Jump to content
The Education Forum

David Talbot: Allen Dulles, CIA and Rise of America's Secret Government


Recommended Posts

I don't agree that the plug was pulled on the air raid at the Bay of Pigs and I do not agree that Bundy and Rusk therefore were culpable. I disagree with Prouty on this.

On April 15 '61 an air raid on 4 air fields took out all but 4 of Castro's planes, right?

I devoted an entire chapter in Destiny Betrayed to this event entitled "Bay of Pigs: Kennedy vs. Dulles" and its about 23 pages long. Rex Bradford liked it so much he excerpted it at MFF.

The D-Day air strikes were never a part of the operation plans.

There were no air-strikes on April 15?

These air strikes were contingent upon attaining a beachhead and launching them from the Cuban mainland. This is why, when JFK rejected the first plan, the CIA came back with a new site that did have a natural air field. In fact, as the CIA memo reads, "The beachhead area contains one and possibly two airstrips...." (p. 37) And they admit that the proviso is that D Day air strikes could only be launched from inside Cuba. (p. 45)

I could swear I read somewhere that on April 15, 1961 8 B-26s were dressed up to look like Cuban B-26s and raided Castro's air fields.

No?

Both Bissell and Cabell knew this. In fact, in the Taylor Report, it is revealed that Bundy had told Bissell about this the day before, so there could be no misunderstanding. (ibid, p. 46) This is why, as Larry Hancock describes the scene, when Rusk gave the two CIA managers the opportunity to talk to JFK about it, they knew that their pleas would fall on deaf ears; since Kennedy made it clear that unless a beachhead was maintained there would be no air strikes. He also said in public, about nine days before, there would be no direct US intervention in Cuba.

Right. There was no contingency planning by either the military or the CIA for direct US intervention.

There was no one in the US foreign policy/military establishment who planned for direct US action.

No one to advocate for such a course.

Not one adviser.

Hell, even Dulles was in Puerto Rico giving a speech and sucking down daquiris during the BOP.

In the notes of his confessional aborted Harper's magazine article, Dulles admits he did not buy into this ban. Found at Princeton, the notes reveal that Dulles thought that, once Kennedy saw the mission as failing, he would adapt and order direct American intervention.

Why on earth would Dulles actually think that at the time?

By going to Puerto Rico Dulles deprived the operation of its one direct line of communication to Kennedy.

Dulles took himself out of the action while expecting Kennedy to flip out over failure and do something no one else had recommended much less planned for?

And if this Hail Mary failed -- Dulles put his own ass on the line to take the fall.

I think it more likely Dulles got the shaft at the BOP and needed to rationalize it otherwise.

Which, as Nixon said, he would have done. But even in Hunt's book on the matter, Give Us this Day, he admits that Cabell balked at sending in a D Day air strike since he knew Kennedy had banned them unless a beachhead was attained. But on the second day, according to both Lyman Kirkpatrick and Peter Kornbluh, someone at CIA did authorize air strikes. They did not do the job since there was a fog that came in.

Then why did Cabell and Bissell go to Rusk to okay D2 airstrikes only to be told JFK's policy was no.

Today, its pretty obvious through Dulles' notes, and a 1960 CIA memo to Bissell, that the designers knew the invasion was hopeless. (ibid, pgs. 44 and 47)

One gets a different impression listening to Greg Burnham.

But they were planning that Kennedy's youth and inexperience would cause him to cave and take back his pledge. He did not. Just as he never wavered in his commitment not to send combat troops into Vietnam. Just as he refused to give in during the Missile Crisis when almost everyone was telling him to bomb the missile silos.

Kennedy realized he had been lied to. Since, contrary to what the CIA said, there were no Cuban nationals who defected and there were no guerrilla groups to link up with. As one witness told the Taylor Commission, if you were not expecting massive defections, then what were the 30,000 extra rifles for? (ibid, p. 42)

RFK was stupefied by the answers Allen Dulles gave during the Taylor hearings. (ibid) They were such utter BS that the Kennedy brothers concluded shortly thereafter that the CIA had tried to dupe him into using Arleigh Burke's naval convoy, about 90 miles away, to bail out the mission.

After both investigations were completed--Taylor's and Kirkpatrick's--on the advice of Joe Kennedy, RFK got in contact with Lovett. (ibid, pgs. 48-49) The father had served on a CIA oversight committee with Lovett and David Bruce in the fifties Lovett told JFK that they had tried to get Allen Dulles fired more than once during Eisenhower's administration. They could not since his bother protected him. That was not the case now, and JFK should make a clean sweep since he had the goods on them.

He did. But what I think what Talbot is going to say is Dulles won out in the end.

Edited by Cliff Varnell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 252
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

No I won't spare you. This thread is about its title.

It should be kept that way.

If you or Greg want to open up one entitled, say "Parallels between JFK murder and Tate/LaBianca case", do so.

As for your ideas about Atkins, having read about five books on that case, and talked to more than one authority, I can tell you that your ideas on her are, to put it mildly, out there.

And that is the last word I will write on that in this thread.

Five books and one authority doesn't cut it.

Greatest authority on Charles Manson would be the guy who spent 10 years in a jail cell with him.

Track down the documentary with that guy in it ..then get back to me.

Manson is an instinctive follower who never shuts up.

Edited by Cliff Varnell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

After both investigations were completed--Taylor's and Kirkpatrick's--on the advice of Joe Kennedy, RFK got in contact with Lovett. (ibid, pgs. 48-49) The father had served on a CIA oversight committee with Lovett and David Bruce in the fifties Lovett told JFK that they had tried to get Allen Dulles fired more than once during Eisenhower's administration. They could not since his bother protected him. That was not the case now, and JFK should make a clean sweep since he had the goods on them.

***

Robert Lovett recommended Dean Rusk for Sec of State.

According to Burnham, Rusk immediately started putting restrictions on the operation.

16 B26s were cut down to 8, making the D1 air strike far more dubious.

Why is it such a stretch to suspect Lovett had Rusk cripple the operation while still pushing it forward -- all to provide a reason to get rid of Allen D.?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cliff, as usual, its nice to know you like to avoid the latest declassified info on central events.

The information in my book is based on two major sources: the declassified Lyman Kirkpatrick IG Report as presented by Peter Kornbluh in the book Bay of Pigs Declassified, and the Taylor Commission Report. Those two works present the most direct information on what happened with the whole Bay of Pigs debacle. (Although, from my understanding, the CIA is still holding back one last section of the Kirkpatrick Report.)

In the former one can plainly see that D Day was not April 15th. D-Day was April 17th. So when I say D Day air strikes, I am not referring to the April 15th preliminary air raids. Is that really so difficult to understand--since they are 48 hours apart in the time continuum, I would not think so. Unless you are trying to obfuscate or lose a factual point.

