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



  • “Bumpy Road”


  • a. CM-152-61 Dated 24 March 1961, Subj: CIA Operation Crosspatch1
  • b. CINCLANT Memo Serial Special 00029/61 Dated 28 March 19612
  • c. SM-363-61 Dated 1 April 19613
[Page 193]


DD Support
LSD Support
Combat Air Patrol
Navigational Reference Points
Individual Ship Movement Schedule (Code Name)
Instructions for DD Escort and CAP
Reference a requested certain naval support for the subject para-military operation. Due to required changes in concept of movement of surface units, the requirements for U.S. Naval support as set forth in reference a are superseded by those contained in Enclosures A, B, and C hereto.
Enclosures D and E contain the required navigational and individual ship movements information for the ships of the Cuban Volunteer Force.
It is necessary to take precautions to assure that U.S. support of the Cuban Volunteer Force is not apparent and that support for this operation be undertaken so that the United States may plausibly deny participation. In order to achieve this goal, it is necessary to modify the instructions for the escorting destroyers and the combat air patrol. Accordingly, the specific “rules of engagement” as set forth in references b and c are superseded by the instructions contained in Enclosure F hereto.
D-Day is now scheduled for 17 April 1961.
L.L. Lemnitzer5
[Page 194]

Enclosure F6


The US destroyers providing the area coverage of the Cuban Volunteer Force ships will take the following precautions to avoid overt association with ships of the Cuban Force:
During daylight hours they will maintain maximum practicable range ahead of the ships of the Cuban Force and maintain a patrol using courses and speeds so as to provide protection but not appear to be screening the Cuban Force ships.
During the hours of darkness the US destroyers are permitted to take station with respect to the Cuban Force ships to provide adequate protection.
US Naval support will not be used to support the landing operation. The US destroyers covering the transport ships of the Cuban Force will not close within 20 miles of the target area. After withdrawal of the San Marcos from Point Oldsmobile, the US destroyers will withdraw to Point Packard and rejoin the US Naval Task Group.
The surface and subsurface special rules of engagement are as follows:
Prior to the rendezvous of the Cuban Force ships:
If intervention by US forces is required to protect the Cuban Force ships from att-ack or to prevent their capture, the US forces will intervene as necessary to protect the Cuban Force ship(s).
This intervention will cancel the landing operation and the US destroyers will take measures short of firing on the Cuban Force ships, to cause them to withdraw to a port to be designated by the JCS upon receipt of the report of intervention.
Subsequent to the intervention and withdrawal, the US destroyers will maintain close escort of the Cuban Force to provide protection and witness compliance with the withdrawal order.
U.S. forces will open fire only if the Cuban Force ship(s) is attacked.
After rendezvous of the Cuban Force ships at 1730 R, D-1 Day and until convoy has moved to a point within 20 miles of the objective area, 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, the DD will intervene as necessary to protect the Cuban Force ships, then follow instructions set forth in paragraph 2a(2) and (3) above.
Intervention by US destroyers after Cuban Force convoy has moved to a point within 20 miles of the objective area will be limited to that required to assist the San Marcos at her request.
The combat air patrol mission pilots and air controllers will be instructed as follows:
The CAP will take station so that it will not give the appearance of covering the ships of the Cuban Force.
The “rules of engagement” are as follows:
Any unidentified aircraft approaching within radar range of the Cuban Force ships 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 Cuban Force ship(s)CAP will continue to make close passes in an attempt to divert.
If Cuban aircraft insists in closing and attempts to take position to attack the Cuban Force ship(s), the CAP aircraft will open fire if the Cuban aircraft commences to fire on the Cuban Force ship(s) or if it opens its bomb bays and commences its bomb run.
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Country Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report. Top Secret. In a memorandum for the record summarizing the changes in the rules of engagement for the Bumpy Road operation, Commander Mitchell noted that this memorandum was drafted in response to a memorandum sent from the CIA to General Gray on April 7, modifying the U.S. naval support requirements. The modifications called for destroyers to provide area coverage, rather than convoying the CEF ships, from 0600 on D-2 to the transport area. The requirement for U.S. naval air cover was changed to provide an additional day of air protection, from 0600 to sunset on D-2 and D-1. D-Day was changed to April 17. Mitchell noted that CM-179-61 was dispatched by special courier to Admiral Dennison on April 8. He added that the naval task group assigned to screen the Cuban Expeditionary Force was already at sea and had made an anti-submarine sweep of the area off Nicaragua. (Ibid.)
  2. Not found.
  3. Document 73.
  4. Document 76.
  5. A handwritten note in the margin at this point reads: “Deleted from this copy, GAMitchell, Cdr. USN” Mitchell drew a box around the first five enclosures listed to indicate that they had been deleted from the copy included in the Taylor Report. Another copy of CM-179-61, with all of the enclosures attached, is in the Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials.
  6. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
  7. Top Secret; Limited Distribution.
  8. Commander Mitchell subsequently summarized the changes in the rules of engagement, outlined in Enclosure F, as follows:

    “The changes to the rules pointed out the necessity for avoiding any sign of U.S. participation. The U.S. naval air cover was to be flown in such a manner that the planes did not appear to be covering the CEF ships. During daylight hours the escorting destroyers were to maintain maximum practicable range ahead of the CEF ships and to use courses and speeds so that they provided protection but didnʼt appear to be screening the CEF ships. During the hours of darkness the destroyers could close the CEF ships to provide adequate protection. The destroyers were not to approach within 20 miles (instead of the previous 3 miles) of Cuban territory and, as soon as the San Marcos (the LSD) had withdrawn from the transfer area for the landing craft, the destroyers were to withdraw to join the U.S. naval task group (about 125 miles from Blue Beach). The rules of engagement were modified so that U.S. naval units would not open fire on Cuban ships or aircraft until they opened fire (or opened bomb bays and started a bombing run) (Note: Sea Furies and T-33ʼs do not have bomb bays) on the CEF ships. In essence, the U.S. protecting forces could only open fire if the CEF was attacked. (Instead of opening fire when a Cuban ship or aircraft made a threatening move.) If the U.S. forces intervened to protect the CEF ships, the operation was automatically cancelled. U.S. forces were then to take all steps short of firing on the CEF ships to cause them to withdraw to a port to be designated by the JCS.” (Memorandum for the Record, Rules of Engagement Operation “Bumpy Road”; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report)