Author Topic: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis  (Read 39675 times)


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Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« on: July 17, 2013, 09:28:39 PM »
E. Howard Hunt later wrote in his autobiography:
"No event since the communization of China in 1949 has had such a profound effect on the United States and its allies as the defeat of the US-trained Cuban brigade at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 .....Instead of standing firm, our government pyramided crucially wrong decisions and allowed Brigade 2506 to be destroyed. The Kennedy administration yielded Castro all the excuse he needed to gain a tighter grip on the island ..... "

1960 JFK wrote (in The Strategy of Peace) about Castro: "Just as we recall our own revolutionary past in order to understand the spirit and the significance of the anti-colonialist uprising in Asia and Africa, we should now reread the life of Simon order to comprehend the new contagion for liberty and reform now spreading south of our borders...Fidel Castro is part of the legacy of Bolivar...Castro is also part of the frustration of that earlier revolution which won its war against Spain but left larely untouched the indigenous feudal order." (p132)

Robert Scheer and Murry Zeitlin compared translations of Castro speeches used by the White House with translations appearing elsewhere in the world press; they discovered that the CIA translator intentionally changed the meaning of different words in Castro's speeches to make him sound more militant, revolutionary and tyrannical; elsewhere, the CIA was trying to convince the Kennedy administration that Castro had little popular support and could easily fall. (Tragedy in Our Hemisphere)

1974-75 Castro was interviewed by Frank Mankiewicz and Kirby Jones for their book, With Fidel. "What secrets surround the Kennedy assassination?...It is very intriguing that this man Oswald traveled to Mexico...and applied for a permit at the Cuban Embassy to travel to Cuba...Now, imagine that by coincidence he had been granted this permit, that he had visited Cuba for a few days, then returned to the United States and killed Kennedy. That would have served as provocation...Sometimes we ask ourselves if someone did not wish to involve Cuba in this."

1/1961 The idea to fabricate a pretext for war with Cuba may actually have originated with President Eisenhower in the last days of his administration. With the Cold War hotter than ever and the recent U-2 scandal fresh in the public's memory, the old general wanted to go out with a win. He wanted desperately to invade Cuba in the weeks leading up to Kennedy's inauguration; indeed, on January 3 he told Lemnitzer and other aides in his Cabinet Room that he would move against Castro before the inauguration if only the Cubans gave him a really good excuse. Then, with time growing short, Eisenhower floated an idea. If Castro failed to provide that excuse, perhaps, he said, the United States "could think of manufacturing something that would be generally acceptable." What he was suggesting was a pretext a bombing, an attack, an act of sabotage carried out secretly against the United States by the United States. Its purpose would be to justify the launching of a war. It was a dangerous suggestion by a desperate president. (Bamford, Body of Secrets)

1/4/1961 A memo titled Policy Decisions Required for Conduct of Strike Operations Against Government of Cuba concerning "Branch 4 of the Western Hemisphere Division was an internal task force created within the CIA in January 1960 to direct the Cuban project. J.D. Esterline became task force director on January 18, 1960. Esterline reported on the project to the Deputy Director for Plans, Richard M. Bissell, although Bissell's principal aide, Tracy Barnes, who acted for Bissell about 50 percent of the time. Branch 4 began with a staff of 20 and grew by April 1961 to a staff of more than 500 with its own communications, propaganda, and military sections. Marine Corps Colonel Jack Hawkins was assigned to Branch 4 in September 1960, with direct responsibility for military training operations." The memo stated: The purpose of this memorandum is to outline the current status of our preparations for the conduct of amphibious/airborne and tactical air operations against the Government of Cuba and to set forth certain requirements for policy decisions which must be reached and implemented if these operations are to be carried out. (Memorandum From the Chief of WH/4/PM, Central Intelligence Agency (Hawkins) to the Chief of WH/4 of the Directorate for Plans (Esterline), Washington, January 4, 1961. Source: U.S., Department of State, Foreign Relations Of The United States,1961-1963, Volume X, Cuba, 1961-1962)

1/19/1961 Eisenhower tells JFK that he must assume responsibility for the overthrow of Fidel Castro and his dangerous government, and recommends the acceleration of the proposed Cuban invasion. Says Eisenhower: "...we cannot let the present government there go on." (A Question of Character)

Soon after JFK's inauguration, Castro moved to appease the new administration by demobilizing his militia. Khrushchev also cut back on censorship of Voice of America and released two captured US flyers. JFK responded by stopping US Post Office censorship of Soviet magazines, inviting the Kremlin to engage in civil aviation talks, and ordering Arleigh Burke to tone down his anti-Soviet speeches. Conservatives quickly attacked Kennedy.

2/1961 Feb, '61 - Executive Action-ZR/RIFLE : William Harvey, chief of FI/D, was briefed by authority of Richard Bissell on phase one of the mob plots. That briefing was in connection with "Executive Action Capability;" i.e., a general standby capability to carry out assassinations when required. Harvey arranges to be briefed by Edwards.

2/13/1961 On this day, CIA Support Chief James O'Connell delivers poison pills to Mob liaison John Roselli who later claims to have given them to a Cuban official close to Castro. The pills are reportedly later returned after the official loses his position. In the spring of 1961, without the knowledge of the new president John Kennedy, the CIA's Technical Services Division prepared a batch of poison pills for Castro. The pills were sent to Cuba through John Rosselli. The murder plot failed because the CIA's Cuban assets were unable to get close enough to Castro to poison him.  The CIA's purpose was to kill Castro just before the Bay of Pigs invasion. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders: An Interim Report; November 20, 1975 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1975) As Bay of Pigs planner Richard Bissell said later, "Assassination was intended to reinforce the [invasion] plan. There was the thought that Castro would be dead before the landing. Very few, however, knew of this aspect of the plan. "(Richard M. Bissell, interview by Lucien S. Vandenbroucke, Farmington, Connecticut, May 18, 1984; cited in Vandenbroucke " 'Confessions' of Allen Dulles," p. 374.)

2/13/1961 CIA 's Technical Services Division records indicate that a box of Castro 's favorite cigars treated with lethal poison were delivered to an unidentified asset. The records do not disclose whether an attempt was made to pass the cigars to Castro. (Fonzi chronology p 415)

Early Mar, 61 - According to his 1964 Oral History at the JFK Library, JFK asks his friend Florida Senator George Smathers about the reaction throughout South America if Castro were to be assassinated. Smathers did not recommend the action.

March 1961 Project name ZR/RIFLE first appears in files, although the first recorded approval is dated Feb 19 '62. Its purpose is to develop killers for political assassinations. Harvey's master plan for the project includes the use of cover stories and phony 201 files. ZRRIFLE continued on a course separate from the Edwards/O'Connell/Mafia operation against Castro until Nov 15, '61 when Harvey discusses with Bissell the application of the ZR/RIFLE program to Castro. Harvey 's notes of the discussion state both Bissell and Helms place Harvey in charge of the operation against Castro.

In March 1961, Kennedy rejected the CIA's current Trinidad Plan for "an amphibious/airborne assault" on Cuba, favoring a quiet landing at night in which there would be "no basis for American military intervention." "The Bay of Pigs Invasion: A Comprehensive Chronology of Events, " in Bay of Pigs Declassified, edited by Peter Kornbluh ( New York: New Press, 1998) , pp. 269-70.

3/9/1961 A CIA officer assigned to the Mexico City Station meets in Mexico City with Rolando Cubela to sound out Cubela on his views pertaining to the Cuban situation. Although this meeting proves inconclusive, it leads to other meetings out of which will grow Project AMLASH. Cubela will repeatedly insist that the essential first step in overthrowing the regime is the elimination of Fidel Castro himself, which Cubela claims he is prepared to accomplish.

3/11/1961 White House meeting about Cuba; present were JFK, Bissell, Dulles, the JCS, Bundy, Rusk, McNamara and Schlesinger. The CIA laid out a plan for a small invasion force landing on the south coast near the city of Trinidad after opening air strikes. Kennedy thought the idea was "too spectacular. It sounds like D-Day. You have to reduce the noise level of this thing." He made it clear there would be no US forces involved and the US must be able to plausibly deny any involvement. Dulles warned that the exile invasion force could not just be turned off and sent back to the States: "we can't have them wandering around the country telling everyone what they have been doing." He also said that Castro was having pilots trained to fly MiGs in Czechoslovakia, and the invasion had to take place before those pilots were ready to fight. (Bay of Pigs, Wyden) 
Both CIA officials argue strongly for prompt action against Cuba. The landing spot at the South Central coastal town of Trinidad is also favored by the Joint Chiefs. Of the Bay of Pigs invasion, General S. L. A. Marshall will later write: "The Joint Chiefs were never asked to approve any plan; they were not besought to analyze that final plan that became operative. They were figuratively put in a corner and given to understand they should not interfere or pass judgment."

Late 3/1961 Sen. Fulbright warned JFK that the invasion plan was not a secret, and might fail. Even if it succeeded it would produce hard feelings against the US in the whole region. (The Perfect Failure 106)

March 1961 CIA Internal Information Report no. CS-3/467,630: "Many people in Camaguey [an important air base in Cuba] believe that the Castro regime is tottering and that the situation can at any moment degenerate into bloody anarchy." (The Bay of Pigs, Wyden) US Air Force Intelligence Report: "A great percentage of...[Castro's] officers are believed ready to rebel against the government at a given moment, taking their troops with them." (The Bay of Pigs, Wyden) CIA Internal Information Report no. CS-3/470,587: "It is generally believed that the Cuban Army has been successfully penetrated by opposition groups and that it will not fight in the event of a showdown." (The Bay of Pigs, Wyden)

March 1961 During this month, and at JFK's direct order, the Frente, the umbrella group of anti-Castro organizations organized by the CIA's political liaison E. Howard Hunt, is replaced by a more liberal Cuban Revolutionary Council. It now includes Manolo Ray, whom many consider a democratic socialist, (Silvia Odio's father was one of the key backers of Ray's organization, called JURE.) Hunt terms Ray's politics Fidelissimo sin Fidel (Fidelism without Fidel), is outraged at the appointment, and (either) resigns or is dismissed from his job as the CIA's political action officer for the Bay of Pigs operation. March-April -- as the time for the Cuban invasion approaches, the principal counterrevolutionary leaders are arrested in Cuba and the groups in the Escambray mountains are disbanded. The CIA not only loses their major means of communication, but also their control over the internal networks, which increase the disorganization and shatter the parallel plans. This information is not passed on to JFK, and emergency meetings are held among CIA officials in Florida and in Langley, Virginia, in search of a solution. In a final attempt, the Agency decides to send a group of agents to try and rescue the detained leaders.

3/14/1961 Santos Trafficante, Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli meet in the Fontainbleau Hotel. They have contracted a Cuban hit-man to kill Fidel Castro. Bob Maheu brings cash for paying the hit-man and poison pills to do the job with. The hit-man may have been a cook in a restaurant frequented by Castro who was willing to poison the Premier's meal. A few days later, Castro is reported to be ill. Maheu says: "Castro's ill. He's going to be sick two, three days. Wow, we got him." But, Castro recovers. As Sheffield Edwards later reports: "Castro stopped visiting the restaurant where the asset was employed." The CIA will eventually tell the Church Committee that it was involved in nine Castro assassination plots in all, including those with the Mafia. Castro himself will later produce a detailed list of 24 plots against his life involving the CIA. What is significant is that both the CIA and Castro agree on when the plans began.

3/22/1961 Cuban exile leaders held a final pre-invasion meeting, after which one told reporters: "We have the overthrow Castro, and this year we are going to become the first occupied country to expel international communism." An asset of the CIA's Miami Station reports that Rolando Cubela and Juan Orta want to defect and need help in escaping from Cuba.

3/29/1961 In the Cabinet Room of the White House, Richard Bissell, representing the CIA, presents a progress report of Operation Zapata, the top-secret plan to invade Cuba. According to Gaeton Fonzi in THE LAST INVESTIGATION, "the Bay of Pigs plan provided . . . the historic opportunity for the CIA to begin domestic field operations on an unprecedented scale." "The Agency's officers, contract agents, informants and contacts reached into almost every area of the community." "The preparation for the Bay Of Pigs invasion gave birth to a special relationship between CIA operatives and the Cuban exiles. That relationship would intensify into a mutuality of interests which transcended even Presidential directives and official United States policy."

Early April 1961 Second Attempt: Rosselli passes poison pills in second attempt to kill Castro to Cuban associate of Trafficante in Miami, Manuel Atonio de Varona. Giancana is with him. Assassination attempt is "an auxiliary operation" (per Bissell) of the Bay of Pigs. De Varona is a prominent Cuban exile member of the "Revolutionary Democratic Front" put together by E. Howard Hunt. De Varona is also the former president of the Cuban Senate under President Carlos Prio. He is to be paid $150,000 if he succeeds in his role to pass the poison pills to Cuban official Juan Orta, Castro's personal secretary. Orta is later exposed and jailed.

Allen Dulles told JFK before the Bay of Pigs: "I stood right here at Ike's desk and told him I was certain our Guatemalan operation [against Arbenz in 1954] would succeed, and, Mr. President, the prospects for this plan are even better than they were for that one." (The Bay of Pigs, Wyden)

When a skeptical Kennedy finally approved the CIA's revised plan for the Bay of Pigs landing in April, he reemphasized that he would not intervene by introducing U.S. troops, even if the exile brigade faced defeat on the beachhead. The CIA's covert-action chief, Richard Bissell, reassured him there would be only a minimum need for air strikes and that Cubans on the island would join the brigade in a successful revolt against Castro.  "The Bay of Pigs Invasion: A Comprehensive Chronology of Events, " in Bay of Pigs Declassified, edited by Peter Kornbluh ( New York: New Press, 1998)

4/4/1961 JFK returned to Washington from a visit with his father; McGeorge Bundy recalled that before the visit, he had been dubious about the invasion plan, but after talking with Joe Kennedy, he "really wanted to do this...he had made up his mind and told us." (The Crisis Years 107)
On this day, a key meeting on Cuba is held by JFK during which he asks everyone present whether they approve of the planned invasion. Senator Fulbright denounces the entire idea on the ground that it is inherently immoral. Everyone else in the room, including Rusk; McNamara, Adolf Berle, Thomas Mann, Bissell and Dulles appear to approve. Berle, in fact, is highly enthusiastic: "I say, let 'er rip!"
Dean Rusk reassured Under-Secretary of State Chester Bowles, who opposed the Cuban invasion proposal: "Don't worry about this. It isn't going to amount to anything." (Bay of Pigs, Wyden)

4/7/1961 NY Times article ("Invasion Reported Near") was followed that night by a CBS story claiming that the invasion plans against Cuba were in "their final stages." JFK was very angry.

4/9/1961 William Shannon, in the New York Post, reported that Ike in late '59 had given the green light to the CIA to organize Cuban exiles to plan an invasion of Cuba.

4/12/1961 JFK said in a press conference that "there will not be, under any conditions, any intervention in Cuba by United States armed forces. This government will do everything it possibly make sure that there are no Americans involved in any actions inside Cuba."

4/13/1961 Radio Moscow actually broadcast an English-language newscast on April 13, 1961 predicting the invasion "in a plot hatched by the CIA" using paid "criminals" within a week.   

4/14/1961 Just prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion, Senator George Smathers walks with JFK on the White House South Lawn. JFK discloses to Smathers what is about to happen. According to Smathers, JFK says: "There is a plot to murder Castro. Castro is to be dead at the time the thousand Cuban exiles trained by the CIA hit the beaches."  A Chicago-based attorney, Constantine 'Gus' Kangles - who is a friend of the Kennedys AND Castro says: "I told Bobby [that] Castro knew everything - he was waiting for them. Not only did Castro know, but he enjoyed huge popularity. As far as an uprising, I told Bobby, "It ain't gonna happen." But Bobby didn't care. He wanted him [Castro] out." The Cuban Brigade embarked at Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, for the Bay of Pigs. Patrolling Cuban troops and a rocky shoreline caused the cancellation of an early-morning attack 30 miles east of Guantanamo by 164 soldiers aboard a CIA freighter.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:07:22 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2013, 09:30:59 PM »
4/15/1961 At dawn on April 15, 1961, eight B-26 bombers of the Cuban Expeditionary Force, launched from Nicaragua, carried out air strikes to destroy the Cuban Air Force on the ground, achieving only partial success. The planes carry Cuban Air Force insignia and are piloted by exiles and US civilians. It was meant to take out Castro's air force, but it did little damage. Two other exile bombers land in Florida as part of a plan to make it look as though disgruntled members of Castro's Air Force were defecting. Reporters soon noticed discrepancies in this story.
Premier Castro then ordered his pilots "to sleep under the wings of the planes," ready to take off immediately. Castro rounds up 100,000 potential counterrevolutionaries, including nearly all CIA sources.  Shortly after the attack started, Ambassador Adlai Stevenson at the UN flatly rejected Cuba's report of the attack to the Assembly, saying that the planes were from the Cuban Air Force and presenting a copy of the photograph published in the newspapers. In the photo, the plane shown has an opaque nose, whereas the model of the B-26 planes used by the Cubans had a Plexiglas nose. He derided the allegations as being "without foundation," and said that the planes "to the best of our knowledge were Castro's own air force planes and, according to the pilots, they took off from Castro's own air force fields." As David Atlee Phillips, the CIA's propaganda chief, monitored the events at the U.N., he was shocked by Stevenson's statements. As he later wrote: "As I watched Stevenson defend the deceitful scheme a chill moved through my body. What had we done? Adlai Stevenson had been taken in by the hoax! Had no one bothered to tell our Ambassador at the United Nations of the deception involved in the air strike?" In fact, Stevenson had not been briefed on the plans, and was later enraged to find that he had repeated the CIA cover story before the international community. Stevenson was extremely embarrassed a few hours later when the truth was revealed and he learned that Kennedy had referred to him as "my official liar." UN representative Conor Cruise O'Brien recalled, "Adlai himself was clearly conscious that this was not his finest hour...a dreadful speech, full of the kind of official lies that stick out in an unappetizing fashion. And Adlai read this stuff as if he had never seen it before, frequently stumbling over words, as he never stumbled over words of his own." (The Siege)
David Ferrie is taking a three week vacation from Eastern Airlines. It is believed he is playing some role in the Bay of Pigs invasion -- perhaps as a pilot.
Allen Dulles goes to Puerto Rico to speak at a meeting of the Young Presidents Organization -- a group closely affiliated with Harvard Business School and with the CIA. It is made up of men who are presidents of their own companies and under forty years of age. The CIA arranges meeting for them with young leaders in foreign countries for the purpose of opening export-import talks and franchising discussions. Why he has accepted and keeps this appointment at such a crucial time has never been properly explained. Because of the absence of its director, the CIA's secondary leaders -- officials with no combat or command experience -- made "the operational decision which they felt within their authority." For decisions above them, they were supposed to go to the President. Cabell and Bissell, in Dulles's absence, are inherently unqualified to carry the issue back to the President to "explain to him with proper force the probable military consequences of a last-minute cancellation."

