319. Memorandum for the Record0


CIA should be familiar with General Thomas Whiteʼs responsibilities and activities as a member of the Latin American Subcommittee on Security which apparently is a part of the OAS. Mr. Wym Coerr, of State Department, is familiar with details.
Alexis Johnson reported that discussion between [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] and Cord Meyer having to do with the possible escape of [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] from the Isle of Pines.
Protracted discussion of entire Cuban operation at which time McCone expressed the following points of view:
He had given serious consideration to suggesting immediate military action to bring back the prisoners now concentrated in Havana but had withdrawn suggestion because of possibility of exchange of food for prisoners.
Thought we were not making sufficient progress with Cuban problem and expressed discouragement over possibility of success because our national policy was too cautious.
Questioned very much whether the military strength of Castro government was as large and effective as reported and noted that aerial [Page 780] photography did not reveal military installations sufficient to house, support, train and supply a force ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 men.
Intelligence gathered from various sources indicated Castro may be having extreme difficulty and therefore we should take a good look at our policy.
Finally, stated that if one or two hundred prisoners were shot, we would probably have very serious problems with the 100,000 Cuban refugees in Florida.

For all of these reasons, McCone recommended that we review our policy and perhaps decide upon more aggressive action including direct military intervention. Johnson raised question of loss of friends and support of other South American countries. McCone stated maybe a show of strength would assist us to win friends rather than lose them.

It was decided to have a Special Meeting for the purpose of discuss-ing Cuban Policy on Wednesday, April 11, at 2:00 p.m.,1 to be attended by Special Group and Sec/State and Sec/Defense, Joint Chiefs and others.

The following was requested for the meeting:

Detailed analysis of Castroʼs military posture from all available photographic interpretations.
A summary of current appraisal of internal conditions gained from debriefing of agents recently exfiltrated, results from Opa-Laka Center and all other intelligence sources.
Any other information available on conditions in Cuba.

Question of weekly CIA progress and operational reports was brought up and it was concluded that CIA should issue these reports regularly every Tuesday, and that General Lansdale, reporting to the Special Group augmented, would summarize them as he did on 3 April.

This memorandum is to be used by Mr. Helms on an “Eyes Only” basis in preparation for the CIA actions necessary for the Wednesday meeting.

John A. McCone2
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Box 2,DCI (McCone) Memo for the Record, 29 November 1961-5 April 1962. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by McCone.
  2. See Document 325.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.