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94TH CONGRESS : : : : 1st SESSION 

JANUARY 14 -DECEMBER 19, 1975 


Vol. 3-8 


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JUL 61977 

94th Congress \ airixTiT^Tr / Report 

1st Session / bUAAil^ | ^^.^ ^^^^^. 










November 20 (legislative day, November 18), 1975 


61-985 O WASHINGTON : 1975 


FRANK CHURCH, Idaho, Chairman 
JOHN G. TOWER, Texas, Vice Chairman 

PHILIP A. HART, Michigan HOWARD H. BAKER, Jr., Tennessee 



ROBERT MORGAN, North Carolina RICHARD S. SCHWEIKER, Pennnsylvania 

GARY HART, Colorado 

William G. Miller, Staff Director 

Frederick A. O. Schwarz, Jr., Chief Counsel 

Curtis R. Smothers, Counsel to the Minority 

Audrey Hatry, Clerk of the Committee 




Prologue xiii 

I. Introduction and Summary 1 

A. Committee's Mandate 1 

B. Committee Decision To Make Report Public 2 

C. Scope of Committee's Investigation 2 

D. Summary of Findings and Conclusions 4 

1. The Questions Presented 4 

2. Summary of Findings and Conclusions on the Plots 4 

3. Summary of Findings and Conclusions on The Issues of Author- 

ity and Control 6 

II. Covert Action as a Vehicle for Foreign Policy Implementation 9 

A. Policy Development and Approval Mechanism 9 

B. The Concept of "Plausible Denial" 11 

III. Assassination Planning and Plots 13 

A. Congo 13 

1. Introduction 13 

2. Dulles Cable to Leopoldville: August 26, 1960 14 

3. CIA Encouragement of Congolese Efforts to "Eliminate" 

Lumumba 16 

4. The Plot to Assassinate Lumumba 19 

(a) Bissell/Tweedy Meetings on Feasibility of Assassinating 

Lumumba 1% 

(b) Bissell/Scheider Meetings on Preparations for Assassinating 

"An African Leader" 20 

(c) Scheider Mission to the Congo on an Assassination 

Operation 21 

(d) Congo Station Officer Told to Expect Scheider: Dulles 

Cables About "Elimination" of Lumumba 22 

(e) Assassination Instructions Issued to Station Officer and 

Lethal Substances Delivered: September 26, 1960 24 

(f) Hedgman's Impression That President Eisenhower Ordered 

Lumumba's Assassination 25 

(g) Steps in Furtherance of the Assassination Operation 26 

(i) Hedgman's Testimony About Confirmation from 

Headquarters of the Assassination Plan 26 

(ii) "Exploratory Steps" 27 

(iii) The Assassination Operation Moves Forward After 
Scheider's Return to Headquarters: October 5-7, 

1960 29 

(iv) Headquarters Continues to Place "Highest Priority" 

on the Assassination Operation 30 

(h) Tweedy/Bissell Testimony: Extent of Implementation; 

Extent of Authorization 33 

(i) Tweedy's Testimony About the Scope of the Assassi- 
nation Operation 33 

(ii) Bissell's Testimony About Moving the Assassination 

Operation From Planning to Implementation 36 



III. Assassination Planning and Plots^Continued 

A. Congo — Continued 

5. The Question of a Connection Between the Assassination Plot 

and Other Actions of CIA Officers and Their Agents in the ?»&« 
Congo 37 

(a) Mulroney's Assignment in the Congo 37 

(i) Mulroney's Testimony That He Went to the Congo 
After Refusing an Assassination Assignment From 
Bissell 37 

(ii) Bissell's Testimony About the Assignment to 

Mulroney 40 

(iii) Mulroney Informed of Virus in Station Safe Upon Ar- 
riving in Congo: November 3, 1960 41 

(iv) Mulroney's Plan to "Neutralize" Lumumba 42 

(b) QJ/WIN's Mission in the Congo: November-December 

1960 . 43 

(c) WI/ROGUE Asks QJ/WIN to Join "Execution Squad": 

December 1960 45 

6. The Question of Whether the CIA Was Involved in Bringing 

About Lumumba's Death in Katanga Province 48 

(a) Lumumba's Imprisonment After Leaving U.N. Custody: 

November 27-December 3, 1960 48 

(b) Lumumba's Death 49 

7. The Question of the Level at Which the Assassination Plot 

Was Authorized 51 

(a) High- Level Meetings at Which "Getting Rid of Lumumba" 

Was Discussed 53 

(i) Dillon's Testimony About Pentagon Meeting : Summer 

1960 53 

(ii) Robert Johnson's Testimony That He Understood 
the President to Order Lumumba's Assassination 

at an NSC Meeting 55 

(iii) Special Group Agrees to Consider Anything That 

Might Get Rid of Lumumba: August 25, 1960 60 

(iv) Dulles Reminded by Gray of "Top-Level Feeling" 
That "Vigorous Action" was Necessary in the Congo: 

September 7-8, 1960 62 

(v) Dulles Tells NSC That Lumumba Remains a Grave 

Danger Until "Disposed Of": September 21, 1960.. 62 

(b) Testimony of Eisenhower White House Officials 64 

(c) Bissell's Assumptions About Authorization by President 

Eisenhower and Allen Dulles 65 

(d) The Impression of Scheider and Hedgman That the 

Assassination Operation Had Presidential Authorization. 67 

B. Cuba 71 

1. The Assassination Plots 71 

(a) Plots: Early 1960 72 

(i) Plots to Destroy Castro's Public Image 72 

(ii) Accident Plot 72 

^iii) Poison Cigars ^ 73 

(b) Use of Underworld Figures — Phase I (Pre-Bay of Pigs) 74 

(i) The Initial Plan 74 

(ii) Contact with the Syndicate 75 

(iii) Las Vegas Wiretap ; 77 

(1) CIA Involvement in the Wiretap __;. 77 

(2) Consequences of the Wiretap. 79 

(iv) Poison is Prepared and Delivered to Cuba 79 

(c) Use of Underworld Figures: Phase II (Post-Bay of Pigs).- 82 

(i) Change in Leadership ^ 82 

(ii) The Operation is Reactivated - 83 

(d) Plans in Early 1963 85 

(e) AM/LASH , 86 

(i) Origin of the Project, ^ S6 

(ii) The Poison Pen Device...^ 88 

(iii) Providing AM/LASH with: Arms 89 

III. Assassination Planning and Plots — Continued 
B. Cuba — Continued 

2. At What Level Were the Castro Plots Known About or Author- Page 

ized Within the Central Intelligence Agency? 91 

(a) The Question Presented 91 

(i) Dulles 92 

(ii) McCone 92 

(b) Did Allen Dulles Know of or Authorize the Initial Plots 

Against Castro? 92 

(i) Dulles' Approval of J.C. King's December 1959 Mem- 
orandum 92 

(ii) Dulles' January 1960 Statement to the Special Group, 93 

(iii) Meetings in March 1960 93 

(iv) Recision of Accident Plot in July 1960 94 

(v) Briefing of Dulles on Use of Underworld Figures in 

September 1960 94 

(1) Evidence Concerning What Dulles Was Told 94 

(2) Evidence Concerning When the Briefing Occurred. 97 
(vi) Edwards' Communications to the Justice Department 

in 1961 and 1962 97 

(vii) General Cabell's Remarks to the Special Group in 

November 1960 98 

(c) Did John McCone Know of or Authorize Assassination 

Plots During His Tenure as DCI? 99 

(i) McCone's Testimony 99 

(ii) Testimony of Helms, BisseU and Other Subordinate 

Agency Employees 100 

(iii) Helms and Harvey Did Not Brief McCone About the 

Assassination Plots 102 

(iv) The Question of Whether General Carter, McCone's 

Deputy Director, Learned About the Underworld 

Plot and Informed McCone 106 

(v) The August 1963 Briefing of McCone 107 

3. At What Level Were the Castro Plots Known About or Au- 

thorized Outside of the Central Intelligence Agency? 108 

(a) The Question of Knowledge and Authorization Outside the 

Central Intelligence Agency in the Eisenhower Admin- 
istration 109 

(i) Summary 109 

(ii) Richard Bissell's Testimony 110 

(1) Lack of Personal Knowledge 110 

(2) Assumptions Concerning Dulles 111 

(iii) Testimony of White House Officials 111 

(1) Gordon Gray 111 

(2) Andrew Goodpaster 112 

(3) Thomas Parrott 113 

(4) John Eisenhower 113 

(iv) Documentary Evidence 114 

(1) Inspector General's Report 114 

(2) Contemporaneous Documents 114 

(b) The Question of Knowledge and Authorization Outside 

the Central Intelligence Agency During the Kennedy 

Administration 116 

(i) Pre-Bay of Pigs Assassination Plot 117 

(1) Bissell's Testimony Concerning His Assumption 

That Dulles Told the President 117 

(2) Bissell's Testimony Regarding His Own Actions. _ 118 

(3) Kennedy Administration Officials' Testimony-,^ 119 

(4) The Question of Whether Assassination Efforts 

Were Disclosed in Various Briefings of Adminis- 
tration Officials 120 

a. Briefing of the President- Elect 120 

b. Discussion with Bundy on "Executive Action 

Capability" 121 

c. Taylor/ Kennedy Bay of Pigs Inquiry 121 

(5) Conversation Between President Kennedy and 

Senator George Smathers 123 


III. Assassination Planning and Plots — Continued 
B. Cuba — Continued 

3. At What Level Were the Castro Plots Known About or Au- 
thorized Outside of the Central Intelligence Agency ?^Con. 
(b) The Question of Knowledge and Authorization Outside of 
the Central Intelligence Agency During the Kennedy 
Administration — Continued 
( i ) Pre-Bay of Pigs Assassination Plot — Continued 

(6) The Question of Whether the President or the 

Attorney General Might Have Learned of the 
Assassination Effort from the Cuban Partici- Page 
pants 124 

(7) The Question of Whether the Assassination Opera- 

tion Involving Underworld Figures Was Known 
About by Attorney General Kennedy or 
President Kennedy as Revealed by Investiga- 
tions of Giancana and Rosselli 125 

a. 1960 125 

b. 1961 126 

c. 1962 129 

(1) Did President Kennedy Learn Anything 

About Assassination Plots as a Result of 
the FBI Investigation of Giancana and 
Rosselli? 129 

(2) The Formal Decision to Forego Prosecution. 131 

(a) Events Leading Up to a Formal Brief- 

ing of the Attorney General 131 

(b) Briefing of the Attorney General on 

May 7, 1962 131 

(aa) The Attorney General Was Told 
That the Operation Had 
Involved an Assassination 

Attempt 132 

(bb) Evidence Concerning Whether 
The Attorney General Was 
Told That the Operation Had 

Been Terminated 132 

(ii) Post-Bay of Pigs Underworld Plot— MONGOOSE 

Period 134 

(1) Events Preceding the Establishment of MON- 

GOOSE 135 

a. The Taylor/Kennedy Board of Inquiry 135 

b. National Security Action Memorandum 100 of 

October 5, 1961, and the CIA Intelligence 
Estimate 136 

c. President Kennedy's November 9, 1961 Con- 

versation with Tad Szulc 138 

d. President Kennedy's Speech of November 16, 

1961 139 

(2) Operation MONGOOSE 139 

a. The Creation of Operation MONGOOSE 139 

(1) The Special Group (Augmented) (SGA)... 140 
{2) General Lansdale Named Chief-of-Oper- 

ations of MONGOOSE 140 

(8) CIA Organization for MONGOOSE 140 

b. Lansdale's Theory and Objective for MON- 

GOOSE 140 

c. Bissell's Testimony Concerning Presidential 

Instructions to Act More Vigorously 141 

d. The January 19, 1962 Special Group Meeting. 141 

e. General Lansdale's MONGOOSE Planning 

Tasks 142 

f . Lansdale's Rejection of a Suggestion that a Prop- 

aganda Campaign, Including Rewards for 

Assassination, Be Explored 144 

g. The control System MONGOOSE Operations.. 144 
h. The Pattern of MONGOOSE Action 146 


III. Assassination Planning and Plots — Continued 
B. Cuba — Continued 

3. At What Level Were the Castro Plots Known About or Au- 
thorized Outside of the Central Intelligence Agency? — Con. 
(b) The Question of Knowledge and Authorization Outside of 
the Central Intelligence Agency During the Kennedy 
Administration — Continued 
(ii) Post-Bay of Pigs Underworld Plot— MONCxOOSE 
Period — Continued 

(3) Evidence Bearing on Knowledge of and Author- Page 

ization for the Assassination Plot, Phase II 148 

a. Helms' Testimony Concerning Authority 148 

(1) Helms' Perception of Authority 148 

(2) Helms' Testimony Concerning the Absence 

of a Direct Order and Why He Did Not 

Inform Administration Officials 150 

(5) Helms' Perception of Robert Kennedy's 

Position on Assassination 150 

(4) Helms' Testimony as to Why He Did Not 

Obtain a Direct Order 151 

(5) Helms' Perception of the Relation of 

Special Group Controls to Assassination 
Activity 152 

b. Harvey's Testimony Concerning Authority 153 

(1) Harvey's Perception of Authority 153 

(;?) Harvey and the Special Group (Aug- 
mented) 153 

c. Testimony of Kennedy Administration Of- 

ficials ^ 154 

(4) The August 10, 1962 Special Group (Augmented) 

Meeting 161 

a. The Contemporaneous Documents 161 

(/) Lansdale's August 13, 1962 Memorandum.. 161 

(2) Harvey's August 14, 1962 Memorandum 162 

(S) The Minutes of the August 10, 1962 Meeting. 162 

U) The August 10 Meeting 163 

b. The Testimony 164 

(i) Testimony About the August 10 Meeting 164 

(a) McCone 164 

(b) Harvey 164 

(c) Goodwin... . 164 

(d) McNamara 165 

(^) Testimony About Events After the August 

10, 1962 Meeting 165 

(a) McCone 165 

(6) Harvey 165 

(c) Elder .... 165 

(d) Lansdale 165 

(S) Testimony of Reporters About Lansdale's 

Comments on the August 10 Meeting.. . 167 

(a) The Martin Report 168 

(6) The O'Leary Report 169 

(iii) The Question of Whether the AM/LASH Plot (1963- 
1965) Was Known About or Authorized by Admin- 
istration Officials Outside the CIA ^^ 170 

(1) Kennedy Administration's Policy Toward Cuba 

in 1963 _.. 170 

a. Organizational Changes 170 

b. Discussion of the Contingency of Castro's 

Death 170 

c. The Standing Group's Discussion of United 

States Policy Toward Cuba 172 

d. The Special Group's Authorization of a Sabo- 

tage Program Against Cuba 173 

e. The Diplomatic Effort to Explore an Accom- 

modation with Castro 173 


III. Assassination Planning and Plots — Continued 

B. Cuba — Continued 

3. At What Level Were the Castro Plots Known About or Au- 
thorized Outside of the Central Intelligence Agency? — Con. 
(b) The Question of Knowledge and Authorization Outside of 
the Central Intelligence Agency During the Kennedy 
Administration — Continued 
(iii) The Question of Whether the AM/LASH Plot (1963- 
1965) Was Known About or Authorized by Admin- 
istration Officials Outside the CIA — Continued 

(2) Testimony on the Question of Authorization for P^ee 

the AM/LASH Poison Pen Device 174 

a. The October Meeting with AM/LASH and the 

Use of Robert Kennedy's Name Without 
Obtaining His Approval 174 

b. The Delivery of the Poison Pen on November 

22, 1963 175 

(3) The Question of Authorization in the Johnson 

Administration 176 

a. Summary of the Assassination Activity 176 

b. The Issue of Authorization 176 

c. The Covert Action Program Against Cuba in 

1964-1965 177 

d. The Special Group Investigation of Reported 

Castro Assassination Plots by Cuban Exiles _ 177 

e. Helms' Report to Rusk 178 

f. Helms' Briefing of President Johnson on the 

1967 Inspector General's Report 179 

(4) Helms' Testimony on Authorization in the 

Johnson Administration 179 

C. Institutionalizing Assassination: The "Executive Action" Capa- 

bility 181 

1 . Introduction 181 

2. The Question of White House Initiation, Authorization, or 

Knowledge of the Executive Action Project 182 

3. The Question of Authorization or Knowledge of the Executive 

Action Project by the DCI 187 

4. The Question of Whether Project ZR/RIFLE Was Connected 

to Any Actual Assassination Plots 187 

(a) Conversation Between Bissell and Bundy 188 

(b) Bissell's Instruction to Harvey to Take Over Responsibility 

for Underworld Contact: November 1961 188 

(c) Use of QJ/WIN in Africa 189 

D. Trujillo 191 

1. Summary 191 

2. Background 191 

3. Initial Contact With Dissidents and Request for Arms 192 

(a) Dissident Contacts 192 

(b) The Request for Sniper Rifles 193 

4. Summer and Fall of 1960 194 

(a) Diplomatic Development — Withdrawal of United States 

Personnel 194 

(b) Dearborn Reports Assassination May Be Only Way To 

Overthrow Trujillo Regime 195 

(c) Efforts to Convince Trujillo to Abdicate 196 

(d) CIA Plans of October 1960 196 

(e) December 1960 Special Group Plan of Covert Actions 196 

5. January 12, 1961 Special Group Approval of "Limited Supplies 

of Small Arms and Other Material" 196 

(a) Memorandum Underlying the Special Group Action 197 

6. January 20, 1961-April 17, 1961 (the Kennedy Administration 

through the Bay of Pigs) 197 

(a) Specific Events Indirectly Linking United States to Dissi- 
dents' Assassination Plans 198 

(i) Assassination Discussions and Requests for Ex- 
plosives 198 


III. Assassination Planning and Plots — Continued 
D. Trujillo — Continued 

6. January 20, 1961-Aprll 17, 1961 (the Kennedy Administration 
through the Bay of Pigs^>>ntinued 
(a) Specific Events Indirectly Linking United States to Dissi- 
dent's Assassination Plans — Continued P^se 
(ii) The Passage of Pistols 199 

(1) Pouching to the Dominican Republic 199 

(2) Reason for the CIA Instruction Not To Tell Dear- 

born 199 

(3) Were the Pistols Related to Assassination? 200 

(iii) Passing of the Carbines 200 

(1) Request by the Station and by Dearborn and Ap- 

proval by CIA 200 

(2) Were the Carbines Related to Assassination? 200 

(3) Failure to Disclose to State Department Officials 

in Washington 201 

(iv) Requests for and Pouching of the Machine Guns 201 

(1) Requests for Machine Guns 201 

(2) Pouching of Machine Guns Approved by BisselL. 202 
(b) Knowledge of Senior American OflScials (Pre-Bay of Pigs) _ - 202 

7. April 17, 1961-May 31, 1961 (Bay of Pigs Through TrujUlo 

Assassination) 205 

(a) Decision Not to Pass the Machine Guns and Unsuccessful 

United States Attempt to Stop Assassination Effort 205 

(b) Further Consideration of Passing Machine Guns 207 

= (c) Special Group Meetings of May 4 and May 18, 1961 208 

(d) Final Requests by Dissidents for Machine Guns 208 

(e) Dearborn in Washington for Consultation — Drafting of 

Contingency Plans 209 

(f) Cable of May 29, 1961 212 

8. May 30, 1961 and Immediately Thereafter 213 

(a) TrujUlo Assassinated 213 

(b) Cables to Washington 213 

(c) Immediate Post- Assassination Period 214 

E. Diem 217 

1. Summary 217 

2. The Abortive Coup of August 1963 . 217 

3. The November 1963 Coup 220 

F. Schneider 225 

1. Summary 225 

2. The President's Initial Instruction and Background 227 

(a) September 15 White House Meeting 227 

(b) Background: Tracks I and II 229 

(c) CIA Views of Difficulty of Project 232 

3. CIA's Implementation of Track II 233 

(a) Evolution of CIA Strategy 233 

(i) The "Constitutional Coup" Approach 233 

(ii) Military Solution 234 

(b) The Chile Task Force 235 

(c) Use of the U.S. Military Attache and Interagency Relations. 235 

(d) Agents Who Posed as Third Country Nationals 238 

(e) Chief of Station 239 

4. CIA Efforts to Promote a Coup 239 

(a) The Chilean Conspirators 239 

(b) Contacts Prior to October 15 240 

(c) October 15 Decision 242 

(d) Coup Planning and Attempts After October 15 243 

(e) The Shooting of General Schneider 245 

(f) Post October 22 Events 246 

5. CIA/White House Communication During Track II 246 

(a) September 247 

(b) October 248 

(c) December 253 

(d) Did Track II End?... 253 


IV. Findings and Conclusions 255 

A. Findings Concerning the Plots Themselves 255 

1. Officials of the United States Government Initiated Plots to 

Assassinate Fidel Castro and Patrice Lumumba 255 

2. No Foreign Leaders Were Killed as a Result of Assassination 

Plots Initiated by Officials of the United States 256 

3. American Officials Encouraged or Were Privy to Coup Plots Which 

Resulted in the Deaths of Tj-ujillo, Diem, and Schneider 256 

4. The Plots Occurred in a Cold War Atmosphere Perceived to be 

of Crisis Proportions 256 

5. American Officials Had Exaggerated Notions About Their 

Ability to Control the Actions of Coup Leaders 256 

6. CIA Officials Made Use of Known Underworld Figures in 

Assassination Efforts 257 

B. Conclusions Concerning the Plots Themselves 257 

1. The United States Should Not Engage in Assassination 257 

(a) Distinction Between Targeted Assassinations Instigated by 

the United States and Support for Dissidents Seeking to 
Overthrow Local Governments 257 

(b) The Setting In Which the Assassination Plots Occurred 

Explains, But Does Not Justify Them 258 

2. The United States Should Not Make Use of Underworld 

Figures for Their Criminal Talents 259 

C. Findings and Conclusions Relating to Authorization and Control. 260 

1. The Apparent Lack of Accountability in the Command and 

Control System Was Such That the Assassination Plots Could 
Have Been Undertaken Without Express Authorization 261 

2. Findings Relating to the Level at Which the Plots Were 

Authorized 261 

(a) Diem 261 

(b) Schneider 262 

(c) Trujillo 262 

(d) Lumumba 263 

(e) Castro 263 

3. CIA Officials Involved in the Assassination Operations Per- 

ceived Assassination to Have Been a Permissible Course of 
Action 264 

4. The Failure in Communication Between Agency Officials in 

Charge of the Assassination Operations and their Superiors in 
the Agency and in the Administration was Due to: (a) The 
Failure of Subordinates to Disclose Their Plans and Opera- 
tions to Their Superiors; and (b) The Failure of Superiors in 
the Climate of Violence and Aggressive Covert Actions Sanc- 
tioned by the Administrations to Rule Out Assassination as a 
Tool of Foreign Policy; To Make Clear to Their Subordinates 
That Assassination Was Impermissible; Or To Inquire Fur- 
ther After Receiving Indications That It Was Being Con- 
sidered 267 

(a) Agency Officials Failed on Several Occasions to Reveal the 

Plots to Their Superiors, Or To Do So With Sufficient 

Detail and Clarity 267 

(i) Castro 267 

(ii) Trujillo 270 

(iii) Schneider 272 

(b) Administration Officials Failed to Rule Out Assassination 

As a Tool of Foreign Policy, To Make Clear to Their 
Subordinates That Assassination Was Impermissible or 
To Inquire Further After Receiving Indications That 

Assassination Was Being Considered 273 

(i) TrujUlo 273 

(ii) Schneider :. 273 

(iii) Lumumba 273 

(iv) Castro . 274 


IV. Findings and Conclusions — Continued 

C. Findings and Conclusions Relating to Authorization and 
Control — Continued 

o. Practices Current at the Time in Which the Assassination 
Plots Occuired Were Revealed by the Record To Create the 
Risk of Confusion, Rashness and Irresponsibility in the 

Very Areas Where Clarity and Sober Judgment Were Most Pae« 

Necessary 277 

(a) The Danger Inherent in Overextending the Doctrine of 

Plausible Denial 277 

(b) The Danger of Using "Circumlocution" and "Euphemism". 278 

(c) The Danger of Generalized Instiuctions 278 

(d) The Danger of "Floating Authorization" 278 

(e) The Problems Connected With Creating New Covert 

Capabilities 279 

V. Recommendations 28 1 

A. General Agreement That the United States Must Not Engage in 

Assassination 281 

B. CIA Directi v^es Banning Assassination 282 

C. The Need for a Statute 282 

Epilogue 285 

Statement of Joinder 286 

Appendix A 289 

Appendix B 291 

Separate Views of Senator Philip A. Hart 297 

Additional Views of Senator Robert Morgan 299 

Additional Views of Senator Howard H. Baker, Jr 303 

Additional Views of Senator Barry Goldwater 341 

Supplemental Views of Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr 345 

Abbreviations of Citations 347 


The events discussed in this Interim Report must be viewed in the 
context of United States policy and actions designed to counter the 
threat of spreading Communism. Following the end of World War II, 
many nations in Eastern Europe and elsewhere fell under Communist 
influence or control. The defeat of the Axis powers was accompanied 
by rapid disintegration of the Western colonial empires. The Second 
AVorld War had no sooner ended than a new struggle began. The 
Communist threat, emanating from what came to be called the "Sino- 
Soviet bloc,"' led to a policy of containment intended to prevent fur- 
ther encroachment into the "Free World." 

United States strategy for conducting the Cold War called for 
the establishment of interlocking treaty arrangements and military 
bases throughout the world. Concern over the expansion of an aggres- 
sive Communist monolith led the United States to fight two major 
wars in Asia. In addition, it was considered necessary to wage a relent- 
less cold war against Communist expansion wherever it appeared in 
the "back alleys of the world.'' This called for a full range of covert 
activities in response to the operations of Communist clandestine 

The fear of Communist expansion was particularly acute in the 
United States when Fidel Castro emerged as Cuba's leader in the 
late 1950's. His takeover was seen as the first significant penetration 
by the Communists into the Western Hemisphere. United States 
leaders, including most Members of Congress, called for vigorous 
action to stem the Communist infection in this hemisphere. These 
policies rested on widespread popular support and encouragement. 

Throughout this period, the United States felt impelled to respond 
to threats which were, or seemed to be, skirmishes in a global Cold 
War against Communism. Castro's Cuba raised the spectre of a Soviet 
outpost at America's doorstep. Events in the Dominican Republic 
appeared to oifer an additional opportunity for the Russians and 
their allies. The Congo, freed from Belgian rule, occupied the stra- 
tegic center of the African continent, and the prospect of Communist 
penetration there was viewed as a threat to American interests in 
emerging African nations. There w^as great concern that a Communist 
takeover in Indochina would have a "domino effect" throughout Asia. 
Even the election in 1970 of a Marxist president in Chile was seen 
by some as a threat similar to that of Castro's takeover in Cuba. 

The Committee regards the unfortunate events dealt with in this 
Interim Report as an aberration, explainable at least in part, but not 
justified, by the pressures of the time. The Committee believes that it 
is still in the national interest of the United States to help nations 
achieve self-determination and resist Communist domination. How- 
ever, it is clear that this interest cannot justify resorting to the kind 
of abuses covered in this report. Indeed, the Committee has resolved 
that steps must be taken to prevent those abuses from happening again. 



This interim report covers allegations of United States involvement 
in assassination plots against foreign political leaders. The report 
also examines certain other instances in which foreign political leaders 
in fact were killed and the United States was in some manner involved 
in activity leading up to the killing, but in which it would be incorrect 
to say that the purpose of United States involvement had been to 
encourage assassination. 

The evidence establishes that the United States was implicated in 
several assassination plots. The Committee believes that, short of war, 
assassination is incompatible with American principles, international 
order, and morality. It should be rejected as a tool of foreign policy. 

Our inquiry also reveals serious problems with respect to United 
States involvement in coups directed against foreign governments. 
Some of these problems are addressed here on the basis of our investi- 
gation to date ; others we raise as questions to be answered after our 
investigation into covert action has been completed. 

We stress the interim nature of this report. In the course of the 
Committee's continuing work, other alleged assassination plots may 
surface, and new evidence concerning the cases covered herein may 
come to light. However, it is the Committee's view that these cases 
have been developed in sufficient detail to clarify- the issues which are 
at the heart of the Committee's mandate to recommend legislative 
and other reforms. 

Thorough treatment of the assassination question has lengthened 
the Committee's schedule, but has greatly increased the Committee's 
awareness of the hard issues it must face in the months ahead. These 
issues include problems of domestic and foreign intelligence collection, 
counterintelligence, foreign covert operations, mechanisms of com- 
mand and control, and assessment of the effectiveness of the total 
United States intelligence effort. The Committee intends, nevertheless, 
to complete, by February 1976, its main job of undertaking the first 
comprehensive review of the intelligence community. 

A. Committee's Mandate 

Senate Resolution 21 instructs the Committee to investigate the full 
range of governmental intelligence activities and the extent, if any, 
to which such activities were "illegal, improper or unethical.'' In 
addition to that broad general mandate, the Committee is required 
to investigate, study and make recommendations concerning various 
specific matters, several of which relate to the assassination issue.^ 

1 For example, S. Res. 21 requires the Committee to study and investigate the following : 

The extent and necessity of * * * covert intelligence activities * * * abroad : 
[The] nature and extent of executive branch oversight of all United States intel- 
ligence activities ; 

The need for improved, strengthened, or consolidated oversight of United States 
intelligence activities by the Congress * * * and the need for new legislation. 


Although the Rockefeller Commission initiated an inquiry into re- 
ported assassination plots, the Commission declared it was unable, for 
a variety of reasons, to complete its inquiry. At the direction of the 
President, the Executive Branch turned over to the Select Committee 
the work the Commission liad done, along with certain other documents 
relating to assassination. 

B. Committee Decision to Make Report Public 

This report raises important questions of national policy. We believe 
that the public is entitled to know what instrumentalities of their Gov- 
ernment have done.^ Further, our recommendations can only be judged 
in light of the factual record. Therefore, this interim report should be 
made public. 

The Committee believes the truth about the assassination allegations 
should be told because democracy depends upon a well-informed elec- 
torate. We reject any contention that the facts disclosed in this report 
should be kept secret because they are embarrassing to the United 
States. Despite tlie temporary injury to our national reputation, the 
Committee believes that foreign peoples will, upon sober reflection, 
respect the United States more for keeping faith with its democratic 
ideal than they will condemn us for the misconduct revealed. We doubt 
tliat any other counti-y would liave the courage to make such 

The fact that portions of the story have already been made public 
only accentuates the need for full disclosure. Innuendo and misleading 
])artial disclosures are not fair to the individuals involved. Nor are 
they a responsible way to lay the groundwork for informed public 
policy judgments. 

C. Scope of Committee's Investigation 

Investigating the assassination issue has been an unpleasant duty, 
but one that the Committee had to meet. The Committee has compiled 
a massive record in the months that the inquiry has been underway. 
The record comprises over 8,000 pages of sworn testimony taken from 
over 75 witnesses during 60 hearing days and numerous staff inter- 
views. The documents which the Committee has obtained include raw 
files from agencies and departments, the White House, and the Presi- 
dential libraries of the Administrations of former Presidents Dwight 
Eisenhower. John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.^ 

We have obtained two types of evidence : -firsts evidence relating to 
the o;eneral setting in which the events occurred, the national ]:>olicv of 
the time, and the normal operating procedures, including channels of 
command and control ; and second, evidence relating to the specific 

A Senate Committee is not a court. It looks to the ])ast, not to deter- 
mine guilt or innocence, but in order to make recommendations for the 
future. Wlien we found the evidence to be ambiguous — as we did on 

1 When the name of a participant in the nlot did not add to the presentation and its 
inclusion niav have placed in Jeopardy his life or livelihood, the Comnit+ee on nPf>nsion. 
resorted, on balance, to the use of an alius or a general description of the individu'Jl or 
his nosition. 

a The Committee has served both {general and specific document renuests upon the 
Executive Branch. The Administration represented to the Committee that it has pro- 
duced all the relevant documents. 

some issues — we have set out both sides, in order that the evidence may 
speak for itself. 

Despite the number of witnesses and documents examined b}- the 
Committee, the available evidence has certain shortcomings. 

Many of the events considered occurred as long as fifteen years 
ago. With one exceiDtion, they occurred during the administra- 
tions of Presidents now dead. Other high officials whose testimony 
might have shed additional light on the thorny issues of authori- 
zation and control are also dead. Moreover, with the passage of 
time, the memories of those still alive have dimmed. 

The Committee has often faced the difficult task of distinguishing 
refreshed recollection from speculation. In many instances, wit- 
nesses were unable to testify from independent recollection and 
had to rely on documents contemporaneous with the events to 
refresh their recollections. "While informed speculation is of some 
assistance, it can only be assigned limited weight in judging spe- 
cific events. 

Although assassination is not a subject on which one would expect 
many records or documents to be made or retained, there were, in 
fact, more relevant ccntemporaneous documents than expected. 
In addition, in 1967 tie Central Intelligence Agency had made 
an internal study of tl e Castro, Trujillo and Diem assassination 
allegations.^ That stud;: was quite useful, particularly in suggest- 
ing leads for uncovernig the story of the actual assassination 
activity. Unfortimately, the working papere relating to that in- 
vestigation were destroyed upon the completion of the Report, 
pursuant to instructions from CIA Director Richard Helms. 
(Memorandum for the Record. 5/23/67) These notes were de- 
stroyed because of thei • sensitivity and because the information 
they contained had aire idy been inconDorated into the Report. In 
fairness to Director Helms, it should be added, however, that he 
was responsible for requesting the preparation of the Inspector 
General's Report and for preserving the Report. 

Some ambiguities in the evidence result from the practice of 
concealing CIA covert operations from the world and perform- 
ing them in such a way that if discovered, the role of the United 
States could be plausibly denied. An extension of the doctrine of 
•'plausible deniability" had the result that communications be- 
tween the Agency and high Administration officials wei-e often 
convoluted and imprecise.^ 

The evidence contains sharp conflicts, some of which relate to basic 
facts. But the most important conflicts relate not so much to basic 
facts as to differing perceptions and opinions based upon relatively 
undisputed facts. With respect to both kinds of conflicts, the Com- 
mittee has attempted to set forth the evidence extensively so that it 
may speak for itself, and in our section on findings and conclusions, 
we suggest resolutions for some of the conflicts. However, because 

1 Those studies were made at the direction of CIA Director Richard Helms to provide 
him with information to answer qiiestions^from President Johnson. The President's ques- 
tions concerninfr Castro were provoked * by a Drew Pearson newspaper column in 
March 1967. The column alleged that the CIA had attempted to kill Castro usins the 
Mafia. The President also asked Helms for information concerning possible United States 
involvement in the assassinations of Trujillo and Diem. 

- For a full discussion of this doctrine, see pages 11-12. 

the Committee's main task is to find lessons for the future, resolving 
conflicts in the evidence may be less important than making certain 
that the system which produced the ambiguities is corrected. 

D. Summary of Findings and Conclusions 

1. THE questions PRESENTED 

The Committee sought to answer four broad questions : 

Assassination plots. — Did United States officials instigate, attempt, 
aid and abet, or acquiesce in plots to assassinate foreign leaders ? 

Involvement in other killings. — Did United States officials assist 
foreign dissidents in a way which significantly contributed to the 
killing of foreign leaders ? 

Authorization. — ^Where there was involvement by United States 
officials in assassination plots or other killings, were such activities 
authorized and if so, at what levels of our Government ? 

CoTrmiAinication and control. — Even if not authorized in fact, were 
the assassination activities perceived by those involved to be within 
the scope of their lawful authority? If they were so perceived, was 
there inadequate control exercised by higher authorities over the 
agencies to prevent such misinterpretation ? 


The Committee investigated alleged United States involvement in 
assassination plots in five foreign countries : ^ 

Country Inddvidual involved ' 

Cuba Fidel Castro. 

Congo (Zaire) Patrice Lumumba. 

Dominican Republic Rafael Trujillo. 

Chile General Rene Schneider. 

South Vietnam Ngo Dinh Diem. 

The evidence concerning each alleged assassination can be sum- 
marized as follows : ^ 

Patrice LumuTnba {Congo/ Zaire). — In the Fall of 1960, two CIA 
officials were asked by superiors to assassinate Lumumba. Poisons 
were sent to the Congo and some exploratory steps were taken toward 
gaining access to Lumumba. Subsequently, in early 1961, Lumumba 
was killed by Congolese rivals. It does not appear from the evidence 
that the United States was in any way involved in the killing. 

Fidel Castro (Cuba). — United States Government personnel plotted 
to kill Castro from 1960 to 1965. American underworld figures and 

1 In addition to the plots discussed In the body of this report, the Committee received 
some evidence of CIA Involvement in plans to assassinate President Sukarno of Indonesia 
and "Papa Doc" Duvalier of Haiti. Former Deputy Director for Plans Richard Bissell testi- 
fied that the assassination of Sukarno had been "contemplated" by the CIA, but that plan- 
ning had proceeded no farther than identifying an "asset" whom it was believed might be 
recruited to kill Sukarno. Arms were supplied to dissident groups In Indonesia, but, accord- 
ing to Bissell, those arms were not intended for assassination. (Bissell, 6/H/75, p. 89) 

Walter Elder, Executive .Assistant to CIA Director John McCone, testified that the Di- 
rector authorized the CIA to furnish arms to dissidents planning the overthrow of Haiti's 
dictator. Duvalier. Elder told the Committee that while the assassination of Duvalier was 
not contemplated by the CIA, the arms were furnished "to help [the dissidents] take what 
measures were deemed necessary to replace the government," and it was realized that 
Duvalier might be killed in the course of the overthrow. (Elder. 8/13/75, p. 79) 

2 Assassination plots against the Cuban leadership sometimes contemplated action 
against Raul Castro and Che Gnevarra. In South Vietnam Diero's l:>rother Ngo Dlnh Nhu 
was kiUed at the same time as Diem. 

3 Section III contains a detailed treatment of the evidence on ^ach country. 

I { 

Cubans hostile to Castro were used in these plots, and were provided 
encouragement and material support by the United States. 

Rafael Tr^ujiUo {Doniiniean Republic). — Trujillo was shot by Do- 
minican dissidents on May 31, 1961. From early in 1960 and continuing 
to the time of the assassination, the United States Government gen- 
erally supported these dissidents. Some Government personnel were 
aware that the dissidents intended to kill Trujillo. Three pistols and 
three carbines were furnished by American officials, although a request 
for machine guns was later refused. There is conflicting evidence con- 
cerning whether the weapons were knowingly supplied for use in the 
assassination and whether any of them were present at the scene. 

Ngo Dinh Diem {South Viettiam,). — Diem and his brother, Nhu, 
were killed on November 2, 196f3, in the course of a South Vietnamese 
Generals' coup. Although the United States Government supported 
the coup, there is no evidence that American officials favored the 
assassination. Indeed, it appears that the assassination of Diem was not 
part of the Generals* pre-coup planning but was instead a spontaneous 
act which occurred during the coup and was carried out without 
Ignited States involvement or support. 

General Rene Schneider (Chile). — On October 25, 1970, General 
Schneider died of gunshot wounds inflicted three days earlier while re- 
sisting a kidnap attempt. Schneider, as Commander-in-Chief of the 
Army and a constitutionalist opposed to military coups, was considered 
an obstacle in efforts to prevent Salvador Allende from assuming the 
office of President of Chile. The Ignited States Government supported, 
and sought to instigate a military coup to block Allende. U.S. offi- 
cials supplied financial aid. machine guns and other equipment to 
various military figures who opposed Allende. Although the CIA con- 
tinued to support coup plotters up to Schneider's shooting, the record 
indicates that the CIA had withdrawn active su])port of the group 
which carried out the actual kidnaj) attempt on October 22, which 
resulted in Schneidei's death. Further, it does not appear that any 
of the equipment supplied by the CIA to coup plotters in Chile was 
used in the kidnapping. There is no evidence of a plan to kill Schneider 
or that United States officials specifically anticipated that Schneider 
would be shot during the abduction. 

Assassination capahHity {Executive action). — In addition to these 
five cases, the Committee has received evidence that ranking Govern- 
ment officials discussed, and may have authorized, the establishment 
within the CIA of a generalized assassination capabilitv. During these 
discussions, the concept of assassination was not affirmatively dis- 

Similarities aiid diffe rentes among the plots. — The assassination 
))lots all involved Third World countries, most of which were rela- 
tively small and none of which possessed great political or military 
strength. Apart from that similarity, there were significant differences 
nmong the plots: 

(1) "\Miether United States officials initiated the plot, or wei-o 
responding to requests of local dissidents for aid. 

(2) Wiether the plot was specifically intended to kill a foreitrn 
leader, or vrhether the leader's death was a reasonably foreseeable 
consequence of an attempt to overthrow the government. 


The Castro and Lumumba cases are examples of plots conceived by 
United States officials to kill foreign leaders. 

In the Trujillo case, although the United States Government cer- 
tainly opposed his regime, it did not initiate the plot. Rather, United 
States officials responded to requests for aid from local dissidents whose 
aim clearly was to assassinate Trujillo. By aiding them, this country 
was implicated in the assassination, regardless of whether the weapons 
actually supplied were meant to kill Trujillo or were only intended as 
symbols of support for the dissidents. 

The Schneider case differs from the Castro and Trujillo cases. The 
United States Government, with full knowledge that Chilean dis- 
sidents considered General Schneider an obstacle to their plans, 
sought a coup and provided support to the dissidents. However, even 
though the support included weapons, it appears that the intention 
of both the dissidents and the United States officials was to abduct 
General Schneider, not to kill him. Similarly, in the Diem case, some 
United States officials wanted Diem removed and supported a coup 
to accomplish his removal, but there is no evidence that any of those 
officials sought the death of Diem himself. 


To put the inquiry into assassination allegations in context, two 
points must be made clear. First, there is no doubt that the United 
States Government opposed the various leaders in question. Officials 
at the highest levels objected to the Castro and Trujillo regimes, 
believed the accession of Allende to power in Chile would be harmful 
to American interests, and thought of Lumumba as a dangerous force 
in the heart of Africa. Second, the evidence on assassinations has to 
be viewed in the context of other, more massive activities against 
the regimes in question. For example, the plots against Fidel Castro 
personally cannot be understood without considering the fully au- 
thorized, comprehensive assaults upon his regime, such as the Bay 
of Pigs invasion in 1961 and Operation MONGOOSE in 1962. 

Once methods of coercion and violence are chosen, the probability 
of loss of life is always present. There is, however, a significant differ- 
ence between a coldblooded, targeted, intentional killing of an indi- 
vidual foreign leader and other forms of intervening in the affairs of 
foreign nations. Therefore, the Committee has endeavored to explore 
as fully as possible the questions of how and why the plots happened, 
whether they were authorized, and if so, at what level. 

The picture that emerges from the evidence is not a clear one. This 
may be due to the system of deniability and the consequent state of 
the evidence which, even after our long investigation, remains con- 
flicting and inconclusive. Or it may be that there were in fact serious 
shortcomings in the system of authorization so that an activity such 
as assassination could have been undertaken by an agency of the United 
States Government without express authority. 

The Committee finds that the system of executive command and con- 
trol was so ambiguous that it is difficult to be certain at what levels 
assassination activity was known and authorized. This situation 
creates the disturbing prospect that Government officials might have 
undertaken the assassination plots without it having been uncon- 

trovertibly clear that there was explicit authorization from the Presi- 
dents. It is also possible that there mi^ht have been a successful "plaus- 
ible denial"' in which Presidential authorization was issued but is now 
obscured. Whether or not the respective Presidents knew of or author- 
ized the plots, as chief executive officer of the United States, each must 
bear the ultimate responsibility for the activities of his subordinates. 

The (^ommittee makes four other major findings.^ The first relates 
to the Committee's inability to make a finding that the assassination 
plots were authorized by the Presidents or other persons above the 
governmental agency or agencies involved. The second explains why 
certain officials may have perceived that, according to their judgment 
and experience, assassination was an acceptable course of action. The 
third criticizes agency officials for failing on several occasions to dis- 
close their plans and activities to superior authorities, or for failing to 
do so with sufficient detail and clarity. The fourth criticizes Adminis- 
tration officials for not ruling out assassination, particularly after cer- 
tain Administration officials had become aware of prior assassination 
plans and the establishment of a general assassination capability. 

