332. Memorandum From the Director of the Joint Staff (Riley) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Lemnitzer)0



  • Blockade of Cuba in reprisal for Soviet Actions in Berlin (S)
This paper is submitted in response to a request by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, to determine the forces that would be required for an effective blockade of Cuba. Such a blockade might be ordered separately or in reprisal for Soviet actions in Berlin.
In view of the geographic location and insular nature of Cuba, together with the paucity of pro-Bloc air bases and effective resupply air [Page 802] routes, it is considered that a blockade which would preclude the export and import of the vital commodities necessary to the Cuban economy could be accomplished by maritime forces. Therefore, if directed to institute a blockade of Cuba, CINCLANT would initially put twelve (12) destroyers on perimeter patrol stations or eleven (11) destroyers on blockade stations for the control of specific harbors. These would be augmented by two (2) surveillance aircraft on air patrol stations. Fighter aircraft would be on call at Key West and Guantanamo and available to proceed to the assistance of the surveillance aircraft or destroyers in the event that the blockading forces were attacked by Cuban aircraft.
Detailed plans and instructions for the conduct of a blockade of Cuba are in existence. A sketch of the basic concept of the perimeter blockade stations is appended for information.1 It is considered that an effective blockade can be readily accomplished with existing naval forces. (See Tab A for force totals.)
Herbert D. Riley2
Vice Admiral, USN

Tab A

Blockade Forces Station Backup for Sustained Effort Total forces required: (For sustained effort)
12 Destroyers Perimeter Patrol 12 Destroyers for rotation 24 Destroyers
2 Surveillance Aircraft Air Patrol 10 Surveillance Aircraft 12 Surveillance Aircraft
1 Fighter Squadron On call at Key West (existing) None required 2 Fighter Squadrons
1 Fighter Squadron On call at Guantanamo (existing) None required
  1. Source: Department of State, ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501, Mongoose Operations. Top Secret; Special Handling; Noforn.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates Admiral Riley signed the original.