200. 2/19/1961

“Two days later [February 19, 1961] Richard Bissell [CIA Deputy Director for Plans] responds to the [Thomas] Mann [Assistant Secretary for Inter-American affairs] argument with a comprehensive opinion paper arguing for the invasion. He addresses the ‘disposal’ problem if the mission is aborted: Brigade ‘members will be angry, disillusioned and aggressive with the inevitable result that they will provide honey for the press bees and the U.S. will have to face the resulting indignities and embarrassments.’ Bissell concludes by arguing that this is the last opportunity for the U.S. to bring down Castro without overt U.S. military intervention or a full embargo: ‘The Cuban paramilitary force, if used, has a good chance of overthrowing [Fidel] Castro or at the very least causing a damaging civil war without requiring the U.S. to commit itself to overt action against Cuba. Whatever embarrassment the alleged (though deniable) U.S. support may cause, it may well be considerably less than that resulting from the continuation of the Castro regime or from the more drastic and more attributable actions necessary to accomplish the result at a later date.’”

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

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