There is admittedly a tension among the findings. This tension re- 
flects a basic conflict in the evidence. While there are some conflicts 
over facts, it may be more important that there appeared to have been 
two differing perceptions of the same facts. This distinction may be 
the result of the differinor backgrounds of those persons experienced in 
covert operations as distinguished from those who were not. Words of 
urgency which may have meant killing to the former, may have meant 
Fiothing of the sort to the latter. 

l^Hiile we are critical of certain individual actions, the Committee 
is also mindful of the inherent problems in a system which relies on 
secrecy, compartmentation, circumlocution, and the avoidance of clear 
responsibility. This system creates the risk of confusion and rash- 
ness in the very areas where clarity and sober judgment are most nec- 
essary. Hence, before reviewing the evidence relating to the cases, we 
briefly deal with the general subject of covert action. 

1 The Committee's findings are elaborated In Section IV, infra. 


Covert action is activity which is meant to further the sponsoring 
nation's foreign policy objectives, and to be concealed in order to per- 
mit that nation to plausibly deny responsibility. 

The National Security Act of 1947 ^ which established the Central 
Intelligence Agency did not include specific authority for covert opera- 
tions. However, it created the National Security Council, and gave 
that body authority to direct the CIA to '"perform such other functions 
and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the 
National Security Council may from time to time direct." At its first 
meeting in December 1947, the NSC issued a top secret directive grant- 
ing the CIA authority to conduct covert operations. From 1955 to 
1970, the basic authority for covert operations was a directive of the 
National Security Council, NSC 5412/2.' 

This directive instructed the CIA to counter, reduce and discredit 
"International Communism'" throughout the world in a manner con- 
sistent with United States foreign and military policies. It also directed 
the CIA to undertake covert operations to achieve this end and de- 
fined covert operations as any covert activities related to propaganda, 
economic warfare, political action (including sabotage, demolition and 
assistance to resistance movements) and all activities compatible with 
the directive.^ In 1962, the CIA's General Counsel rendered the opin- 
ion that the Agency's activities were "not inhibited by any limitations 
other than those broadly set forth in NSC 5412/2.'' (CIA General 
Counsel Memorandum 4/6/62) 

A, Policy Development and Approval Mechanism 

In his 1962 memorandum, CIA's General Counsel made it clear that 
the CIA considered itself responsible for developing proposals and 
plans to implement the objectives of NSC 5412/2.^ The memorandum 
also stated that even in developing ideas or plans it was incumbent on 
the Agency not only to coordinate with other executive departments 
and agencies, but also to "obtain necessary policy approval." The Com- 
mittee has been faced with determining whether CIA officials thought 

1 (P.L. 80-253). 

- Today the basic authority for CIA covert action operations is National Security 
Decision Memorandum 40, which superseded NSC 5412/2 on February 17, 1970. 

' By contrast NSDM 40 of 1970 described covert actions as those secret activities 
designed to further official United States programs and policies abroad. It made no 
reference to communism. 

■• The memorandum stated : 

"CIA must necessarily be responsible for planning. Occasionally suggestions for action 
will come from outside sources but. to dei>end entirely on such requirements -would be 
an evasion of the Agency's responsibilities. Also, the average person, both in government 
and outside, is thinking along normal lines and to develop clandestine cold war activities 
properly, persons knowing both the capabilities and limitations of clandestine action must 
be studying and devising how such actions can be undertaken effectively." 

With respect to policy approval, the General Counsel said : 

"Both in developing ideas or plans for action it is incumbent upon the Agency to obtain 
necessary policy approval, and for this purpose these matters should be explored with 
proper officials' In other departments and agencies, particularly In the Departments of 
State and Defense, so the determination can be made as to whether any one proposal 
should go to the Special Group or higher for policy determination." 



it was "necessary" to obtain express approval for assassination plans 
and, if so, whether such approval was in fact either sought or granted. 

Beginning in 1955, the responsibility for authorizing CIA covert 
iiction operations lay with the Special Group, a subcommittee of the 
National Security Council composed of the President's Assistant for 
National Security Affairs, the Director of Central Intelligence, the 
Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of State for 
Political Affairs. Today this group is known as the 40 Committee, 
and its membership has been expanded to include the Chairman of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff. During 1962 another NSC subcommittee was 
established to oversee covert operations in Cuba. This subcommittee 
was the Special Group (Augmented) ; its membership included the 
Special Group, the Attorney General, and certain other high officials. 

In exercising control over covert operations, the Special Group was 
charged with considering the objectives of proposed activities, deter- 
mining whether the activities would accomplish the objectives, assess- 
ing the likelihood of success, and deciding whether the activities would 
be "proper" and in the national interest. The Chairman of the Special 
Group was usually responsible for detennining which projects re- 
quired Presidential consideration and for keeping him abreast of 

Authorization procedures, however, have not always been clear and 
tidy, nor have they always been followed. Prior to 1955, there were few 
formal procedures. Procedures from 1955 through 1963 were char- 
acterized in an internal CIA memorandum as "somewhat cloudy and 
* * * based on value judgments by the DCI." (Memorandum for the 
Record, C/CA/PEG, "Policy Coordination of CIA's Covert Action 
Operations", 2/21/67) 

The existence of formal procedures for planning and implementing 
covert actions does not necessarily rule out the possibility that other, 
more informal procedures might be used. The granting of authority to 
an executive agency to plan covert action does not preempt Presiden- 
tial authority to develop and mandate foreign policy. Formal pro- 
cedures may be disregarded by either hi^h Administration officials or 
officers in the CIA. In the Schneider incident, for example. President 
Nixon instructed CIA officials not to consult with the 40 Committee 
or other policy-making bodies.^ In the plot to assassinate Castro using 
underworld figures, CIA officials decided not to inform the Special 
Group of their activities. One CIA operation, an aspect of which was 
to develop an assassination capability, was assigned to a senior case 
officer as a special task. His responsibility to develop this capability 
did not fall within the Special Group's review of covert operations, 
even though this same officer was responsible to the Special Group 
(Augmented) on other matters. 

The Central Intelligence Agency also has a formal chain of com- 
mand. At the top of the structure of the CIA is the Director of Central 
Intelligence (DCI) and his immediate subordinate, the Deputy Di- 
rector of Central Intelligence (DDCI). Together they are responsible 
for the administration and supervision of the Agency. Beneath the 
DCI, and directly responsible to him, are the four operational com- 
ponents of the Agency. During the period covered by this report, the 

1 The Special Group was renamed the 303 Committee in 1964. In 1970 its name was 
changed again — this time to the 40 Committee. 


component responsible for clandestine operations was the Directorate 
of Plans, headed by the Deputy Director for Plans (DDP).^ The 
Directorate of Plans was organized around regional geographic divi- 
sions. These divisions worked with their respective overseas stations 
(headed by a Chief of Station (COS) ) in planning and implementing 
the Directorate's operations. The divisions which played a part in the 
events considered in this report were the Western Hemisphere Divi- 
sion (WH) which was responsible for Latin America, the African 
Division (AF), and the Far Eastern Division (FE). 

In addition to the regional divisions, the Directorate of Plans also 
included three staff-level units which provided some oversight and 
coordination of division projects. The staff units had no approval 
authority over the divisions. However, they could criticize and suggest 
modifications of projects sponsored by divisions. The three staffs were : 
Foreign Intelligence, Counterintelligence, and Covert Action. 

"WHien functioning in accordance with stated organizational pro- 
cedures, the Directorate of Plans operated under a graduated approval 
process. Individual project proposals generally originated either from 
the field stations or from the divisions and were approved at varying 
levels within the Directorate, depending on the estimated cost and 
risk of the operation. Low-cost, low-risk projects could be approved 
at the Deputy Director for Plans level; extremely high-cost, high- 
risk projects required the approval of the DCI. Covert action pro- 
posals also required approval of tlie Special Group. 

Also within the Directorate of Plans was a Technical Services 
Division (TSD) which developed and provided technical and support 
material required in the execution of operations. A separate Direc- 
torate, the Directorate of Support, handled financial and adminis- 
trative matters. The Office of Security, a component of the Directorate 
of Support, w^as largely responsible for providing protection for 
clandestine installations and, as discussed at length in the Castro 
study, was occasionally called on for operational assistance. 

B. The Concept of "Plausible Denial" 

Non-attribution to the United States for covert operations was the 
original and principal purpose of the so-called doctrine of "plausible 

Evidence before the Committee clearly demonstrates that this con- 
cept, designed to protect the United States and its ojDeratives from 
the consequences of disclosures, has been expanded to mask decisions 
of the President and his senior staff members. xV further consequence 
of the expansion of this doctrine is that subordinates, in an effort to 
permit their superiors to "plausibly deny" operations, fail to fully 
inform them about those operations. 

"Plausible denial" has shaped the processes for approving and eval- 
uating covert actions. For example, the 40 Committee and its predeces- 
sor, the Special Group, have served as "circuit breakers" for Presi- 
dents, thus avoiding consideration of covert action by the Oval office. 

"Plausible denial" can also lead to the use of euphemism and cir- 
cumlocution, which are designed to allow the President and other 

1 The Directorate of Plans is presently called the Directorate of Operations, and is 
headed by the Deputy Director for Operations (DDO). 


senior officials to deny knowledge of an operation should it be dis- 
closed. The converse may also occur; a President could communicate 
his desire for a sensitive operation in an indirect, circumlocutions man- 
ner. An additional possibility is that the President may, in fact, not be 
fully and accurately informed about a sensitive operation because he 
failed to receive the "circumlocutions" message. The evidence dis- 
cussed below reveals that serious problems of assessing intent and en- 
suring both control and accountability may result from the use of 
"plausible denial." 




The Committee has received solid evidence of a plot to assassinate 
Patrice Lumumba. Strong hostility to Lumiunba, voiced at the very 
highest levels of government may have been intended to initiate an 
assassination operation ; at the least it engendered such an operation. 
The evidence indicates that it is likely that President Eisenhower's 
expression of strong concern about Lumumba at a meeting of the Na- 
tional Security Council on August 18, 1960, was taken by Allen Dulles 
as authority to assassinate Lmnumba.^ There is, however, testimony 
by Eisenhower Administration officials, and ambiguity and lack of 
clarity in the records of high-level policy meetings, which tends to 
contradict the evidence that the President intended an assassination 
effort against Lumumba. 

The week after the August 18 NSC meeting, a presidential advisor 
reminded the Special Group of the "necessity for very straight- 
forward action'' against Lumumba and prompted a decision not to 
rule out consideration of "any particular kind of activity which might 
contribute to getting rid of Lumumba.*' The following day, Dulles 
cabled a CIA Station Officer in Leopoldville, Republic of the Congo,' 
that "in high quarters" the "removal" of Lumumba was "an urgent 
and prime objective." Shorty thereafter the CIA's clandestine serv- 
ice formulated a plot to assassinate Lumumba. The plot proceeded to 
the point that lethal substances and instruments specifically intended 
for use in an assassination were delivered by the CIA to the Congo 
Station. There is no evidence that these instruments of assassination 
were actually used against Lumumba. 

A thread of historical background is necessary to weave these broad 
questions together with the documents and testimony received by the 

In the summer of 1960, there was great concern at the highest 
levels in the United States government about the role of Patrice 
Lumumba in the Congo. Lumumba, who served briefly as Premier 
of the newly independent nation, was viewed with alarm by United 
States policymakers because of what they perceived as his magnetic 
public appeal and his leanings toward the Soviet L^nioii. 

Under the leadership of Lumumba and the new President, Joseph 
Kasavubu, the Congo declared its independence from Belgium on 
June 30, 1960.^ In the turbulent month that followed, Lumumba 

1 Indeed, one XSC staff member present at the August 18 meeting, believed that he 
witnessed a presidential order to assassinate Lumumba. 

- Since the period in wlilch the events under examination occurred, the names of many 
geographical units and governmental institutions have changed. For Instance, the nation 
formerly known as the Republic Of the Congo Is now the Republic of Zaire and the present 
capital city, Kinshasa, was Ijnown then as Leopoldville. For the sake of clarity in dealing 
with many of the documents involved in this section, the names used in this report are 
those which applied in the early 1960*s. 

3 For detailed reporting of the events in the Congo during this period, see the A'cmj 
York Times, especially Julv 7, 1960. 7 :3 ; July 14, 1960, 1 :1 : July 16, 1960, 1 :1 and 
3 :2 ; Julv 28. 1960. Z :7 : September 3. 1960. 3 :2 : September 6, 1960, 1 :8 ; December 3, 
1960, 1 :8; January 18, 1961. 3 :1 ; February 14, 1961, 1 :1. 



threatened to invite Soviet troops to hasten the withdrawal of Belgian 
armed forces. The United Nations Security Council requested Bel- 
gium's withdrawal and dispatched a neutral force to the Congo to pre- 
serve order. In late July, Lumumba visited Washington and received 
pledges of economic aid from Secretary of State Christian Herter. By 
the beginning of September, Soviet airplanes, trucks, and technicians 
were arriving in the province where Lumumba's support was 

In mid-September, after losing a struggle for the leadership of the 
government to Kasavubu and Joseph Mobutu, Chief of Staff of the 
Congolese armed forces, Lumumba sought protection from the United 
Nations forces in Leopoldville. Early in December, Mobutu's troops 
captured Lumumba while he was traveling toward his stronghold at 
Stanleyville and imprisoned him. On January 17, 1961, the central 
government of the Congo transferred Lumumba to the custody of 
authorities in Katanga province, which was then asserting its own 
independence from the Congo. Several weeks later, Katanga authori- 
ties announced Lumumba's death. 

Accounts of the circumstances and timing of Lumumba's death vary. 
The United Nations investigation concluded that I^umumba was 
killed on January 17, 1961.^ 


The Congo declared its independence from Belgium on June 30, 1960. 
Shortly thereafter, the CIA assigned a new officer to its Leopoldville 
Station. The "Station Officer" - said that assassinating Lumumba 
was not discussed during his CIA briefings prior to departing for the 
Congo, nor during his brief return to Headquarters in connection with 
Lumumba's visit to Washington in late July. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, 
pp. 8-9) 

During August, there was increasing concern about Lumumba's 
political strength in the Congo among the national security policy- 
makers of the Eisenhower Administration.^ This concern was nur- 
tured by intelligence reports such as that cabled to CIA Headquarters 
by the Station Officer: 

TO AVOID ANOTHER CUBA. (CIA Cable. Leopoldville to Director, 

1 Report of the Commission of Investigation. U.N. Security Council. Official Records. 
Supplement for October, November, and December, 11/11/61. p. 117. (Cited hereinafter 
as "U.N. Reoort, 11/11/61.'' 

= Victor Hedgman was one of the CIA officers in Leopoldville attached to the Congo 
Station and will be referred to hereinafter as "Station Officer." 

" S!ee Section 7, itifra, for a full discussion of the prevailing anti-I^umumba attitude 
in the United States government as shown by minutes of the National Security Council 
and Special Group and the testimony of high Administration officials. 


This cable stated the Station's operational "objective [of] replacing 
Lumumba with pro Western Group." Bronson Tweedy, who was Chief 
of the Africa Division of CIA's clandestine services, replied that he 
was seeking State Department approval for the proposed operation 
based upon "vour and our belief Lumumba must be removed if pos- 
sible." (CIA Cable, Tweedy to Leopold ville, 8/18/60) On August 19, 
DDP Richard Bissell, Director of CLV's cov^ert operations branch, 
signed a follow-up cable to Leopoldville, saying : "You are authorized 
proceed with operation." (CIA Cable, Director to Leopoldville, 

Several days later, the Station Officer reported : 

ville to Director, 8/24/60) 

On August 25, Director of Central Intelligence, Allen Dulles at- 
tended a meeting of the Special Group — the National Security Coun- 
cil subcommittee responsible for the planning of covert operations.^ In 
response to the outline of some CIA plans for political actions against 
Lumumba, such as arranging a vote of no confidence by the Congolese 
Parliament, Gordon Gray, the Special Assistant to the President for 
National Security Affairs reported that the President "had expressed 
extremely strong feelings on the necessity for very straightforward 
action in this situation, and he wondered whether the plans as outlined 
were sufficient to accomplish this." (Special Group Minutes, 8/25/60) 
The Special Group "finally agreed that planning for the Congo would 
not necessarily rule out 'consideration' of any particular kind of activ- 
ity which might contribute to getting rid of Lumumba." (Special 
Group Minutes, 8/25/60) 

The next day, Allen Dulles signed a cable ^ to the Leopoldville 
Station Officer stating : 

ACTION. (CIA Cable, Dulles to Station Officer, 8/26/60) ' 

1 The August 25th Special Group meeting and the testimony about its significance for 
the issue of authorization is discussed in detail in Section 7(a) (ill), infra. 

That meeting was preceded by an NSC meeting on August 18. at which an NSC staff 
executive heard the President make a statement that impressed him as an order for the 
assassination of Lumumba. (Johnson, 6/18/75, pp. 6-7) The testimony about this NSC 
meeting is set forth in detail at Section 7(a) (11), infra. 

^ Cables issued under the personal signature of the DCI are a relative rarity in CIA 
communications and call attention to the importance pnd sensitivity of the '^ntte- d's 
cussed. By contrast, cable traffic to and from CI \ field stations ro-itinelv^ refers to the 
sender or recipient as "Director" which simply denotes "CIA Headquarters.'' 

^ The bracketed words In cables throughout this section signify that a cryptonym, 
pseudonym, or other coded reference has been translated in order to maintain the security 
of CIA communications and to render the cable traffic comprehensible. The translation^ 
were provided to the Committee by the CIA Review Staff and by various witnesses. 


The cable said that the Station Officer was to be given "wider author- 
ity'' — along the lines of the previously authorized operation to replace 
Lumumba with a pro-Western group — "including even more aggres- 
sive action if it can remain covert ... we realize that targets of 
opportunity may present themselves to you." Dulles' cable also au- 
thorized the expenditure of up to $100,000 "to carry out any crash 
programs on which you do not have the opportunity to consult nQS," 
and assured the Station Officer that the message had been "seen and 
approved at competent level" in the State Department. (CIA Cable, 
8/26/60) The cable continued: 


This cable raises the question of whether the DCI was contemplating 
action against Lumumba for which the United States would want to 
be in a position to "plausibly deny" responsibility. On its face, the 
cable could have been read as authorizing only the "removal" of 
Lumumba from office. DDP Richard Bissell was "almost certain" that 
he was informed about the Dulles cable shortly after its transmission. 
He testified that it was his "belief" that the cable was a circumlo- 
cutions means of indicating that the President wanted Lumumba 
killed.^ (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 12, 33, 64-65) 

Bronson Tweedy testified that he may have seen Dulles' cable of 
August 26, before it was transmitted and that he "might even have 
drafted it." Tweedy called this cable the "most authoritative state- 
ment" on the "policy consensus in Washington about the need for the 
removal of Lumumba" by any means, including assassination. He said 
that he "never knew" specifically who was involved in formulating this 
policy. But he believed that the cable indicated that Dulles had re- 
ceived authorization at the "policy level" which "certainly * * * 
would have involved the National Security Council." Tweedy testified 
that the $100,000 was probably intended for "political operations 
against Lumumba * * * not assassination-type programs." (Tweedy, 
10/9/75 I, p. 5, II, pp. 5-7, 24, 26) 



On September 5, 1960, President Kasavubu dismissed Premier Lu- 
mumba from the government despite the strong support for Lumumba 
in the Congolese Parliament. After losing the ensuing power struggle 
with Kasavubu and Mobutu, who seized power by a military coup on 
September 14, Lumumba asked the United Nations peace-keeping 
force for protection. 

The evidence indicates that the ouster of Lumumba did not alleviate 
the^ concern about him in the United States government. Rather, CIA 
and high Administration officials ^ continued to view him as a threat. 

th^^^®<^-^*'*^H°" JS^''- ^^f'"" ^^^ additional testimony by Bissell on tlie ciuestlon of an- 
th^? n,nr. ^"^ ,^^^ assassination efifort against Lumumba. Bissell testified «?e,««« 
^A detailed ?rl?r.n."'^f^i^' phrase "highest quarters" to refer to the President. ' 
Nfltlonni «in.lul^n "^"m ?^ \^? expressions of continued concern over Lumumba at the 
JNational Security Council level is set forth in Section 7, infra. 


During this period, CIA officers in the Congo advised and aided 
Congolese contacts known to have an intent to assassinate Lumumba. 
The officers also urged the "permanent disposal" of Lumumba by some 
of these Congolese contacts. Moreover, the CIA opposed reopening 
Parliament after the coup because of the likelihood that Parliament 
would return Lumumba to power. 

The day after Kasavubu deposed Lumumba, two CIA officers met 
with a high-level Congolese politician who was in close contact with 
the Leopoldville Station. The Station reported to CIA Headquarters : 

Director, 9/7/60) 

The cable also stated that the Station Officer had offered to assist 
this politician "in preparation new government program" and as- 
sured him that the United States would supply technicians. (CIA 
Cable, 9/7/60) 

As the struggle for power raged, Bronson Tweedy summarized 
the prevalent apprehension of the United States about Lumumba's 
ability to influence events in the Congo by virtue of his personality, 
irrespective of his official position : 

TAGE. (CIA Cable, Director to Leopoldville. 9/13/60) 

The day after Mobutu's coup, the Station Officer reported that he 
was serving as an advisor to a Congolese effort to "eliminate" Lumumba 
due to his "fear" that Lumumba might, in fact, have been strengthened 
by placing himself in U.N. custody, which afforded a safe base of 
operations. Hedgman concluded : "Only solution is remove him from 
scene soonest." (CIA Cable, Leopoldville to Director, 9/15/60) 

On September 17, another CIA operative in the Congo met with a 
leading Congolese senator. The cable to CIA Headquarters concern- 
ing the meeting reported : 

TION LUMUMBA. (CIA Cable, Leopoldville to Director, 9/17/60) 

The CIA operative told the Congolese senator that "he would ex- 
plore possibility obtaining arms" and he recommended to CIA head- 
quarters that they should : 



AND NECESSARY. (CIA Cable, 9/17/60)' 

Several days later, the Station Officer warned a key Congolese leader 
about coup plots led by Lumumba and two of his supporters, and : 
"Urged arrest or other more permanent disposal of Lumumba, Gi- 
zenga, and Mulele." (CIA Cable, Leopoldville to Director, 9/20/61) 
Gizenga and Mulele were Lumumba's lieutenants who led his sup- 
porters while Lumumba was in U.N. custody. 

Throughout the fall of 1960, while Lumumba remained in U.N. 
protective custody,^ the CIA continued to view him as a serious polit- 
ical threat. One concern was that if Parliament were re-opened and 
the moderates failed to obtain a majority vote, the "pressures for 
[Lumumba's] return will be almost irresistible." (CIA Cable, Leo- 
poldville to Director, 10/26/60).^ Another concern at CIA Head- 
quarters was that foreign powers would intervene in the Congo and 
bring Lumumba to power. (CIA Cable, Director to Leopoldville, 
10/17/60) Lumumba was also viewed by the CIA and the Adminis- 
tration as a stalking horse for "what appeared to be a Soviet effort to 
take over the Congo." (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 10, 45)* 

After Lumumba was in LT.N. custody, the Leopoldville Station con- 
tinued to maintain close contact with Congolese who expressed a desire 
to assassinate Lumumba.^ CIA officers encouraged and offered to aid 
these Congolese in their efforts against Lumumba, although there is 

1 This recommendation proved to be In line with large scale planning at CIA Headquar- 
ters for clandestine paramilitary support to anti-Lumumba elements. On October 6, 1960, 
Richard Bis.sell and Bronson Tweedy signed a cable concerning plans which the Station 
Officer was instructed not to discuss with State Department representatives or operational 
contacts : 

LUMUMBA RESISTANCE GROUPS. (CIA Cable, Director in Leopoldville, 10/6/60) 
- Both Richard Bissell and Bronson Tweedy confirmed that the CIA continued to view 
Lumumba as a threat even after he placed himself in U.N. custody. (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 
68-69. 79 : Tweedy. 9/9/75, pp. 48-50) Two factors were mentioned consistently in testi- 
mony by government officials to substantiate this view : first, Lumumba was a spellbinding 
orator with the ability to stir masses of people to action ; and second, the U.N. forces did 
not restrain Lumumba's freedom of movement and the Congolese army surrounding them 
were often lax in maintaining their vigil. (Mulroney, 9/11/75. pp. 22-24; Dillon, 9/2/75. 
n. 49) As CIA officer Michael J. Mulroney put it, the fact that Lumumba was in Ignited 
Nations custody "did not result in a cessation of his political activity." (Mulroney, 9/11/75, 
p. 2.3) 

3 A CIA Cable from Leopoldville to the Director on November 3, 1960 returned to this 
theme : the opening of the Coneolese Parliament by the United Nations Is opposed because 

* See Section 7. infra, for a treatment of the expression of this viewpoint at high-level 
policy meetings. 

Tweedy expressed an even broader "domino theory" about the impact of Lumumba's 
Ipofler'^hiD in the Congo unon events in the rest of .\frica : 

"The concern with Lumumba was not really the concern with Lumumba as a person. 
It concern at this very pregnant point in the new African development r with J 
the effect on the balance of the Continent of a disintegration of the Congo. [lU was 
the ceneral feeling that Lumumba had it within his power to bring about this dissolu- 
tion, nnd this was the fear that it would merely be the start — the Congo, after all, was the 
Inrcest geographical expression. Contained in it were enormously important mineral re- 
sources * * * . The Congo itself, is adjacent to Nigeria, which at that point was con- 
sidered to be one of the main hopes of the future stahilitv of Africa. [Ilf the Congo 
had f.illen, then the chances were Nigeria would be seized with the same infection. 

"This was why Washington • * • was so concerned about Lumumba, not because there 
wns something unique about Lumumba, but it was the Congo." TTweedv. 10/9/75 II. n. 42) 
=5 A Coneolese in contact with the CIA "IMPLIED HE TRYING HAVE [LUMUMBA 1 
ville to Director. 10/28/60) 


no evidence that aid was ever provided for the specific purpose of 


In the Summer of 1960, DDP Richard Bissell asked the Chief of 
the Africa Division, Bronson Tweedy, to explore the feasibility of 
assassinating Patrice Lumumba. Bissell also asked a CIA scientist, 
Joseph Scheider, to make preparations to assassinate or incapacitate 
an unspecified "African leader.'' According to Scheider, Bissell said 
that the assignment had the "highest authority." Scheider procured 
toxic biological materials in response to Bissell's request, and was then 
ordered by Tweedy to take these materials to the Station Officer 
in Leopoldville. According to Scheider, there was no explicit require- 
ment that the Station check back with Headquarters for final approval 
before proceeding to assassinate Lumumba. Tweedy maintained, how- 
ever, that whether or not he had explicitly levied such a requirement, 
the Station Officer was not authorized to move from exploring means 
of assassination to actually attempting to kill Lumumba without re- 
ferring the matter to Headquarters for a policy decision. 

In late September, Scheider delivered the lethal substances to the 
Station Officer in Leopoldville and instructed him to assassinate Pa- 
trice Lumumba. The Station Officer testified that after requesting and 
receiving confirmation from CIA Headquarters that he was to carry 
out Scheider's instructions, he proceeded to take "exploratory steps" in 
furtherance of the assassination plot. The Station Officer also testified 
that he was told by Scheider that President Eisenhower had ordered 
the assassination of Lumumba. Scheider's testimony generally sub- 
stantiated this account, although he acknowledged that his meetings 
with Bissell and Tweedy were the only bases for his impression about 
Presidential authorization. Scheider's mission to the Congo was pre- 
ceded and followed by cables from Headquarters urging the "elimi- 
nation" of Lumumba transmitted through an extraordinarily restricted 
"Eyes Only" channel — including two messages bearing the personal 
signature of Allen Dulles. 

The toxic substances were never used. But there is no evidence that 
the assassination operation was terminated before Lumumba's death. 
There is, however, no suggestion of a connection between the assassi- 
nation plot and the events which actually led to Lunnimba's death.^ 

{a) Bissell/ Tweedy Meetings on Feasibility of Assassinating 

Bronson Tweedy testified that Richard Bissell initiated a discussion 
with him in the summer of 1960 about the feasibility of assassinating 
Patrice Lumumba, and that they discussed the subject "more than 
once" during the following fall. Tweedy said the first such conversa- 
tion probably took place shortly before Dulles' cable of August 26, 
instructing the Station Officer that Lumumba's "removal" was a "high 
priority of our covert action.'' ^ Whether his talk with Bissell was 

1 See Section 6. infra, for a discussion of the evidence about the circumstances surround- 
ing Lumumba's death in Katanga. 
- See Section 2, supra. 


"shortly before or shortly after" the Dulles cable, it was clear to 
Tweedy that the two events "were totally in tandem." (Tweedy, 
9/9/75, pp. 14-15 ; 10/9/75 II, p. 6) 

Tweedy testified that he did not recall the exact exchange but the 
point of the conversation was clear : 

What Mr. Bissell was saying to me was that there was agreement, policy 
agreement, in Washington that Lumumba must be removed from the position 
of control and influence in the Congo * * * and that among the possibilities of 
that elimination was indeed assassination. 

* * * The purpose of his conversation with me was to initiate correspondence 
with the Station for them to explore with Headquarters the possibility of * * * 
assassination, or indeed any other means of removing Lumumba from 
power * * ♦ to have the Station start reviewing possibilities, assets, and 
discussing them with Headquarters in detail in the same way we would with any 
operation. (Tweedy, 10/9/75 II, pp. 6, 8) 

Tweedy was "sure" that in his discussions with Bissell poisoning 
"must have" been mentioned as one means of assassination that was 
being considered and which the Station Officer should explore. 
(Tweedy, 9/9/75, pp. 26-27) 

Tweedy testified that Bissell assigned him the task of working out 
the "operational details," such as assessing possible agents and the 
security of the operation, and of finding "some solution that looked 
as if it made sense, and had a promise of success." Tweedy stated that 
Bissell "never said * * * go ahead and do it in your own good time 
without any further reference to me." Rather, Tweedy operated under 
the impression that if a feasible means of assassinating Lumumba 
were developed, the decision on proceeding with an assassination 
attempt was to be referred to Bissell. (Tweedy, 10/9/75 I, pp. 7, 

Tweedy stated that he did not know whether Bissell had consulted 
with any "higher authority" about exploring the possibilities for as- 
sassinating Lumumba. Tweedy said, that generally, when he received 
an instruction from Bissell : 

I would proceed with it on the basis that he was authorized to give me in- 
structions and it was up to him to bloody well know what he was empowered 
to tell me to do. (Tweedy, 9/9/75, p. 13)' 

(h) Bissell /Scheider Meetings on Preparations for Assassinating '■^An 
African Leader^'' 
Joseph Scheider ^ testified that he had "two or thre€ conversations" 
with Richard Bissell in 1960 about the Agency's technical capability 
to assassinate foreign leaders. In the late spring or early summer, 
Bissell asked Scheider generally about technical means of assassina- 
tion or incapacitation that could be developed or procured by the CIA. 

1 When asked whether he considered decllninfr Blssell's assignment to move toward the 
assassination of Lumumba. Tweedy responded : 

Tweedy : I certainly did not attempt to decline It, and I felt. In view of the position of 
the povernment on the thing, that at least the exploration of this, or possibility of removing 
Lumumba from power In the Congo was an objective worth pursuing. 

Q : Including killing him? 

Tweedy : Yes. I suspect I was ready to consider this • • • Getting rid of him was an 
objective worth pursuing, and if the government and mv betters wished to pursue it pro- 
fessionally, I was perfectly willing to play my role in it, yes • * *. Having to do it all over 
again. It would be my strong recommendation that we not get into it. (Tweedv. 10/9/75. II, 
pp. .S9^1) 

" During the events discussed in the Lumumba case, Joseph Scheider served as Special 
Assistant to the DDP (Bissell) for Scientific Matters. Scheider holds a degree in blo- 
organlc chemistry. (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 13, 25-29) 


Scheider informed Bissell that the CIA had access to lethal or poten- 
tially lethal biological materials that could be used in this manner. 
Following their intial "general discussion."' Scheider said he discussed 
assassination capabilities with Bissell in the context of "one or two 
meetings about Africa." (Scheider, 10/7/75. pp. (>-7. 41) 

Scheider testified that in the late summer or early fall, Bissell asked 
him to make all preparations necessary for having biological materials 
ready on short notice for use in the assassination of an unspecified 
African leader, "in case the decision was to go ahead." ^ Scheider 
testified that Bissell told him that "he had direction from the highest 
authority * * * for getting into that kind of operation." Scheider 
stated that the reference to "highest authority" by Bissell "signified 
to me that he meant the President."^ (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 51-55, 
58; 10/9/75, p. 8) 

Scheider said that he "must have" outlined to Bissell the steps 
he planned to take to execute Bissell's orders. (Scheider, 10/7/75, 
p. 58) After the meeting, Scheider reviewed a list of biological mate- 
rials available at the Army Chemical Corps installation at Fort 
Detrick. Maryland which would produce diseases that would "either 
kill the individual or incapacitate him so severely that he would be out 
of action." (Scheider. 10/7/75, pp. 63-64: 10/9/75, pp. 8-9, 12)^ 
Scheider selected one material from the list which "was supposed to 
produce a disease that was * * * indigenous to that area [of Africa] 
and that could be fatal." (Scheider, 10/7/75, p. 63) Scheider testified 
that he obtained this material and made preparation for its use : 

We had to get it bottled and packaged in a way that it could pass for some- 
thing else and I needed to have a second material that could absolutely in- 
activate it in case that is what I desired to do for some contingency. (Scheider, 
10/7/75, p. &4) 

Scheider also "prepared a packet of * * * accessory materials," such 
as hypodermic needles, rubber gloves, and gauze masks, "that would 
be used in the handling of this pretty dangerous material." (Scheider, 
10/7/75, p. 59) 

(c) Scheider Missimi to the Congo on an Assassination Operation 
Scheider testified that he remembered "very clearly" a conversation 
with Tweedy and the Deputy Chief of the Africa Division in Sep- 
tember 1960 which "triggered" his trip to the Congo after he had pre- 
pared toxic biological materials and accessories for use in an assassi- 
nation operation. (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 41, 65) According to 
Scheider, Tweedy and his Deputy asked him to take the toxic materials 
to the Congo and deliver instructions from Headquarters to the Sta- 
tion Officer : "to mount an operation, if he could do it securely * * * 
to either seriously incapacitate or eliminate Lumumba." (Scheider, 
10/7/75, p. 66) 

^ Scheider said it was possible that Bissell subsequently gave him the "go signal' for 
his trip to the Congo and specified Lumumba as the target of the assassination operation. 
(Scheider. 10/7/75, pp. 65. 113-114; 10/7/75, p. 8) Scheider had a clearer memory, how- 
ever, of another meeting, where the top officers of CIA's Africa Division, acting under 
Bissell's authoritv. actuallv dispatched to the Congo. (See Section 4(c), infra) 

3 See Section 7(d), infra for additional testimony by Scheider about the question of 
Presidential authorization for the assassination of Lumumba. 

3 Sehleder said that there were "seven or eight materials" on the list, including tularemia 
("rabbit fever"), brucellosis (undulant fever), tuberculosis, anthrax, smallpox, and 
Venezuelan equine encephalitis ('sleeping sickness"). (Scheider, 10/7/75, p. 64; 10/9/75. 
p. 9) 


Scheider said that he was directed to provide technical support 
to the Station Officer's attempt to find a feasible means of carrying 
out the assassination operation : 

They urged me to be sure that * * * if these technical materials were 
used * * * I was to make the technical judgments if there were any reasons the 
things shouldn't go, that was my responsibility. (Scheider, 10/7/75, p. 68)^ 

According to Scheider, the Station Officer was to be responsible for 
"the operations aspects, what assets to use and other non-technical con- 
siderations."' Scheider said that in the course of directing him to carry 
instructions to the Station Officer in the Congo, Tweedy and his Dep- 
uty "referred to the previous conversation I had with Bissell," and left 
Scheider with, "the impression that Bissell's statements to me in our 
previous meeting held and that they were carrying this message from 
Bissell to me." (Scheider, 10/9/75, pp. 13, 15, 69) 

Although he did not have a specific recollection, Scheider stated that 
it was "probable" that he would have "checked with Bissell" to vali- 
date the extraordinary assignment he received from Tweedy and 
his Deputy, if indeed he had not actually received the initial assign- 
ment itself from Bissell. (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 113-114) 

After being informed of Scheider's testimony about their meeting, 
and reviewing the contemporaneous cable traffic. Tweedy stated that 
it was "perfectly clear" that he had met with Scheider. He assumed 
that he had ordered Scheider to deliver lethal materials to the Leopold- 
ville Station Officer and to serve as a technical adviser to the Station 
Officer's attempts to find a feasible means of assassinating Lumumba. 
(Tweedy, 10/9/75 I, pp. 18-21; 10/9/75 II, p. 9) 

Tweedy said that his Deputy Chief was the only other person in 
the Africa Division who would have known that the assassination of 
Lumumba was being considered. (Tweedy, 9/9/75. p. 64) Tweedy as- 
sumed Scheider had "already been given his marching orders to go to 
the Congo by Mr. Bissell, not by me." (Tweedy, 10/9/75 II, p. 11) 

Scheider testified that he departed for the Congo within a week of 
his meeting with Tweedy and his Deputy (Scheider, 10/9/75, p. 15) 

(d) Conqo Stafwn Oificer Told To Exyect Scheider: Dulles Cahles 
About '■''E'liimnatiorC'' of Lumumba 
On September 19, 1960, several days after Lumumba placed himself 
in the protective custody of the United Nations peacekeeping force in 
Leopoldville, Richard Bissell and Bronson Tweedy sent a cryptic 
cable to Leopoldville to arrange a clandestine meeting between the 
Station Officer and "Joseph Braun," who was traveling to the Congo 

1 When asked if he had considered declining to undertake the assignment to provide 
technical support to an assassination operation, Scheider stated : 

"I think that my view of the job at the time and the responsibilities I had was in the 
context of a silent war that was being waged, although I realize that one of my stances 
could have been * * * as a conscientious obiector to this war. That was not my view. I felt 
that a decision had been made * * * at the highest level that this be done and that as 
unpieaff^nt a responsibility as it was, it was my responsibilitv to carry out my part of that.'' 
(Scheider, 10/9/75, p. 6.3) ... 


on an unspecified assignment. Joseph Scheider testified that "Joseph 
Braun" was his alias and was used because this was "an extremely 
sensitive operation." (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 78, 80) The cable in- 
formed the Station Officer : 

YOU. (CIA Cable, Bissell, Tweedy to the Station Officer, 9/19/60) 

The cable bore the codeword "PROP," which indicated extraordi- 
nary sensitivity and restricted circulation at CIA headquarters to 
Dulles, Bissell, Tweedy, and Tweedy's Deputy. The PROP designator 
restricted circulation in the Congo to the Station Officer. (Tweedy, 
10/9/75 I, pp. 14-15 ; II, pp. 9, 37) 

Tweedy testified that the PROP channel was established and used 
exclusively for the assassination operation. (Tweedy, 10/9/75 II, p. 
37; 10/9/75 I, pp. 48^9) The Bissell/Tweedy cable informed the Sta- 
tion Officer that the PROP channel was to be used for : 


Tweedy testified that the fact that he and Bissell both signed 
the cable indicated that authorization for Scheider's trip to the 
Congo had come from Bissell. Tweedy stated that Bissell "signed 
off" on cables originated by a Division Chief "on matters of particular 
sensitivity or so important that the DDP wished to be constantly 
informed about correspondence." Tweedy said that Bissell read much 
of the cable traffic on tliis operation and was "generally briefed on the 
progress of the planning." (Tweedy, 10/9/75 1, pp. 14, 54) 

The Station Officer, Victor Hedgman testified to a clear, independent 
recollection of re<jeiving the Tweedy/Bissell cable. He stated that in 
September of 1960 he received a "most unusual" cable from CIA Head- 
quarters which advised that : 

someone who I would have recognized would arrive with instructions for 
me * * * I believe the message was also marked for my eyes only * * *and 
contained instructions that I was not to discuss the message with anyone. 

He said that the cable did not specify the kind of instructions he was 
to receive, and it "did not refer to Lumumba in any way." (Hedgman, 
8/21/75, pp. 11-13, 43) 

Three days after the Bissell/Tweedy cable, Tweedy sent another 
cable through the PROP channel which stated that if it was decided 
that "support for prop objectives [was] essential" a third country na- 
tional should be used as an agent in the assassination operation to 
completely conceal the American role.^ (CIA Cable, 9/22/60) Tweedy 
testified that "PROP objectives" referred to an assassination attempt. 
(Tweedy, 10/9/75 I. p. 30) Tweedy also indicated to the Station 
Officer and his "colleague" Scheider: 

• Tweedy also expressed reservations about two agents that the Station Officer was 
considering for this operation and said "WE ARE CONSIDERING A THIRD NATIONAL 
Cable, 9/22/60) This is probably a reference to agent OJ/WIN. who was later dispatched 
to the Congo. His mission is discussed in Sections 5(b)-5(c), infra. 



On September 24, the DCI personally sent a cable to Leopoldville 
stating : 

poldville, 9/24/60) 

Dulles bad expressed a similar view three days before in President 
Eisenhower's presence at an NSC meeting.- 

Scheider recalled that Tweedy and his Deputy had told him that 
the Station Officer would receive a communication assuring him that 
there was support at CIA Headquarters for the assignment Scheider 
was to give him. (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 88-90) 

(e) Assassmation Instructions Issued to Station Officer and Lethal 
Substances Delivered : September 26, 1960 

Station Officer Hedgman reported through the PROP channel that 
he had contacted Scheider on September 26. (CIA Cable, Leopoldville 
to Tweedy, 9/27/60) 

According to Hedgman: 

Hedgman : It is my recollection that he advised me, or my instructions were, 
to eliminate Lumumba. 

Q : By eliminate, do you mean assassinate? 

Hedgman : Yes, I would say that was * * * my understanding of the primary 
means. I don't think it was probably limited to that, if there was some other way 
of * * * removing him from a position of political threat. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, 
pp. 17-18) 

Hedgman said that he and Scheider also may have discussed non- 
lethal means of removing Lumumba as a "political threat", but he 
could not "recall with certainty on that." (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 28) 
Scheider testified : 

I explained to him [Station Officer] what Tweedy and his Deputy had told me, 
that Headquarters wanted him to see if he could use this [biological] capability 
I brought against Lumumba [and] to caution him that it had to be done * * * 
without attribution to the USA. (Scheider, 10/9/75, p. 16) 

The Station Officer testified that he received "rubber gloves, a mask, 
and a syringe" along with lethal biological material from Scheider, 
who also instructed him in their use.^ Hedffman indicated that this 

1 Tweedy identified Sclieider as the "colleague" referred to in this cable. (Tweedy, 10/ 
9/7.5 I. p. 32) Scheider was en route to the Congo at this point. 

- Dulles' statement at the NSC meeting of September 21, 1960 is discussed in detail at 
Section 7(a) (v), infra. 

3 Scheider testified that he sent the medical paraphernalia via diplomatic pouch. 
(Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 59, 99) 


paraphernalia was for administering the poison to Lumumba for the 
purpose of assassination. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 18-21, 24) Scheider 
explained that the toxic material was to be injected into some substance 
that Lumumba would ingest : "it had to do with anything he could get 
to his mouth, whether it was food or a toothbrush, * * * [so] that 
some of the material could get to his mouth." (Scheider, 10/7/75, p. 

Hedgman said that the means of assassination was not restricted to 
use of the toxic material provided by Scheider. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, 
p. 19) 

He testified that he may have ''suggested'' shooting Lumumba to 
Scheider as an alternative to poisoning. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 19, 
27-29) Scheider said it was his "impression" that Tweedy and his 
Deputy empowered him to tell the Station Officer that he could pursue 
other means of assassination. (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 100-101) Sta- 
tion Officer Hedgman testified that, although the selection of a mode 
of assassination was left to his judgment, there was a firm requirement 
that : 

[I]f I implemented these instructions * * * it had to be a way which could 
not be traced back * * * either to an American or the United States govern- 
ment. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 19) 

Hedgman said Scheider assured him that the poisons were produced 
to : [leave] normal traces found in people that die of certain diseases." 
(Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 23.) 