Kennedy had resisted even having the preliminary air raids. For the simple reason that they would be difficult to deny responsibility for. And as every serious commentator notes, there were already reports that these planes were disguised American planes launched by the CIA--as Castro himself insisted they were. (Peter Wyden, Bay of Pigs, p. 185) But the more serious problem, from a tactical point of view was this: the original bomb damage assessment for the April 15th raid was exaggerated. They were not as effective as either planned or assessed afterwards. But further, along with other indications, Castro now knew that something was around the corner. So he went to high alert. (Wyden, pgs. 184-185)

Because of this failure with the April 15th raids, this is one reason why Bissell and Cabell decided to go to the White House. The problem was that Bundy had called Bissell on the 16th to remind him that there would be no air raids on D Day (the 17th) unless they were from a beachhead in Cuba. But further, on the 16th Kenendy had told Rusk and Stevenson that he had not signed onto any D Day air raids. (DiEugenio, p. 46) Therefore, on the night of the 16th, when Bissell and Cabell went to the White House, they realized there was no point in talking directly to Kennedy. Which Rusk invited them to do. (ibid)

The reason Kennedy felt this way was because of the pledge he had taken a few day earlier, that there would be no direct US intervention in Cuba. That is why the April 15th air strikes took place from Central America. But further, Kennedy--not Rusk-- had even cut back on the amount of planes to be used on the 15th! In fact, they were cut from 16 to 8. (Wyden, p. 170) This is how much JFK was resisting direct American involvement. Which in a larger sense was part of his whole philosophy against using American muscle in the Third World.

I don't think I can make this any more clear. If you want to somehow blend the 15th with the 17th, that is your business. Historically speaking though, this is nonsense.

As for contingency planning by US forces for direct American involvement, I have never read anything about this in either Kirkpatrick or Taylor. Which does not mean it did not exist. I have always suspected that Burke's nearby naval force was ready to enter the fray if Kennedy caved. Which he did not. Even though Burke asked him for permission to send in jet planes to knock Castro's Air Force down. (Kornbluh, p. 316)

As per Dulles not being there during the invasion, this had been planned by him well in advance. He thought if he canceled it, it would be another indication to Castro that something was on the way. Therefore Cabell and Bissell ran the operation. In my opinion, it would have made no difference to the outcome if Dulles had been there.

Your speculations about how somehow there was a subterranean conspiracy involving--of all people Lovett--in cahoots with Dean Rusk to make Allen Dulles a scapegoat in advance, I mean..what can I say? Except that extraordinary claims like that require extraordinary evidence. Please produce it.

But beyond that, this kind of musing somehow denies the later confessions by both Dulles and Bissell that they both expected Kennedy to relent and take back his pledge. This is called direct evidence--from the pens of the designers themselves. Evidently that is not good enough for you. In some weird way you want to make Dulles into a victim rather than a perp. In your world, should Kennedy have fired Rusk instead of Dulles?

BTW, I have always thought it interesting where Dulles went when he returned. He went to see Nixon, the guy he knew would have sent in the Navy in a flash. (ibid, p. 319) See, that is why the Bay of Pigs is such a key point in time. The CIA now knew just how different JFK really was from what had come before him. They would get further evidence of this a few months later when it was Kennedy who--against the advice of everyone else in the room-- objected to sending combat troops into Vietnam.

As per your ads for Greg, I am sure he appreciates them.

Edited by James DiEugenio
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cliff, as usual, its nice to know you like to avoid the latest declassified info on central events.

The information in my book is based on two major sources: the declassified Lyman Kirkpatrick IG Report as presented by Peter Kornbluh in the book Bay of Pigs Declassified, and the Taylor Commission Report. Those two works present the most direct information on what happened with the whole Bay of Pigs debacle. (Although, from my understanding, the CIA is still holding back one last section of the Kirkpatrick Report.)

In the former one can plainly see that D Day was not April 15th. D-Day was April 17th. So when I say D Day air strikes, I am not referring to the April 15th preliminary air raids. Is that really so difficult to understand--since they are 48 hours apart in the time continuum, I would not think so. Unless you are trying to obfuscate or lose a factual point.

It's not my fault you didn't make this distinction clear.

You're going to accuse me of obfuscation already?

I see your instinct for the cheap shot is still acute...

Kennedy had resisted even having the preliminary air raids. For the simple reason that they would be difficult to deny responsibility for. And as every serious commentator notes, there were already reports that these planes were disguised American planes launched by the CIA--as Castro himself insisted they were. (Peter Wyden, Bay of Pigs, p. 185) But the more serious problem, from a tactical point of view was this: the original bomb damage assessment for the April 15th raid was exaggerated. They were not as effective as either planned or assessed afterwards. But further, along with other indications, Castro now knew that something was around the corner. So he went to high alert. (Wyden, pgs. 184-185)

Okay, so there was an official approval of preliminary air strikes.

According to Burnham the initial plans involved a false flag attack by 16 B-26 but Dean Rusk ordered it cut down to 8.

Is it a mystery why the preliminary air strikes failed to wipe out Castro's planes?

Because of this failure with the April 15th raids, this is one reason why Bissell and Cabell decided to go to the White House. The problem was that Bundy had called Bissell on the 16th to remind him that there would be no air raids on D Day (the 17th) unless they were from a beachhead in Cuba. But further, on the 16th Kenendy had told Rusk and Stevenson that he had not signed onto any D Day air raids. (DiEugenio, p. 46) Therefore, on the night of the 16th, when Bissell and Cabell went to the White House, they realized there was no point in talking directly to Kennedy. Which Rusk invited them to do. (ibid)

The reason Kennedy felt this way was because of the pledge he had taken a few day earlier, that there would be no direct US intervention in Cuba. That is why the April 15th air strikes took place from Central America. But further, Kennedy--not Rusk-- had even cut back on the amount of planes to be used on the 15th! In fact, they were cut from 16 to 8. (Wyden, p. 170)

That is a crucial piece of information.

This is how much JFK was resisting direct American involvement. Which in a larger sense was part of his whole philosophy against using American muscle in the Third World.

I don't think I can make this any more clear.

It would have been helpful if you'd made this clear initially.

If you want to somehow blend the 15th with the 17th, that is your business.

Don't blame me for the imprecision of your writing.

Historically speaking though, this is nonsense.

As for contingency planning by US forces for direct American involvement, I have never read anything about this in either Kirkpatrick or Taylor. Which does not mean it did not exist. I have always suspected that Burke's nearby naval force was ready to enter the fray if Kennedy caved. Which he did not. Even though Burke asked him for permission to send in jet planes to knock Castro's Air Force down. (Kornbluh, p. 316)

As per Dulles not being there during the invasion, this had been planned by him well in advance. He thought if he canceled it, it would be another indication to Castro that something was on the way. Therefore Cabell and Bissell ran the operation. In my opinion, it would have made no difference to the outcome if Dulles had been there.

But Dulles was the only direct connection to JFK.

How could he reasonably expect JFK to take military action when there was no one there to advocate for such a course?

How could Dulles reasonably regard Castro's suspicions as being of greater concern than having the ability to direct the operation hands-on?

Your speculations about how somehow there was a subterranean conspiracy involving--of all people Lovett--in cahoots with Dean Rusk to make Allen Dulles a scapegoat in advance, I mean..what can I say?

