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OA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM ^fcolASEM
Kent Asolotaot Director Batlooal Kstlnates
CENTRAL INTELLIOENCE AGENCY OFFICE OF NATIONAL ESTIMATES
MEhCRAWXTM FOR THE DIRECTOR
SUBJECT: Probable International Reactions to Certain
Possible US Courses of Action against the
1. Tho purposo of thio moinorandum Is to assess therisks involved in various types of action the US might take to Weaken or overthrow the Caatro governmentespecially the nature and magnitude of possible Bloc count*moves and tho possibility of serious adverse reactions on the part of Latin American countries or others in the Free World. We mustthat actual International reactions might be greatlyby circumstantial factors which cannot be accurately foreseenby the precise nature of the US action, by the manner speed, and success with which it was carried out, by newin the situation which might affect international opinion
regarding the justification of the US action or (in the case of the Bloc) the possibilities for countering it without undue risk. Nevertheless, we Relieve some valid generalizations can be made, on the basis of the situation as It has developed so far, regarding certain broad lines of action open to the US. Various steps have already been taken by the US against the Castro regime: the sugar quota has been eliminated; virtually all other US economic trade with Cuba has been placed under embargo; political and diplomatic moves have been taken to isolate and condemn Cuba in the American ccjmmuiity; and, most recently, diplomatic relations have been broken. Thus, for purposes of this memorandum, we consider that anyffort to greatly increase the pressures on Castro would probably involve moves, unilaterally or with the support of other Latin American countries, to (a)aval and air blockade of Cuba; (b) provide active support, of varying degrees of magnitude and overtness, to an attempt by Cuban opposition clcirents, internal and in exile, to overthrow Castro; or (c) undertake an overt military invasion of Cuba.
2. Bloc Interests and prestige are by now Ueeply involvud in Cuba. Bloc leaders from the start have recognised the Valueevolutionary,ubaource of Irritation and embarrassment to the US, as an example for revolutionary movements elsewhere in the hemisphere, andenter for Communist as well as Cuban agitation and propaganda throughout Latin Amorica. Indeed, tho Cuban example has assumed increasing prominence in Soviet and (even more so) Chinese Communist assessments of the world situation. Cuba Is being depictedrima example of the Communist thesis that colonial regimes are inevitably toppling undor the impact of revolutionaryand that Bloc strength can prevent the imperialists from re-intervening to reverse this process. Further, in the Bloc's view the Castro regime is farther along toward the next stagethe advent of Communist powerthan any other Free World country. The Bloc has previdod Castro with extensive political, eccucnlc, and military support, including tanks and artillery aa well as extensive quantities of small arms. While carefully avoiding firm commitments, Khrushchev has further involved Bloc prestige in several statements designed to create the impression that tho Cuban revolution ia under the protection of Soviet missiles.
3. For these reasons, the Bloc would regard Castro'a downfallubstantial political defeat and would respond vigorously to any major US moveovert or covert and whether or not supported by ethersto bring it about. Such reaction might include the dispatch of additional military supplies to Castro, if need he by submarine or aircraft. In the event of an unresolved military struggle between Castro and US-backedforces, it is conceivable, though we believe unlikely, that the Bloc might even seek toew "volunteers' to handle specialized equipment. In any event, the Bloc would'probably issue generalised warnings of the possibility of wider hostilities/ perhaps accompanied by naval redeployments and other adlitaryations.
(i. However, we believe that such Bloc adlitary moves as were undertaken would be primarily political acts designed to heighten the crisis so aa to play on worldwide fears of general war and that the Bloc would carefullyirect military confrontation with US forces. The Communist leaders almost certainly recognize that Cuba's geographical location sharply limits their ability to counter US military moves there and that US sonsitivit/ regarding Cuba would make the risks of general
war particularly great. Thuo Bloc effort* would probably be primarily directed at heading off the American threat to Cuba by political moans, exploiting in the process all opportunities to exploit political reactions against tho US. Its campaign would probably stress emergency action by the UN to curb and censure the US. Given certain circumstances, it might seek to establish some sort of international control mechanism for Cuba.
