314. Guidelines for Operation Mongoose0

Operation Mongoose will be developed on the following assumptions:
In undertaking to cause the overthrow of the target government, the U.S. will make maximum use of indigenous resources, internal and external, but recognizes that final success will require decisive U.S. military intervention.
Such indigenous resources as are developed will be used to prepare for and justify this intervention, and thereafter to facilitate and support it.
The immediate priority objective of U.S. efforts during the coming months will be the acquisition of hard intelligence on the target area. Concurrently, all other political, economic and covert actions will be undertaken short of those reasonably calculated to inspire a revolt within the target area, or other development which would require U.S. armed intervention. These actions, insofar as possible, will be consistent with overt policies of isolating the local leader and of neutralizing his influence in the Western Hemisphere, and will be taken in such a way as to permit disengagement with minimum losses in assets and U.S. prestige. The JCS will continue the planning and essential preliminary actions to assure a decisive U.S. military capability for intervention. At the end of this first period, or earlier if conditions permit, the situation will be reviewed and a decision taken as to the next phase of the program.
In order to get the covert phase of this program in motion, it will be necessary at the outset to use U.S. personnel, bases and equipment for the support of operations inside the target area. However, the CIA will concurrently expedite the development of non-attributable resources in order to reduce or eliminate this dependence should it become necessary after the initial phase.
During this period, General Lansdale will continue as chief of operations, calling directly on the participating departments and agencies for support and implementation of agreed tasks. The heads of these departments and agencies are responsible for performance through normal command channels to higher authority. General Lansdale is responsible for coordinating combined planning and execution, reporting to higher authority through the Special Group (5412), augmented by the Attorney General and the Chairman, JCS. The Special Group (5412 augmented) is responsible for providing policy guidance to the project, for approving important operations and for monitoring progress.
  1. Source: Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Mongoose. Preliminary drafts of this paper indicate that it was drafted on March 5 by General Taylor, and was revised slightly in response to suggestions made by McGeorge Bundy and McCone. (Ibid., and Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 2/62-4/62) The copy of the guidelines found in Department of State files is attached to a handwritten covering memorandum by U. Alexis Johnson, dated March 16, which reads:

    “Discussed with the President today—McCone, Gen. Taylor, Gilpatric, Attorney General, Mac Bundy, & Gen. Lemnitzer present.

    “The President expressed general approval on the understanding there will be further examination of use of Americans for airdrops etc. during first phase when risk estimates are completed.

    “The President also expressed skepticism that in so far as can now be foreseen circumstances will arise that would justify and make desirable the use of American forces for overt military action. It was clearly understood no decision was expressed or implied approving the use of such forces although contingency planning would proceed.” (Department of State, U. Alexis Johnson Files: Lot 90 D 410)

    Also attached in Department of State files is a copy of the planning schedule of activities for Operation Mongoose, Document 312. It is not clear from Johnsonʼs covering note whether the President approved only the attached guidelines, or also approved some or all of Lansdaleʼs planning schedule.