Express contempt prior to investigation?

Except that extraordinary claims like that require extraordinary evidence. Please produce it.

I'm making an inquiry.

I asked a question.

Did Robert Lovett and Joe Kennedy have the motive, means and opportunity to sabotage the BOP for the express purpose of getting rid of Allen Dulles?

Gotta problem with the question, do you?

But beyond that, this kind of musing somehow denies the later confessions by both Dulles and Bissell that they both expected Kennedy to relent and take back his pledge.

The confessions of professional liars don't cut a lot of mustard in my world.

When my BS-detector goes into the red I'm going to ask questions.

Since there was not one individual in the government pushing for this US intevention to what was Kennedy supposed to "relent"?

You said he didn't cave -- what pressure was on him to cave?

Cave to what?

Bad news on the Cuban beaches -- for that Kennedy was expected to risk world war??

And Dulles considered Kennedy naive -- this is the most naive crap I've ever heard!

This is called direct evidence--from the pens of the designers themselves.

If they wrote that up prior to the invasion it would be direct evidence.

But after the fact face-saving doesn't count as "direct evidence."

If Lovett/Rusk had given him the shaft was Dulles going to admit it?

"I was out-manuevered by dedicated enemies and lost control of the entire operation."

Evidently that is not good enough for you.

Not at all.

Why should it?

In some weird way you want to make Dulles into a victim rather than a perp.

Did Robert Lovett and Joe Kennedy have a motive to get rid of Dulles?

The historical fact is yes, they had a motive to get rid of Dulles.

Doesn't mean they did it...

In your world, should Kennedy have fired Rusk instead of Dulles?

In my world this question is regarded as too silly to ask, much less answer.

BTW, I have always thought it interesting where Dulles went when he returned. He went to see Nixon, the guy he knew would have sent in the Navy in a flash. (ibid, p. 319) See, that is why the Bay of Pigs is such a key point in time. The CIA now knew just how different JFK really was from what had come before him. They would get further evidence of this a few months later when it was Kennedy who--against the advice of everyone else in the room-- objected to sending combat troops into Vietnam.

As per your ads for Greg, I am sure he appreciates them.

It's information about the event.

Why are you so testy with this line of inquiry?

Edited by Cliff Varnell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

FYI - another great source for the original documents is here... https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v10/comp1

Other's reports of the situation are fantastic, yet I also like to see the docs themselves...

Fantastic research site.

Not sure how much coloring the other reports might have, but these memo would have been part of what was investigated... right?

But Dulles was the only direct connection to JFK.

How could he reasonably expect JFK to take military action when there was no one there to advocate for such a course?

As for Lovett and Joe, BOP and Dulles.... Seems to me the military, Bundy and a number of others were advocating such a course and asking the CIA to keep coming back with a better plan... or am I reading that initial doc #19 from the Dept of Def incorrectly? (see bottom document)

The docs from the last 6 months of Ike's term including the CIA's assessment of the Cuban situation in April 1960.

How can you not include Nixon and others related to these Bay of Pigs plans?

https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v06/d486

  • OTHERS PRESENT
  • Vice President Nixon, Secretary Herter, Mr. Merchant, Mr. Rubottom, Secretary Anderson, Secretary Irwin, Admiral Burke, Mr. Allen Dulles, Mr. Richard Bissell, Colonel J.C. King, Gordon Gray, Major Eisenhower, General Goodpaster

After Mr. Herter gave a brief comment concerning use of the OAS in connection with the Cuban situation, Mr. Allen Dulles reported to the President an action plan2Document 481. provided by the “5412” group for covert operations to effect a change in Cuba.

The President told Mr. Dulles he thought he should go ahead with the plan and the operations. He and the other agencies involved should take account of all likely Cuban reactions and prepare the actions that we would take in response to these. Mr. Irwin said the main Defense concern is how we would get our people out. We have contingency planning, but it would involve military action. The President said he would like some ground work laid with the OAS to let the Latin American countries know that if the Cubans were to start to attack our people in Cuba we would be obliged to take action

-----------------

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume X, Cuba, January 1961–September 1962 Cuba, 1961-1962 64. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President KennedySourceSource: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 1/61-4/61. Top Secret.

Washington, March 15, 1961.

  • SUBJECT
  • Meeting on Cuba, 4:00 PM, March 15, 1961

CIA will present a revised plan for the Cuban operation.1See Documents 65 and 66. They have done a remarkable job of reframing the landing plan so as to make it unspectacular and quiet, and plausibly Cuban in its essentials.

The one major problem which remains is the air battle. I think there is unanimous agreement that at some stage the Castro Air Force must be removed. It is a very sketchy force, in very poor shape at the present, and Colonel Hawkins (Bissell's military brain) thinks it can be removed by six to eight simultaneous sorties of B-26s. These will be undertaken by Cuban pilots in planes with Cuban Air Force markings. This is the only really noisy enterprise that remains.

My own belief is that this air battle has to come sooner or later, and that the longer we put it off, the harder it will be. Castro's Air Force is currently his Achilles' heel, but he is making drastic efforts to strengthen it with Russian planes and Russian-trained pilots.

Even the revised landing plan depends strongly upon prompt action against Castro's air. The question in my mind is whether we cannot solve this problem by having the air strike come some little time before the invasion. A group of patriotic airplanes flying from Nicaraguan bases might knock out Castro's Air Force in a single day without anyone knowing (for some time) where they came from, and with nothing to prove that it was not an interior rebellion by the Cuban Air Force, which has been of very doubtful loyalty in the past; the pilots will in fact be members of the Cuban Air Force who went into the opposition some time ago. Then the invasion could come as a separate enterprise, and neither the air strike nor the quiet landing of patriots would in itself give Castro anything to take to the United Nations.

I have been a skeptic about Bissell's operation, but now I think we are on the edge of a good answer. I also think that Bissell and Hawkins have done an honorable job of meeting the proper criticisms and cautions of the Department of State

McGeorge Bundy

#65

According to summary notes prepared by General Gray, CIA officials returned to the White House on March 15, 1961, to present a revised plan for the operation against Cuba; see Document 64. The President's appointment book indicates that the meeting took place from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. The meeting was attended by Vice President Johnson, McNamara, Rusk, Mann, Berle, Dulles, Bissell, McGeorge Bundy, William Bundy, and Gray. (Kennedy Library, President's Appointment Book) Although not listed in the appointment book, it is likely that at least one member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, probably General Lemnitzer or Admiral Burke, also attended. According to Gray's notes on the meeting:

#66

“At meeting with the President, CIA presented revised concepts for the landing at Zapata wherein there would be air drops at first light with the landing at night and all of the ships away from the objective area by dawn. The President decided to go ahead with the Zapata planning; to see what we could do about increasing support to the guerrillas inside the country; to interrogate one member of the force to determine what he knows; and he reserved the right to call off the plan even up to 24 hours prior to the landing.” (Summary notes prepared on May 9, 1961, by General Gray; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report)

On March 17 Admiral Burke provided the JCS with additional details about the discussion of the revised Zapata plan. According to Burke, the President wanted to know what the consequences would be if the operation failed. He asked Burke how he viewed the operation's chance of success. Burke indicated that he had given the President a probability figure of about 50 percent. President Kennedy also inquired what would happen if it developed after the invasion that the Cuban exile force were pinned down and being slaughtered on the beach. If they were to be re-embarked, the President wanted to know where they could be taken. According to Burke's account of the meeting: “It was decided they would not be re-embarked because there was no place to go. Once they were landed they were there.” In the course of the discussion, it was emphasized that the plan was dependent on a general uprising in Cuba, and that the entire operation would fail without such an uprising. (Review of Record of Proceedings Related to Cuban Situation, May 5; Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials)

----------------------------

Some initial discussion points...

