CF NATIONAL ESTIMATES
CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE IN7
MEMORANDUM PGR TEE
SUBJECT: The Estimative Recorduba
Attached for your Informationhronological Hot log of estimates end ONE memorandum touchingbe Cuban situation over the lost eight years and of their principal estloatlve findings. This estimative record is briefly summarised in the paragraphs
In tbe three pertinent estimates producede stressed the growing pressure far political, cc on cede, ond social change in the Caribbean and latin Anerlcan areas but coda only passing reference to Cuba aa such. However, we didhat Batista's regime was generally unpopular and dependentray support and that the Cuban Cooauniet Party was the largest and nest influontlnl in tbe Caribbean.
3. The growing difficulties of the Batista dictatorship were treated In three estimates and one ONE memorandum to you between
7 andust before tbe regime's collapse.
Castro voa froa the start Identified no Batiata's chief antagonist, though up through8 ue held that Caetro probably could not take over in the lnocdiote future nnd that Batista vaa nore likely to be replacedilltary Junta. Cur6 esti-aate was an extreoely gleouy oesesscent vhlch coccludod that: (a) tba situation hod deteriorated even oare rapidly than anticipated; (b) the deDorollred arned farces, If they took over, would have toolitical oolutlon satisfactory to Caatro unlcoo tbey wore given the lorge-scale outside assistance required to eupprces bio; ondf high political ond uilltary leaders to take drastic action to aten Caetro'a nooentun vould lead to widening strife in vhlch the possibility that the dlitary vould turn against the govurnoent could not be excluded. Both tbe7 end tbe8 eetinates noted the opportunities for tbe CorxJurJete in tbe situation, tbeeatinato pointing out that the Caotro uoveofint'o nationaliat blue obvloualy lent ltoclf to Cccrjunlst exploltotion despite tho lack of sufficient evidence on tho actual degree of Coanunlet penetration.
2ha Cnstro regim vaa assessed in five estimates between9 end
a. The relatively brief treatmnt ofhlle noting the anti-^JS biae of aoce of Castro's advisers and the censurable
ioproveoent In Coaaunlst prospects, depicted Cnstroanboyaot notionalist who eight find thoonvenient whipping boy butrending between tbe lineswould not necessarily becoae on in-placable and pro-Corrunlst foe of the US. However, subsequentlaid progressively increasing stress on Castro's dictatorial,end anti-US policies, oven though we have never reached the conclusion that Fidel Castro hiosoLf wasccrounist.
9 estioato concluded that tbeprovided the Cotuunists was the oost dangerous aspect ofnoting that while they probably did not controlwore certainlyosition to Influence tho rogioo.
9 estionte characterized RaulChe Guevara as pro-Comunists ifual Cctnunlets,likelihood of increased Cuban dependence on Bloc assistance,that the Corumists had little reason to coke an openpower or forcnl participation in the govertaxnt sinceand policies favored their alms.
special estimate of9 stressed the^ porn LieCnstro's views with those of the Comunists, bis growingaccept Comunlflt advice and support, nod the increasing rolein Cubathough it concluded that Castro hinsclf wao
still the ultiaate arbiter of Cuban policy and that bis regie* could not be described os deLa.etrsbly under tbe declination or control of tbo International Coznunlat aovenont.
o. Cur ooat recent entlmte. Inn effect argued that It was imntorial vbctber Caetro hi use If was Inonaunletthat Cuba hodase for conuunlsD In latin Anerica, that the Cocrjunlste were oore deeply entrenched than In Ouatemla, and that the increasing power and initiative in the hands or Conou-niats was close to giving then do facto control over tho regtrjo. However, the eetlcnte reiterated the view that the Coanunists would avoid doves which would place Cuba deaonstrably under International CorxwQlet control within the neoning of tbe Caracas resolution.
FOR THE BOARD OF NATIONAL ESTIMATES
ATTACHMENT TO MEMORANDUM FOR THE DIRECTOR "The Estimtive Record on Cuba"
ESTIMATIVE 'cffiONOLOGY ON CUBA
have reviewed the National Intelligence Estimates
and ONE memoranda having to do uith Cuba over the past eight years. The following paragraphs contain the major estimative judgments applying to Cubaeither specifically or generally,
, "The Caribbeanti Augustpaper indicated that the traditional ruling elements ofrepublics were being faced by increasing demandseconomic, and political change, coming from urbanelements with growing populpr support. (The disturbancetraditional order had been referred to also in NIEand Trends in Latin America Affecting US Socurity,"
Bow orderly eventual change would be depended in large measure on whether existing regimes could bring themselves to promote progress or whether, through statio repression, they made virtually certain an eventual violent explosion*
stated that the pressure for ohange had beenonsiderable degree in Cuba. There the stability ofunpopularn regime of military strong man Batista depended
upon the continued support of tho Army. also stated that the Cononunist situation in Cuba was far from satisfactory; the Cuban Communist Party, the largest and most Llfluentiel Communist Party In the Caribbean, had successfully penetrated other partiesthose of the dictatorship, labor unions, and the bureaucracy.
