FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES
Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
376. Memorandum for the Record
Washington, November 12, 1963.
//Source: Department of State, INR Historical Files, Special
Group Meeting No. 105, December 6, 1963. Secret; Eyes Only. For
McCone's account of this meeting, see Document 375.
A meeting was held this morning with higher authority on the
above subject. Present were: Mr. Rusk, Mr. McNamara, Mr. Robert
Kennedy, Mr. Bundy, Mr. McCone, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Gilpatric, Mr.
Vance, General Taylor, Mr. Helms, Mr. FitzGerald, Mr. Cheever,
and Mr. Shackley.
Mr. McCone gave a brief summary of recent developments inside
Cuba. He stated that the military is generally loyal to Castro.
There have been some disorders but not very extensive. Castro's
internal security forces appear to be well organized. He has developed
a system of informers which is becoming increasingly effective.
The economic situation is deteriorating largely because of the
enforcement of economic sanctions, and Hurricane "Flora"
although its damage was not as great as originally thought.
The Soviets appear to be continuing the gradual withdrawal of
personnel from Cuba although recently 1,000-2,000 troops have
come in. There now seems to be a kind of "Soviet MAAG"
program concerned mainly with training Cubans in all types of
military activity including the handling of missiles. There has
been some removal of the more sophisticated types of electronic
equipment. Some new tanks have arrived in Cuba, estimates run
from 25 to 50.
Mr. FitzGerald reported on Cuban operations under six main
headings: (a) Covert Collection, (b) Propaganda, (c) Economic
Denial, (d) Disaffections in the Military, (e) Sabotage and Harassment,
and (f) Support of Autonomous Anti-Castro Groups.
(a) Covert Collection. Mr. FitzGerald pointed out that inside
Cuba CIA has three kinds of agent activities: (1) "singleton,"
(2) collection nets, and (3) agents involved in "black net"
operations. While there is encouraging improvement in the geographical
spread of these agents, there is still, understandably, a fairly
heavy concentration of agents in the Havana area.
A question was raised as to how many agents in all of these
activities have been lost. Mr. FitzGerald said that in the neighborhood
of 25 had been either captured or killed in the past year. The
reasons for these casualty figures are the increasing effectiveness
of Castro's internal security forces and discovery brought about
when agents try to obtain food. No matter how good the documentation,
an outsider in a community is viewed with suspicion.
(b) Propaganda. The activities of CIA in this field are the
mailing of leaflets and radio broadcasts. Some 30-40,000 leaflets
per month have been mailed and during a day there are 32 hours
of programs emanating from seven different stations. It is believed
that there is a very excellent listening public. The programs
appeal to people in a wide variety of jobs and professions. There
is some jamming but it is spasmodic and generally confined to
(c) Economic Denial. Mr. FitzGerald reported that the U.S.
economic denial program is contributing to Cuba's declining economy.
Mention was made that the economic denial program would be more
effective if the Canadians were willing to cooperate. Up to now
they have not gone along with U.S. efforts, and they are supplying
many items essential to Cuban economy. The UK and Spain are continuing
to deal in certain types of goods required by the Cubans. Commodities
going into Cuba in 1962 from the free world reached $101 million.
While this represents less than in 1961 the amount is still too
(d) Disaffections in the Military. While the military is loyal
to Castro as has been noted there are indications that some leaders
would like to break with the regime but lack courage and opportunity.
Mr. FitzGerald commended a CIA-DIA task force which prepared a
report covering some 150 Cuban military leaders. Out of this figure
there are some 45 which look interesting from CIA's operational
viewpoint. Mr. FitzGerald reported that CIA is in touch with three
persons who are in the military or who have highly placed contacts
in such circles. The aim is to use these three individuals to
establish contact with military personnel inside Cuba. The principal
aim is to get military leaders who have become disenchanted with
the Castro regime to dare to talk and plot Castro's downfall with
(e) Sabotage and Harassment. Mr. FitzGerald mentioned four
successful sabotage operations against a power plant, oil storage
facilities, a sawmill, and an underwater demolition operation
against a floating crane in one of Cuba's harbors. It is believed
that the publication of these successful sabotage activities in
the Cuban press has tended to raise appreciably the morale of
the people. Also, such sabotage continues to keep pressure on
the Castro regime and adds to the growing economic problems facing
(f) Support of Autonomous Anti-Castro Groups. The question
was asked from where would the autonomous groups operate. Mr.
FitzGerald replied that they would operate from outside U.S. territory.
He mentioned two bases of the Artime group, one in Costa Rica
and the other in Nicaragua. Also it was hoped that the autonomous
group under Manolo Ray would soon get itself established in a
working base, possibly Costa Rica. Mr. FitzGerald said that much
could be accomplished by these autonomous groups once they become
A question was asked as to what decisions remain to be made.
Mr. FitzGerald replied that we were looking for a reaffirmation
of the program as presented, including sabotage and harassment.
When asked what was planned in sabotage for the immediate future,
he said that destruction operations should be carried out against
a large oil refinery and storage facilities, a large electric
plant, sugar refineries, railroad bridges, harbor facilities,
and underwater demolition of docks and ships. The question was
also raised as to whether an air strike would be effective on
some of these principal targets. The consensus was that CIA should
proceed with its planning for this type of activity looking toward
The State Department raised questions with respect to sabotage
activities in Cuba. The thought was advanced that there may be
a relationship between such hit and run attacks on Cuba and the
delay of American convoys en route to Berlin. A further question
was posed as to the over-all importance to the United States of
sabotage operations, especially since it is so difficult to keep
them from being directly attributable to the U.S. It was thought
that the hit and run type effort might in fact invoke loss of
support inside Cuba and may even result in bringing more Soviet
troops back into Cuba. Somehow the U.S. must pin responsibility
for these activities on Castro. The U.S. in fact must be ready
to retaliate when it can be fairly well established that Castro
is attempting with arms, money and men to foment Communist uprisings
in any Latin American country.
The consensus was that since CIA's sabotage operation is in
the main low cost and since it does worry the Castro regime, denies
him some essential commodities, stimulates some sabotage inside
Cuba and tends to improve the morale of the Cubans who would like
to see Castro removed, CIA should proceed with those operations
planned for the coming week end (November 15 though 17).
The view was expressed that CIA, in connection with the Department
of Defense, should concentrate on attempting to catch Castro red-handed
delivering arms to Communist groups in Latin American countries.
It was determined that during the next 90 days from this date
an attempt would be made by means of air patrols and surface ships
to identify ships carrying arms for Castro to Latin American countries.
It was hoped that a ship with Cuban arms could be picked up. Conversations
are to be initiated by the Secretary of the Navy with CIA to map
out a three-month operation against Cuban shipping. It was also
determined that the Colombian and Venezuelan governments should
be asked to join with the U.S. in developing a joint patrol designed
to identify ships carrying weapons from Cuba destined for revolutionary
groups in Latin American countries.