#19

Staff Study Prepared in the Department of Defense

Washington, January 16, 1961.

EVALUATION OF POSSIBLE MILITARY COURSES OF ACTIONIN CUBA (S)1

The Problem

1. To evaluate possible military courses of action to overthrow the Castro Government in Cuba in the event currently planned political and paramilitary operations are determined to be inadequate.

Facts Bearing on the Problem

2. The basis of the problem was a request by the Department of State for an evaluation of the following possible military courses of action in Cuba.

a. U.S. unilateral action with U.S. Air, Naval, and Army forces.

b. Invasion by a U.S. trained and supported volunteer Army composed of Cubans and other anti-Castro Latin Americans.

c. Invasion by a combination of a and b above.

3. The estimated strength and capabilities of Cuban Armed Forces are as follows:

a. Ground

(1) Revolutionary Army—32,000; capability low, except for guerrilla type operations.

(2) Revolutionary National Police—9,000; capable of security only.

(3) Militia—200,000 to 300,000; capability low except for guerrilla type operations.

b. Naval

(1) Strength, 4 to 5,000 personnel; 3 PF, 2 PCE and 43 smaller craft; capabilities very low.

c. Air Force

The Revolutionary Air Force, from which almost all the rated pilots were purged by Castro, has almost no combat capabilities at this time. However, reports indicate that as many as 100 pilots are undergoing flight training in Czechoslovakia. Also, the Air Force has received several Czech trainees and 6-10 helicopters recently.

4. In the military field, the Soviets have delivered to Cuba in the past five months, at least 20,000 tons of arms and equipment, including small arms, armored vehicles, personnel carriers, helicopters, trainer aircraft, a variety of artillery, and large quantities of ammunition. So far, the U.S. has no evidence of the Soviets providing Cuba with sophisticated weapons such as missiles or nuclear devices, or MIG jet fighter aircraft.

5. There are fifteen airfields in Cuba which are capable of handling jet aircraft.

6. The U.S. has available on the East Coast of the U.S. the following combat forces.

a. U.S. Atlantic Fleet, including at least two attack carriers, a Marine Division, and a Marine Air Wing.

b. The Strategic Army Command.

c. Elements of the U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Command.

7. Mr. Tracy Voorhees, Special Advisor to the President on Cuba, has reported that approximately 40,000 anti-Castro refugees have entered the U.S. in 1960.

8. From 1950 through 1959, approximately 70,000 Cubans entered the U.S., 10,000 of whom have been naturalized.

9. The CIA estimates that there has been a total of 65,000 anti-Castro Cuban exiles of all classes of which 3,000 are Cuban males capable of performing military service. Of these 3,000, CIA estimates that 750 are willing to perform military service in a Volunteer Army.

10. That an adequate number of troop age (18-65) physically able male Cuban exiles are available in the U.S. to form a Volunteer Army of sufficient strength to have the capability of establishing and holding a lodgement on the Island of Cuba.

11. That it is impossible to train covertly, in the Free World, a force adequate to assure a successful permanent lodgement in Cuba.

12. Massive internal popular support by the Cuban people of action to overthrow the Castro Government cannot be assured.

13. That the Soviet Bloc will continue its assistance to Cuba, but will not openly intervene on behalf of the Castro Government.

Discussion

14. U.S. Unilateral Action:

a. The Commander in Chief, Atlantic Command, has a contingency plan2(not found) prepared and approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff which provides for the employment of Army, Naval and Air Forces for the overthrow of the Castro Government in Cuba. This contingency plan is currently undergoing revision in view of increased capabilities of the Cuban Armed Forces and militia. This revision generally reflects only an increase in U.S. Military Forces to be employed.

b. If U.S. unilateral action were directed the forces assigned for commitment to this operation are considered adequate and on an emergency basis could begin commitment within a matter of hours. If circumstances prove this force to be inadequate the proximity of Cuba to the U.S. simplifies the problem of rapid reinforcement of the Task Force from other U.S. based forces. This reinforcement would be directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as required.

c. Unilateral action in Cuba by the U.S. would have a tremendous impact on U.S. prestige in the Caribbean and Latin America (as well as the rest of the free world) unless it had strong support of Latin American public opinion and, preferably, token Latin American participation. It would therefore be desirable that, prior to the implementation of this course of action, a concerted effort be made either through the OAS or through selected Latin American countries, to obtain condemnation of the Castro regime and open Latin American support for action to eliminate that regime.

d. This course of action could also be justified if Castro attacked Guantanamo Bay or if such an attack were “staged”. With prior propaganda effort by the U.S., Free World opinion could be sufficiently swayed, or the facts sufficiently “muddled”, that U.S. unilateral action in response to such an attack, actual or “staged” would have less impact on U.S. prestige in the Free World.

15. A second possible course of action would be invasion by an overtly U.S. trained and supported Volunteer Army, adequate in size and capability to assure a successful lodgement in Cuba.

a. This force would be trained in both guerrilla and battalion type tactics. It would not be organized above the level of reinforced battle group combat teams.

b. The training would be conducted at bases presently on a caretaker status, in Southeastern United States or Puerto Rico, and which could be made available.

c. It is believed this force could be trained to minimum standards in seven months with time phases as follows: 8 weeks for the initial planning, assembly of equipment, instructors and trainees; 8 weeks basic; 6 weeks advanced individual training and small unit training; and 6 weeks unit training. During the 2 months basic training phase potential leaders and technicians would be identified. Their training, to a minimum acceptable level, would be conducted during the five months remaining in the basic training period outlined above.

d. Refresher and/or advanced flying training, to minimum acceptable standards, can be provided former Cuban pilots on bases in Southeast United States during the seven month training period envisioned above.

e. Dependent upon the size of this force, and the degree of direct U.S. participation, provision of adequate amphibious lift would be a problem. Crews necessary to operate these craft can be trained during the seven month training period at bases in Southeastern United States or on Islands in the Caribbean.

f. A force adequate in size to assure a lodgement in Cuba would require a sustained source of supply in such quantity, and by such means, that it would obviously be beyond the capabilities of Cuban exiles and beyond U.S. capability to provide covertly. Consequently, logistic support would have to be provided overtly by the United States unilaterally, or in conjunction with one or more Latin American countries. In either event, adequate logistic support would be assured.

