231. Memorandum From the Secretary of Defense (Laird) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2

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  • Soviet Activity in Cuba

I thought the attached update on the Soviet activity in Cienfuegos and Mariel, Cuba, would be of interest to you and the President. We are keeping a close watch on the movements of the submarine tender and the rescue tug now in the Port of Mariel and will keep you advised. All that can be said as of this moment is that the Soviet Navy still has all the essentials in Cuba to operate an advanced submarine base.

Melvin R. Laird
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 782, Country Files, Latin America, Soviet Naval Activity in Cuban Waters, Vol. I, Cienfuegos. Top Secret. Attached was a October 16 memorandum from the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which detailed Soviet naval activity in the area of Cienfuegos. In a October 29 memorandum to Kissinger, Richard T. Kennedy indicated that “recent photography had indicated a reduction in construction activity and departure of several Soviet naval vessels” from Cienfuegos. (Ibid.) A November 4 CIA intelligence cable, TDCS 314/11498–70, confirmed that construction of Soviet naval facilities at Cienfuegos had ceased. (Ibid.)
  2. Laird provided Kissinger with an update on Soviet naval activities in Cienfuegos and Mariel, Cuba.