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


  • Phase II, Operation Mongoose

Pursuant to your instructions, transmitted herewith is a proposed projection of actions to be undertaken as Phase II, Operation Mongoose. This projection incorporates the suggestions of the operations team designated by the major departments and agencies charged with Mongoose planning and implementation.

The format employed is responsive to the 16 August 1962 guidelines for Phase II, Operation Mongoose,1 and to your comments at recent meetings. The projection is divided into each objective contained in the 16 August guidelines, and then lists proposed actions to attain that objective. The guideline objectives have been given short titles as follows:

Discredit and isolate the regime
Harass the economy
Intensify intelligence collection
Split regime leadership and relations with Bloc
Assist Cuban exile groups and Latin American governments to take actions
Be prepared to exploit a revolt

In preparing this projection of actions for Phase II, Operation Mongoose, an effort was made to restrict proposals to the “B plus” frame of reference provided and to assume that a broader frame of programming under the NSAM 2 would supplement Mongoose by separate planning.

[Page 976]


(1 August 1962 until ____)

Objective A: Discredit and Isolate the Regime

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Activity Purpose Considerations
1. Encourage Latin American nations, bilaterally and through the OAS Special Consultative Committee (SCCS), to establish controls over the travel of their nationals to Cuba. (State, with CIA support) To diminish travel by Latin American nationals to Cuba and to facilitate the collection of intelligence on persons travelling. Most Latin American nations have constitutional provisions regarding freedom of travel.
2. Encourage Latin American nations, bilaterally and through the SCCS, to limit or prohibit entry of Cuban propaganda. (State, with CIA and USIA support) To diminish the influx of Cuban propaganda into Latin America. Many Latin American countries have legal bars against admitting foreign publications.
3. Provide intelligence of arms smuggling from Cuba to other Hemisphere nations. (CIA, State, Defense) To obtain and exploit hard evidence of Cuban subversion in the Hemisphere. Commanders requested to develop and encourage Latins to develop alerting systems, to include anti-infiltration training.
4. As opportune, initiate action or support another nationʼs initiative in the OAS with respect to countering the Communist regime in Cuba. (State, with CIA support) To maintain the multilateral hemispheric context of the Cuban problem. Deep division within the Hemisphere over the Cuban issue may be surfaced. As an example of this activity, the current Dominican initiative in the OAS should be supported and exploited.
5. Continue the program of excluding Cuba from Hemisphere organizations. (State, with CIA support) To strengthen the isolation of Cuba. Possible exceptions, such as in public health, should be examined to determine U.S. national interest.
6. Stimulate manifestations critical of the Castro/Communist regime by Latin American political, labor, religious, and student and other significant impact groups. (State, with CIA and USIA support) To demonstrate that Latin America has rejected Cuba as a model to be imitated. To be productive, such demonstrations should stem naturally out of Cuban events, as they happen. “Events” could include Cuban refugee publication of substantive facts on what is happening to students, workers, etc. inside Cuba.
7. Encourage and exploit the defection of Cuban diplomats, officials, and delegates abroad. (CIA) To make utmost political use of revelations by Cuban “insiders.” Although keeping defectors “in place” can be more valuable, it is not always so, and if they cannot be recruited in place, then exploiting the defection fully for propaganda is important. Note items 45 and 46.
8. Keep friendly nations fully informed of the nature of the Castro/Communist regime and of U.S. policy with respect to it. (State, with CIA and USIA support) To provide for coordinated action.
9. Beamed to Cuba, initiate a planned series of statements by U.S. and other free world official and non-official spokesmen which support developing and maintaining the will to resist within Cuba. (USIA, with State and CIA support) To maintain resistance morale within Cuba. Moderation must be the keynote. Some unfavorable comment from Cuban refugee groups should be expected, demanding a harder line.
10. Continue Voice of America short-wave broadcasts to Cuba. (USIA) To maintain regular, overt communication with the Cuban people. The activity is based on nine hours of daily broadcasting in Spanish, with three hours daily specifically programmed for Cuba. Carefully documented programs of the failures of the Castro/Communist system will be increased, to maintain a subjective basis for Cuban disaffection. Emphasis will be given to repudiations of the Castro/Communist regime elsewhere, particularly the Western Hemisphere.