g. In training and committing a Volunteer Army certain problems arise which are beyond the present resources and purview of the Department of Defense. For example: (1) The pay of the Volunteer Cuban Army; (2) The costs of the training, equipment, and logistic support; (3) Care for the dependents of these forces; (4) Hospitalization facilities and costs, and (5) Indemnities for casualties. These problems are not insurmountable but must have early consideration in planning.

h. The problem of maintaining the lodgement and assuring supply would be complicated somewhat if the Castro regime obtains jet aircraft prior to the invasion by the Volunteer Army. Once jet aircraft are seen in Cuba, a jet capability must be assumed. However, this problem could be reduced to manageable proportions if prior to the invasion a limited number of B-26 aircraft made a surprise attack on the fifteen Cuban airfields capable of handling jet aircraft. It is believed such an attack would destroy all, or nearly all, of their aircraft, and render their airstrips inoperable. On the basis that such a surprise attack did not destroy Castro's jet capability, it would be desirable to have the immediate participation of jet aircraft from Latin American countries as part of the OAS contribution. If used these aircraft would have to operate from U.S. bases.

i. The capabilities of this Volunteer Army to take and hold a lodgement in Cuba would be dependent on opposition to Castro within Cuba, and the popular attraction of the leaders of the Volunteer Army, and of the provisional government. Both of these factors will be subject to change before and after the envisaged invasion. Unless extensive internal popular support is received, a force based upon the personnel availability estimate in paragraph 9 could hold a lodgement for only a very brief time. To hold a lodgement for any appreciable period without massive popular support would require a minimum force of 5,000.

16. Invasion by a combination of possible courses of action a and b.

a. The possible third course of action would involve the employment of a U.S. trained Volunteer Army and U.S. Army, Naval and Air Forces for invasion. Such a course of action would have as its objective the overthrow of the Castro Government and control of the Island of Cuba. This U.S. participation could range in scope from the provision of Army, Naval and Air Force combat units to logistical support only.

b. This course of action from the viewpoint of operational planning would involve only a downward revision of forces allocated to CINC-LANT's contingency plan comparable to the strength and capability of the Volunteer Army.

c. As in the case of unilateral U.S. action this course of action would accomplish its objective; for, if circumstances indicate a requirement for additional forces, the proximity of U.S. military bases to Cuba and the availability of additional U.S. based forces simplify the problem of rapid reinforcement of the Task Force. Such reinforcement, as required, would be directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

d. The problems facing the employment of this course of action are a combination of those for courses of action a and b.

Conclusions

17. Courses of action a and c are the only courses of action which assure success.

18. Course of action b will require, as a minimum, U.S. logistic support and will not necessarily accomplish the mission of overthrowing the Castro Government.

19. Course of action c will be subject to the same objections as course of action a, however would have a better chance of obtaining Cuban popular support.

20. Since courses of action b and c could not be accomplished covertly and would take at a minimum 7 months to prepare, the U.S. would have to face a long period of world condemnation, as compared to course of action a which could be accomplished expeditiously without prior world knowledge of U.S. intentions.

Recommendations

21. It is recommended that the above conclusions be considered by the Group in any further evaluation of plans for action aimed at the overthrow of the Castro Government.

*Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files: Job 85-00664R, Box 1, Source Documents-DCI-8, Vol. I, Part III. Top Secret. The source text has a handwritten date of January 16 on a cover sheet. A handwritten note on the cover sheet, in an unknown hand, confirms that the evaluation was discussed on January 16 by the Interdepartmental Working Group on Cuba; see Document 20.
1 According to a chronology prepared in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, General Gray received informal approval of the evaluation on January 19 from General Lemnitzer and Joint Staff Director General Earle Wheeler. (Chronology of JCS Participation in Bumpy Road; Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials) On January 22 General Lemnitzer used the evaluation in a briefing on the Cuba project at the Department of State for several members of the new Kennedy administration. (Memorandum No. 1 from the Cuban Study Group to the President, June 13; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great material, David...

FYI - another great source for the original documents is here... https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v10/comp1

Other's reports of the situation are fantastic, yet I also like to see the docs themselves...

Fantastic research site.

Not sure how much coloring the other reports might have, but these memo would have been part of what was investigated... right?

But Dulles was the only direct connection to JFK.

How could he reasonably expect JFK to take military action when there was no one there to advocate for such a course?

As for Lovett and Joe, BOP and Dulles.... Seems to me the military, Bundy and a number of others were advocating such a course and asking the CIA to keep coming back with a better plan... or am I reading that initial doc #19 from the Dept of Def incorrectly? (see bottom document)

#19 is an Eisenhower Admin. document clearly eyeing potential US intervention.

Bundy signed off on a "quiet" operation the sole purpose of which was to incite a Cuban anti-Castro rebellion.

The outcome of the "quiet" operation was the removal of Allen Dulles and the promotion of Richard Helms.

I see no reason to assume that wasn't the idea all along especially when Joe Kennedy called it a "lucky thing."

The docs from the last 6 months of Ike's term including the CIA's assessment of the Cuban situation in April 1960.

How can you not include Nixon and others related to these Bay of Pigs plans?

https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1958-60v06/d486

  • OTHERS PRESENT
  • Vice President Nixon, Secretary Herter, Mr. Merchant, Mr. Rubottom, Secretary Anderson, Secretary Irwin, Admiral Burke, Mr. Allen Dulles, Mr. Richard Bissell, Colonel J.C. King, Gordon Gray, Major Eisenhower, General Goodpaster

After Mr. Herter gave a brief comment concerning use of the OAS in connection with the Cuban situation, Mr. Allen Dulles reported to the President an action plan2Document 481. provided by the “5412” group for covert operations to effect a change in Cuba.

The President told Mr. Dulles he thought he should go ahead with the plan and the operations. He and the other agencies involved should take account of all likely Cuban reactions and prepare the actions that we would take in response to these. Mr. Irwin said the main Defense concern is how we would get our people out. We have contingency planning, but it would involve military action. The President said he would like some ground work laid with the OAS to let the Latin American countries know that if the Cubans were to start to attack our people in Cuba we would be obliged to take action

-----------------

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume X, Cuba, January 1961–September 1962 Cuba, 1961-1962 64. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President KennedySourceSource: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 1/61-4/61. Top Secret.

Washington, March 15, 1961.

  • SUBJECT
  • Meeting on Cuba, 4:00 PM, March 15, 1961

CIA will present a revised plan for the Cuban operation.1See Documents 65 and 66. They have done a remarkable job of reframing the landing plan so as to make it unspectacular and quiet, and plausibly Cuban in its essentials.

The one major problem which remains is the air battle. I think there is unanimous agreement that at some stage the Castro Air Force must be removed. It is a very sketchy force, in very poor shape at the present, and Colonel Hawkins (Bissell's military brain) thinks it can be removed by six to eight simultaneous sorties of B-26s. These will be undertaken by Cuban pilots in planes with Cuban Air Force markings. This is the only really noisy enterprise that remains.

