Cuban Missle Crisis
Memorandum From the Director of Intelligence and Research (Hilsman) to the Under Secretary of State (Ball)


Washington, October 2, 1962.


Summary of Recent Soviet Military Assistance to Cuba (1)

Since July when the volume of Soviet military shipments to Cuba suddenly increased very substantially, 85 shiploads of various military items, supplies, and personnel have arrived. More ships are en route.

In part the Soviet shipments have consisted of types of weapons previously delivered to the Cuban armed forces including more tanks, self-propelled guns and other ground force equipment. The major tonnage however has been devoted to supplying SA-2 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) together with all of the related gear and equipment necessary for their installation and operation. To date 15 SAM sites have been established in the island. We estimate the total may eventually reach 25.

In addition 3 (possibly 4) missile sites of a different type have been identified. These sites are similar to known coastal defense missile sites and are believed to accommodate Soviet anti-shipping missiles with a range of 20-35 miles. We expect that several more such sites will be installed.

Cuba is now estimated to have 60 older type MIG jet aircraft plus at least one advanced jet interceptor (MIG-21) recently received and probably several more in process of assembly. The MIG-21 is usually equipped with infrared air-to-air missiles. We estimate that the total of MIG-21s in Cuba may eventually reach 25-30.

Sixteen "Komar" class guided-missile patrol boats which carry two short range missiles (11-17 miles) were included in the new shipments.

About 4,500 Soviet military specialists have arrived including construction men and technicians.

If the SAM sites are to be operated solely by Cuban personnel six months to a year of training will be required.

There is a considerable amount of other new equipment which has not been precisely identified but it is believed to include a large quantity of electronic gear.

1 According to a February 21, 1963, letter sent by Ball to Congressman George H. Mahon, this memorandum was prepared at Ball's request to prepare him for his testimony on October 3 before the House Select Committee on Export Control. (Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Hearings Before the Committee on Export Controls) Ball noted in his letter to Mahon that, in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis, members of the committee had questioned the accuracy of the statements he had made with respect to the flow of Soviet military equipment and missiles to Cuba. He provided Mahon with a copy of the October 2 memorandum from Hilsman in order to demonstrate that his testimony was based upon the information available to him at the time. A copy of Ball's testimony before the Committee on Export Control is ibid. Back

Source: Kennedy Library, Hilsman Papers, Cuba, 1962. No classification marking. No drafting information appears on the source text.

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