296. Report of the Coordinator of Cuban Affairs, Department of State (Cottrell)0


  • First Report of the Coordinator of Cuban Affairs

I. Introduction

It is contemplated that these reports will be issued twice monthly to provide, in summary form, a guide to the recent activities of the Coordinator and the Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee. A separate section will be devoted to each NSAM or to Presidential memoranda directed to the activities of the Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee.

II. Memoranda Guiding the Coordinator's Activities

National Security Action Memorandum No. 213 of January 8, 1963.1
The Coordinator of Cuban Affairs has taken over responsibility for the day-to-day coordination of Cuban Affairs.
An Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee of Cuban Affairs, chaired by the Coordinator, has been established. It consists of the Coordinator, Secretary of the Army Cyrus R. Vance, representing the Department of Defense, and Deputy Director Richard Helms of the Central Intelligence Agency. Officers have also been detailed to the Committee from State, Defense, Justice, HEW, CIA, and USIA to work as necessary in particular cases. A White House representative from the office of Mr. McGeorge Bundy has maintained close liaison with the Coordinator and the Committee. The Coordinator works through these assigned officers in meeting the responsibilities in (1) above.
The Coordinator has named Mr. John Hugh Crimmins, a Foreign Service Officer, to represent the U.S. Government with Cuban refugee groups in Florida and to coordinate Federal programs there. He has opened a branch office of the Coordinator in Miami.
The Coordinator has assumed the same responsibility for covert as for overt operations, while recognizing that he is to report on covert matters to the Special Group, which will be guided by broader policy set by the President through NSC ExComm.

National Security Action Memorandum No. 220 of February 5, 1963.2

NSAM 220 directed the Secretaries of State, Defense, Agriculture, and the Administrator of GSA to carry out a new policy on U.S. Government shipments by foreign flag vessels in the Cuban trade.

The Coordinator receives reports from these agencies indicating what steps have been taken. The Secretary of Commerce is making available to the Coordinator, through the Bureau of Economic Affairs of the Department of State, reports on current pertinent information on ships engaged in the Cuban trade.

Memoranda from the President of February 15, February 25, and March 2, 1963.3

These memoranda concerned the flow of students, labor leaders, etc., who go to Cuba for subversive training, the development of precise information as to their travel techniques, and the development of a program to control such traffic.

The President outlined three general avenues through which the problem should be approached. They are bilateral negotiations with friendly Latin American countries, working through the Organization of American States (OAS), and the presentation of a program by the President at the meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica.

So much work toward a solution of these problems has been done over the past month that a report of reasonable length can hope only to give the highlights of government-wide efforts. They include:

The Department of State has for some time been dealing with the problem of Cuban subversive training, both bilaterally and through the OAS. It has been trying to have governments withhold permission to their nationals to travel to Cuba and to reduce further free-world air traffic, both scheduled and unscheduled, to Cuba. Several memoranda to the White House have concerned this work.
The Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee of Cuban Affairs met to study the subversive problem on February 15, and a working group headed by Ambassador Thurston submitted a report on February 25 which encompassed the SCCS Report to the OAS and the recommendations of experts drawn from appropriate government agencies.4
The Coordinator, on the basis of these studies, appointed a Subcommittee on Cuban Subversion. It was established on February 27, with Major General Victor H. Krulak, USMC, as chairman.
The Subcommittee on Cuban Subversion submitted its first report on March 8.5 This report on movement of personnel to and from Cuba was forwarded by the Coordinator to the White House, and the Coordinator and Major General Krulak met with the President on the afternoon of March 8. Subsequently, the Subcommittee on Cuban Subversion has prepared action papers on a) the movement of propaganda materials, b) the movement of arms to and within Latin American countries, c) the establishment of a surveillance system in the Caribbean, d) the exchange of intelligence information on a bilateral and multilateral basis, and e) the movement of funds.

The Office of Regional Political Affairs in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, Department of State, submitted to the Coordinator on March 8 a draft OAS Resolution on Cuba, which was forwarded to the White House via the Coordinator and the Secretary of State. This office also submitted talking points on Cuba for the President at San Jose, Costa Rica.

[2 paragraphs (13 lines of source text) not declassified]

Our posts in the Caribbean were informed on March 13 that we desire to consult with them on possible additional U.S. training and other assistance which may be required to develop or improve border and coastal patrol capabilities of their respective security forces. This program would involve possible assistance to Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama, and the Central American countries of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras. This offer was discussed at the San Jose meeting.
The action taken above is part of our plan for the establishment of a coordinated Caribbean surveillance system involving continued close-in surveillance of Cuba by U.S. forces; a U.S. military alerting system, by which intelligence of subversive movements will be rapidly transmitted to the American Ambassadors to countries concerned through intelligence centers at Caribbean Command and the Caribbean Sea Frontier Headquarters of the Atlantic Command; a unilateral surveillance and interception effort by each country in its own territorial waters; and U.S. assistance in the final interception in territorial waters upon request of the country concerned.
Following the San Jose meeting with the Central American and Panamanian Presidents, and a study of the Subcommittee's reports, the [Page 728]Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee will make further recommendations on the problems raised in the President's memoranda.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 3/63. Secret. Executive Secretary Brubeck sent this report to McGeorge Bundy on March 21.
  2. Document 264.
  3. Document 277.
  4. In these memoranda the President asked the Departments of State and Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency to prepare under coordination of a CIA official specific proposals on lessening and possibly eliminating the flow of labor leaders, students, and others from Latin America who went to Cuba for training and indoctrination and returned to their own countries as possible Communist organizers. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 3/63)
  5. A copy of the February report is ibid.
  6. The report was submitted to the President. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 36 Cuba)