295. Memorandum From the Deputy Director for Coordination of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Williams) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Mann)1


  • Minutes of the Meeting of the 303 Committee, 7 January 1965


  • “a. The recommendations in the CIA paper of 6 January 1965 entitled, ‘Activities of Manuel Artime Buesa During December and Early January; Contact with Military Dissidents Inside Cuba,’2 were discussed at length and approved with the proscriptions elaborated below.
  • “b. The identification in the paper of the principal dissidents purporting to overthrow Fidel Castro led to a number of questions from the Committee members: What reason is there to believe that these persons [Page 703] are bona fide? What sort of a man is Cubela?3 Does [name not declassified]4 have the loyalty of the men under his command? What are Cubelaʼs present relations with Fidel Castro?
  • “c. Mr. FitzGeraldʼs estimate was that these individuals were genuine ‘disenchantees’ positively identified from other sources as being anti-Castro. Predicting success or failure was not possible because of the unknown factors: security, loyalty, resoluteness of officers and men, and judgment and luck in their timing. Ambassador Thompson wondered if open civil war would be a desirable objective, and he suggested a Soviet reaction in other theatres in that event.
  • “d. Mr. FitzGerald then requested that consideration be given to reiteration by higher authority of a theme, made by the late President Kennedy in a speech about a week before he died, to the effect that there are a lot of people in Cuba with whom the United States is prepared to deal.5 Mr. FitzGerald said that the impact of this message on the island at that time could not be overestimated and its reissuance now would have a strong psychological impact. The Committee members were receptive to this concept, and Mr. Bundy requested a submission of draft language from Mr. FitzGerald which could be used by higher authority in response to a planted question at a forthcoming press conference.
  • “e. Mr. McCone wanted the committee to know that dealing with autonomous exiles was, unfortunately, a part of a previously approved total program against Cuba and that Artime, less and less responsive to persuasion, constituted a persistent menace. Mr. Bundy concurred that Artime was a firecracker in our midst.6
  • “f. It was in this context then, that the Committee agreed with the recommendation in the paper (i.e., that the subsidy to Artime be paid through the month of February). Mr. McConeʼs suggestion that additional payments for ‘two or three months’ could be offered in exchange for acceptance of restrictive conditions7 by Artime was also approved. [Page 704] Ambassador Thompson reserved the right to refer the Committee position to Assistant Secretary of State Mann prior to signing off. (Subsequent to the meeting, the office of the Deputy Director for Coordination/INR indicated that Mr. Mann had been advised of the tenor of the meeting and concurred in the Committeeʼs decision.)”
  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, 5412 Special Group/303 Committee Records, January–June 1965. Secret; Eyes Only.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. Cmdte. Rolando Cubela is identified in the January 6 CIA paper as “a representative of an internal military dissident group, which is plotting to overthrow Castro.”
  4. [text not declassified] one of the three groups that Cubela said were involved in a coup against Castro.
  5. In an address before the Inter-American Press Association in Miami on November 18, 1963, Kennedy said “once this barrier is removed, we will be ready and anxious to work with the Cuban people.” (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963, p. 876)
  6. See Document 296 for an addendum to this paragraph.
  7. concentration of development of the internal operation and curtailment of grand stand operations to augment his image. [Footnote in the source text.]