U. g, "Conditions and Trenda in Latin Thisroad brush discussion of the area, whose only specific reference to Cuba stated that the prospects for stability thore wero not good. Wo included in our discussion references to the effects of military predominance on Latin America. We felt that military predominance generally tended totabilizinG offect, but that over the lonp-torm military leadership did not have the capacity or neans to solve national problems in an orderly, propreoslvo fashion. Even though in the short torn military leadorahip precluded leftist regimes based on mass support, this leadership's repressive tendencies in the face of mounting pressure for change rendered more likely the outbreak ofviolence Ve believed that in tho long run, as social pressuroa Inoroased and if economic problems remained unsolved, at least temporary reversion to domagoguery and extreme solutions for meeting
national problems was probable In some esses, with consequent strains on the inter-Aneilean system and on Latin Americanwith the US.
Political Stability In Centre! AmericaCaribbean" Here we indicatedthe past eighteen months tho position of Batista hadweakened by growing unrest, that his reglne wasand thattro was his chief antagonist. believed that Batista could not fully restore public orderthe emergence of now opposition, we gave him only an even
cbanco of survivingeilitary-dominated Junta as his moot probable successor. Again, wo pointed out that tho sizable Cuban Communist Party was having some success and it was likely that its capabilities would Incroase.
to the Director, "The Situation in Cuba,"
This paper's main purpose was to express our feeling
that Batista's position had further weakenod since April and that
serious unrest would probably continue. At that time, it soomed
unlikely in the event of Batista's downfalltro (or ex-President Prio) wouldominant position. We did
indioate then that Castro's supporters had becooa sooowhat bitter toward tho US for its lack of support.
, "The Sjtu-tlcn Inhgain wo referred to the general dislike of Batista In Cuba and stated that Batista had resorted Increasingly to authoritarian
We notod that tho recont national eleotiono had hadlittle effect on tho political and military impasse In Cuba* Moreover, the Cuban armed forces could not suppress the guerrillas without extensive improvements in their military posture. tho Cuban armed foreoa remained the moat important element capable of breaklnE the politioal deadlock, by depoalne the regime and unta. unta almost certainly could not restore peace to Cuba In tho next few months unless it could convince the revolutionary opposition that it would accord it significant influence.
8* Wo estimated that Castro probably could not overthrow the government in the next few months* At this point we noted that sinceebel propaganda has stressed the supposed US preference for dictatorship and charged that Batista and somefficials wore scheming to bring about US military Intervention against tho rebels. While wo had Insufficient evidence to establish
tho dogree of Communist influence in thef July Movement ino did aay that the situation lent itself to Communist oxploltation. Fidel Castro's control was not so firm that he could pro vent infiltration oven if ha so desired. haracterized the nationalistic and anti-dictatorship line of the movement asorso which the Communists know well hoe to ride." eu alloged CcmmuniflJ^gmpathizera held moderately Important ositions In the rebel movement, especially among Raul Castro's troops, and some Communists were undoubtedly in the lower levels of the rebel organization.
, "Developments in Cuba sinoe6 This paper indicated that the position of the dictatorship had deteriorated even more rapidly tten wasa month before and that the armed forces were showing increasing signs of demoralization. We believedilitary Junta would not by itself restore peace and stability. Tcuick paelflcation, the junta would have toolitical solution satisfactory to Castro. To suppress Castro by
force, the junta would roqulre large scalo outside assistance. We
also stated our belief that if high political or militaryfailed to take drastic action to stem the momentum of the
Castro operation, the civil war would be likely to spread at an ever increasing rate. "In this situation, the pooslbllity cannot
be excluded that tbe army in theturn against the
government, either piecemeal, by going over the rebels, or in an organized way." We concluded that shouldllation of the aray reachoint thatiUtary Junta vould be unable to control tbe situation, or should Castro eventually win the civil
rolonged period of instability and disorderertainly ensue, with consequent peril to Anerlcan and other lives and property in Cuba.
10. Threats to the Stability of the USFacilities Position In the Coribbeon Area and0 At this tioe we stated that Castroationalist, that soae of his top advisees were antagonistic tOW'Jsl the US, and that these could count on extroma notionalists as well as on tho Cotnu-nist Party, whose overall prospects had Deaeurably Improved. It was probable that Castro vould display considerable independence and flnzxtoyance In his foreign policy nnd find thoonvenientboy. While he would probably stop short of seeking cessation or Dnjor limitation of US use of tbe GuantanaDO Naval Base/ it was likely that be would sooner or later ask far onjor iDcrenees In benefits from the base.