Hedgman said that he had an "emotional reaction of great surprise" 
when it first became clear that Scheider had come to discuss an assas- 
sination plan. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 30) He told Scheider he "would 
explore this." (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 46) and left Scheider with the 
impression "that I was going to look into it and try and figure if there 
was a way * * * j believe I stressed the difficulty of trying to carry 
out such an operation." (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 47) Scheider said that 
the Station Officer was "sober [and] grim" but willing to proceed with 
the operation. (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 98, 121) 

The Station Officer's report of his initial contact with Scheider was 
clearly an affinnative response to the assignment, and said that he and 
Scheider were "on same wavelength." (CL^ Cable, Leopoldville to 
Tweedy, 9/27/60) Hedgman was "afraid" that the central govern- 
ment was "weakening under" foreign pressure to effect a reconciliation 
with Lumumba, and said : 

RITY INDICATED. (CIA Cable, 9/27/60)^ 

(/) Hedgm-an''s iTnpression That President Eisenhower Ordered 
LumurribcCs Assassination 
Station Officer Hedgman testified that Scheider indicated to him that 
President Eisenhower had authorized the assassination of Lumumba.^ 

^ Scheider interpreted this cable to mean that Hedgman was informing Headquarters : 
"that he has talked to me and that he is going to go ahead and see if he could mount 
the operation * * * [H]ie believes we ought to do it, if it is going to be done, as quickly 
as we can." (Scheider, 10/7/75, p. 121) 

= See Section 7(d), infra, for a more detailed treatment of the testimony of the Station 
Officer and Scheider on the question of Presidential authorization for the assassination 
of Lumumba. 


Hedgman had a "quite strong recollection" of asking about the source 
of authority for the assignment : 

Hedgman : I must have * * * pointed out that this was not a common or usual 
Agency tactic * * * never in my training^r previous work in the Agency had 1 
ever heard any references to such methods. And it is my recollection I asked on 
whose authority these instructions were issued. 

Q : And what did Mr. Scheider reply ? 

Hedgman : It is my recollection that he identified the President * * * and I 
cannot recall whether he said "the President," or whether he identified him by 
name. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 30-31) 

Hedgman explained that Scheider told him "something to the effect 
that the President had instructed the Director" to assassinate Lumum- 
ba. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 32, 34) 

Scheider stated that he had an "independent recollection" of telling 
the Station Officer about his meetings with Bissell, Tweedy, and 
Tweedy's Deputy, including Bissell's reference to "the highest au- 
thority." (Scheider, 10/7/75, p. 102) Scheider believed that he left the 
Station Officer with the impression that there was presidential authori- 
zation for an assassination attempt against Lumumba. (Scheider, 
10/7/75, pp. 90, 102-103) 

(g) Steps in Fm'therance of the Assassination Operation 

(i) Hedgman's Testimony About Confirmation From Headquarters 
of the Assassination Plan. 

Hedgman's testimony, taken fifteen years after the events in ques- 
tion and without the benefit of reviewing the cables discussed above, 
was compatible with the picture presented by the cables of a fully 
authorized and tightly restricted assassination operation. The only 
variance is that the cables portray Hedgman as taking an affirmative, 
aggressive attitude toward the assignment, while he testified that his 
pursuit of the operation was less vigorous. 

The Station Officer testified that soon after cabling his request 
for confirmation that he was to carry out the assassination assignment, 
he received a reply from Headquarters, which he characterized as 
follows : 

I believe I received a reply which I interpreted to mean yes, that he was the 
messenger and his instructions were * * * duly authorized. ( Hedgman, 8/21/75, 

pp. 37-38) 

Despite the cryptic nature of the cables, Hedgman said "I was con- 
vinced that yes, it was right," but he had no "desire to carry out these 
instructions." (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 44, 50, 106) Hedgman stated: 

"I think probably that I would have gone back and advised that I intended to 
carry out and sought final approval before carrying it out had I been going to 
do it, had there been a way to do it. I did not see it as * * * a matter which 
could be accomplished practically, certainly. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 51-52) 

Hedgman said that his reason for seeking a final approval would have 
been to receive assurances about the practicality of the specific mode of 
assassination that he planned to use. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 53) 

All CIA officers involved in the plot to kill Lumumba testified that, 
by virtue of the standard operating procedure of the clandestine serv- 
ices, there was an implicit requirement tliat a field officer check back 


with Headquarters for approval of any major operational plan.^ More- 
over, Hedgman's cable communications with Headquarters indicate 
that he consistently informed TAveedy of each significant step in the 
formulation of assassination plans, thus allowing Headquarters the 
opportunity to amend or disapprove the plans. The personal cable 
from Dulles to the Station Officer on August 26, made it clear, how- 
ever, that if Lumumba appeared as a "target of opportunity" in a 
situation where time did not permit referral to headquarters. Hedge- 
man was authorized to proceed with the assassination. 

The Station Officer testified that for several months after receiv- 
ing Scheider's instructions he took "exploratory steps in furtherance 
of the assassination plot.'' He sent several cables to CIA Headquarters 
which "probably reflected further steps I had taken," and stated that 
his cables to Headquarters were essentially "progress reports" on his 
attempts to find access to Lumumba. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 50, 

The cable traffic conforms to the Station Officer's recollection. For 
two months after Scheider's arrival in the Congo, a regular stream of 
messages assessing prospects for the assassination operation flowed 
through the PROP channel between Headquarters and Leopoldville. 

(ii) "Exploratory Steps" 

On the basis of his talks with Scheider, Station Officer Hedgman 
listed a number of "possibilities" for covert action against Lumumba. 
At the top of the list was the suggestion that a particular agent be used 
in the following manner : 

(CIA Cable, 9/27/60) 

Tweedy testified that "Big Brother" referred to Lumumba. 
(Tweedy, 10/9/75 II, p. 13) Tweedy and Scheider both said that this 
cable indicated that Hedgman's top priority plan was to instruct his 
agent to infiltrate Lumumba's entourage to explore means of poison- 
ing Lumumba. (Tweedy, 10/9/75 I, p. 38, II, pp. 13-14; Scheider, 
10/7/75, pp. 124-125) The Station Officer reported that he would begin 
to follow this course by recalling the agent to Leopoldville, and in- 
formed Headquarters: 


Scheider testified that at this point the Station Officer was reporting 
to Headquarters that he was proceeding to "go ahead" to carry out 
Scheider's instructions as quickly as possible. (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 
121-123) Tweedy 's Deputy stated that the form of the Station Officer's 
request would have satisfied the standard requirement for confirmation 
of an operational plan : 

* * * it is my professional opinion that, under normal operational procedure 
at that time, the Station Otficer would have been expected to advise Head- 
quarters that he was preparing to implement the plan unless advised to the 
contrary. (Deputy Chief, Africa Division, affidavit, 10/17/75, p. r>) 

1 See Tweedy, 10/9/75. I, pp. 10, 24-27 ; Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 39, 51-53 ; Scheider, 
10/7/75, p. 92 ; Deputy Chief, Africa Division, affidavit, 10/17/75, p. 5. 


On September 30, the Station Officer specifically urged Headquarters 
to authorize "exploratory conversations" to launch his top priority 
plan : 



ville to Tweedy, 9/30/60) 

Headquarters replied : 

Chief, Africa Division to Leopoldville, 9/30/60) 

Tweedy and his Deputy made it clear that the agent was being 
viewed as a potential assassin. (Tweedy, 10/9/75 I, p. 41; Deputy 
Chief, Africa Division, affidavit, 10/17/75, p. 4) Tweedy stated that it 
would have been proper for his Deputy to issue this cable authorizing 
the Station Officer to take the assassination operation "one step fur- 
ther" and it was "quite possible" that Richard Bissell was informed of 
this directive. ( Tweedy, 10/9/75 I, pp. 42-43 ) 

On October 7, the Station Officer reported to Headquarters on his 
meeting with the agent who was his best candidate for gaining access 
to Lumumba : 

Station Officer to Tweedy, 10/7/60) 

The Station Officer testified that the subject "ex])lored" was the agent's 
ability to find a means to inject the toxic material into Lumumba's food 
or toothpaste : 

I believe that I queried the agent who had access to Lumumba, and his en- 
tourage, in detail about just what access he actually had, as opposed to speaking 
to people. In other words, did he have access to the bathroom, did he have access 
to the kitchen, things of that sort. 

I have a recollection of having queried him on that without specifying why I 
wanted to know this. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 48. 60) 

The Station Officer said that he was left with doubts about the wis- 
dom or practicality of the assassination plot : 

[C]ertainly I looked on it as a pretty wild scheme professionally. I did not 
think that it * * * was practical professionally, certainly, in a short time, if you 


were going to keep the U.S. out of it * * * I explored it, but I doubt that I ever 
really expected to carry it out. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 11) 

(iii) The Assassination Operation Moves Forward After Scheider's 
Return to Headquarters : October 5-7, 1960 

Despite the Station Officer's testimony about the dubious practicality 
of the assassination operation, the cables indicate that he planned to 
continue his efforts to implement the operation and sought the re- 
sources to do so successfully. For example, he urged Headquarters to 
send an alternate agent : 

Tweedy, 10/7/60) 

Tweedy cabled the Station Officer that he "had good discussion 
your colleague 7 Oct" — referring to a debriefing of Scheider upon his 
return to the United States. Tweedy indicated that he continued to 
support the assassination operation and advised (Tweedy, 10/9/75 
II, pp. 48^9) : 

UNDER YOUR DIRECTION. (CIA Cable, Tweedv to Station Officer, 
10/7/60) ^ 

According to the report of the Station Officer, Joseph Scheider left 
the Congo to return to Headquarters on October 5 in view of the 
"expiration date his material" (CIA Cable, Leopoldville to Tweedy, 
10/7/60) — a reference to the date beyond which the substances would 
no longer have lethal strength. (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 132-133) The 
cable from the Station Officer further stated that : 


Cable, Leopoldville to Tweedy, 10/7/60) 

Notwithstanding the influence of the Station Officer's October 7 cable 
that some toxic substances were left with Hedgman, Scheider specifi- 
cally recalled that he had "destroyed the viability" of the biological 
material and disposed of it in the Congo River before he departed for 
the United States on October 5, 1960. (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 133, 117, 
135-136; 10/9/75, p. 20) In the only real conflict between his testi- 
mony and Schieder's, Hedgman testified that the toxic material was 

^ See Sections 5(b)-5(c), infra, for a detailed account of the activities In the Congo of 
two "third country national" agents: QJ/WIN and WI/ROGUE. See Section 5(a), infra, 
for discussion of the temporary duty assignment In the Congo of senior case officer" Michael 


not disposed of until after Lumumba was imprisoned by the Congo- 
lese in early December. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 85-86) ^ 

The central point remains that the Station Officer planned to con- 
tinue the assassination effort, by whatever means, even after Scheider's 
departure. (Scheider, 10/7/75, p. 143) Scheider was under the impres- 
sion that the Station Officer was still authorized to move ahead with 
an assassination attempt against Lumumba at that point, although he 
would have continued to submit his plans to Headquarters. ( Scheider, 
10/7/75, p. 135 ; 10/9/75, pp. 20-21) ^ 

(iv) Headquarters Continues to Place "Highest Priority" on the 
Assassination Operation 


The cable traffic during this period demonstrates that there was a 
clear intent at Headquarters to authorize and support rapid progress 
of the assassination operation. Even after Lumumba placed himself 
in the protective custody of the United Nations, CIA Headquarters 
continued to regard his assassination as the "highest priority" of co- 
vert action in the Congo. The cables also show an intent at Headquar- 
ters to severely restrict knowledge of the assassination operation 
among officers in CIA's Africa Division and among United States 
diplomatic personnel in the Congo, excluding even those who were 
aware of, and involved in, other covert activities. 

The Station Officer, despite the burden of his other operational 
responsibilities, was actively exploring, evaluating, and reporting on 
the means and agents that might be used in an attempt to assassinate 
Lumumba. "Wlien his implementation of the assassination operation 
was thwarted by the faihire of his prime candidate to gain access to 
Lumumba, Hedgman requested additional operational and super- 
visory personnel to help him carry out the assignment, which he 
apparentl}^ pursued until Lumumba was imprisoned by Congolese 

a Scheider said he destroyed and disposed of the toxic materials : "for the reason that 
it didn't look like on this trip he could mount the operational * * * assets to do the job 
and * * * the material was not refrigerated and unstable." He said that he and the 
Station Offices "both felt that we shouldn't go ahead with this until there were no doubts." 
(Scheider, 10/7/75, p. 116) The Station Officer had been unable "to find a secure enough 
agent with the right access" to Lumumba before the potency of the biological material 
was "no longer reliable." (Scheider, 10/9/75, p. 28: 10/7/75, pp. 132-133) Scheider 
speculated that the Station Officer's reference to retaining "items of continuing useful 
ness" may have meant the gloves, mask, and hypodermic syringe left with Hedgman. 
Scheider said : "perhaps he Is talking about leaving these accessory materials in case 
there will be a round two of this, and someone brings more material." (Scheider, 10/7/75, 
p. 135) 

In support of his position the Station Officer speculated that it was "possible" that he 
had preserved the poisons in his safe until after Lumumba's death. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, 
p. 85) He said that after Scheider's visit, he locked the toxic material in the bottom 
drawer of his safe, "probably" sealed in an envelope marked "Eyes Only" with his name 
on it. (Hedgman. 8/21/75, pp. 48-49) He did not recall taking the materials out of his 
safe except when he disposed of them months later. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 84) 

Both Scheider and the Station Officer specifically recalled disposing of the toxic mate- 
rial in the Congo River and each recalled performing the act alone. (Scheider, 10/7/75, 
pp. 117-118; Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 84) 

The Station Officer's testimony is bolstered by Michael Malroney's account that when 
he arrived in the Congo nearly a mo-nth after Scheider had returned to Headquarters. 
Hedgman informed him that there was a lethal virus in the station safe. (See Section 
5(a) (iii), infra.) Moreover, the Station Officer distinctly remembered disposing of the 
medical paraphernalia. (Hedgman. 8/21/75, p. 84) This would indicate that, at the least, 
the operation had not been "stood down" to the point of disposing of all traces of the plot 
until long after Scheider's departure from the Congo. 

2 For Tweedy's testimony about the operational authority possessed by the Station 
Officer on October 7, see Section 4(h), infra. 


On October 15, 1960, shortly after Tweedy offered additional man- 
power for the assassination operation, a significant pair of cables were 
sent from CIA Headquarters to Leopoldville. 

One cable was issued by a desk officer in CIA's Africa Division, re- 
leased under Bronson Tweedy's signature, and transmitted through 
standard CIA channels, thus permitting distribution of the message 
to appropriate personnel in the CIA Station and the United States 
Embassy. (Tweedy, 10/9/75 I, pp. 60-62) The cable discussed the pos- 
sibility of covertly supplying certain Congolese leaders with funds 
and military aid and advised : 

HAVE TO BE ENTIRELY CONGOLESE. (CIA Cable, Director to Leopold- 
ville, 10/15/60) 

On the same day Tweedy dispatched, a second cable, via the PROP 
channel for Hedgman's ''Eyes Only." which prevented the message 
from being distributed to anyone else, including the Ambassador.^ 
Tweedy's Deputj'^ stated that "the cable which carried the PROP in- 
dicator would have controlling authority as between the two cables." 
(Deputy Chief, Africa Division affidavit, 10/17/75, p. 4) The second 
cable stated : 


PRIORITY. (CIA Cable, Tweedy to Station Officer, 10/15/60) 

Tweedy testified that the "specific purpose discussed with colleague'' 
referred to the Station Officer's discussion of "assassination with 
Scheider." He stated that the premise of his message was that "there is 
no solution to the Congo as long as Lumumba stays in a position of 
power or influence there." (Tweedy, 10/9/75 I, pp. 59, 60)- 

Tweedy went on to request the Station Officer's reaction to the 
prospect of sending a senior CIA case officer to the Congo on a 
"direct assignment * * * to concentrate entirely this aspect" (CIA 
Cable, Tweedy to Station Officer, 10/15/60) .^ 

^ Hedgman testified that he did not discuss the assassination operation with anyone at 
the United States embassy in Leopoldville. Moreover, he testified that he never disbussed 
the prospect of assassinating Lumumba with Clare H. T. Timberlake, who was the Am- 
bassador to the Congo at that time. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 91) 

-See Section 4(h), infra, for Tweedy's testimony on the conditions under which he 
believed the operation was authorized to proceed. 

This referred to CIA officer Michael Mulroney (Tweedy. 10/9/75 I, p. 56), who testified 
that in late October he was asked by Richard Bissell to undertake the mission of assassinat- 
ing Lumumba. 

3 For a full account of the meeting between Bissell and Mulroney and Mulroney's sub- 
sequent activities in the Congo, see Section 5(a), infra. 


The cable also provided an insight into why the assassination opera- 
tion had not progressed more rapidly under the Station Officer: 


In contradiction of the limitations on anti-Lumumba activity out- 
lined in the cable sent through normal channels, Tweedy's cable 
suggested : 

Tweedy to Station Officer, 10/15/60) 

Two days later the Station Officer made a number of points in a 
reply to Tweedy. First, the agent he had picked for the assassination 
operation had difficulty infiltrating Lumumba's inner circle : ^ 

EFFORTS, (CIA Cable, 10/17/60) 

The Station Officer concluded this cable with the following cryptic 
recommendation, reminiscent of his testimony that he may have "sug- 
gested" shooting Lumumba to Scheider as an alternative to poisoning 
(Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 27-29) : 


Tweedy testified that the Station Officer's recommendation clearly 
referred to sending to the Congo via diplomatic pouch a weapon 
suited for assassinating Lumumba. (Tweedy, 10/9/75 I, p. 64) Senior 
case officer Mulroney stated that he never heard discussion at Head- 
quarters of sending a sniper-type weapon to the Congo, nor did he have 
any knowledge that such a weapon had been "pouched" to the Congo. 
(Mulroney affidavit, 11/7/75) 

The oblique suggestion of shooting Lumumba at the "opening of 
liunting season" could be interpreted as a plan to assassinate Lumumba 
as soon as he was see)i outside the residence where he remained in U.N. 
protective custody. Tweedy interpreted the cable to mean that "an 
operational plan involving a rifle" had not yet been formulated by 
the Station Officer and that the "opening of hunting season" would 
depend upon approval of such a plan by CIA headquarters. (Tweedy, 
10/9/75 I, pp. 64-fi5) 

1 This agent left Leopoldvllle "sometime in October" and their discussions terminated. 
(Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 61) 


A report sent the next month by the Station Officer through the 
PROP channel for Tweedy's "Eyes Alone" indicated that, what- 
ever the intention about moving forward with a plan for assassination 
by rifle fire, Lumumba was being viewed as a "target" and his move- 
ments were under close surveillance. Hedgman's cable described the 
stalemate which prevailed from mid-September until Lumumba's 
departure for Stanleyville on November 27; Lumumba was virtually 
a prisoner in U.N. custody, and inaccessible to CIA agents and the 
Congolese : 

REMOTE. (CIA Cable, Station Officer to Tweedy, 11/14/60) 

{h) Tioeedy/Bissell Testimony : Extent of Implementation; Extent 
of AuthoHzation 


The testimony of Richard Bissell and Bronson Tweedy is at some 
variance from the picture of the assassination plot presented by the 
Station Officer and by the cable traffic from the period. 

The cables demonstrate that CIA Headquarters placed the "highest 
priority" on the effort to assassinate Lumumba. They also show that 
the assassination operation involving Scheider and the Station Officer 
was initiated by a cable signed pei*sonally by Bissell and Tweedy 
and transmittecl in a specially restricted cable channel established 
solely for communications about this operation. Bissell and Tweedy 
both testified to an absence of independent recollection of Scheider's 
assignment in the Congo and of any specific operation to poison 

The cables appear to indicate that the Station Officer was author- 
ized to proceed with an assassination attempt if he determined it to be 
a feasible, secure operation and if time did not permit referral to 
Headquarters for approval. Tweedy alone testified that the Station 
Officer was empowered only to explore and assess the means of assas- 
sinating Lumumba and not to proceed with an assassination attempt 
even when "time did not permit" referral to Headquarters. 

{i) Tioeedy'^s Testimony About the Scope of the Assassination 

As Chief of the Africa Division, Bronson Tweedy had the principal 
supervisory responsibility at CIA Headquarters for the operations of 
the Station Officer Hedgman in Leopold^dlle. Most of the reports and 
recommendations cabled by Hedgman on the assassination operation 
were marked for Tweedy's "Eyes Only." Through Tweedy, instruc- 


tions were issued, plans were approved, and progress reports were 
assessed concerning the effort to assassinate Lumumba.^ 

Before reviewing all of the cables, Tweedy testified that he had no 
knowledge of the plot to poison Lumumba. (Tweedy, 9/9/75, pp. 
30-31) He stated that if Scheider went to the Congo as a courier car- 
rying lethal biological material, "I will bet I knew it, but I don't 
recall it." (Tweedy, 9/9/75, p. 35) 

Tweedy commented that rather than questioning the tnith of the 
Station Officer's testimony,- the discrepancies between their testi- 
mony could be attributed to his own lack of recall.^ 

Even after he reviewed the cables on the PEOP operation. Tweedy 
said that he did not recall talking to Scheider about an assignment to 
the Congo, although he assumed he had done so. Tweedy's review 
enabled him to "recall the circumstances in which these things oc- 
curred ; and there's no question that Mr. Scheider went to the Congo." 
(Tweedy, 10/9/75 I, p. 13 ; II, pp. 5-6) * 

Despite Tweedy's lack of recollection about the actual plot to poison 
Lumumba, he recalled discussing the feasibility of an assassination 
attempt against Lumumba with Bissell and communicating with the 
Station Officer about gaining access to Lumumba for this purpose. 
(Tweedy, 9/9/75, pp. 14-15, 19-21) 

Tweedy characterized his discussions with Bissell about assassinating 
Lumumba as "contingency planning" (Tweedy, 9/9/75, p. 28) : 

Tweedy. * * * i think it came up in tlie sense that Dick would have said we 
probably better be thinking about whether it might ever be necessary or desirable 
to get rid of Lumumba, in which case we presumably should be in position to 
assess whether we could do it or not successfully. 

Q. Do it, meaning carry off an assassination? 

Tweedy. Yes, but it was never discussed with him in any other sense but a 
planning exercise. * * * never were we instructed to do anything of this kind. 
We were instructed to ask whether such a thing would be feasible and to have 
the Station Officer thinking along those lines as well. (Tweedy, 9/9/75, pp. 15, 28) 

Tweedy testified that Bissell never authorized him to proceed beyond 
the planning stage to move forward with an assassination attempt. 
(Tweedy, 10/9/75 I, p. 17) 

'^ Tweedy personally signed both the cable which initially informed the Station Officer 
that "JOE" would arrive in Leopoldville with an assignment (CIA Cable, Bissell, Tweed.v 
to Station Officer, 9/19/60) and the cable of October 7 indicating that he had debriefed 
Scheider upon his return from the Congo. (CIA Cable, Tweedy to Station Officer, 10/7/60) 
Tweedy was also the "Eyes Only" recipient of Hedgman's reports on Scheider's arrival 
in the Congo (CIA Cable, Station Officer to Tweedy, 9/27/60) and of subsequent com- 
munications about the top priority plan that emerged from the discussions between Scheider 
and Hedgman : i.e., infiltrating an agent into Lumumba's entourage to administer a lethal 
poison to the Congolese leader, (CIA Cable. Station Officer to Tweedy, 9/.50/60 : CIA Cable, 
station Officer to Tweedy, 10/7/60; CIA Cable, Station Officer to Tweedy, 10/17/60) See 
Sections 4(a)-4(e) supra for a full treatment of the cables sent in the PROP channel 
between Tweedy and the Station Officer in Leopoldville. 

- Tweedy expressed a high regard for the credibility of the Station Officer. Tweedy said 
that he never had occasion to doubt Hedgman's veracity or integrity, adding. "I would 
trust his memory and I certainly trust his integrity." (Tweedy, 9/9/75, p. 36) 

^ Tweedy explained his difficulty in recalling the assassination operation : 

"[T]he things that I recall the most vividly about all my African experiences were ♦ * * 
the things I was basically concerned with all the time, which was putting this Division 
together and the rest of it. When it comes to operational detail I start getting fuzzy 
and you would have thought with something like thinking about Mr. Lumumba in these 
terms that I would have gone to bed and got up thinking about Lumumba, I can assure 
you this wasn't the case." (Tweedy, 9/9/75, p. .34) 

» For a detailed treatment of Tweedy's testimony on Scheider's assignment to tlie Congo 
and the assassination operation against Lumumba, see Sections 4(a)-(g), supra. 


Tweedy characterized the entire assassirxation operation as "explor- 
atory" : 

This involved ttie launching of the idea with the field so they could make the 
proper operational explorations into the feasibility of this, reporting back to 
Headquarters for guidance. At no point was the field given carte blanche if they 
thought they had found a way to do the job, just to carry it out with no further 
reference. (Tweedy. 10/9/75 II, p. 22) 

He testified that the period of exploration of access to Lumumba re- 
mained "a planning interval and at no point can I recall that I ever 
felt it was imminent that somebody would say 'go'."' (Tweedy, 9/9/75, 
pp. 18-19) 

Tweedy stated that, despite his inability to specifically recall his 
directive to Scheider, he would not have given the Station Officer an 
instruction "to use this [toxic] material and go ahead and assassinate 
Lumumba, as if * * * that is all the authority that was necessary." 
He said that : 

Under no circumstances would that instruction have been given by me without 
reference to higher authority up through the chain of command * * * my higher 
authority, in the first instance, would be Mr. Bissell * * * and I know Mr. Bissell 
would have talked to Mr. Dulles. (Tweedy, 10/9/7o I, pp. 17-18: 10/9/75 II, pp. 
25, 33) 

It is difficult to reconcile some of the cables and the testimony of 
Scheider and Hedgman with Tweedy's testimonj' that there was "no 
misunderstanding" that the PROP operation was purely exploratory 
"contingency planning" and that no authorization was granted for 
attempting an assassination without checking back with headquarters. 

For example. Dulles* August 26 directive appeared to indicate wide 
Jatitude for making operational decisions in the field "where time does 
not permit referral" to Headquarters. 

Tweedy testified that sending a potentially lethal biological ma- 
terial Avith a short period of toxicity to the Congo did not mean that 
the Station Officer was empowered to take action without seeking 
final approval from Headquarters. 

TwEEDT : If, as a result of the Station focusing on the problem for the first 
time, as a result of Headquarters' request, they had come up with a plan that 
they thought was exceedingly solid and which Headquarters approved, it is not 
surprising, perhaps, that we wanted the materials there to take advantage of 
such * * * an unlikely event. 

Q : Because Scheider took lethal materials to the Congo with him that had such 
a short period of lethality, were you not contemplating at that time that the 
operation might well move from the exploration phase to the implementation 
phase just as soon as Scheider and Hedgman determined that it was feasible? 

Tweedy : I think I would put it quite differently. I think that I would say that 
we would have beeii remiss in not being in a position to exploit, if we reached 
the point where we all agreed that the thing was possible. (Tweedy, 10/9/75 I, 
pp. 49-.50) 

The dispatch of toxic material and medical paraphernalia to the 
Congo certainly demonstrates that the "exploration" of the feasibility 
of assassinating Lumumba had progressed beyond mere "assessment" 
and "contingency planning." 

Tweedy further disagreed that the Station Officer's October T mes- 
sage that he would "continue try implement op[eration]" signified 


that the Officer was prepared to proceed to "implement" an assassina- 
tion attempt : 

He would continue to explore the possibilities of this operation and continue 
to report to Headquarters. That is all this means. It does not mean that * * * 
he would try to pull off the operation without further reference to Headquarters 
* * * [H]e was to continue to explore it to determine whether or not there was 
a feasible means. (Tweedy, 10/9/75 II, pp. 14-15) 

Finally, Tweedy's recollection that a "go ahead'' on the assassination 
operation was never imminent is brought into question by the cable 
he sent for Hedgman's "Eyes Only" on October 15 to assure him 
that there was a policy-level consensus that Lumumba's "disposition 
spontaneously becomes number one consideration" and that the PROP 
operation "remains highest priority." (CIA Cable, Tweedy to Station, 

(ii) Bissell's Testimony About Moving the Assassination Operation 
From Planning to Implementation 

Richard Bissell testified that he did not i-emember discussing the 
feasibility of assassinating Lumumba with Bronson Tweedy, but it 
seemed "entirely probable" to him that such discussions took place. 
Bissell, who did not review the cable traffic, said he "may have'' given 
Tweedy specific instructions about steps to further an assassination 
plan, but he did not remember doing so. He said that seeking infor- 
mation from the Station Officer about access for poisoning or assas- 
sinating Lumumba by other means would "almost certainly" have 
been a "major part" of his "planning and preparatory activity" but 
he had no specific recollection of cable communications on this subject. 
He did recall that the Station Officer had an agent who supposedly 
had direct access to Lumumba. (Bissell. 9/10/75, pp. 3, 4, 6-8, 80) 

Bissell testified that he "most certainly" approved any cables that 
Tweedy sent to the Station Officer seeking information about gain- 
ing access to Lumumba because in "a matter of this sensitivity," 
Tweedy probably would have referred cables to him for final dispatch. 
But Bissell added : 

I think Mr. Tweedy, on the basis of an oral authorization from me, would have 
had the authority to send such a cable without my signing off on it. (Bissell, 
9/10/75, p. 8) 

Bissell's failure to recall discussing his assignment to Michael 
Mulroney ^ with Tweedy provided a basis for his speculation that 
Tweedy might also have been unaware of the true purpose of 
Scheider's visit. (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 20-22) 

Bissell did not recall cables concerning Scheider's mission, and con- 
firming that Scheider's instructions were to be followed ; but he said 
"this sounds highly likely * * * I would expect, given the back- 
ground, that the confirmation would have been forthcoming." (Bissell, 
9/lC)/75, p. 43) 

Bissell said that it was "very probable" that he discussed the 
assassination of Lumumba with Scheider, who was then his science 
advisor. On a number of occasions he and Scheider had discussed "the 
availability of means of incapacitation, including assassination." Al- 
though he had no "specific recollection," Bissell assumed that, if 

1 Bissell's assignment to Mulroney is discussed in Sections 5(a) (1) and 5(a) (ii), infra. 


Scheider went to the Congo, Bissell would have approwd the mission, 
which "'might A'ery well" have dealt with the assassination of Lu- 
mumba. (Bissell, 9/10/75. pp. 14. 60, 18, 20, 44) 

Bissell testified that it would not have been against CIA policy in 
the fall of 1960 to send poisons to the Congo. He characterized "the 
act of taking the kit to the Congo * * * as still in the planning stage."' 
(Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 35, 49). He acknowledged, however, that: 

It would indeed have ))een rather uniisiial to send suoli materials — a specific 
kit * * * of this sort — out to a relatively small Station, unless planning for their 
use was quite far along. ( Bissell, 9/10/7, p. 37) 

Nonetheless, Bissell said that he "probably believed" that he had 
sufficient authority at that point to direct CIA officers to move from 
the stage of planning to implementation. (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 60-61) 
Although he did not have a specific recollection, Bissell assumed that 
if Scheider had instructed Hedgman to assassinate Lumumba, Scheider 
would not have been acting beyond the mandate given to him by Bis- 
sell and the assassination jjlot would then have "passed into an imple- 
mentation phase." (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 39, 41, 49) 





Michael Mulroney, a senior CIA officer in the Directorate for Plans, 
testified that in October 1960 he had been asked by Richard Bissell to 
go to the Congo to carry out the assassination of Lumumba. Mulroney 
said that he refused to participate in an assassination opei-ation, but 
l^roceeded to the Congo to attempt to draw Lumumba away from the 
protective custody of the U.N. guard and place him in the hands of 
Congolese authorities. (Mulroney, 6/9/75, pp. 11-14) 

Shortly aftei- Muli-oney's arrival in the Congo, he was joined by 
QJ/WIX, a CIA agent with a criminal background.^ Late in 1960, 
WI/ROGLTE, one of Hedgman's operatives approached QJ/WIN 
with a proposition to join an "execution squad." (CIA Cable, Leo- 
poldville to Director, 12/7/60) 

It is unlikely that Mulroney was actually involved in implementing 
the assassination assignment. Wliether there was any connectioii be- 
tween the assassination plot and either of the tw^o operatives- — QJ/ 
WIN and WI/ROGUE— is less clear. 

(a) Muh^oney's Assigtwient in the Congo 

(i) Mulroney's Testimony That He Went to the Congo After Refus- 
ing an Assassination Assignment From Bissell 

In early October, 1960, several PROP cables discussed a plan to 
send a "senior case officer" to the Congo to aid the overburdened Sta- 
tion Officer with the assassination operation.^ Shortly after the Sta- 

' See Part III, Section c. of this Report for a discussion of the CIA's use of QJ/WIN 
in developing a stand-by assassination capabUity in the Executive Action project. 
- See Section 4(g), supra, for full treatment of these cables. 


tion Officer's request on October 17, for a senior case officer to concen- 
trate on the assassination operation. Bissell broached the subject with 
Mulroney. At the time, Mulroney was the Deputy Chief of an extraor- 
dinarily secret unit within the Directorate of Plans. (Mulroney, 

6/9/75, p. 8) 

Mulroney testified that in October of 1960, Bissell asked him to 
undertake the mission of assassinating Patrice Lumumba : 

Mulroney : He called me in and told me he wanted to go down to the Belgian 
Congo, the former Belgian Congo, and to eliminate Lumumba * * *. 

Q : What did you understand him to mean by eliminate? 

Mulroney : To kill him and thereby eliminate his influence. 

Q : What was the basis for your interpreting his remarks, whatever his pre- 
cise language, as meaning that he was talking about assassination rather than 
merely neutralizing him through some other means? 

Mulroney : It was not neutralization * * * clearly the context of our talk was 
to kill him. (Mulroney, 6/9/7S, pp. 11-12, 19, 43) 

Mulroney testified : 

I told him that I would absolutely not have any part of killing Lumumba. He 
.said, I want you to go over and talk to Joseph Scheider. (Mulroney, 6/9/75, p. 12) 

Mulroney said that it was "inconceivable that Bissell would direct 
such a mission without the personal permission of Allen Dulles" : 

I assumed that he had authority from Mr. Dulles in such an important issue, 
but it was not discussed [with me], nor did he purport to have higher authority 
to do it. (Mulroney, 9/9/75, pp. 15, 44) 

Mulroney then met promptly with Scheider and testified that he was 
"sure that Mr. Bissell had called Scheider and told him I was coming 
over" to his office. Scheider told Mulroney "that there were four or 
five * * * lethal means of disposing of Lumumba * * *, One of the 
methods was a virus and the others included poison." Mulroney said 
that Scheider "didn't even hint * * * that he had been in the Congo 
and that he had transported anv lethal agent to the Congo." (Mul- 
roney, 6/9/75, pp. 12-13 : 9/11/75^, pp. 7-7A) 

Mulroney testified that after speaking with Scheider : 

I then left his oflBce, and I went back to Mr. Bissell's oflBce, and I told him in 
no way would I have any part in the assassination of Lumumba * * * and 
reasserted in absolute terms that I would not be involved in a murder attempt. 
(Mulroney, 9/11/75, p. 43) ' 

Mulroney said that in one of his two conversations with Bissell 
about Lumumba, he raised the prospect "that conspiracy to commit 
murder being done in the District of Columbia might be in violation 

1 When asked at the conclusion of his testimony to add anything to the record that he 
felt was necessary to present a full picture of the operation against Lumumba. Mulroney 
volunteered a statement about the moral climate in which it took place : 

"All the people that I knew acted in good faith. I think they acted in the light of * * * 
maybe not their consciences, but in the light of their concept of patriotism. [T]hey felt that 
this was in the best Interests of the U.S. I think that we have to much of the 'good 
German' in us, in that we do something because the boss says it is okay. And they are 
not essentially evil people. But you can do an awful lot of wrong in this. 

"* * * This is such a dishonest business that only honest people can be in it. That is the 
only thing that will save the Agency and make you trust the Integrity of what they 
report * * *. An intelligence officer * * * must be scruDulous and he must be moral 
* * * he must have personal integrity * * *. They must be particularly conscious of 
the moral element in intelligence operations." (Mulroney, 9/11/75, pp. 57, 61) 

Earlier in his testimony, Mulroney succinctly summarized his philosophical opposition 
to assassinating Lumumba : "murder corrupts." (Mulroney, 9/11/75, p. 9) 


of federal law." He said that Bissell "airily dismissed" this prospect. 
(Miilroney. 6/9/75. p. 14) 

Althoug:h he refused to participate in assassination. Mulroney 
agreed to go to the Congo on a general mission to "neutralize" 
Lumumba "as a political factor" (Mulroney. 9/11/75. pp. 43-44) : 

I said I would go down and I would have no compunction about operating 
to draw Lumumba out [of UN custody], to run an operation to neutralize his 
operations which were against Western interests, against. I thought, American 
interests. ( Mulroney, 6/9/75, p. 13 ) ^ 

Although Mulroney did not foruuilate a precise plan until he 
reached the Congo, he discussed a general strategy with Bissell : 

Mulroney : I told Mr. Bissell that I would be willing to go down to neu- 
tralize his activities and operation.s and try to bring him out [of UN custody] 
and turn him over to the Congolese authorities. 

Senator Mondale : Was it discussed then that his life might be taken by the 
Congolese authorities? 

Mulroney : It was, I think, considered * * * not to have him killed, but then it 
would have been a Congolese being judged by Congolese for Congolese crimes. 
Yes. I think it was discussed. (Mulroney. 6/9/75, p. 38) 

According to Mulroney there was a "very, very high probability" 
that Lunuimba would receive capital punishment at the hands of the 
Congolese aut]iori*^ies. But he "had no compunction about bringing 
him out and then havins him tried by a jury of his peei-s." (Mulroney, 
6/9/75, pp. -24, 14) ' 

Despite Mulroney 's expressed aversion to assassination and his 
agreement to undertake a more general mission to "neutralize" 
Lumumba's influence. Bissell continued pressing liim to consider an 
assassination operation : 

In leaving at the conclusion of our second discussion * * * he said, well, I 
wouldn't rule out that possibility — meaning the possibility of the elimination 
or the killing of Lumumba * * *. In other words, even though you have said 
this, don't rule it out * * *. There is no question about it. he said. I wouldn't 
rule this other out, meaning the elimination or the assassination. (Mulroney. 
9/11/75, p. 45) 

Mulroney distinctly recalled that after his second discussion with 
Bissell, he met with Richard Helms, who was then Deputy to the DDP 
and Chief of Operations in the clandestine services division, in order 
to make his opposition to assassinating Lumumba a matter of record 
(Mulroney, 9/11/75, pp. 44-45) : 

[I]n the Agency, since you don't have documents, you have to be awfully canny 
and you have to get things on record, and I went into Mr. Helms' oflBce, and I 
said. Dick, here is what Mr. Bissell proposed to me. and I told him that I would 
under no conditions do it. and Helms said, 'you're absolutely right." (Mulroney 
6/9/75, pp. 15-16) 

Helms testified that it was "likely" that he had such a conversation 
with Mulroney and he assumed that ^Mulroney's version of their con- 
versation was correct. (Helms. 9/16/75. pp. 22-23)- 

^ Bissell also recalled that, after discussing assassination with Mulroney, Mulroney went 
to the Congo "with the assignment * • • of looking at other ways of neutralizing 
Lumumba." (Bissell. 9/10/7.5. p. .">.•?) 

3 Helms testified that he did not inquire further Into the subject of this conversation 
in any way. He did not recall why Mulronev had gone to the Congo or what his mission 
was. (Helms, 9/16/75, pp. 32-33) 


William Harvey was Mulroney's immediate superior at that time ^ 
He testified : 

Mr. Mulroney came to me and said that he had been approached by Richard 
Bissell * ♦ * to undertake an operation in the Congo, one of the objectives of which 
was the elimination of Patrice Lumumba. He also told me that he had declined 
to undertake this assignment. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 9) 

Harvey said that in a later conversation with Bissell, Bissell told him 
that he had asked Mulroney to undertake such an operation. (Harvey, 
6/25/75, p. 9) 

Tweedy's Deputy, who aided in making preparations for Mulroney's 
trip to the Congo, recalled that Mulroney had "reacted negatively" to 
Bissell's request to undertake an assassination operation. (Deputy 
Chief, Africa Division affidavit, 10/17/75, p. 2) He stated: 

Despite the fact that Mulroney had expressed a negative reaction to this as- 
signment, it was clear to me that when Mulroney went to the Congo, exploration 
of the feasibility of assassinating Lumumba was part of his assignment from 
Bissell. As far as I know, Mulroney was not under assignment to attempt to assas- 
sinate Lumumba, but rather merely to make plans for such an operation. ( Deputy 
Chief, Africa Division affidavit, 10/17/m p. 2) 

In Tweedy's mind, Mulroney's eventual mission to the Congo was 
also linked to assessing the possibility for assaasinating Lumumba 
rather than to a general plan to draw Lumumba out of U.N. custody. 
(Tweedy, 9/9/75, pp. 24, 26) 

Mulroney testified, however, that because he was "morally opposed 
to assassination" he would "absolutely not" have explored the means by 
which such access could be gained, nor would he have undertaken a 
mission to the Congo to assess an assassination operation even if it 
were directed by someone else. (Mulroney, 9/11/75, p. 26) 

Mulroney said that he departed for the Congo within forty-eight 
hours of his second discussion with Bissell. (Mulroney, 9/11/75, pp. 

(ii) Bissell's Testimony About the Assignment to Mulroney 

Bissell remembered "very clearly" that he and Mulroney discussed 
the assassination of Lumumba in the fall of 1960 (Bissell, 6/9/75, 
pp. 74-75) and that Mulroney reacted negatively. (Bissell, 9/11/75, 
p. 18) Accordingly to Bissell, Mulroney said that assassination "was 
an inappropriate action and that the desired object could be accom- 
plished better in other ways." (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 54) 

Bissell's testimony differs from Mulroney's account on only one 
important point — the degree to which Bissell's initial assignment to 
Mulroney contemplated the mounting of an operation as opposed to 
contingency plamiing. Mulroney flatly testified that Bissell requested 
him to attempt to kill Lumumba. In his first testimony on the subject, 
Bissell said that he asked Mulroney "to investigate the possibility of 
killing Lumumba." (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 54; see also pp. 55, 75) In 
a later appearance, however, Bissell stated that Mulroney "had been 
asked to plan and prepare for" the assassination of Lumumba. (Bissell, 
9/10/75, p. 24) 

1 Harve.v was later centrally Involved In the Castro case and the Executive Action project. 
See Parts III(B) and Part III (C), iw/m. 


