By MIKE FEINSILBER
.c The Associated Press
(AP) - America's military leaders signed off on a scheme in 1963 to provoke
Fidel Castro into attacking the United States so that retaliating U.S. forces
could squash him "with speed, force and determination,'' newly declassified
The records were among 600 pages opened at the National Archives by a
government agency, the Assassination Records Review Board, to help researchers
into John F. Kennedy's Nov. 22, 1963, assassination explore the possibility of a
Cuban connection and to "put the assassination into its historical
Some Cuban involvement has been theorized because of slain suspect Lee
Harvey Oswald's association with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.
"These military records further demonstrate how high on the U.S.
government's radar screen getting rid of the Castro government was in the early
1960s,'' said John R. Tunheim, a federal judge in Minnesota and the board's
The documents showed that in February 1962 the Joint Chiefs of Staff and
Deputy Defense Secretary Roswell Gilpatric approved a plan to "lure or
provoke Castro, or an uncontrollable subordinate, into an overt hostile reaction
against the United States.''
The attack "would in turn create the justification for the U.S. to not
only retaliate but destroy Castro with speed, force and determination,'' the
It was not clear where along the chain of command the plan eventually was
But by the following year, another Pentagon policy paper discussed a new
scheme to make it appear that Cuba had attacked a member of the Organization of
American States so that the United States could retaliate.
Five scenarios were spelled out, foreseeing either real or faked Cuban
attacks on a U.S. ally.
One of them: "A contrived 'Cuban' attack on an OAS member could be set
up, and the attacked state could be urged to take measures of self-defense and
request assistance from the U.S. and OAS.''
The paper expressed confidence that "the U.S. could almost certainly
obtain the necessary two-thirds support among OAS members for collective action
The planners got cold feet, the documents show. They feared leaks.
"Any of the contrived situations described above are inherently,
extremely risky in our democratic system in which security can be maintained,
after the fact, with very great difficulty,'' a memo said.
"If the decision should be made to set up a contrived situation, it
should be one in which participation by U.S. personnel is limited only to the
most high trusted covert personnel.''
The documents were the second set about Washington's preoccupation with
getting rid of Castro to be made public by the board. Late last year, 1,500
pages showed that military planners had come up with a variety of dirty tricks
intended to harass or humiliate Castro.
One prescribed flooding Cuba with faked photos of an overweight Castro "with
two beauties'' and "a table brimming over with the most delectable Cuban
food'' to make the point that Castro's lifestyle was richer than that of most
In the new set of papers, one prepared by the Defense Department's Caribbean
Survey Group and dated Feb. 19, 1962, wanted to make Castro so fearful of an
imminent U.S. attack that he would call up the Cuban militia. The purpose was "a
complete disruption of the available labor force'' for the 1962 sugar cane
Another, a psychological warfare proposal dated Feb. 12, 1963, proposed the
creation of an imaginary Cuban resistance leader. The paper called him "our
"After a period of time, all unexplained incidents and actions for
which credit has not been seized by some other exile group would automatically
be ascribed to our imaginary friend,'' the paper said. "At some point in
time it could be leaked that the U.S. is, in fact, supporting this imaginary
Eventually, the paper speculated, "a member of the resistance in Cuba
may gain sufficient stature to assume or to be given the title of this imaginary
The Pentagon documents were written after the disastrous April 1961 invasion
of Cuba's Bay of Pigs by Cuban exiles trained, armed and directed by the United
States and before the October 1962 crisis that resulted from a Soviet missile
buildup in Cuba.