Cuban Missle Crisis
Memorandum of Discussion With the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)


Washington, October 5, 1962, 5:15 p.m.

1. McCone reviewed details of the Donovan negotiations, discussions with the President, Attorney General, Eisenhower, the decisions not to approach Congressional leadership, the discussion with Senator Javits, and the final report from Donovan. Bundy expressed general agreement.

2. At the October 4th meeting of the Special Group Mongoose(1) was discussed in some detail as was the meeting with Carter, Lansdale, et al. in DCI's office on that day. McCone stated there was a feeling in CIA and Defense that the "activist policy" which founded the Mongoose operation was gone and that while no specific operational activities had been (refused) the amount of "noise"from minor incidents such as the sugar, the students firing on the Havana Hotel and other matters and the extreme caution expressed by State had led to this conclusion. More importantly, however, the decisions to restrict U-2 flights had placed the United States Intelligence Community in a position where it could not report with assurance the development of offensive capabilities in Cuba. McCone stated he felt it most probable that Soviet-Castro operations would end up with an established offensive capability in Cuba including MRBMs. McCone stated he thought this a probability rather than a mere possibility. Bundy took issue stating that he felt the Soviets would not go that far, that he was satisfied that no offensive capability would be installed in Cuba because of its world-wide effects and therefore seemed relaxed over the fact that the Intelligence Community cannot produce hard information on this important subject. McCone said that Bundy's viewpoint was reflected by many in the Intelligence Community, perhaps a majority, but he just did not agree and furthermore did not think the United States could afford to take such a risk.

3. Bundy then philosophized on Cuba stating that he felt that our policy was not clear, our objectives not determined and therefore our efforts were not productive. He discussed both the Mongoose operations and the Rostow "Track Two".(2) Bundy was not critical of either or of the Lansdale operations. It was obvious that he was not in sympathy with a more active role such as those discussed at 5412 on Thursday(3) as he felt none of them would bring Castro down nor would they particularly enhance U.S. position of world leadership. Bundy seemed inclined to support the Track Two idea and also inclined (though he was not specific) to play down the more active Lansdale operation. Bundy had not talked to Lansdale but obviously had received some of the "static" that is being passed around in Washington. (Before) McCone in reporting on the discussions at Thursday's 5412 meeting repeated the views of the President and expressed by the Attorney General it was agreed that the whole Government policy with reference to Cuba must be resolved promptly as basic to further actions on our part. In general, Bundy's views were that we should either make a judgment that we would have to go in militarily (which seemed to him intolerable) or alternatively we would have to learn to live with Castro, and his Cuba and adjust our policies accordingly.

4. McCone then elaborated on his views of the evolution of Soviet-Castro military capability stating he felt defense was just phase one, phase two would be followed by various offensive capabilities and indeed the existing defensive capabilities such as the (MIG) 21s a very definite offensive capability against nearby American cities and installations. McCone stated that he thought that the establishment of a very expensive defensive mechanism could not be the ultimate objective of the Soviets or Castro and therefore the objective was (a) to establish an offensive base or (b) to insert sufficient Soviet specialists and military leaders to take Cuba away from Castro and establish it as a true Soviet controlled satellite. McCone stated that he felt there were only two courses open--one was to take military action at the appropriate time or secondly to pursue an effort to split Castro off from the Communists and for this reason he, McCone, had vigorously supported the Donovan mission as it is the only link that we have to the Castro hierarchy at the present time. Note in this connection it might be well to study the evolution of the Toure experience in Guinea when the Communists moved in and captured all elements of the Government and economy and forced Toure to expel the Ambassador and try to rectify the situation. There may be a parallel here.

5. McCone reviewed the Eisenhower discussions. Bundy read the memorandum covering these discussions.(4) Bundy stated that Adenauer did not express the concern of the U.S. policy reflected by Eisenhower and reported in the memorandum.

6. Bundy rejected the idea of regular NSC meetings stating that every President has to organize his Government as he desires and that the Eisenhower pattern was not necessarily adaptable to the Kennedy type of administration. McCone stated that if this is the case he intended to request occasional NSC meetings to review specific estimates or other intelligence situations and the next one would be a report and discussion of the estimate of Soviet air defense capabilities. Bundy agreed.

7. Bundy rejected the idea (calling) the several Special Groups 5412, CIA, Mongoose, and North Vietnam together feeling it was better to keep them separated. He also rejected the idea that the visiting commissions such as the Byroade Team and the Draper Team should report back to the Special Group (CI) feeling it was appropriate that they report to the President, (through) the Secretary of State, with consultation with the Special Group (CI). It was agreed that we would have a further discussion over the weekend.

John A. McCone(5)


1 See Document 8. Back

2 See Document 14. Back

3 McCone is apparently referring to the Special Group (the successor of the 5412 Committee) meeting on October 4; see Document 8. Back

4 Not further identified. Back

5 Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature. Back

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI/McCone Files, Job 80-B01285A, Memos for the Record. Secret. Drafted by McCone. Also reproduced in CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962, pp. 115-117.

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