Bissell said that after his conversations with Miilroney, he con- 
sidered "postponing" the assassination operation : 

I seem to recollect that after this conversation with him, I wanted this put 
very much on the back burner and inactivated for quite some time. Now that 
doesn't rule out the possibility that some action through completely different 
channels might have gone forward. But the best of my recollection is, I viewed 
this not only as terminating the assignment for him, but also as reason for at 
least postponing anything further along that line. (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 25-26) 

(iii) Mulroney Informed of Virus in Station Safe Upon Arriving in 
Congo : November 3, 1960 

On October 29, the Station Officer was informed that Michael Mul- 
roney would soon arrive in Leopoldville "in furtherance this project." 
(CIA Cable, Deputy Chief, Africa Di\dsion, to Station Officer 
10/29/60) On November 3, Mulroney arrived in Leopoldville. (CIA 
Cable, Leopoldville to Director, 11/4/60) Hedgman said it was "very 
possible" that he regarded the dispatch to the Congo of a senior officer 
as a signal that CIA Headquarters was "dissatisfied with my han- 
dling" of Scheider's instructions. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 42) 

Hedgman had only a general picture of Mulroney's assignment : 

I understood it to be that — similar to mine, that is, the removal or neutraliza- 
tion of Lumumba * * * i have no clear recollection of his discussing the assas- 
sination. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 54) 

Station Officer Hedgman said that he did not recall if Mulroney 
indicated whether he was considering assassination as a means of 
"neutralizing" Lumumba. Hedgman said, "in view of my instructions, 
I may have assumed that he was" considering assassination. Generally, 
however, the Station Officer perceived Mulroney as mienthusiastic 
about his assignment. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 55, 56, 88-89) 

When Mulroney arrived in the Congo, he met with the Station Of- 
ficer, who informed him that there was "a virus in the safe." (Mul- 
roney, 9/11/75, p. 7-A ; 6/9/75, p. 16) Mulroney said he assumed it was 
a "lethal agent," although the Station Officer was not explicit : 

I knew it wasn't for somebody to get his polio shot up to date. (Mulronev, 
0/9/75, pp. 16, 37)^ 

^Mulroney said that he did not i-ecall the Station Officer's mention- 
ing the source of the virus, but : 

It would have had to have come from Washington, in my estimation, and I 
would think, since it had been discussed with Scheider that it probably would 
have emanated from his office. (Mulroney, 6/9/75, p. 28)" 

Hedgman did not recall discussing Scheider's trip to the Congo with 
Mulroney, but "assumed" that he did so. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 

1 Mulroney added that if the virus was to be used for medical purposes. "It would have 
been in the custody of the State Department" personnel, not the CIA Station. (Mulroney, 
6/9/75. p. .36) 

3 When Mulroney was informed about Hedgman's testimony concerning Scheider's trip 
to the Congo and the plot to poison Lumumba, he said, "I believe absolutely In its credi- 
bility. Mulroney found nothing in the facts as he knew them, nor in Hedgman's character, 
to raise a question about that testimony. He regarded Hedgman as "an honest and 
a decent man — a totally truthful man." (Mulroney, 9/11/75, pp'. 19, 53, 56) 


Mulroney was "certain" that the virus had arrived before he did. 
(Mulroney, 6/9/75, p. 24) He was surprised to learn that such a virus 
was at the Leopoldville Station because he had refused an assassina- 
tion mission before departing for the Congo. (Mulroney, 6/9/75, p. 17) 

Mulroney stated that he knew of no other instance where a CIA 
Station had possessed lethal biological substances. He assumed that 
its purpose was assassination, probably targeted againt Lumumba 
(Mulroney, 9/11/75, p. 50) : 

My feeling definitely is that it was for a specific purpose, and was just not an 
all-purpose capability there, being held for targets of opportunity, unspecified 
targets, (Mulroney. 9/11/75. p. 49) 

Mulroney said that the Station Officer never indicated that ISIulroney 
was to employ the virus, that he "never discussed his assassination 
effort, he never even indicated that this was one.*' (Mulroney, 9/11/75, 
pp. 52, 54) 

While Station Officer Hedgrnan had no direct recollection of dis- 
cussing the assassination operation with Mulroney, he "assumed" that 
he had at least mentioned the problem of gaining access to Lumumba 
for the purpose of assassinating him. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 55, 60) 

Mulroney was "sure" that he "related everything" to Hedgman 
about his conversations with Bissell concerning the assassination of 
Lumumba. (Mulroney, 9/11/75, p. 46) Hedgman, however, did not 
recall learning this from ]Mulroney. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 56) 

Mulroney said that his discussions of assassination with Hedgman 
were general and philosophical, dealing with "the morality of assassi- 
nations." (Mulroney, 9/11/75, pp. 46, 54) : 

From my point of view I told him I had moral objections to it, not just qualms, 
but objections. I didn't think it was the right thing to do. (Mulroney, 9/11/7.5, 
p. 9) 

Wlien asked to characterize Hedgman's attitude toward assassina- 
tion based on those discussions, Mulroney said : 

He would not have been opposed in principle to assassination in the interests 
of national security * * *. i know that he is a man of great moral perception 
and decency and honor * * *. And that it would disturb him to be engaged 
in something like that. But I think I would have to say that in our conversations, 
my memory of those, at no time would he rule it out as being a possibility. 
(Mulroney, 9/11/75, p. 18) 

(iv) Mulroney^s Plan to '"'Neutralise'^ Lumumba 

After Mulroney arrived in the Congo, he formulated a plan for 
"neutralizing" Lumumba by drawing him away from the custody 
of the U.N. force which was guarding his residence : 

Mulroney: [W]hat I wanted to do was to get him out, to trick him out, if 
I could, and then turn him over * * * to the legal authorities and let him stand 
trial. Because he had atrocity attributed to him for which he could very well 
stand trial. 

Q : And for which he could very well have received capital punishment ? 

Mulroney: Yes. And I am not opposed to capital punishment. (Midroney, 
9/11/75, pp. 20-21)^ 

1 When Miilrone.v's mission to draw Lumumba out of the hands of the U.N. was described 
to C. Douglas Dillon, who was Undersecretary of State at that time, Dillon testified that 
it conformed to United States polic.v toward Lumumba. (Dillon. 9/21/75, p. 50) 

According to an earlier report from the Station Officer, it was the view of the Special 
Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations that arrest by Congolese 
authorities was "JUST A TRICK TO ASSASSINATE LUMUMBA." (CIA Cable, Station 
Officer to Director, 10/11/60) The Station Officer proceeded to recommend Lumumba's 
arrest in the same cable : 



To implement his plan, Mulroney made arrangements to rent "an 
observation post over the palace in which Lumumba was safely en- 
sconced." He also made the acquaintance of a U.N. guard to recruit 
him for an attempt to lure Lumumba outside U.N. protective custodv. 
(Mulroney, 6/9/75, p. 20; 9/11/75, p. 21) Mulroney said that he cabled 
progress reports to CIA Headquarters, and kept the Station Officer 
infonned about his activities. (Mulroney, 9/11/75, pp. 26-27, 56) 

Mulroney arranged for CIA agent QJ/WIN, to come to the Congo 
to work with him : 

"What I wanted to use him for was * * * coimter-espionage. * * * i had 
to screen the U.S. participation in this * * * by iLsing a foreign national whom 
we knew, trusted, and had worked with * * * the idea was for me to use him as 
an alter ego. (Mulroney, 6/9/75, pp. 19-20) 

In mid-November, two cables from Leopoldville urged CIA Head- 
quarters to send QJ/WIN: 

I>oldville to Director, 11/13/60 ; see also 11/11/60) 

The cables did not explain the "operational circumstances." 

(6) QJ/WIN's Mission in the Congo : Novemher-December 1960 

QJ/WIN was a foreign citizen with a criminal background, re- 
cruited in Europe. (Memo to CIA Finance Division, Re : Payments to 
QJ/AVIN, 1/31/61) In November 196(), agent QJ/WIN was dis- 
patched to the Congo to undertake a mission that "might involve a 
large element of personal risk." (CIA Cable, 11/2/60) ^ 

A cable from Headquarters to Leopoldville stated : 

In view of the extreme sensitivity of the objective for which we want 
[QJ/WIN] to perform his task, he was not told precisely what we want him to 
do * * *. Instead, he was told * * * that we would like to have him spot, 
assess, and recommend some dependable, quick-witted persons for our use * * *. 
It was thought best to withhold our true, specific requirements pending the final 
decision to use [him]. (CIA Cable, 11/2/60) 

This message itself was deemed too sensitive to be retained at the 
station: "this dispatch should be reduced to cryptic necessar}^ notes 
and destroyed after the first reading." (CIA Cable, 11/2/60) 

QJ/IVIN arrived in Leopoldville on November 21, 1960, and re- 
turned to Europe in late December 1960. (CIA Cable, 11/29/60; CIA 
Cable, Director to Leopoldville, 12/9/60) 

Mulroney described QJ/WIN as follows : 

MuLBONEY : * * * I would say that he would not be a man of many scruples. 

Q : So he was a man capable of doing anything? 

MiTLRONEY : I would think so, yes. 

Q : And that would include assassination? 

MuLEONEY : I would think so. (Mulroney, 9/11/75, pp. 35-36) 

But Mulroney had no knowledge that QJ/WIN was ever used for 
an assassination operation. (Mulroney, 9/11/75, pp. 36, 42) 

1 An additional purpose In dispatching QJ/WIN was to send him from the Congo to an- 
other African country for an unspecified mission. Qj/WIN's mission to this country is not 
explained in the cable traffic between CIA Headquarters and the various stations that dealt 
with him. 

There is no Indication in CIA files as to whether QJ/WIN completed this operation^ 
Mulroney said he had no knowledge of any assignment that would have taken QJ/WIN 
to this other country. (Mulroney. 9/11/75. pp. ^2-?.^) William Harvey stated that he 
recalled that QJ/WIN might have been sent to an African country other than the Congo, 
but Harvey was "almost certain that this was not connected in any way to an assassina- 
tion mission." (Harvey affidavit, 9/14/75, p. 5) 


Mulroney said that, as far as he knew, he was the only CIA officer 
with supervisory responsibility for QJ/WIN, and QJ/WIN did not 
report independently to anyone else. When asked if it was possible 
that QJ/WIN had an assignment independent of his operations for 
Mulroney, he said : 

Yes, that is possible — or it could have been that somebody contacted him after 
he got down there, that they wanted him to do something along the lines of as- 
sassination. I don't know. (Mulroney, 9/11/75, pp. 28, 29) 

Mulroney discounted this possibility as "highly unlikely" because it 
would be a departure from standard CIA practice by placing an agent 
in a position of knowledge superior to that of his supervising officer. 
(Mulroney, 9/11/75, p. 29) 

Despite Mulroney's doubt that QJ/WIN had an independent line of 
responsibility to Station Officer Hedgman, Hedgman's November 29 
cable to Tweedy reported that QJ/WIN had begim implementing a 
plan to "pierce both Congolese and U.N. guards" to enter Lumumba's 
residence and "provide escort out of residence." (CIA Cable, Station 
Officer to Tweedy, 11/29/60) Mulroney said that he had directed 
QJ/WIN to make the acquaintance of the member of U.N. force. 
(Mulroney, 9/11/75, p. 21) By this point, Lumumba had already 
left U.N. custody to travel toward his stronghold at Stanleyville. This 
did not deter Q J/WIN : 


It is unclear whether this latter "plan" contemplated assassination as 
well as abduction. Headquarters replied affirmatively the next day 
in language which could have been interpreted as an assassination 
order : 

Africa Division to Station Officer, 11/30/60) 

Mulroney said that QJ/WIN's stay in the Congo was "coextensive 
with mv own. allowing for the fact that he came after I did." (Mul- 
roney, 6/9/75, p. 19) 

In a memorandum to arrange the accounting for QJ/WIN's activi- 
ties in the Congo, William Harvey, Mulroney's immediate superior in 
the Directorate of Plans, noted: "QJ/WIN was sent on this trip for 
a specific, highly sensitive operational purpose which has been com- 
pleted." (Memo for Finance Division from Harvey, 1/11/61) Mul- 
roney explained Harvey's reference by saying that once Lumumba 
was hi the hands of the Congolese authoritie^s "the reason for the 
mounting of the project * * * had become moot." "When asked if he and 
QJ/WIN were responsible for Lumumba's departure from U.N. cus- 
tody and subsequent capture, Mulronev replied: "Absolutelv not." 
(Mulroney, 9/11/75, p. 35)^ 

1 Harvey rllrl not recall the meatilnc of the memorandum, but he assumed that the mere 
fact that Mulronev had returned from the Congo would have constituted the "completion" 
of QJ/WIN's mission. (Harvey affidavit, 9/14/75, p. 2) 


Despite the suggestive language of the cables at the end of Novem- 
ber about the prospect of "direct action" by QJ/WIN and an indica- 
tion in the Inspector General's Report that Q,J/WIN may have been 
recruited initially for an assassination mission ^ there is no clear evi- 
dence that QJ/WIN was actually involved in any assassination plan 
or attempt. The Inspector General's Report may have accurately re- 
ported a plan for the use of QJ/WIN which predated Mulroney's re- 
fusal to accept the assassination assignment from Bissell. But there is 
no evidence from which to conclude that QJ/WIN was actually used 
for such an operation. 

Station Officer Hedgman had a "vague recollection" that QJ/WIN 
was in the Congo working for Mulroney. But Hedgman did not recall 
why QJ/WIN was in the Congo and said that QJ/WIN was not one of 
his major operatives. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 95) Bissell and Tweedy 
did not recall anything about QJ/WIN's activities in the Congo. (Bis- 
sell, 9/10/75, pp. 54-57 ; Tweedy, 9/9/75, pp. 54, 61 ) 

Harvey, whose division "loaned" QJ/WIN to the Congo Station, 
testified : 

I was kept informed of the arrangements for QJ/WIN's trip to the Congo and, 
subsequently, of his presence in the Congo. I do not know specifically what 
QJ/WIN did in the Congo. I do not think that I ever had such knowledge * * *. 
If QJ/WIN were to be used on an assassination mission, it would have been 
cleared with me. I was never informed that he was to be used for such a mission. 
(Harvey affidavit, 9/14/75, pp. 3-4)' 

A 1962 CIA cable indicates the value the CIA accorded QJ/WIN 
and the inherent difficulty for an intelligence agency in employing 
criminals. The CIA had learned that QJ/WIN was about to go on 
trial in Europe on smuggling charges and Headquarters suggested: 

PURPOSES. (CIA Cable, 1962) 

(c) WI /ROGUE Asks QJ/WIN to Join ''Execution Squad"" : Decem- 
her 1960 

The only suggestion that QJ/WIN had any connection with assas- 
sination was a report that WI/ROGUE, another asset of the Congo 
Station, once asked QJ/WIN to join an "execution squad." 

WI/ROGUE was an "essentially stateless'' soldier of fortune, "a 
forger and former bank robber." ( Inspector General Memo, 3/14/75) ^ 

1 The CIA Inspector General's Report said that QJ/WIN "had been recruited earlier 
* * * for use in a special operation in the Congo (the assassination of Patrice Lumumba) 
to be run by Michael Mulroney." (I.G. Report, p. 38) 

As explained above, Bissell and Mulroney testified that Mulroney had refused to be 
associated with an assassination operation. See sections 5(a) (11) and (ill). 

2 Harvey stated that the memoranda concerning QJ/WIN were probably written for 
his signature by the officer who supervised QJ/WIN"s activities in Europe. (Harvey affi- 
davit, 9/14/75, pp. 1,4) 

Harvey said that in later discussions he held with Scheider concerning the develop- 
ment of a general assassination capability, Scheider never mentioned QJ/WIN's activities 
in the Congo, nor did Scheider refer to his own trip to Leopoldville. Harvey also stated 
that before the formation of that project, QJ/WIN's case officer had not previously used 
him "as an assassination capability or even viewed him as such." (Harvey affidavit, 9/14/ 
75. pp. 7, 8) See discussion in Part III. Section C. 

•■•This information was derived from a report on WI/ROGUE's assignment to the 
Congo prepared by a former Africa Division officer on March 14, 1975 at the request of 
the CIA Office of the Inspector General. 


The CIA sent him to the Congo after providing him with plastic 
surgery and a toupee so that Europeans traveling in the Congo would 
not recognize him. (I.G. Memo, 3/14/75) The CIA characterized 
WI/ROGUE as a man who "learns quickly and carries out any as- 
signment without regard for danger." (CIA Cable, Africa Division to 
Leopold ville, 10/27/60) CIA's Africa Division recommended WI/ 
ROGUE as an agent in the following tenns : 

He is indeed aware of tlie precepts of right and wrong, but if he is given an 
assignment which may be morally wrong in the eyes of the world, but necessary 
because his case officer ordered him to carry it out, then it is right, and he will 
dutifully undertake appropriate action for its execution without pangs of con- 
science. In a word, he can rationalize all actions. 

Station Officer Hedgman described WI/ROGUE as "a man with a 
rather unsavory reputation, who would try anything once, at least." 
Hedgman used him as "a general utility agent" because "I felt we 
needed surveillance capability, developing new contacts, various 
things." Hedgman supervised WI/ROGUE directly and did not put 
him in touch with Mulroney. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 96-97) 

A report on agent WI/ROGUE, prepared for the CIA Inspector 
General's Office in 1975, described the training he received : 

On 19 September 1960 two members of Africa Division met with him to discuss 
"an operational assignment in Africa Division." In connection with this assign- 
ment, WI/ROGUE was to be trained in demolitions, small arms, and medical 
immunization. (I.G. Memo, 3/14/75)^ 

The report also outlined WI/ROGUE's assignment to the Congo 
and recorded no mention of the use to which WI/ROGUE's "medical 
immunization" training would be put : 

In October 1960 a cable to Leopoldville stated that * * * Headquarters [had] 
* * * intent to use him as utility agent in order to "(a) organize and conduct a 
surveillance team; (b) intercept packages; (c) blow up bridges; and (d) exe- 
cute other assignments requiring positive action. His utilization is not to be 
restricted to Leopoldville." (I.G. Memo, 3/14/75) 

WI/ROGUE made his initial contact with Hedgman in Leopold- 
ville on December 2, 1960. Hedgman instructed him to "build cover 
during initial period ;'" and to "spot persons for [a] surveillance team" 
of intelligence agents in the province where Lumumba's support was 
strongest. (CIA Cable, 12/17/60) 

Soon thereafter Hedgman cabled Headquarters : 



^ A case officer who prepared WI/ROGUE for his mission in the Congo stated that he 
had no knowledge that WI/ROGUE received any training in "medical immunization." The 
case officer assumed that an unclear cable reference to the fact that WI/ROGUE received 
Innoculatlons before his iourney was misinterpreted In the memorandum prepared for 
the Inspector General's Office on March 14. 1975. (WI/ROGUE Case Offier affidavit, 


poldville to Director, 12/17/60) 

The cable also expressed Hedgman's concern about WI/ROGUE's 
actions : 

TION. (CIA Cable, Leopold vlUe to Director, 12/17/60) 

Hedgman explained WI/ROGUE's attempt to recruit QJ/WIN 
for an execution squad as an unauthorized unexpected contact. He testi- 
fied that he had not instructed WI/ROGUE to make this kind of 
proposition to QJ/WIN or anyone else : 

I would like to stress that I don't know what WI/ROGUE was talking about 
as an "execiition squad," and I am sure he was never asked to go out and 
execute anyone. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 100) 

Hedgman suggested that WI/ROGUE had concocted the idea of an 
execution squad : 

His idea of what an intelligence operative should do, I think, had been 
gathered by reading a few novels or something of the sort. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, 
p. 100) 

Mulroney said he knew of no attempt by anyone connected with the 
CIA to recruit an execution squad and he did not remember WI/ 
ROGUE. (Mulroney 9/11/75, pp. 39^2) He stated that QJ/WIN 
was considered for use on "strong arm squad [s]," unrelated to assas- 
sinations : 

Surveillance teams where you have to go into crime areas * * * where you 
need a fellow that if he gets in a box can fight his wav out of it. (Mulroney, 
9/11/75, p. 36) 

Richard Bissell recalled nothing about WI/ROGUE's approach 
to QJ/WIN. (Bissell, 9/11/75, p. 71) Bronson Tweedy remembered 
that WI/ROGUE was "dispatched on a general purpose mission" to 
the Congo. But Tweedy testified that WI/ROGUE would "absolutely 
not" have been used on an assassination mission against Lumumba be- 
cause "he was basically dispatched, assessed and dealt with by the bal- 
ance of the Division" rather than by the two people in the Africa 
Division, Tweedy and his Deputy, who would have known that 
the assassination of Lumumba was being considered. (Tweedy, 9/9/75, 
pp. 63-65) 

The Station Officer said that if WI/ROGUE had been involved in 
an actual assassination plan, he would have transmitted messages con- 
cerning WI/ROGUE in the PROP channel. Instead, he limited dis- 
tribution of the cable about WI/ROGL^E in a routine manner — as a 
CIA officer would "normally do * * * when you speak in a deroga- 
tory manner of an asset." (Hedgrman, 8/21/75, pp. 101-102) 

Hedgman maintained that WI/ROGUE's proposition to QJ/WIN 
to join an "execution squad" could be attributed to WI/ROGUEV 
"freewheeling" nature : 

I had difl3culty controlling him in that he was not a professional intelligenc< 
officer as such. He seemed to act on his own without seeking guidance or author 


ity * * * I found he was rather an unguided missile * * * the kind of man 
that could get you in trouble before you knew you were in trouble. (Hedgman, 
8/21/75, pp. 96-97) 

But Hedgman did not disavow all responsibility for WI/ROGUE's 
actions : 

[I]f you give a man an order and he carries it out and causes a problem for 
the Station, then you accept responsibility. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 97) 

In sum, the testimony of the CIA officers involved in the PROP 
operation and the concern about WI/ROGUE's "freewheeling" in 
Hedgman's cable suggests that agent WI/ROGUE's attempt to form 
an "execution squad"' was an unauthorized, maverick action, uncon- 
nected to any CIA operation. However, the fact that WI/ROGUE 
was to be trained in "medical immunization" (I.G. Report Memo, 
3/14/75) precludes a definitive conclusion to that effect. 

6. the question of whether the cia was involved in bringing about 
Lumumba's death in katanga province 

The CIA officers most closely connected with the plot to poison 
Lumumba testified uniformly that they knew of no CIA involvement 
in Lumumba's death. The Congo Station had advance knowledge of 
the central government's plan to transport Lumumba into the hands 
of his bitterest enemies, where he was likely to be killed. But there is 
no evidentiary basis for concluding that the CIA conspired in this 
plan or was connected to the events in Katanga that resulted in 
Lumumba's death. 

(a) Lwni/mha's Imprisonment After' Leaving U.N. Custody: Nov&mr 
her 27-December 3, 1960 
The only suggestion that the CIA may have been involved in the 
capture of Lumumba by Mobutu's troops after Lumumba left U.N. 
custody on November 27, is a PROP cable from the Station Officer to 
Tweedy on November 14. The cable stated that a CIA agent had 
learned that Lumumba's 

Cable, Station Officer to Tweedy, 11/14/60) 

There is no other evidence that the CIA actually learned in advance 
of Lumumba's plan to depart for Stanleyville. In fact, a cable from 
Leopoldville on the day after Lumumba's escape evidenced the Sta- 
tion's complete ignorance about the circumstances of Lumumba's de- 
parture. (CIA Cable, Leopoldville to Director, 11/28/60) However, 
the same cable raises a question concerning whether the CIA was 
involved in Lumumba's subsequent capture en route by Congolese 
troops : 

ESCAPE ROUTE. (CIA Cable, 11/28/60) 

Station Officer Hedgman testified that he was "quite certain that 
there was no Agency involvement in any way" in Lumumba's depar- 


tiire from U.N. custody and that he had no advance knowledge of 
Lumumba's plan. He stated that he consulted with Congolese officers 
about the possible routes Lumumba might take to Stanleyville, but 
he was "not a major assistance*' in tracking down Lumumba prior to 
his capture. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 63-65) 

Mulroney, who had planned to draw Lumumba out of U.N. custody 
and turn him over to Congolese authorities, testified that Lumumba 
escaped by his own devices and was not tricked by the CIA. (Mul- 
roney, 9/11/75, p. 22) 

(6) LumMTnba's Death 

The contemporaneous cable traffic shows that the CIA was kept 
informed of Lumumba's condition and movements in January of 
1961 by the Congolese and that the CIA continued to consider Lu- 
mumba a serious political threat. Despite the fact that the Station 
Officer knew of a plan to deliver Lumumba into the hands of his 
enemies at a time when the CIA was convinced that "drastic steps" 
were necessary to prevent Lumumba's return to power, there is no 
evidence of CIA involvement in this plan or in bringing about the 
death of Lumumba in Katanga. 

There is no doubt that the CIA and the Congolese government 
shared a concern in January 1961 that Lumumba might return to 
power, particularly since the Congolese army and police were threaten- 
ing to mutiny if they were not given substantial pay raises. Station 
Officer Hedgman reported that a mutiny "almost certainly would * * * 
bring about [Lumumba] return power" and said he had advised the 
Congolese government of his opinion that the army garrison at Leo- 

Director, 1/12/61) 

Hedgman urged Headquarters to consider an immediate reaction to 
the crisis. (CIA Cable, 1/12/61) This cable, which was sent through 
the ordinary channel, made no reference, even indirectly, to assassi- 
nation, and instead recommended a different course of action. 
The next day, Hedgman cabled Headquarters : 

ville to Director, 1/13/61) 

Hedgman advised that reopening the Congolese Parliament under 
United Nations supervision was unacceptable because: 

Leopoldville to Director, 1/13/61) 

On January 14, Hedgman was advised by a Congolese government 
leader that Lumumba was to be transferred from the Thysville mili- 
tary camp, where he had been held since shortly after Mobutu's troops 
captured him, to a prison in Bakwanga, the capital of another Congo- 
lese province reported to be the "home territory of * * * Lumumba's 


sworn enemy." (CIA Cable, Leopoldville to Director, 1/17/61; CIA 
Information Report, 1/17/61 ) 

On January 17, authorities in Leopoldville placed Lumumba and 
two of his leading supporters, Maurice Mpolo and Joseph Okito, 
aboard an airplane lx)und for Bakwanga. Apparently the aircraft 
was redirected in midflight to Elisabetliville in Katanga Province 
"when it was learned that United Nations troops were at Bakwanga 
airport," On February 13, the government of Katanga reported that 
Lumumba and his two companions escaped the previous day and died 
at the hands of hostile villagers. (U.N. Report, 11/12/61, pp. 98-100, 

The United Nations Commission on Investigation was "not con- 
vinced by the version of the facts given by the provincial government 
of Katanga." The Commission concluded instead, that Lumumba was 
killed on January 17, almost immediately after his arrival in Katanga, 
probably with the knowledge of the central government and at the 
behest of the Katanga authorities. (U.N. Report, 11/11/61. pp. 100, 
117) : 

The Commission wishes to put on record its view that President Kasaviibu 
and his aides, on the one hand, and the provincial government of Katanga headed 
by Mr. Tshombe on the other, sliould not escape responsibility for the death of 
Mr. Lumumba, Mr. Okito, and Mr. Mpolo. For Mr. Kasavubu and his aides had 
handed over Mr. Lumumba and his colleagues to the Katanga authorities know- 
ing full well, in doing so, that they were throwing them into the hands of their 
bitterest political enemies. The government of the province of Katanga in turn 
not only failed to safeguard the lives of the three prisoners but also had, by 
its action, contributed, directly or indirectly, to the murder of the prisoners. 
(U.N. Report, 11/11/61, p. 118) 

Cables from the Station Officer demonstrated no CIA involvement 
in the plan, to transport Lumumba to Bakwanga. But the Station 
Officer clearly had prior knowledge of the plan to transfer Lumumba 
to a state where it was probable that he would be killed. Other sup- 
porters of Lumumba who had been sent to Bakwanga earlier by Leo- 
poldville authorities 

Were killed there in horrible circumstances, and the place was known as the 
'slaughterhouse.' It was therefore improbable that Mr. Lumumba and his com- 
panions would have met a different fate at Bakwanga if they had been taken 
there. (U.N. Report, 11/11/61, p. 109) 

After learning that Lumumba was to be flown to Bakwanga, the 
Station Officer cabled : 

CONGO GOVT CONTROL [LUMUMBA]. (CIA Cable, Leopoldville to 
Director, 1/16/61) 

Despite his perception of an urgent need to prevent Lumumba's 
return to power at this time, the Station Officer testified that the 
CIA was not involved in bringing about Lumumba's death in Katanga 
and that he did not have any first-hand knowledge of the circum- 
stances of Lumumba's death. (Hedgman, 8/25/75, pp. 31, 33)^ 

1 Hedgman also testified that he had no discussions with the Congolese central govern- 
ment, after Lumumba was In Its custody, about executing Lumumba or sending him to 
Katanga. Hedgman said : 

To the best of my knowledge, neither the Station nor the Embassy had any Input In the 
decision to send him to Katanga * • • I think there was a general assumption, once we 
learned he had been sent to Katanga, that his goose was cooked, because Tshombe hated 
him and looked on him as a danger and rival. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 78) 


In late November, Hedgman attended a meeting of CIA officers 
from African Stations with Bissell and Tweedy. Hedgman testified 
that he briefed Bissell and Tweedy on developments in the Congo, 
including Lumumba's flight from Leopoldville, but he could not recall 
any discussion at the meeting of the possibility of assassinating Lu- 
nuimba. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 66, 68) 

Two days after Lumumba was flown to Katanga, the CIA Base 
Chief in Elisabethville sent an unusual message to headquarters : 


The cable also reported that the Base's sources had provided "no ad- 
vance word whatsoever" of Lumumba's flight to Katanga and that 
the Congolese central government "does not plan to liquidate Lu- 
numiba." (CIA Cable, Elisabethville to Director, 1/19/61) 

This cable indicates that the CIA did not have knowledge of the 
central government's decision to transfer Lumumba from Thysville 
military camp to a place where he would be in the hands of his avowed 
enemies. This cable indicates that the CIA was not kept informed of 
Lumumba's treatment after he arrived in Katanga because, according 
to the report of the United Nations Connnission, Lumumba had 
already been killed when the cable was sent.^ 

On February 10, several weeks after Lumumba died, but before his 
death was announced by the Katanga government, the Elisabethville 
Base cabled Headquarters that "Lumumba fate is best kept secret in 
Katanga.'' (CIA Cable, Elisabethville to Director, 2/10/61) The cable 
gave different versions from several sources about Lumumba's death. 
Hedgman testified that the cable conformed to his recollection that 
the CIA "did not have any hard information'" as of that date about 
Lumumba's fate after arrival in Katanga. (Hedgman, 8/25/75, p. 34) 

Hedgman acknowledged that the CIA was in close contact with 
some Congolese officials who "quite clearly knew" that Lumumba was 
to be shipped to Katanga "because they were involved." But Hedgman 
said that these Congolese contacts "were not acting under CIA in- 
structions if and when they did this." (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 35) 

Tweedy and Mulroney agreed with Hedgman's account that the 
CIA was not involved in the events that led to Liunumba's death.- 



The chain of events revealed by the documents and testimony is 
strong enough to peiTnit a reasonable inference that the plot to assas- 
sinate Lumumba was authorized by President Eisenhower. Neverthe- 

1 Hedgman testified that neither he nor the Elisabethville Base knew of a Congolese plan 
to spnd Lumumba to Katanga. (Hedgman, 8/25/75, pp. 25-26) 

- When asked if there was any CIA involvement. Tweedy replied that there was "none 
whatsoever." Tweedy stated that "the fate of Lumumba in the end was purely an African 
event." (Tweedy, 9/9/75, p. 53) Mulroney testified "CIA had absolutely no connection, 
to my certain knowledge, with the death of Patrice Lumumba." (Mulroney, 6/9/75, p. 20) 

During his tenure as DCI, several years after Lumumba's death, Richard Helms was 
told by CIA investigators that "it was clear that the Agency had not murdered Lumumba," 
and that "the Agency had no involvement" in the events that led to Lumumba's death. 
(Helms, 9/16/75, p. 26) 

PH=i n - 7'^ 


less, there is enough countervailing testimony by Eisenhower Admin- 
istration officials and enough ambiguity and lack of clarity in the 
records of high-level policy meetings to preclude the Committee from 
making a finding that the President intended an assassination effort 
against Lumumba. 

It is clear that the Director of Central Intelligence, Allen Dulles, 
authorized an assassination plot. There is, however, no evidence of 
United States involvement in bringing about the death of Lumumba 
at the hands of CongolCvSe authorities in Katanga. 

Strong expressions of hostility toward Lumumba from the Presi- 
dent and his national security assistant, followed immediately by CIA 
steps in furtherance of an assassination operation against Lumumba, 
are part of a sequence of events that, at the least, make it appear that 
Dulles believed assassination was a permissible means of complying 
with pressure from the President to remove Lumumba from the 
political scene. 

The chain of significant events in the Lumumba case begins with 
the testimony that President Eisenhower made a statement at a meet- 
ing of the National Security Council in the summer or early fall 
of 1960 that came across to one staff member in attendance as an order 
for the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. The next link is a mem- 
orandum of the Special Group meeting of August 25, 1960, which 
indicated that when the President's "extremely strong feelings on 
the necessity for very straightforward action" were conveyed, the 
Special Group 

* * * agreed that planning for the Congo would not necessarily rule out "con- 
sideration" of any particular kind of activity which might contribute to getting 
rid of Lumumba. (Special Group Minutes, 8/25/60) 

The following day, CIA Director Allen Dulles, who had attended the 
Special Group meeting, personally cabled to the Station Officer in 
Leopoldville that Lumumba's 

(CIA Cable, Dulles to Station Officer, 8/26/60) 

Although the Dulles cable does not explicitly mention assassination, 
Richard Bissell — ^the CIA official under whose aegis the assassination 
effort against Lumumba took place — testified that, in his opinion, this 
cable was a direct outgrowth of the Special Group meeting and sig- 
naled to him that the President had authorized assassination as one 
means of effecting Lumumba's "removal." (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 33-34,, 
61-62; see Section 7(c). infra) Bronson Tweedy, who had direct 
operational responsibility at Headquarters for activities against Lu- 
mumba, testified that the Dulles cable confirmed the policy that no 
measure, including assassination, was to be overlooked in the attempt 
to remove Lumumba from a position of influence. (Tweedy, 10/9/75. 
pp. 4-5) 

On September 19, 1960, Bissell and Tweedy cabled Station Officer 
Hedgman to expect a messenger from CIA Headquarters. Two days 
later, in the presence of the President at a meeting of the National 
Security Council, Allen Dulles stated that Lumumba "would remain 


a grave danger as long as he was not yet disposed of." (Memorandum, 
460th NSC Meeting, 9/21/60) Five days after this meeting, CIA 
scientist, Joseph Scheider, arrived in Leopold ville ajid provided the 
Station Officer with toxic biological substances, instructed him to 
assassinate Lumumba, and informed him that the President had 
authorized this operation. 

Two mitigating factoi-s weaken this chain just enough so that it will 
not support an absolute finding of Presidential authorization for the 
assassination effort against Lumumba. 

■ First, the two officials of the Eisenhower Administration responsible 
to the President for national security affairs and present at the NSC 
meetings in question testified that they knew of no Presidential ap- 
Y proval for, or knowledge of, an assassination operation. 

^ Second, the minutes of discussions at meetings of the National Secu- 
rity Council and its Special Group do not record an explicit Presiden- 
tial order for the assassination of Lumumba. The Secretary of the 
Special Group maintained that his memoranda reflected the actual 
language used at the meetings without omission or euphemism for 
extremely sensitive statements. (Parrott, 7/10/75, p. 19) All other 
NSC staff executives stated however, that there was a strong possibil- 
ity that a statement as sensitive as an assassination order would have 
been omitted from the record or handled by means of euphemism. Sev- 
eral high Government officials involved in policymaking and planning 
for covert operations testified that the language in these minutes clearly 
indicated that assassination was contemplated at the NSC as one means 
of eliminating Lumumba as a political threat; other officials testified 

^ to the contrary. 

(a) Iligh-Level Meetings at which '•'•Getting Rid of LumumhaP ^Yas 

(i) Dillon's Testimony About Pentagon Meeting: Summer 1960 

Li late July 1960, Patrice Lumumba visited the United States and 
met with Secretary of State Christian Herter and LTndersecretary of 
State C. Douglas Dillon. While Lumumba was in "Washington, D.C., 
Secretary Herter pledged aid to the newly formed Government of 
the Republic of the Congo. 

According to Dillon, Lumumba impressed American officials as 
an irrational, almost "psychotic" personality : 

When he was in the State Department meeting, either with me or with the 
Secretary in my presence * * * he would never look you in the eye. He looked 
up at the sky. And a tremendous flow of words came out. He spoke in French, 
and he siK)ke it very fluently. And his words didn't ever have any relation to the 
particular things that we wanted to discuss * * *. You had a feeling that he 
was a person that was gripped by this fervor that I can only characterize as 
messianic * * *. [H]e was just not a rational being. (Dillon. 9/2/75, p. 24) 

Dillon said that the willingness of the United States government 
to work with Lumumba vanished after these meetings: 

[TJheimpressionthat was left was * * * very bad, that this was an individual 
whom it was impossible to deal with. And the feelings of the Government as a 
result of this sharpened very considerably at that time * ,* *. We [had] hoped 
to see him and see what we could do to come to a better understanding with him. 
(Dillon, 9/2/75, pp. 23-24) 

Dillon testified that shortly after Lumumba's visit in late July or 
August, he was present at a meeting at the Pentagon attended by 


representatives of the State Department, Defense Department, Joint 
Chiefs of Staff and the CIA. (Dillon, 9/2/75, pp. 17-20, 25-26) ^ 
According to Dillon, "a question regarding the possibility of an 
assassination attempt against Lumumba was briefly raised. Dillon 
did not recall anything about the language used in raising the ques- 
tion. Dillon assumed that when the subject of Lumumba's assassina- 
tion was raised, "it was turned off by the CIA" because "the CIA 
people, whoever they were, were negative to any such action.-' This 
opposition "wasn't moral," according to Dillon, but rather an objection 
on the grounds that it was "not a possible thing." Dillon said the CIA 
reaction "might have been" made out of the feeling that the group 
was too large for such a sensitive discussion. (Dillon, 9/2/75, pp. 15- 
17, 25, 30, 60) 

Dillon did not remember who lodged the negative reaction to the 
assassination question although he thought it "would have to have 
been either Allen Dulles, or possibly [General] Cabell * * * most likely 
Cabell." 2 (Dillon, 9/2/75, pp. 22, 25) Dillon thought it was "very 
likely" that Richard Bissell attended the meeting. (Dillon. 9/2/75, 

P- 21) 

Dillon stated that this discussion could not have served as authoriza- 
tion for an actual assassination effort against Lumumba, but he be- 
lieved that the CIA : 

Could have decided they wanted to develop the capability * * * just by know- 
ing the concern that everyone had about Lumumba. * * * They wouldn't have 
had to tell anyone about that. That is just developing their own internal capa- 
bility, and then they would have to come and get permission. (Dillon, 9/2/75, 
pp. 30, 31) 

Dillon testified that he had nerver heard any mention of the plot to 
poison Lumumba nor, even a hint that the CIA asked permission to 
mount such an operation. (Dillon, 9/2/75, p. 50) But after he was 
informed of the poison plot, Dillon made the following comment about 
the Pentagon meeting : 

I think it is * * * likely that it might have been the beginning of this whole 
idea on the CIA's part that they should develop such a capacity. And maybe they 
didn't have it then and went to work to develop it beginning in August. (Dillon, 
9/2/75, p. 61) 

Dillon said that it was unlikely that formal notes were taken at the 
meeting or preserved because it was a small "ad hoc" group rather 
than an official body. Such interdepartmental meetings were "not 
unusual," according to Dillon. (Dillon, 9/2/75, p. 18) 

The only officials Dillon named as probable participants other than 
the CIA representatives were Deputy Secretary of Defense James 
Douglas and Assistant Secretary of Defense John N. Irwin II. (Dil- 
lon, 9/2/75, pp. 19, 21) Douglas stated that it was possible that he 
attended such a meeting at the Pentagon, but he did not recall it. Nor 
did he recall the question of Lumumba's assassination ever being raised 
in his presence. (Douglas affidavit, 9/5/75) Irwin stated that it was 

1 Dillon was unable to recall the precise date of this meeting. (Dillon, 9/2/75, pp. 25-26) 
- General Cabell was Allen Dulles' Deputj' DCI at this time. 


"likely" that he attended the meeting to which Dillon referred, but he 
did not remember whether he was present "at any meeting at the 
Pentagon where the question of assassinating Patrice Lumumba was 
raised." (Irwin affida^dt, 9/22/75, p. 3) 

(ii) Eobert Johnson's Testimony That He Understood the President 
to Order Lumumba's Assassination at an NSC Meeting 

Robert H. Johnson, a member of the National Security Council 
staff from 1951 to January 1962, offered what he termed a "clue" to the 
extent of Presidential involvement in the decision to assassinate 
Lumumba. (Johnson, 6/18/75, pp. -1-5)^ Johnson recounted the fol- 
lowing occurrence at an NSC meeting, in the summer o,f 1960. which 
began with a briefing on world developments by the DCI : 

At some time during that discussion, President Eisenhower said some- 
thing — I can no longer remember his words — that came across to me as an 
order for the assassination of Lumumba who was then at the center of political 
conflict and controversy in the Congo. There was no discussion ; the meeting 
simply moved on. I remember my sense of that moment quite clearly because 
the President's statement came as a great shock to me. I cannot, however, 
reconstruct the moment more specifically. 

Although I was convinced at the time — and remained convinced when I thought 
about it later — that the President's statement was intended as an order for the 
assassination of Lumumba, I must confess that in thinking about the incident 
more recently I have had some doubts. As is well known, it was quite unchar- 
acteristic of President Eisenhower to make or announce policy decisions in 
XSC meetings. Certainly, it was strange if he departed from that normal pattern 
on a subject so sensitive as this. Moreover, it was not long after this, I believe, 
that Lumumba was dismissed as premier by Kasavubu in an action that was a 
quasi-coup. I have come to wonder whether what I really heard was only an 
order for some such political action. All I can tell you with any certainty at the 
present moment is my sense of that moment in the Cabinet Room of the 
White House. (Johnson, 6/18/75, pp. 6-7) 

Johnson "presumed" that the President made his statement while 
"looking toward the Director of Central Intelligence." (Johnson, 
6/18/75, p. 11) He was imable to recall with any greater specificity 
the words used by the President. (Jolmson, 9/13/75, p. 10) Johnson 
was asked : 

Q : * * * Would it be fair to say that although you aUow for the possibility 
that a coup or some more general political action was being discussed, it is your 
clear impression that you had heard an order for the assassination of Lumumba ? 

Johnson : It was my clear impression at the time. 

Q : And it remains your impression now? 

1 Robert Johnson Introduced his testimony before the Committee with the following 
statement : 

"* * * I would like to preface my remarks by pointing: out that my decision to offer 
te.stimony to this committee has involved for me a profound personal, moral dilemma. 
In my role as a member of the NSC Staff for ten and one-half years, I was privy to a 
great deal of information that involved relationships of confidentiality with high officials 
of the United States government. I have always taken very seriously" the responsibilities 
Implied In such relationships. 

"These responsibilities extend, in my view, far beyond questions of security classification 
or other legal or foreign policy concerns. They relate to the very basis of "human society 
and government — to the relationships of trust without which no free society can long 
survive and no government can operate. 

"I have been forced by recent developments, however to weigh against these considerable 
responsibilities, my broader responsibilities as a citizen on an issue that involves major 
questions of public morality, as well as questions of sound policy. Having done so. I have 
concluded, not without a great deal of reluctance, to come to your committee with infor- 
mation bearing upon your inquiry into government decisions relating to the assassination of 
foreign leaders." (Johnson, 6/18/75, pp. 4-5) 

After his tenure on the staff of the National Security Council. Robert Johnson served 
from 1962 to 1967 on the Policy Planning Council at the Department of State. 


Johnson : It remains my impression now. I have reflected on this other kind 
of possibility; but that is the sense * * * that i>ersists. (Johnson, 9/13/75, pp. 

Johnson stated that the incident provoked a strong reaction from 

I was surprised * * * that I would ever hear a President say anything like 
this in my presence or the presence of a group of people. I was startled. (John- 
son, 6/18/75, p. 13) 

A succinct summary of Johnson's testimony was elicited by Senator 
Mathias in the following exchange : 

Senator Mathias ; * * * What comes across is that you do have a memory, if 
not of exact words, but of your own reaction really to a Presidential order which 
you considered to be an order for an assassination. 

Johnson : That is correct. 

Senator Mathias : And that although precise words have escaped you in the 
passage of fifteen years, that sense of shock remains? 

Johnson : Right. Yes, sir. (Johnson, 6/18/75,' p. 8) 

After the meeting, Johnson, who was responsible for writing the 
memorandum of the discussion, consulted with a senior official on the 
NSC staff to determine how to handle the President's statement in 
the memorandum and in the debriefing of the NSC Planning Board 
that followed each meeting : 

I suspect — ^but no longer have an exact recollection — that I omitted it from 
the debriefing. I also do not recall how I handled the subject in the memo of the 
meeting, though I suspect that some kind of reference to the President's state- 
ment was made. (Johnson, 6/18/75, p. 7) 

In his second appearance before the Committee, Johnson stated that 
it was "quite likely that it [the President's statement] was handled 
through some kind of euphemism or may have been omitted al- 
together." (Johnson, 9/13/75, p. 21)^ 

1 Johnson further explained that his allowance for the possibility that he had heard 
an order for a coup did not disturb his recollection of hearing an assassination order : 

"It was a retrospective reflection oii what I had heard, and since this coup did occur, it 
occurred to me that it was possible that that is what I heard, but that would not change 
my sense of the moment when I heard the President speak, which I felt then, and I con- 
tinue to feel, was a statement designed to direct the disposal, assassination, of Lumumba." 
(Johnson, 9/13/75, p". 12) 

2 In 1960, Johnson was Director of the Planning Board Secretariat — third in command 
on the NSC staff. He attended NSC meetings to take notes on the discussions whenever 
one of the two senior_NSC officials was absent. 

