347. Memorandum From the Chief of Operations, Operation Mongoose (Lansdale) to the Special Group (Augmented)0


  • Progress, Operation Mongoose

Political Actions. At its 7 June meeting,1 the Group desired that my 17 May list of suggested priority actions2 be re-issued, to include agreed-upon tasks for State. Completion of this is awaiting the appointment of a representative for the Department of State who can devote full time to Operation Mongoose, as agreed upon. When the appointment is announced to the Special Group, it is my plan to hold a meeting promptly with him and other representatives to work on the schedule of special-effort activities. Meanwhile, we are working on the accepted tasks. State reports that briefing papers have been given to Secretary Rusk on Cuba-European trade, for his forthcoming trip to West Europe and that the Directing Council of the Pan-American Institute of History and Geography has voted to exclude Cuban delegates from meetings.

Cuban Recruits in U.S. Armed Forces. Concept approved and directive issued by the Secretary of Defense.3

Outstanding Studies (including Blockade). My 8 June memorandum to the members of the Special Group (Augmented)4 reported on the current status of all outstanding studies. The desired Defense and CIA papers on the means required for and possible effects of a blockade of Cuba were transmitted with this memorandum.

Also transmitted by my 8 June memorandum was a Defense reminder of the Attorney Generalʼs question about U.S. actions in case the Soviets established bases in Cuba. Mongoose representatives were alerted to the last paragraph of the Defense paper, which asked for comments by the 14 June Group meeting.

Possible Contingency. The rumored uprising of the Cuban people in mid-June continues to be watched closely. The CIA coverage inside Cuba has not confirmed this uprising from resistance organizations there, and [Page 832] still concludes that this is an attempt by the Castro regime to get opponents to come out into the open, where they can be dealt with. It is believed worth some extra intelligence effort to keep a close eye on possible developments in Cuba in this period, and the Group is being asked separately to approve means for doing so. Meanwhile, Dr. Miro Cardona issued a warning (while in Costa Rica) to Cubans not to revolt prematurely; this was picked up by press services and played back into Cuba by VOA and other information means.

In response to the Groupʼs desire for ready plans in case of similar contingencies in the future, Defense has been tasked with developing a plan in case of a surprise wide-spread revolt and State has been tasked with developing a companion plan in case of a localized revolt (in a provincial city, etc.).5 The Group will be informed of these plans, when completed.

“Voice of Cuba.” On the planned broadcasts from a submarine, simulating a small radio station for the resistance inside Cuba, details have been firmed to start these by the end of June. CIA and State have been brought together on content themes and programming. Navy has reaffirmed the low risk factor, after working out operational details with CIA. Broadcasts are designed to be brief (the longest, 5 minutes) at the start, and build up credibility slowly. A brief monitorʼs report will be surfaced, through a U.S. news service, after the broadcasts are established.

Cuban Defector. Pedro Roig Ortega, representative in Mexico of the Cuban Ministry of Commerce, has defected in Mexico City. CIA and State are working on means to exploit this action, especially noting value of impact within both Cuba and Mexico.

Cuban Subversion Through Key Population Groups. CIA has completed a summary analysis of the travel and activities of Cuban student, labor, and cultural organizations, which will be distributed to Group members separately.6 The analysis reports that this Cuban effort is being pushed aggressively in Latin America, in the pattern of familiar Soviet subversion activities through international organizations.

Information. VOA exploited current vulnerabilities: Moscow news of agricultural problems and price rises, the Cuban disastrous season of sugar production, and Castroʼs discouraging comment that it would be ten to twelve years before living conditions improve in Cuba. Orders from Latin America for the latest comic book on Cuban children have reached 1,235,000.

USIA Participation. Although the Director of USIA is not a member of the Special Group (Augmented), both Ed Murrow and Don Wilson [Page 833] have ensured vigorous USIA participation in Operation Mongoose, and have a definite need to be kept informed on matters which the Mongoose team report to the Special Group (Augmented). The simplest way to do so would be for me to give an information copy to Murrow/Wilson (“eyes only”) of such reports to the Special Group (Augmented). Request approval to do so.

  1. Source: Department of State, ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501, Mongoose Operations. Top Secret; Sensitive; Noforn; Special Handling. An attached distribution list indicates that seven copies of the memorandum were prepared. Copies were sent to Robert Kennedy, Taylor, Johnson, Gilpatric, Lemnitzer, and McCone. One copy was kept by Lansdale.
  2. See Document 343.
  3. Document 338.
  4. Not found.
  5. Document 345.
  6. See Document 346.
  7. Not found.