If tho US succeeded in bringing Castro down, tho Bloc leaders, and particularly the Chinese Conmunists, would feel themselves under pressure to offset this defeat (and impress the US with their displeasure) by initiatives elsewhere. At least tho Soviet leaders, however, probably believe that they could prevent Castro's downfall fromead loss by exploiting it Bjsj an example of imperialist repression of Cuban nationalism. Moreover, the US action might impell Bloc leaders to revise thulr assessment of US willingness to take military risks. In anyoviet or Chinese decision to make trouble elsewhere would depend on the extent to which local circumstances wore favorable. He know of no such local situation which is not already being exploited by tho Bloc.
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Latin American and other Ftvo World Reactions
stature in Latin America has markedly
declined over the last year. His dictatorial methods, his political meddling in other countries, end his closewith world conrounism have progressively alienated moderates who initially felt that Castro, with all his crudencss, was ong needed social revolution to Cuba. Official opinion, at least privately, has generally crystallised against Castro, and the earlier tendency of many to secretly applaud his Yankee-baiting has subsided. The majority of Latin American governments apparently felt that the US economic embargo was Justified and virtually all have at least prlvatoly sympathised with the US decision to brook diplomatic relations. Peru and five lesser countries have also broken or suspended diplomatic ties withd six others have withdrawn their Ambassadors from Havana.
moat Latin American leaders remain
reluctant to stir up the vociferous and sometimes strategically placed minority of pro-Communists oulothtr leftists who look to Castroymbol of revolution, and these leaders themselves
continue to be influenced by traditional fears of US domination
of the hemisphere. We see little likelihood as natters now stand that the OAS can be induced to participate in or officially sanction anti-Castro measures of the drastic nature considered in this laenorandum.
Despite the likelihood of outcries frora the far left, unobtrusiveupport for an opposition move against Castro which promised to win broad popular support would probably be at least privately supported by most Latin American governments* Some, indeed, would probably be willing to provide covert assistance of their own forove, particularly If they felt that the US would also support moves to overthrow the Trujillo dictatorship in the ftmLnican Republic.
Especially if they had been consulted by the US In advance, the other Latin American governments might be willing to Hcquioscoairly sizable amount of unacknowledged OS support for such an operation. However, willingness to go along would be -greatly weakened if US participation reached suchas to suggest that the US wasew regime rather than assisting the Cubans themselves to settle their own destinies. Except possibly on invitationew regime which was widely considered to represent the true feelings of the Cuban people, direct participation of US combat forces in action
against Castro within Cuba itself would probablyiolent and bitter reaction throughout the hemisphere, reflected in strong opposition in the OAS and UN. These reactions would'be especially deep and lasting if it appeared that the US was attempting to install another reactionary Batista-type regime In Cuba.
10. The Latin American reaction would probably alsothough leas Intense than in tho case of USwithin Cuba, if the USlockade ofinternational waters. At least in the absence of newCuban provocations/ most Latin American countriesit difficult to oppose efforts to condemn such action inrnd would probably feeL impelled to take similar action in .
11* Other Free World nations are for the most part not deeply involved with the Cuban issue, regarding it aa one for Cuba and the US to work out. Thus their reactions to strong OS actions would depend mainly on the extent to which those actions appeared to threaten their own national interests, to materially Increase the risks of global war, or to represent (particularly for the Afro-Asian Bloc) great power disregard for the rights of
smaller nations. Actual US military intervention in Cuba would almost certainly evoke widespread and vehement opposition and.
even if carried out so rapidly aa to present the world with a
fnifr accompli, would probablyasting bad impression throughout the Afro-Asian world as well as in ^atin America, ImpositionS blockade would probably stimulate widespread UN opposition, particularly since Canadaumber of nations othorwise not particularly sympathetic with Castro villi maintain trading relations with Castro. Unobtrusive US support for an opposition attempt against Castro wouldood deal of cynicism throughout the world about the extent of the US role but if quickly successful little othor lasting reaction. an operation in which US participation was marked, or one which resulted in prolonged and Inconclusive fighting, would probably generate widespread pressure for moves to internationalise and control the situation. Unilateral US military intervention against Cuban territory would probably confront tbe USituation in many respects comparable to that of the British and French at the time of Sues, with even many of our NATO allies likely to take the position the US did at that time.Original document.