Johnson testified that the person with whom he consulted about the manner of re- 
cording the President's statement in the minutes was one of the two top NSC staff 
officials at that time : NCS Executive Secretary James Lay or Deputy Executive Secretary 
Marion Boggs. (Johnson, 9/13/75, pp. 12-13) Johnson could not recall which of the two 
officials he had consulted, but he "inferred" that it must have been the "top career iNSC 
staff person present" at the meeting where he heard the President's statement. (Johnson, 
9/13/75, p. 12) At both of the NSC meetings where the President and Johnson were 
present for a discussion of Lumumba — August IS and September 7 — James Lay was ab- 
sent and Marion Boggs served as Acting Executive Secretary. 

Marion Bogg's statement about his method of handling the situation described by 
Johnson is in accord with Johnson's testimony : 

"I have no independent recollection of being consulted by Mr. Johnson about how to 
handle In the memorandum of discussion any sensitive statement regarding Lumumba. 
I am not saying I was not consulted ; merely that I do not remember such an incident. 
If I had been consulted, I would almost certainly have directed Mr. Johnson to omit 
the matter from the memorandum of discussion." (Boggs affidavit. 10/10/75, p. 2) 

James Lay, who attended other NSC meetings where Lumumba was discussed {e.g., 
September 21, 1960), also confirmed the fact that J«JSC minutes would not be likely to 
record a statement as sensitive as a Presidential order for an assassination, if such an 
order were given : 

"If extremely sensitive matters were discussed at an NSC meeting. It was sometimes 
the practice that the official NSC minutes would record only the general subject discussed 
without identifying the specially sensitive subject of the discussion. In highly sensitive 
cases, no reference to the subject would be made In the NSC minutes." (Lay affidavit, 
9/8/75, p. 2) 


As Johnson stated, his testimony standing alone is "a clue, rather 
than precise evidence of Presidential involvement in decision making 
with respect to assassinations." (Johnson, 6/18/75, p. 5) To determine 
the significance of this "clue," it must be placed in the context of 
the records of the NSC meetings attended by Johnson, testimony 
about those meetings, and the series of events that preceded the dis- 
patch of poisons to the Congo for Lumumba's assassination. 

In the summer of 1960, Kobert Johnson attended four NSC meet- 
ings at which developments in the Congo were discussed. The Presi- 
dent was not in attendance on two of those occasions — July 15 and 
July 21. (NSC Minutes, 7/15/60; NSC Minutes, 7/21/60) The atti- 
tude toward Lumumba at these first two meetings was vehement : 

Mr. Dulles said that in Lumumba we were faced with a person who was a 
Castro or worse * * * Mr. Dulles went on to describe Mr. Lumumba's back- 
ground which he described as "harrowing" * ♦ * It is safe to go on the assump- 
tion that Lumumba has been bought by the Communists ; this also, however, fits 
with his own orientation. (NSC Minutes, 7/21/60) 

The President presided over the other two NSC meetings — on 
August 18 and September 7. After looking at the records of those 
meetings, Johnson was unable to determine with certainty at which 
meeting he heard the President's statement.^ (Johnson, 9/13/75, p. 16) 

The chronology of meetings, cables, and events in the Congo during 
this period makes it most likely that Johnson's testimony refers to the 
NSC meeting of August 18, 1960. 

The meeting of August 18 took place at the beginning of the series of 
events that preceded the dispatch of Scheider to Leopoldville with 
poisons for assassinating Lumumba.^ The September 7 meeting took 
place in the midst of these events. 

The NSC meeting of August 18, 1960 was held three weeks before 
Lumumba's dismissal by Kasavubu, which Johnson remembers as tak- 
ing place "not long after" he heard the President's statement. The only 
other meeting at which Johnson could have heard the statement by the 
President was held two days after this event, on September 7.^ 

Robert Johnson's memorandum of the meeting of August 18, 1960 
indicates that Acting Secretary of State C. Douglas Dillon * intro- 

1 Johnson testified without benefit of review of the complete Memorandum of Discussion 
of the meeting of September 7 because the Committee had not received it at that point. 
Instead, he reviewed the Record of Action which summarized the decisions made at that 
meeting. As discussed at Section (7)(a)(lv), infra, when the complete minutes of the 
meetings of August 18 and September 7 are compared, It Is clear that the subject of 
Lumumba's role in the Congo received far more attention at the meeting of August 18. 

2 Each of the major events in this series Is discussed in detail In other sections of the 
report and summarized at the beginning of section 7, supra. 

= See Section 7(a) (iv), infra, for an analysis of the substance of the NSC discussion on 
September 7, 1960. 

* In 1960, Dillon served as Undersecretary of State, the "number two position In the 
State Department." The title was subsequently changed to Deputy Secretary of State. In 
this post, Dillon frequently served as Acting Secretary of State and either attended or was 
kept informed about NSC and Special Group meetings. Dillon later served as Secretary of 
the Treasury under President Kennedy. (Dillon, 9/2/75, pp. 2-4) 


duced the discussion of United States policy toward the Congo. In the 
course of his remarks, Dillon maintained that the presence of United 
Nations troops in the Congo was necessary to prevent Soviet interven- 
tion at Lumumba's request : 

If * * * Lumumba carried out his threat to force tlie U.N. out, he might then 
offer to accept help from anyone. * * * The elimination of the U.N. would be a 
disaster which, Secretary Dillon stated, we should do everything we could to 
prevent. If the U.N. were forced out, we might be faced by a situation where the 
Soviets intervened by invitation of the Congo. 

* * * Secretary Dillon said that he [ Lumumba 1 was working to serve the pur- 
poses of the Soviets and Mr. Dulles pointed out that Lumumba was in Soviet pay. 
(NSC Minutes, 8/18/60) 

Dillon's remarks prompted the only statements about Lumumba at- 
tributed to the President in the Memorandum of the August 18 meet- 

The President said that the possibility that the U.N. would be forced out was 
simply inconceivable. We should keep the U.N. in the Congo even if we had to 
ask for European troops to do it. We should do so even if such action was used 
by the Soviets as the basis for starting a fight. Mr. Dillon indicated that this was 
State's feeling but that the Secretary General and Mr. Lodge doubted whether, 
if the Congo put up really determined opposition to the U.N., the U.N. could stay 
in. In response, the President stated that Mr. Lodge was wrong to this extent — 
we were talking of one man forcing us out of the Congo ; of Lumumba supported 
by the Soviets. There was no indication, the President stated, that the Congolese 
did not want U.N. support and the maintenance of order. Secretary Dillon 
reiterated that this was State's feeling about the matter. The situation that 
would be created by a u.N. wicndrawai was altogether too ghastly to contemplate. 
(NSC Minutes, 8/18/60) 

As reported, this statement clearly does not contain an order for 
the assassination of Lumumba. But the statement does indicate ex- 
treme Presidential concern focused on Lumumba: the President was 
so disturbed by the situation in the Congo that he was willing to risk 
a fight with the Soviet Union and he felt that Lumumba was the "one 
man" who was responsible for this situation, a man who did not rep- 
resent the sentiment of the Congolese people in the President's 

After reviewing NSC documents and being informed of Robert 
Johnson's testimony, Douglas Dillon stated his "opinion that it is 
most likely that the NSC meeting of August 18, 1960 is the meeting 
referred to by Mr. Johnson." (Dillon affidavit, 9/15/75, p. 2) How- 
ever, Dillon testified that he did not "remember such a thing" as a 
"clearcut order" from the President for the assassination of Lumumba. 
(Dillon, 9/2/75, pp. 32-33) Dillon explained how he thought the 
President may have expressed himself about Lumumba : 

Dillon : It could have been in view of this feeling of everybody that Lumumba 
was [a] very difficult if not impossible person to deal with, and was dangerous 
to the peace and safety of the world, that the President expressed himself, we 
will have to do whatever is necessary to get rid of him. I don't know that I would 
have taken that as a clearcut order as Mr. Johnson apparently did. And I think 
perhaps others present may have interpreted it other ways. (Dillon. 9/2/75, 
pp. 32-33) 

Q : Did you ever hear the President make such a remark about Lumumba, let's 
get rid of him, or let's take action right away on thisV 

Dillon : I don't remember that. But certainly this was the general feeling of 
Government at that time, and it wouldn't have been if the President hadn't agreed 
with it. (Dillon, 9/2/75, p. 33) 


Dillon said that he would have thought that such a statement "was 
not a direct order to have an assassination." But he testified that it was 
'•perfectly possible" that Allen Dulles would have translated such 
strono; Presidential language about "getting rid of" Lumumba into 
authorization for an assassination effort. (Dillon, 9/2/75, pp. 33, 
34-35) : 

I think that Allen Dulles would have been quite responsive to what he con- 
sidered implicit authorization, because he felt very strongly that we should not 
involve the President directly in things of this nature. And he was perfectly 
willing to take the responsibility personally that maybe some of his successors 
wouldn't have been. And so I think that this is a perfectly plausible thing, know- 
ing Allen Dulles. (Dillon, 9/2/75, p. 34) 

According to President Eisenhower's national security advisor, 
Gordon Gray, Dulles would have placed the CIA in a questionable 
position if he mounted an assassination operation on the basis of such 
"implicit authorization." Gray testified that the CIA would have been 
acting beyond its authority if it undertook an assassination operation 
without a specific order to do so. (Gray, 9/9/75, p. 18) 

Marion Boggs, who attended the meeting of August 18, as Acting 
Executive Secretary of the NSC, stated after reviewing the Memo- 
randum of Discussion at that Meeting : 

I recall the discussion at that meeting, but have no independent recollection 
of any statements or discussion not summarized in the memorandum. Specifically, 
I have no recollection of any statement, order or reference by the President (or 
anyone else present at the meeting) which could be interpreted as favoring action 
by the United States to bring about the assassination of Lumumba.^ (Boggs 
affidavit, 10/10/75, pp. 1-2) 

There are at least four possible explanations of the failure of NSC 
records to reveal whether the President ordered the assassination of 
Lumumba at one of the meetings where Robert Johnson was present. 

First, an assassination order could have been issued but omitted 
from the records. Johnson testified that it was "very likely" that the 
Presidential statement he heard would have been handled by means 
of a euphemistic reference or by complete omission "rather than given 
as [a] * * * direct quotation" in the Memorandum of Discussion. 
(Johnson, 9/13/75, p. 14) NSC staff executives Marion Boggs and 
James Lay substantiated Johnson's testimony about the manner of 
handling such a statement in the records. 

Second, as illustrated by Douglas Dillon's testimony, the President 
could have made a general statement about "getting rid of" Lumumba 
with the intent to convey to Allen Dulles implicit authorization for 
an assassination effort. 

Third, despite general discussions about removing Lumumba, the 
President may not have intended to order the assassination of 
Lumumba even though Allen Dulles may have thought it had been 
authorized. The three White House staff members responsible to the 
President for national security affairs testified that there was no such 

^ Boggrs added : 

"Based on my whole experience with the NSC. I would have considered It highly un- 
usual If a matter of this nature had been referred to in a Council meeting where a number 
of persons with no 'need to know' were present." (Boggs affidavit. 10/10/75. p. 2.) 

^ See Section 7(b), infra, for a general treatment of the testimony of Gray, Goodpaster, 
and Eisenhower. 


Fourth, whatever language he used, the President may have 
intended to authorize "contingency planning"' for an assassination ef- 
fort against Lumumba, while reserving decision on whether to author- 
ize an actual assassination attempt. This interpretation can be sup- 
ported by a strict construction of the decision of the Special Group 
on August 25, in response to the "strong feelings'' of the President, not 
to rule out " 'consideration' of any particular kind of activity which 
might contribute to getting rid of Lumumba" and by the testimony 
of Bronson Tweedy that the assassination operation was limited to 
"exploratory activity." ^ 

(iii) Special Group Agrees to Consider Anything That Might Get 

Eid of Lumumba : August 25, 1960 

On August 25, 1960, five men " attended a meeting of the Special 
Group, the subcommittee of the National Security Council responsible 
for planning covert operations. Thomas Parrott, a CIA officer who 
served as Secretary to the Group, began the meeting by outlining the 
CIA operations that had been undertaken in "mounting an anti- 
Lumumba campaigii in the Congo." (Special Group Minutes, 8/25/60) 
This campaign involved covert operations through certain labor groups 
and "the planned attempt * * * to arrange a vote of no confidence in 
Lumumba" in the Congolese Senate. (Special Group Minutes, 
8/25/60) The outline of this campaign evoked the followed dialogue: 

The Group agreed that the action contemplated is very much in order. Mr. 
Gray commented, however, that his associates had expressed extremely strong 
feelings on the necessity for very straightforward action in this situation, and 
he wondered whether the plans as outlined were sufficient to accomplish this. 
Mr. Dulles replied that he had taken the comments referred to seriously and had 
every intention of proceeding as vigorously as the situation permits or requires, 
but added that he must necessarily put himself in a position of interpreting 
instructions of this kind within the bounds of necessity and capability. It was 
finally agreed that planning for the Congo would not necessarily rule out 
"consideration" of any particular kind of activity which might contribute to 
getting rid of Lumumba. ( Special Group Minutes, S/25/60, p. 1 ) 

Both Gordon Gray and Thomas Parrott testified that the reference to 
(xray's "associates" was a euphemism for President Eisenhower 
which was employed to preserve "plausible deniability" by the Presi- 
dent of discussion of covert operations memorialized in Special Group 
Minutes. (Gray, 7/9/75, p. 27; Parrott, 7/10/75, pp. 8-9) 

The four living participants at the meeting have all stated that they 
do not recall any discussion of or planning for the assassination of 
Lumumba. Gray said that he did not consider the President's desire 
for "very straightforward action'' to include "any thought in his mind 
of assassination." Parrott testified to the same effect, maintaining that 
he would have recorded a discussion of assassination in explicit terms 
in the Special Group Minutes if such a discussion had taken place. 
(Gray, 7/9/75, pp. 27, 32; Parrott, 7/10/75, pp. 25-26; Merchant 

1 This interpretation of the Special Group minutes must be posed against the testimony 
of other witnesses who construed the minutes as authorizing action, as well as planning 
an assassination operation. (Special Group Minutes 8/25/60.' p. 1: see Section 7(a) (ii) 
mfra) See Section 4(h) (ii), supra, for a detailed discussion of Tweedy's testimony. 

3 The four standing members of the Special Group were in attendance : Allen Dulles, 
Director of Central Intelligence ; Gordon Gray, Special -Assistant to the President for 
ISational Security Affairs : Livingston Merchant. Undersecretary of State for Political 
Affairs : and .John N. Irwin II, Assistant Secretary of Defense. Also in attendance was 
Thomas A. Parrott, Secretary to the Special Group. 


affidavit, 9/8/75, p. 1; Irwin affidavit, 9/22/75, pp. 1-2) John N. 
Irwin II acknowledged, however, that while he did not have "any 
direct recollection of the substance of that meeting," the reference in 
the minutes to the planning for "getting rid of Lumumba" was "broad 
enough to cover a discussion of assassination." (Irwin affidavit, 
9/22/75, p. 2) 

Irwin's interpretation was shared by Douglas Dillon and Kichard 
Bissell who were not participants at this Special Group meeting but 
were involved in the planning and policymaking for covert opera- 
tions in the Congo during this period. 

As a participant in NSC meetings of this period, Dillon said that 
he would read the Special Group minutes of August 25 to indicate 
that assassination was within the bounds of the kind of activity that 
might be used to "get rid of" Lumumba. Dillon noted that the refer- 
ence in the minutes to Dulles' statement that he "had taken the com- 
ments referred to seriously" probably pointed to the President's state- 
ment at the NSC meeting on August 18. (Dillon, 9/2/75, pp. 39-42) 
When asked whether the CIA would have the authority to mount an 
assassination effort against Lumumba on the basis of the discussion 
at the Special Group, Dillon said : 

They would certainly have the authority to plan. It is a close question whether 
this would be cr.'^ugh to actually go ahead with it. But certainly the way this 
thing worked, as far as I know, they didn't do anything just on their own. I 
think they would have checked back at least with the senior people in the State 
Department or the Defense Department. (Dillon, 9/2/75, p. 43) 

Dillon said that if the CIA checked with the State Department, it 
might have done so in a way that would not appear on any record. 
(Dillon, 9/2/75, p. 43) Dillon added that "to protect the President 
as the public representative of the LT.S. from any bad publicity in 
connection with this," Allen Dulles "wouldn't return to the President" 
to seek further approval if an assassination operation were mounted. 
(Dillon, 9/2/75, pp. 42-43) 

Bissell stated that in his opinion the language of the August 25 Spe- 
cial Group Minutes indicated that the assassination of Lumumba was 
part of a general NSC strategy and was within the CIA's mandate for 
removing Lumumba from the political scene. (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 29, 
32) He added: 

The Agency had put a top priority, probably, on a range of different methods 
of getting rid of Lumumba in the sense of either destroying him physically, 
incapacitating him, or eliminating his political influence. (Bissell, d/10/75, 
p. 29) 

Bissell pointed to the Special Group Minutes of August 25 as a 
"prime example" of the circumlocutions manner in which a topic like 
assassination would be discussed by high government officials : 

Bissell : When you use the language that no particular means were ruled out, 
that is obviously what it meant, and it meant that to everybody in the room. 
* * * Meant that if it had to be assassination, that that was a permissible means. 

You don't use language of that kind except to mean in effect, the Director 
is being told, get rid of the guy, and if you have to use extreme means up to 
and including assassination, go ahead. (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 32-33) 

Bissell added that this message was, "in effect," being given to 
Dulles by the President through his representative, Gordon Gray. 
(Bissell, 9/10/75, p. 33) 


(iv) Dulles Reminded by Gray of "Top-Level Feeling" That "Vig- 
orous Action" Was Necessary in the Congo: September 7-8, 

The Memorandum of Discussion from the NSC meeting of Septem- 
ber 7, 1960 — the only other meeting at which Johnson could have 
heard the President's statement — records only a brief, general discus- 
sion of developments in the Congo. As part of Allen Dulles' intro- 
ductory intelligence briefing on world events, the Memorandum con- 
tained his remarks on the situation in the Congo following Kasavubu's 
dismissal of Lumumba from the government. Neither the length nor 
the substance of the record of this discussion indicates that Lumumba's 
role in the Congo received the same intense consideration as the NSC 
had given it on August 18.^ There is no record of any statement by the 
President during the September 7 discussion. (NSC Minutes, 9/7/60, 
pp. 4-5) 

In the course of Dulles' briefing, he expressed his continuing con- 
cern over the amount of persomiel and equipment that was being sent 
to the Congo by the Soviet Union, primarily to aid Lumumba. Dulles 
concluded this part of his briefing with an observation that demon- 
strated that Lumumba's dismissal from the government had not 
lessened the extent to which he was regarded at the NSC as a potent 
political threat in any power struggle in the Congo : 

Mr. Dulles stated that Lumumba always seemed to come out on top in each of 
these struggles. (NSC Minutes, 9/7/60, p. 5) 

At a Special Group Meeting the next day, Gordon Gray made a 
pointed reminder to Allen Dulles of the President's concern about the 
Congo : 

Mr. Gray said that he hoped that Agency people in the field are fully aware 
of the top-level feeling in Washington that vigorous action would not be amiss. 
(Special Group Minutes, 9/8/60) 

(v) Dulles Tells NSC That Lumumba Remains a Grave Danger Until 
"Disposed of" : September 21, 1960 
In the course of his intelligence briefing to the NSC on September 21, 
1960, Allen Dulles stressed the danger of Soviet influence in the Congo. 
Despite the fact that Lumumba had been deposed as Premier and was 
in U.N. custody, Dulles continued to regard him as a threat, especially 
in light of reports of an impending reconciliation between Lumumba 
and the post-coup Congolese government. In the presence of the Presi- 
dent, Dulles concluded : 

Mobutu appeared to be the effective power in the Congo for the moment but 
Lumumba was not yet disposed of and remained a grave danger as long as 
he was not disposed of. (NSC Minutes, 9/21/60) 

Three days after this NSC meeting, Dulles sent a personal cable to 
the Station Officer in Leopold ville which ■■ included the following 
message : 

to Leopold ville, 9/24/60) 

1 The NSC minutes of the meeting of S«pteftjber 7 deal with the discussion of the Congo 
in two pages. (NSC Minutes, 9/7/60, pp. 4-5). By comparison, the August 18 meeting re- 
quired an extraordinarily lengthy (fifteen pages) summary of discussion on the Congo and 
related policy problems in Africa, indicating that this topic was the focal point of the 
meeting. (NSC Minutes, 8/18/60, pp. 1-15) 


On September 26, Joseph Scheider, under assignment from CIA 
Headquarters, arrived in Leopoldville, provided the Station Officer 
with poisons, conveyed Headquarters' instruction to assassinate Lu- 
mumba, and assured him that there was Presidential authorization 
for this mission.^ 

Marion Boggs, the NSC Deputy Executive Secretary, who wrote the 
Memorandum of Discussion of September 21, did not interpret Dulles' 
remark as referring to assassination : 

I have examined the memorandum (which I prepared) summarizing the 
discussion of the Congo at the September 21, 1960 meeting of the NSC. I recall 
the discussion and believe it is accurately and adequately summarized in the 
memorandum. I have no recollection of any discussion of a possible assassina- 
tion of Lumumba at this meeting. With specific reference to the statement of 
the Director of Central Intelligence * * * i believe this is almost a literal 
rendering of what Mr. Dulles said. My own interpretation of this statement * * * 
was that Mr. Dulles was speaking in the context of efforts being made within 
the Congolese government to force Lumumba from power. I did not interpret 
it as referring to assassination.^ (Boggs affidavit, 10/10/75, pp. 2-3) 

Boggs, however, was not in a position to analyze Dulles' remark in 
the context of the actual planning for covert operations that took 
place during this period because Boggs was not privy to most such 
discussions. (Boggs affidavit, 10/10/75, p. 2) 

Dillon, who attended this NSC meeting as Acting Secretary of 
State, did not recall the discussion. Dillon said that the minutes "could 
mean that" assassination would have been one acceptable means of 
"disposing of" Lumumba, although he felt that "getting him out [of 
the Congo] or locking him up" would have been a preferable disposi- 
tion of Lumumba at that point since he was already out of office. 
(Dillon, 9/2/75, pp. 47-48)^ When reminded of the fact that Lumum- 
ba's movement and communications were not restricted by the U.N. 
force and that the Congolese army continued to seek his arrest after 
the September 21 meeting, Dillon acknowledged that during this 
period Lumumba continued to be viewed by the United States as a 
potential threat and a volatile force in the Congo : 

♦ * *. He had this tremendous ability to stir up a crowd or a group. And if he 
could have gotten out and started to talk to a battalion of the Congolese Army, 
he probably would have had them in the palm of his hand in five minutes. 
(Dillon, 9/20/75, p. 49) 

Irwin, who attended the NSC meeting as Assistant Secretary of 
Defense, stated that although he had no recollection of the discussion, 
the language of these minutes, like that of the August 25 minutes, was 
"broad enough to cover a discussion of assassination." (Irwin affidavit, 
9/22/75, p. 2) 

Bissell testified that, based upon his underetanding of the policy of 
the NSC toward Lumumba even after Lumumba Avas in IT.N. custody, 
he would read the minutes of September 21 to indicate that assassina- 
tion was contemplated "as one possible means" of "disposing of" 
Lumumba * (Bissell, 9/10/75, p. 70) 

1 See Sections 4(e)^(f), supra. 

2 NSC Eicecutive Secretary James Lay, who was also present at the meeting of Septem- 
ber 21, 1960, stated: "I cannot recall whether there was any (llscussion of assassinating 
Lumumba at any NSC meetings." (Lay affidavit. 9/8/7.5. p. 1) 

=' See Section 3, supra, for discussion of CIA cable traffic Indicating that Lumumba con- 
tinued to be regarded as canable of taking over the government after he was deposed and 
that oressure to "eliminate" him did not cease until his death. 

* Bissell was not present at the NSC meeting. (NSC Minutes, 9/21/60) 


BisselPs opinion stands in opposition to Gordon Gray's testimony. 
Gray stated that lie could not remember the NSC discussion, but he 
interpreted the reference to "disposing of" Lumumba as "in the same 
category as 'get rid of, 'eliminate'." (Gray, 7/9/75, p. 59) He said: 
"It was not my impression that we had in mind the assassination of 
Lumumba." ) (Gray, 7/9/75, p. 60)^ 

(b) Testimony of Eisenhower White House Officials 

Gordon Gray and Andrew Goodpaster — the two members of Presi- 
dent Eisenhower's staff who were resi^onsible for national security 
affairs^ — both testified that they had no knowledge of any Presidential 
consideration of assassination during their tenure.^ 

Gray served as Special Assistant to the President for National Secu- 
rity Affairs, in which capacity he coordinated the National Security 
Council and represented the President at Special Group meetings. 
Gray testified that, despite the prevalent attitude of hostility toward 
Lumumba in the Administration, he did not recall President Eisen- 
hower "ever saying anything that contemplated killing Lumumba." 
(Gray, 7/9/75, p. 28)^ When asked to interpret phrases such as "get- 
ting rid of" or "disposing of" Lumumba, from the minutes of par- 
ticular NSC and Special (jroup Meetings, Gray stated : 

It is the intent of the user of the expression or the phrase that is controlling 
and there may well have been in the Central Intelligence Agency plans and/or 
discussions of assassinations, but * * * at the level of the Forty Committee 
[Special Group] or a higher level than that, the National Security Council, 
there was no active discussion in any way planning assassination. 

* * * I agree that assassination could have been on the minds of some people 
when they used these words 'eliminate' or 'get rid of * * * I am just trying to 
say it was not seriously considered as a program of action by the President or 
even the Forty [Special] Group. (Gray, 7/9/75, pp. 16-17) 

Goodpaster, the White House Staff Secretary to President 
Eisenhower, said that he and Gray were the "principal channels" 
between the President and the CLA., outside of NSC meetings. Good- 
paster was responsible for "handling with the President all mattei's 
of day-to-day operations in the general fields of international affairs 
and security affairs." He regularly attended NSC meetings and was 
listed among the participants at the NSC meetings of August 18, 
1960 and September 21, 1960. (Goodpaster, 7/17/75, pp. 3, 4) 

When asked if he ever heard about any assassination effort during 
the Eisenhower Administration, Goodpaster replied unequivocally : 

* * * at no time and in no way did I ever know of or hear about any proposal, 
any mention of such an activity. * * * [I]t is my belief that had such a thing 
been raised with the President other than in my presence. I would have known 
about it, and * * * it would have been a matter of such significance and sensi- 
tivity that I am confident that * * * I would have recalled it had such a thing 
happened. (Goodpaster, 7/17/75, p. 5) 

1 .John Eisenhower, the President's son, who attended the NSC meeting as Assistant 
White House Staff Secretary, said that he had no "direct recollection" of the discussion 
but he found the minutes of the meeting consonant with his "recollection of the atmos- 
phere" at the time: "The U.S. position was very much anti-Lumumba." He said: 

"I would not conjecture that the words 'disposed of meant an assassination, if for no 
other reason than if I had something as nasty as this to plot, I wouldn't do it in front 
of 21 people * * * the number present [at] the meeting." (Eisenhower. 7/18/75. pp. 9-10) 

= For a more detailed treatment of the testimony of Gray, Goodpaster, and other Eisen- 
hower Administration officials on the general question of discussion of assassination by 
the President, see Part .3, Section B(3) (a), infra. 

^ At the outset of his testimony on the subject. Gordon Gray acknowledged that he 
did not have a clear, independent recollection of Lumumba's role in the Congo. (Gray, 
7/9/75, pp. 25-26) 


John Eisenho-wer. the President's son who served under Goodpaster 
as Assistant White House Staff Secretary, stated that the use of as- 
sassination was contrary to the President's philosophy tliat "no man 
is indispensable.'- As a participant at NSC meetings who frequently 
attended Oval Office discussions relating to national security affairs, 
John Eisenhower testified that nothing that came to his attention 
in his experience at the White House "can be construed in my mind 
in the remotest way to mean any Presidential knowledge of our con- 
currence in any assassination plots or plans." (Eisenhower, 7/18/75, 
pp. 4, 14) 

Each of the other Eisenhower Administration officials who was ac- 
tive in the Special Group in late 1960 — Assistant Secretary of Defense 
John X. Irwin II, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Living- 
ston Merchant, and Deputy Secretary of Defense James Douglas — 
stated that he did not recall any discussion about assassinating 
Lumumba. (Irwin affidavit, 9/22/75; Merchant affidavit, 9/8/75; 
Douglas affidavit, 9/5/75) 1 

Even if the documentary record is read to indicate that there was 
consideration of assassination at high-level policy meetings, there 
is no evidence that any officials of the Eisenhower Administration out- 
side the CIA were aware of the specific operational details of the plot 
to poison Lumumba.^ 

(c) BisselVs Assumjytions About Authorization hy President Eisen- 
hoicer and Allen Dulles 

Richard Bissell's testimony on the question of high-level authoriza- 
tion for the effort to assassinate Lumumba is problematic. Bissell 
stated that he had no direct recollection of receiving such authoriza- 
tion and_that all of his testimonv on this subject "has to be described 
as inference." (Bissell. 9/10/75, p. 48) 

Bissell began his testimony on the subject by asserting that on his 
own initiative he instructed Michael Mulroney to plan the assassi- 
nation of Lumumba. (Bissell, 6/11/75, pp. *54-55)^ Nevertheless, 
Bissell's conclusion — based on his inferences from the totality of 
circumstances relating to the entire assassination effort against Lu- 
mumba — was that an assassination attempt had been authorized at 
the highest levels of the government. (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 32-33, 47- 
49, 60-62, 65) 

1 Douglas Dillon testified that the subject of assassination never arose in his "direct 
dealings with either President Eisenhower or President Kennedy." (Dillon, 9/2/75, p. 22) 
He was asked by a member of the Committee, however, to speculate upon the general phil- 
osophical approach that Presidents Elsenhower and Kennedy would have taken to decision- 
making on the question of using assassination as a tool of foreign policy : 

"Senator Hart (Colorado) : I would invite your speculation at this point as a sub- 
Cabinet officer under President Elsenhower, and as a Cabinet Officer under President 
Kennedy, I think the Committee would be Interested in your view as to the attitude of 
each of them toward this subject, that is to say, the elimination, violent elimination of 
foreign leaders. 

"Dillon : Well, that is a difficult thing to speculate on in a totally different atmosphere. 
But I think probablv both of them would have approached it in a very iiragmatlc way. 
most likely, simply weighed the process and consequence rather than In a way that was 
primarily of a moral principle. That is what would probably have been their attitude in 
a few cases. Certainly the idea that this was g-oing to be a policy of the U.S., generally 
both of them were very much opposed to it." (Dillon, 9/2/75, pp. 22-23) 

Dillon served as Cndersecretary of State in the Eisenhower Administration and as 
Secretary of the Treasury under Kennedv. 

- Although several CIA officers Involved in the PROP operation to poison Lumumba 
testified that the operation was within the scope of actions authorized by the NSC anc" 
Special Group, there is no testimony that any official of the Eisenhower Administratior 
outside the CIA had specific knowledge of the operational planning and progress. 

^ See Sections 5(a) (i) and 5(a) (ii), supra. 


As discussed above, Bissell testified that the minutes of meetings 
of the Special Group on August 25, 1960 and the NSC on September 
21, 1960 indicate that assassination was contemplated at the Presi- 
dential level as one acceptable means of "getting rid of Lumumba." ^ 

There was "no question," according to Bissell, that the cable from 
Allen Dulles to the Station Officer in Leopoldville on August 26— 
which called for Lumumba's "removal" and authorized Hedgman 
to take action without consulting Headquarters if time did not per- 
mit — was a direct outgrowth of the Special Group meeting Dulles had 
attended the previous day. (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 31-32) Bissell was 
"almost certain" that he had been informed about the Dulles cable 
shortly after its transmission. (Bissell, 9/10/75, p. 12) Bissell said 
that he assumed that assassination was one of the means of removing 
Lumumba from the scene that was contemplated by Dulles' cable, 
despite the fact that it was not explicitly mentioned. (Bissell, 9/10/75, 
p. 32) : 

It is my belief on the basis of the cable drafted by Allen Dulles that he regarded 
the action of the Special Group as authorizing implementation [of an assas- 
sination] if favorable circumstances presented themselves, if it could be done 
covertly. (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 64-65)' 

Dulles' cable signaled to Bissell that there was Presidential au- 
thorization for him to order action to assassinate Lumumba. (Bissell, 
9/10/75, pp. 61-62) : 

Q : Did Mr. Dulles tell you that President Eisenhower wanted Lumumba killed? 
Mr. Bissell : I am sure he didn't. 

Q : Did he ever tell you even circumlocutiously through this kind of cable? 
Mr. Bissell: Yes, I think his cable says it in effect. (Bissell, 9/10/75, p. 33) 

As for discussions with Dulles about the source of authorization for 
an assassination effort against Lumumba, Bissell stated : 

I think it is probably unlikely that Allen Dulles would have said either the 
President or President Eisenhower even to me. I think he would have said, this 
is authorized in the highest quarters, and I would have known what he meant. 
(Bissell, 9/10/75, p. 48) 

AVlien asked if he had sufficient authority to move beyond the con- 
sideration or planning of assassination to order implementation of a 
plan, Bissell said, "I probably did think I had [such] authority." 
(Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 61-62) 

Wlien informed of the Station Officer's testimony about the in- 
structions he received from Scheider, Bissell said that despite his 
absence of a specific recollection : 

I would strongly infer in this case that such an authorization did pass through 
me, as it were, if Joe Scheider gave that firm instruction to the Station Officer. 
(Bissell, 9/10/75, p. 40)=* 

Bissell said that the DCI would have been the source of this authori- 
zation. (Bissell, 9/10/75, p. 40) 

1 See Sections 7(a) (lii) and 7(a) (v). 

^ Joseph Scheider also testified that, in the context of the Dulles cable, "removal"' 
would signify to someone familiar with "intelligence terminology" a "range of things, 
from just getting him out of office to killing him." (Scheider. 10/9/75, pp. 45-48) 

B See Section 7(d), infra, for Scheider's testimony on his impression that Bissell had 
authorized his assignment to the Congo. 


Bissell did not recall being informed by Scheider that Scheider had 
represented to the Station Officer that Lumumba's assassination had 
been authorized by the President. But he said that aSvSuming he had 
instructed Scheider to carr\' poison to the Congo, "tliere was no possi- 
bility" that he would have issued such an instruction without author- 
ization from Dulles. Likewise Bissell said he "probably did'' tell 
Scheider that the mission had the approval of President Eisenhower. 
(Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 46, 47) This led to Bissell's conclusion that if. 
in fact, the testimony of the Station Officer about Scheider's actions 
was accurate, then Scheider's actions were fully authorized.^ Bissell 
further stated : 

Knowing Mr. Scheider, it is literally inconceivable to me that we would have 
acted beyond his instructions. (Bissell. 9/10/75, p. 41) 

Bronson Tweedy functioned as a conduit between Bissell and 
Scheider for instructions relating to the PROP operation. Scheider's 
impression about the extent of authorization for the assassination 
operation stemmed ultimately from his conversation with Bissell which 
was referred to by Tweedy during the meeting in which Scheider was 
ordered to the Congo." 

Tweedy testified that Bissell never referred to the President as the 
source of authorization for the assassination operation. Tweedy said, 
however, that the "impression" he derived from his meetings with 
Bissell and from the Dulles cable of August 26 was that the Agency 
had authorization at the highest level of the government. But Tweedy 
found it "very difficult * * * to judge whether the President per se 
had been in contact with the Agency'' because he was not involved in 
decisionmaking at "the policy level." (Tweed}', 10/9/75 I, pp. 9, 10) 

Concerning the assignment of Mulroney to "plan and prepare for" 
the assassination of Lumumba. Bissell testified that "it was my own 
idea to give Mulroney this assignment." But he said that this assign- 
ment was made only after an assassination mission against Lumumba 
already had authorization above the level of DDP. (Bissell, 9/10/75, 
pp. 24, 50 ; see also pp. 32-33, 47-48, 60-62) 

(d) The Impression of Scheider and Hedgman That the Assassination 
Operation had Presidential Authorization 
The Station Officer and Scheider shared the impression that the 
President authorized an assassination effort against Lumumba.^ This 
impression was derived solely fix>m conversations Scheider had with 
Bissell and Tweedy. Thus, the testimony of Scheider and the Station 
Officer does not, in itself, establish Presidential authorization. Xeither 
Scheider nor the Station Officer had first-hand knowledge of any 
statements by Allen Dulles about Presidential authorization — ^state- 
ments which Bissell assumed he had heard, although he had no specific 
recollection. Moreover, Scheider may have misconstrued Bissell's ref- 
erence to "highest authority." 

1 Q : In light of the entirp atmosphere at the Agency and the policy at the Agency at the 
time Mr. Scheider's representation to the Station Officer that the President had instructed 
the DCI to carry out this mission would not have been beyond the pale of Mr. Scheider s 
authority, at that point? 

Bissell. No. it would not. (Bissell, 9/10/75, p. 65) 

- See Section 7(d), infra. ^^ ^ ^ ^ ,^ 

3 See Section 4(f), infra, for additional testimony of the Station Officer and Scheider 
on this Issue. 


Station Officer Hedgman testified that Scheider indicated to him 
that President Eisenhower had authorized the assassination of Lu- 
mumba by an order to Dulles. Hedgman stated that Scheider initially 
conveyed this account of Presidential authorization when Hedgman 
asked him about the source of authority for the Lumumba assassina- 
tion assignment. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp. 30-34) 

Hedgman was under the clear impression that the President was 
the ultimate source of the assassination operation : 

Q : Your understanding then was that these instructions were instructions 
coming to you from the oflSce of the President ? 

Hedgman : That's correct. 

Q: Or that he had instructed the Agency, and they were passed on to you? 

Hedgman : That's right. 

Q : You are not the least unclear whether * * * the President's name had been 
invoked in some fashion? 

Hedgman : At the time, I certainly felt that I was under instructions from the 
President, yes. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, pp 32-33) 

Hedgman cautioned : 

[A]fter fifteen years, I cannot be 100 percent certain, but I have always, 
since that date, had the impression in my mind that these orders had come 
from the President. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 34 ; accord, p. 102) 

Hedgman testified that he was under the impression that a "policy 
decision" had been made — that assassination had been "approved" as 
"one means" of eliminating Lumumba as a political threat (Hedgman 

8/21/75, p. 52) : 

I thought the policy decision had been made in the White House, not in the 
Agency, and that the Agency had been selected as the Executive agent if you 
will, to carry out a political decision. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 52.) 

Although Hedgman assumed that the President had not personally 
selected the means of assassination, he testified that he was under the 
impression that the President had authorized the CLA. to proceed 
to take action : 

Hedgman ; * * * i doubt that I thought the President had said, you use this 
system. But my understanding is the President had made a decision that an 
act should take place, but then put that into the hands of the Agency to carry 
out his decision. 

Q : Whatever that act was to be, it was clearly to be assassination or the death 
of the foreign political leader? 

Hedgman : Yes. (Hedgman, 8/21/75, p. 104) 

The Station Officer's impression about Presidential authorization 
stemmed from his conversations with Scheider in the Congo and from 
his reading of the cable traffic from CIA Headquarters which, in fact, 
never explicitly mentioned the President although it referred to "high 
quarters." ^ 

Joseph Scheider's testimony about these discussions is compatible 
with Hedgman's account. (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 107-108) Despite 
the fact that he did not recall mentioning the President by name to 
Hedgman, Scheider believed that he left Hedgman with the impres- 
sion that there was Presidential aiithorization for an assassination 
attempt against Lumumba. (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 103-104, 110; 
10/9/75, p. 17) However, Scheider made it clear that the basis for his 
own knowledge about Presidential authorization for the assassination 

^ See Section 7(c) for BisseU's interpretation of the reference to "high quarters" in the 
Dulles cable of August 26, 1960. 


of Lumumba were the statements to him by Bissell, Tweedy, and 
Tweedy 's Deputy. (Scheider, 10/9/75, pp. l6;/7/75, p. 90) 

Scheider testified that in the late summer or early fall of 1960, Rich- 
ard Bissell asked him to make all the preparations necessary for toxic 
materials to be ready on short notice for use in the assassination of an 
unspecified African leader, "in case the decision was to go ahead." ^ 
(Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 51-55; 10/9/75, p. 8) Scheider had a specific 
recollection that Bissell told him that "he had direction from the high- 
est authority" for undertaking an assassination operation. (Scheider, 
10/7/75. pp. 51-52, 58) : 

Scheider : The memory I carry was that he indicated that he had the highest 
authority for getting into tliat kind of an operation. 

Q : Getting into an operation which would result in the death or incapacitation 
of a foreign leader? 

Scheider : Yes, yes, yes. (Scheider, 10/7/75, p. 52) 

Scheider acknowledged the possibility that he "may have been 
wrong" in his assumptions of Presidential authorization which he 
based on Bissell's words : 

The specific words, as best I can recollect them, [were] "on the highest au- 
thority." (Scheider, 10/9/75, p. 11). 

Scheider testified that there was a basis of experience for his assump- 
tion that "highest authority" signified the President. He said he "had 
heard it before"' at the CIA and had always interpreted it to denote the 
President. (Scheider, 10/9/75, p. 51) Likewise, Bronson Tweedy testi- 
fied that " ' highest authority' was a term that we used in the Agency 
and it was generally recognized as meaning 'the President'." (Tweedy, 
10/9/75 II, p. 20) ' 

According to Scheider, Allen Dulles would have approved the as- 
sassination operation before Bissell broached the subject with other 
CIA officers : 

I would have assumed that Bissell would never have told me that it was to be 
undertaken under the highest authority until his line ran through Dulles and 
until Dulles was in on it. (Scheider, 10/7/75, p. 76) 

Scheider said that he left the meeting with Bissell under the impres- 
sion that the Presidential authorization extended only to making prep- 
arations to carry out an assassination mission and that the imple- 
mentation of such a plan might require a separate "go ahead." 
(Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 53, 56-8) As far as Scheider was concerned, the 
"go ahead" on the assassination operation Avas given to him shortly 
thereafter by Tweedy and his Deputy.^ "N^Hien they instructed him on 
his Congo trip, Scheider said Tweedy and his Deputy "referred to the 
previous conversation I had with Bissell"" and they conveyed to 
Scheider the impression that Bissell "felt the operation had Presiden- 
tial authority." (Scheider, 10/7/75, pp. 65, 69, 71; 10/9/75, p. 13) ^ 
Scheider interpreted the statements by Tweedy and his Deputy to 
mean that Bissell's reference to "highest authority" for the operation 
had carried over from planning to the implementation stage. 
(Scheider, 10/7/75, p. 90) 

^ See section 4(b), infra, for a full treatment of Schelder's meetings with Bissell 
nnd his preparation of toxic biological materials and medical paraphernalia pursuant 
to Bissell's directive. 

-See Section 4(c), infra, for a detailed account of the testimony about the meeting of 
Tweedy, his Deputy, and Scheider. 

^ Tweedy was unable to shed much light on the discussion of authorization at his meet 
ing with Scheider : 

"I do not recall that Scheider and I ever discussed higher authority and approval. I d( 
not say that it did not occur." (Tweedy. 10/9/75 I. p. 65) 


Scheider's impression that there was Presidential authorization for 
the assassination operation clearly had a powerful influence on the 
Station Officer's attitude toward undertaking such an assignment. 

Hedgman had severe doubts about the wisdom of a policy of assas- 
sination in the Congo. At the conclusion of his testimony about the 
assassination plot, he was asked to give a general characterization of 
the advisability of the plot and the tenor of the times in which it took 
place. His response indicated that although he was willing to carry 
out what he considered a duly authorized order, he was not convinced 
of the necessity of assassinating Lumumba : 

I looked upon the Agency as an executive arm of the Presidency * * *. There- 
fore, I suppose I thought that it was an order issued in due form from an autlior- 
ized authority. 