4/16/1961 9:30 P.M. As the exile brigade prepared for its overnight landing at the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy's National Security Adviser, McGeorge Bundy, phoned CIA deputy director General Charles P. Cabell to say that " the dawn air strikes the following morning should not be launched until planes can conduct them from a strip within the beachhead. " Since no such opportunity came, this order in effect canceled the air strikes. Castro's army surrounded the invading force in the following days. "The Bay of Pigs Invasion: A Comprehensive Chronology of Events, " in Bay of Pigs Declassified, edited by Peter Kornbluh ( New York: New Press, 1998) 
This constitutes a total misreading and a complete reversal of the approved tactical plan. For years afterward, it will be believed that JFK canceled the air cover for the Bay of Pigs invasion. The man who actually does this is McGeorge Bundy. Dean Rusk gives Cabell and Richard Bissell an opportunity to speak directly to JFK by telephone in order to convince him to provide the needed air strikes. The CIA men see no point in speaking personally to the President and so inform the Secretary of State. The order to cancel the D-Day strikes is then dispatched to the departure field in Nicaragua, arriving when the pilots are in their cockpits ready for take-off. The Joint Chiefs of Staff learn of the cancellation at varying hours the following morning.

4/17/1961 On the night of 16-17 April 1961, when the relatively young President needed the advice of the armed forces as the Bay of Pigs invasion was turning into an unmitigated fiasco, the tension between President Kennedy and Admiral Burke was palpable. As told by Admiral Burke's biographer, the late E.B. Potter, in the early-morning hours of 17 April, President Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, in white tie and tails, along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Lyman Lemnitzer and Admiral Burke, in dress uniforms with medals, left the East Room, where the annual Congressional Reception had just concluded, headed for the Oval Office. There, Richard M. Bissell of the CIA informed President Kennedy that although the situation was bad, it "could still take a favorable turn if the President would authorize sending in aircraft from the carrier." "Burke concurred," wrote Potter. "Let me take two jets and shoot down the enemy aircraft," he urged. But President Kennedy said "No," and reminded them that he had said "over and over again" that he would not commit U.S. forces to combat. Apparently, he did not want the world to find out what it already knew, that the whole expedition had been conceived, planned, and armed by the United States. According to Potter, "Burke suggested sending in a destroyer. Whereupon Kennedy explodes. "Burke." He snapped, "I don't want the United States involved in this." "All in all, Mr. President," Burke snapped back, "but we are involved."

Admiral Burke continued as Chief of Naval Operations for three-and-a-half more months. On 1 August 1961, having completed an unprecedented third term, he relinquished his office to Admiral George W. Anderson. The change of command took place at the U.S. Naval Academy, where Admiral Burke had begun his naval service 42 years earlier.

4/17/1961 Cuban exile Brigade 2506 landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. Castro had about 20,000 troops, with tanks, artillery and aircraft; the exiles numbered 1,300 (with 5 transport freighters, 12 landing craft, 5 tanks, 18 mortars, 15 recoiless rifles, 4 flamethrowers, 12 rocket launchers). Of the five freighters, 2 (the Houston and Rio Escondido) were sunk by Cuban planes. The exiles had been supplied with obsolete and poorly equipped B-26s by the CIA. The invasion went badly from the start; the invasion force barely got to the beaches before it was pinned down by government forces. The B-26s were supposed to be escorted to Cuba by unmarked US Navy jets, but the CIA's failure to coordinate this properly led to the B-26s going in an hour early: "...the B-26s were soon downed or gone, the jet mission was invalidated before it started, and without ammunition the exiles were quickly rounded up." (Ted Sorensen) The CIA had made numerous mistakes: the landing site was not suitable for guerilla warfare, most of the invasion force had not been given guerilla training, and the proposed escape route to the Escambray Mountains was an impassable swamp.
Dean Rusk told a press conference: "The American people are entitled to know whether we are intervening in Cuba or intend to do so in the future. The answer to that question is no." (NYT 4/18)

JFK, LBJ, Rusk, McNamara, Lemnitzer, Burke, Bundy, Bissell, Walt Roston and Authur Schlesinger, Jr. meet today in the President's office. The reports are bad. Bissell and Burke propose a concealed U.S. air strike from the carrier Essex lying off Cuba. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and James Reston lunch with JFK. Schlesinger remembers him as being "free, calm, and candid; I had rarely seen him more effectively in control." JFK says: "I probably made a mistake in keeping Allen Dulles on. It's not that Dulles is not a man of great ability. He is. But I have never worked with him, and therefore I can't estimate his meaning when he tells me things . . . Dulles is a legendary figure, and it's hard to operate with legendary figures . . . I made a mistake in putting Bobby in the Justice Department. He is wasted there . . . Bobby should be in CIA . . . It is a hell of a way to learn things, but I have learned one thing from this business -- that is, we'll have to deal with the CIA."

Immediately following the Bay of Pigs disaster, the CIA begins to plan a second invasion, training Cuban exiles and soldiers of fortune, on No Name Key in Florida, in Guatemala, and on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. The CIA, theoretically more tightly controlled under the eye of RFK, also sets up an extraordinary new center of operations. Code-named JM/WAVE, and situated in Miami, it is, in effect, the headquarters for a very public 'secret war' against Cuba. This is the most ambitious CIA project ever, and comes to involve seven hundred CIA and coopted Army officers recruiting, training, and supplying thousands of Cuban exiles. The nerve center of the new struggle is set up in Miami, where the vast majority of the exiles are concentrated. There, in woods on the campus of the University of Miami, the CIA establishes a front operation in the shape of an electronics company called Zenith Technological Services. In 1962, at the height of its activity, the JM/WAVE station controls as many as 600 Americans, mostly CIA case officers, and up to 3000 contract agents. Internally, the JM/WAVE station is also a logistical giant. It leases more than a hundred staff cars and maintains its own gas depot. It keeps warehouses loaded with everything from machine guns to coffins. It has its own airplanes and what one former CIA officer calls "the third largest navy in the Western Hemisphere," including hundreds of small boats and huge yachts donated by friendly millionaires. One of the more active sites, used by a variety of anti-Castro groups, is a small, remote island north of Key West called, appropriately enough, No Name Key. It is home to a group called the International anti-Communist Brigade (IAB), a collection of soldiers of fortune, mostly Americans, who are recruited by Frank Fiorini Sturgis and a giant ex-Marine named Gerry Patrick Hemming. (Like Oswald, Hemming has been trained as a radar operator in California. Hemming will later claim that OSWALD once even tried to join his IAB group.)

4/18/1961 FBI records indicate that Robert Maheu informed the FBI that the Ballenti tap involved the CIA and suggested Edwards be contacted, Maheu informed the FBI that the tap had played a part in a project "on behalf of the CIA relative to anti-Castro activities," a fact which could be verified by Sheffield Edwards, CIA Director of Security. (FBI Memo Apr 20, 61; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75 p79)

4/18/1961 JFK returns to Washington from Glen-Ora, the family Virginia home, where he has been able to exercise "plausible denial" concerning the invasion of Cuba. He attends a scheduled cabinet meeting. He is extremely upset and spends twenty-five minutes telling the cabinet what he feels went wrong with the invasion -- and why. Both Richard Bissell and Allen Dulles are visibly shaken.

Andrew St. George writes: "Within a year of the Bay of Pigs, the CIA curiously and inexplicably began to grow, to branch out, to gather more and more responsibility for the 'Cuban problem.'" The Company was given authority to help monitor Cuba's wireless traffic; to observe its weather; to publish some of its best short stories (by Cuban authors in exile) through its wholly owned CIA printing company; to follow the Castro government's purchases abroad and its currency transactions; to move extraordinary numbers of clandestine field operatives in and out of Cuba; to acquire a support fleet of ships and aircraft in order to facilitate these secret agent movements; to advise, train, and help reorganize the police and security establishments of Latin countries which felt threatened by Castro's guerrilla politics; to pump such vast sums into political operations thought to be helpful in containing Castro that by the time of the 1965 U.S. military intervention in the Dominican Republic both the bad guys and the good guys -- i.e., the "radical" civilian politicos and the "conservative" generals -- turned out to have been financed by La Compania. Owing largely to the Bay of Pigs, the CIA ceased being an invisible government: it became an empire."

4/19/1961 In a memo for the president, RFK warns, "if we don't want Russia to set up missile bases in Cuba, we had better decide now what we are willing to do to stop it." Robert Kennedy identifies three possible courses of action: (1) sending American troops into Cuba, a proposal "you [President Kennedy] have rejected...for good and sufficient reasons (although this might have to be reconsidered)"; (2) placing a strict blockade around Cuba; or (3) calling on the Organization of American States (OAS) to prohibit the shipment to Cuba of arms from any outside source. He concludes that "something forceful and determined must be done...The time has come for a showdown for in a year or two years the situation will be vastly worse." (RFK and his Times)       
Khrushchev writes to JFK, assuring him that the Soviet Union "does not seek any advantages or privileges in Cuba. We do not have any bases in Cuba, and we do not intend to establish any." Khrushchev, however, also warns against arming Cuban emigres for future attacks on Cuba. Such a policy of "unreasonable actions," he writes, "is a slippery and dangerous road which can lead the world to a new global war." (Soviet Public Statements with respect to Cuban Security, 9/10/62)

While visiting Richard Nixon's home, Allen Dulles is asked by Nixon if he would like a drink. He replies: "I certainly would -- I really need one. This is the worst day of my life." Dulles blames the invasion's failure on JFK's last-minute cancellation of air strikes.

JFK's depression about the Bay of Pigs reaches such depths that he tells his friend LeMoyne Billings, "Lyndon [Johnson] can have it [the presidency] in 1964." JFK refers to the presidency as being "the most unpleasant job in the world."

How else, he asked his friends Dave Powers and Ken O'Donnell, could the Joint Chiefs have approved such a plan? "They were sure I'd give in to them and send the go-ahead order to the [Navy's aircraft carrier] Essex," he said. "They couldn't believe that a new President like me wouldn't panic and try to save his own face. Well, they had me figured all wrong." (O'Donnell and Powers, "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye, " p. 274.)

At his death Allen Dulles left the unpublished drafts of an article that scholar Lucien S. Vandenbroucke has titled "The 'Confessions' of Allen Dulles." In these handwritten, coffee-stained notes, Dulles explained how CIA advisers who knew better drew John Kennedy into a plan whose prerequisites for success contradicted the president's own rules for engagement that precluded any combat action by U.S. military forces. Although Dulles and his associates knew this condition conflicted with the plan they were foisting on Kennedy, they discreetly kept silent in the belief, Dulles wrote, that "the realities of the situation" would force the president to carry through to the end they wished: "[We] did not want to raise these issues-in an [undecipherable word] discussion-which might only harden the decision against the type of action we required. We felt that when the chips were down-when the crisis arose in reality, any action required for success would be authorized rather than permit the enterprise to fail." Lucien S . Vandenbroucke, "The 'Confessions' of Allen Dulles: New Evidence on the Bay of Pigs," Diplomatic History 8, no. 4 (Fall 1984) : p. 369; citing Allen W. Dulles Papers, handwritten notes, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:14:24 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2013, 09:32:01 PM »
Four decades after the Bay of Pigs, we have learned that the CIA scenario to trap Kennedy was more concrete than Dulles admitted in his handwritten notes. A conference on the Bay of Pigs was held in Cuba March 23-25, 2001, which included "ex-CIA operatives, retired military commanders, scholars, and journalists."  News analyst Daniel Schorr reported on National Public Radio that "from the many hours of talk and the heaps of declassified secret documents" he had gained one new perception of the Bay of Pigs: "It was that the CIA overlords of the invasion, director Allen Dulles and deputy Richard Bissell, had their own plan of how to bring the United States into the conflict. It appears that they never really expected an uprising against Castro when the liberators landed as described in their memos to the White House. What they did expect was that the invaders would establish and secure a beachhead, announce the creation of a counterrevolutionary government and appeal for aid from the United States and the Organization of American States. The assumption was that President Kennedy, who had emphatically banned direct American involvement, would be forced by public opinion to come to the aid of the returning patriots. American forces, probably Marines, would come in to expand the beachhead. "In effect, President Kennedy was the target of a CIA covert operation that collapsed when the invasion collapsed."  Noah Adams, All Things Considered, March 26, 200 1, hour I, National Public Radio.

Even if President Kennedy had said no at the eleventh hour to the whole Bay of Pigs idea (as he was contemplating doing), the CIA, as it turned out, had a plan to supersede his decision. When the four anti-Castro brigade leaders told their story to writer Haynes Johnson, they revealed how the Agency was prepared to circumvent a presidential veto. The Cubans' chief CIA military adviser, whom they knew only as " Frank, " told them what to do if he secretly informed them that the entire project had been blocked by the administration: " If this happens you come here and make some kind of show, as if you were putting us, the advisers, in prison, and you go ahead with the program as we have talked about it, and we will give you the whole plan, even if we are your prisoners."
Haynes Johnson with Manuel Artime, Jose Perez San Roman, Emeido Oliva, and Enrique Ruiz-Williams, The Bay of Pigs (New York: Dell, 1964), p . 74.
The brigade leaders said "Frank" was quite specific in his instructions to them for " capturing" their CIA advisers if the administration should attempt to stop the plan: " they were to place an armed Brigade soldier at each American's door, cut communications with the outside, and continue the training until he told them when, and how, to leave for Trampoline base [their assembly point in Nicaragua]." (Ibid.) When Robert Kennedy learned of this contingency plan to override the president, he called it " virtually treason. " (Robert Kennedy in His Own Words, edited by Edwin O. Guthman and Jeffrey Shulman (New York: Bantam, 1988), p. 245. RFK also said, "In fact, we found out later that, despite the President's orders that no American forces would be used, the first two people who landed in the Bay of Pigs were Americans. The CIA sent them in." (Ibid.)

John Kennedy reacted to the CIA's plotting with a vehemence that went unreported until after his death and has been little noted since then. In a 1966 New York Times feature article on the CIA, this statement by JFK appeared without further comment: " President Kennedy, as the enormity of the Bay of Pigs disaster came home to him, said to one of the highest officials of his Administration that he wanted 'to splinter the C.I.A. in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds. "' Tom Wicker, John W. Finney, Max Frankel, E. W. Kenworthy, " C.I.A.: Maker of Policy, or Tool?" New York Times (April 25, 1966) Presidential adviser Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., said the president told him, while the Bay of Pigs battle was still going on, " It's a hell of a way to learn things, but I have learned one thing from this business-that is, that we will have to deal with CIA . . . no one has dealt with CIA. " (Schlesinger, Robert Kennedy, p. 486)

The Bay of Pigs awakened President Kennedy to internal forces he feared he might never control. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas recalled Kennedy saying what the Bay of Pigs taught him about the CIA and the Pentagon: " This episode seared him. He had experienced the extreme power that these groups had, these various insidious influences of the CIA and the Pentagon on civilian policy, and I think it raised in his own mind the specter: Can Jack Kennedy, President of the United States, ever be strong enough to really rule these two powerful agencies ? "
Cited by L. Fletcher Prouty, The Secret Team (New York: Ballantine, 1974), p.472.

4/20/1961 Angus McNair is executed on this date in Cuba as a suspected CIA agent. McNair is a close friend of Frank Sturgis, who will admit that McNair was part of the espionage network Sturgis is running in Cuba. McNair was captured while trying to create a diversionary action during the Bay of Pigs invasion.

4/20/1961 contentious Cabinet meeting today about the failed invasion.

Less than a week following the Bay of Pigs debacle, a meeting is held with JFK's Cuban advisers. Undersecretary of State Chester Bowles advises that nothing can be done about Castro - as he is now entrenched. Other aides such as Richard Goodwin agree. RFK simply explodes. "That's the most meaningless, worthless thing I've ever heard," he replies angrily. "You people are so anxious to protect your own asses that you're afraid to do anything ... We'd be better off if you just quit and left foreign policy to someone else."

4/22/1961 JFK directs Gen. Maxwell Taylor, in association with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Admiral Arleigh Burke, and Allen Dulles, to give him a report on the "Immediate Causes of Failure of Operation Zapata." "How did I ever let it happen?" JFK asks rhetorically, "I know better than to listen to experts. They always have their own agenda. All my life I've known it, and yet I still barreled ahead." Taylor will finish his report on June 13, 1961.

4/22/1961 St. Louis Post Dispatch reported: "The [Cuban] underground was never advised of the landing date and did not know whether the Bay of Pigs operation was a real or diversionary invasion. Radio SWAN, the CIA's mysterious short wave broadcast station which blankets the Caribbean, failed to broadcast the pre-arranged signals to trigger the underground into action."    

4/23/1961 'Dan Carswell' -- released from a Cuban prison in a prisoner exchange -- lands at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida, where he receives a hero's welcome. Carswell will later testify that he is at work in CIA headquarters in Langley on Nov. 22, 1963. Some researchers, however, believe Carswell was in Dallas that day and could well have been one of the tramps arrested near Dealey Plaza.