11. Continue U.S. broadcasting to the Western Hemisphere. (USIA) To keep the people of the Hemisphere awake to the Cuban situation. This activity now includes both VOA shortwave broadcasts. Renewed efforts will be made to enlist support from Inter-American Broadcasters Association members and other groups. “Soap operas” and special commentaries on anti-Castro themes will be included.
12. Produce propaganda cartoon books. (USIA) To build and reinforce a negative image of Castro/Communism among youth, labor, and other groups in Latin America. Themes can be updated quickly (agrarian reform problems, prisoner treatment, Soviet technicians, guerrillas, etc). Final Congressional action on USIAʼs FY 63 budget will determine if additional funds will have to be sought.
13. Produce photo-novels carrying the propaganda story. (USIA) Same as 12 above. An anti-Castro pilot model is under development. These novels would complement the cartoon books (in 12 above), particularly in urban working groups.
14. Supply TV outlets in Latin America with materials. (USIA) Same as 12 above, plus impact on key leader audiences. In addition to supplying documentaries and news clips, a series of one-minute puppet shorts will be tried. Commercial TV now covers all major cities in Latin America except Santiago and Valparaiso, Chile, and La Paz, Bolivia.
15. Produce short films for commercial outlets and impact groups in Latin America. (USIA) Same as 12 above. Government censorship of all films in Latin America presents a potential problem.
16. Produce propaganda exhibits (“before” and “after”) for public and organizational display. (USIA) Same as 12 above. Three such exhibits are now being developed. The first one contrasts Castroʼs promises with his actions. An electric motor turns the slats on a venetian blind exhibit, changing the picture.
17. Publish books in Spanish and Portuguese, with distribution through commercial sales and presentation. (USIA and CIA) Same as 12 above, plus impact on intellectuals and other opinion leaders. Volume will depend in part on results of USIAʼs request for supplemental funds for the Latin American book program, now pending before Congress. Several new books are now in the pipeline.
18. Special propaganda exploitation of U.S. information about the agricultural, labor, and public health situation in Cuba. (State, with CIA and USIA support) To make full use of the factual basis for propaganda actions exposing true conditions inside Cuba. Current research on Cuba by U.S. departments and agencies, outside Mongoose, should be maintained and then be passed into Mongoose channels for use in the project. This includes Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor, and the Public Health Service.
19. Expand the delivery of propaganda material into Cuba via the open mails, legal travellers, and controlled couriers. (CIA) To disaffect the Cuban people and to help maintain the will to resist. The “Gusano Libre” theme deserves much wider exploitation, since this is a theme created by resistance within Cuba itself.
20. Develop specific proposal for use of balloons to deliver propaganda. (CIA) To provide a means of distributing propaganda inside Cuba. This distribution technique must appear as a genuine Cuban refugee project. It must consider risks of injuring population or being exploited along that line by the Castro/Communist regime to the detriment of Mongoose objectives.
21. Direct propaganda at Soviet and other Bloc personnel in Cuba. (CIA) To make them disaffected with their role in Cuba.
22. “Voice of Free Cuba” broadcasts from submarine. (CIA, with Defense support) To have a “voice” for resistance inside Cuba. The initial broadcasts indicated that this can be made into an effective medium, at small risk. In strengthening the effectiveness, full use should be made of talents in the Cuban refugee community. CIA will coordinate this activity closely with State and USIA.
23. Continue “Radio Americas” broadcasts from Swan Island as appropriate. (CIA) To provide an irritant to the Castro/Communist regime.
24. Make available to the International Narcotics Commission documented evidence of Cuban exportation/importation of narcotics. (State) To create increased awareness in Latin America of Cuban subversive activities. Documented evidence available or obtainable should be fully exploited for impact upon hemisphere and world opinion.
25. [4 lines of source text not declassified] To sow and increase distrust in Latin America of the Castro/Communist regime. This activity will be undertaken only on a spot basis, coordinated with U.S. objectives in the specific country.
[Page 984]

Objective B: Harass the Economy

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Activity Purpose Considerations
26. Encourage the Cuban people, as appropriate, to engage in minor acts of sabotage. (CIA) To cause breakdowns of communications, power, and transport facilities; to reduce availability of raw materials; to encourage the spirit of resistance, even in a limited way.