My own belief is that this air battle has to come sooner or later, and that the longer we put it off, the harder it will be. Castro's Air Force is currently his Achilles' heel, but he is making drastic efforts to strengthen it with Russian planes and Russian-trained pilots.

Even the revised landing plan depends strongly upon prompt action against Castro's air. The question in my mind is whether we cannot solve this problem by having the air strike come some little time before the invasion. A group of patriotic airplanes flying from Nicaraguan bases might knock out Castro's Air Force in a single day without anyone knowing (for some time) where they came from, and with nothing to prove that it was not an interior rebellion by the Cuban Air Force, which has been of very doubtful loyalty in the past; the pilots will in fact be members of the Cuban Air Force who went into the opposition some time ago. Then the invasion could come as a separate enterprise, and neither the air strike nor the quiet landing of patriots would in itself give Castro anything to take to the United Nations.

I have been a skeptic about Bissell's operation, but now I think we are on the edge of a good answer. I also think that Bissell and Hawkins have done an honorable job of meeting the proper criticisms and cautions of the Department of State

McGeorge Bundy

#65

According to summary notes prepared by General Gray, CIA officials returned to the White House on March 15, 1961, to present a revised plan for the operation against Cuba; see Document 64. The President's appointment book indicates that the meeting took place from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. The meeting was attended by Vice President Johnson, McNamara, Rusk, Mann, Berle, Dulles, Bissell, McGeorge Bundy, William Bundy, and Gray. (Kennedy Library, President's Appointment Book) Although not listed in the appointment book, it is likely that at least one member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, probably General Lemnitzer or Admiral Burke, also attended. According to Gray's notes on the meeting:

#66

“At meeting with the President, CIA presented revised concepts for the landing at Zapata wherein there would be air drops at first light with the landing at night and all of the ships away from the objective area by dawn. The President decided to go ahead with the Zapata planning; to see what we could do about increasing support to the guerrillas inside the country; to interrogate one member of the force to determine what he knows; and he reserved the right to call off the plan even up to 24 hours prior to the landing.” (Summary notes prepared on May 9, 1961, by General Gray; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report)

On March 17 Admiral Burke provided the JCS with additional details about the discussion of the revised Zapata plan. According to Burke, the President wanted to know what the consequences would be if the operation failed. He asked Burke how he viewed the operation's chance of success. Burke indicated that he had given the President a probability figure of about 50 percent. President Kennedy also inquired what would happen if it developed after the invasion that the Cuban exile force were pinned down and being slaughtered on the beach. If they were to be re-embarked, the President wanted to know where they could be taken. According to Burke's account of the meeting: “It was decided they would not be re-embarked because there was no place to go. Once they were landed they were there.” In the course of the discussion, it was emphasized that the plan was dependent on a general uprising in Cuba, and that the entire operation would fail without such an uprising. (Review of Record of Proceedings Related to Cuban Situation, May 5; Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials)

----------------------------

Some initial discussion points...

#19

Staff Study Prepared in the Department of Defense

Washington, January 16, 1961.

EVALUATION OF POSSIBLE MILITARY COURSES OF ACTIONIN CUBA (S)1

The Problem

1. To evaluate possible military courses of action to overthrow the Castro Government in Cuba in the event currently planned political and paramilitary operations are determined to be inadequate.

Facts Bearing on the Problem

2. The basis of the problem was a request by the Department of State for an evaluation of the following possible military courses of action in Cuba.

a. U.S. unilateral action with U.S. Air, Naval, and Army forces.

b. Invasion by a U.S. trained and supported volunteer Army composed of Cubans and other anti-Castro Latin Americans.

c. Invasion by a combination of a and b above.

3. The estimated strength and capabilities of Cuban Armed Forces are as follows:

a. Ground

(1) Revolutionary Army—32,000; capability low, except for guerrilla type operations.

(2) Revolutionary National Police—9,000; capable of security only.

(3) Militia—200,000 to 300,000; capability low except for guerrilla type operations.

b. Naval

(1) Strength, 4 to 5,000 personnel; 3 PF, 2 PCE and 43 smaller craft; capabilities very low.

c. Air Force

The Revolutionary Air Force, from which almost all the rated pilots were purged by Castro, has almost no combat capabilities at this time. However, reports indicate that as many as 100 pilots are undergoing flight training in Czechoslovakia. Also, the Air Force has received several Czech trainees and 6-10 helicopters recently.

4. In the military field, the Soviets have delivered to Cuba in the past five months, at least 20,000 tons of arms and equipment, including small arms, armored vehicles, personnel carriers, helicopters, trainer aircraft, a variety of artillery, and large quantities of ammunition. So far, the U.S. has no evidence of the Soviets providing Cuba with sophisticated weapons such as missiles or nuclear devices, or MIG jet fighter aircraft.

5. There are fifteen airfields in Cuba which are capable of handling jet aircraft.

6. The U.S. has available on the East Coast of the U.S. the following combat forces.

a. U.S. Atlantic Fleet, including at least two attack carriers, a Marine Division, and a Marine Air Wing.

b. The Strategic Army Command.

c. Elements of the U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Command.

7. Mr. Tracy Voorhees, Special Advisor to the President on Cuba, has reported that approximately 40,000 anti-Castro refugees have entered the U.S. in 1960.

8. From 1950 through 1959, approximately 70,000 Cubans entered the U.S., 10,000 of whom have been naturalized.

9. The CIA estimates that there has been a total of 65,000 anti-Castro Cuban exiles of all classes of which 3,000 are Cuban males capable of performing military service. Of these 3,000, CIA estimates that 750 are willing to perform military service in a Volunteer Army.

10. That an adequate number of troop age (18-65) physically able male Cuban exiles are available in the U.S. to form a Volunteer Army of sufficient strength to have the capability of establishing and holding a lodgement on the Island of Cuba.

11. That it is impossible to train covertly, in the Free World, a force adequate to assure a successful permanent lodgement in Cuba.

12. Massive internal popular support by the Cuban people of action to overthrow the Castro Government cannot be assured.

13. That the Soviet Bloc will continue its assistance to Cuba, but will not openly intervene on behalf of the Castro Government.

Discussion

14. U.S. Unilateral Action:

a. The Commander in Chief, Atlantic Command, has a contingency plan2(not found) prepared and approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff which provides for the employment of Army, Naval and Air Forces for the overthrow of the Castro Government in Cuba. This contingency plan is currently undergoing revision in view of increased capabilities of the Cuban Armed Forces and militia. This revision generally reflects only an increase in U.S. Military Forces to be employed.

b. If U.S. unilateral action were directed the forces assigned for commitment to this operation are considered adequate and on an emergency basis could begin commitment within a matter of hours. If circumstances prove this force to be inadequate the proximity of Cuba to the U.S. simplifies the problem of rapid reinforcement of the Task Force from other U.S. based forces. This reinforcement would be directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as required.

c. Unilateral action in Cuba by the U.S. would have a tremendous impact on U.S. prestige in the Caribbean and Latin America (as well as the rest of the free world) unless it had strong support of Latin American public opinion and, preferably, token Latin American participation. It would therefore be desirable that, prior to the implementation of this course of action, a concerted effort be made either through the OAS or through selected Latin American countries, to obtain condemnation of the Castro regime and open Latin American support for action to eliminate that regime.

d. This course of action could also be justified if Castro attacked Guantanamo Bay or if such an attack were “staged”. With prior propaganda effort by the U.S., Free World opinion could be sufficiently swayed, or the facts sufficiently “muddled”, that U.S. unilateral action in response to such an attack, actual or “staged” would have less impact on U.S. prestige in the Free World.