5/2/1961 In a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Homer Capehart (R-Indiana) asked CIA and military officers, "Are you gentlemen telling us today that...our high military people who fought in World War I and World War II...approved this [Bay of Pigs], what would appear to me to be a Boy Scout operation?" Allen Dulles said that "most of the states of Central America" were confronted with "the insidious penetration of Cuban communism."

5/3/1961 Edwards memoranda to FBI read that Giancana had been recruited "in connection with the CIA's clandestine efforts against the Casto government." No results yet, but "several of the plans are still working and may eventually pay off." Edwards stated, "he had never been furnished with any details of the methods used by Giancana and Maheu because this was 'dirty business' and he could not afford to know the specific actions." He also wrote that Richard Bissell had "told the attorney general that some of the [Bay of Pigs] planning included the use of Giancana and the underworld against Castro." (Rappleye and Becker, p 211-212;)

5/14/1961 Jack Anderson article in Parade based on interview with Frank Fiorini (Sturgis): "We Will Finish the Job."

5/22/1961 FBI Director Hoover sent the Attorney General a memorandum about the Las Vegas wiretap.
Memo from J. Edgar Hoover to Robert Kennedy: "On May 3, 1961, Colonel Sheffield Edwards, Director of Security, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), furnished the following information. 
            Colonel Edwards advised that in connection with CIA's operation against Castro he personally contacted Robert Maheu during the fall of 1960 for the purpose of using Maheu as a "cut-out" in contacts with Sam Giancana, a known hoodlum in the Chicago area. Colonel Edwards said that since the underworld controlled gambling activities in Cuba under the Batista government, it was assumed that this element would still continue to have sources and contacts in Cuba which perhaps could be utilized successfully in connection with CIA's clandestine efforts against the Castro government. As a result, Maheu's services were solicited as a "cut-out" because of his possible entree into underworld circles. Maheu obtained Sam Giancana's assistance in this regard and according to Edwards, Giancana gave every indication of cooperating through Maheu in attempting to accomplish several clandestine efforts in Cuba. Edwards added that none of Giancana's efforts have materialized to date and that several of the plans still are working and may eventually "pay off." Colonel Edwards related that he had no direct contact with Giancana; that Giancana's activities were completely "back stopped" by Maheu and that Maheu would frequently report Giancana's action and information to Edwards. No details or methods used by Maheu or Giancana in accomplishing their missions were ever reported to Edwards. Colonel Edwards said that since this is "dirty business", he could not afford to have knowledge of the actions of Maheu and Giancana in pursuit of any mission for CIA. Colonel Edwards added that he has neither given Maheu any instruction to use technical installations of any type nor has the subject of technical installations ever come up between Edwards and Maheu in connection with Giancana's activity. Mr. Bissell, in his recent briefings of General Taylor and the Attorney General and in connection with their inquiries into CIA relating to the Cuban situation [the Taylor Board of Inquiry] told the Attorney General that some of the associated planning included the use of Giancana and the underworld against Castro.'

An attachment to that memorandum quoted Sheffield Edwards as saying that Bissell in "recent briefings" of Taylor and Kennedy "told the Attorney General that some of the associated planning included the use of Giancana and the underworld against Castro." Bissell told the Church Committee that he did not remember any briefing other than for the review of the Bay of Pigs - The Taylor Report. (Bissell, 7/22/75) Taylor told the Church Committee that no mention was made of an assassination effort against Castro. The summary of Edwards' conversation with the FBI was accompanied by a cover memorandum from Hoover stating that Edwards had acknowledged the "attempted" use of Maheu and 3 "hoodlum elements" by the CIA in "anti-Castro activities" but that the "purpose for placing the wiretap...has not been determined...." (FBI memo to Attorney General, 5/22/61) The memorandum also explained that Maheu had contacted Giancana in connection with the CIA program and CIA had requested that the information be handled on a "need-to-know" basis.
RFK writes in the margin of the memo to his aide, Courtney Evans, "I hope this will be followed up vigorously," after being assured the alliance had been discontinued by CIA's Edwards. (Hoover memo to RFK and RFK's notation quoted in Assassination Plots, Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, pp127-128) Note: Courtney Evans had worked closely with the then Senator John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy on the McClellan Committee which had investigated the relationship between organized labor and organized crime. During the McClellan Investigation Sam Giancana was one of the major crime figures examined. After becoming Attorney General, Robert Kennedy had singled out Giancana as one of the underworld leaders to be most intensely investigated.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:17:59 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2013, 09:33:53 PM »
Anti-JFK columnist Victor Lasky: "the Kennedy brothers vowed to 'get even' with the Cuban dictator. After the Bay of Pigs the President himself spurred the CIA into an immense covert war against Cuba. It required the services of thousands of men and cost as much as $100 million a year." (It Didn't Start with Watergate 85; "The Kennedy Vendetta")  "At the same time, the Kennedys covertly ordered several US agencies to find some sure means of 'eliminating' Castro. The CIA had been thinking along those lines for some time....even under Eisenhower, worked with Mafia leaders Giancana and Roselli in devising plans to bump off Fidel. Bobby Kennedy learned all this himself in the form of a detailed secret memorandum from J Edgar Hoover dated 5/1961...though the Hoover memorandum never mentioned the words 'assassination' or 'elimination'...the director did refer to the CIA's relationship with the mobsters as 'dirty business.' According to sources quoted by The New York Times [5/30/1975], Attorney General Kennedy jotted this note on top of the memorandum: 'Have this followed up vigorously.' The memo also bore his handwritten initials...A year later Kennedy was given a more precise briefing...Lawrence Houston, general counsel for the Agency from its founding in 1947, told the Attorney General about the planned effort to 'dispose' of Castro. More recently Houston disclosed that the briefing did not seem to surprise Kennedy. In fact he 'didn't seem very perturbed' about the plot, only about the CIA's use of organized crime. 'If you are going to have anything to do with the Mafia,' Kennedy said, 'you come see me first.'" (Time 8/4/1975) The meeting took place 5/1962. Hoover then wrote RFK a memo which was later found by the Rockefeller Commission; he voiced concern that Giancana could "blackmail" the government. "It was in the summer of 1962 that Robert Kennedy contacted Maj. Gen. Edward G. Lansdale and ordered him to begin work on a special CIA project to develop various operations for 'getting rid of' Fidel Castro. In an interview with the Washington Star, Lansdale emphasized that the Attorney General had not used the word 'assassination.' However, he added, there could be no doubt that 'the project for disposing of Castro envisioned the whole spectrum of plans from overthrowing the Cuban leader to assassinating him.'" Lansdale said he went to William Harvey to carry out RFK's instructions. (It Didn't Start with Watergate p85-87; 5/31/1975 Washington Star) Shortly after the first meeting of the Special Group Augmented, a memo written by George McManus (recently declassified), stated: "No time, money, effort - or manpower is to be spared. Yesterday...the President had indicated to him...that the final chapter had not been written - it's got to be done and will be done." (The Last Investigation 45) Shortly after the Bay of Pigs, JFK spoke publicly about a "new and deeper struggle" against Castro: "Cuba must not be abandoned to the Communists." Jonathan Kwitny: "There's no public record on whether he specifically ordered the murder of Fidel Castro...Kennedy's closest aides in those years have argued persuasively that he wasn't aware that during one period the CIA hired some Mafia bosses..." (Crimes of Patriots 24)

6/1/1961 RFK wrote a personal memo about the Bay of Pigs (RFK and his Times 477, 757): he estimated that it was about 4/12 he was informed about the plans, and he was briefed by Bissell. Bissell, the CIA and the JCS assured them that the chances of success were "extremely good," and RFK worried about what might happen if the Cuban exiles were brought back to the states without going through with the invasion. JFK wanted to use air power to support the invasion once it began to go badly, but Dean Rusk was opposed because the US had already pledged not to do so; RFK wasn't sure if air cover would help or not. He felt that poor communications was a big problem during the invasion. As part of the study team assigned to find out why the invasion failed, RFK decided that he and the President didn't know the people involved well enough to trust their judgment. In particular, he blamed the JCS for not anticipating the various military problems the invasion force would encounter. RFK also noted that "if it hadn't been for Cuba, we would have sent troops to Laos. We probably would have had them destroyed. Jack has said so himself...the only way really that we could win in Laos was drop the atomic bomb..."

6/13/1961 The Cuba study group led by Max Taylor delivered its report to JFK. Concluding that there is "no long term living with Castro as a neighbor" and that Cuban subversion "constitutes a real menace" to Latin American nations, Taylor calls for the creation of a new program of action against Cuba, possibly employing the full range of political, military, economic, and psychological tactics.

8/13/1961 Cuban authorities disclose plans for U.S. fake attack on Guantanamo naval base: attack on the life of Major Raul Castro, followed by fake attack on naval base marking the beginning a grand-scale armed struggle that would justify U.S. intervention in Cuba.

8/16/1961 Entries in the FBI files indicate that the FBI vigorously pursued its investigation of the wiretap case. However, on August 16, 1961, the Assistant United States Attorney in Las Vegas reported his reluctance to proceed with the case because of deficiencies in the evidence and his concern that CIA's alleged involvement might become known. The Department of Justice files indicate no activity between September 1961, when the FBI's investigation was concluded, and January 1962, when the question of prosecution in the case was brought up for reconsideration. (Assassination Plots, Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, pp127) There is no indication that the FBI concluded that the CIA had used the Mafia for assassination plots.

9/24/1961 CIA agent Luis Torroella, who had infiltrated Cuba with the mission to kill Castro, is captured. Cuban government announces it has smashed "AM/BLOOD" a Castro assassination attempt by exiles trained by the CIA on Guantanamo, the American naval base in Cuba. (Hinckle and Turner, pp106-107)

10/5/1961 Castro assassination attempt planned by Antonio Veciana and CIA 's "Bishop" is discovered by Castro and Veciana is forced to flee Cuba; Reynol Gonzalez, one of Veciana 's co-conspirators, is later arrested hiding on the estate of Amador Odio, a wealthy industrialist and father of Silvia Odio. Gonzales, the elder Odio and his wife are arrested. (Fonzi Chronology p 416)

11/1/1961 Presidential advisor Richard Goodwin and CIA Deputy Edward Lansdale recommend the creation of Operation Mongoose as a coordinated effort to depose Castro 's government. (Fonzi chronology p 416) A November 1, 1961 memorandum from Goodwin to President Kennedy supported the concept of a "command operation" on Cuba, commanded by Attorney General Robert Kennedy.  The reorganization of Cuban operations as described in the memo sets the stage for the decision to launch a new, multifaceted set of anti-Castro activities, codenamed Operation Mongoose.

11/9/1961 JFK tells Tad Szulc that he is under pressure from unnamed advisors to order Castro's assassination. In November 1961, seven months after the Bay of Pigs invasion, John Kennedy asked journalist Tad Szulc in a private conversation in the Oval Office, "What would you think if I ordered Castro to be assassinated ? " The startled Szulc said he was against political assassination in principle and in any case doubted if it would solve the Cuban problem. The president leaned back in his rocking chair, smiled, and said he had been testing Szulc and agreed with his answer. Kennedy said "he was under great pressure from advisors in the Intelligence Community (whom he did not name) to have Castro killed, but that he himself violently opposed it on the grounds that for moral reasons the United States should never be party to political assassinations." "I'm glad you feel the same way," Kennedy told Szulc. (Tad Szulc, " Cuba on Our Mind, " Esquire (February 1974) , p.90. David Talbot has pointed out that, although " Kennedy critics charge that JFK staged this dialogue with Szulc to give himself cover in case the murder plots [against Castro] were later revealed, " others find this far-fetched. Kennedy adviser Richard Goodwin found it hard to imagine that, if JFK were in fact plotting to kill Castro, he would then bring up the subject to a New York Times reporter, "who the day after Castro was killed would be sitting on the biggest story in the world! " Richard Goodwin interview by David Talbot in David Talbot, Brothers (New York: Free Press, 2007), p. 94. Fidel Castro has assured both Tad Szuic and Ethel Kennedy that he knows John and Robert Kennedy " had nothing to do with the CIA attempts on his life . " Ibid., p. 94.)
Szulc's notes from that day read: "JFK said he raised the question because he was under terrific pressure from advisors (think he said intelligence people, but not positive) to okay a Castro murder, said he was resisting pressures." A few days later, aide Richard Goodwin discussed the matter of assassinating Castro with the president. It was to Goodwin that Kennedy observed, "If we get into that kind of thing, we 'll all be targets." (Mahoney p135; Schlesinger, p530)

11/15/1961 Richard Bissell orders Cuban Task Force head Harvey to implement the application of ZR/RIFLE assassination plan in Cuba. Harvey reestablishes the Agency contact with Mob liaison Rosselli. (Fonzi chronology p 417)

11/30/1961 JFK sends memo to Secretary Rusk ordering him to "Use our available assets to help Cuba overthrow the Communist regime." Memo from Kennedy to Rusk. It discussed the idea of using low-level guerilla methods. Operation Mongoose is launched by order of JFK. The new program will be directed by counterinsurgency specialist Edward G. Lansdale under the guidance of Attorney General Robert Kennedy. A high-level inter-agency group, the Special Group Augmented (SGA), is created with the sole purpose of overseeing Mongoose. (The Cuba Project, 3/2/62; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, pp. 139, 144) Nov, 61 - Bissell is "chewed out" by both JFK and RFK at a meeting in the Cabinet room at the White House. Thereafter RFK pressed constantly for results from Mongoose.

OPERATION MONGOOSE - Kennedy issued a memo announcing the program 11/30/1961. General Lansdale functioned as Chief of Operations and within a few months, William Harvey took charge of the CIA's Task Force W, the CIA unit for Mongoose operations. 1975-76 the Church Committee talked to all the main players and found that the program was never explicitly sanctioned by the Kennedy administration; several of his former officials flatly denied ever authorizing the program, which was another attempt at assassinating Castro. (Church Committee report 193-79). It was the key program coordinated by the Special Group Augmented (SGA), a secret Cuban policy group which included RFK, McCone, Bundy, Alexis Johnson, and sometimes Rusk and McNamara. A CIA memo 1/24/1962 disclosed a Lansdale/Harvey plan to use "crime syndicates" to encourage the "defection of top Cuban government officials." (Report p143) 2/20/1962 Lansdale and his CIA associates submitted a "six phase plan" for attacks on the Castro regime; Gangster elements might provide the best recruitment potential for actions against police - G2 [intelligence] officials." (p143) The SGA refused to approve the plan "and directed him to plan for and conduct an intelligence collection plan only." (Report p144) It was headquartered on the remote South Campus of the University of Miami, a former Naval Air Station. The Miami CIA station, JM-WAVE, was the largest CIA post in the world at the time. The station chief was Theodore Shackley, protege of William Colby. Right after the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy ended Mongoose.

Late 1961 or Early 1962 - Task Force W : William K. Harvey is put in charge of Task Force W, the CIA unit for Operation Mongoose. Task Force W operates under guidance from the SGA and subsequently will involve approximately four hundred Americans at CIA headquarters and its Miami JMWAVE station, in addition to about two thousand Cubans, a private navy of speedboats, and an annual budget of some $50 million. Task Force W carries out a wide range of activities, mostly against Cuban ships and aircraft outside Cuba (and non-Cuban ships engaged in Cuban trade), such as contaminating shipments of sugar from Cuba and tampering with industrial products imported into the country. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:19:18 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2013, 09:35:03 PM »
1/1/1962 more than a year before the assassination, Cubans held a mock funeral for a still very-much-alive JFK, a reflection of tensions between Cuba and the United States. (Miami Herald 3/17/2012)

1/18/1962 Edward Lansdale outlines "The Cuba Project," a program under OPERATION MONGOOSE aimed at the overthrow of the Castro government. Thirty-two planning tasks, ranging from sabotage actions to intelligence activities, are assigned to the agencies involved in MONGOOSE. The program is designed to develop a "strongly motivated political action movement" within Cuba capable of generating a revolt eventually leading to the downfall of the Castro government. Lansdale envisioned that the United States would provide overt support in the final stages of an uprising, including, if necessary, using military force. (The Cuba Project, 1/18/62; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 142)

1/19/1962 A meeting of the SGA is held in Robert Kennedy 's office. Notes taken by CIA representative George McManus contain the following passages: "Conclusion Overthrow of Castro is Possible...a solution to the Cuban problem today carried top priority in U.S. Gov[ernment]. No time, money, effort--or manpower is to be spared. Yesterday...the president indicated to [ Robert Kennedy ] that the final chapter had not been written--it's got to be done and will be done." McManus attributes the phrase "top priority in the U.S. government--no time, be spared" to Attorney General Kennedy. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 141)

1/20/1962 Lansdale wrote in a memo that he felt RFK had given the signal that "we are in a combat situation - where we have been given full command."

1/29/1962 Note from the head of the Administrative Regulations Division to the first and second assistants in the Criminal Division stated: "Our primary interest was in Giancana...apparently detective (Maheu) has some connection with Giancana but he claims was because of CIA assignment in connection with Cuba - CIA has objected, may have to drop." Assistant Attorney General Herbert Miller then asked the FBI to again speak with Edwards about the prosecution of Maheu. (Memo from Miller, l/31/62; Assassination Plots, Interim Report: Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, pp129)

2/2/1962 Pentagon memorandum entitled "Possible Actions to Provoke, Harass or Disrupt Cuba," written by Brig. Gen. William H. Craig and submitted to Brig. Gen. Edward Lansdale, the commander of the Operation Mongoose project. The memorandum outlines Operation Bingo, a plan to, in its words, "create an incident which has the appearance of an attack on U.S. facilities (GMO) in Cuba, thus providing an excuse for use of U.S. military might to overthrow the current government of Cuba." It also includes Operation Dirty Trick, a plot to blame Castro if the 1962 Mercury manned space flight carrying John Glenn crashed, saying: "The objective is to provide irrevocable proof that, should the MERCURY manned orbit flight fail, the fault lies with the Communists et al Cuba [sic]." It continues, "This to be accomplished by manufacturing various pieces of evidence which would prove electronic interference on the part of the Cubans."

