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


Washington, January 24, 1963.


Papers for NSC Executive Committee Meeting, January 25 at 4:00 p.m.

Attached are two revised papers "Summary of Coordinator's Recommendations" and "United States Policy Toward Cuba" which are being transmitted to members of the NSC Executive Committee for consideration at the meeting of the Committee on Friday, January 25 at 4:00 p.m. Also attached is a new page 8 for the paper entitled "United States Policy Toward the Cuban Brigade."(1) The other two papers transmitted on January 22 remain unchanged and will also be considered at the Friday meeting. They are: "United States Policy in Cuba in the Organization of American States"(2) and "Current Problems Concerning Cuba."(3)


Attachment 1

Memorandum From the Coordinator of Cuban Affairs (Cottrell) to the Executive Committee of the National Security Council

(Prepared for the Meeting of Friday, January 25, 1963, 4 p.m.)


Summary of Coordinator's Recommendations

1. U.S. Policy Objectives

The following should be the objectives of the U.S. with respect to Cuba:

a. Protecting the security of the United States and the other states of the Organization of American States by assuring that offensive weapons are not reintroduced into Cuba;

b. Removal of remaining Soviet forces from Cuba;

c. Preventing Cuba from taking any aggressive military action against other Caribbean states;

d. Reducing the capabilities of the Castro regime to direct and support subversion and insurrection within the other OAS states;

e. Encouraging and supporting any developments within Cuba that offer the possibility of divorcing the Cuban Government from its support of Sino-Soviet Communist purposes;

f. Encouraging and supporting any developments within Cuba that offer the possibility of replacing the Cuban Government with a regime that would break with the Sino-Soviet Bloc, it being understood that our ultimate objective is replacement of the regime by one fully compatible with the goals of the United States;

g. Maximizing the cost to the Soviet Union of supporting the Castro regime;

h. Maximizing the political isolation of the Castro regime from other Free World states, and especially from states of the OAS. Whenever possible, U.S. actions against Cuba should be multilateral, preferably based upon the Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Pact) or on resolutions adopted by the Organization of American States. The newly-won hemispheric solidarity on the Cuban issue should not be jeopardized by seeking OAS actions of marginal value and which might split the hemisphere;

i. Being prepared to meet, with the employment of appropriate U.S. combat elements and/or logistical support, the wide variety of military contingencies that may arise from pursuit of the foregoing objectives; and

j. Producing comprehensive intelligence related to the above objectives.

2. Supporting Actions

Actions in support of these objectives and their time sequence are set forth in the attached paper entitled "U.S. Policy Toward Cuba." They include the four point shipping regulations, OAS sanctions, NATO action to include Cuba on the COCOM list, and approaches to Free World industrial nations to eliminate sale and shipment of critical items from their Cuban trade. Existing programs will be reviewed and further recommendations made as necessary. Planning for the variety of contingencies related to Cuba will be undertaken at once.

In addition to current covert programs such as intelligence collection, recruitment of Cuban officials, support of the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC) and other exile activities, infiltration of propaganda materials, and radio broadcasts, the following are recommended for approval and immediate initiation:

a. intensified covert collection of intelligence within Cuba, especially within the regime;

b. support of Cuban exiles who are seeking to return the 26 of July Movement to its original aims.

Note: It should be noted that approval of the foregoing actions may impair our ability to accomplish objective b. (removal of remaining Soviet forces from Cuba) because taking these actions could provide the U.S.S.R. with rationale for maintaining its forces in Cuba. Nevertheless, approval of the foregoing actions is recommended.

3. Cuban Brigade

Brigade leaders should be induced to accept a specially tailored civilian and military program for Brigade members.

The Brigade should be disbanded as a military unit and individual members urged to accept civilian training or to enlist in the existing U.S. military program for Cubans and join a Brigade reserve unit thereafter. Our moral obligation would be discharged to the Brigade members and creation of a privileged class in the exile community would be avoided.

Attachment 2

Memorandum From the Coordinator of Cuban Affairs (Cottrell) to the Executive Committee of the National Security Council

(Prepared for the Meeting of Friday, January 25, 1963, 4 p.m.)


United States Policy Toward Cuba

United States Policy

On November 20, the President set forth the broad guidelines of United States policy with respect to Cuba in the following words:

"As for our part, if all offensive weapons systems are removed from Cuba and kept out of the hemisphere in the future, under adequate verification and safeguards, and if Cuba is not used for the export of aggressive communist purposes, there will be peace in the Caribbean. And, as I said in September, 'we shall neither initiate nor permit aggression in this hemisphere.'

"We will not, of course, abandon the political, economic and other efforts of this hemisphere to halt subversion from Cuba, nor our purpose and hope that the Cuban people shall some day be truly free. But these policies are very different from any intent to launch a military invasion of the island."

[Here follows a list of objectives identical to that in Attachment 1.]

Supporting Actions

A. To achieve the foregoing objectives, the U.S. Government will be prepared to increase the political economic, psychological and military pressures, as appropriate opportunities present themselves or can be created. The actions listed below are those requiring immediate approval and would be initiated in the sequence set forth below. Recommendations for further actions based upon the re-examination of existing programs and upon the development of new programs related to the foregoing objectives will be forthcoming.

