The Cuban Missile Crisis
Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to the Under Secretary of State (Ball)


Washington, December 6, 1962.

We agreed that I would send you a summary of the informal comments made on the draft memorandum on "Future Policy toward Cuba"(1) which was discussed in the Executive Committee on Tuesday, December 4th.(2)

First, it was generally agreed that there should be a reorganization of our machinery for Cuban action. In particular, there seemed to be general support for the idea of an Office of Cuban Affairs which could be public and above board, and which might do a more effective job with free Cubans and others concerned with the hopes for post-Castro Cuba. You and I agreed after the meeting that you would explore the availability of a particularly well-qualified individual to head this office.

With respect to the draft memorandum itself, the following general comments were made:

1. The memorandum is correct in recommending that no general policy be approved or set in motion until the current discussions with the Soviets on Cuba have developed somewhat further.

2. The proposed action in the OAS should not be framed sharply until we know more clearly what kind of resolution is likely to obtain unanimous or nearly unanimous support. Our current posture in the OAS is so strong that we should not weaken it for marginal advantages.

3. Paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the draft statement seemed approximately correct; paragraph 7 needed further development in order to distinguish desirable from undesirable travel to Cuba; paragraph 8 should make it clearer that it is Cuban funds whose transfer needs to be surveyed and controlled if possible; paragraphs 9 and 10 need to be spelled out carefully in cooperation with the other agencies primarily concerned.

The covert annex was considered only very briefly, but the preliminary sense of the meeting was that covert activities should be concentrated upon improvement in the collection of intelligence for the immediate future, and that we should not plan early sabotage activities.

Other items in the covert annex were not properly considered.

McG. Bundy


Draft Memorandum for President Kennedy


Future Policy toward Cuba


Our ultimate objective with respect to Cuba remains the overthrow of the Castro regime and its replacement by one sharing the aims of the Free World. Our immediate objectives are to weaken the regime; frustrate its subversive intentions; further reduce its influence in the Hemisphere; and increase the cost to the Bloc of sustaining the regime (or split the regime off from the Bloc).

A policy of containing, undermining, discrediting and isolating the Castro regime through the exercise of all feasible diplomatic economic, psychological and other pressures will achieve these immediate objectives and could create propitious conditions in Cuba for further advance toward our ultimate objective.

Courses of Action

The following overt(4) courses of action should be undertaken:

1. OAS action: condemning the Castro regime for its duplicity; extending the trade embargo to all items except foodstuffs, medicines and medical supplies; further limiting air and sea communications between the Hemisphere and Cuba; authorizing air and other surveillance; and warning Cuba against continued promotion of subversive and sabotage activities.

2. Establishment of Caribbean security arrangements through ministerial level meetings of the Caribbean countries for the purposes of reaching agreement on increasing the intensity of surveillance of coastal and international waters; increased surveillance and control of land boundaries; increased control over subversive activities within national boundaries; systematic exchange of intelligence information; and, development of procedures for coordination of military contingency planning for emergencies.

3. Application of the four-point shipping restrictions re Cuba.

4. Inclusion by NATO of Cuba on the list of countries to which shipment of COCOM list (strategic) items is prohibited.

5. Discussion of Free World industrial nations from shipping crucial spare parts and equipment to Cuba, not on the COCOM list.

6. Persuasion of non-Bloc nations to limit their airlines service to Cuba and to withhold transit rights to Soviet aircraft serving Cuba.

7. Persuasion of Latin American nations to limit the travel of their nationals to Cuba and to intensify measures to prevent agents and groups of international communism from carrying on their subversive activities.

8. Persuasion of appropriate OAS organs to study urgently the transfer of funds to the other American Republics for subversive purposes, the plan of subversive propaganda and the utilization of Cuba as a base for training in subversive techniques; and to make recommendations to the member states regarding counter-measures.

9. Maintenance of currently enhanced VOA medium wave facilities beamed to Cuba and adoption by VOA of a more aggressive line toward Cuba.

10. Facilitation of Cuban exiles' entry into the United States Armed Forces for training, and formation of reserve units thereafter.


We should surface our program of isolating and weakening Cuba when it becomes clear that our discussions on Cuba with the Soviets are unlikely to be fruitful. Actions with respect to Cuba which may contribute substantially to creating a situation calling for United States military action should be withheld until the Soviet combat units have been removed from Cuba or efforts to persuade the USSR to remove them have failed.

Annex A(5)

Covert Courses of Action

1. Support fully the efforts of certain Cuban exiles, who are associated with the original aims of the 26 July movement and who believe that the Castro regime can be overthrown from within, in order that they may: a) cause a split in the leadership of the regime at the national or provincial levels; and, b) create a political base of popular opposition to the regime.

2. Continue to support the Cuban Revolutionary Council in its efforts to maintain a degree of order and unity in the Cuban exile community.

3. Assist selected Cuban exile groups to encourage the Cuban people to engage in minor acts of sabotage.

4. Utilize selected Cuban exiles to sabotage key Cuban installations in such a manner that the action can plausibly be attributed to Cubans in Cuba.

5. Sabotage Cuban cargo and shipping, and Bloc cargo and shipping to Cuba.

6. Encourage the defection of Cuban diplomats, officials and delegates abroad.

7. Continue to assist and guide Cuban exiles in their radio broadcasts to Cuba.

8. Encourage and assist Cuban exiles in developing a capability to launch balloons carrying leaflets and other propaganda materials from international waters to Cuba.

9. Develop more fully a clandestine "Voice of Free Cuba" radio capability either in Cuba or from a submarine in international waters.

10. Develop more fully a capability for covertly intruding upon Cuban television broadcasts.

11. Unless future developments warrant change, emphasize the following themes in covert propaganda output: a) the need to return to the original aims of the Cuban revolution; b) the Castro regime's betrayal of these aims; and, c) Castro, as a pawn in the Soviet expansionist game, having subordinated Cuba's national interests to those of the USSR.

12. Assist, through subsidy if necessary, non-Bloc importers of Cuban sugar to find alternative sources of supply.

1 The draft memorandum printed as an attachment was attached to a copy of this memorandum in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Executive Committee, Meetings, Vol. III, 33-37, 12/6/62-12/17/62. Back

2 Discussion of the draft memorandum was not included in the summary record, see Document 226. Back

3 See footnote 1. Top Secret. Drafted on December 3, although no drafter is indicated. Back

4 For the program of covert actions please see Annex A. [Footnote in the source text. A typed note in the margin of the source text reads: "This annex will be circulated to ExCom members at a meeting called to discuss the memo."] Back

5 Top Secret. Drafted on December 1 although no drafter is indicated. Back

Source: Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, ExCom Meetings, December 4, 1962. Top Secret; Sensitive.

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