2/17/1962 Bissell resigned as deputy director for plans of the CIA, replaced by Richard Helms.
After President Kennedy fired Bissell from the CIA for his role in the Bay of Pigs, Richard Helms, his successor as Deputy Director of Plans, took up where Bissell had left off in conspiring to kill Castro. Helms testified to the Church Committee that he never informed either the president or his newly appointed CIA director John McCone of the assassination plots. Nor did he inform any other officials in the Kennedy administration. Helms said he sought no approval for the murder attempts because assassination was not a subject that should be aired with higher authority. When he was asked if President Kennedy had been informed, Helms said that " nobody wants to embarrass a President of the United States by discussing the assassination of foreign leaders in his presence. "  He also didn't seek the approval of the Special Group Augmented that oversaw the anti-Castro program because, he said, "I didn't see how one would have expected that a thing like killing or murdering or assassination would become a part of a large group of people sitting around a table in the United States Government. " John McCone and the other surviving members of the Kennedy Administration testified that " assassination was outside the parameters of the Administration's anti-Castro program. " Yet Richard Helms and other CIA insiders kept running assassination plots in conflict with the president's wishes.

2/19/1962 Richard Helms succeeded Bissell as CIA deputy director of plans. Helms writes memo to Harvey authorizing him to retain the services of "Principal Agent QJWIN" (Jose Mankel, drug smuggler and mercenary from Germany, per Gus Russo) "for the services of ZRRIFLE." According to a later memo he was terminated on Feb 14, 1964 after failing to establish cover for an assignment. "Harvey would later tell the inspector general that the code name QJWIN designated a capability to recruit professional assassins, separate from ZRRIFLE, but that he came to use the terms interchangeably." Harvey 's first meeting with Edwards on the subject of the Castro operation. They plan his takeover details during March.

2/20/1962 Edward Lansdale presents a six-phase schedule for OPERATION MONGOOSE designed to culminate in October 1962 with an "open revolt and overthrow of the Communist regime." The basic plan includes political, psychological, military, sabotage, and intelligence operations as well as proposed "attacks on the cadre of the regime, including key leaders." Lansdale notes that a "vital decision" has not yet been made regarding possible U.S. military actions in support of plans to overthrow Fidel Castro. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, pp. 143-44)    

2/26/1962 At a meeting of the SGA , the scale of Lansdale's "Cuba Project" is sharply reduced, and Lansdale is directed to develop a detailed plan for an intelligence-gathering program only. Concerned that General Lansdale's various covert action plans under Operation Mongoose were simply becoming more outrageous and going nowhere, Robert Kennedy told him to drop all anti-Castro efforts. Instead, Lansdale was ordered to concentrate for the next three months strictly on gathering intelligence about Cuba. It was a humiliating defeat for Lansdale, a man more accustomed to praise than to scorn. (Bamford, Body of Secrets)

March 1962 Nixon's Six Crises is published, charging that Kennedy was briefed on the Cuban exile training before the election, and had deliberately endangered it by his campaign statements. The White House denied this, and was supported by Allen Dulles. Salinger said that JFK "was not told before the election of 1960 of the training of troops outside of Cuba or of any plans for 'supporting an invasion of Cuba.'" The campaign briefings had only been general in nature, and Kennedy had only heard of the invasion plans on 11/18/1960. Dulles said that Nixon had misunderstood: "My briefings...did not cover our own government's plans or programs for action, overt or covert." (NY Herald Tribune 3/21)      
3/1/1962 The Special Group Augmented confirms that the immediate objective of the program would be intelligence collection and that all other actions would be inconspicuous and consistent with the U.S. overt policy of isolating Castro and neutralizing Cuban influence in the hemisphere. (Document 6, Guidelines for Operation Mongoose, 3/14/62; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 145)

3/14/1962 Guidelines for OPERATION MONGOOSE are approved by the SGA . Drafted by Maxwell Taylor, they note that the United States would attempt to "make maximum use of indigenous resources" in trying to overthrow Fidel Castro but recognize that "final success will require decisive U.S. military intervention." Indigenous resources would act to "prepare and justify this intervention, and thereafter to facilitate and support it." Kennedy is briefed on the guidelines on March 16. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, pp. 145-47, 159)

3/16/1962 It has been shown that President John F. Kennedy personally rejected the Northwoods proposal. A JCS/Pentagon document (Ed Lansdale memo) titled MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT, 16 MARCH 1962 reads: "General Lemnitzer commented that the military had contingency plans for US intervention. Also it had plans to for creating plausible pretexts to use force, with the pretext either attacks on US aircraft or a Cuban action in Latin America for which we could retaliate. The President said bluntly that we were not discussing the use of military force, that General Lemnitzer might find the U.S so engaged in Berlin or elsewhere that he couldn't use the contemplated 4 divisions in Cuba." The proposal was sent for approval to the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, but was not implemented. Kennedy removed Lemnitzer as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shortly afterward, although he became Supreme Allied Commander of NATO in January 1963. Lansdale suggests killing Castro while he visits Ernest Hemmingway's Cuban home.

3/20/1962 Memo from Courtney Evans to Alan Belmont on Judith Campbell's calls to the White House: "the Director may desire to bear this information in connection with his forthcoming appointment with the President...[Informer] advised that he has seen Campbell with John Roselli."

Apr, 62 - Helms issues what he termed "explicit orders" that William Harvey contact Rosselli. Harvey feels he is taking over an ongoing operation. Edwards later states he felt it was not active.
Note: Harvey complained to McCone about the requirement for advance SGA approval of "major operations going beyond the collection of intelligence" and the fact that applications had to be spelled out in detail. He was delighted when he received orders from Helms to revive the Rosselli project without seeking SGA approval. When questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1975, Helms conceded that he had not been instructed to do it, but then again he had not been told not to. (Hinckle and Turner p137-138)

4/8/1962 Roselli, William Harvey and the CIA Support Chief met in NY to set up the next attempt on Castro. (Church report)  Apr 8-9, 62 - Harvey and O 'Connell meet Rosselli in New York. (O 'Connell says Maheu was also present.) (CIA Inspector General 's Report May 1967 p6)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:20:56 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2013, 09:37:22 PM »
4/10/1962 Although " Operation Northwoods " had been blocked by the president, General Lemnitzer kept pushing on behalf of the Joint Chiefs for a preemptive invasion of Cuba. In an April 10, 1962, memorandum to McNamara, he stated: " The Joint Chiefs of Staff believe that the Cuban problem must be solved in the near future . . . they believe that military intervention by the United States will be required to overthrow the present communist regime . . .They also believe that the intervention can be accomplished rapidly enough to minimize communist opportunities for solicitation of UN action. " (Bamford, Body of Secrets, p87)

4/14/1962 Harvey and O 'Connell meet in Washington DC to take delivery of the poison pills from Dr. Gunn of CIA. Mid Apr, 62 - O 'Connell and Rosselli leave for Miami. Harvey and Edwards travel to Miami together. Establishes Harvey 's takeover with Rosselli with O 'Connell carrying over until June 1962 when O 'Connell is reassigned. Giancana and Trafficante are dropped from the new phase.

4/21/1961 William Harvey passes poison pills to Rosselli in Miami (2nd attempt). Rosselli passes them to Tony Varona, reporting back that the hit squad had targeted not only Fidel but also Raul and Che Cuevara. (Church report)

4/26/1962 Special Group briefing on Ballentti wiretap case and CIA-Mafia plots. This memorandum for the record is prepared at the request of the Attorney General of the United States following a complete oral briefing of him relative to a sensitive CIA operation conducted during the period approximately August 1960 to May 1961. (Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files: Job 91-00741R, Box 1, Mongoose Papers. Prepared by McCone. The memorandum apparently records a meeting of the Special Group (Augmented); Foreign Relations Of The United States 1961-1963 Volume X Cuba, 1961-1962 Department Of State, Washington, 331. Memorandum for the Record)

Volume X
Cuba, 1961-1962
Cuba, 1961-1962
331. Memorandum for the Record
Washington, April 26, 1962.
//Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files: Job 91-00741R, Box 1, Mongoose Papers. Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by McCone. The memorandum apparently records a meeting of the Special Group (Augmented).
1. General Lansdale reported on the activities as per the attached report./1/ McCone expressed dissatisfaction with progress; stated nothing had been accomplished in putting Cubans in the Army for training and that no actions had been taken on matters decided two weeks ago. (In other words, I was very disagreeable.) McCone finally recommended more action; acceptance of attribution if necessary; establishment of training facilities; training of guerrillas and a more dynamic effort in the infiltration of both agents and guerrillas.

Arthur James Balletti et al--Unauthorized Publication or Use of Communications

1. This memorandum for the record is prepared at the request of the Attorney General of the United States following a complete oral briefing of him relative to a sensitive CIA operation conducted during the period approximately August 1960 to May 1961.

/1/ In August 1960 the undersigned was approached by Mr. Richard Bissell then Deputy Director for Plans of CIA to explore the possibility of mounting this sensitive operation against Fidel Castro. It was thought that certain gambling interests which had formerly been active in Cuba might be willing and able to assist and further, might have both intelligence assets in Cuba and communications between Miami, Florida and Cuba. Accordingly, Mr. Robert Maheu, a private investigator of the firm of Maheu and King was approached by the undersigned and asked to establish contact with a member or members of the gambling syndicate to explore their capabilities. Mr. Maheu was known to have accounts with several prominent business men and organizations in the United States. Maheu was to make his approach to the syndicate as appearing to represent big business organizations which wished to protect their interests in Cuba. Mr. Maheu accordingly met and established contact with one John Rosselli of Los Angeles. Mr. Rosselli showed interest in the possibility and indicated he had some contacts in Miami that he might use. Maheu reported that John Rosselli said he was not interested in any remuneration but would seek to establish capabilities in Cuba to perform the desired project.

Towards the end of September Mr. Maheu and Mr. Rosselli proceeded to Miami where, as reported, Maheu was introduced to Sam Giancana of Chicago. Sam Giancana arranged for Maheu and Rosselli to meet with a "courier" who was going back and forth to Havana. From information received back by the courier the proposed operation appeared to be feasible and it was decided to obtain an official Agency approval in this regard. A figure of one hundred fifty thousand dollars was set by the Agency as a payment to be made on completion of the operation and to be paid only to the principal or principals who would conduct the operation in Cuba. Maheu reported that Rosselli and Giancana emphatically stated that they wished no part of any payment. The undersigned then briefed the proper senior officials of this Agency on the proposal. Knowledge of this project during its life was kept to a total of six persons and never became a part of the project current at the time for the invasion of Cuba and there were no memoranda on the project nor were there other written documents or agreements. The project was duly orally approved by the said senior officials of the Agency.

/1/The sensitive operation referred to was described more explicitly in a report prepared by the Inspector General of the CIA on April 25, 1967. According to the report, "CIA twice (first in early 1961 and again in early 1962) supplied lethal pills to U.S. gambling syndicate members working on behalf of CIA in a plot to assassinate Fidel Castro." (Ibid., DCI Files: Job 85-00664R, Box 8, HS/CSG2679, Project Amlash)

The body of the report, which was based largely upon interviews with CIA officials with knowledge of these abortive attempts to assassinate Castro, indicates in fact that three such attempts were made, the first in late February-early March, a second in late March-early April, and a third attempt in April-June 1962.

2. Rosselli and Maheu spent considerable time in Miami talking with the courier. Sam Giancana was present during parts of these meetings. Several months after this period Maheu told me that Sam Giancana had asked him to put a listening device in the room of one Phyllis McGuire, reported to be the mistress of Giancana. At that time it was reported to me that Maheu passed the matter over to one Edward Du Boise, another private investigator. It appears that Arthur James Balletti was discovered in the act of installing the listening device and was arrested by the Sheriff in Las Vegas, Nevada. Maheu reported to me that he had referred the matter to Edward Du Boise on behalf of Sam Giancana. At the time of the incident neither this Agency nor the undersigned knew of the proposed technical installation. Maheu stated that Sam Giancana thought that Phyllis McGuire might know of the proposed operation and might pass on the information to one Dan Rowan, another friend of McGuire's. At the time that Maheu reported this to the undersigned he reported he was under surveillance by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who, he thought, were exploring his association with John Rosselli and Sam Giancana incident to the project. I told Maheu that if he was formally approached by the FBI, he could refer them to me to be briefed that he was engaged in an intelligence operation directed at Cuba.

3. During the period from September on through April efforts were continued by Rosselli and Maheu to proceed with the operation. The first principal in Cuba withdrew and another principal was selected as has been briefed to The Attorney General. Ten thousand dollars was passed for expenses to the second principal. He was further furnished with approximately one thousand dollars worth of communications equipment to establish communications between his headquarters in Miami and assets in Cuba. No monies were ever paid to Rosselli and Giancana. Maheu was paid part of his expense money during the periods that he was in Miami. After the failure of the invasion of Cuba word was sent through Maheu to Rosselli to call off the operation and Rosselli was told to tell his principal that the proposal to pay one hundred fifty thousand dollars for completion of the operation had been definitely withdrawn.

4. In all this period it has been definitely established from other sources that the Cuban principals involved never discovered or believed that there was other than business and syndicate interest in the project. To the knowledge of the undersigned there were no "leaks" of any information concerning the project in the Cuban community in Miami or in Cuba.

5. I have no proof but it is my conclusion that Rosselli and Giancana guessed or assumed that CIA was behind the project. I never met either of them.

6. Throughout the entire period of the project John Rosselli was the dominant figure in directing action to the Cuban principals. Reasonable monitoring of his activities indicated that he gave his best efforts to carrying out the project without requiring any commitments for himself, financial or otherwise.

7. In view of the extreme sensitivity of the information set forth above, only one additional copy of this memorandum has been made and will be retained by the Agency.
Sheffield Edwards/2/
/2/Printed from a copy that indicates Edwards signed the original.

Late Apr, 62 - Harvey, along with Ted Shackley, the chief of JMWAVE Station, procured $5000 worth of explosives, detonators, rifles, handguns, radios, and boat radar in Miami for pickup by Tony Varona. O 'Connell and Rosselli observe delivery. Rosselli, given the nominal rank of colonel by the CIA, is now working directly with the Cuban exile community and directly on behalf of the CIA. David Sanchez Morales, Chief of Operations in Miami, is Rosselli 's key contact. (Note: In 1973, during a night of drinking and story swapping with close friend Ruben Carbajal and business associate Bob Walton, Morales flew into a rage at the mention of Jack Kennedy 's name. Walton says Morales ' tirade about Kennedy, fueled by righteous anger and high-proof booze, went on for minutes while he stomped around the room. Suddenly he stopped, sat back down on the bed and remained silent for a moment. Then, as if saying it only to himself, he added: "Well, we took care of that son of a bitch, didn 't we?") (Fonzi pp 389-390; Background on Morales: Twyman p 447-463) Rosseli is one of only two Americans authorized to go into Cuba on clandestine missions. (Mahoney p167)

5/7/1962 RFK briefed on past CIA-Mafia Plots. He had wanted to know why the CIA was asking the FBI to block the prosecution of Robert Maheu involving a case of an illegal wiretap, which Maheu had done for Sam Giancana.  RFK meets with Richard Helms (Helms later denied this meeting took place despite a specific indication on RFK 's calendar), and later that afternoon with Sheffield Edwards and CIA general council Lawrence Houston for a briefing on pre-Bay of Pigs organized crime assassination plots. (Testimony of Lawrence Houston HSCA, p62 National Archives) "Mr. Kennedy stated that upon learning CIA had not cleared its action in hiring Maheu and Giancana with the DOJ he issued orders that the CIA should never again take such steps with first checking with the DOJ." CIA does not tell RFK the organized crime plots will continue. (Memo for IG from Sidney D. Stembridge Acting Director of Security 3.16.76, quoting FBI memo FBI 62-109060-4984 - states May 9, '62 as the date for this briefing.) Houston recalled that Kennedy angrily told him that "if you ever try to do business with organized crime will let the attorney general know." Edwards confirmed this. It was determined that the Kennedys and McCone did not originally know about the anti-Castro plots before this time  (Senate Intelligence Committee Report 102,148,154-55, 131-33)
Edwards continues the charade by writing a memo stating falsely he told Harvey to "drop any plans for use of subject (Rosselli) for the future and "internal memorandum for the record," asserting that the operation was "terminated." Note: Harvey found out about this memo when questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1975, and he was furious. He declared that it "was not true, and Col. Edwards knew it was not true"; the falsification was intended to show that Edwards was "no longer chargeable should the operation backfire." (Senate Assassination Plots Report p134)
(Laura Myers, Associated Press July 1, 1997):  The CIA offered $150,000 to assassinate Fidel Castro in the early 1960s, but the mob insisted on taking the job for free, according to a newly declassified document. "We were at (ideological) war,'' says Robert Maheu, who as a Las Vegas private investigator on the CIA payroll in 1960 hired Chicago crime boss Sam Giancana for the hit. "Would it be folly to go after Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War or to go after Hitler during World War II?''  The underworld murder-for-hire contract was detailed in a summary of a May 1962 CIA briefing for then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy. By then, the Kennedy White House had launched its unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and several assassination attempts against Castro had failed. The memo is among 450 documents, nearly all newly declassified, that are included in a soon-to-be released State Department volume, "Cuba, 1960-61.'' Only two copies of the three-page memo were made, one each for the attorney general and CIA headquarters. In the memo, then-CIA director of security Sheffield Edwards writes that senior agency officials approved plots to kill Castro between August 1960 and May 1961. The White House isn't mentioned. "Knowledge of this project ... was kept to a total of six persons,'' Edwards wrote.  At least two assassination attempts were made with CIA-supplied lethal pills and organized crime-made muscle in early 1961, according to the memo and congressional hearings in 1975. Lawmakers counted a total of eight CIA tries to kill Castro in the early 1960s; Castro bragged the number was two dozen.  The memo said Maheu contacted John Rosselli, a top Giancana lieutenant, to arrange the hits on Castro.   "A figure of $150,000 was set by the agency as a payment to be made on completion of the operation,'' the memo said. Rosselli and Giancana "emphatically stated that they wished no part of any payment,'' it added. Still, $11,000 in expenses were paid.    Rosselli and Giancana, both later victims of mob hits, weren't told the U.S. government put the contract out on Castro, but they "guessed or assumed that CIA was behind the project,'' the memo concludes.   After the Bay of Pigs invasion failed to oust Castro in April 1961, President Kennedy and his brother, the attorney general, tacitly approved a renewed CIA effort to kill the Cuban leader.  "They were telling the CIA, `Do whatever it takes to get rid of Castro,''' says Peter Kornbluh, senior analyst at the National Archives.  Louis Smith, senior State Department historian for the book, said the Kennedys were obsessed with eliminating their communist nemesis.  "Robert Kennedy gave (then-deputy CIA director Richard) Bissell hell for not getting rid of Castro the first time around, so Bissell took this as a green light to go forward again with assassination plots,'' Smith said.  At the time, Robert Kennedy was running "Operation Mongoose,” which used propaganda to gin up revolt among Cubans. "A measure of the Kennedy administration's renewed determination to eliminate Castro was the reauthorization of assassination attempts on the Cuban premier,'' says a summary of the State Department volume.  CIA Bay of Pigs project manager Jacob Esterline, now 79, said he lost heart when he learned of the top-secret plans to kill Castro.   "Somebody thought it was some magic cure,'' says Esterline, who paid the assassination attempt bills. "Even after all these years, it's still painful.''  The first plans to oust Castro began before Kennedy took office.