15. A second possible course of action would be invasion by an overtly U.S. trained and supported Volunteer Army, adequate in size and capability to assure a successful lodgement in Cuba.

a. This force would be trained in both guerrilla and battalion type tactics. It would not be organized above the level of reinforced battle group combat teams.

b. The training would be conducted at bases presently on a caretaker status, in Southeastern United States or Puerto Rico, and which could be made available.

c. It is believed this force could be trained to minimum standards in seven months with time phases as follows: 8 weeks for the initial planning, assembly of equipment, instructors and trainees; 8 weeks basic; 6 weeks advanced individual training and small unit training; and 6 weeks unit training. During the 2 months basic training phase potential leaders and technicians would be identified. Their training, to a minimum acceptable level, would be conducted during the five months remaining in the basic training period outlined above.

d. Refresher and/or advanced flying training, to minimum acceptable standards, can be provided former Cuban pilots on bases in Southeast United States during the seven month training period envisioned above.

e. Dependent upon the size of this force, and the degree of direct U.S. participation, provision of adequate amphibious lift would be a problem. Crews necessary to operate these craft can be trained during the seven month training period at bases in Southeastern United States or on Islands in the Caribbean.

f. A force adequate in size to assure a lodgement in Cuba would require a sustained source of supply in such quantity, and by such means, that it would obviously be beyond the capabilities of Cuban exiles and beyond U.S. capability to provide covertly. Consequently, logistic support would have to be provided overtly by the United States unilaterally, or in conjunction with one or more Latin American countries. In either event, adequate logistic support would be assured.

g. In training and committing a Volunteer Army certain problems arise which are beyond the present resources and purview of the Department of Defense. For example: (1) The pay of the Volunteer Cuban Army; (2) The costs of the training, equipment, and logistic support; (3) Care for the dependents of these forces; (4) Hospitalization facilities and costs, and (5) Indemnities for casualties. These problems are not insurmountable but must have early consideration in planning.

h. The problem of maintaining the lodgement and assuring supply would be complicated somewhat if the Castro regime obtains jet aircraft prior to the invasion by the Volunteer Army. Once jet aircraft are seen in Cuba, a jet capability must be assumed. However, this problem could be reduced to manageable proportions if prior to the invasion a limited number of B-26 aircraft made a surprise attack on the fifteen Cuban airfields capable of handling jet aircraft. It is believed such an attack would destroy all, or nearly all, of their aircraft, and render their airstrips inoperable. On the basis that such a surprise attack did not destroy Castro's jet capability, it would be desirable to have the immediate participation of jet aircraft from Latin American countries as part of the OAS contribution. If used these aircraft would have to operate from U.S. bases.

i. The capabilities of this Volunteer Army to take and hold a lodgement in Cuba would be dependent on opposition to Castro within Cuba, and the popular attraction of the leaders of the Volunteer Army, and of the provisional government. Both of these factors will be subject to change before and after the envisaged invasion. Unless extensive internal popular support is received, a force based upon the personnel availability estimate in paragraph 9 could hold a lodgement for only a very brief time. To hold a lodgement for any appreciable period without massive popular support would require a minimum force of 5,000.

16. Invasion by a combination of possible courses of action a and b.

a. The possible third course of action would involve the employment of a U.S. trained Volunteer Army and U.S. Army, Naval and Air Forces for invasion. Such a course of action would have as its objective the overthrow of the Castro Government and control of the Island of Cuba. This U.S. participation could range in scope from the provision of Army, Naval and Air Force combat units to logistical support only.

b. This course of action from the viewpoint of operational planning would involve only a downward revision of forces allocated to CINC-LANT's contingency plan comparable to the strength and capability of the Volunteer Army.

c. As in the case of unilateral U.S. action this course of action would accomplish its objective; for, if circumstances indicate a requirement for additional forces, the proximity of U.S. military bases to Cuba and the availability of additional U.S. based forces simplify the problem of rapid reinforcement of the Task Force. Such reinforcement, as required, would be directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

d. The problems facing the employment of this course of action are a combination of those for courses of action a and b.

Conclusions

17. Courses of action a and c are the only courses of action which assure success.

18. Course of action b will require, as a minimum, U.S. logistic support and will not necessarily accomplish the mission of overthrowing the Castro Government.

19. Course of action c will be subject to the same objections as course of action a, however would have a better chance of obtaining Cuban popular support.

20. Since courses of action b and c could not be accomplished covertly and would take at a minimum 7 months to prepare, the U.S. would have to face a long period of world condemnation, as compared to course of action a which could be accomplished expeditiously without prior world knowledge of U.S. intentions.

Recommendations

21. It is recommended that the above conclusions be considered by the Group in any further evaluation of plans for action aimed at the overthrow of the Castro Government.

*Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI Files: Job 85-00664R, Box 1, Source Documents-DCI-8, Vol. I, Part III. Top Secret. The source text has a handwritten date of January 16 on a cover sheet. A handwritten note on the cover sheet, in an unknown hand, confirms that the evaluation was discussed on January 16 by the Interdepartmental Working Group on Cuba; see Document 20.
1 According to a chronology prepared in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, General Gray received informal approval of the evaluation on January 19 from General Lemnitzer and Joint Staff Director General Earle Wheeler. (Chronology of JCS Participation in Bumpy Road; Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials) On January 22 General Lemnitzer used the evaluation in a briefing on the Cuba project at the Department of State for several members of the new Kennedy administration. (Memorandum No. 1 from the Cuban Study Group to the President, June 13; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

. The President's appointment book indicates that the meeting took place from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. The meeting was attended by Vice President Johnson, McNamara, Rusk, Mann, Berle, Dulles, Bissell, McGeorge Bundy, William Bundy, and Gray. (Kennedy Library, President's Appointment Book) Although not listed in the appointment book, it is likely that at least one member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, probably General Lemnitzer or Admiral Burke, also attended. According to Gray's notes on the meeting:

#66

“At meeting with the President, CIA presented revised concepts for the landing at Zapata wherein there would be air drops at first light with the landing at night and all of the ships away from the objective area by dawn. The President decided to go ahead with the Zapata planning; to see what we could do about increasing support to the guerrillas inside the country; to interrogate one member of the force to determine what he knows; and he reserved the right to call off the plan even up to 24 hours prior to the landing.” (Summary notes prepared on May 9, 1961, by General Gray; Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, Subjects, Taylor Report)

On March 17 Admiral Burke provided the JCS with additional details about the discussion of the revised Zapata plan. According to Burke, the President wanted to know what the consequences would be if the operation failed. He asked Burke how he viewed the operation's chance of success. Burke indicated that he had given the President a probability figure of about 50 percent. President Kennedy also inquired what would happen if it developed after the invasion that the Cuban exile force were pinned down and being slaughtered on the beach. If they were to be re-embarked, the President wanted to know where they could be taken. According to Burke's account of the meeting: “It was decided they would not be re-embarked because there was no place to go. Once they were landed they were there.” In the course of the discussion, it was emphasized that the plan was dependent on a general uprising in Cuba, and that the entire operation would fail without such an uprising. (Review of Record of Proceedings Related to Cuban Situation, May 5; Naval Historical Center, Area Files, Bumpy Road Materials)

According to the Allen Dulles-as-BOP-heavy theory, the DCI was planning to entrap Kennedy into initiating US force.

