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Executive Committee of NSC Meeting--10:00 a.m.--29 November
McCone reported on the Cuban Memorandum of November 29, reading from the attached summary;(1) on the memorandum "Phasing of the Soviet Military Deployment to Cuba"(2) reading from the attached pages 2 and 2a; and the report "Deployment and Withdrawal of Soviet Missiles and Other Significant Weapons in Cuba",(3) reading from memos [paragraphs] 3a, 3b and 3c; and made reference to the memorandum on "Soviet Policy in the Aftermath of the Cuban Crisis"; and the memorandum covering the background and character of Mikoyan.(4)
The President questioned DCI at length concerning the publicity, particularly the article in the New York Mirror and the CBS broadcast by Oxley, both of which indicated that offensive missiles were known to be stored in Cuba. DCI emphasized in discussion that it was quite impossible to prove that offensive missiles had not been in caves, however all intelligence of every kind--photographic, agent reports, refugee reports, etc.--convinced DCI that this was most improbable. DCI and McNamara both commented on the various types of missiles remaining in Cuba and stated that without doubt some of them are in caves.
Rusk reported on the Mikoyan attitude as covered by the attached memo addressed to the Secretary of State(5) and indicated that State felt that Mikoyan would take about the same position with the President in the afternoon. McNamara requested Committee authorization of two high-level flights per day. He requested no low-level flights. Taylor agreed. Rusk argued for low-level, principally for political reasons and fear that failure to fly would give Castro an opportunity for propaganda. McNamara indicated that the COMOR paper passed by USIB on November 21st(6) demanded excessive coverage in the light of conditions which have developed in the last week or ten days. Bundy proposed to write a memorandum expressing the Committee's requirements for reconnaissance and then the DCI would use this as a directive to the COMOR Committee and USIB for guidance in developing a new reconnaissance program designed to meet Executive Committee needs.
Action: DCI suggested to General Carter that CIA study this problem and develop a draft of an Executive Committee Directive and a reconnaissance program which would meet the directive and submit both to me for discussion by Bundy and others.
The President requested a development of a long range plan for Cuba. He spoke in terms of 6 months or a year. State indicated that such papers had been prepared and would be put in form for submission to the Executive Committee.
The President then brought up the question of publicity and various articles which are being written on the Cuban episode, referring particularly to an article in Reader's Digest by Mr. Daniels and in Look Magazine by Mr. Knebel. Apparently both of these writers, particularly Daniels, is following the Keating line that considerable volume of information was in the hands of the Administration prior to October 22nd and that the Administration refused to accept positive information on offensive missiles. There followed a discussion of the over-flight policies in Cuba and an emphatic denial was expressed by various members of the Executive Committee that any flight requested by CIA or NRO during September had been denied. DCI took issue with these statements, stating that it was his understanding that the Administration wished Cuban over-flights program to avoid the possibility of a "U-2 incident". This caused CIA and COMOR Committee to program September flights so that planes would not be engaged by operational SAM sites. McCone stated that this was, in his opinion, an error as those responsible for planning reconnaissance should have insisted upon over-flying areas protected by SAMs in order to determine what was going on. He stated this was not done during September and, indeed, was not finally agreed upon until after a rather heated discussion at Special Group meeting on October 4th which was followed by a further meeting on October 9th, at which time the October 14th flight was authorized. DCI stated that he had had some trouble defending our September program before the Killian Board and sharp questioning by Mr. Clark Clifford had brought out the difficulty of explaining the lapse of 40 days in programming an aerial photography which would produce a complete mosaic of Cuba.
It was decided that all press contact with feature writers should be confined to Mr. Bundy and the Attorney General and that our respective organizations should be advised not to discuss any details of Administration activity in August, September and October with such feature writers. A memorandum is being circulated in CIA to this effect.
The President left the meeting.
There followed a brief discussion of the Mongoose program. DCI stated he felt future activity should be restricted to intelligence gathering but this should be carried on in a most intense manner and that CIA was prepared to present an operational plan which would involve refugee interrogation at Opa Laka, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] and elsewhere, and an intense program with infiltrated agents, the use of Cuban in-place defectors and very active operation with third country liaison. It was decided that Mr. Helms should present this program at the earliest moment and DCI was asked to call the meeting.
DCI also stated that the form of Mongoose organization should be modified and this was agreed, but no new organization form was discussed.
John A. McCone(7)
1 Reference is to SC No. 11211/63, "The Crisis: USSR/Cuba, Information as of 060029 November 1962," November 29. (Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, CIA-Cuba) No summary was found attached. See the Supplement. Back
Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI/McCone Files, Job 80-B01285A, Meetings with the President, 1962-31 December 1963. Top Secret. Drafted by McCone.