“Minor acts of sabotage” include such actions as excessive use of electricity or short-circuiting of telephone equipment, immobilizing vehicles (stealing parts, puncturing tires, contaminating gas tanks), material spoilage, and crop burning.

All forms of media, non-US government attributable, will be used to get the message to the Cuban people; however, unless a method of mass distribution of leaflets is used, it is probable that this activity will be minor and spotty.

27. Conduct selected major sabotage operations against key Cuban industries and public utilities, with priority attention being given to transportation, communication, power plants, and utilities. (CIA) To reduce available economic supplies and services.

Depending upon circumstances, the sabotage will be conducted either by especially trained, carefully selected commando/ sabotage teams infiltrated especially for the operation and exfiltrated at the completion of the operation, or by internal assets if such can be developed with the necessary access to the target. The following are currently selected targets:

  • Matahambre Mine-Santa Lucia
  • Texaco Refinery-Santiago
  • Shell/Esso Refinery-Habana
  • Regla Steam Electric Plant-Habana
  • Matanzas Steam Electric Plant-Mantanzas
  • [1 line of source text not declassified]
  • Moa Bay Nickel Plant
  • Paper Mill—Cardenas
  • Micro Wave Towers

[Page 986]

Each operation entails risk, not only physical risk for the saboteurs, but also risk of attribution to the U.S. in case of capture. Care will be taken to give these actions the appearance of being done by internal resistance groups, and in isolating team members from press sources upon return. The U.S. handling of information, in case of contingency, will be established by CIA in coordination with USIA and State.

28. Sabotage Cuban assets outside Cuba as targets of opportunity, provided this does not unduly affect food and medical supplies, or the Cuban people, as such. (CIA) To cripple Cuban commerce and place strain upon regime security forces. Things, not people, are the targets. This activity requires a capability to act quickly on spot intelligence. Targets are seen mostly as shipments of products into or from Cuba. Sabotage would be to cause undue delay of shipment, using additives to spoil a commodity, fire or water damage, etc. A recent example was reported, post-action, on a shipment to the USSR.
29. Inspire labor groups outside Cuba to obstruct free world trade with Cuba. (CIA and State) To force the use of more Bloc resources, including shipping. This is an activity mostly in third countries.
30. Discourage free world trade with Cuba. (State, supported by CIA) To force the use of more Bloc resources, to deny Cuba hard currency earnings, and to hasten deterioration of Cubaʼs essentially free world equipped industrial plant. Most free world trading nations are opposed to imposing necessary trade controls. Importers might be dissuaded from using Cuba as a source of supply, such as the example of Japan recently. Preclusive buying and other forms of economic warfare deserve hard consideration.
31. Encourage the OAS Special Committee to recommend further trade measures against Cuba by Latin American countries. (State) To provide a basis for renewed pressures upon NATO to recommend trade controls to NATO members. OAS Special Committee action should be geared to SCCS reports or other developments in the Hemisphere which might provide a good basis for Special Committee action.
32. Reduce production of export agricultural commodities in Cuba, by covert means. (CIA) To cripple Cuban commerce vital to the regimeʼs domestic economic program. The main export commodities are sugar, tobacco, tropicals, and coffee. Activities would include [1-1/2 lines of source text not declassified], hampering of harvests by work slow-downs, destruction of bags, cartons, and other shipping containers, sabotage of sugar mill machinery, etc.
33. [2 lines of source text not declassified] To sabotage Cubaʼs transportation and defense capability. The operational difficulties in this activity are recognized. However, a priority alert for this is warranted.
[Page 989]

Objective C: Intensify Intelligence Collection

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34. Spot, recruit, and train legally established Cubans in Cuba or in Cuban Government Posts abroad. (CIA, supported by State and Defense)

The purpose of all activities under this objective is to provide maximum intelligence coverage of Cuba with particular emphasis on the following:

Capabilities and intentions of the Castro Government.
Soviet activities in Cuba including details of Soviet military personnel, units, locations, capabilities, et al.
Activities of Cuban G-2.
Military and militia order of battle and morale.
State of resistance including the tone and temper of the population.
Focus of power and/or stress and strain among the “Power Centers” in the Cuban Government.
Evidence of Cuban subversive activities in the hemisphere.

