314. Action Memorandum From the Chairman of the Policy Planning Council (Owen) to Secretary of State Rusk 1

SUBJECT

  • US Policy Toward Castroʼs Cuba

A review of our Cuba policy seems very much needed.

Our present policy of economic denial and political isolation through OAS action has contributed to Castroʼs difficulties, but has not shaken his grip on power. It may indeed be running into considerable difficulty. In any event, after six years it is only prudent to ask whether this policy will be the best means of advancing our national interests under the conditions which may prevail in the future.

A policy review might well conclude that, all things considered, no fundamental change is required. Various alternative strategies could, however, usefully be explored. For example, the manner and consequences of applying considerably increased pressure on the Castro regime, and the opportunities and risks involved in seeking some accommodation could both be studied.

Without a thorough evaluation, however, we do not have the basis for recommending any of these courses of action on Cuba. The NPP (National Policy Papers) would seem to offer the best framework for such a study: they are well established, interagency, comprehensive, and authoritative.

We would, of course, keep strict security on the fact of this review.

Recommendation:

That you approve the undertaking of an NPP on Cuba.3

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, S/P Country Files: Lot 72 D 139, Cuba, 1967–1968. Secret. Drafted by Henry D. Owens and cleared by Sayre.
  2. Approved by Rusk on May 15. In a September 8 memorandum to Jessup, Trueheart noted that “the study is just now getting under way.” (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, 303 Committee Records)