TOP SECRET SPECIAL HANDLING NOFORN
[declassified 2000 at US National Security Archives, George Washington Unversity, Washington DC, pdf images of actual documents, 15 pages, 750kb]
The Joint Chiefs of Staff
Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense
Subject: Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba (TS)
JCS to Secretary of War Robert McNamara
March 13, 1962
1. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the attatched memorandum for the chief of Operations, Cuba Project, which responds to a request by that office for brief but precise description of pretexts which would provide justification for US military intervention in Cuba.
2. The Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that the proposed memorandum be forwarded as a preliminary submission suitable for planning purproses. It is assumed that there will be similar submissions from other agencies and that these inputs will be used as a basis for developing a time-phased plan. Individual projects can then be considered on a case-by-case basis.
3. Further, it is assumed that a single agency will be given the primary responsibility for developing military and para-military [terrorist] aspects of the basic plan. It is recommended that this responsibility for both overt and covert military operations be assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff
signed: General L.L. Limnitzer
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Note by the Secretaries
to the Joint Chiefs of Staff
"Instances to Provoke Military Actions in Cuba"
This paper NOT be forwarded to commanders of specified or unified commands.
This paper NOT be forwarded to US officers assigned to NATO activities.
This paper NOT be forwarded to the Chairman, US Delegation, United Nations Military Staff Committee.
Such a plan would enable a logical buildup of incidents to be combined with other seemingly unrelated events to camoflage the ultimate objective and create the necessary impression of Cuban rashness and irresponsibility on a large scale, directed at other countries in addition to the United States. The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances.
A series of well-coordinated incidents will be planned to take place to give genuine appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces.
Incidents to establish a credible attack:
1. Start rumors (many). Use clandestine radio.
2. Land friendly Cubans in uniform "over-the-fence" to stage attack on the base.
3. Capture Cuban (friendly) sabateurs inside the base.
4. Start riots near the entrance to the base (friendly Cubans).
5. Blow up ammunition inside the base; start fires.
6. Burn aircraft on airbase (sabatage).
7. Lob morter shells from outsidethe base to inside the base. Some damage to installation.
8. Capture assault teams.
9. Capture militia group which storms the base.
10. Sabotage ship in harbor; large fires — napthalene [napalm].
11. Sink ship near harbor entrance. Conduct funerals for mock-victims.
(b) United States would respond by executing offensive operations.
3. A "Remember the Maine" incident could be arranged in several forms:
a. We could blow up a US ship and blame Cuba.
b. We could blow up a drone (unmannded) vessel anywhere in the Cuban waters. The presense of Cuban planes or ships merely investigating the intent of the vessel could be fairly compelling evidence that the ship was taken under attack. The US could follow with an air/sea rescue operation covered by US fighters to "evacuate" remaining members of the non-existant crew. Casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.
c. We could develop a Communist Cuba terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Flordia cities and even in Washington. The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans enroute to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cubans in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized. Exploding a few bombs in carefully chosen spots. The arrest of Cuban agents and the release of prepared documents substantiating cuban involvement.
5. A "Cuban-based, Castro-supported" filibuster could be simulated against a neighboring Caribbean nation. These efforts can be magnified with additional ones contrived for exposure. "Cuban" B-26 or C-46 type aircraft could make cane-burning raids at night. Soviet Bloc incidiaries could be found. This could be coupled with "Cuban" messages to the Communist underground and "Cuban" shipments of arms which would be found, or intercepted, on the beach.
6. Use of MIG-type aircraft by US pilots could provide additional provocation. Harassment of civil air, attacks on surface shipping, and destruction of US military drone aircraft by MIG type palnes would be useful. An F-86 properly painted would convince air passengers that they saw a Cuban MIG, especially if the pilot of the transport were to announce that fact.
7. Hijacking attampts against US civil air and surface craft should be encouraged.
8. It is possible to create an incident which would demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civilian airliner from the United States.
a. An aircraft at Eglin AFB [10 separate landing strips on one giant base in the jungle] would be painted and numbered as an exact duplicate for a civil registered aircraft belonging to a CIA proprietary organization in the Miami area. At a designated time the duplicate would be subsituted for the actual civil aircraft and the passengers, all boarded under carefully prepared aliases. The actual registered aircraft would be converted to a drone.
b. Take off times of the drone aircraft and the actual aircraft will be scheduled to allow a rondevous. From the rondevous point the passenger-carrying aircraft will descend to minimum altitude and go directly to an auxiliary airfield at Eglin AFB where arrangements will have been made to evacuate the passengers and return the aircraft to its original status. Meanwhile the drone aircraft will continue to fly the filed flight plan. The drone will be transmitting on the international distress frequency "MAY DAY" message stating it is under attack by Cuban MIG aircraft. The transmission will be interrupted by the destruction of aircraft which will be triggered by radio signal. This will allow IACO radio stations to tell the US what has happened to the aircraft instead of the US trying to "sell" the incident.
9. It is possible to create an incident that will make it appear that Communist Cuban MIGs have destroyed a USAF aircraft over international waters in an unprovoked attack.
b. On one such flight, a pre-briefed pilot would fly Tail-end Charlie. While near the Cuban island this pilot would broadcast that he had been jumped by MIGs and was going down. This pilot would then fly at extremely low altitude and land at a secure base, an Eglin auxiliary. The aircraft would be met by the proper people, quickly stored and given a new tail number. The pilot who performed the mission under an alias would resume his proper identity. The pilot and aircraft would then have disappeared.
c. A submarine or small craft would distribute F-101 parts, parachute, etc. The pilots retuning to Homestead would have a true story as far as they knew. Search ships and aircraft could be dispatched and parts of aircraft found.
3. It is understood that the Department of State is also preparing suggested courses of action to develop justification for US military intervention in Cuba.