On May 9, 1962, Attorney General Robert Kennedy was advised by the CIA that Robert Maheu had been hired to approach Sam Giancana regarding an assassination plot against Fidel Castro. "Mr. Kennedy stated that upon learning CIA had not cleared its action in hiring Maheu and Giancana with the DOJ he issued orders that the CIA should never again take such steps with first checking with the DOJ." [FBI 62-109060-4984]
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:22:20 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2013, 09:39:07 PM »
The missile crisis arose because, as Nikita Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs, "we were quite certain that the [Bay of Pigs] invasion was only the beginning and that the Americans would not let Cuba alone." To defend Cuba from the threat of another U.S. invasion, Khrushchev said he "had the idea of installing missiles with nuclear warheads in Cuba without letting the United States find out they were there until it was too late to do anything about them." His strategy was twofold: "The main thing was that the installation of our missiles in Cuba would, I thought, restrain the United States from precipitous military action against Castro's government. In addition to protecting
Cuba, our missiles would have equalized what the West likes to call 'the balance of power.' The Americans had surrounded our country with military bases and threatened us with nuclear weapons, and now they would learn just what it feels like to have enemy missiles pointing at you."  Khrushchev Remembers, with introduction, commentary, and notes by Edward Crankshaw (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970), p. 492.

Twenty years later, Anthony Cordesman described the picture:
"During the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, the US had approximately 1500 B-47s and 500 B-52s, and had already deployed over 200 of its first generation of ICBMs. In marked contrast, the Soviet strategic missile threat consisted of a few token ICBM deployments whose unreliability was so great that it was uncertain exactly whom they threatened. Soviet long range bomber forces consisted only of 100 Tu-Bears and 35 May Bison, whose range and flight characteristics forced them to fly at medium and high altitudes, and which made them extremely vulnerable to US fighters and surface-to-air missiles." (p. 7, cited in Bobbitt)

May 1962: Deliberations regarding the possible installation of missiles in Cuba continue in Moscow.
In early May, Khrushchev informs the newly designated ambassador to Cuba, Aleksandr Alekseyev, of the plan. Although Alekseyev expresses concern over the idea (as did Gromyko and Mikoyan at
different times), it is decided that Alekseyev and Marshal Biryuzov should secretly travel to Cuba to explore the question with Castro. (See May 30, 1962, entry.)  Following further discussions in May and June, Khrushchev authorizes Soviet military officials to decide independently on the exact composition of nuclear forces to be deployed in Cuba. The military proposes a force of twenty-four medium-range ballistic missile ( MRBM ) launchers and sixteen intermediate-range ( IRBM ) launchers; each of the launchers would be equipped with two missiles (one serving as a spare) and a nuclear warhead. Soviet officials also decide that a large contingent of Soviet combat forces should be sent to Cuba. The proposed Soviet contingent includes four elite combat regiments, twenty-four advanced SA-2 surface-to-air missile ( SAM ) batteries, forty-two MiG-21 interceptors, forty-two IL-28 bombers, twelve Komar-class missile boats, and coastal defense cruise missiles. (Garthoff 1, pp. 12-18)

5/22/1962 After being fully briefed, Hoover sends memo to RFK noting CIA had used Giancana in "clandestine efforts" against Castro. "Colonel Edwards said that since this is 'dirty business' he could not afford to have knowledge of that action of Maheu and Giancana in pursuit of any mission for the CIA Mr. Bissell, in his recent briefings of General Taylor and the attorney general and in connection with their inquiries into CIA activities relating to the Cuban situation told the Attorney General that some of the associated planning included the use of Giancana and the underworld." (FBI 62-109060-4984; Church Committee Interim Report, p127)

5/29/1962 Sharif Rashidov, an alternate member of the Soviet Presidium, arrives in Cuba with a delegation, ostensibly on a ten-day mission to study irrigation problems. The presence of the ambassador-designate in Cuba, Aleksandr Alekseyev , Marshal Biryuzov, and two or three military experts is not known to the United States. Shortly before the departure of the delegation, Premier
Khrushchev informs all Presidium members that the Soviet Union plans to deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba and that Biryuzov and Alekseyev will broach the idea with the Cuban government.
On the evening of its arrival, the Soviet delegation meets with Fidel Castro and his brother Raul, the Cuban Minister of Defense. Expressing their concern over the possibility of a new U.S. invasion of
Cuba, the Soviet officials state that the Soviet Union is prepared to assist Cuba in fortifying its defenses, even to the extent of deploying nuclear missiles on Cuban soil. Castro responds by calling the idea "interesting," but tells the group that he will need to consult with his colleagues before providing a final answer. (Alekseyev, pp. 7-8)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:23:17 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2013, 09:41:16 PM »
Summer 1962 Johnny Rosselli goes on two mission attempts to reach Cuba. Both fail, with the second resulting in his boat sinking. (Rosseli to Jack Anderson and Les Whitten, Jimmy Breslin, and his own attorneys; Rappleye and Becker pp 224-25)

6/21/1962 Rosselli reports to William Harvey that Varona had dispatched a "three-man team" to Cuba. Harvey felt they would accomplish little and had no specific plan. (Church report)

7/2/1962 Raul Castro and a high-level Cuban military delegation arrive in Moscow, where they are met at the airport by Marshal Rodion Malinovsky and Anastas Mikoyan . Nikita Khrushchev subsequently meets with Raoul Castro on July 3 and 8. During these discussions, detailed arrangements are made for the missile deployment. According to the formal agreement, which is renewable every five years, the missiles and their servicing will be completely under the jurisdiction of the Soviet military command. Raul Castro spends a total of two weeks consulting with Soviet officials before returning to Cuba on July 17. (Alekseyev, p. 9; Medvedev, p. 184; Garthoff 2, p.67)

7/15/1962 Around this time, Soviet cargo ships begin moving out of the Black Sea for Cuba with false declarations of their destinations and reporting tonnages well below their capacities. Aerial reconnaissance of the ships in the following months showing them "riding high in the water" would confirm that the vessels carried unusually light cargo, typically a sign that military equipment is being transported. 

7/17/1962 Raoul Castro leaves Moscow after two weeks of secret talks with Nikita Khrushchev and other high-ranking Soviet officials on the scheduled deployment of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. Although aware of the military make-up of the Cuban delegation, the fact that no public communique is issued after the visit leads the U.S. intelligence community at first to believe that the mission had failed. Upon his return to Cuba, Raoul Castro tells a gathering that neither internal uprisings nor exile landings are a threat, only a U.S. invasion, which, he said, "we can now repel." (Forwarding of and Comments on CIA Memo on Soviet Aid to Cuba, 8/22/62; Allison, p. 48; Garthoff 2, p. 67)

7/23/1962 Lansdale recommended to McNamara that the US provoke Castro into something rash, like an attack on Guantanamo, and then use it as a pretext to invade.   

7/25/1962 Lansdale provides the SGA an assessment of Phase One of OPERATION MONGOOSE. Some successes are reported, such as the infiltration of eleven CIA guerrilla teams into Cuba, including one team in Pinar del Rio Province that has grown to as many as 250 men. Nonetheless, Lansdale warns that "time is running out for the U.S. to make a free choice on Cuba."

7/26/1962 On the ninth anniversary of the 26th of July Movement, Castro told the Cuban people that "mercenaries" no longer pose a threat to Cuba: President Kennedy had already "made up his mind" to invade Cuba, he asserts, but Cuba has acquired new arms to beat back such a direct attack.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:25:44 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2013, 09:44:01 PM »
August 1962: U.S. intelligence received several reports of Soviet missiles in Cuba during the month, all of which are either linked to SAM or cruise missiles or shown to be incorrect. After late August, numbers of such reports increase, as do reported sightings of MiG-21s and IL-28 s. (The Cuban Crisis, 1962, ca. 8/22/63, pp. 10-11)

8/10/1962 After examining CIA reports on the movement of cargo ships from the Black and Baltic seas to Cuba, John McCone dictates a memo for the President expressing the belief that Soviet MRBMs are destined for Cuba. McCone's memo is sent over the objections of subordinates concerned that McCone has no hard evidence to back up his suspicions. (Chronology of John McCone 's Suspicions on the Military Build-up in Cuba Prior to Kennedy's October 22 Speech, 11/30/62; Recollection of Intelligence Prior to the Discovery of Soviet Missiles and of Penkovsky Affair, n.d.)

8/10/1962 A meeting of the Special Group (Augmented), also known as Operation Mongoose, indicated that the subject of assassinating Castro was discussed (though RFK was not present.)  The meeting is in Rusk's office. A new Lansdale proposal for large-scale sabotage raids called "stepped up Course B" is rejected by the majority of the group.  McNamara got up to leave and voiced an opinion that "the only way to take care of Castro is to kill him. I really mean it."
McCone testified that "liquidation" or removal of Castro and other Cuban leaders arose at the August 10 meeting in the context of exploring the alternatives that were available" for the next phase of MONGOOSE. He did not recall who made this suggestion, but remembered that he and Edward Murrow took "strong exception" to it. According to Walter Elder, a top aide of McCone, the CIA director shot down the idea of killing Castro as "completely out of bounds." Elder told this to Richard Helms, who was keeping the CIA-Mafia plots secret from McCone, on 8/11 or 8/12/1962. Elder told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had made it clear to Helms that McCone was against any such assassination plots. Helms told the Committee that he did "not have any recollection of such a conversation...I very seriously doubt that it ever took place." Gen. Lemnitzer later told David Belin that he couldn't recall any talk about killing Castro or other Cuban leaders. (Final Disclosure p125)
Harvey's notes show that McNamara and Edward Murrow of the USIA raised the subject of assassination. McCone states in memorandum that at no time did the suggestion receive serious consideration, however, afterwards General Lansdale asks Harvey in a memo: "In compliance with the desires and guidance expressed in the 10 August policy meeting on Operation Mongoose. We will hold an Operational Representatives work session in my office. Papers required from each of you for the Tuesday meeting: Mr. Harvey: Intelligence, Political, including liquidation of leaders." Harvey is furious that the term "including elimination of leaders" has been put to paper and demands it removed.
McCone testified to the Senate Committee in 1975 that he called McNamara after receiving Lansdale's August 13 memo: "insisted that the Memorandum be withdrawn because no decision was made on this subject, and since no decision was made, then Lansdale was quite out of order in tasking the Central Intelligence Agency to consider the matter." McCone said that McNamara agreed that Lansdales's Memorandum should be withdrawn for the same reason.
McCone 's memoranda reads: "Immediately after the meeting, I called on Sec McNamara personally and reemphasized my position, in which he heartily agreed. I did this because Operation MONGOOSE --- an interdepartmental affair --- was under the operational control of [the Defense Department]" (Senate Committee, McCone, 6/6/75, p39) McNamara confirmed this testimony: "I agreed with Mr. McCone that no such planning should be undertaken." He added: "I have no knowledge or information about any other plans or preparations for a Castro assassination." (Senate Committee, McNamara, 7/11/75, p8) Harvey testified it was his recollection that "the question of assassination was raised by Secretary McNamara as one of shouldn't we consider the elimination or assassination ' of Castro. He told the committee there was "no extensive discussion of it, no back and forth as the whys and wherefores and possibilities"(Harvey, 7/11/75 p30)
Victor Lasky: "That Robert Kennedy (and hence his brother the President) well knew about the plot against Castro has been established beyond a reasonable doubt....if such plotting had taken place, then President Kennedy most certainly should have known about it. To say that he didn't is just about as damaging as to say that he did." (It Didn't Start with Watergate)

8/11/1962 McCone told Harvey that he was opposed to the CIA being involved in assassinations. McCone personally worried about being excommunicated. He had learned that at a high-level meeting the day before on Cuba, there had been talk of assassination. (Church report)   Lansdale wrote a memo using the expression, "including liquidation of leaders," but William Harvey persuaded him to delete those four words. (The Missiles of October p163, Thompson)

8/13/1962 Aleksandr Alekseyev arrives in Havana to take up his post as the Soviet ambassador to Cuba. Alekseyev delivers to Fidel Castro the text of the agreement governing the missile deployment which Raoul Castro had worked out during his June visit to Moscow. Castro makes a few corrections in the text and gives it to Che Guevara to take to Moscow in late August. The text calls for "taking measures to assure the mutual defense in the face of possible aggression against the Republic of Cuba."  (The Soviet Bloc Armed Forces and the Cuban Crisis: A Chronology July-November 1962, 6/18/63, p. 6; Alekseyev, p. 10; Draft Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Cuba and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on military cooperation for the defense of the national territory of Cuba in the event of aggression)

8/14/1962 William Harvey submits memo to his new boss, Richard Helms, reporting the Lansdale communication and what Harvey had done about it. Harvey 's memo states "The question of assassination, particularly of Castro, was brought up by Secretary McNamara. It was the obvious consensus at that meeting, that this is not a subject which has been made a matter of official record. Upon receipt of the attached memorandum, I advised that as far as CIA was concerned we would write no document pertaining to this and would participate in no open meeting discussing it."

8/17/1962 US press reports that Russian troops are gathering in Cuba, some 18,000-20,000 landing since 7/29. On the basis of additional information, McCone states at a high-level meeting that circumstantial evidence suggests that the Soviet Union is constructing offensive missile installations in Cuba. Rusk and McNamara disagree with McCone, arguing that the build-up is purely defensive. (Chronology of John McCone's Suspicions on the Military Build-up in Cuba Prior to Kennedy's October 22 Speech, 11/30/62)

8/20/1962 Maxwell Taylor, the chairman of the SGA, informs President Kennedy in a memo that the SGA sees no likelihood that the Castro government can be overthrown without direct U.S. military intervention. Taylor reports that the SGA recommends a more aggressive OPERATION MONGOOSE program. Kennedy authorizes the development of aggressive plans aimed at ousting Castro, but specifies that no overt U.S. military involvement should be made part of those plans. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 147)

8/23/1962 President Kennedy calls a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to air John McCone's concerns that Soviet missiles were in the process of being introduced into Cuba. Although Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara argue against McCone's interpretation of the military build-up in Cuba, Kennedy concludes the meeting by saying that a contingency plan to deal with a situation in which Soviet nuclear missiles are deployed in Cuba should be drawn up. Kennedy's instructions are formalized in National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 181, issued this same day. Kennedy directs that several additional actions and studies to be undertaken "in light of the evidence of new bloc activity in Cuba," and assigning studies on Berlin, Cuba, and Mongoose problems stating: "What actions can be taken to get Jupiter missiles out of Turkey?"
With regard to MONGOOSE, Kennedy orders that "Plan B Plus," a program aimed at overthrowing Castro without overtly employing the U.S. military, be developed "with all possible speed." (Document 12, National Security Action Memorandum 181, on Actions and Studies in Response to New Soviet Bloc Activity in Cuba, 8/23/62) McCone left Washington for his honeymoon, and while in Europe received daily briefings on the situation. He sent telegrams back to the CIA 9/7, 10, 13 and 20/1962 expressing his growing concern about the Cuban situation.

8/26/1962 Che Guevara, Cuba's Minister of Industries, and Emilio Aragones Navarro, a close associate of Fidel Castro, arrive in the Soviet Union. On August 30, Guevara and Aragones meet with Nikita Khrushchev at his dacha in the Crimea, where Guevara delivers Castro's amendments to the Soviet-Cuban agreement governing the deployment of missiles in Cuba. Although Guevara urges Khrushchev to announce the missile deployment publicly, the Soviet premier declines to do so. The agreement is never signed by Khrushchev, possibly to preclude the Cuban government from leaking it. Following additional talks in Prague, Guevara and Aragones return to Cuba on September 6. (Evidence of Soviet Military Commitment to Defend Cuba, 10/19/62; Visit to the Soviet Union by Che Guevara and Emilio Aragones, 8/31/62; Alekseyev, pp. 9-10; Garthoff 1, p. 25)

8/27/1962 Sen. Homer Capehart claimed that most of the Russians arriving in Cuba were combat troops; Capehart demanded an invasion of the island.

8/29-10/7/1962 the spy plane program over Cuba was increased to seven flights.  Kennedy claimed publicly that there was no evidence of Soviet long-range missiles being placed in Cuba; this claim was mostly based on what he was being told by the intelligence community. A U-2 flight today provides conclusive evidence of the existence of SA-2 SAM missile sites at eight different locations in Cuba. Additional reconnaissance shortly thereafter also positively identifies coastal defense cruise missile installations for the first time. However, U-2 photography of the area around San Cristóbal, Cuba, where the first nuclear missile sites are later detected, reveals no evidence of construction at this time.

