380. Memorandum From the Presidentʼs Military Representative (Taylor) to President Kennedy0

The Special Group (Augmented) has reviewed the results achieved in Phase I (March to August, 1962) of the Mongoose program. The priority objective in this period was the acquisition of hard intelligence bearing on the internal situation, accompanied by political, economic and covert actions short of those calculated to inspire a revolt in the target area.

The responsible agencies have worked vigorously to accomplish this objective, generating the largest intelligence effort directed at any Soviet Bloc country and attacking the target country broadly across the political, economic and psychological fronts. However, in spite of some progress in intelligence collection, the Special Group (Augmented) does not feel that the information obtained has been adequate to assess accurately the internal conditions. Nevertheless, from what we know we perceive no likelihood of an overthrow of the government by internal means and without the direct use of U.S. military force.

As we look ahead in the Mongoose program, we have considered several alternative courses of action. We have ruled out those which would commit us to deliberate military intervention although we recognize that an unanticipated revolt might at any time force a decision for or against the support of such a revolt by U.S. forces. For the coming period, we favor a somewhat more aggressive program than the one carried on in Phase I, wherein we continue to press for intelligence, attempt to hurt the local regime as much as possible on the economic front and work further to discredit the regime locally and abroad.

We have approved an outline plan drawn up under the direction of General Lansdale, which is designed to carry out this concept. General Lansdale will work with the Special Group (Augmented) as he has during Phase I, submitting to us for approval schedules of specific actions based on the outline plan. While we believe that this new course of action will create added difficulties for the regime and will increase the visibility of its failures, there is no reason to hope that it will cause the overthrow [Page 945] of the regime from within. Also, the “noise level” of Mongoose operations will probably rise in the course of the new phase and there will always be the chance that the participation of some U.S. citizens may become known. However, the Special Group (Augmented) considers that these are tolerable risks which they will seek to control by close attention to the implementation of the program.

Attached hereto are revised guidelines for Phase II which, with your concurrence, we propose to promulgate for the guidance of General Lansdale and his associates.

Maxwell D. Taylor1



(August 1, 1962 until_____________)

Terminal date to be set later

While retaining as its eventual objective the overthrow of the target government, the objective of the Mongoose program during Phase II will be the further containment, undermining and discrediting of the target regime while isolating it from other Hemisphere nations.
In view of the growing weakness of the economy of the country, special efforts will be directed at accentuating the difficulties in this sector, and at increasing the demands on Bloc resources. Sabotage will be employed for this purpose on a selective basis.
Continued priority will be given to the intelligence collection program, with renewed emphasis on the establishment of viable agent assets inside the target country.
Efforts will be increased to inspire frictions and schisms both within the target regime and between its leaders and the Bloc.
Consideration will be given to assisting Cuban exile groups and other Latin American governments to perform actions and operations in support of the Mongoose program.
It is recognized that this program may cause the “noise level” to rise; however, the importance of maintaining non-attributability remains unchanged.
While a revolt is not sought at this time, we must be prepared to exploit it should one unexpectedly occur. The JCS will maintain plans for U.S. military intervention.
General Lansdale will continue as Chief of Operations during Phase II, following the procedures which have been worked out during Phase I.
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 8/62. Top Secret. A note on the source text indicates that copies were circulated by Taylor to Johnson, Gilpatric, McCone, Robert Kennedy, Lemnitzer, Bundy, Murrow, and Lansdale. In a brief covering memorandum, dated August 20 and attached to this memorandum and accompanying guidelines in the Kennedy Library, Taylor wrote: “The attached papers were read and approved by higher authority [President Kennedy] today, 20 August 1962, and are transmitted to you for information.” (Ibid.)
  2. Printed from a copy that indicates Taylor signed the original.