73. Memorandum From the Commander in Chief, Atlantic (Dennison) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Lemnitzer)0


  • CIA Operation Crosspatch


  • (a) Your memo CM-152-61 of 24 Mar 19611
I will be prepared to execute the missions directed in enclosures A, B and C of reference (a). I will be prepared also to reinforce the Naval Base at Guantanamo with a reinforced Marine Battalion Landing Team from the Caribbean Amphibious Squadron.
I intend to provide at least two destroyers instead of one for the convoy. The purpose of providing two is for mutual support, defense against possible coordinated surface and air attack, and in case units of the convoy become separated.
The following is a summary of forces in the area and their planned employment:
The antisubmarine carrier Essex with seven destroyers is scheduled to be conducting ASW operations in the Gulf of Mexico during the period 3-18 April. About 7 April a squadron of jet aircraft will be flown aboard Essex. The ASW group will then proceed to an area southwest of Cuba. The convoy destroyers and combat air patrol will be provided from this group. The control of the combat air patrol may be exercised from the ships best situated and equipped at the time and as directed by the Commander of the ASW Group or Essex.
There will be 18 destroyer types conducting routine training operations in the Guantanamo area during the two week period commencing 3 April.
PHIBRON-2 with BLT 1/6 embarked will be operating in the area south of Guantanamo preceding a scheduled visit to Jamaica 13 April.
One jet fighter or attack squadron will be conducting routine training operations in the vicinity of each of the following bases:
  • Guantanamo
  • Key West
I request that the JCS inform CINCNORAD of these plans in order that Florida may be protected from possible retaliatory attack.
There is a necessity for issuing specific “rules of engagement” orders to units involved. Therefore, with your concurrence, I intend to issue the following instructions:
In executing the destroyer mission a DD commanding officer will:
Place his ship between the convoy and any suspicious or Cuban surface craft sighted.
Warn the craft not to approach within gun range of the convoy.
If the surface craft persists in closing the convoy, fire a warning shot across his bow.
If he continues to close the convoy to 2000 yards or he opens fire on the convoy, open fire on him, persisting until he surrenders, retires, or is destroyed.
In executing the combat air patrol mission pilots and air controllers will be instructed as follows:
Any unidentified aircraft approaching within radar range of the convoy and closing will be investigated.
If investigation reveals the aircraft to be Cuban the investigating aircraft will make successive close passes ensuring that the Cuban aircraft is aware of his presence.
If Cuban aircraft maintains course to close the convoy CAP will continue to make close passes in an attempt to divert.
If Cuban aircraft insists in closing and takes position to attack the convoy it will be fired on until it retires or is destroyed.
It is noted that the subject of your memorandum is “CIA Operation Crosspatch.” Since a number of my staff and various others in the Atlantic Command associate this code name with establishment of Swan Island radio last year it is suggested that this term not be used by DOD personnel when referring to the current operation.2
Robert L. Dennison
  1. Source: Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials. Top Secret; Sensitive; Limited Distribution.
  2. Not found.
  3. Crosspatch was the early CIA operational name for what later became known as Operation Bumpy Road. The operation codename was changed to Bumpy Road effective April 1 at the request of the Department of the Navy. (JCS 2304/26, April 1, Tab B, Annex 29, Taylor Report Part III; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report)/2/