August 29, 1962: U-2 photograph showing no construction at San Cristobal.
August 29, 1962: U-2 photograph showing no construction at Guanajay.
August 29, 1962: U-2 photograph of SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM) site under construction at La Coloma.

JFK told reporters, "I'm not for invading Cuba at this time...I think it would be a mistake to invade Cuba...could lead to very serious consequences for many people." Kennedy repeats that he has seen no evidence that Soviet troops were stationed in Cuba and stated that there was "no information as yet" regarding the possible presence of air defense missiles in Cuba.

8/30/1962 James B. "Smiling Jim" Donovan flew to Cuba on behalf of JFK to talk to Castro about releasing prisoners from the Bay of Pigs. Castro told him he wanted $2.9 million for prisoners already released, plus $25 million in the form of food and medicine for the rest. But Congress, led by Sens. John J. Williams (R-Delaware) and John Stennis (D-Miss.) refused to give money to Castro. The Kennedy administration then went around Congress to raise the money. (The Missiles of October p235-7, Thompson).

8/31/1962 Sen. Keating told the Senate that he had evidence of Soviet "rocket installations in Cuba." He also stated that 1200 uniformed Soviet troops had arrived in Cuba between 8/3 and 8/15. Government sources denied possessing any data to back up that claim.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:28:53 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2013, 09:45:06 PM »
First week of September 1962: Soviet troops belonging to four elite armored brigades are believed to have begun arriving in Cuba at this time. Troops belonging to the combat groups continue to embark through the second week of October. However, U.S. intelligence does not recognize the existence of the organized combat units until the middle of the missile crisis, on October 25. (The Soviet Bloc Armed Forces and the Cuban Crisis: A Chronology July-November 1962, 6/18/63, p.13)

Sept, 62 - Rosselli informs William Harvey the poison pills are still with "asset" in Cuba. Verona is ready to send in another team but it doesn't appear that they ever go.

9/3/1962 At Kennedy's request, Walt Rostow submits his assessment of the Soviet military build-up. According to Rostow, while the SAMs do not pose a threat to U.S national security, a "line should be drawn at the installation in Cuba or in Cuban waters of nuclear weapons or delivery vehicles..." Senior State Department official Walt Rostow recommends that current OPERATION MONGOOSE activities be intensified but also suggests studying the possibility of having independent anti-Castro groups oust Castro with minimal U.S. assistance. (Document 14, W. W. Rostow's Memorandum to the President, Assessing Soviet Military Aid to Cuba, 9/3/62)

9/4/1962 RFK met with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dorbynin, who assured him that only "defense" weapons were being supplied to Cuba, and that Russian missiles would never be placed there.  JFK told the press that the Soviets had troops and surface-to-air missiles in Cuba, but "there is no evidence of...the presence of offensive ground-to-ground missiles, or of other significant offensive capability...Were it otherwise the gravest issues would arise."

9/7/1962  JFK asked Congress for the authority to call 150,000 members of the reserves to active duty for a year. The U.S. Tactical Air Command (TAC) establishes a working group to begin developing plans for a coordinated air attack against Cuba to be launched well before an airborne assault and amphibious landing. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) military planners have, until then, made no provision for such an operation.   

9/12/1962 Cuban papers and officials boasted publicly that if the US invaded, the US would be attacked in kind.

9/13/1962 JFK told reporters that there was no plan for invading Cuba, and accused Castro of a "frantic effort to bolster his regime" by scaring his people. The president reiterates that new movements of Soviet technical and military personnel to Cuba do not constitute a serious threat and that "unilateral military intervention on the part of the United States cannot currently be either required or justified." Nevertheless, he again warns that if Cuba "should ever attempt to export its aggressive purposes by force...or become an offensive military base of significant capacity for the Soviet Union, then this country will do whatever must be done to protect its own security and that of its allies."   

9/15-17/1962 medium-range ballistic missiles were unloaded from the Soviet freighter Poltava at the port of Mariel. GOP Senators and Richard Nixon began calling for JFK to "quarantine" Cuba from the import of Soviet arms.

9/15/1962 Columnist Edith Roosevelt claimed that the CIA had supplied weapons to the underground in Cuba in such a way that they could never be used; some groups had 30.06 ammo and .45 caliber rifles, while others were provided with .45 ammo and 30.06 rifles. (Shreveport Journal)

9/19/1962 The United States Intelligence Board (USIB) approves a report on the Soviet arms buildup in Cuba. Its assessment, Special National Intelligence Estimate (SNIE) 85-3-62, states that some intelligence indicates the ongoing deployment of nuclear missiles to Cuba. In particular, the report notes: (1) two large-hatch Soviet lumber ships, the Omsk and the Poltava, had been sighted riding high in the water suggesting that they carried military cargo; (2) intelligence accounts of sightings of missiles and a report that Fidel Castro 's private pilot, after a night of drinking in Havana, had boasted, "We will fight to the death and perhaps we can win because we have everything, including atomic weapons"; and (3) evidence of the ongoing construction of elaborate SA-2 air defense systems. The report asserts that the Soviet Union "could derive considerable military advantage from the establishment of Soviet medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles in Cuba..." However, it concludes that "the establishment on Cuban soil of Soviet nuclear striking forces which could be used against the U.S. would be incompatible with Soviet policy as we presently estimate it...[and the Soviets] would almost certainly estimate that this could not be done without provoking a dangerous U.S. reaction."

9/20/1962 A Senate resolution on Cuba sanctioning the use of force, if necessary, to curb Cuban aggression and subversion in the western hemisphere, passes the Senate by a vote of eighty-six to one. The resolution states that the US is determined "to prevent the creation or use of an externally supported offensive military capability endangering the security of the U.S." and to "support the aspirations of the Cuban people for a return to self-determination." In the House, a foreign aid appropriations bill is approved with three amendments designed to cut off aid to any country permitting the use of its merchant ships to transport arms or goods of any kind to Cuba. The House ratified the resolution Sep 26 by 384 to 7.

9/27/1962 The plan for a coordinated tactical air attack on Cuba in advance of an airborne assault and amphibious landing is presented to Curtis LeMay, the Air Force chief of staff. The concept is approved and October 20, is set as the date when all preparations needed to implement such an attack should be completed.

9/28/1962 Navy air reconnaissance aircraft observing Cuba-bound ships photograph ten large shipping crates on the decks of the Soviet vessel Kasimov. After studying the size and configuration of the crates, photoanalysts determine that the containers hold Soviet IL-28 light bomber aircraft. The IL-28s are over twelve years old and have been removed almost entirely from the Soviet Air Force in 1960. Although technically capable of carrying nuclear payloads, the aircraft have never been given a nuclear delivery role.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:29:54 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2013, 09:47:09 PM »
10/1/1962 US News and World Report stated that "competent authorities at the Navy base [Guantanamo] believe Washington is underplaying the Soviet buildup in Cuba - and are puzzled why."

10/4/1962 RFK Makes Clear Lansdale is in Charge of Mongoose:  RFK advises SGA that JFK wants more priority given to operations against Castro regime. The attorney general also expresses the president's "concern over [the] developing situation," and urges that "massive activity" be undertaken within the Mongoose framework. The group agrees that plans for the mining of Cuban harbors and for capturing Cuban forces for interrogation should be considered. It was established that "General Lansdale's authority over the entire Mongoose operation, and that the CIA organization was responsive to his policy and operational guidance, and this was thoroughly understood." (Memorandum of Mongoose Meeting Held on Thursday, October 4, 1962; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 147; Document: Memorandum of Project Mongoose meeting.)

10/10/1962 Sen. Keating (R-NY) announced that he had confirmed reports that missiles in Cuba could hit the US or the Panama Canal. Among his papers stored at the University of Rochester almost all of the materials from 9-10/1962 are missing. (Missiles of October p15, Thompson)

10/14/1962 The SGA orders the acceleration of covert activities against Cuba. In particular, the group agrees that "considerably more sabotage should be undertaken" and that "all efforts should be made to develop new and imaginative approaches with the possibility of getting rid of the Castro regime." (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 147)

10/14 or 15/1962 A major U.S. military exercise named PHIBRIGLEX-62 is scheduled to begin. The two-week long maneuver was to have employed twenty thousand Navy personnel and four thousand Marines in an amphibious assault on Puerto Rico's Vieques Island and the overthrow of its imaginary tyrant, "Ortsac"-"Castro" spelled backwards. (However, because of the impending crisis, PHIBRIGLEX62 is used primarily as cover for troop and equipment deployments aimed at increasing military readiness for a strike on Cuba.) (CINCLANT Historical Account of Cuban Crisis, 4/29/63)

10/16/1962 As discussions continue on proposals to destroy the missiles by airstrike, RFK passes a note to the president: "I now know how Tojo felt when he was planning Pearl Harbor." This phase of the meeting ended at 12:57pm. (Robert Kennedy, Thirteen Days (New York: Signet, 1969) President Kennedy also telephones John McCloy, who recommends that the president take forceful action to remove the missiles, even if that involves an airstrike and an invasion. (The Missile Crisis, Abel; The Wise Men)

10/20/1962  2:30-5:10 P.M.: President Kennedy meets with the full group of planning principals. He notes that the airstrike plan as presented is not a "surgical" strike but a massive military commitment that could involve heavy casualties on all sides. As if to underscore the scale of the proposed U.S. military attack on Cuba, one member of the JCS reportedly suggests the use of nuclear weapons, saying that the Soviet Union would use its nuclear weapons in an attack. President Kennedy directs that attention be focused on implementing the blockade option, calling it the only course of action compatible with American principles. The scenario for the full quarantine operation, covering diplomatic initiatives, public statements, and military actions, is reviewed and approved.
Most felt a blockade was the best bet; Bundy wanted air strikes. Adlai Stevenson, who has flown in from New York, enters the discussion late. He proposes that the quarantine be accompanied by a U.S. proposal for a settlement involving the withdrawal of U.S. missiles from Turkey and the evacuation of Guantanamo. The proposal is promptly attacked by several of the participants who believe it concedes too much. President Kennedy is among those critical of Stevenson's proposal. According to minutes of the meeting, Kennedy "agreed that at an appropriate time we would have to acknowledge that we were willing to take strategic missiles out of Turkey and Italy if this issue was raised by the Russians....But he was firm in saying we should only make such a proposal in the future." The administration would soon leak this latter course to the press, saying that "Adlai wanted a Munich." Later that day RFK suggested that Stevenson be replaced at the UN by someone tougher, but JFK defended him.  JFK agreed to a blockade (or a "quarantine" as it was publicly called).  His decision not to invade was a wise one, as recent revelations have shown: Soviet troops in Cuba were equipped with battlefield nuclear weapons and had the authority to use them if necessary. RFK recalled that an unnamed member of the JCS "argued that we could use nuclear weapons...I thought, as I listened, of the many times that I had heard the military take positions which, if wrong, had the advantage that no one would be around at the end to know." (13 Days) After the meeting adjourns at 5:10P.M., President Kennedy tells Theodore Sorensen that he is canceling the remainder of his midterm election campaign trip. Kennedy instructs Sorensen to redraft the quarantine speech, although he notes that he would not make a final decision on whether to opt for the quarantine or an airstrike until he has consulted one last time with Air Force officials the next morning. (The Cuban Crisis, 1962, ca. 8/22/63, pp. 74-77; Schlesinger 1, p. 515; Kennedy, p. 48; Sorensen, pp. 1-3)

10/22/1962 Soviet Colonel Oleg Penkovsky is arrested in the Soviet Union. From April 1961 to the end of August 1962, Penkovsky has been a spy for British and U.S. intelligence services, providing them with material on Soviet military capabilities, including important technical information on Soviet MRBM and ICBM programs. Penkovsky had been given a few telephonic coded signals for use in emergency situations, including one to be used if he is about to be arrested and one to be used in case of imminent war. When he learns he was about to be arrested, Penkovsky apparently chose to use the signal for an imminent Soviet attack. Western intelligence analysts decide, however, not to credit Penkovsky's final signal, and the ExComm is not informed of Penkovsky's arrest or its circumstances. (Garthoff 1, pp. 63-65; Penkovsky, pp. 4-5)

10/22/1963 The ExComm meets with President Kennedy for a brief discussion. The President directs that personal messages be sent to commanders of Jupiter missiles in Italy and Turkey instructing them to destroy or render inoperable the Jupiters if any attempt is made to fire them without Kennedy's authorization. During the meeting, State Department Legal Advisor Abram Chayes successfully suggests changing the legal justification for the blockade presented in Kennedy's speech. Instead of basing the action on the U.N. charter, which assures a country's inherent right of self-defense in case of armed attack, Chayes suggests citing the right of the OAS to take collective measures to protect hemispheric security. In addition, Kennedy accepts Leonard Meeker's suggestion that the limited nature of the "blockade" be stressed by calling it a "quarantine." (The Cuban Crisis, 1962, ca. 8/22/63, p. 89; Chronology of JCS Decisions Concerning the Cuban Crisis, 12/21/62; Abel, p. 115)

10/22/1963 12:00 noon: SAC initiates a massive alert of its B-52 nuclear bomber force, guaranteeing that one-eighth of the force is airborne at any given time. B-52 flights begin around the clock, with a new bomber taking off each time another bomber lands. The alert is directed to take place quietly and gradually and to be in full effect by October 23. SAC also begins dispersing 183 B-47 nuclear bombers to thirty-three civilian and military airfields. The Air Defense Command (ADC) also disperses 161 aircraft to sixteen bases in nine hours. For the first time in ADC history, all aircraft are armed with nuclear weapons. (Chronology of JCS Decisions Concerning the Cuban Crisis, 12/21/62)

10/22/1963 2:14P.M.: The JCS notify the State Department that U.S. military forces worldwide would go to DEFCON 3--an increased alert posture--effective at 7:00P.M. They also state that Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) Lauris Norstad has been ordered to try to persuade NATO forces to assume a comparable alert posture but that he is authorized to "exercise his discretion in complying with this directive." During the day, Norstad confers with Harold MacMillan, who strongly argues against "mobilizing" European forces. Aware that an alert might weaken European support for the United States--and having received a personal message from President Kennedy stressing the need to keep the alliance together--Norstad decides not to put European forces on higher alert status. (Document 29, Cable from Joint Chiefs of Staff Announcing DEFCON 3 Military Alert, 10/22/62; Text of Message to Lauris Norstad on the Impact of the Cuban Crisis on NATO, 10/22/62; MacMillan, p. 190) U.S. military forces worldwide, with the exception of the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), are placed on DEFCON 3. ICBM missile crews are alerted and Polaris nuclear submarines in port are dispatched to preassigned stations at sea. RFK: "The Navy deployed one hundred eighty ships into the Caribbean. The Strategic Air Command was dispersed to civilian landing fields around the country, to lessen its vulnerability in case of attack. The B-52 bomber force was ordered into the air fully loaded with atomic weapons." (13 Days)

10/23/1962 7:15 P.M., Oval Office, The White House. At the end of this meeting the president and his brother are left alone for a private discussion.  The recording is of very poor quality, but the conversation is notable for its intimacy and candor.  The president, after telling Robert about a dinner date, discusses the blockade order:
    JFK:  It looks really mean, doesn't it?  But on the other hand there wasn't any choice.  If he's going to get this mean on this one, in our part of the world [unclear], no choice.  I don't think there was a choice
    RFK:  Well, there isn't any choice.  I mean, you would have been, you would have been impeached.
    JFK:  Well, I think I would have been impeached.
    [Unclear exchange]
    If there had been a move to impeach, I would have been under [unclear], on the grounds that I said they wouldn't do it, and . . .
    RFK:  [Unclear] something else.  They'd think up some other step that wasn't necessary.  You'd be... But now, the fact is, you couldn't have done any less.

10/26/1962 According to political scientist Scott Sagan in his book The Limits of Safety, the U.S. Air Force launched an intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 26, 1962, the day before the U-2 was shot down. The ICBM was unarmed, a test missile destined for Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. The Soviet Union could easily have thought otherwise. Three days before, a test missile at Vandenberg had received a nuclear warhead, changing it to full alert status for the crisis. By October 30, nine Vandenberg "test" missiles were armed for use against the Soviets. At the height of the missile crisis, the Air Force's October 26th launch of its missile could have been seen by the Soviets as the beginning of an attack. It was a dangerous provocation. Had the Soviets been suckered into giving any sign of a launch of their own, the entire array of U.S. missiles and bombers were poised to preempt them. They were already at the top rung of their nuclear war status, DefCon ( Defense Condition) -2, totally prepared for a massive strike. Scott D. Sagan, The Limits of Safety ( Princeton, N.].: Princeton University Press, 1993) , p. 79.

Also at the height of the crisis, as writer Richard Rhodes learned from a retired Air Force commander, "SAC [Strategic Air Command] airborne-alert bombers deliberately flew past their customary turnaround points toward the Soviet Union-an unambiguous threat that Soviet radar operators would certainly have recognized and reported." With their far superior number of missiles and bombers, U.S. forces were prepared for a preemptive attack at the slightest sign of a Soviet response to their provocation. Fortunately the Soviets didn't bite. Richard Rhodes, "The General and World War III," New Yorker (June 19, 1995), pp. 58 -59.

