188. 2/8/1961

“[February 8, 1961] In an afternoon meeting of President [John F.] Kennedy and his top advisers, Richard Bissell of the CIA reports the assessment of the JCS [ Joint Chiefs of Staff]-that the CIA plan for landing the brigade has a fair chance of success. Success is defined as an ability to survive, hold ground, and attract growing support from Cubans. At worst, the invaders should be able to fight their way to the Escambray and go into guerrilla action. After the State Department representatives point out the grave effects such an operation could have on the U.S. position in Latin America without careful and successful diplomatic preparation, President Kennedy presses for alternatives to a full-fledged invasion, supported by U.S. planes, ships and supplies. A memcon (sic) written by McGeorge Bundy [National Security Advisor] records Kennedy’s question: ‘Could not such a force be landed gradually and quietly and make its first major military efforts from the mountains? then taking shape as a Cuban force within Cuba, not as an invasion force sent by the Yankees?’ Kennedy authorizes creation of a small junta of anti-Castro leaders to give the Brigade forces some political purpose.”

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

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