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Minutes of Meeting of the Special Group (Augmented) on Operation Mongoose, 26 October 1962
Mr. McNamara, Mr. Gilpatric, General Taylor, General Lansdale, General Johnson; the Attorney General; Mr. Johnson, Mr. Martin; Mr. Bundy; Mr. McCone, Mr. Harvey; Mr. Wilson
1. The meeting began with a discussion of the considerably-increased activity in the dispatch, and preparation for dispatch, of agent teams. As a result of this discussion, it was agreed that all plans for dispatch should be suspended pending further examination; instructions were issued during the course of the meeting designed to recall the three teams already on the way.
It was agreed that the first order of business with regard to these teams is to examine in detail the requirements toward which they could contribute. General Lansdale will arrange to get CIA into contact with: (a) General Carroll, to examine what military requirements such agents could service; (b) similarly, the State Department for political intelligence requirements; (c) USIA for requirements peculiar to that Agency. After this examination, it will then be decided what the best use of these agent assets actually should be.
2. Mr. McCone and Mr. Harvey said during the course of the discussion on agent teams, that the action taken had represented a unilateral decision by CIA and was not in response to specific military requirements. CIA had felt that this was within its sphere of responsibility, and particularly with respect to the first three teams had considered that it was a continuation of previously-approved operations. Mr. McCone commented that internal security in Cuba is now far more stringent than it was two weeks ago, thereby making agent operations much more difficult; he felt, therefore, that agent activity on this scale will only be justified if the responsible departments specifically require it for intelligence purposes.
In this connection, General Taylor brought out that the Chiefs had approved the use of submarines for agent dispatch but had not been asked to review the operation in broader context. The Chiefs had concluded, however, that no revolt should be stimulated unless and until the U.S. is ready to support it and that the military establishment does not wish to take over sabotage and similar operations at this time, although it should be prepared to do so if an invasion should be mounted. Mr. McCone agreed that it is possible that as the situation develops, CIA Cuban operations might move under military control, but that such action is not indicated at this time.
3. Mr. Harvey made the point that the proposed agent dispatches would not use up all existing assets. He said that in the event of invasion, a sizable number of Cubans could be trained quickly.
4. The Attorney General and General Lansdale emphasized that the Cubans are entirely prepared to make the necessary sacrifices if they are in support of an approved plan. The Cubans do want, however, assurances that such activities are in fact approved at a high level.
5. Mr. Bundy emphasized the importance of planning for the use of Cubans in political and civil activities during and after any military action. He felt that there should be established within the government some sort of "Office of Free Cuban Affairs," which probably should be placed within the Department of State. The activities of this office would be distinct from General Lansdale's operations but would be closely related to them. He pointed out that top priority should be given to selecting a man to head such an office. Mr. Bundy also said that he thought a subcommittee of the NSC Executive Committee should be established to deal with Mongoose affairs.
6. Mr. McNamara thought that Mongoose in the short-term should be considered in the context of (a) providing support for action designed to get rid of the missiles, and (b) support for a possible invasion.
7. Specific discussion took place on points raised in the paper distributed at the meeting, as follows:
a. CIA should continue to develop the balloon propaganda facilities, although it was recognized that by the target date of 1 December this capability might no longer be needed because of other methods of delivery.
b. No major acts of sabotage should be undertaken at this time. This decision will be reviewed in about a week.
c. General Lansdale should develop further plans to "help the Cubans to help themselves." Mr. Morales-Carrion should be brought into this planning.
d. Political planning for the post-Castro period will be assigned to the "Office for Free Cuban Affairs."
e. Establishment of USIA's new 50 KW transmitter in the Florida Keys should be expedited.
8. It was reiterated that General Lansdale is the focal point for all Mongoose activities, that he is charged with their overall management and that he should be kept informed of all significant plans and activities in connection with the project.
Thomas A. Parrott(1)
Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Special Group (Augmented). Top Secret; Eyes Only. The time of the meeting is from McCone's account, which is reproduced in part in CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962, pp. 319-321.