Thirty years after the crisis, Kennedy's Defense Secretary Robert McNamara was surprised to learn the contents of a November 1992 article in the Russian press. The article revealed that at the height of the crisis Soviet forces in Cuba had possessed a total of 162 nuclear warheads. The more critical strategic fact, unknown to the United States at the time, was that these weapons were ready to be fired. On October 26, 1962, the day before the U-2 was shot down, the nuclear warheads in Cuba had been prepared for launching. Enlightened by this knowledge, McNamara wrote in his memoirs: "Clearly, there was a high risk that, in the face of a U.S. attack-which, as I have said, many in the U.S. government, military and civilian alike, were prepared to recommend to President Kennedy-the Soviet forces in Cuba would have decided to use their nuclear weapons rather than lose them. "We need not speculate about what would have happened in that event. We can predict the results with certainty . . . And where would it have ended ? In utter disaster. " Robert S. McNamara, In Retrospect (New York: Random House, 1995)

McNamara recalled how strongly the Chiefs expressed their feelings to the president. "After Khrushchev had agreed to remove the missiles, President Kennedy invited the Chiefs to the White House so that he could thank them for their support during the crisis, and there was one hell of a scene. LeMay came out saying, 'We lost! We ought to just go in there today and knock 'em off! '" (Rhodes, " General and World War III, " p. 58) Robert Kennedy was also struck by the Chiefs' anger at the president. "Admiral [George] Anderson's reaction to the news," he said, "was 'We have been had. "' (Schlesinger, Robert Kennedy, p. 565) "The military are mad," President Kennedy told Arthur Schlesinger, "They wanted to do this." (Ibid)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:31:02 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2013, 09:48:09 PM »
10/27/1962 Around 10:15 to 11:00A.M.: A U-2 from a SAC base in Alaska strays into Soviet airspace over the Chukotski Peninsula on what was reported to be a "routine air sampling mission." The U-2 pilot apparently enters Soviet airspace as a result of a navigational error. The pilot radios for assistance and a U.S. F-102 fighter aircraft in Alaska scrambles and head toward the Bering Sea. At the same time, Soviet MiGs take off from a base near Wrangel Island to intercept the U-2, which eventually manages to fly out of Soviet territory with no shots being fired. Alaskan Air Command records suggest that the U.S. fighter planes are armed with nuclear air-to-air missiles. According to one account, when Secretary of Defense McNamara hears that a U-2 was in Soviet airspace, "he turned absolutely white, and yelled hysterically, `This means war with the Soviet Union.'" President Kennedy's laconic reaction upon hearing of the incident is simply to laugh and remark that "there is always some [son of a bitch] who doesn't get the word." (War Room Journal, 10/27/62; Chronology of the Cuban Crisis October 15-28, 1962, 11/2/62, p. 14; Interview of David A. Burchinal, 4/11/75, pp. 114-15; Hilsman 1, p. 221; Sagan 2, pp. 117-18; Air Defense Operations, ca. 12/62)

10/27/1962 Around 12:00 noon: A U-2 reconnaissance plane is shot down over Cuba and its pilot, Major Rudolf Anderson, killed. Anderson had flown one of the first U-2 missions responsible for detecting the Soviet missiles. The ExComm , when informed of the downing, assumes that the attack had been ordered by the Kremlin and speculates that the move is designed to escalate the crisis. In fact, as Soviet and Cuban officials have only recently revealed, the attack is the result of a decision made by local Soviet commanders. Although a Soviet major general, Igor I. Statsenko, claims responsibility for the decision in 1987, other Soviet sources have suggested that Lt. Gen. Stepan N. Grechko and Gen. Leonid S. Garbuz are the two officers in Cuba who authorized the firing of the SAM . After the incident, Marshal Malinovsky mildly reprimands the officers and orders that no other U-2s be attacked. (Chronology of the Cuban Crisis October 15-28, 1962, 11/2/62, p. 14; The Crisis USSR/Cuba: Information as of 0600 28 October 1962, 10/28/62; Garthoff 1, p. 82-85; Allyn, pp. 160-62)  Gen. Taylor took the opportunity to renew calls for bombing the island no "later than Monday morning, the 29th..." The Pentagon wanted a reprisal for the shoot-down, but Kennedy refused.  " There was the feeling, "said Robert Kennedy, "that the noose was tightening on all of us, on Americans, on mankind, and that the bridges to escape were crumbling. " " But again," he adds, " the President pulled everyone back. " JFK called off the Air Force reprisal for the U-2's downing. He continued the search for a peaceful resolution. The Joint Chiefs were dismayed. Robert Kennedy and Theodore Sorensen then drafted a letter accepting Khrushchev's first proposal, while ignoring the later demand that the United States withdraw its missiles from Turkey.

As the war currents swirled around the White House, John and Robert Kennedy met in the Oval Office. Robert described later the thoughts his brother shared with him. He talked first about Major Anderson and how the brave died while politicians sat home pontificating about great issues. He talked about miscalculations leading to war, a war Russians didn't want any more than Americans did. He wanted to make sure he had done everything conceivable to prevent a terrible outcome, especially by giving the Russians every opportunity for a peaceful settlement that would neither diminish their security nor humiliate them. But "the thought that disturbed him the most, " Robert said, " and that made the prospect of war much more fearful than it would otherwise have been, was the specter of the death of the children of this country and all the world-the young people who had no role, who had no say, who knew nothing even of the confrontation, but whose lives would be snuffed out like everyone else's. They would never have a chance to make a decision, to vote in an election, to run for office, to lead a revolution, to determine their own destinies." "It was this, " wrote Robert in a work published after his own assassination, "that troubled him most, that gave him such pain. And it was then that he and Secretary Rusk decided that I should visit with Ambassador Dobrynin and personally convey the President's great concern." (13 Days)

Twenty-five years after the missile crisis, Secretary of State Dean Rusk would reveal that President Kennedy was prepared to make a further concession to Khrushchev in order to avoid war. Rusk said that on October 27, after Robert Kennedy left to meet Dobrynin, the president " instructed me to telephone the late Andrew Cordier, then [president] at Columbia University, and dictate to him a statement which would be made by U Thant, the Secretary General of the United Nations [and a friend of Cordier], proposing the removal of the Jupiters [in Turkey] and the missiles in Cuba. Mr. Cordier was to put that statement in the hands of U Thant only after further signal from U S." Rusk phoned the statement to Cordier. However, when Khrushchev accepted Robert Kennedy's promise to Dobrynin that the Jupiter missiles would be removed, Kennedy's further readiness for a public trade mediated by U Thant became unnecessary. The president's willingness to go that extra mile with Khrushchev, at a heavy political cost to himself, shocked the former ExComm members to whom Rusk revealed it for the first time at the Hawk's Cay (Florida) Conference on March 7, 1987.

Robert Kennedy's climactic meeting with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin became the moving force for Khrushchev's dramatic announcement that he was withdrawing the missiles. Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs what he thought Robert Kennedy told Dobrynin, who had relayed it to Khrushchev: "'The President is in a grave situation,' Robert Kennedy said, 'and he does not know how to get out of it. We are under very severe stress. In fact we are under pressure from our military to use force against Cuba . . . We want to ask you, Mr. Dobrynin, to pass President Kennedy's message to Chairman Khrushchev through unofficial channels . . . Even though the President himself is very much against starting a war over Cuba, an irreversible chain of events could occur against his will. That is why the President is appealing directly to Chairman Khrushchev for his help in liquidating this conflict. If the situation continues much longer, the President is not sure that the military will not overthrow him and seize power. "
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian Foreign Ministry declassified Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin's October 27, 1962, cable describing his critical one-on-one meeting with Robert Kennedy. Dobrynin's report offers a less dramatic version than Khrushchev's memoirs of Robert Kennedy's words concerning the military pressures on President Kennedy: "taking time to find a way out [of the situation] is very risky. (Here R. Kennedy mentioned as if in passing that there are many unreasonable heads among the generals, and not only among the generals, who 'are itching for a fight.') The situation might get out of control, with irreversible consequences." (From Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin's cable to the Soviet Foreign Ministry, October 27, 1962. Reprinted in translation in Richard Ned Lebow and Janice Gross Stein, We All Lost the Cold War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), pp. 523-26. Cited by Jim Hershberg, "Anatomy of a Controversy: Anatoly F. Dobrynin's Meeting with Robert F. Kennedy, Saturday, 27 October 1962," The Cold War International History Project Bulletin (Issue 5, Spring 1995)
In Robert Kennedy's own account of the meeting in Thirteen Days, he does not mention telling Dobrynin of the military pressures on the president. However, his friend and biographer Arthur Schlesinger says, whatever the Attorney General said to Dobrynin, RFK was himself of the opinion there were many generals eager for a fight. Robert thought the situation could get totally out of control. Robert Kennedy had in fact been more explicit in his diary about the missile tradeoff between the United States and the Soviet Union than the edited text of his posthumous work, Thirteen Days, revealed. In a Moscow conference in January 1989, former Kennedy speechwriter Theodore Sorensen stated: "Ambassador Dobrynin felt that Robert Kennedy's book did not adequately express that the 'deal' on the Turkish missiles was part of the resolution of the crisis. And here I have a confession to make to my colleagues on the American side, as well as to others who are present. I was the editor of Robert Kennedy's book. It was, in fact, a diary of those thirteen days. And his diary was very explicit that this was part of the deal; but at that time it was still a secret even on the American side, except for the six of us who had been present at that [preliminary White House] meeting. So I took it upon myself to edit that out of his diaries, and that is why the Ambassador is somewhat j ustified in saying that the diaries are not as explicit as his conversation. " Sorensen's "confession" is cited in Hershberg, "Anatomy of a Controversy. "

Khrushchev recalled the conclusion of Dobrynin's report as Robert Kennedy's words, "I don't know how much longer we can hold out against our generals. "  (Khrushchev Remembers, p. 498)
Since Khrushchev had also just received an urgent message from Castro that a U.S. attack on Cuba was " almost imminent, " he hastened to respond: "We could see that we had to reorient our position swiftly . . . We sent the Americans a note saying that we agreed to remove our missiles and bombers on the condition that the President give us his assurance that there would be no invasion of Cuba by the forces of the United States or anybody else. " (Letter from Fidel Castro to Nikita Khrushchev, October 26, 1962, cited by Carlos Lechuga, In the Eye of the Storm ( Melbourne: Ocean Press, 1995) , p. 88;  Khrushchev Remembers, p . 498)

        "Robert Kennedy looked exhausted. One could see from his eyes that he had not slept for days. He himself said that he had not been home for six days and nights. 'The President is in a grave situation,' Robert Kennedy said, 'and does not know how to get out of it. We are under very severe stress. In fact we are under pressure from our military to use force against Cuba. Probably at this very moment the President is sitting down to write a message to Chairman Khrushchev. We want to ask you, Mr. Dobrynin, to pass President Kennedy's message to Chairman Khrushchev through unofficial channels. President Kennedy implores Chairman Khrushchev to accept his offer and to take into consideration the peculiarities of the American system. Even though the President himself is very much against starting a war over Cuba, an irreversible chain of events could occur against his will. That is why the President is appealing directly to Chairman Khrushchev for his help in liquidating this conflict. If the situation continues much longer, the President is not sure that the military will not overthrow him and seize power. The American army could get out of control."'
        [Khrushchev Remembers, intro., commentary, and notes by Edward Crankshaw, trans. and ed. by Strobe Talbott (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970; citation from paperback edition, New York: Bantam, 1971), pp. 551-52]

10/28/1962 4:07P.M.: The JCS asks CINCLANT to re-evaluate Oplan 316, the invasion plan of Cuba, and determine what modifications should be made to the plan in light of the most recent intelligence estimates on military equipment in Cuba. CINCLANT is specifically directed to consider whether tactical nuclear weapons, both air and ground, should be included in the arsenal of U.S. forces invading Cuba. (Summary of Items of Significant Interest Period 280701-290700 October 1962, 10/29/62) The JCS ordered the Atlantic naval HQ at Norfolk to continue work on plans for an invasion, including the possible use of tactical weapons. (The Missiles of October 344, Thompson)

During the crisis, an FBI informant reported that "he believes he could arrange to have Fidel Castro assassinated. Underworld figures still have channels inside Cuba through which the assassination of Castro could be successfully arranged." "He said that in the event the United States Government is interested in having the attempt made, he would raise the necessary money and would want nothing from the Government except the assurance that such an undertaking would in no way adversely affect the national security. He expressed confidence in his ability to accomplish this mission without any additional contact with Governmental representatives and with a minimum of contacts with private individuals." The Bureau reported this to the AG and concluded: "The informant was told that his offer is outside our jurisdiction, which he acknowledged. No commitments were made to him. At this time, we do not plan to further pursue the matter. Our relationship with him has been most carefully guarded and we would feel obligated to handle any recontact of him concerning the matter if such is desired." (Memorandum from Hoover to the AG, 10/29/62)

10/30/1962 All operations by Task Force W, the CIA's action arm for OPERATION MONGOOSE activities, are called to an immediate halt. However, during the crisis, Director of Task Force W William Harvey ordered teams of covert agents into Cuba on his own authority to support any conventional U.S. military operation that might occur. At the end of October, a new mission is about to be dispatched. One of the operatives, concerned about a covert operation so soon after a settlement to the missile crisis has been reached, sends a message to Attorney General Robert Kennedy to verify that the mission is in order. Kennedy, angered to learn that CIA missions are continuing, chastises Harvey and asks CIA Director McCone to terminate the operations. Edward Lansdale is subsequently sent to Miami to oversee the end of MONGOOSE. However, three of ten scheduled six-man sabotage teams have already been dispatched to Cuba. On November 8, one of the teams carries out its assigned sabotage mission. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, pp. 147-48)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:33:42 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2013, 09:50:23 PM »
11/5/1962 President Kennedy hands Secretary of Defense McNamara a short memorandum expressing his concern that U.S. plans for an invasion of Cuba seem "thin." Warning that using too few troops could result in the United States becoming "bogged down," Kennedy recommends calling up three Army Reserve divisions and, if necessary, building additional divisions. As a result of the memo, McNamara tells military planners later that day that additional Army divisions might be needed for a successful invasion. The JCS meet on November 7 with CINCLANT to rectify the problem. (U.S. Army in the Cuban Crisis, 1/1/63)

11/8/1962 A six-man CIA sabotage team dispatched as part of Task Force W blows up a Cuban industrial facility. The incident is never raised in U.S.-Soviet talks and remains unknown to most if not all members of the ExComm . (Garthoff 1, p. 122)

11/13/1962 Morning: ExComm members continue to discuss the IL-28 issue. The group's recommendations, incorporated into a paper by U. Alexis Johnson , include a proposed sequence of actions designed to end the deadlock. To begin with, the group recommends a "last chance" private message to Premier Khrushchev , warning that further actions could be taken shortly. If the message fails to produce the desired outcome, the group suggests tightening the blockade, arranging for other countries in Latin America and elsewhere to apply diplomatic pressure on Fidel Castro , and using intense low-altitude reconnaissance as a form of psychological warfare. The ExComm also notes that one other option exists but recommends that it only be used as a last-ditch measure: "provoking" an attack on U.S. reconnaissance planes and responding by striking a variety of Cuban targets, including the IL-28 bombers. (Cuban Contingency Paper: Next Steps on the IL-28 's, 11/14/62)

11/16/1962 7:00A.M.: The largest amphibious landing since World War II begins as part of an exercise at Onslow Beach, North Carolina. The two-day exercise, a full-scale rehearsal for an invasion of Cuba, includes six Marine battalion landing teams, four by assault boats and two by helicopter assault carriers. ( CINCLANT Historical Account of Cuban Crisis, 4/29/63, p. 151; Summary of Items of Significant Interest Period 090701-100700 November 1962, 11/10/62)

11/16/1962 4:05P.M.: The JCS meets with President Kennedy to report on the readiness status of forces that would be involved in any military action against Cuba. U.S. forces massed for a Cuban invasion have reached their peak strength, the JCS reports: some 100,000 Army troops, 40,000 Marines and 14,500 paratroopers stand ready, with 550 combat aircraft and over 180 ships available to support an invasion. Kennedy is advised that this advanced state of readiness can be maintained for about thirty days. The talking paper prepared for Maxwell Taylor for this meeting spells out the JCS position on the IL-28 deadlock: they recommend that the United States continue to press the Soviet Union to remove the bombers, suggesting that the quarantine be extended to POL (petroleum, oil, and lubricants) if no progress is made. If the quarantine does not succeed in having the aircraft removed, the Joint Chiefs warn that the United States "should be prepared to take them out by air attack." (Document 73, Talking Paper for General Maxwell Taylor 's Meeting with President Kennedy , 11/16/62; Department of Defense Operations during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 2/12/63, pp. 8, 12-14; Summary of Items of Significant Interest Period 180701-190700 November 1962, 11/19/62)

11/21/1962 President Kennedy sends a brief letter to Premier Khrushchev welcoming the Soviet leader's decision to remove the IL-28 s. Kennedy writes, "I have been glad to get your letter of November 20, which arrived in good time yesterday. As you will have seen, I was able to announce the lifting of our quarantine promptly at my press conference, on the basis of your welcome assurance that the IL-28 bombers will be removed within a month." Kennedy also reassures Khrushchev that "there need be no fear of any invasion of Cuba while matters take their present favorable course." (Message for Chairman Khrushchev , 11/21/62)

12/12/1962 In a major two and one-half hour speech to the Supreme Soviet--his first major address since the Cuban crisis--Premier Khrushchev asserts that a U.S. "pledge" not to invade Cuba exists. He warns, however, that if the United States carries out an invasion, Cuba would not be left "defenseless." (The Soviet Bloc Armed Forces and the Cuban Crisis: A Chronology, 6/18/63, pp. 115, 121-22)

12/21/1962 Lawyer James B. Donovan finally manages to negotiate with Castro a deal for the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners. Castro will get $53 million in medicine, tractors and baby food, plus $2.9 million for the sick and wounded prisoners already released last April. This amount had been agreed upon after long negotiations involving a bipartisan US committee (which included Milton Eisenhower and Eleanor Roosevelt.) The administration's man in the negotiations, Donovan, was unknowingly involved in a CIA plot (conceived in "early 1963" by Desmond Fitzgerald and William Harvey) to present a contaminated diving-suit to Castro, but the plan fell through. (Senate Intelligence Committee Report 85-86)

12/23-24/1962 1,113 Cuban exiles are airlifted to Miami. Castro also agrees to release 923 relatives of the prisoners.