On the other hand, I looked at it as a kind of operation that I could do without, 
that I thought that probably the Agency and the U.S. government could get along 
without. I didn't regard Lumumba as the kind of person who was going to bring 
on World War III. 

I might have had a somewhat different attitude if I thought that one man could 
bring on World War III and result in the deaths of millions of people or some- 
thing, but I didn't see him in that light. I saw his as a danger to the political 
position of the United States in Africa, but nothing more than that. (Hedgman, 
8/21/75, pp. 110-111) 


The facts with respect to Cuba are divided into three broad sections. 

The first describes the plots against Fidel Castro's life without ad- 
dressing the question of authorization. 

The second deals with whether or not the successive Directors of 
Central Intelligence, Allen Dulles and John McCone, authorized or 
knew about the various plots. (Although we have separated the evi- 
dence relating to the DCI's from that relating to other high adminis- 
tration officials, it is important to remember that the Director of 
Central Intelligence is the principal advisor to the President on 
intelligence matters and a member of major administrative policy- 
making councils, as well as head of the Central Intelligence Agency.) 

The third section covers the evidence concerning whether or not 
other high officials — including the various Presidents — authorized or 
knew about the plots. This section also considers the evidence relating 
to whether or not the CIA officials involved believed the plots to be con- 
sistent with the general policy objectives of the various administra- 
tions even if those officials had no personal knowledge as to whether 
the plots were or were not specifically authorized by higher authority. 


We have found concrete evidence of at least eight plots involving 
the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro from 1960 to 1965.^ Although some 
of the assassination plots did not advance beyond the stage of planning 
and preparation, one plot, involving the use of underworld figures, re- 
portedly twice progressed to the point of sending poison pills to Cuba 
and dispatching teams to commit the deed. Another plot involved fur- 
nishing weapons and other assassination devices to a Cuban dissident. 
The proposed assassination devices ran the gamut from high-pow- 
ered rifles to poison pills, poison pens, deadly bacterial powders, and 
other devices which strain the imagination. 

^ In August 1975, Fidel Castro gave Senator George McGovern a list of twenty-four 
alleged attempts to assassinate him in which Castro claimed the CIA had been involved. 
The Committee forwarded this list to the CIA and requested it to respond to those allega- 
tions. The CIA's fourteen-page response concluded : 

"In summary, of the • * * incidents described in Castro's report, the files reviewed 
indicate that CIA had no involvement in fifteen of the cases : i.e., never had any contact 
with the individuals mentoned or was not in contact with them at the time of the alleged 
incidents. In the remaining nine cases, CIA had operational relationships with some of 
the individuals mentioned but not for the purpose of assassination. * * * Of the cases 
reviewed, nothing has been found to substantiate the charges that CIA directed its agents 
to assassinate Castro. 

The Committee has found no evidence that the CIA was involved In the attempts on 
Castro's life enumerated in the allegations that Castro gave to Senator McGovern. The 
CIA's involvement in other plots against Castro and the top figures in his Government 
are set forth below. 



The most ironic of these plots took place on November 22, 19G3 — the 
very day that President Kennedy was shot in Dallas — when a CIA 
official offered a poison pen to a Cuban for use against Castro while 
at the same time an emissary from President Kennedy was meet- 
ing with Castro to explore the possibility of improved relations. 

The following narrative sets forth the facts of assassination plots 
against Castro as established before the Committee by witnesses and 
documentary evidence. The question of the level and degree of authori- 
zation of the plots is considered in the sections that follow. 

{a) Plots: Early 1960 

(^) Plots to Destroy C astro'' s Public Image 

Efforts against Castro did not begin with assassination attempts. 

From March through August 1960, during the last year of the 
Eisenhower Administration, the CIA considered plans to undermine 
Castro's charismatic appeal by sabotaging his speeches. According 
to the 1967 Report of the CIA's Inspector General, an official in the 
Technical Services Division (TSD) recalled discussing a scheme to 
spray Castro's broadcasting studio with a chemical which produced 
effects similar to LSD, but the scheme was reiected because the chemi- 
cal was unreliable. During this period, TSD impregnated a box of 
cigars with a chemical which produced temporary disorientation, 
hoping to induce Castro to smoke one of the cigars before delivering a 
speech. The Inspector General also reported a plan to destroy Castro's 
image as "The Beard" by dusting his shoes with thallium salts, a strong 
depilatory that would cause his beard to fall out. The depilatory was to 
be administered during a trip outside Cuba, when it was anticipated 
Castro would leave his shoes outside the door of his hotel room to be 
shined. TSD procured the chemical and tested it on animals, but 
apparently abandoned the scheme because Castro cancelled his trip. 
(I.G. Report, pp. 10-13) 

{ii) Accident Plot 

The first action against the life of a Cuban leader sponsored by the 
CIA of which the Committee is aware took place in 1960. A Cuban who 
had volunteered to assist the CIA in gathering intelligence informed 
his case officer in Havana that he would probably be in contact with 
Raul Castro. (Memo to Inspector General, 1/17/75) CIA Headquar- 
ters and field stations were requested to inform the Havana Station of 
any intelligence needs that the Cuban might fulfill. The case officer 
testified that he and the Cuban contemplated only acquiring intelli- 
gence information and that assassination was not proposed by them.^ 

The cable from the Havana Station was received at Headquarters 
on the night of July 20. The duty officer, who was summoned to Head- 
quarters from his home, contacted Tracy Barnes, Deputy to Richard 
Bissell, CIA's Deputy Director for Plans and the man in charge of 

^ A cable to Headquarters requesting any intelligence needs supports this account. 


CIA's covert action directorate. The duty officer also contacted J. C. 
King, Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division within the Director- 
ate for Plans.^ 

Following their instructions, he sent a cable to the Havana Station 
early in the morning of July 21, stating: "Possible removal top three 
leaders is receiving serious consideration at HQS." The cable in- 
quired whether the Cuban was sufficiently motivated to risk "arranging 
an accident" involving Raul Castro and advised that the station could 
"at discretion contact subject to determine willingness to cooperate 
and his suggestions on details". Ten thousand dollars was authorized 
as payment "after successful completion," but no advance payment 
was permitted because of the possibility that the Cuban was a double 
agent. According to the case officer, this cable represented "quite a 
departure from the conventional activities we'd been asked to handle." 
(Case Officer interview, 8/4/75, p. 2) ^ 

The case officer contacted the Cuban and told him of the proposal. 
The case officer avoided the word "assassinate" but made it clear that 
the CIA contemplated an "aceident to neutralize this leader's [Raul's] 
influence." (Case Officer interview, 8/4/75, p. 2) After being assured 
that his sons would be given a college education in the event of his 
death, the Cuban agreed to take a "calculated risk," limited to possibili- 
ties that might pass as accidental. (Cable, Havana to Director, 

Immediately after returning to the station the case officer was told 
that a cable had just arrived stating: "Do not pursue ref. Would 
like to drop matter." (Cable, Director to Havana, 7/22/60; Memo 
to I. G., 1/17/75) This cable was signed by Tracy Barnes. 

It was, of course, too late to "drop the matter" since the Cuban 
had already left to contact Raul Castro. When the Cuban returned, he 
told the case officer that he had not had an opportunity to arrange an 

(Hi) Poison Cigars 

A notation in the records of the Operations Division, CIA's Office 
of Medical Services, indicates that on August 16, 1960, an official was 
given a box of Castro's favorite cigars with instructions to treat them 
with lethal poison. (I. G. Report, p. 21) The cigars were contajninated 
with a botulinum toxin so potent that a person would die after putting 
one in his mouth. (I. G. Report, p. 22) The official reported that the 
cigars were ready on October 7, 1960; TSD notes indicate that they 
were delivered to an unidentified person on February 13, 1961. (I. G. 
Report, p. 22) The record does not disclose whether an attempt was 
made to pass the cigars to Castro. 

1 The duty officer testified that he must have spoken with King because he would not 
otherwise have signed the cable "by direction, J. C. King." (Duty Officer, 8/11/75, p. 16) 
He also would "very definitely" have read the cable to Barnes before sending it, because 
"Barnes was the man to whom we went . . . for our authority and for work connected 
with the [Cuban] project." (Duty Officer, pp. 4, 25) Since King at that time was giving 
only "nominal attention" to Cuban affairs, the officer concluded that a proposal of the 
gravitv of an assassination could only have "come from Mr. Barnes". (Duty Officer, 
8/11/75, p. 24) 

2 The duty officer remembered the cable and some of the surrounding facts for precisely 
that reason : "[I]t was an unusual type of [cable], and I say this because I can remember 
it 15 years later." (Duty Officer, 8/11/75, p. 14.) The case officer recalled that when he 
saw the cable, he "swallowed hard." (Case Officer interview, 8/4/75, p. 3) 


(b) Use of Vndemoorld Figures— Phase I {Pre-Bay of Pigs) 

(i) The Initial Plan 

In August 1960, the CIA took steps to enlist members of the criminal 
underworld with gambling syndicate contacts to aid in assassinating 
Castro. The origin of the plot is uncertain. According to the 1967 
Inspector General's Report, 

Blssell recalls that the idea originated with J. C. King, then Chief of W. H. 
Division, although King now recalls having only had limited' knowledge of such 
a plan and at a much later date— about mid-1962. (I. G. Report, p. 14) 

Bissell testified that : 

I remember a conversation which I would have put in early autumn or late 
summer between myself and Colonel Edwards [Director of the Office of Security], 
and I have some dim recollection of some earlier conversation I had had with 
Colonel J. C. King, Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division, and the subject 
matter of both of those conversations was a capability to eliminate Castro if 
such action should be decided upon. (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 19) 

The earliest concrete evidence of the operation is a conversation 
between DDP Bissell and Colonel Sheffield Edwards, Director of the 
Office of Security.^ Edwards recalled that Bissell asked him to lo- 
cate someone who could assassinate Castro. (Edwards, o/o0,/75, pp. 
2-3) Bissell confirmed that he requested Edwards to find someone 
to assassinate Castro and believed that Edwards raised the idea of con- 
tacting members of a gambling syndicate operating in Cuba.^ (Bis- 
sell, 6/9/75, pp. 71-73) 

Edwards assigned the mission to the Chief of the Operational Sup- 
port Division of the Office of Security. The Support Chief recalled 
that Edwards had said that he and Bissell were looking for someone 
to "eliminate" or "assassinate" Castro. (Operational Support Chief, 
hereinafter "O.C", 5/30/75, pp. 6-8, 95-96) ^ 

Edwards and the Support Chief decided to rely on Robert A. Maheu 
to recruit someone "tough enough" to handle the job. (O.C, 5/30/75, p. 
8) Maheu was an ex-FBI agent who had entered into a career as a 
private investigator in 1954. A former FBI associate of Maheu's was 
employed in the CIA's Office of Security and had arranged for the 
CIA to use Maheu in several sensitive covert operations in which "he 
didn't want to have an Agency person or a government person sret 
caught."* (O.C, 5/30/75, p. 158) Maheu was initially paid a monthly 

1 The Inspector GeneraVs Report placed the conversation between Edwards and Bissell 
in August 1960. Bissell testified that he would not have remembered the exact month 
without having been shown the Inspector General's Report, but that "I would have remem- 
bered initial conversations early in the autumn of 1960" (Bissell. 6/9/75, p. 18). 

2 Although Castro close'd the gambling casinos in Cuba when he first came to power, 
they were reopened for use by foreign tourists in late February 1959, and remained open 
until late September 1961. 

3 Howard Oshorn. who became Director of the Office of Security in 1964. told the Com- 
mittee that the DDP often drew upon personnel of the Office of Security, which was 
within a different directorate, because of the contacts and expertise that Security personnel 
developed in the field. This is an example of operations being carried out across formal 
organization lines. The fact that Bissell called on Edwards might indicate that Bissell 
had already formulated a plan and was relyinsr on Edwards to put It in to practice. 

* During 19.o4-1955. Maheu cooperated with the CIA in attempting to undermine 
a contract with the Saudi Arabian government that would have given one person virtually 
complete control over shipping of oil from Saudi Arabia. Although he was employed by a 
competitor of the person who held the contract, Maheu worked closely with the CIA. 
Maheu testified that, after consulting with the Agency, he arranged for a listening device 
to be placed in the room of the contract holder ; and that he provided the impetus for the 
terminntion of the contract by publicizing its terms in a Rome newspaper which he said he 
had purchased with CIA funds. (Maheu. 7/.S0/75, pp. 14-25) 

The Support Chief testified that at the CIA's request Maheu had also previously arranged 
for the production of a film in Hollywood purporting to depict a foreign leader with a 
woman in the Soviet ITnion. The CIA planned to circulate the fi'm, rPir-esenting it to h-Tve 
been produced by the Soviet Union. The film was never used. (O.C. 5/.30/7.'5. pp. 159, 162- 
163.) Maheu testified that he had located an nctor resembling the leader and had arranged 
for the production of the film. (Maheu, 7/30/75, pp. 39-42) 


retainer by the CIA of $500, but it was terminated after his detective 
agency became more lucrative. (O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 13-14; I.G. Report, 
p. 15) The Operational Support Chief had served as Maheu's case 
officer since the Agency first began using Maheu's services, and by 
1960 they had become close personal friends. (Maheu, 7/30/75, p. 6) 

Sometime in late August or early September 1960, the Support 
Chief approached Maheu about the proposed operation. (O.C. 5/30/ 
75, p. 9 ; Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 6) As Maheu recalls the conversation, the 
Support Chief asked him to contact John Rosselli, an underworld fig- 
ure with possible gambling contacts in Las Vegas, to determine if he 
would participate in a plan to "dispose" of Castro.^ (Maheu, 7/29/75, 
p. 8) The Support Chief testified, on the other hand, that it was 
Maheu who raised the idea of using Rosselli, (O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 15- 

Maheu had known Rosselli since the late 1950's. (Maheu, 7/29/75, 
pp. 58-60) Although JMaheu claims not to have been aware of the 
extent of Rosselli's underworld connections and activities, he recalled 
that "it was certainly evident to me that he was able to accomplish 
things in Las Vegas when nobody else seemed to get the same kind of 
attention." (Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 60) 

The Support Chief had previously met Rosselli at Maheu's home. 
(Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 8) The Support Chief and Maheu each claimed 
that the other had raised the idea of using Rosselli, and Maheu said 
the Chief was aware that Rosselli had contacts with the gambling 
syndicate. (Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 8 ; O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 15-16) 

At first Maheu was reluctant to become involved in the operation 
because it might interfere with his relationship with his new client, 
Howard Hughes.- He finally agreed to participate because he felt that 
he owed the Agency a committment. (O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 12-13, 103) 
The Inspector General's Report states that : 

Edwards and Maheu agreed that Maheu would approach Rosselli as the repre- 
sentative of businessmen with interests in Cuba who saw the elimination of 
Castro as the first essential step to the recovery of their investments. (I.G. 
Report, p. 16) 

The Support Chief also re<?alled that Maheu was to use this cover 
story when he presented the plan to Rosselli. (O.C, 5/30/75, p. 16) 
but Rosselli said that the story was developed after he had been con- 
tacted, and was used as a mutual "cover" by him, the Chief, and Maheu 
in dealing with Cubans who were subsequently recruited for the 
project. (Rosselli, 6/24/75, pp. 16-17) The Support Chief testified that 
^lalieu was told to offer money, probablj^ $150,000, for Castro's assassi- 
nation.3 (O.C, 5/30/75, pp. i6, 111; Memo, Osbom to DCI, 6/24/66) 

(ii) Contact With th-e Syndicate 

According to Rosselli. he and Maheu met at the Brown Derby 
Restaurant in Beverly Hills in early September 1960. Rosselli testi- 

^ Maheu testified that he was told that the plan to assassinate Castro was one phase of 
a larger project to invade Cuba. (Maheu, 7/29/75, pp. 7, 1.3, 47) 

2 Maheu told the Committee that at that time, Hughes was becoming an important 
client, and that devoting time to the CIA's assassination plot was hindering his work 
for Hughes. He testified that shortly before the election In November 1960. while he was 
in Miami working on the assassination project, Hughes phoned and asked him to return 
to the West Coast. Maheu testified that since he did "not want to lose" Hughes as a 
client, he "definitely told him that the project was on behalf of the United States 
Government, that it included plans to dispose of Mr. Castro in connection with a pending 
invasion." (Maheu, 7/29/75. pp. 22-2,3) 

•■'The Inspector General's Report states that "Maheu was authorized to tell Rosselli 
that his clients' were willing to pay $150,000 for Castro's removal." (I.G. Report, p. 16) 
The evidence varies, however, with respect to the amount that was offered. 


fied that Maheu told him that "high government officials" needed his 
cooperation in getting rid of Castro, and that he asked him to help 
recruit Cubans to do the job. (Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 8) Maheu's recol- 
lection of that meeting was that "I informed him that I had been 
asked by my Government to solicit his cooperation in this particular 
venture." (Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 9) 

Maheu stated that Rosselli "was very hesitant about participating 
in the project, and he finally said that he felt that he had an obliga- 
tion to his government, and he finally agreed to participate." (Maheu, 
7/29/75, p. 10) Maheu and Rosselli both testified that Rosselli in- 
sisted on meeting with a representative of the Government. (MaheU, 
7/29/75, p. 9 ; Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 9) 

A meeting was arranged for Maheu and Rosselli with the Support 
Chief at the Plaza Hotel in New York. The Inspector General's 
Report placed the meeting on September 14, 1960. (I.G. Report, p. 16) 
Rosselli testified that he could not recall the precise date of the meet- 
ing, but that it had occurred during Castro's visit to the Qnited 
Nations, which the New York Times Index places from September 18 
through September 28, 1960. (Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 10) 

The Support Chief testified that he was introduced to Rosselli as a 
business associate of Maheu. He said that Maheu told Rosselli that 
Maheu represented international business interests which were pool- 
ing money to pay for the assassination of Castro. (O.C., 5/30/75. p. 26) 
Rosselli claimed that Maheu told him at that time that the Support 
Chief was with the CIA,i (Rosselli, 6/24/75, pp. 11. 85) 

It was arranged that Rosselli would go to Florida and recruit Cu- 
bans for the operation. (Rosselli, 6/24/75, pp. 11-12) Edwards in- 
formed Bissell that contact had been made with the gambling syndi- 
cate. (Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 20-21 ; I.G. Report, p. 17) 

During the week of September 24, 1960 the Support Chief, Maheu, 
and Rosselli met in Miami to work out the details of the operation. 
(O.C. 5/30/75, pp. 25-26; Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 12; I.G. Report, p. 18) 
Rosselli used the cover name "John Rawlston" and represented him- 
self to the Cuban contacts as rfn agent of "* * * some business 
interests of Wall Street that had * * * nickel interests and properties 
around in Cuba, and I was getting financial assistance from them." 
(Rosselli, 6/24/75, pp. 9, 17) 

Maheu handled the details of setting up the operation and keeping 
the Support Chief informed of developments. After Rosselli and 
Maheu had been in Miami for a short time, and certainly prior to 
October 18.^ Rosselli introduced Maheu to two individuals on whom 

1 The weight of the testimony Indicates that Rosselli realized the CIA was behind the 
assassination attemnt at an early stage. Mahue substantially confirmed his account (Mahue, 
7/29/75, p. Ill) The support chief recalled that about three weeks after the New York 
meeting, Rosselli told him, "I am not kidding, I know who vou work for." (O.C, 5/30/75, 
p. 26. ) 

2 Maheu recalls that he first met "Sam Gold" (Giancana) after November 1960, when he 
was staying at the Fountalnebleu Hotel. (Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 17). Other evidence Indicates 
that the meeting took place earlier. When they first went to Miami, Maheu and Rosselli 
stayed at the Kennilworth Hotel (Maheu, 7/29/75, pp. 15-16) ; FBI records reveal that 
Maheu and Rosselli (alias J. A. Rollins) were registered at the Kennilworth from Octo- 
ber 11-30. (FBI summary, p. 10). Giancana must have been involved in the operation dur- 
ing the October period at the Kennilworth because (1) the wiretap of the apartment 
discussed tnfra, was made on October 30; (2) on October 18, the FBI sent a memorandum 
to Bissell stating that Giancana had been telling several people that he was Involve^: 
in an assassination attempt against Castro. No reference is made to the CIA In thl' 
memorandum. (See infra, p. 79) 


Rosselli intended to rely : "Sam Gold," who would serve as a "back-up 
man" (Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 15), or "key" man (Maheu, 7/29/75, 
p. 17) , and "Joe," whom "Gold" said would serve as a courier to Cuba 
and make arrangements there, (I.G., Report p. 19) The Support 
Chief, who was using the name "Jim Olds," said he had met "Sam" 
and "Joe" once, and then only briefly. (O.C., 5/30/75, pp. 26-29) 

The Support Chief testified that he learned the true identities of 
his associates one morning when Maheu called and asked him to 
examine the "Parade" supplement to the Miami Times? An article on 
the Attorney General's ten-most-wanted criminals list revealed that 
"Sam Gold" was Momo Salvatore Giancana, a Chicago-based gang- 
ster,2 gj^(j "Joe" was Santos Trafficante, the Cosa Nostra chieftain 
in Cuba.^ (I.G., Report, p. 19) The Support Chief reported his dis- 
covery to Edwards, (O.C. 5/30/75, pp. 31, 33) but did not know 
whether Edwards reported this fact to his superiors. (O.C. 5/30/75, 
pp. 32, 41) The Support Chief testified that this incident occurred 
after "we were up to our ears in it," a month or so after Giancana had 
been brought into the operation, but prior to giving the poison pills to 
Rosselli. (O.C. 5/30/75, pp. 30, 44) 

Maheu recalled that it was Giancana's job to locate someone in 
Castro's entourage who could accomplish the assassination. (Maheu, 
7/29/75, p. 19) and that he met almost daily with Giancana over 
a substantial period of time. (Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 18) Although Maheu 
described Giancana as playing a "key role," (Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 34) 
Rosselli claimed that none of the Cubans eventually used in the oper- 
ation were acquired through Giancana's contacts. (Rosselli, 6/24/75, 
p. 15) 

{Hi) Las Vegas WireUip 

In late October 1960, Maheu arranged for a Florida investigator, 
Edward DuBois, to place an electronic "bug" in a room in Las Vegas. 
(Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 36) * DuBois' employee, Arthur J, Balletti, flew 
to Las Vegas and installed a tap on the phone. (Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 38) 
The Support Chief characterized the ensuing events as a "Keystone 
Comedy act." (O.C, 5/30/75, p. 68). On October 31, 1960, Balletti, be- 
lieving that the apartment would be vacant for the afternoon, left the 
wiretap equipment unattended. A maid discovered the equipment and 
notified the local sheriff, who arrested Balletti and brought him to 
the jail. Balletti called Maheu in Miami, tying "Maheu into this thing 
up to his ear." (O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 36-37) Balletti's bail was paid by 
Rosselli. (Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 52) 

(i) CIA Involvem-ent In The Wiretap. — The Committee received 
conflicting evidence on whether the Agency was consulted prior to 

^ A search of supplements to all Miami papers during this period did not reveal the 
article described by the Support Chief. 

2 Sam Giancana was murdered in his home on June 20, 1975. 

= Trafficante made regular trips between Miami and Cuba on gambling syndicate business. 
(I.G., Report, pp. 19-20) 

* According to the Support Chief and Rosselli, DuBois had been requested to place what 
they characterized as a "legal" electronic bug against the wall from an adjacent apart- 
ment. Balletti Instead Installed an electronic tap on the phone. (O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 67-68; 
Maheu, 7/29/75, pp. 36-37) 


the installation of the tap.^ The Support Chief testified that he had 
called Edwards and cleared the placement of an electronic "bug" in 
the apartment prior to the installation of the tap. (O.C., 5/30/75, pp. 
67-71) Maheu recalled that he had initially asked the Support Chief 
if the CIA would handle the job, and that the Chief had told him 

He would call Mr. Edwards and see if they would have the capability of 
accomplishing this * * * and that subsequently he informed me that Mr. Ed- 
wards had said that they would not do it, but approved paying for it if we hired 
an independent private detective to put it on. (Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 37) 

On the other hand, Edwards, in a May 14, 1962 memorandum for 
the Attorney General (discussed at length, m/m, p. 131), stated that 
"At the time of the incident neither the Agency nor the undersigned 
Imew of tlie proposed technical installation.' - 

The Inspector General's Keport accepted Edwards' assertion that 
"the Agency was first unwitting and then a reluctant accessory after 
the fact," but offered no further evidence to support that contention. 
(I.G. Keport, p. 67) 

The Committee also received conflicting evidence concerning 
whether the tap had been placed to keep Giancana in Miami or to 
check on security leaks. The Support Chief testified that during the 
early stages of negotiations with the gambling syndicate, Maheu in- 
formed him that a girl friend of Giancana was having an affair with 
the target of the tap. Giancana wanted Maheu to bug that person's 
room; otherwise, Giancana threatened to fly to Las Vegas himself. 
Maheu was concerned that Giancana's departure would disrupt the 
negotiations, and secured the Chief's permission to arrange for a bug to 
insure Giancana's presence and cooperation. (O.C., 5/30/75, pp. 68- 
69) Maheu substantially confirmed this account. (Maheu, 7/29/75, 
pp. 25-30)^ 

There is some evidence, however, suggesting that the CIA itself 
may have instituted the tap to determine whether Giancana was leak- 
ing information about his involvement in an assassination attempt 

1 Regardless of whether the CIA initially authorized the tap, it is apparent that the 
CIA paid for the tap. DuBois told FBI agents that Maheu had paid him a retainer of 
$1,000. (File R-505, p. 14). The Support Chief confirmed that CIA "indirectly" paid for 
the tap because "we paid Maheu a certain amount ot money, and he just paid it out of 
what we were giving him." 

"Q : But it was understood, or you understood, that out of the money the CIA made 
available to Maheu, DuBois would be paid for the tap? 

"A : Yes. 


"Q : And Colonel Edwards * * * knew somebody was being employed in order to accom- 
plish a tap? 

"A : That is right." (O.C, 5/30/75, p. 69) 

2 However, a memorandum by J. Edgar Hoover states that the Attorney General said 
he had been told by Edwards in 1962 that tht- "CIA admitted that they had assisted 
Maheu in making the installation." (Memo from Hoover, 5/10/62) 

3 An acquaintance of Giancana's, Josenh Shimon, testified that Giancana had told him 
that Giancana had asked Rosselll to request Maheu to arrange for surveillance of the 
room to determine the occupant's relationship with Giancana s girl friend. (Shimon. 
9/20/75. p. 21) Shimon stated that Giancana had told him that Giancana had paid 
Mahen $5,000 for the tap, that the CIA had not known about the tap in advance, and 
that Maheu subsequently decided to use his connection with the CIA operation to avoid 
prosecution for his involvement in the tap. (Shimon, 9/20/75, p. 23) Maheu testified that 
he did not recall having been paid for the tap. (Maheu, 9/23/75, p. 7) 


against Castro.^ An October 18, 1960 memorandum from J. Edgar 
Hoover to Bissell, stated that "a source whose reliability has not been 
tested" reported : 

[D]uring recent conversations with several friends, Giancana stated that 
Fidel Castro was to be done away with very shortly. When doubt was expressed 
regarding this statement, Giancana reportedly assured those present that Castro's 
assassination would occur in November. Moreover, he allegedly indicated that 
he had already met with the assassin-to-be on three occasions. * * * Giancana 
claimed that everything has been perfected for the killing of Castro, and that 
the "assassin" had arranged with a girl, not further described, to drop a ''pill" in 
some drink or food of Castro's. (Memo, Hoover to DCI (Att : DDP), 10/18/60) 

Rosselli testified that Maheu had given him two explanations for 
the tap on different occasions: First, that Giancana was concerned 
that his girl friend was having an affair; and, second, that he had 
arranged the tap to determine whether Giancana had told his girl 
friend about the assassination plot, and whether she was spreading the 
story. (Rosselli, 6/24/75, pp. 47-48) Maheu gave the second explana- 
tion to the FBI when he was questioned about his involvement in the 
tap (Summary File by FBI), and Edwards wrote in the memoran- 
dum to the Attorney General : 

Maheu stated that Sam Giancana thought that [Giancana's girl friend] might 
know of the proposed operation and might pass on the information to * * * a 
friend of [Giancana's girl friend]. (Memo Edwards to Attorney General, 5/14/62) 

(2) Consequenees Of The Wiretap. — Edwards told ^Nlaheu that if he 
was "approached by the FBI, he could refer them to me to be briefed 
that he was engaged in an intelligence operation directed at Cuba*'. 
(Memo, Edwards to Attorney General, 5/14/62) FBI records indicate 
that on April 18, 1961, Maheu informed the FBI that the tap involved 
the CIA, and suggested that Edwards be contacted. (]Memo 4/20/61) 
Edwards subsequently informed the Bureau that the CIA would 
object to Maheu's prosecution because it might reveal sensitive infor- 
mation relating to the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion.^ 

In a memo dated April 24, 1962, Herbert J. Miller, Assistant At- 
torney General, Criminal Division, advised the Attorney General that 
the "national interest" would preclude any prosecutions based upon 
the tap. Following a briefing of the Attorney General by the CIA, a 
decision was made not to prosecute.^ 

{iv) Poison Is Prepared And Delivered to Cuba 

The Inspector General's Report described conversations among Bis- 
sell, Edwards, and the Chief of the Technical Services Division 

1 When RosselU talked with Giancana after the wiretap had been discovered, Giancana 
"laughed * * * i remember his expression, smoking a cigar, he almost swallowed it laugh- 
ing about it" (Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 52). Rosselli claims that he was "perturbed" because 
"It was blowing everything, blowing every kind of cover that I had tried to arrange to 
keep quiet" (Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 52). 

Rosselli said that he told Giancana that the CIA was involved in the operation "in 
order to have him keep his mouth shut" (Rosselli, 6/24/75, pp. 26-27). 

2 Details of the discussions between the CIA and FBI are described fully inira at pp. 

^ Mahen sibsequently drew on his involvement with the CIA to avoid testifying before 
Senator Edward Long's Committee investigating invasions of privacy in 1966. According 
to the Inspector General's Report, when Maheu learned that the Committee intended to 
call him, "he applied pressure on the Agency in a variety of ways — suggesting that pub- 
licity might e.xpose his past sensitive work for the CIA." (I.G. Report, pp. 73-74) Law- 
rence Houston. General Counsel for the CIA, met with Mahen and his attorney, Edward P. 
Morgan, and informed Senator Long that Maheu had been involved in CIA operations 
(Houston, 6/2/75, pp. 58-60). As a result, the Long Committee did not call Maheu to 


(TSD), concerning the most effective metliod of poisoning Castro. 
(I.G. Eeport, pp. 23-33) There is some evidence that Giancana or 
liosselli originated the idea of depositing a poison pill in Castro's 
drink to give the "asset" a chance to escape. (I.G. Report, p. 25) The 
Support Chief recalled Rosselli's request for something "nice and 
clean, without getting into any kind of out and out ambushing", pref- 
erably a poison that would disappear without a trace. (O.C. 5/30/75, 
p. 116) The Inspector General's Report cited the Support Chief as 
stating that the Agency had first considered a "gangland-style kill- 
ing" in which Castro would be gunned down. Giancana reportedly 
opposed the idea because it would be difficult to recruit someone for 
such a dangerous operation, and suggested instead the use of poison. 
(I.G. Report, p. 25) 

Edwards rejected the first batch of pills prepared by TSD because 
they would not dissolve in water. A second batch, containing botu- 
Imum toxin, "did the job expected of them" when tested on monkeys. 
(I.G. Report, pp. 25-26; O.C. 5/30/75, p. 43) The Support Chief 
received the pills from TSD, probably in February 1961, with assur- 
ances that they were lethal,^ and then gave them to Rosselli. (O.C, 
5/30/75, p. 43) ^ ' 

The record clearly establishes that the pills were given to a Cuban 
for delivery to the island some time prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion 
in mid- April 1961. There are discrepancies in the record, however, con- 
cerning whether one or two attempts were made during that period, 
and the precise date on which the passage [s] occurred. The Inspector 
General's Report states that in late February or March 1961 Rosselli 
reported to the Support Chief that the pills had been delivered to an 
ofecial close to Castro who may have received kickbacks from the 
gambling interests. (I.G. Report, p. 23) The Report states that the 
official returned the pills after a few weeks, perhaps because he had 
ost his position m the Cuban Government, and thus access to Castro, 
before he received the pills. (I.G. Report, p. 28) The Report concludes 
that yet^another attempt was made in April 1961, with the aid of a 
leading figure m the Cuban exile movement. 

scHll'f h' ff'^T ^' ^T^n * ^^'f ^^'^'^^^ ^^^* the Cuban official de- 
fn'w • -^^ 1 Inspector General as having made the first attempt was 
indeed involved m the assassination plot, and they ascribed his failure 
to a case of "cold feet." (Rosselli, 6/24/75, p 94. O C 5/To/7^ n 
44) Rosselli was certain, hL-ever, that only oiS attmpf to afsas i La^^ 
Castro had been made prior to the Bav of Piers, (Rosselli, 6/24/75 p 
fs Po'sslleThe:;^t?";' ^1"^' '^"^^ ^'S^''' f'^' ^-t ^l-if>' tl- - 'tter' fi 
armn^ed for^^ was the contact in the United States who 

In any event, Rosselli told the Support Chief that Traffic ntP bp 
lieved a certain leading figure in the Cuban exi e mo4me«htt 
able to acco mplish the assassination. (I.G. Report, p. 29^^ The iSp^^^ 

m4?ln|th?C^rbL''tofd^*o«"nf. '''^' ^^ ^'' t^'« Cuban only once, and that after the 

- ' ah' The'kXTt ^Chilf "ecalfed ^^d^JJ^l T" '^K' *^" ™« ^^at this guy isn't a 
^ecteci that ^"'^asn'i'^LlT^fs^elrt^^^^^^^^^^^^ bu? 

CIA ma... 
he suspected 


tor General's Report suggests that this Cuban may have been receiving 
funds from Trafficante and other racketeers interested in securing 
"gambling, prostitution, and dope monopolies'' in Cuba after the over- 
throw of Castro. The Report speculated that the Cuban was interested 
in the assassination scheme as a means of financing the purchase of 
arms and communications equipment. (I.G. Report, p. 31) 

The Cuban claimed to have a contact inside a restaurant frequented 
by Castro. (Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 21) As a prerequisite to the deal, he 
demanded cash and $1,000 worth of communications equipment. (I.G. 
Report, pp. 31, 32; O.C, 5/30/75, p. 23) The Support Chief recalled 
that Colonel J. C. King, head of the Western Hemisphere Division, 
gave him $50,000 in Bissell's office to pay the Cuban if he successfully 
assassinated Castro. (O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 17-21) The Support Chief 
stated that Bissell also authorized him to give the Cuban the requested 
electronics equipment. (O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 20-24) 

Bissell testified that he did not doubt that some cash was given to 
the Support Chief, and that he was aware that the poison pills had 
been prepared. Bissell did not recall the meeting described above, 
and considered it unlikely that the Support Chief would have been 
given the money in his office. (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 40) The Inspector 
General's Report, relying on an Office of Security memorandum to the 
DDCI dated June 24, 1966, as well as on an interview with the person 
who signed the voucher for the funds, placed the amount passed at 
$10,000. (I.G. Report, pp. 31-32) If the Inspector General's conclu- 
sions were correct, the funds which Bissell allegedly authorized were 
probably the advance payment to the Cuban, and not the $150,000 that 
was to be paid to him after Castro's death. 

The record does clearly reflect, however, that communications equip- 
ment was delivered to the Cuban ^ and that he was paid advance money 
to cover his expenses, probably in the amount of $10,000. (I.G. Report, 
p. 32) The money and pills were delivered at a meeting between 
Maheu, Rosselli, Trafficante, and the Cuban at the Fountainebleau 
Hotel in Miami. As Rosselli recalled, Maheu : 

* * * opened his briefcase and dumped a whole lot of money on his lap * * * 
and also came up with the capsules and he explained how they were going to be 
used. As far as I remember, they couldn't be used in boiling soups and things like 
that, but they could be used in water or otherwise, but they couldn't last for- 
ever. * * * It had to be done as quickly as possible. (Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 21)° 

A different version of the delivery of the pills to the Cuban was 
given to the Committee by Joseph Shimon, a friend of Rosselli and 
Giancana who testified that he was present when the passage occurred. 
Shimon testified that he had accompanied Maheu to Miami to see the 
third Patterson-Johansson World Heavyweight Championship fight, 
which took place on March 12, 1961. (Shimon, 9/20/75, pp. 6-8) 
According to Shimon, he, Giancana, Rosselli, and Maheu shared a 
suite in the Fountainebleau Hotel. During a conversation, Maheu 
stated that he had a "contract" to assassinate Castro, and had been 

^ The SupDort Chief testified that a man from the communications office delivered the 
communications equipment that the Cuban had requested to Miami. (O.C. 5/30/75. p. 20) 
Maheu recalled delivering an automobile which he had been told contained communi(?atlons 
equipment to an empty lot. (Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 52) 

2 Maheu denied that this dramatic event ever occurred, and did not recall being present 
at a meeting at which the pills were passed. (Maheu, 7/29/75. pp. 40—41). Maheu di(^ 
recall that the Support Chief showed him the pills In an envelope and told him that thr 
pills would be given to a Cuban. (Maheu, 7/29/75. p. 40) 


provided with a "liquid" by the CIA to accomplish the task. (Shimon. 
9/20/75, p. 9) ^ Shimon testified that Maheii had said the liquid was to 
be put in Castro's food, that Castro would become ill and die after two 
or three days, and that an autopsy would not reveal what had killed 
him. (Shimon, 9/20/75, pp. 9-10) 

Shimon testified that the Cuban was contacted outside the Boom 
Boom Room of the Fountainebleau Hotel. Shimon said that Rosselli 
left with the Cuban, and that Maheu said, "Johnny's g:oing to handle 
everything, this is Johnny's contract." (Shimon, 9/20/75, p. 11) 
Shimon testified that Giancana subsequently told him "I am not in it, 
and they are asking me for the names of some guys who used to work 
in casinos. * * * Maheu's conning the hell out of the CIA." (Shimon, 
9/20/75, p. 12) 

Shimon testified that a few days later, he received a phone call 
from Maheu, who said : "* * * did you see the paper? Castro's ill. He's 
going to be sick two or three days. Wow, we got him." (Shimon, 
9/20/75, p. 12) 2 

Rosselli testified that he did not recall Shimon's having been present 
when the pills were delivered to the Cuban. (Rosselli, 9/22/75, p. 5) 
Maheu recalled having seen the fight with Rosselli and Giancana, but 
did not recall whether Shimon had been present, and denied that the 
poison had been delivered in the lobbv of the Fountainebleau. (Maheu 
9/23/75, pp. 14-15) 

The attempt met with failure. According to the Inspector General's 
Report, Edwards believed the scheme failed because Castro stopped 
visiting the restaurant where the "asset" was employed. Maheu sug- 
gested an alternative reason. He recalled being informed that after the 
pills had been delivered to Cuba, "the go signal still had to be re- 
ceived before in fact they were administered." (Maheu, 9/23/75, p. 42) 
He testified that he was informed by the Support Chief sometime after 
the operation that the Cubans had an opportunity to administer the 
pills to Fidel Castro and either Che Guevarra or Raul Castro, but that 
the "go signal" never came. (Maheu 7/29/75, pp. 43^4, 60-61) Maheu 
did not know who was responsible for giving the signal. (Maheu, 9/23/ 
75, pp. 44-45) The Cuban subsequently returned the cash and the pills. 
(O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 19-20; Memo, Osborn to DCI. 6/24/66) 

The date of the Cuban operation is unclear. The Inspector General's 
Report places it in March-April 1961, prior to the Bay of Pigs. (I.G. 
Report, p. 29) Shimon's testimony puts it around March 12, 1961. 
Bissell testified that the effort against Castro was called off after the 
Bay of Pigs, (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 52) and Maheu testified that he had 
no involvement in the operation after the Bay of Pigs. (Maheu, 
9/23/75, p. 50) The Support Chief however, was certain that it oc- 
cured during early 1962. (O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 47-48) 

(c) Use of Underworld Figures: Plxasell {Post Bay of Pigs) 
(i) Change in Leadership 

The Inspector General's Report divides the gambling syndicate 
operation into Phase I, terminating with the Bay of Pigs, and Phase 

1 Maheu said that the poison, which he was shown on one occasion bv the Support Chief 
consisted of five or six gelatin capsules filled with a liquid. (Maheu, 9/2.3/75. pp. .S5-36) 
Rosselli described the poison as "capsules." (Rosselli, 9/22/75, p. 4) 

2 The Committee has been unable to locate the newspaper account described by Shimon. 


II, continuing with the transfer of the operation to William Harvey 
in late 1961.^ The distinction between a clearly demarcated Phase I and 
Phase II may be an artificial one. as there is considerable evidence that 
the operation was continuous, perhaps lying dormant for the period 
immediately following the Bay of Pigs.^ 

In early 1961, Harvey was assigned the responsibility for establish- 
ing a general capability within the CIA for disabling foreign leaders, 
including assassination as a "last resort." (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 73; 
Harvey, 6/25/75, pp. 34-35) The capability was called Executive 
Action and was later included under the cryptonym ZR/RIFLE. Ex- 
ecutive Action and the evidence relating to its connection to the 
""Wliite House" and to whether or not it involved action as well as 
"capability" is discussed extensively infra in Section (III) (c), p. 181. 

Harvey's notes reflect that Bissell asked him to take over the 
gambling syndicate operation from Edwards and that they discussed 
the "application of ZR/RIFLE program to Cuba" on Novemljer 16, 
1961. (I.G. Report, p. 39) Bissell confirmed that the convereation took 
place and accepted the November date as accurate. (Bissell, 7/17/75, 
pp. 12-13) He also testified that the operation "was not reactivated, 
in other words, no instructions went out to Rosselli or to others * * * 
to renew the attempt, until after I had left the Agency in February 
1962." (Bissell, 6/11/75, pp. 52-53.) Harvey agreed that his conversa- 
tion with Bissell was limited to exploring the feasibility of using the 
gambling syndicate against Castro. (Harvey, 7/11/75. p. 60) 

Richard Helms replaced Bissell as DDP in February 1962. As such, 
he was Harvey's superior. The degree to which Helms knew about and 
participated in the assassination plot is discussed in the section of this 
Report dealing with the level to which the plots were authorized 
within the Agency. 

{ii) T?ie Operation Is Reactivated 

In early April 1962, Harvey, who testified that he was acting on 
"explicit orders" from HelmSs (Harvey, 7/11/75, p. 18), requested 
Edwards to put him in touch with Rosselli. (Edwards memo, 
5/14/62) The Support Chief first introduced Harvey to Rosselli in 
Miami, where Harvey told Rosselli to maintain his Cuban contacts, 
but not to deal with Maheu or Giancana, (O.C., 5/30/75, p. 50; Ros- 
selli. 6/24/75, pp. 27-30) whom he had decided were "untrustworthy" 
and "surplus." (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 65) The Support Chief recalled 
that initially Rosselli did not trust Harvey although they subse- 
quently developed a close friendship. (O.C, 5/30/75, p. 52) 

1 Harvey had a long background in clandestine activities. At the time the gambling 
syndicate operation was moved under Harvey's supervision, he was responsible for a 
number of important activities and soon thereafter was selected to head of Task Force 
W, the CIA component of the Kennedy Administration's cover effort to oust Castro. 

