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


  • Medium-Wave Broadcasting to Cuba

At a meeting with the operational representatives of Operation Mongoose, 1 August, General Taylor and the Attorney General asked about the possibility of strong medium-wave broadcasts into Cuba. In response, Don Wilson of USIA has sent me some thoughtful studies on this subject, after collaboration with State and CIA at the operating level, and noting an earlier memorandum from Ed Murrow about broadcasts from the U.S. (which Mr. Murrow discussed with the Special Group). These studies are attached,1 for your information.

The conclusions reached are:

Medium-wave broadcasts from stations in the U.S. are a possibility for short term tactical purposes. They would be illegal in terms of international agreement and could bring serious reprisals (Cuban interference with medium-wave broadcasts over wide areas of the United States).
Although it was believed that Swan Island broadcasts could be strengthened and possibly undergo a character change (becoming similar to Radio Free Europe) to gain Cuban listeners, further study concludes that no new medium-wave capability should be developed from Radio Swan (difficult and expensive logistic problems, coupled with April 1961 reputation).
A thousand kilowatt transmitter is in storage in the U.S. It is estimated that it would take about 15 months, at a cost of about $8 million, to install a transmitter of this power as rapidly as possible.
Ten locations around the Caribbean were studied as possible sites for a powerful transmitter, considering technical and political feasibility. Venezuela ranked first politically, tenth for technical reasons. The Dominican Republic would appear to present the best prospects from a political standpoint and ranks second technically. The political feasibility of establishing a transmitter on foreign soil in the other locations stud-ied appears remote.
Cuba could negate our medium-wave effort, if Castro so desired, by using surplus transmitters in Cuba to broadcast locally on the same frequency. (It is more difficult to jam short-wave broadcasts, due to the capability for simultaneous broadcasts on multiple frequencies.)

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 8/62. Top Secret; Sensitive. An attached distribution list indicates that 14 copies of the memorandum were prepared and sent to Robert Kennedy, Taylor, Johnson, Gilpatric, Lemnitzer, McCone, Harvey, Hurwitch, Harris, and Wilson. Four copies were kept by Lansdale.
  2. Not printed.