1. In addition to current covert program, such as intelligence collection, recruitment of Cuban officials as agents, radio broadcasts, support of the Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC) and other exile group activities and infiltration of propaganda materials:

a. Intensify covert collection of intelligence within Cuba, especially within the regime;

b. Support the efforts of certain Cuban exiles, who are associated with the original aims of the 26 of July Movement and who believe that the Castro regime can be overthrown from within in order that they may: 1) cause a split in the leadership of the regime at the national or provincial levels; and 2) create a political base of popular opposition to the regime; and, 3) secure intelligence;

c. Assist Cuban exiles in developing a capability to launch balloons carrying leaflets and other propaganda materials from international waters into Cuba. Launch propaganda balloons after an operational capability has been established.

2. With respect to the actions listed below, the results of Mr. Donovan's imminent negotiations with Fidel Castro for freeing the 20-odd American prisoners should first be ascertained. If these actions were taken before the conclusion of the negotiations they could jeopardize the release of the Americans.

3. If these negotiations fail, or when the prisoners are recovered, proceed on the following timetable:

4. Inform NATO and OAS 24 hours in advance of the proclamation of the four point shipping orders. (The proclamation calls for the orders to go into effect in five days.) These orders:

a. Close United States ports to all vessels of a country whose vessels engage in carrying arms to Cuba;

b. Close United States ports to any ship which has carried goods in the Bloc-Cuba trade within 120 days of the time it seeks to enter a United States port;

c. Prohibit all United States flag ships and all ships owned by United States nationals or residents from entering any ports of Cuba and from carrying any goods bound to or from Cuba; and

d. Prohibit any cargo sponsored by any department of the United States from being shipped on vessels owned or controlled by persons who own or control vessels engaged in the trade between Cuba and the Soviet Bloc.

5. At the termination of the U.S. Chiefs of Mission Conference--January 28-30, or at a later date dependent on the Donovan mission, Assist-ant Secretary Martin, or another representative of the President will visit the Presidents of Chile, Mexico and Brazil to convey to them the importance President Kennedy attaches to maintaining hemispheric solidarity by their supporting the following resolutions:

a. An OAS resolution condemning Cuba for its actions which continue to endanger the peace, deploring refusal to allow inspection, condemning the presence of Soviet troops, recommending continued surveillance and continued vigilance against subversive activities, and terminating the invocation of the Rio Treaty on the missile crisis, together with

b. An OAS resolution which would recommend 1) extension of arms embargo to all items of trade except food and medicine (fall back position: extension of arms embargo to all strategic items); 2) prohibition of ships of OAS member states from transporting embargoed items and deny use of ports to ships in Bloc-Cuba trade; 3) denial of Soviet over-flights and transit rights for flights to Cuba; and 4) a call on other states to take similar action.

6. After obtaining the maximum possible support of the key countries of Mexico, Chile and Brazil, the other OAS members will be approached in Washington and in their respective capitals, simultaneously. It should be possible for this consultation and OAS action on the resolutions to be completed within ten days. Prior to formal COAS approval of the resolutions, we will inform our NATO allies of the impending OAS action.

7. At the first NATO meeting after formal OAS action on the resolutions, we will request that NATO include Cuba on the list of countries to which shipment of COCOM list (strategic) items prohibited.

8. After NATO decision on our COCOM request, we will seek to get agreement from Free World industrial nations to prevent shipping of critical spare parts and equipment to Cuba, not on the COCOM list.

9. In addition to the four point shipping resolutions, and action under Section 107 of the Foreign Assistance Act, continue to press Free World nations to keep their shipping out of Bloc-Cuba trade.

B. Contingency Planning

New opportunities for accomplishing our objectives may arise either as a result of Bloc action in other parts of the world; as a result of aggressive moves (or isolated hostile actions) by the Castro-Communist regime itself; or as a result of uprisings of internal conflict within Cuba.

Our contingency planning, which will be undertaken immediately, should include preparations for increased multilateral and/or bilateral political and economical measures, large scale use of Cubans who are now inside Cuba; more extensive air activity including both high and low level flights primarily directed toward surveillance and collection of intelligence, and which may also have the effect of embarrassing the Castro government and keeping the Castro forces on continual alert; retaliatory measures, as appropriate, including the imposition of a POL blockade; harassment of Cuban officials in other countries; severance of communications to Cuba; major acts of sabotage on shipping destined for Cuba and on key installations to Cuba; intensive naval patrols; and, ultimately, the use of U.S. military force. To the extent feasible, U.S. military forces employed against Cuba should be accompanied by U.S. militarily-trained free Cubans and by the armed forces of those Latin American nations desirous of participating in the U.S. effort.

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/1-2463. No classification marking.

(1) The memorandum on the Cuban Brigade is in the Supplement with the addition of the new page 8. Back

(2) Attached, but not printed. Back

(3) Not printed; see the Supplement. Back

(4) These typed initials appear above Brubeck's typed signature. Back

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