In addition to meeting the above cited intelligence objectives, operational intelligence, and recruitment leads as well as agent material result from the Opa-locka [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] operations. In addition to meeting basic intelligence requirements above, timely operational intelligence is vital to CIA current operations.

When possible they will be recruited and trained while visiting outside Cuba; however when necessary recruitment and training will be done inside Cuba either by established agents or by agents infiltrated especially for the task. Whether this is done unilaterally or jointly with a third country intelligence organization is determined on a case by case basis.

In some cases the travel as generated specifically by CIA; in other cases the travels can be utilized to meet intelligence requirements.

35. Spot, recruit, and train third country nationals resident in Cuba. (CIA, supported by State and Defense) See 34 above.
36. Spot, recruit and train legal travellers who have potential access to significant information. (CIA, supported by State and Defense) See 34 above.
37. Continue Caribbean Admissions Center, Opa-locka, Florida. (CIA, with Defense,USIA, and other support) See 34 above. The continuation of the refugee flow and the selective debriefing of refugees provide the most significant source of intelligence. Follow up debriefing of selected refugees after departure from Opa-locka will continue.
38. [2 lines of source text not declassified] See 34 above. [6 lines of source text not declassified]
39. Maintain PAA service between the U.S. and Cuba. (State, with CIA support) [2 lines of source text not declassified] to continue the exodus of skilled manpower from Cuba. PAA requires financial assistance to continue this activity.
40. [3-1/2 lines of source text not declassified] See 34 above. [3 lines of source text not declassified]
41. Continue monitoring overt Cuban broadcasts. (CIA) To obtain intelligence and propaganda material. This is done on a regular basis by FBIS.
42. [4 lines of source text not declassified] See 34 above. [1-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]
43. [3 lines of source text not declassified] See 34 above. [3-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]
44. Establish program of periodic reports from U.S. Embassies in Hemisphere analyzing the effects of existence of the target area regime on host country. (State) To maintain a reasonably current estimate of the impact of the target area regime on the Hemisphere.
[Page 993]

Objective D: Split Regime Leadership and Relations With Bloc

[Page 994]
45. Collect personality information on key Cuban individuals, their personalities, their attitudes, their associations, and their influences. (CIA and others) To identify channels to key individuals and to identify frictions between the individuals. This is a long term continuing program. The degree to which these channels can be developed depends on basic professional work plus the “breaks of the game.” The exploitation of the channel or of any splits in the regime will be determined in the light of existing circumstances at the time the channel is effectively established or the split is detected.
46. Develop channels of communications to selected key individual and “power centers” of the regime. (CIA) To permit exploitation of the key individuals.
47. Conduct psychological and political action. (CIA and State) To attain the objective. Activity will include:
By public and private comment, to stimulate distrust and disaffection in the leadership and ranks of the supporters of the Castro regime, principally among the militia, the government bureaucracy, by organized labor, youth and students, farmers.
[8 lines of source text not declassified]
Provoke incidents between Cubans and Bloc personnel to exacerbate tensions.
[Page 995]

Objective E: Assist Cuban Exile Groups and Latin American Governments to Undertake Actions