2 Harevy said that he took over a "going operation" from Edwards (I.G. Report, p. 42 ; 
Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 67) and emphasized that: "I would like to make as clear as I can 
that there was no Phase 1. Phase 2 in this. This is an ongoing matter which I was 
injected into * • ». (Harvey, 6/25/75v, p. 90) 

Continuity was provided by retaining the Support Chief as the case officer for the 
project well into May 1962. During interviews for the Inspector General's Report, the 
Support Chief recalled that there was "something going on" between the Bay of Pigs and 
Harvey's assumption of control (I.G. Report, p. 4.S). When testifying before the Com 
mittee, the Support Chief firmly recalled several trips to Miami in the fall of 1961, an'' 
"right up to the time I turned it over to Harvey I was in and out of Miami." (O.C 
5/30/75, pp. 89-90) 


Harvey, the Support Chief and Rosselli met for a second time in 
New York on April 8-9, 1962. (I.G. Report, p. 43) A notation made 
during tliis time in the files of the Technical Services Division indi- 
cates that four poison pills were given to the Support Chief on April 18, 
1962. (I.G. Report, pp. 46-47) The pills were passed to Harvey, who 
arrived in Miami on April 21, and found Rosselli already in touch 
with the same Cuban who had been involved in the pre- Bay of Pigs 
pill passage. (I.G. Report, p. 47) He gave the pills to Rosselli, ex- 
plaining that "these would work anywhere and at any time with any- 
thing." (Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 31) Rosselli testified that he told Harvey 
that the Cubans intended to use the pills to assassinate Che Guevara as 
well as Fidel and Raul Castro. According to Rosselli's testimony, 
Harvey approved of the targets, stating "everything is all right, what 
they want to do." ( Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 34 ) ^ 

The Cuban requested arms and equipment as a quid pro quo for 
carrying out the assassination operation. (O.C.. 5/30/75, pp. 53-54) 
With the help of the CIA's Miami station which ran covert opera- 
tions against Cuba (JM/WAVE), Harvey procured explosives, deto- 
nators, rifles, handguns, radios, and boat radar costing about $5,000. 
(I.G. Report, p. 49) Harvey and the chief of tlie JM/WAVE 
station rented a IT-Haul truck under an assumed name and delivered 
the equipment to a parking lot. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 63) The keys 
were given to Rosselli, who watched the delivery with the Support 
Chief from across the street. (O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 92-93) The truckload 
of equipment was finally picked up by either the Cuban or Rosselli's 
agent. (I.G. Report, pp. 49-50; Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 40) Harvey testi- 
fied that the arms "could" have been for use in the assassination 
attempt, but that they were not given to the Cuban solely for tliat 
purpose. (Harvey, 7/11/75, p. 9) 

Rosselli kept Harvey informed of the operation's progress. Some- 
time in May 1962. he reported that the ]>ills and gims had arrived in 
Cuba. (Harvey, p. 64; Rosselli, 6/24/75, pp. 34, 42-43) On 
June 21, he told Harvey that the Cuban had dispatched a three-man 
team to Cuba. The Inspector General's report described the team's 
mission as "vague" and conjectured that the team would kill Castro or 
recruit othere to do the job, using the poison pills if the opportunity 
arose. (I.G. Report, 6/2/75, p. 51) 

Harvey met Rosselli in Miami on September 7 and 11, 1962. The 
Cuban was reported to be preparing to send in another three-man 
team to penetrate Castro's bodyguard. Harvey was told that the pills, 
referred to as "the medicine," were still "safe" in Cuba. (Harvev. 
6/25/75, p. 103 ; I.G. Report p. 51 ) 

Harvey testified that by this time he had grave doubts about whether 
the operation would ever take place, and told Rosselli that "there's not 
much likelihood that this is going anyplace, or that it should be con- 
tinued." (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 104) The second team never left for 
Cuba, claiming that "conditions" in Cuba were not right. (I.G. Report, 
pp. 51-52) During early January 1963. Harvey paid Rosselli 
$2,700 to defray the Cuban's expenses. (I.G. Report, p. 52). Harvey 
terminated the opei-ation in mid-February 1963. At a meeting 
with Rosselli in Los Angeles, it was agreed tliat Rosselli would taper 
off his communications with the Cubans. (I.G. Report, pp. 52-53) 
Rosselli testified that he simply broke off contact with the Cubans. 


However, he never informed them that the oflfer of $150,000 for 
Castro's assassination had been withdrawn.^ (Rosselli, 6/24/75, p. 45) 

The agency personnel who deah with Rosselli attributed his motiva- 
tion to patriotism - and testified tliat he v>'as not paid for his services. 
According to the Support Chief, Rosselli "paid his way, he paid his 
own hotel fees, he paid his own travel. * * * And he never took a 
nickel, he said, no, as long as it is for the Government of the United 
States, this is the least I can do, because I owe it a lot."' (O.C., 5/30/75, 
p. 27) 

Edwards agreed that Rosselli was "never paid a cent," (Edwards, 
5/30/75, p. 16) and Maheu testified that ''Giancana was paid nothing 
at all, not even for expenses, and that Mr, Rosselli was given a pittance 
that did not even begin to cover his expenses." (IMaheu, 7/29/75. p. 68) 
It is clear, however, that the CIA did pay Rosselli's hotel bill during 
his stay in Miami in October 1960.^ The CIA's involvement with Ros- 
selli caused the Agency some difficulty during Rosselli's subsequent 
prosecutions for fraudulent gambling activities and living in the 
countr}^ under an assumed name.* 

(d) Plans in Early 1963 

Two plans to assassinate Castro were explored by Task Force W, 
the CIA section then concerned Avitli covert Cuban operations, in early 
1963. Desmond Fitzgerald (now deceased). Chief of the Task Force, 
asked his assistant to determine whether an exotic seashell, riggect 
to explode, could be deposited in an area where Castro commonlj' went 
skin diving. (Assistant. 9/18/75. p. 28) The idea was explored by the 
Technical Services Division and discarded as impractical. (Helms, 
6/13/75, p. 135 ; I.G. Report, p. 77) 

A second plan involved having James Donovan (who was negotiat- 
ing with Castro for the release of prisoners taken during the Bay of 
Pigs operation) present Castro with a contaminated diving suit.^ 
(Colby, 5/21/75, pp. 38-39) 

1 "Q : As far as those Cubans knew, then the offer which they understood from you to 
come from Wall Street was still outstanding? 

"A : I don't know if they still think so * * * I didn't see them after that to tell them 
that. (Rosspri. 6/24/7.5, p. 45)' 

-Rosselli claims that he was motivated by "honor and dedication." (Rosselli. 6/24/75, 
p. 59) 

In 1943. Rosselli had been convicted of extorting money from motion picture producers 
to insure studios against labor strikes, and during the period of his contacts with the CIA, 
Rosselli was deeply involved in hotel and gambling operations in Las Vegas. (File R-oOo, 
Summary of FBI Documents) It is possible that he believed cooperating with the govern- 
ment in the assassination operation might serve him well in the future. 

^FBI reports reveal that Rosselli's expenses at the Kennilworth Hotel, where he was 
registered from October 11-.30. 1960, under the name of J. A. Rollins, were paid by Maheu. 
FBI file summary p. 10^ Maheu's expenses were reimbursed by the CIA. 

* In May 1966, the FBI threatened to deport Rosselli for living in the United States 
under .in assiimed name unless he coopprated in an investigation of the ^Mafia. (Rosselli. 
whose true name is Filippo Saco, was born in Italy and was allegedly brought illegally into 
the T'nited States while still a child. 1 Rosselli contacted Edwards, who informed the 
FBI that Rosselli wanted to "keep square with the Bureau." but was afraid that gangsters 
might kill him for "talking." (Memo. Osborn to FBI, 5/27/66) After Rosselli was 
arrested for fraudulent gambling activities at the Friars Club in Beverly Hills in 1967, 
he requested Harvey, who had left the Agency, to represent him. (Memo for Record by 
Osborn. 12/11/67) Harvey contacted the Agency and suggested that it prevent the prosecu- 
tion. (Osborn Memo, xupra) Rosselli was subsequently convicted of violating United States 
interstate gambling laws. In 1971, the CIA approached the Immigration and Naturaliza- 
tion Service. Department of Justice, to "forestall public disclosure of Rosselli's past 
onerationnl activitv with CIA" that might occur if deportation nrocjeedings were brought. 
(Letter. CIA to Select Committee. 7/21/75) It was agreed that CIA would be kept informed 
of developments in that case. The deportation order is presently being litigated in the 

^ Donovan was not aware of the plan. 

The Inspector General's Report dates this operation in January 
1963, when Fitzgerald replaced Harvey as Chief of Task Force W, 
although it is unclear whether Harvey or Fitzgerald conceived the 
plan. (I.G. Report, p. 75) It is likely that the activity took place 
earlier, since Donovan had completed his negotiations by the 
middle of January 1963. Helms characterized the plan as "cockeyed." 
(Helms, 6/13/75, p. 135) 

The Technical Services Division bought a diving suit, dusted the 
inside with a fungus that would produce a chronic skin disease (Ma- 
dura foot), and contaminated the breathing apparatus with a 
tubercule bacillus. The Inspector General's Report states that the plan 
was abandoned because Donovan gave Castro a different diving suit on 
his own initiative. (I.G., Report, p. 75) Helms testified that the diving 
suit never left the laboratory. (Helms, 6/13/75 p. 135) 

(e) AM /LASH 

(i) Origin of the Project 

In early 1961, a CIA official met with a highly-placed Cuban official 
to determine if the Cuban would cooperate in efforts against the 
Castro regime. (I.G. Report, p. 78) The Cuban was referred to by 
the cryptonym AM/LASH.^ The meeting was inconclusive, but led to 
subsequent meetings at which AM/LASH agreed to cooperate with the 

The CIA regarded AM/LASH as an important "asset'' inside 
Cuba. As a high-ranking leader who enjoyed the confidence of Fidel 
Castro, AM/LASH could keep the CIA informed of the internal 
workings of the reo:ime. (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, pp. 23, 40) It was also 
believed that he might play a part in fomenting a coup within Cuba. 
(Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, p. 43) ^ 

From the first contact wirh AM/LASH until the latter part of 
1963, it was uncertain whether he would defect or remain in Cuba. 
His initial requests to the CIA and FBI for aid in defecting were re- 
bufled. (I.G. Report, pp. 80, 82-83) When Case Officer 1 joined the 
operation in June 1962, his assignment was to ensure that AM/LASH 
would "stay in place and report to us." (Case Officer 1, 8/11/75, p. 38) 
At a meeting in the fall of 1963, AM/LASH 1 stated that 
he would remain in Cuba if he "could do something really significant 
for the creation of a new Cuba" and expi-essed a desire to plan the 
"execution" of Fidel Castro. (Case Officer 1 Contact Report) The 
subject of assassinating Castro was again discussed by AM /LASH 
and the case officer at another meeting a few days later. The case 
officer's contact report, states that assassination was raised in dis- 
cussing AM/LASH's role in Cuba, and that AM/LASH was visibly 
upset. "It was not the act that he objected to, but merely the choice of 

1 The Committee has taken the testimony of the two case officers Involved In the 
AM/LASH project. Case officer 1 dealt with AM/LASH through September 1963; Case 
officer 2 continued until mid-1965. (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75. p. 11) The Committee has 
agreed not to divulge their names as they are still in active service with the Agencv. 

2 AM/LASH was the major "asset" in the AM/LASH operation. During this period the 
CIA also sponsored a separate operation to "penetrate the Cuban military to encourage 
either defections or an attempt to produce information from dissidents, or perhaps 
even to forming a group which would be capable of replacing the then present govern- 
ment In Cuba. (Case Officer 1, 8/11/75. pp. 18, 22) The case officers for AM/LASH wer* 
also Involved in this second related program. 


the word used to describe it. 'Eliminate' ^yas acceptable." (Case Officer 
1, Contact Report) 

Each case officer testified that he did not ask AINI/LASH to assassi- 
nate Castro. The record clearly reveals, however, that both officers 
were aware of his desire to take such action. A cable to Headquarters 
reporting on a 1963 meeting with AM/LASH stated : 

Have no intention give AM/LASH physical elimination mission as requirement 
but recognize this something he could or might try to carry out on his own 

At a meeting late in the fall of 1963, AM/LASH again raised the 
possibility of defecting, but indicated that he Avould be willing 
to continue working against the Castro Regime if he received firm 
assurances of American support. According to Case Officer 2, AM/ 
LASH requested military supplies, a device with which to protect 
himself if his plots against Castro were discovered, and a meeting 
with Attorne}' General Robert Kennedy. (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, pj». 

Desmond Fitzgerald, Chief of the Special Affairs Staff,^ agreed to 
meet AM/LASH and give him the assurances he sought. The Inspec- 
tor GeneraPs Report states that Fitzgerald consulted with the DDP, 
Helms, who agreed that Fitzgerald should hold himself out as a 
personal representative of Attorney General Kennedv. (I.G. Report, 
p. 89) ^ 

Hehns testified that he did not recall the coiiversation with Fitz- 
gerald. He also said that he had not consulted the Attorney General 
and speculated that his reason for not having done so might have been 
because "this was so central to the whole theme of what we had been 
trying to do * * * (find someone inside Cuba who might head a gov- 
ernment and have a group to replace Castro). This is obviously what 
we had been pusliing, what everybody had been pushing for us to try 
to do, and it is in that context that I would have made some remark 
like this." (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 117) 

Helms recalled that he told Fitzgerald to "go ahead and say that 
from the standpoint of political support, the United States govern- 
ment will be behind you if you are successful. This had nothing to do 
with killings. This had only to do with the political action part of it." 
(Helms. 6/13/75, p. 131) 

Fitzgerald met AiNI/LASH in late fall 1963 and promised him 
that the TTnited States would support a coup against Castro. (Case 

1^ Case Officer 1 testified that AM/LASH discussed "eliminating" Castro, although he 
attributed such remarks to AM/LASH's '"mercurial" nature, and stated that no specific 
plans for assassinations were ever discussed. (Case Officer 1, 8/11/75, pp. 39-41. 62) 
The Case Officer who took over the AM/LASH project in September 1963 recalled being 
briefed by Case Officer 1 on AM/LASH's belief that Castro's assassination was a necessary 
first step in a coup. (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, p. 28) 

The second AM/ LASH Case Officer described the context in which AM/LASH generally 
raised the topic of assassination : 

"You also must recognize that AM/LASH was a rather temperamental man whose tem- 
perament was of a mercurial nature and whereas he may have said something like this in one 
fit of pique, he would settle down and talk about organizing a regular military coup in the 
next breath." (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, p. 29) 

2 The Special Affairs Staff (SAS) was the name given to Task P''orce W in early 1963 
when Fitzgerald replaced Harvey as head of the covert Cuban operations. The AM/LASH 
Case Officers reported directly to Fitzgerald. 

3 The contact plan for the proposed meeting stated : "Fitzgerald will represent self as 
personal representative of Robert F. Kennedy who travelled to (foreign city) for spe- 
cific purpose meeting AM/LASH and giving him assurances of full support with a change 
of the present government in Cuba." 

Officer 2, 8/1/75, p. 60) ^ When later interviewed for the Inspector 
General's Report, Fitzgerald recalled that AM/LASH repeatedly re- 
quested an assassination weapon, particularly a "high-powered rifle 
with telescopic sights that could be used to kill Castro from a dis- 
tance." Fitzgerald stated that he told AM/LASH that the United 
States would have "no part of an attempt on Castro's life." (I.G. Re- 
port, p. 90) Case Officer 2 recalled that AM/LASH raised the pros- 
pect of assassinating Castro, but did not propose an explicit plan. 
(Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, pp. 62, 85) AM/LASH was, however, "con- 
vinced that Castro had to be removed from power before a coup could 
be undertaken in Cuba." (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, p. 61) 

AM/LASH also requested high-powered rifles and grenades. (Case 
Officer 2, 8/1/75, p. 77) A memorandum by Case Officer 2 states : 

C/SAS [Fitzgerald] approved telling AM/LASH he would be given a cache 
inside Cuba. Cache could, if he requested it, include * * * high-powered rifles 
with scopes * * *. 

AM/LASH was told on November 22, 1963 that the cache would be 
dropped in Cuba. (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, p. 92) 

(ii) The Poison Pen Device 

Another device offered to AM/LASH was a ball-point pen rigged 
with a hypodermic needle. (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, p. 110) The needle 
was designed to be so fine that the victim would not notice its insertion. 
Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, p. 103) 

According to the Inspector General's Repo t, when Case Officer 2 
was interviewed in 1967, he stated that AM/LASH had requested the 
Agency to "devise some technical means of doing the job that would 
not automatically cause him to lose his own life in the try." (I.G. Re- 
port, p. 92) 

The Report concluded that : "although none of the participants so 
stated, it may be inferred that they were seeking a means of assassina- 
tion of a sort that AM/LASH might reasonably have been expected 
to have devised himself." (I.G. Report, p. 92) 

Fitzgerald's assistant told the Committee that the pen was intended 
to show "bona fides" and "the orders were to do something to get rid 
of Castro * * * and we thought this other method might work whereas 
a rifle wouldn't." (Assistant, 9/18/75, p. 26) 

Helms confirmed that the pen was manufactured "to take care of 
a request from him that he have some device for getting rid of Castro, 
for killing him, murdering him, whatever the case may be." (Helms, 
6/13/75, p. 113) 

"* * * [t]his was a temporizing gesture." (Helms, 6/11/75, p. 133) ^ 

^ Case Officer 2 was present at the meeting. He did not recall whether Robert Kennedy's 
name was used. (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, p. 60) 

- In his testimony before the Committee, Case Officer 2 offered a conflicting story. He 
said that the purpose of the pen was "to provide AM/LASH with a device which would 
serve him to protect him in case he was confronted with and charged with being in- 
volved in a military coup against Castro." (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, p. 107) 
According to the case officer, AM/LASH had requested an "esoteric device" which could 
easily be concealed which he could use in self-defense. (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, pp. 
98-99) The device was not intended for offensive use against any person, but was 
rather "a kind of psychological crutch ... to help him think that we were interested 
In his own protection, his own security. (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, pp. 104-105) This 
version is wholly inconsistent with documents in the CIA flies, some of which were 
written by the AM/LASH case officer, which establish that AM/LASH Intended to 
kill Castro, and that the CIA knew his desire and endeavored to supply the means 
that he needed. These documents are set forth in the following text. 


On November 22, 1963, Fitzgerald and the case officer met with 
AM/LASH and offered him the poison pen, recommending that he use 
Blackleaf-40, a deadly poison which is commercially available. (Case 
Officer 2, 8/1/75, p. 112) The Inspector General's Report noted that 
"it is likely that at the very moment President Kennedy was shot, a 
CIA officer was meeting with a Cuban agent * * * and giving him an 
assassination device for use against Castro." (I.G. Report, p. 94) 

The case officer later recalled that AM/LASH did not "think much 
of the device," and complained that CIA could surely "come up with 
something more sophisticated than that." (I.G. Report, p. 93a). 

The case officer recalled offering the pen to AM/LASH, but could 
not remember whether AM/LASH threw it away then or took it with 
him. (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, pp. 105, 110) He did recall that AM/ 
LASH said he would not take the pen back to Cuba, but did not 
know what AM/LASH in fact did with the pen. (Case Officer 2, 
8/1/75, pp. 110-111) 

An entry in the CIA AM/LASH files written in 1965 states: 

Although Fitzgerald and the case oflBcer assured AM/LASH on November 22, 
1963 that CIA would give him everything he needed ( telescopic sight, silencer, all 
the money he wanted) the situation changed when the case officer and Fitzgerald 
left the meeting to discover that President Kennedy had been assassinated. Be- 
cause of this fact, plans with AM/LASH changed and it was decided that we 
could have no part in the assassination of a government leader (including 
Castro) and would not aid AM/LASH in this attempt * * *. AM/LASH was not 
informed of (this decision) until he was seen by the case officer in November, 

In fact, however, assassination efforts involving AM/LASH con- 
tinued into 1965. 

(iii) Providing AM/LASH loith Arms 

CIA cables indicate that one cache of arms for AM/LASH was de- 
livered in Cuba in March 1964 and another in June. An entry in the 
AM/LASH file for May 5, 1964 states that the case officer requested 
the Technical Services Division to produce, on a "crash basis," a 
silencer which would fit an FAL rifle. The contact report of a meeting 
between the case officer and a confidante of AM/LASH states that 
AM/LASH was subsequently informed that it was not feasible to 
make a silencer for an FAL rifle. 

Toward the latter part of 1964, AM/LASH became more insistent 
that the assassination of the Cuban leadership was a necessary initial 
step in a successful coup. (Case Officer 2, 8/1/75, pp. 129-133) A 
memorandum written in the fall of 1964 stated : 

AM/LASH was told and fully understands that the United States Govern- 
ment cannot become involved to any degree in the "first step" of his plan. If he 
needs support, he realizes he will have to get it elsewhere. FYI : This is where 
B-1 could fit in nicely in giving any support he would request. 

Documents in tl^e AM/LASH file establish that in early 1965, the 
CIA put AM/LASH in contact with B-1, the leader of an anti-Castro 
group. As the Case Officer explained to the Inspector General : 

* * * What had happened was that SAS had contrived to put B-1 and AM/ 
LASH together in such a way that neither of them knew that the contact had 
been engineered by CIA. The thought was that B-1 needed a man inside and 


AM/LASH wanted a silenced weapon, which CIA was unwilling to furnish to 
him directly. By putting the two together, B-1 might get its man inside Cuba 
and AM/LASH might get his silenced weapon — from B-1. (I.G., Reiwrt p. 101) 

A report of a meeting between a case officer and B-1 states that B-1, 
in his initial contacts with AM/LASH, discussed plans for assassinat- 
ing Castro. AM/LASH suggested that guerrilla raids against Cuba 
should be stepped up one month before the "attempt on Fidel Castro"' 
to "prepare the public and raise the morale and resistance spirit of the 
people." B-1 reported that: 

AM/LASH believed that the only solution to the problems in Cuba would be 
to get rid of Fidel Castro. He is able either to shoot him with a silencer or 
place a bomb in some place where Fidel will be. He might use, for example, n 
small bomb, that he can carry and place, or with his group attack the residence 
where Fidel lives * * * B-1 is going to provide AM/LASH with escape routes and 
places where B-1 is able to pick him up. He will memorize these points and 
escape routes * * * Next, B-1 is to provide AM/LASH either a silencer for a FAL 
or a rifle with a silencer. 

A CIA document dated January 3, 1965 states that B-1, in a lengthy 
interview with a case officer, said that he and AM/LASH had reached 
firm agreement on the following points : 

1. B-1 is to provide AM/LASH with a silencer for the FAL; if this is im- 
possible, B-1 is to cache in a designated location a rifle with a scope and silencer 
plus several bombs, concealed either in a suitcase, a lamp or some other conceal- 
ment device which he would be able to carry, and place next to Fidel Castro. 

2. B-1 is to provide AM/LrASH with escape routes controlled by B-1 and 
not by the Americans. The lack of confidence built up by the Bay of Pigs looms 

3. B-1 is to prepare one of the western provinces, either Pinar del Rio or 
Havana, with arms caches and a clandestine underground mechanism. This 
would be a fall back ix)sition and a safe area where men and weapons are avail- 
able to the group. 

4. B-1 is to be in Cuba one week before the elimination of Fidel, but no 
one, including AM/LASH, will know B-l's location. 

5. B-1 is to arrange for recognition by at least five Latin American countries 
as soon as Fidel is neutralized and a junta is formed. This junta will be estab- 
lished even though Raul Castro and Che Guevara may still be alive and may 
still be in control of part of the country. This is the reason AM/LASH requested 
that B-1 be able to establish some control over one of the provinces so that the 
junta can be formed in that location. 

6. One month to the day before the neutralization of Fidel, B-1 will increase 
the number of commando attacks to a maximum in order to raise the spirit and 
morale of the people inside Cuba. In all communiques, in all radio messages, 
in all propaganda put out by B-1 he must relate that the raid was possible 
thanks to the information received from clandestine sources inside Cuba and 
from the clandestine underground apparatus directed by "P". This will be 
AM/LASH's war name. 

A CIA cable dated in early 1965 stated that B-1 had given AM/ 
LASH a silencer and that AM/LASH had "small, highly concen- 
trated explosives." Shortly afterwards, a CIA station cabled that 
AM/LASH would soon receive "one pistol with silencer and one FAL 
rifle with a silencer from B-l's secretary." A subsequent cable re- 
ported that "B-1 had three packages of special items made up by his 
technical people and delivered to AM/LASH." (I.G., Report p. 103) 

In June 1965, CIA terminated all contact with AM/LASH and 
his associates for reasons related to security. (I.G., Report pp. 



(a) The Question Presented 

As explained in the preceding section, Richard Bissell clearly 
authorized the U\o attempts to assassinate Cuban leaders that oc- 
curred during his tenure as Deputy Director of Plans — the incident 
involving a Cuban in contact with Raul Castro and the attempt in- 
volving underworld figures that took place prior to the Bay of Pigs. 
It is also clear that Bissell's successor, Richard Helms, authorized 
and was aware of the attempt on Castro's life involving underworld 
figures that took place the year following the Bay of Pigs, although 
the degree of Helms' participation in the details of the plot is not 

Helms also authorized and was aware of the AM/LASH operation, 
although it is not certain that he knew that AM/LASH intended to 
assassinate Castro.^ The evidence indicates that the exploding sea- 
shell and diving suit schemes were abandoned at the laboratory stage 
and that no authorization was sought for their development or even- 
tual use. 

This section deals with whether the Director of Central Intelligence, 
Allen Dulles, and his successor, John McCone, authorized or were 
aware of the assassination plots. Dulles served as DCI from 1953 to 
November 1961. McCone was DCI from November 1961 to April 1965.^ 
General Charles Cabell served as Deputy Director of Central Intelli- 
gence under Dulles and continued into the early months of McCone's 
term. He was replaced as DDCI in April 1962 by General Marshall 

In summary, the evidence relating to Dulles and McCone (and their 
respective Deputy DCI's) is as follows : 

(i) Dulles. — Bissell and Edwards testified that they were certain 
that both Dulles and his Deputy General Cabell were aware of and 
authorized the initial phase of the assassination ploi involving under- 
world figures. They acknowledged, however, that Dulles and Cabell 
were not told about the plot until after the underworld figures had 
been contacted. The words said to have been used to brief the Director 
and his Deputy — "an intelligence operation" — do not convey on their 

* William Harvey testified that he kept Helms informed of the operation involving the 
underworld at all stages. (Harvey, 6/25/75, pp. 65-66) When interviewed for the Inspec- 
tor General's Report, Harvey said that he briefed Helms on his first meeting with Rosselli, 
and "thereafter he regularly briefed Helms on the status of the Castro operation." (I.G. 
Report, p. 41). 

Helms' recollection was less certain. Helms did recall that he was briefed by Harvey 
when Harvey first contacted Rosselli in April 1962. He remembered that he "reluctantly" 
had approved the operation, but that he had no confidence that it would succeed. (Helms, 
7/17/75, p. 23) 

When asked if he authorized sending the poison pills to Florida, Helms testified : 

"I believe they were poison pills, and I don't recall necessarily approving them, but 
since Harvey alleges to have them and says that he took them to Miami, I must have 
authorized them in some fashion." (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 44) 

Helms confirmed that Harvey was "reporting quite regularly what was going on. Whether 
he reported everything or not, I do not know." It was Helms' expectation that Harvey 
would have reported to him a matter such as the pills. (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 105) However, 
Helms also testified : 

"You saw the I.G. Report says that I was kept currently informed. Maybe I was and 
maybe I wasn't, and today I don't remember it, as I have said. But I do not recall ever 
having been convinced that any attempt was really made on Castro's life." (Helms, 7/1S/75, 
p. 32) 

a Whether Helms was aware of AMLASH's intention specifically to assassinate Castro, as 
opposed to AM/LASH's potential for leading a coup against Castro, is discussed infra, 
pp. 174-175. 

3 Bissell served as DDP from January 1. 1959, to February 17, 1962. (President Ken- 
nedy decided to replace Dulles and Bissell because of the failure of the Bay of Pigs (Bis- 
sell! 6/9/75, pp. 6-S.) ] Helms, who had been Bissell's Deputy, succeeded Bissell in 
February 1962 as DDP, He was appointed DDCI in April 1965, and DCI in June 1966. 


face that the plot involved assassination, although Bissell and Ed- 
wards insist that the real meaning must have been understood. Certain 
other evidence before the Committee suggests that Dulles and Cabell 
did know about the assassination plots; other evidence suggests that 
they did not. (See subsection (b) below.) 

(ii) McC one. —McCone, testified that he did not know about or 
authorize the plots. Helms. Bissell and Harvey all testified that they 
did not know whether McCone knew of the assassination plots. Each 
said, however, that he did not tell McCone of the assassination efforts 
either when McCone assumed the position of DCI in November 1961 
or at any time thereafter until August 1963, when Helms gave McCone 
a memorandum from w^hich McCone concluded that the operation 
with underworld figures prior to the Bay of Pigs had involved 
assassination. The Inspector General's Report states that Harvey re- 
ceived Helms' approval not to brief McCone when the assassination 
efforts were resumed in 1962. Harvey testified tliis accorded with his 
recollection. On other occasions when it would have l)een appropriate 
to do so, Helms and Harvey did not tell McCone about assassination 
activity. Helms did not i-ecall any agreement not to brief INIcCone, 
but he did not question the position taken by Harvey or the Inspector 
General's Report. Helms did say that McCone never told him not 
to assassinate Castro. (These matters, as well as the various reasons 
put forward by Harvey and Helms for not briefing McCone, are set 
forth in Section (c) below.) 

(b) Did Allen Dulles Knoio of or Authonze the Initial Plots Against 


Both Allen Dulles and General Cabell are deceased. The Commit- 
tee's investigation of this question relied on the available documents 
and the testimony of those who served under Dulles and Cabell w^ho 
are still living.^ 

(^) Dulles'' Approval of J. C. King^s Deceml)er 1959 Memoran- 
dum. — On December 11, 1959, J. C. King, head of CIA's Western 
Hemisphere Division, wrote a memorandum to Dulles observing that 
a "far left" dictatorship now existed in Cuba which, "if" permitted 
to stand, will encourage similar actions against U.S. holdings m other 
Latin American countries. 

One of King's four "Recommended Actions" was : 

Thorough consideration be given to the elimination of Fidel Castro. None 
of those close of Mdel, such as his brother Raul or his companion Che Guevara, 
have the same mesmeric appeal to the masses. Many informed i)eople believe 
that the disappearance of Fidel would greatly accelerate the fall of the present 

A handwritten note indicates that Dulles, with Bissell's concur- 
rence, approved the recommendations.'^ ' 

1 This evidence relates to the aborted incident In July 1960 and what the Inspector 
General's Report referred to as the Initial phase of the assassination effort involving the 
underworld. With respect to the "schemes" prior to that operation, the I. G. Report 
concluded it could "find no evidence that any of the schemes vs-ere approved at any level 
higher than division, if that." (I. G. Report, p. 10) 

a The Inspector General questioned neither Dulles nor Cabell in preparing his Report 
in 1967, although both were then alive. 

^ The Committee received this document on November 15, 197.o, after printing of this 
Report had begun. As a consequence, there was no opportunity to question either King 
or Bissell concerning the meaning of "elimination", what consideration was in fact given 
to Castro's "elimination", and whether any planning resulting from this document in fact 
led to the actiial plots. In this regard it should be noted that Bissell had a "dim recollec- 
tion" of a conversation prior to early autumn or late summer 1960 with King (the author 
of the above memorandum) concerning a "capability to eliminate Castro if such action 
should be decided upon". (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 19) See p. 74. 


(ii) DtiJles' January J 960 /State fnent to the Special Group. — On Jan- 
uary 13, 1960, Allen Dulles, in what Avas apparently the first Special 
Group discussion of a covert program to overthrow Castro, emphasized 
that ''a quick elimination of Castro" was not contemplated b}' the CIA. 
(Special Group Minutes, 1/13/60) According to the minutes, Dulles 
first "noted the possibility that over the long run the U.S. will not be 
able to tolerate the Castro regime in Cuba, and suggested that covert 
contingency planning to accomplish the fall of the Castro govern- 
ment might be in order." Then in response to the State Department 
representative's comment that "timing was very important so as to 
permit a solidly ba.sed opix)sition to take over," Dulles "* * * empha- 
sized that we do not have in mind a quick elimination of Castro, but 
rather actions designed to enable responsible opposition leaders to get 
a foothold." 

(m) Meetings in March 1960. — ^According to a memorandum of a 
meeting on March 9, 1960, J. C. King, Chief of CIA'S Western Hemi- 
sphere Division, told the Task Force which was in charge of Cuban 
operations : 

That the DCI is presenting a special policy paiJer to the NSC 5412 representa- 
tives. He mentioned growing evidence that certain of the "Heads" in the Castro 
government have been pushing for an attack on the U.S. Navy installation at 
Guantanamo Bay and said that an attack on the installation is in fact, jwssible. 

3. Col. King stated * * * that unless Fidel and Raul Castro and Che Guevara 
could be eliminated in one imckage — ^which is hig'hly unlikely — this oi)eration can 
be a long, drawn-out affair and the present government will only be overthrown 
by the use of force." [Memo for the Record, March 9, 1960. (Emphasis added.)] 

A lengthy meeting of the National Security Council on the follow- 
ing day involved a discussion of American policy to "bring another 
government to power in Cuba." The minutes of that meeting report 
that : 

Admiral Burke thought we needed a Cuban leader around whom anti-Castro 
elements could rally. Mr. Dulles said some anti-Castro leaders existed, but they 
are not in Cuba at present. Tlie President said we might have another Black 
Hole of Calcutta in Cuba, and he wondered what we could do about such a 
situation * * * Mr. Dulles rei)orted that a plan to effect the situation in Cuba 
was being worked on. Admiral Burke suggested that any plan for the removal of 
Cuban leaders should be a package deal, since many of the leaders around Castro 
were even worse than Castro. (Id., 9) (Emphasis added.) 

On March 14, Dulles and J. C. King attended a Special Group meet- 
ing at the White House. The minutes state that : 

There was a general discussion as to what would be the effect on the Cuban 
scene if Fidel and Raul Castro and Che Guevara should disappear simultaneously. 
Admiral Burke said that the only organized group within Cuba today were the 
Communists and t'lere was therefore the danger that they might move into con- 
trol. Mr. Dulles felt this might not be disadvantageous because it would facilitate 
a multilateral action by OAS. Col. King said there were few leaders capable of 
taking over so far identified. [Memo for the Record, March 15, 19()0 (Emphasis 

Particii)ants in these National Security Council and Special Group 
meetings testified that assassination Avas neither discussed nor con- 
sidered. That testimony and details concerning the context of those 
meetings is set forth fully in the section dealing with whether Presi- 
dent Eisenhower was aware of the plots against Castro. 

{iv) Rescission of Accid-ent Plot in July 1960. — As discussed above 
(pp. 72-73), in July 1960, Bissell's assistant, Tracy Barnes, approved 
sending a cable to CIA's Havana station stating that "possible re- 
moval of top three leaders receiving serious consideration at Head- 


quarters," and giving instructions to carry out a plan to kill Raul 
Castro. J- C. King was the authenticating officer on the cable. A few 
hours lat«r a second cable, bearing only Barnes' signature, rescinded 
the first. 

King told the Committee that he remembered nothing of this event, 
and Barnes is deceased. Bissell testified that he did not remember the 
incident and that he did not know whether Dulles had known about 
the cable. (Bissell, 9/10/75, p. 74) When asked why the cable might 
have been rescinded, Bissell speculated that 

It may well have embodied a judgment on Dulles' part that this effort con- 
cerning Raul Castro was altogether too risky, and technically not sufficiently 
likely of success (Bissell, 9/10/75, p. 76) 

He speculated further that Headquarters might have been considering 
the elimination of all three Cuban leaders, and that the cable author- 
izing the assassination of Raul was rescinded because it fell short of 
that broader objective. (Bissell, 9/10/75, pp. 76-77) 

The Executive Officer to the Chief of the Cuba covert action project 
sent the cables and testified that he had "heard" that Dulles had 
countermanded the plan and had indicated that "assassination was not 
to be considered." (Duty Officer, 8/11/75, p. 29) ^ 

The officer added, however, that he had no personal knowledge of 
the reason for calling off the plan, or even if Dulles had been the one 
who called it off. He further testified that : 

[Dulles] indicated that assassination was not to be considered * * * This would 
be conforming with what I had understood the general practice was. (Duty 
Officer, 8/11/75, pp. 29-30) 

(v) Briefing of Dulles on Use of Underworld Figures in Septem- 
ber 1960. 

(/) Evidence concerning luhat Dulles Was Told. — Bissell recalled 
that "in the latter part of September " there was "a meeting in which 
Col. Edwards and I briefed Mr. Dulles and General Cabell" about 
the plan to assassinate Castro. (Bissell, 6/9/75, j). 20) Bissell testified 
that "Colonel Edwards outlined in somewhat circumlocutious terms 
the plan that he had discussed with syndicate representatives." (Bis- 
sell, 6/9/75, p. 22) He stated that Edwards had said : 

^ The countermanding cable to the Havana station, which was "Operational Immediate," 
was sent the morning after the cable of the previous night. The officer who sent that cable 
testified : 

"♦ * * I saw the cable and was told that, to the best of my knowledge, mv memory is 
that the Director [Dulles], not the Deputy Director [Bissell] * * * had countermanded 
the cable and had directed that — had indicated that assassination was not to be con- 
sidered." (Duty Officer. 8/11/75, p. 29) 

The officer stated that he did not talk to either Dulles or Bissell about the counter- 
manding cable, but that he did see the cable and in all likelihood heard of the reason for 
Dulles' reaction in discussions the same morning with his superior, the Chief of the Cuba 
project. (Duty Officer, 8/11/75, pp. .30-32) 

That contact had been made with [the underworld], that a plan had been 
prepared for their use, and I think he either said in as many words or strongly 
inferred that the plan would be put into effect unless at that time or subsequently 
he was told by Mr. Dulles that it should not he." (Bissell. 6/9/75, p. 22) i 

The CIA's 1967 Inspector General's Report,, based on interviews 
with Edwards and Bissell, said Dulles and Cabell were briefed as 
follows : 

The discussion was circumspect. Edwards deliberately avoided the use of any 
"bad words." The descriptive term used was "an intelligence operation." Ed- 
wards is quite sure that the DCI and the DDCI clearly understood the nature of 
the operation he was discussing. He recalls describing the channel as being 
"from A to B to C." As he then envisioned it, A was Maheu, B was Rosselli, and 
C was the principal in Cuba. Edwards recalls that Mr. Dulles merely notlded, 
presumably in imder.standing and approval. Certainly there was no opposition. 
Edwards states that, while there was no formal approval as such, he felt that 
he clearly had tacit approval to use his own judgment. (I.G. Report, pp. 17-18) 

Bissell testified that the description sounded "highly plausible." 
(Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 24) Edwards said it was "accurate." (Edwards, 
5/30/75, p. 11) 

In light of the manner in which Bissell and Edwards described brief- 
ing Dulles, the question arises as to whether Dulles in fact would have 
understood that the operation involved assassination. The Inspector 
General, in attempting to "conjecture as to just what the Director did 
approve," decided : 

It is safe to conclude, given the men participating and the general subject of 
the meeting, that there was little likelihood of misunderstanding — even though 
the details were deliberately blurred and the specific intended result was never 
stated to unmistakable language. It is also reasonable to conclude that the 
pointed avoidance of "bad words'' emphasized to the participants the extreme 
sensitivity of the operation. (I.G. Report, p. 18) 

Bissell testified that : 

I can only say that I am quite sure I came away from that meeting — and there 
was, I think subsequent occasions when this came up between Mr. Dulles and 
my.'jelf, and I am quite convinced that he knew the nature of the operation. 

Q. What were the subsequent conversations you had with Mr. Dulles in which 
you concluded that he knew that this was an assassination effort ? 

Bissell. * * * it's really a guess on my part that such conversations oc- 
curred * * * I do believe they did occur in that during the entire autumn I 
suppose I must have spoken to Mr. Dulles practically daily about some aspect of 
the whole Cuban operation and I am virtually certain that he would in one or 
another of those conversations and probably more than once have asked if 
there was anything to report about the Sheffield Edwards' operation. He also 
may have been in direct contact with Edwards at that time. (Bissell, 6/9/75, 
pp. 24-25) 

When asked by the Chairman why, in this context, persons within 
the Agency talked "in riddles to one another," Bissell replied that: 

* * * I think there was a reluctance to spread even on an oral record some 
aspects of this operation. 

Chairman. Did the reluctance spring from the fact that it simply grated 
against your conscience to have to speak more explicitly? 

Bissell. I don't think it grated against my conscience. I think it may have been 
a feeling that the Director preferred the use of the sort of language that is de- 
scribed in the Insiiector General's Report. (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 25) 

1 Bissell testified that he was relying on the dating provided in the Inspector Generals 
Report, but that his statements concerning what was said at the meeting were based on 
his unaided recollection. (Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 20-22) 


Bissell, in a subsequent appearance before the Committee, again 
addressed the issue of whether he and Edwards had made it clear to 
Dulles that what was involved was an assassination operation : 

I thought I made clear that it was my impression — and I believe the impression 
incidentally that I thought was confirmed in the [I.G. Report] — that in discuss- 
ing this with Dulles and Cabell * * * the objective of the operation was made 
unmistakably clear to them. The terms "an intelligence operation," I think some- 
one said, was that not a cover designation? But we would not under any cir- 
cumstances have told Allen Dulles that this was an intelligence collection opera- 
tion. If I said that on Monday, I must have given a wrong impression. (Bissell, 
6/11/75, p. 24) 

On the other hand, the only author of the Inspector General's Report 
still with the CIA testified that in his opinion a "pointed avoidance of 
'bad words' " would have made it less likely that an "intelligence op- 
eration" would have been understood as an assassination attempt, and 
that "it was open to question how clearly this was stated to Mr. Dulles 
and whether or not Mr. Dulles understood." ( Colby/I. G., r)/!2;V75, 

P- 10) . . . * ■ 

Sheffield Edwards was quite infirm when examined by the Com- 
mittee and has since died.^ Edwards testified before the Committee as 
follows : 

* * * [T]his iKJSsible project was approved by Allen Dulles, Director of CIA, 
and by General Cabell, the Deputy Director. They are both dead. 

The Chairman. How do you know, Colonel, that the project had been approvetl 
by these two gentlemen? 

Edwards. I i)ersoually briefed Allen Dulles * * * and Cabfe'll (Edwards, 
5/30/75, pp. 5-6) 

In his interview with the Rockefeller Commission, Edwards testi- 

Q. Now, who inside the Agency besides Bissell did you have any contact with 
on the top echelon ? 

A. Very imjwrtant. The plan was approved by Allen Dulles and General Cabell. 
(Edwards, Rockefeller Comm., 4/9/75, p. 5.) 

The Support Chief who had been the case officer for the operation 
involving underworld figures testified that when he and Edwards dis- 
cussed the matter in 1975, prior to giving evidence to the Rockefeller 
Commission, he was sure that Edwards had told him Dulles had ap- 
proved the plot. (O.C., 5/30/75, pp. 58-59) He added that he was 
"reasonably sure" or "knew" in the "back of my mind" that either 
Edwards or Bissell had also told him of Dulles' knowledge when the 
plot was miderway in 1960-62. (O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 33-34; 36; 60) ^ 

A review of Dulles' calendar for August through December 1960 
sliowed no meeting involving Dulles, Cabell, Bissell and Edwards.^ 
Of course, such a meeting could have occurred without having been 
noted on Dulles' calendar. 

^As its Investigation proceeded, the Committee sought to reexamine Edwards but he 
died before this could be accomplished. The Committee was unable to examine Edwards 
concerning either the claimed briefing of Dulles and Cabell, or his conflicting statements 
about Dulles in two memoranda. Those conflicting memoranda are set forth, infra, at p. 

- In June 1966. Howard J. Osborn, Edwards' successor as Director of Security, wrote 
a memorandum for Helms on the Las Vegas tap stating that "the DCI was briefed and gave 
his approval." When questioned about this memorandum, Osborn stated that he had no first- 
hand knowledge of the briefing, and that he had most likely obtained this statement from 
Edwards or the Support Chief. 

" The calendar also reflects no meetings during the period between Dulles, Edwards 
and Bissell, or between Dulles and Edwards. 


(2) Evideiice Concerning When the Briefing Occurred. — Bissell 
and the Inspector General's Report (which relied on Edwards) placed 
the briefing of Dulles in "the latter part of September 1960." 

Bissell did not have a clear independent recollection of the dates in- 
volved, but recalled that discussions concerning the possible use of 
syndicate members against Castro began "in the autumn of 1960/' ^ 
He recalled initial discussions among himself, Edwards, and Colonel 
J. C. King, Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division, which he 
said occurred before Dulles and Cabell were approached about assassi- 
nating Castro, According to Bissell, 

those conversations, the subject matter was a capability to eliminate Castro if 
such action should be decided upon. 