But according to the above it was understood that in the event of a beach-head slaughter -- nothing could be done. nothing would be done, nothing should be done.

Since it was clear at this meeting that the US military would do nothing, how could Dulles bet his ass on a military action for which there was no support and no hands-on, day-of-game advocacy?

It makes more sense to me that Bundy was happy with the project because the trap for Dulles was well set.

Edited by Cliff Varnell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems to me that JFK could have picked any number of reasons to fire the top CIA brass - since the Ike/Nixon years I believe he knew he'd be on the short end of the CIA stick.

To conclude that the BoP was specifically sabotaged to remove a few CIA men, is to me, a bit too far-fetched.

I see no reason to assume that wasn't the idea all along especially when Joe Kennedy called it a "lucky thing."

There are never reasons to assume anything when one wants to Cliff... Others here assume and then proceed as if something was proven as fact - ready to knuckle it out over the refuting of a faith-based assumption of fact, rather than taking the time to prove it.

Did Robert Lovett and Joe Kennedy have a motive to get rid of Dulles?

The historical fact is yes, they had a motive to get rid of Dulles.

Doesn't mean they did it...

Scores of people had the motive to kill JFK, doesn't mean they did it either.

so why are you arguing speculation rather than doing more to prove it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems to me that JFK could have picked any number of reasons to fire the top CIA brass - since the Ike/Nixon years I believe he knew he'd be on the short end of the CIA stick.

Kennedy may have owed Allen Dulles a personal favor.

According to Nixon, Dulles briefed Kennedy on the anti-Castro planning prior to the Kennedy-Nixon debate.

This allowed Kennedy to hit Nixon on the Cuban question from the right, knowing that Nixon couldn't start blabbing about invading Cuba.

To fire Dulles without rationale would have been a bold move, especially if it was a move against someone who played a big part in JFK winning the election.

To conclude that the BoP was specifically sabotaged to remove a few CIA men, is to me, a bit too far-fetched.

As far-fetched as the notion that Dulles would high tail it to Puerto Rico counting on JFK to countermand stated US policy?

I see no reason to assume that wasn't the idea all along especially when Joe Kennedy called it a "lucky thing."

There are never reasons to assume anything when one wants to Cliff... Others here assume and then proceed as if something was proven as fact - ready to knuckle it out over the refuting of a faith-based assumption of fact, rather than taking the time to prove it.

I'm not here to prove anything other than the validity of an open question.

Did Robert Lovett and Joe Kennedy have a motive to get rid of Dulles?

The historical fact is yes, they had a motive to get rid of Dulles.

Doesn't mean they did it...

Scores of people had the motive to kill JFK, doesn't mean they did it either.

so why are you arguing speculation rather than doing more to prove it?

I'm not arguing for a solution -- I'm arguing that the issue is in serious doubt.

I'm arguing against the assumption the confession of a professional prevaricator is gospel....

Edited by Cliff Varnell
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Comments here reinforce my belief, which dates to the BOP debacle, that JFK was a rookie at foreign policy and the use of the U.S. military. JFK was not clear and forceful on the BOP. He allowed for ambiguity. He should have forbade the BOP or gone whole hog; and everyone having a dog in the fight should have known his expectations and orders exactly.

JFK and RFK completely blew it with the Diem assassination. Yes, I've read the transcript. Blew it.

The 1962 Cuban missile crisis JFK handled pretty well. Except for keeping from the American people his agreement to pull the missiles from Turkey. That should have been made public. It wasn't for political reasons.

Full disclosure: I've been a fan of JFK's for one reason -- he demonstrated he could not be bought or sold. I believe that was his undoing. And I loathe that the U.S. Government withholds from Americans materials bearing on his murder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Comments here reinforce my belief, which dates to the BOP debacle, that JFK was a rookie at foreign policy and the use of the U.S. military. JFK was not clear and forceful on the BOP. He allowed for ambiguity. He should have forbade the BOP or gone whole hog; and everyone having a dog in the fight should have known his expectations and orders exactly.

JFK and RFK completely blew it with the Diem assassination. Yes, I've read the transcript. Blew it.

The 1962 Cuban missile crisis JFK handled pretty well. Except for keeping from the American people his agreement to pull the missiles from Turkey. That should have been made public. It wasn't for political reasons.

Full disclosure: I've been a fan of JFK's for one reason -- he demonstrated he could not be bought or sold. I believe that was his undoing. And I loathe that the U.S. Government withholds from Americans materials bearing on his murder.

Jon - please excuse me, there are times I think you have a grasp and other, like this post, which confirms we need to keep talking about this.

Cuba was inherited. Nixon and Dulles and the military had to deal with a potential communist force which, IMO, would have been dealt with directly had Nixon won. When JFK won and 8 years of Nixon was to be undone, the BOP became something else - a way to back this new president into a political problem which would make him look bad no matter the outcome. (If we had been successful you can be sure "US invovlement" would be front and center and JFK would need to eat crow again)

He allowed the existing players to convince him. It was the JCS and their evaluation that wasn't forceful enough for they too needed to see what this president was made of. This occurs within 4 months of his inauguration Jon... Not like it was his to say no to since he'd look so soft on communism... JFK wanted Castro gone too if the CIA/Military were right - but they played him.

I'm sorry but Diem was RFK/JFK also being played. Lodge, as some say, may have even been taking orders from someone else. Lodge played Diem and JFK. There was nothing he could do to stop a then treasonous staff doing the bidding of the CIA/Military.

If it wasn't for JFK the world would probably have ended that week in October. "Pretty well" doesn't even scratch the surface.

A true rendering of that period should account for the way his government dismissed him and simply ran their plans around him until they couldn't anymore... so he was killed....

Worst thing for this county in its history, imo. And RFK would be a close #2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good post, David.

Although I'd frame this differently; you write -- "There was nothing he could do to stop a then treasonous staff doing the bidding of the CIA/Military."

In regards to SE Asia I think it was the CIA/Military doing the bidding of his treasonous staff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...