, "The Situation Ir. tba Caribbean' This eatimte stotod that Caatro was ruling Cubaictator. We considered tbe coat dorgerous oapect of tho Cubanto be the opportunity which it gave to Cooounleto. The Ceo-uunlst Party had succeeded In identifying ltoelf with tho Cuban revolution, and vaa exploiting the situation to penetrate thethe arqy, organised labor and the agrarian reforo Institute, in boob casos at top levuln. "Tie Ccmuniiito probably do not now control Castro, hut they areosition to exert influence in hla region and to carry on further organlzatlonolalso said it was unlikely that dlaeatiofled eleueote vould challenge Castro successfully Should Castro believe that the USor private lDtereote vera exerting pressure to bringodification of his policies, be vould probably react strongly,threatening tbe US Naval Basepr lotion of other large US holdings. Wo also stated our belief that Caetro would continue to ooeist revolutionary exile groups in Cuba to Invade their respective hope lands
. "Tho Situation In tbe Caribbean" In this paper ve gnve Castro oft least an even chor.ee of reoalcing in power We considered
that Raul Castro and Che Guevara were "both pro-Ccenuoista if not octuol Communists" and that they probably would assucc control if Fidel Castrondented. However, it secood unlikely that they vould be able to rolntnlo coctroi far long, and Cube would almost certainly be ineriod of violent political upheaval.
13. We estlooted that Corxruclst influence would almost certainly continue to Increase Nevertheless, ve did not believe that0 the Communloto would be able to force Fidel Castro to adopt policies to which ho vas opposed. Cn the other hand. Wothat Castro's attitude and policies would further the objective! of tho Cccrjunlsts. "In fact he probably will become incrensinglyon then and be may turn more to the Bloc for assistance."
1*. We believed that Cnstro would almost certainlyntrong anti-US position and would probably continuo to move nwoy from Cubo'e traditional alignment with the West in tho UN. Also, ho would probably resume diplomatic relations with tbe USSR and recognize Communist China. Be edght also enter into wide-ranging agreements with tho Canouulet Bice.
15. , "Caxmnlet influence in2his SNTE pointed out that Fidel Castro remained the dominantIn the regime and expressed our belief that be was not disposed
At loch Dent
to accept direction from any foreign source. "His susceptibility
to Communist Influence and suggestion ond bis willing adoption of
Communist patterns of action springs froa tbe parallelism of bis
revolutionary views with the current Cauunlst line in latin
America, free his conviction that coonunlsu offers no threat to his
regite, nod froa his needs for external We stated our
feeling that for sone tine Cooauniet leaders would avoid anyto Castro'e authority or ony claln to faranl partyIn tbe government. Also, that the Cuban regloc was in practice following the lice set far latin American Coxxunlst partieo inlc9 ond that it vould continue to pursue policies advantageous to the Communists and to accept Communist assistance in carrying then out. We believed that Fidel Castro and hiswere not then, nor would they soon be, demonstrably under the domination or control of the international Cccrju.ilst movement, in part because we felt that under the circumstances international coauunleo did not desire tola. Finally, wo thought that the USSR would not heoltate to write off tho Cnstro regime before involving itselfirect military confrontation with thever^Cuba, orat least during the "present* state of Sovietnjar diplomatic crisis with the US.
O, "The Situation Ink
At this Juncture, we felt that Fidel Cootro would alnost certainly renain in power for the rest of the year. Without Fidel Castro, his brother ond Che Guevara would probably seek to carry on,risis probably vould develophort tice. Under ouch cir-cuastaoces, there wouldetter than even chance that tho country vould be throwneriod of widespread disorders and bloodshed.
sold that wo could not detomdne whether Castroa Carounlst. but that "CocDuniets ere deeply Involved in thecling of Cubanore so than In Ouatecala inondhas bease for caxjunioa In Latin said that Cououniats and their supporters were In positionsthroughout the revolutionary governncnt. "Indeed, thela for Castro's increased dependence on Cctrjuclste nod theyto be able to cake nany decisions and take oacy actionsconsulting bin. If this trend cootinuee, tbe Cotnunlsts willfacto control of tho Castro regiae, and are near this pointcontinued toove that Cocaunlsto vould avoid oovee whichCuba dcoonatrably under the doainatlon or control of toeCCDDuclat Dovecnnt within tbe nooning of tbe Caracas We esticated that recognition of additional Bloc governrjonts,
Including Cconunist Cbira, was Likely, and that Cuba vould probably support the seating of that country in the UN. Bloc aid, probably includingolUtary equipment, was likely to grow.
Id. We foresaw no significant change In Cuban foreign policy in the next six months or so. It was almost certain that Castro vould continue his extensive propaganda and proeelytieing activities in latin America.
fenorondun for the Director, "Tbe Cuban Pot Bolls5 US economic sanctions and Khrushchev's bluntagainst US intervention In Cuba wereart of tbe Cuban picture. We believed that these developments had strengthened CaBtro's hand over the short term. It was clear that tbe US sanctions had greatly Increased Cuba's economic dependence on the Bloc. Moreover, Castro, backed firmly by the Bloc, surrounded by pro-Coonunistond faced with US reprisals, was almost certainly more inclined to destroy renaining ties with the US than to back down. We believed that harassment of tbe GUantanano Naval Base would increase and that thereood chance of Cuba's demanding US withdrawal,froa tbe base.
We believedajority of latin American governments was likely to support tbe US against tbe Cuban charge in tbe UN end
to support cor.eidcrctior. of the Cuban probleo by the CAS. Much would dependot her or cot the US wholeheartedlytrong Venezuelan nove in the OAS against Trujillo. Finally, evenondemnation of Castro In gcnerol terns could bewe believed that the US would hove difficulty in securing enough OAS votes to cause multilateral enactions against Cnstro.Original document.