12/27/1962 In Palm Beach for a working vacation, JFK receives officers of Brigade 2506.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:35:21 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2013, 09:51:14 PM »
1/1/1963 The Special Group Augmented is replaced by a different oversight organization, the Special Group, chaired by McGeorge Bundy. Although Mongoose is abolished, the CIA arm, Task Force W, continues to exist as the Special Affairs Staff, located at the CIA's Miami station. William Harvey, formerly the head of Task Force W, is replaced by Desmond FitzGerald as head of the Special Affairs Staff. Operations against Fidel Castro continue during 1963 under FitzGerald, despite earlier Kennedy directives to halt all Cuban operations. In addition to continuing attempts on Castro's life over the course of the year, CIA teams carry out at least six major operations in Cuba aimed at disrupting the Cuban government and economy. (Cuba, Operation Mongoose, 1/28/63; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 170)
Harvey's replacement by Desmond FitzGerald and the scuttling of the Rosselli operation did not end but only redirected the CIA's attempts to kill Castro. One of FitzGerald's early inspirations was fanciful and impractical, appealing to his temperamental fondness for the clever and the ingenious. It called for the Technical Services Division to rig an exploding seashell, which would be placed on the sea floor in an area where Castro liked to go skin diving. Like many CIA people, in love with the subtle and the artful, FitzGerald was fascinated by gadgets and resented skeptics who dourly suggested they would cost too much or would fail to work or weren't even needed at all. He was downright petulant at times. When Sam Halpern once protested that a fancy new communications device just wasn't going to work, FitzGerald said, "If you don't like it, you don't have to come to meetings anymore."
Halpern protested that the seashell plan was inherently impossible to control. How could they be sure that Castro would be the one to find it? Besides, the best assassinations do not appear to be assassinations at all, while Castro blowing up on the ocean floor would point a finger directly at the United States. Similar protests had been made about the plan to give Castro a box of poisoned cigars. He might hand them all out to a delegation of visiting schoolteachers. If the idea was to kill Castro, they had to find something which would get him and no one else. FitzGerald's ideas weren't turning out any better than the earlier ones, such as the proposal to provide Castro with a poisoned wet suit to be delivered by James B. Donovan, an American lawyer negotiating the release of the Bay of Pigs prisoners. The Technical Services Division had duly purchased a suit and contaminated the breathing apparatus with tubercle bacilli and the suit itself with fungus spores which would cause a chronic skin disease called Madura foot. Critics of this plan claimed that its authors had neglected the most elementary points: for example, the fact that it was in effect a gift from the United States (the idea was to keep it secret), or Donovan's feeling about being the gift-giver in this plot. If he didn't know, after all, he might try on the suit himself. As it happened, Donovan gave Castro a wet suit entirely on his own, and the CIA's wet suit was destroyed.
But FitzGerald did not abandon the problem. Eventually he came up with a serious effort to use a major in the Cuban army, in contact with the CIA since 1961, named Rolando Cubela. (As originally published in The Atlantic Monthly, August 1979 "Inside the Department of Dirty Tricks" by Thomas Powers)

Based on recently declassified Kennedy administration documents, National Security Archive analyst Peter Kornbluh has concluded in a little noted article that " in 1963 John Kennedy began pursuing an alternative script on Cuba: a secret dialogue toward an actual rapprochement with Castro. " The documents Kornbluh discovered have confirmed and filled in a story that Cuban and American diplomats have been telling for decades. Peter Kornbluh, "JFK & Castro: The Secret Quest for Accommodation," Cigar Aficianado (October 1999), p. 90.

1/2/1963 Castro speech: he called JFK "a vulgar pirate chieftain" and accused the CIA of numerous murders. "He conducted himself like a leader of buccaneers because, really, never has a degraded the dignity of his office as that day when Mr. Kennedy met with the criminal invaders of our country."

1/4/1963 McGeorge Bundy memo to JFK proposed that they find some way to hold talks with Castro. The Standing Group, an NSC group that eventually replaces the ExComm in reviewing U.S. policy toward Cuba, discusses McGeorge Bundy 's proposal of opening communications with Fidel Castro. Bundy later notes that the "gradual development of some form of accommodation with Castro" became a standard item in lists of policy alternatives considered by the Kennedy administration. Nonetheless, U.S. policy toward Castro vacillates considerably in the months after the missile crisis. Even as secret approaches to Castro are being weighed, the Kennedy administration also contemplates Pentagon proposals for military action against Castro, as well as a wide range of economic and covert programs to weaken the Castro government. (Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 173; Schlesinger, p. 538)

1/11/1963 Dean Rusk , testifying at a closed hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, clarifies the U.S. non-invasion assurance. The United States "never made an unadorned commitment not to invade Cuba in the first place," Rusk declared. In any case, Rusk adds that "a crucial element" in the Kennedy- Khrushchev understandings--on-site inspection and assurances against the reintroduction of strategic weapons into Cuba--was not fulfilled by the Cuban and Soviet governments. "If Castro were to do the kind of things which would from our point of view justify invasion," Rusk stresses, the United States would not consider any non-invasion assurance binding. (Briefing of the World Situation, 1/11/63) Rusk admits that the nonaggression pact with Cuba is meaningless since it depends upon on-site inspection of Cuban missiles, which Castro had not allowed. Rusk said that all Soviet bombers had been removed from Cuba, and that Soviet military personnel were on their way out. He also says that the pledge not to invade Cuba was contingent upon on-site inspections.

1/21/1963 Robert Kennedy was quoted in the Miami Herald: "Not even under Mr. Eisenhower was American air cover [in the Cuban invasion] in the picture...It simply cannot be said that the invasion failed because of any single factor. There were several major mistakes. It was just a bad plan. Victory was never close."

1/25/1963 At its first meeting in over a month and during subsequent sessions, the ExComm considers various long-range plans to pressure Fidel Castro . The United States wants Castro removed from power but it recognizes that if this proves impossible, then it wants him to be independent of the Soviet Union. Policy papers suggest that the ultimate objective is replacement of the government by "one fully compatible with the goals of the United States." (Participation in Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings, October 1962, 10/5/68; Garthoff 1, p. 139)

1/27/1963 Castro announced that his government had broken up two CIA spy groups who were going to assassinate Raul Castro.

1/28/1963 Robert Kennedy was quoted in US News and World Report: "I can say unequivocally that President Kennedy never withdrew US air cover [during the Bay of Pigs]...There never were plans made for US air cover, so there was nothing to withdraw...[the second Cuban air strike was cancelled because] US participation in the matter was coming to the surface...contrary to the pre-invasion plan."

1/31/1963 Khrushchev responded to his repudiation by Castro by writing him what the Cuban premier described three decades later as " really a wonderful letter . . . a beautiful, elegant, very friendly letter. " In that January 31, 1963, letter to his estranged comrade, Khrushchev began, as he had in his first secret letter to Kennedy, with a description of the beauty surrounding him, in this case as he rode in a train returning to Moscow from a conference in Berlin: " Our train is crossing the fields and forests of Soviet Byelorussia and it occurs to me how wonderful it would be if you could see, on a sunny day like this, the ground covered with snow and the forests silvery with frost. " Perhaps you, a southern man, have seen this only in paintings. It must surely be fairly difficult for you to imagine the ground carpeted with snow and the forests covered with white frost. It would be good if you could visit our country each season of the year; every one of them, spring, summer, fall, and winter, has its delights. " Khrushchev said the principal theme of his letter was " the strong desire my comrades and I feel to see you and to talk, to talk with our hearts open. " He acknowledged the current strain " in the relations between our states-Cuba and the Soviet Union-and in our own personal relationship. Speaking frankly, these relations are not what they were before the crisis. I will not conceal the fact that this troubles and worries us. And it seems to me that the development of our relations will depend, in large part, on our meeting. " He then reviewed the Caribbean crisis, in which " our viewpoints did not always coincide, " appealing to Castro to recognize finally: " There are, in spite of everything, commitments that the United States of North America has undertaken through the statement of their president. Obviously, one cannot trust them and take it as an absolute guarantee, but neither is it reasonable to ignore them totally. "  Khrushchev was, ever so gently, urging Castro to risk trusting Kennedy, as Khrushchev himself was beginning to do, in tandem with Kennedy's beginning to trust him, sometimes to one or the other's regret but with their mutually discovered commitment to peace as the foundation to which they could always return. (Fidel Castro, Address to the Tripartite Conference on the Cuban Missile Crisis, January 11 , 1992; Laurence Chang and Peter Kornbluh, editors, The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 (New York: New Press, 1992 ), p. 343. ; Nikita Khrushchev's January 31, 1963, Letter to Fidel Castro; Chang and Kornbluh, Cuban Missile Crisis, p. 319.)

Late January 1963: OPERATION MONGOOSE begins to be phased out. The Special Group Augmented is replaced by a different oversight organization, the Special Group, chaired by McGeorge Bundy . Although MONGOOSE is abolished, the CIA arm, Task Force W, continues to exist as the Special Affairs Staff, located at the CIA's Miami station. William Harvey, the head of Task Force W, is replaced by Desmond FitzGerald as head of the Special Affairs Staff. Covert
operations against Fidel Castro continue during 1963 under FitzGerald. In addition to continuing attempts on Castro's life over the course of the year, CIA teams carry out at least six major operations in Cuba aimed at disrupting the Cuban government and economy. (Cuba, OPERATION MONGOOSE, 1/28/63; Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders, 11/20/75, p. 170; Ranelagh, p. 388)

2/1963 William Harvey is officially removed from his post as head of Project Mongoose on orders from Robert Kennedy and is reassigned to the Rome station as chief of station effectively taking him out of action. He meets with Rosselli in Washington, DC. (Inspector General 's Report, p 53) See entry for Oct 30th.
Harvey gets back in touch with Rosselli in Miami and Los Angeles (Feb 13). Harvey is reportedly seen in Florida meeting with Rosselli as late as June 1963 and visited anti-Castro camps there. Asset is paid $2,700 for expenses. They agree to put assassination plots on hold but leave the bounty of $150,000 active. (Church Committee, 1975)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:38:57 PM by TLR »


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Re: Castro, Cuba, and the Missile Crisis
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 09:52:05 PM »
2/1963 RFK takes former Bay of Pigs prisoner, Brigade 2506's Manual Artime, on skiing vacation returning him to Miami with CIA retainer to revive his "Movement for the Recovery of the Revolution." As a condition for this support Artime and Ruiz Williams supported the Kennedy plan to integrate the Bay of Pigs veterans into U.S. Armed Forces. Nearly half the brigade members sign up for a special army training program at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. 300 others, including former 2506 frogman Blas Casares and underground organizer Jorge Recarey, achieve officer rank after completion of the Special Officers ' Training Program at Fort Benning, Georgia, in March 1963. (Mahoney p 265)

2/7/1963 In a press conference, JFK refuted charges by various Senators who claimed that the Soviets were still increasing their forces in Cuba. He said he was not taking the presence of 17,000 Soviet troops in Cuba lightly.

2/21/1963 The JCS are asked to undertake a comprehensive study of actions that might be taken in the event of a revolt in Cuba. The JCS in turn requests CINCLANT 's view on several questions:
   1.Possible military and para-military responses by the United States to a Cuban revolt...
   2.How could we get arms and equipment to the rebels?
   3.Under which circumstances should we consider invasion?
   4.If the revolt were widespread and apparently successful, might we decide on a curtailed,
     rapid execution of CINCLANT Oplan 316 [the invasion plan of Cuba] in order to exploit in
     time the effects of the revolt on the Castro force? (Addendum #1 Summary of Items of
     Significant Interest Period 200701-210700 February 1963, 2/21/63)

2/25/1963 The Militant attacks JFK's Cuba policy for fanning "Rightist Hysteria."

2/27/1963 Khrushchev commented, "The most aggressive American circles...are urging the American government to invade Cuba on the pretext that she allegedly poses a threat to the United States...the Soviet Union will come to Cuba's aid..."       

3/1963 Meeting of NSC discusses Castro's lending assistance to revolutionary movements outside Cuba. RFK sends JFK two memos urging more action. JFK answers neither one. (Mahoney p266; Schlesinger pp580-81)

3/1/1963 Release of CIA Director John McCone statement to the House Inter-American Affairs subcommittee 2/19 in which he testified that at least 1000 Latin American revolutionaries had gone to Cuba for training and that Venezuela was "no. 1 on the priority list for revolution."

3/4/1963 In March 1963, John Kennedy tried to smooth the way for further dialogue with Fidel Castro. On the eve of another James Donovan trip to Havana, the president overruled a State Department recommendation for Donovan's talks with Castro that would have raised a major obstacle in a new Cuban-American relationship. In a March 4, 1963, Top Secret/Eyes Only memorandum, Gordon Chase, deputy to the National Security Adviser, stated Kennedy's more open position toward Castro : " The President does not agree that we should make the breaking of Sino/Soviet ties a non-negotiable point. We don't want to present Castro with a condition that he obviously cannot fulfill. We should start thinking along more flexible lines. " The memorandum went on to emphasize both secrecy and Kennedy's keen attention to what was opening up with Cuba: "The above must be kept close to the vest. The President, himself, is very interested in this one . "  (March 4, 1963 , Memorandum for the Record on " Mr. Donovan's Trip to Cuba, " written at the request of National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy by his deputy, Gordon Chase)

3/12/1963 CIA Director John McCone told the Senate, "I couldn't understand why these surface-to-air missile sites were there, so useless for protecting the island against invasion. They must be there, in my opinion, to shield the island against observation from aerial reconnaissance." He based this on his own intuition and not "hard intelligence." He did not report his opinions to JFK.    

3/13/1963 In a speech at Havana University, Castro accused the CIA of using Jehovah's Witnesses in south central Cuba to foster counter-revolutionary ideas among the peasants.

3/14/1963 Tulsa Daily World reports that Castro's Cuba is training agents in sabotage, espionage and revolutionary techniques, according to a House subcommittee. Mexico is considered a neutral ground for people to move in and out of Cuba. Rep. Cramer charged that the Cuban embassy in Mexico "is the open door through which Communist subversives throughout the Americas... enter Cuba and return home...for purposes of subversion and sabotage." Within a four-month period in 1962, 73 US citizens took the established route of the Communist subversive and entered Cuba through the Cuban embassy in Mexico. Cramer criticized the Justice and State Depts for doing nothing about this, and the practice of issuing visas which do not become part of the traveler's passport, so that he can go to Cuba and come back by way of Mexico with no record of the trip.

3/14/1963 JFK was ahead of RFK on Cuba. In a March 14 memorandum, Robert Kennedy unsuccessfully urged the president to move against Castro: "I would not like it said a year from now that we could have had this internal breakup in Cuba but we just did not set the stage for it." Robert apparently received no response from his brother, as he wrote him again on March 26 in frustration: "Do you think there was any merit to my last memo ? . . . In any case, is there anything further on this matter ? "While John Kennedy was responding to his brother's anti-Castro schemes with silence, he was himself turning toward a new approach to Fidel. Although he would not forsake all U.S. efforts to subvert Cuba, before the month was over President Kennedy made a policy decision that in effect signaled his own opening toward Castro. It pitted him against the CIA once again. He was provoked into it by the Agency.  (Evan Thomas, Robert Kennedy: His Life ( New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), p. 239; citing March 14, 1963, RFK to JFK memorandum, Theodore Sorensen Papers, John F. Kennedy Library.

White House memorandum, Top Secret, "Cuba -- Policy," April 11, 1963. A detailed options paper from Gordon Chase, the Latin America specialist on the National Security Council, to McGeorge Bundy recommending "looking seriously at the other side of the coin-quietly enticing Castro over to us."

Kennedy wrote Khrushchev secretly on April 11, 1963, explaining to his Cold War counterpart a policy chosen partly on Khrushchev's behalf that was already beginning to cost Kennedy dearly. The U.S. president said he was "aware of the tensions unduly created by recent private attacks on your ships in Caribbean waters; and we are taking action to halt those attacks which are in violation of our laws, and obtaining the support of the British Government in preventing the use of their Caribbean islands for this purpose. The efforts of this Government to reduce tensions have, as you know, aroused much criticism from certain quarters in this country. But neither such criticism nor the opposition of any sector of our society will be allowed to determine the policies of this Government. In particular, I have neither the intention nor the desire to invade Cuba . . . "

4/15/1963 A memo prepared by John McCone analyzing the situation in Cuba reads: "Castro's talks with (James) Donovan have been mild in nature, conciliatory and reasonably frank. Of greater significance is Dr. Vallejo's private statements to Donovan that Castro realizes he must find a rapprochement with the United States if he is to succeed in building a viable Cuba. Apparently Castro does not know how to go about this, therefore the subject has not been discussed with Donovan." (See also Memo from McCone to JFK Apr 10, '63, with same information. Central Intelligence Agency, DCI/McCone Files, JOB 80-B01285A, DCI's Meetings with the President, 1 April-30 June 1963. Secret; Eyes Only. A note on the top of the memorandum reads: "Read by the Pres 4/10 at 1:00 p.m. Note retained."; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Intelligence Material, Vol. V.)

4/21/1963 NYT reports that "Castro said today that the United States had abandoned plans for a second invasion of Cuba in favor or a plot to assassinate Cuban leaders."

In late April at Donovan's recommendation, Castro granted ABC reporter Lisa Howard an interview. (Schlesinger, Robert Kennedy) On her return from Cuba, Howard innocently briefed the CIA in detail on Castro's surprising openness toward Kennedy. She reported that when she asked Castro how a rapprochement between the United States and Cuba could be achieved, Castro said that " steps were already being taken. " Pressed further, he said, nodding toward Kennedy's initiative, that he considered " the U.S. limitation on exile raids to be a proper step toward accommodation. " Howard concluded from the ten-hour interview that Castro was "looking for a way to reach a rapprochement with the United States Government. " She said Castro also indicated, however, " that if a rapprochement was wanted President John F. Kennedy would have to make the first move. " (From Richard Helm's secret May 1, 1963, CIA Memorandum on " Interview o f U.S. Newswoman with Fidel Castro Indicating Possible Interest in Rapprochement with the United States," which was declassified on June 19, 1996. Peter Kornbluh posted the document as part of his " Electronic Briefing Book. ")
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 08:43:48 PM by TLR »