasonable efforts should be made now and through the immediate future to provide materiel support to opposition elements inside Cuba and to step up propaganda including leaflet missions.
(See below)

C. Tracy Barnes1

8. In addition to the above points, there was a brief discussion about briefing members of the new administration. The State Department made it clear that it considered such a briefing important, particularly for Mr. Rusk. No definite schedule was agreed upon but the consensus of the meeting was that appropriate briefings should be considered for the near future.2

  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Cuba Program, Nov 1960-Jan 20, 1961. Secret. Prepared by Barnes. According to a chronology prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency on May 24, 1961, entitled “Special Group Consideration of the Strike Force Concept,” those attending the meeting included Secretary of State Herter, Secretary of Defense Gates, Secretary of the Treasury Anderson, Director of Central Intelligence Dulles, Special Assistant for National Security Affairs Gray, Under Secretary of Defense James H. Douglas, Under Secretary of State Merchant, Assistant Secretary of State Mann, CIA Deputy Director for Plans Bissell, his assistant Tracy Barnes, and Brigadier General Andrew J. Goodpaster. The location of the meeting is not given. (Central Intelligence Agency, DDO/LA/COG Files: Job 82-00679R, Box 3, Gen Maxwell Taylor, Green Study Group, Vol. II) The chronology covers the period November 1960 through January 1961 and is included in the Supplement.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
  3. Presumably paragraph 8 was added at a later time.