Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume X, Cuba, January 1961–September 1962

  • Louis J. Smith
General Editor:
  • David S. Patterson


In the first months of the Kennedy administration a crisis arose over the final planning and launching of the failed invasion of the Bay of Pigs. The failure of the invasion led to a searching reexamination of Cuba policy. In addition, President Kennedy established a committee under former Army Chief of Staff General Maxwell Taylor and Attorney General Robert Kennedy to examine the causes of the defeat suffered at the Bay of Pigs. The editor has selected the primary documents relating to the policy reassessment, as well as the records of the most important testimony taken by the Taylor committee and the committee's ultimate report to the President.

The policy assessment initiated in May 1961 led in November of that year to a decision to implement a new covert program to undermine and overthrow the Castro government in Cuba. This program was codenamed Operation Mongoose and much of the remainder of the volume after November 1961 is devoted to documenting Operation Mongoose. Oversight for Operation Mongoose was provided by the 5412/Special Group expanded to include General Taylor and Attorney General Kennedy. The focus of documentation selected on Operation Mongoose is on decisions made by the Special Group (Augmented) and their recommendations to President Kennedy.

Planning for Operation Mongoose was given additional impetus in the spring of 1962 by reports of expanded arms shipments from the Soviet Union to Cuba. The editor has included a selection of intelligence reports that indicated the growing concern in Washington over these shipments. These reports reveal a debate within the intelligence community in September over whether the Soviet weapons being introduced into Cuba included ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. The volume concludes with clear warnings from the United States to the Soviet Union that the introduction of such weapons into Cuba would precipitate a major crisis in U.S.-Soviet relations.