170. 1/18/1961

“JAN 18, 1961: Ambassador [Whiting] Willauer reports to Under Secretary of State Merchant that ‘the Group, DOD [Department of Defense], CIA [Central Intelligence Agency], and ARA [American Rental Association] (to a limited extent)’ have updated DOD on ‘current thinking on the program for Cuba,’ and ‘after concluding this [they] assumed that the December 6 plan (updated in light of developments since that time) might not succeed in the objective of overthrowing the Castro regime.’ Willauer concurs with DOD’s ‘Evaluation of Possible Military Courses of Action in Cuba’ (January 16, 1961) that any chance of success hinges on several ‘very important policy decisions that many of [them] feel must be taken immediately.’ Willauer also states his own view that the plan ‘will probably get support from many Latin American countries of democratic inclination in direct proportion to the degree [the U.S. is] felt to be siding in the overthrow of Trujillo (of the Dominican Republic) and generally are ‘on the side of the angels’ in the entire problem of dictatorships vs. free governments in the hemisphere.’ Finally, Willauer informs Merchant that his committee ‘weighed without coming to a conclusion the advantages of rapid, effective action by direct war in terms of getting matters over with without a long buildup of world opinion, vs. the inevitability of such a buildup under any seven-month program.’”

“The Bay of Pigs Invasion/Playa Giron: A Chronology of Events,” The National Security Archive, NSArchive2.gwu.edu

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