[Page 996]
48. Stimulate, support and guide covertly the propaganda and political activities of all Cuban exile groups and individuals offering useful impact inside Cuba and upon world opinion. (CIA, with State and USIA support) To encourage and maintain the will of the Cuban people to resist Castro/Communist rule. To provide an articulate, meaningful symbol and voice of free Cuba to inform and influence public and official opinion outside Cuba. Major popular impact groups can be most effective in production and dissemination of propaganda that reports on the true state of Cubaʼs enslavement and misery under Communist dictatorship. Cubans speaking for Cuba are the most credible witnesses possible. Groups such as a “Free Cuban Judicial Committee” could publicize and openly prepare for eventual punishment of those committing “crimes against the people of Cuba.” This program of support for exiles should consider exiles in hemisphere countries and Spain as well as those in the USA. As possible, the exiles should manage and lead in this effort, with U.S. assisting and advising.
49. Provide covert support to the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC). (CIA) To provide a degree of cohesion within the exile community and to provide a cover and funding mechanism for the invasion survivors and prisoners. In addition some funding of constituent exile grops is handled thru CRC. To support and guide CRC propaganda activities directed at Latin America and Cuba itself. In spite of its many inadequacies, the CRC performs a variety of useful functions which, if it were to be disbanded, would have to be handled by possibly less efficient means.
50. Encourage and support other governments in the hemisphere to undertake programs for Cuba along lines of our own effort. (State, CIA) To develop a multi-national program with common goals and timing, upon a separate-but-collective basis. To direct attention and effort toward initiative of Latin American countries instead of placing focus mainly on the U.S. This will require the highest order of overt and covert U.S. actions, to stir and support initiative in other national leaders. Reasonable but not prohibitive criteria for consultation and coordination is involved, with recognition that the U.S. is helping not employing the third nation efforts.
[Page 997]

Objective F: Be Prepared To Exploit a Revolt

[Page 998][Page 999]
51. Continue to develop and refine contingency plans. (Defense) To assure maximum readiness from the standpoint of military planning for military intervention if directed. These plans are well advanced.
52. Continue planning with Defense and the various sub-commanders for the participation of others in military contingency plans for Cuba. (State, CIA and USIA) To provide support to the military in the event of execution of military contingency plans.
53. Establish and maintain in being the necessary communication and crypto links between CIA and Defense, including various subcommands. (CIA) To provide the communication capability to support the military contingency plans. These links have been or are in the process of being established.
54. Develop post-Castro concepts, leaders, and political groups. (State, with support of others) To provide a focal point for anti-Castro resistance elements and to facilitate the transition of a post-Castro government in the event of a successful overthrow of Castro/Communism. This is a matter which will require continuing study and which may be subject to substantial change due to circumstances which exist at the time.
55. Cache arms, ammunition, and other supplies in areas of Cuba accessible to known resistance elements and in potential resistance areas. (CIA) To have available in Cuba a reserve of arms and ammunition. This will require extensive maritime infiltration/exfiltration operations. It is considered likely that Cuban maritime patrolling will be such that in the near future if the job is to be done, submarines must be used in lieu of surface craft.
56. Recruit, train, and supply small resistance cells in the major cities and in other selected areas of Cuba. (CIA) To provide controlled intelligence sources and to be available in the event of an uprising. Experience and continually tightening security controls have demonstrated the difficulty of infiltrating and monitoring individuals or “Black Teams” in the target country for an indefinite period. Nor has any method yet been devised by which infiltrees can become “legalized.” Therefore, two to five man teams will be infiltrated to recruit and train small “legal” compartmented intelligence and/or resistance cells. Upon completion of training, the infiltrated team will be withdrawn if it is seriously endangered or if its continued presence jeopardizes the “legal” residents. The program will be developed [Page 1000] to the extent that proves feasible and possible in the light of existing circumstances, including Cuban security controls, morale and motivation of agent material and the willingness of the Cuban population to support infiltrees. Increased Cuban defensive capabilities may require the utilization of submarines or aircraft as a means of infiltration and/or exfiltration in lieu of surface maritime facilities.
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented), Operation Mongoose, 8/62. Top Secret; Sensitive; Noforn; Special Handling. An attached distribution list indicates that 21 copies of the memorandum were prepared and sent to Robert Kennedy, Taylor, Johnson, Gilpatric, Lemnitzer, McCone, Bundy, Rusk, McNamara, Murrow, Hurwitch, General Johnson, Harvey, and Wilson. Lansdale kept seven copies.
  2. See Document 380.
  3. Reference is to NSAM No. 181, Document 386.