The Cuban Missile Crisis
National Security Action Memorandum No. 208


Washington, December 6, 1962.


The Director of Central Intelligence


Cuban Overflights

The President has approved the attached Guidelines for the Planning of the Cuban Overflights and would like to have an estimate of the adequacy of such a system of intelligence collection to meet the criteria set forth, on the assumption that it is supplemented by energetic collection of information by all other available means.

McG. B.


Washington, December 4, 1962.


This memorandum indicates the kinds of information the United States Government now needs to obtain with respect to the situation in Cuba, from the point of view of overall policy.

1. The United States Government has a high priority need for evidence of the deployment of offensive weapons systems in Cuba.

2. The United States has a priority need for continuing and reliable information with respect to the general order of magnitude, deployment and state of readiness of Soviet military units and installations in Cuba.

3. The United States Government has a need for continued information on the general situation in Cuba--political, military, and economic--but it is assumed that overflight contributions to this end will be by-products of missions undertaken in fulfillment of the needs in paragraphs 1 and 2 above.

4. The United States Government is prepared to use both low-level and high-level reconnaissance, but it is desired that where practicable, necessary intelligence be obtained by a regular schedule of high-level flights, with low-level missions called for on the basis of specific indications of a target of special interest.

Source: Department of State, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM 208. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Information copies were sent to the other members of the Executive Committee.

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