375. Memorandum for the Record0


  • Meeting on Policy Relating to Cuba—10:30 a.m.—12 Nov 63


  • The President, Secty. McNamara, Secty. Rusk, Secty. Gilpatric, Attorney General, Secty. Vance, General Taylor, Mr. Bundy, Secty. Johnson, Mr. McCone, Mr. Helms, Mr. FitzGerald, Mr. Shackley
  • McCone opened the meeting with a brief resume of conditions in Cuba along thes
Cuba still belongs to Castro though his grip is weakening.
The military remain essentially loyal to Castro with some evidences of dissension and dissidents which are being exploited by CIA.
The internal security forces and apparatus are effective and show evidence of increasing efficiency.
The economy is bad and is deteriorating, causing increasing hardships to the civilian population. This is due to economic sanctions and Flora.
The Soviets are continuing a gradual withdrawal. No organized Soviet units appear in Cuba although they apparently provide principal manning for the SAMs. There are recent evidences of considerable rotation [Page 884] with between 1,000 and 2,000 new arrivals, but in balance there is a decrease.
Training of Cubans continues on all Soviet equipment including the SAMs. It is not clear whether the SAMs will be turned over to full Cuban control; however it is clear the Cubans will supply the majority of the operating personnel.
The only equipment which has been withdrawn has been the advanced C-band radar for the SAMs and certain communication equipment. No military equipment has been withdrawn. There have been some recent new arrivals of military equipment, particularly between 25 and 50 tanks.

McCone then stated that the program which had been followed for the last several months, having been approved about the first of June, was integrated and interdependent one part on the other and therefore should be considered as a comprehensive program and not a number of independent actions.

FitzGerald then made a presentation.1

With respect to sabotage, McCone stated that no one event will particularly affect the economy. However a continuous program will have its effects on the economy and it will encourage internal sabotage by dissident people within Cuba. There have been 109 events since April which were probably internally-inspired sabotage.

The President then raised the question of the sabotage program; whether it was worthwhile and whether it would accomplish our purpose.

Secretary Rusk then spoke at considerable length, the thrust of his remarks being opposed to sabotage. He stated we should concentrate on obtaining information as to what Castro is doing with respect to other countries, particularly sending arms to Latin American countries. Rusk said we must replace Castro; we must accomplish a reduction in Soviet troops, however sabotage might result in an increase in troops. Rusk had no problem with infiltration of black teams; furthermore internal sabotage gave him no problem and the more of this, the better. In addition he strongly supported our economic efforts. However he opposed the hit-and-rUN sabotage tactics as being unproductive, complicating our relationships [Page 885] with the Soviets and also with our friends and indicated a connection between our sabotage activities and the autobahn problem.

McCone observed that infiltration was difficult, internal sabotage was extremely difficult to stimulate but that external hit-and-rUN sabotage had the effect of automatically stimulating internal sabotage.

McNamara could see no connection between the Cuban operations and the Berlin autobahn incidents. He saw many advantages to going ahead which he advocated but ordered a careful watch.

The President asked questions concerning the immediate operations, and the next one on the schedule was approved.

FitzGerald explained the independent operations of the Artime group. McCone emphasized that to a very considerable extent these are uncontrollable and forecast that once Artime was in business, we might expect some events to take place which were not exactly to our liking.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI/McCone Files, Job 80-B01285A, DCI Meetings with the President, 1 July-30 November 1963. Secret. Drafted by McCone. A draft copy was sent to Helms.
  2. FitzGerald’s presentation was on the six-point integrated program against Cuba that included covert collection of intelligence, propaganda actions to stimulate low-level sabotage and passive resistance, economic denial actions, exploitation of disaffection with the Cuban military and power centers, general sabotage and harassment, and support of autonomous anti-Castro groups. FitzGerald’s presentation is described in detail in a memorandum for the record of this meeting by Bruce B. Cheever, November 14. (Ibid.) See the Supplement.