It is, therefore, accurate to say that my best recollection of those conversa- 
tions (with Edwards and King) is that they addressed themselves to the ex- 
istence or non-existence of the capability. They were not conclusive or decisive 
conversations * * * nor would they have revealed a prior decision to implement 
such a plan by anybody. (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 19) 

The testimony regarding the dates during which assassination plan- 
ning was undertaken was inexact, and the Committee cannot place 
those events precisely. According to the Inspector General's Report, 
the Support Chief contacted Rosselli in early September i960, and 
during the week of September 25, the Chief, Maheu, and Rosselli met 
with Giancana and TrafRcante in Miami. (I.G. Report, pp. 18-19) 
Bissell testified about the sequence of events : 

Q. Well, before we came to the meeting [with Dulles], you had been informed 
prior to that, had you not, that contact had been made with the Mafia? 

Mr. Bissell. I had. 

Q. Now were you informed that the Mafia had been given the go ahead to 
proceed with actual efforts to assassinate Castro? 

Bissell. Not that early, to my best recollection. I cannot date that at all 
well. I would suppose that it was within the next two or three weeks. (Bissell, 
6/9/75, pp. 20-21.) 

On the other hand, Rosselli's testimony suggests that prior to the 
"latter part of September" 1960, Maheu had indicated that a large 
sum of money would be paid for Castro's death. (Rosselli, 6/28/75 
p. 17) And in a memorandimi dated May 14, 1962, Edwards indicated 
that the briefing of "senior officials" took place after the money had 
been offered. 

It is clear, then, that even if Dulles was informed about the use of 
underworld figures to assassinate Castro, subordinate agency officials 
had previously decided to take steps toward arranging for the killing 
of Castro, including discussing it with organized crime leaders. 

(^'^) Edioards' Communications to the Justice Department in 1961 
and 1962. — As fully described supra, pp. 77-79, the FBI discovered in 
late 1960 that Maheu had been involved in an illegal wiretap in Las 
Vegas. In April 1961, Maheu told the FBI that the tap had been 
placed in connection with a CIA operation, and suggested that the 
FBI contact Edwards to verify this fact. 

1 Q. When did you first become aware of any plan or effort to assassinate Mr. Castro — 

Bissell. Well, I became aware of planning a contingency basis for such an operation. 
Mj- recollection is August • * * 

Q. August of 1960? 

Bissell. '60, correct • * * but without reading [the I.G. Report] I would have remem- 
bered initial conversations early in the autumn of 1960. (Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 17-lS) 


An FBI report of a May 3, 1961 interview with Edwards (in which 
Edwards vaguely described the use of Giancana as relating to "clan- 
destine efforts against the Cast,ro Government" with no mention of 
assassination, and a copy of which was given to the Attorney General) 
stated : 

Col. Edwards advised that only Mr. Bissell (Director of Plans, CIA) and 
two others in CIA were aware of the Giancana-Maheu activity in behalf of 
CIA's program and Allen Dulles tvas eompletely unaware of Edwards contact 
tcith Alaheu in this connection. He added that Mr. Bissell, in his recent briefings 
of Gen. Taylor and the Attorney General in connection with their inquiries 
into CIA relating to the Cuban situation, told the Attorney General that some 
of the associated planning included the use of Giancana and the underworld 
against Castro. (FBI memorandum entitled, "Arthur James B^lletti, et al.," 
May 22, 1961) (Emphasis added.) 

Bissell said he was ceiiain, however, that the statement regarding 
Dulles' knowledge about the operation was wrong, and testified : 

Now it (the FBI memorandum) is just flatly contrary to my recollection that 
Allen Dulles was unaware of these contacts, as I have testified several times. 
Also, I submit it is quite implausible that I would have briefed General Taylor 
and the Attorney General — and incidentally, I have no recollection of briefing 
those two gentlemen except as members of the Board of Inquiry that I have des- 
cribed, of which Allen Dulles himself was a member — it is quite implausible 
that I would have briefied them on a matter which had been going on for some 
months, and about which the Director, Mr. Dulles himself, had never been in- 
formed. (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 27) 

When asked to speculate on why Edwards would have told the FBI 
that Dulles was unaware of Edwards' contact with Maheu, Bissell 
replied : 

I can only surmise that he believed he could secure the cooperation of the 
Justice Department that lie required without in any way involving his superior, 
Mr. Dulles, and simply did this in a protective fashion. (Bissell, 7/17/75, p. 20) 

A year later, on May 7, 1962, Eldwards and CIA's General Coun- 
sel met with Attorney General Eobert Kennedy. (That meeting is dis- 
cussed extensively below at p. 131 et seq.) Edwards^ memorandum of 
the meeting indicated that he had said that after liosselli and Gian- 
cana had been offered $150,000, Edwards had "^then briefed the proper 
senior officials of [the] Agency'' (without specifying whom) and they 
had "duly orally approved.'' ^ It further states that "knowledge" of 
the project had been "kept to a total of six persons." ^ 

Dulles had left the Agency before the time of Edwards' second 

(vii) General CabeWs Bemm^ks to the /Special Group in November 
1960. — Bissell and Edwards testified that Cabell was aware of the 
Castro plots (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 22; Edwards, 5/30/75, pp. 5-6 )3 

1 On the same day he wrote the memorandum for the Attorney General. Edwards 
wrote another memorandum for his own files indicating that after putting Harvey in 
contact with Rosselli in early April, he had "cautioned him [Harvey] that I felt that 
any future projects of this nature should have the tacit approval of the Director of Central 
Intelligence." (5/14/62. Memorandum for the Record) This memorandum, which contained 
other information which Harvey and Edwards had agreed to include to "falsify ' the 
record, is discussed infra, p. 184. 

- The 1967 Inspector General's Report surmised that thirteen people knew of the plot, 
including Dulles, based upon Bissell's and Edwards' account of the Dulles briefing. 

* The Inspector General's Report stated, "With Bissell present, Edwards briefied the 
Director (Dulles) and the DDCI (Cabell) on the existence of a plan involving memijers 
of the syndicate. * * * Edwards is quite sure that the DCI and the DDCI clearly under- 
stood the nature of the operation he was discussing." (I.G. Report, p. 17) 

The Support Chief testified that prior to the Support Chief's testifying before the 
Rockefeller Commission, Edwards told him that Cabell had been aware of and authorized 
the project. (O.C, 5/30/75, p. 64) 


The evidence indicates that the meeting between Dulles, Bissell, 
Edwards, and Cabell occurred sometime "in the autumn" of 1960, 
probably in late September. The minutes of a meeting of the Special 
Group on November 3, 1960, reflect the following remarks: 

Finally, Mr. [Livingston] Merchant [Under Secretary of State for Political 
Affairs] asked whether any real planning had been done for taking direct positive 
action against Fidel, Raul and Che Guevara. He said that without these three 
the Cuban Government would be leaderless and probably brainless. He conceded 
that it would be necessary to act against all three simultaneously. General Cabell 
pointed out that action of this kind is uncertain of results and highly dangerous 
in conception and execution, because the instruments must be Cubans. He felt 
that, particularly because of the necessity of simultaneous action, it would have 
to be concluded that Mr. Merchant's suggestion is beyond our capabilities. (Spe- 
cial Group Minutes, 11/3/60) 

Exactly what the term "direct positive action" meant to the speaker 
or those listening is uncertain. Merchant was ill and unable to testify.; 
others present at the meeting could not recall what the words meant 
at the time they were uttered, although some have testified that they 
could refer to assassination.^ 

Bissell was also asked about the minutes of the November 8 meet- 
ing. After reading the reference to "direct positive action," Bissell 
said, "I find it difficult to understand." (Bissell, 7/17/75, p. 18) He 
then was asked, 

Q. Do you, in light of the November 3 minutes remain firm that Cabell was 
knowledgeable (of the assassination plots) ? 
A. It casts some doubt on that in my mind. 

When asked if it cast "some significant doubt in light of (Cabell's) 
character," Bissell answered, "Yes." (Bissell, 7/17/75, pp. 22-23) 

(c) Did John McGone Knoio of or Authorize Assassination Plots 
Divring His Tenure as DC I? 

The CIA considered several assassination plots against Castro dur- 
ing McCone's tenure as Director. Harvey initiated his contact with 
Rosselli in April 1962, and that operation continued into early 1963. 
In early 1963 the CIA looked into the possibility of assassinating 
C^astro with an exploding seashell and contaminated diving suit. AM/ 
LASH was offered a poison pen device in November 1963, and caches 
of arms were delivered to Cuba for his use in the following years. 

(i) MGCone''s testimony. — McCone testified that he was not aware of 
the plots to assassinate Castro whicli took place during the yeai-s in 
which he was DCI, and that he did not authorize those plots. (McCone, 
6/6/75, pp. 33, 44-15)2 He testified that he was not briefed about the 
assassination plots by Dulles, Bissell, Helms, or anyone else when he 
succeeded Dulles as Director in November 1961 (McCone, 6/6/75, pp. 

J"Q. Do you read • * ♦ direct, positive action • * * as meaning killing (Fidel Castro. 
Raul Castro and Che Guevara) ? 

"A. I would read It that way, yes. (I.nnsdale, 7/8/75, p. 10.3) 

"Q. » • ♦ would you agree that the words 'direct positive action' appear to question 
whether there's been any planning in connection with assassinating (the Castros and 
Guevara) ? 

"A. I think the phrase 'positive action' could include assassinations, but • ♦ • I'm not 
sure what was in Mr. Merchant's mind." (Gray, 7/9/75, p. 9.) 

^ McCone testified that he first learned of the Rosselli operation in August 1963, long 
after it had been terminated. See discussion infra, pp. 107-108. 

KI-QRfi n 


6-7, 17) , and that if he had ever been asked about the plots, he would 
have disapproved. McCone testified : 

I had no knowledge of any authorized plan or planning that might lead to a 
request for authorization. Of course, during those days it was almost common 
for one person or another to say, "we ought to dispose of Castro" * * * [b]ut at 
no time did anyone come to me, or come to other authorities to my knowledge, 
with a plan for the actual undertaking of an assassination. (McCone, 6/6/75, 
p. 3) 

McCone also testified : 

Senator Hart of Colorado : Did you ever discuss the subject of assassinations 
with your predecessor, Mr. Dulles? 
McCone : No, I did not.^ 

(ii) Testimony of Helms, Bissell, and other' Subordinate Agency 
Employees. — Bissell was DDP under McCone for three months, from 
November 1961 until February 1962. Helms assumed the duties of 
DDP from Bissell and served throughout the balance of McCone's 
terms as Director. 

Bissell testified about McCone's knowledge as follows : 

Q. Your testimony is that you never discussed assassinations with Mr. 

A. That is correct. 

Q. * * * [D]id you tell McCone anything about that conversation with Mr. 
Harvey in which you at least told him to take over the relationship with the 
criminal syndicate? 

A. I don't remember so doing. (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 19) 

Helms testified that he did not recall ever having discussed the 
assassination plots with McCone while the plots were continuing.- 
When asked whether McCone was aware of the assassination plots 
against Castro, Helms testified : 

No, it isn't my impression that I told him, at least I don't have any impression, 
unfortunately * * ♦. Mr. McCone is an honorable man. He has done his own 
testifying, and all I can say is that I do not know specifically whether he was 
aware or not. (Helms, 6/13/75, pp. 90, 101-102) 

Helms further testified : 

Senator Mondale. I beUeve Mr. McCone testified that he never heard of any 
of these attempts when he was Director. Would you have any reason to disagree 
with his testimony? 

Helms. Sir, I have always liked McCone and I don't want to get into an alterca- 
tion with him. He had access to Harvey and everybody else just the way I had 
and he had regular access to the Attorney General. 


Senator Mondai£. If you were a member of this Committee wouldn't you as- 
sume that Mr. McCone was unaware of the assassination attempts while they 
were underway? 

Helms. I don't know how to answer that. Senator Mondale. He was involved 
in this up to his scuppers just the way everybody else was that was in it, and I 
just don't know. I have no reason to impugn his integrity. On the other hand. 

1 WaU Elder, McCone's Bxecuttve Assistant, testified that Dulles gave McCone from ten 
to twelve informal briefings between September and November 1961. He also said that 
Dulles and McCone travelled together on a briefing trip to Europe to enable McCone to 
get "up to speed" on CIA activities. (Elder, S/13/75, p. 13) 

2 Helms testified that he first informed McCone about the plot using underworld figures 
in August 1963. See discussion supra at p. 107. 


I don't imderstand how it was he didn't hear about some of these things that he 
claims that he didn't. (Helms, 7/17/75, pp. 32-33) 

4: 4: 4= 4: * 4: * 

Helms. I honestly didn't recall that Mr. McCone was not informed and when I 
was told that there was evidence that he wasn't informed, I was trying to scratch 
my head as to why I didn't tell him at the time and my .surmises are the best I 
can come up with. I am really surprised I did not discuss it with him at the 
time. My relations with him were good, and so my surmises are just the best 
I am able to do in 1975 over an epi.sode that took place that many years ago. 
(Helms, 6/13/75, p. 90) 

Several other Agency officials who ^\eve aware of the assassination 
ph)ts testified that they had not told jNIcCone of the plots. William 
Harvey testified that he never spoke with McCone about the operation 
involving underworld figiu'es or assassination and that, to the best 
of his knowledge, McCone had not been told about the project. 
(Harvey, 0/25/75, p. 66) 

Sheffield Edwards, when asked whether he had informed McCone 
about the plot, replied : 

Edwards. No, I did not inform Mr. McCone. 

Q. Was there a reason for why you did not inform Mr. McCone? 

Edwards. Well, I did not want to drag Mr. McCone into this thing that in my 
opinion had petereil out, and I did Jiot want to involve him. (Edwards, 5/30/75, 
V. 18) 

The Support Chief who had been the case officer for the operation 
under Edwards, testified that he recalled that Edwards had told him 
during a discussion about the plots in 1965 that Edwards had not 
briefed McCone on the operation. 

As a matter of fact, I don't think he ever knew about it. From later conversa- 
tions with Colonel Edwards, not recently, we talked about it, and he said that 
he was convinced that jMr. McCone never knew about it. it wasn't on his watch, 
so to speak, and he didn't want to get him involved. (O.C, 5/30/75, pp. 37, 39) 

George McManus, Helms' Spe^^ial Assistant for Cuba during the 
relevant period, testified that he had not been told about the assassina- 
tion activities, and gave his opinion that if McCone had been asked 
to approve an assassination, he 'Svould have reacted violently, imme- 
diately.'' ^ 

Walter Elder, McCone's Executive Assistant, testified tliat he had 
not known of the underworld operation until August 1963, after it 
had been termiiuited, and that in his opinion McCone did not learn of 
the operation prior to that time. (Elder, 8/13/75, p. 15)- 

With respect to tlio Cuban assassination mattei-s, where his knowl- 
edge was only secondhand, William Colby said "Mr. McCone did not 
know of it." (Colby, 5/21/75, p. 101) 

1 McManus advanced two reasons for this opinion: (1) "McCone had a great love for 
the Pressident of the United States and he sort of looked at him as an older son or a 
brother, a very protective sense he had about the President, President Kennedy, and 
McCone would have imniediatel.v said .Jesus, this is a no win ball 'game. 

(2) "Second, as an individual, he would have found it morally reprehensible." (Mc- 
^[anns. 7/22/7.1, p. 33) 

McManus also testified : "I always assumed that Mr. Helms would keep the Director fully 
informed of any activity that he thought was sensitive. • * * Under most circumstances, 
and indeed under all circumstances you can imagine. Helms would have told McCone, with 
the exception of a situation in which Helms had been told by higher authority not to tell 
him." (McManus. pp. 32-.'?4) 

McManus told the Committee that he had had no knowledge of the assassination plots 
prior to rea<ling about them in the newspaper. However, the Inspector General's Report 
stated in 1067 that McManus was aware of such plots. (I.G. Report, pp. 75-76) 

= In August 1963 Helms gave McCone a copy of Edwards' May 14, 1962 memorandum 
to the Attorney General. See discussion infra at p. 107. 


(iii) Helms and Harvey Did Not Brief McOone About the Assas- 
sination Plots. — McCone assumed the position of DCI in November 
1961. It was also in November 1961 that Bissell asked Harvey to as- 
sume operational control over the Castro plot involving underworld 
figures. Richard Helms replaced Bissell in February of 1962 and was 
subsequently briefed by Han^ey on the existence of the assassination 
l)lots. Helms was Harvey's immediate superior and the person to whom 
he reported about the Castro plot activities. 

Harvey testified that in the spring of 1962, when he was preparing 
to contact Rosselli : 

* * * I briefed Helms generally on the takeover of Rosselli, on the doubts 
about the operation, on the possible * * * future of it, and to the extent it had 
then been possible, the assessment of Rosselli and the cutting out of various 
individuals. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 65)' 

Harvey testified that after so informing Helms 

[TJhere was a fairly detailed discussion between myself and Helms as to 
whether or not the Director should at that time be briefed concerning this. For 
a variety of reasons which were tossed back and forth, we agreed that it was 
not necessary or advisable to brief him at that time. 

I then said, as I recall, to Mr. Helms, if you decide in the future that he should 
be briefed, I would like to know about it in advance to which, to my best 
recollection, he agreed. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. (>6) 

Harvey offered the following explanation for Avhy he and Helms had 
decided not to discuss the matter with McCone at that time : 

There were several reasons for this. One, this operation at that stage had not 
been assessed. It was obviously questionable on several grounds. It obviously 
involved knowledge by too many i>eople. AVe were not even sure at that point it 
had any remote possibility or rather any real possibility for success. It had 
arisen with full authority insofar as either of us knew long before I knew any- 
thing about it, and before the then-Director became Director of the Agency. 

I saw no reason at that time to charge him with knowle<lge of this, at least 
until we reached the point where it appeared it might come to fruition or 
had a chance to assess the individuals involved and determine exactly the prob- 
lem we faced, including the iwssible problem — and it was a very, or it appeared 
to be, and in my opinion was, at that time, a very real possibility of this govern- 
ment being blackmailed either by Cubans for political purposes or by figures in 
organized crime for their own self-protection or aggrandizement, which, as it 
turned out, did not happen, but at that time was a very pregnant possibility. 
(Harvey, 6/25/75, pp. 67-68) 

I am definitely not saying that there was any effort to hide or conceal any 
information from the Director. There was not. This was a discussion as to 
whether or not it was even necessary or appropriate at this point to take details 
of this particular operation in an unassessed form to the then-Director at that 
time. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 69) 

Harvey stated that he did not have any reason to believe that the 
assassination activities would have been "disapproved by the Director" 
had McCone been advised of the project. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 69) 
Harvey said that he had thought the plots "were completely author- 
ized at every appro])riate level within and bej'ond the Agency.'' (Har- 
vey, 7/11/75, p. 66) AVlien asked why McCone had not been given an 
opportmiity to consider the plot, Harvey replied : 

1 Harvey testified that when he took over the Rosselli operation, he had "cut out" both 
Maheu and Giancana because "regardless of what I may have thought of their trust- 
worthiness * * • they were surplus to the operation." (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 65) 


One of the things that I don't know from my own * * * knowledge * * * is who 
was briefed in exactly what terms at the time of the so called Las Vegas flop that 
involved attempts to place a technical surveillance * * * in the Das Vegas hotel 
room. (Harvey, 7/11/75, p. 46) 

Harvey was queried on whether the reasons he had given for not 
briefing MeCone were actually "reasons why he should [have been] 
briefed forthwith." Harvey replied : 

Well, Senator Huddlestou, it will be quite easy in looking at it now to say, well 
I can see your argument. All I can say to you in answer is at that time I didn't 
feel that it was necessary or advisable. I did not make this decision except in 
consultation, and had I been disagreed with, tliat would have been it. And I am 
not off-loading this on Richard Helms or attempting to at all. It isn't all that easy 
for me to go back this many years and sort of recast all of the reasoning and be 
sure I am accurate. And I don't also want to evade it by saying, well, it seemed 
like a good idea at the time. But actually it did. In other words, this was not 
something that either Helms or myself felt that at that stage there was any point 
in attempting to brief the Director on it until, at least, we had a somewhat better 
handle on it * * *. ( Harvey. 7/11/7."), pp. 67-68) 

***** * * 

And I might also add. if I may, * * * as far as either one of us knew at that 
point he [AlcCone] might have been or should have been briefed, if you want it 
that way, by either Allen Dulles or Richard Bissell. (Harvey, 7/11/75, pp. 67-71) 

The 19()T report, prepared b}' the Inspector (xeneral for Helms, 
states that Harvey said : "When he briefed Helms on Eosselli, he ob- 
tained Hehns' approvsil not to brief the Director." (I.G. Report, p. 41) 

Helms testified that he did not recall this conversation, but that 
he had no reason to doubt the accuracj^ of Harvey's testimonv and the 
Inspector General's Report. (Helms, 6/13/75, pp. 32, 106) ' 

Helms, when asked about Harvey's testimony that he and Harvey 
had agreed not to brief McCone, stated "I frankly don't recall having 
agreed to this." 

My recollection is that I had very grave doubts about the wisdom of this * * *. 
And as I recall it, we had so few assets inside Cuba at that time that I was 
willing to try almost anything. But the thing did not loom large in my mind at 
that time. I was enormously busy with a lot of other things, taking over a new 
job [as DDP]. Mr. McCone was relatively new in the Agency and I guess I must 
have thouglit to myself, well this is going to look peculiar to him and I doubt 
very much this is going to go anyplace, but if it does, then that is time enough 
to bring him into the picture. (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 33) 

Helms also stated : 

It was a Mafia connection and Mr. ^NlcCone was relatively new to the organi- 
zation and this was, you know, not a very savory effort. (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 92) 

Helms later testified that he did not "recall ever having been con- 
vinced that any attempt was really made on Castro's life." 

He said : 

I am having a very difficult time justifying before this Committee, because 
there is something in here that doesn't come together, even for me, I am sorry 
to say. Because if this was all that clear, as everybody seems to think it was, 
that there were those pills in that restaurant in Cuba and Castro was about to 
die, I certainly would have talked to McCone about it. And this never was that 
clear, I am sorry to say, but it never was, not at that time. (Helms, 7/17/75, 
p. 34) 


On May 7, 1962, Edwards and the CIA's General Counsel, Lawrence 
Houston, briefed Attorney General Robert Kennedy on the operation 
involving underworld figures, describing it as terminated.^ 

Harvey told the Inspector General that : 

* * * on 14 May he briefed Helms on the meeting with the Attorney General, 
as told to him by Edwards. Harvey, too, advised against briefing Mr. McCone 
and General Carter and states that Helms concurred in this. (I.G. Report, p. 65) 

Harvey testified that he had probably told Helms: 

Any brietiug of the Director on the discussion with the Attorney General con- 
cerning this should come from Colonel Edwards and Larry Houston, the General 
Counsel, and not from the DDP unless we are asked. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 99) 

Helms testified that he did not recall this conversation and re- 
marked : 

It seems odd to me only because, if the Attorney General had been briefed on 
something it would seem very logical that it would be very imix»rtant to brief the 
Director at that time on the same thing. (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 107) 

Harvey supplied poison pills and weapons to Rosselli and his Cuban 
associates during a trip to Miami in late April 1962.^ At a Special 
Group meeting on April 26, General Taylor requested that Harvey 
"attend the next meeting and report on agent activities." (Memo from 
McCone, 4/27/62) On April 26, Harvey was sent a memorandum in- 
forming him of General Taylor's request and ISIcCone's wish to meet 
with Harvey and Lansdale "immediately on your return to discuss 
the Task Force Activities." (Memo, Elder to Harvey, 4/27/72) 

Harvey testified that upon his return, he reported to the Special 
Group on the "status of the active and potential sources inside 
Cuba * * *": 

Q. Did you report on the passage of the pills to Rosselli ? 

Harvey. No, I did not. 

Q. Which you had just accomplished in Miami * * * for the purpose of assas- 
sinating Fidel Castro. 

Harvey. No. 

Q. And did you report that to Mr. McCone when he asked you to tell him 
what you had done in Miami ? 

Harvey. No, I did not. (Harvey, 7/11/75, pp. 16-17) 

Harvey stated that he did not tell McCone or the Special Group 
about the operation at that time because : 

I did not consider either, (a) that this should be in any sense in this amorphous 
stage, surfaced to the Special Group, nor, as I have attempted to explain before 
that it should be briefed to John McCone at that point in the state that it was 

1 The briefing is described supra at p. 131. 

Accorcling to the Inspector General's Report, Harvey and Rosselli had a farewell din- 
ner before Harvey went on another assignment in June 1963. The meeting was observed 
by the FBI. and Sam Papich, the FBI liaison with the CIA. notified Harvey that FBI Direc- 
tor Hoover would be informed. Harvey asked Papich to. call him if he felt that Hoover 
would inform the Director about the incident. 

"Harvey said that he then told Mr. Helms of the incident and that Helms agreed that 
there was no need to brief McCone unless a call from Hoover was expected." (I.G. Re- 
l)ort. p. 54) 

- Harvey described the trip to Miami as : "one of a number of periodic trips for the pur- 
pose of reviewing in toto * * * the actual and potential operations at the Miami base 
* * * and this covered the whole gamut from personnel administration, operational sup- 
port in the way of small craft (and) so on * * *" (Harvey. 7/11/75, pp. 15-16) 


iu with as little as we knew about it, and with all of the attendant background 
which at that point, and I was not personally cognizant of all of this, had been 
going on for approximately, as I recall, two to two-and-a-half years. (Harvey, 

7/11/75, p. 18) 

Harvey attended an August 10, 1962 meeting of tlie Special Group 
Augmented.^ He testified that Secretary of Defense Robert McNa- 
mara suggested at that meeting that the Special Group "consider the 
elimination or assassination of Fidel." (Harvey, 7/11/75, p. 30) 
Harvey said that on the day following this Special Group meeting. 

In connection with a morning briefing of .John McCone, the question again 
came up and I expressed some opinion as to the inappropriateness of this having 
been raised in this form and at that forum [Special Group meeting], at which 
point Mr. McCone stated in substance that he agreed and also that he had 
felt so strongly that he had, I believe, the preceding afternoon or evening, per- 
sonally called the gentleman who made the proposal or suggestion and had 
stated similar views as to the inappropriateness and that he [McCone] said in 
addition * * * jf j jrot myself involved in something like this, I might end up 
getting myself excommunicated. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 71) 

Harvey stated that he did not tell McCone on that occasion about 
the actual assassination operation involving Rosselli. 

I would like to recast the time that this took place. This was August of '62. 
This was at tlie start of the so-called Missile Crisis * * *. 

A tentative decision had been made at that ix)int that the only sensible thing 
to do with [the Rosselli operation] was to terminate it as rapidly and cleanly as 
it could be done * * * i am sure that I had discussed with Rosselli, at least on 
a tentative basis, by Aiigust, the probable necessity of terminating this * * *. 

According to tlie Inspector General's Report, the "medicine" was re- 
ported to be still in Cuba at this time. (I.G. Report, pp. 51-52) Har- 
vey testified that the report was referring to the poison pills. (Har- 
vey, 6/25/75, p. 105) ^ 

In relation to the August 10 meeting, Helms was asked whether 
he believed McCone would have stopped an assassination attempt if 
he had known that one was underway. Helms stated : 

Helms. The reason I say I don't know * * * is that elsewhere Mr. McCone 
states that he went to see Mr. McXamara in connection with this August 
1962 affair and told Mr. McNamara that he wouldn't have anything to do with 
this, that I have no recollection, that I don't believe he ever said anything to me 
about his not wanting to have anything to do with it. 

Q. And you were close to Mr. McCone in that period? You are his Deputy 
for Plans ? 

Helms. I saw him almost daily. 

Q. And is it your belief that if he had made any such statement to Mr. Mc- 
Namai'a that he would have come to you and told you about it at some point? 

Helms. I just don't know why he didn't but I don't recall any such state- 
ment. As I said, and I would like to repeat it. Mr. McCone had given me my job, 
he had promoted me, I felt close to him, I felt loyal to him. and I would not have 
violated an instruction he gave me if I could have possibly heli>ed it. 

Q. But in any event, it is your judgment that he did not indicate that he was 
opposed to assa.ssinaticms? 

Helms. Not to me. 

' This mectintr and tho raisins of tlie suggestion of assassination is discussed in depth 
at pages 161-169. 

- Harvey said : "I may have deferred for a period of a few weeks giving an actual order 
to terminate this as soon as possible * * *" (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 74) 


Walter Elder, McCone's Executive Assistant, testified, however, 
that he had personally told Helms of McCone's opposition to assassi- 
nation after the August 10 meeting.^ 

(iv) The Question of Whether Geveral Carter, McC one's Deputy 
Director, Learned About the Underworld Plot and Informed Mc- 
Cone.—A.'& fully described in other sections of this report, the fact 
that Giancana and Rosselli had been involved in a CIA operation 
directed against Cuba was brought to the attention of the FBI some- 
time in mid-1961, although the FBI was not told that the objective of 
the operation had been to assassinate Castro. The CIA opposed prose- 
cution of Giancana and Eosselli for their involvement in the Las 
Vegas wiretap because of a concern that the Agency's association with 
them might be revealed. In the course of communications between the 
CIA and law enforcement agencies, CIA's general coiuisel, Lawrence 
Houston, wrote in a memorandum dated April 26, 1962 : 

I * * * briefed the DDCI in view of the possibility that the Attorney General 
might call him or the Director in the case. General Carter understood the situa- 
tion and said in due time we might brief the Director. (Memo, Houston to 
Edwards, 4/26/62) 

The Attorney General was subsequently briefed by Houston and 
Sheffield Edwards; a memorandum of that meeting written by Ed- 
wards states that the Attorney General was told that the operation 
had been terminated. 

The Inspector General's Report inquired into precisely what Hous- 
ton had told Carter and concluded : 

Edwards states that the briefing of the Attorney General and the forwarding 
of a memorandum of record was carried out without briefing the Director ( John 
McCone), the DDCI (General Carter), or the DDP (Richard Helms). He felt 
that, since they had not been privy to the ojieration when it was underway, they 
should be protected from involvement in it after the fact. Houston had briefed 
the DDCI on the fact that there was a matter involving the Department of 
Justice, but Houston had not given the DDCI the specifics. He feels it would have 
been normal for him to have briefed the DCI in view of the Attorney General's 
interest, but he also feels quite sure that he would have remembered doing it 
and does not. He suggested that Edwards' deliberate avoidance of such briefings 
may have led him also to avoid making any briefings. He recalls no disagree- 
ments with Edwards on this point and concludes that he must have accepted 
Edwards' decision not to brief. (I. G. Report, pp. 63-64) 

When testifying before the Committee, Houston could not recall 
whether he had told Carter that the operation had involved assassina- 
tion. (Houston, 6/17/75, p. 16) Houston testified that he had learned 
from Edwards "within a matter of days before we went to see the 
Attorney General," that the purpose of the operation had been to 
assassinate Castro. (Houston, 6/17/75, p. 6) Since Houston's discus- 
sion with Carter took place, at the earliest, nearly two weeks prior to 

1 Elder told the Committee : 

"I told Mr. Helms that Mr. McCone had expressed his feeling * * * that assas.sination 
could not be condoned and would not be approved. Furthermore, I conveyed Mr. McCone's 
statement that it would be unthinkable to record in writing anv consideration of assassi- 
nation because it left the impression that the subject had received serious consideration 
by governmental policy makers, which it had not. Mr. Helms responded. 'I understand.' 
The point is that I made Mr. Helms aware of the strength of Mr. McCone's opposition 
to assassination. I know that Mr. Helms could not have been under any misapprehension 
about Mr. McCone's feeling after this conversation." (Elder Affidavit) 

Helms, after reading Elder's affidavit, testified : "I do not have any recollection of such 
a conversation * * * let me say that in not recalling this conversation, I very seriouslv 
doubt that it ever took place." (Helms, 9/16/75, pp. 16, 19) 


the x^ttorney GeneraTs briefing,^ it is possible that he did not know at 
the time of that convereation that assassination was involved. 

General Marshall S. Carter was appointed Deputy Director of the 
CIA in mid-April 196:2. When shown the Houston memorandum by 
the Committee, Carter testified that he did not recall the meetinof with 
Houston, that he had not been told about the assassination plot during 
his tenure in the Agency, and that he had never briefed ^IcCone on 
either the assassination plot or the CIA's use of Giancana and 
Rosselli. (Carter, 9/19/75, pp. 61, 63) ^ 

After reading the sentence of Houston's memorandum stating that 
Carter had said "in due time we might brief the Director," Carter 
testified "it is surely contrary to every operational procedure that I've 
ever followed.'' (Carter, 9/19/75, p. 61)- When asked to explain what 
might have occurred, he testified : 

Memorandums for the record have very little validity in fact. When you sit 
down after the fact and write it down, as I say, he could have very easily have 
come to me and said this is the kind of problem we're faced with. We've had it 
before. I think you ought to know that we're asking the Department of Justice 
not to prosecute this character because he's been trying to do a job for us. I think 
imder those circumstances, if it were presented m that way, then I might very 
well have said, well, you know what you're doing, it's your baliwick, you've done 
it before, go ahead and do it. (Carter, 9/19/75, p. 67) 

(v) The Augmt J 963 Briefing of McCone.— An August 16, 1963, 
Chicago Sun Times article claimed that the CIA had had a connection 
with Giancana.^ McCone asked Helms for a report about the article. 
McCone testified that when Helms came to see him, he brought the 
following memorandum : 

1. Attached is the only copy in the Agency of a memorandum on subject, the 
ribbon copy of which was sent to the Attorney General in May of 1962. I was 
vaguely aware of the existence of such a memorandum since I was informed that 
it had been written as a result of a briefing given by Colonel Edwards and 
Lawrence Houston to the Attorney General in May of last year. 

2. I spoke with Colonel Edwards on the telephone last evening, and, in the 
absence of Mr. Bannerman on leave, I was with Colonel Edwards" assistance 
able to locate this copy. As far as I am aware, this is the only written information 
available on Agency relationships with subject. I hope that this will serve your 

3. 1 assume you are aware of the nature of the operation discussed in the attach- 
ment. (Memorandum to Director of Central Intelligence, re : Sam Giancana, from 
Helms, 8/16/63) ' 

Attached to Helms' memorantlum to the DCI was the May 14, 1962, 
memorandum from Sheffield Edwards to the Attorney General which 

1 The memorandum is dated April 26, 1962. The Attorney General was briefed on 
May 7. 

- Carter further observed that, since he was new in the Agency at that time, he would 
have immediately brought the matter to the Director's attention if he had believed it was 
important and if it had been presented to him by Houston as requiring the Director's 
consideration. After reviewing other memoranda Involved in the case. Carter testified that 
"this would have appeared to have been a matter that the staff, in the light of the past 
activities, had been well able to handle." (Carter, 9/19/75, p. 65) 

3 The 8/16/6."^ Chicago Sun Times article stated that 'Mustice Department sources" 
believed that Giancana never did any spying for the CIA. but pretended to go along with 
the Agency "in the hopes that the Justice Departments drive to put him behind bars 
might be slowed — or at least affected — by his ruse of cooperation with another government 

* When asked whether this entry in the memorandum suggested that he had previously 
been aware of the operation. McCone testified that Helms had orally Informed him "on 
that day in August" that it involved assassination. (McCone, 6/6/75, p. 9) 


described the operation as having been terminated before McCone 
became DCI. (See discussion, ^7^/rfl'. p. 132.) 

Neither McCone nor Hebns was able to remember what precisely was 
said at the meeting. Walter Elder, who was then McCone's Executive 
Assistant, recalled : 

Mr. Helms came in with [the memorandum]. He handed it to [McCone] who 
read it and * * * handed it back without any particular comment other than 
to say, "Well, this did not happen during my tenure." 


Q. Was anything else said? 

A. No, he had very little to say about it. 

Q. Did Mr. Helms then leave? 

A. Mr. Helms left. (Elder, 8/13/75, pp. 16-17, 58) 

Elder testified that he had concluded that the operation involved 

assassination from reading the two memoranda that were given to 

McCone. (Elder, 8/13/75, p. 60) Elder "further concluded that 

[McCone] was perfectly aware of what Mr. Helms was trying to 

say to him." (Elder, 8/13/75, p. 60) Elder further testified : 

Q. Other than that conversation that you just described between yourself and 
Mr. McCone, did he have anything else to say about that memorandum? 

Mr. Elder. No. 

Q. I take it then he did not tell either you or Mr. Helms that we absolutely 
could not have this activity going on in the future? 

Mr. Elder. No. (Elder, 8/13/75, p. 61) 

McCone testified that he could not recall whether Helms had told 
him that the operation referred to in the memorandum had involved 
assassination, but he did remember that the part of the memorandum 
stating that $150,000 was to be paid to the principals on completion of 
the operation had indicated to him when he first saw the memoran- 
dum that the aim of the project had been to assassinate Castro. 
(McCone, 10/9/75, pp. 35-36) 

The Inspector General's Report concluded that : 

This is the earliest date on which we have evidence of Mr. McCone's being 
aware of any aspect of the scheme to assassinate Castro using members of the 
gambling syndicate. (I.G. Report, p. 70) 


The ensuing section sets forth evidence bearing on whether officials 
outside the CIA in either the Eisenhower, Kennedy, or Johnson Ad- 
ministrations knew about or authorized the attempted assassination of 
Fidel Castro. The reader is reminded that the early phases of the assas- 
sination effort against Castro occurred during the same time as the plot 
to assassinate Patrice Lumumba (August 1960 through January 1961) 
and the CIA's involvement with dissidents bent on assassinating 
Raphael Trujillo (February 1960 through May 1961). The evidence 
discussed here must be read in conjunction with evidence relating to 
those other plots to fully understand the authorization and knowledge 
issues and the milieu within which the various plots occurred. 

The first part of this section reviews evidence relating to whether 
officials of the Eisenhower Administration were aware of or author- 
ized the assassination efforts against Castro undertaken by the CIA 


during that time— -the abortive I960 "accident" plot and the initiation 
of the plot involving underworld figures. The second part of this sec- 
tion examines evidence relating to whether officials of the Kennedy 
Administration were aware of or authorized the continuation of the 
plot involving the underworld and sending poison to Cuba prior to the 
Bay of Pigs. Also considered in that part is evidence bearing on events 
which occurred after the Bay of Pigs that sheds light on whether 
Kennedy Administration officials subsequently learned of that attempt. 
The third i)art of this section examines evidence relating to whether 
officials of the Kennedy Administration authorized or knew about the 
second attempt to assassinate (^'astro involving John Rosselli which 
began in April 1962. This part closely examines the Administration's 
effort to overthrow the Castro regime — Operation MONGOOSE — for 
any bearing it might have on the perception of Agency officials that 
assassination was within the splieiv of permissible activity. 

The final parts examine evidence relating to whether the assassina- 
tion activity during the last year of the Kennedy Administration and 
in the Johnson Administration — Operation AM/LASH — was author- 
ized or known about by top Administration officials outside the CIA 
and whether that plot was consistent with general efforts sanctioned 
by the Administrations to ovei throw Castro's government. 

(a) The Question of Knowledge (uid Authorization Outside The Cen- 
tred, Intelligence Agency in The Eisenhower Administration 

(i) Summary 

The evidence as to whether Allen Dulles, CIA Director during the 
Eisenhower Administration, was informed of the Castro assassination 
operation is not clear. 

Even assuming that Dulles was informed, authorization outside the 
CIA for a Castro assassination could, according to the testimony, only 
have come from President Eisenhower, from someone speaking for 
him, or from the Special Group. At issue, then is whether President 
Eisenhower, his close aides, or the Special Group authorized or had 
knowledge of the Castro assassination plots. 

The Committee tcKjk testimony on this issue from Richard Bissell 
and from President Eisenhower's principal staff assistants. In sum- 
mary, the evidence was: 

(a) Bissell testified that he did not inform the Special Group or 
President Eisenhower of the Castro assassination operation, and that 
he had no personal knowledge that Allen Didles had informed either 
President Eisenhower or the Special Group. However, Bissell ex- 
pressed the belief that Allen f)ulles would have advised President 
Eisenhower (but not tlie Special Group) in a "circumlocutions" or 
"oblique" way. Bissell based this "[)ure personal opinion" on his under- 
standing of Dulles' practice regarding other particularly sensitive 
covert operations. But Bissell testified that Dulles never told him that 
he had so advised President Eisenhower about the Castro assassination 
operation, even though Dulles had told Bissell when he had employed 
this "circundocutious"' approach to the President on certain other 


(b) Gordon Gray, Eisenhower's Special Assistant for National Se- 
curity Affairs and the President's representative on the Special Group, 
testified that the Special Group never approved a Castro assassination, 
and that President Eisenhower had charged the Special Groiip with 
the responsibility of authorizing all important covert operations. A 
review of the records of Special Group meetings shows that a query 
concerning a plan to take "direct positive action" against Castro 
caused Allen Dulles' Deputy, General Cabell, to advise that such action 
was beyond the CIA's capability. Gray, Andrew Goodpaster (the Pres- 
ident's staff secretary responsible for national security operational 
matters) and John Eisenhower (Assistant Staff Secretary) each stated 
that he believed tliat President P^isenhower would not have considered 
such a matter in a private meeting with Dulles, would not have ap- 
proved Castro's assassination, and Avould not have discussed such a 
matter without telling him. Each concluded as a matter of opinion that 
President Eisenhower was never told, and each denied having heard 
anything about any assassination. 

(c) In addition to the Inspector General's Report (which con- 
cluded that it could not say that any assassination activity carried on 
during this period was responsive to Administration pressure), the 
documentary evidence shows tliat Castro's removal was discussed at 
two meetings of the National Security Council and the Special Group 
in March 1960. The minutes of these meetings indicate that the dis- 
cussions involved a general consideiation of a proposal to train a 
Cuban exile force to invade (^uba and an assessment that Castro's over- 
throw might result in a Communist takeover. Gray and Admiral 
Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Opeiations from 1955 through 1961, 
testified that these discussions of Castro's removal did not refer to 
assassination, but rather to the problem of creating an anti-Castro 
exile force strong enough to ensure a non-Communist successor to the 
Castro regime. Apparently there was no assassination activity stem- 
ing directly from those meetings. Another Special Group document 
stated that planning for "direct positive action" against Cuban leaders 
was raised at a meeting in the Fall of 1960, shortly after Phase I of the 
CIA/underworld assassination operation was initiated. The DDCI 
told the Special Group, however, that such action was beyond the 
CIA's capability. 

{ii) Riohard BisselVs Testim-ony 

(1) Lack of PersoTial KTimoledge 

Bissell testified that he knew nothing of authorization outside the 
CIA for the Castro assassination effort. (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 30) Bissell 
testified that he met frequently with the Special Group in the fall of 
1960 to discuss Cuban operations, but that he never informed the 
Special Group or any Administration official that there was a plot 
underway involving the use of underAvorld figures to assassinate Castro. 
(Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 25-29) Bissell said he did not do so because as 
Deputy Director of Plans, he reported to the Director, and under 
Agency procedures, relied on the Director to inform the appropriate 
persons outside the Agency, 


(2) Assumptions Concerning Dulles 

Based on his belief that Dulles had been briefed about the operation 
involving underworld figures and understood that it involved assassi- 
nation, Bissell testified that : 

I went on the assumption that, in a matter of this sensitivity, the Director 
would handle higher level clearances. By clearance, I mean authorization ^ 
(Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 26) 

Bissell stated that although he believed that Dulles "probably" 
talked with President Eisenhower: 

the Mafia operation was not regarded as of enormous importance and there 
were much more important matters to talk about with the President. (Bissell, 

7/17/75, p. 25) 

Bissell testified that he was only "guessing" that Dulles had in- 
formed Eisenhower, and that the President had then given his authori- 
zation, "perhaps only tacitly." (Bissell, 7/17/75, pp. 38-39; 6/11/75, 
p. 6) Bissell said that this guess was "not based on hard evidence," 
but was "pure personal opinion" (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 61), derived from 
his knowledge of "command relationship, of Allen Dulles as an indi- 
dual, and of his [Dulles'] mode of operations." (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 6) 

Bissell emphasized, however : 

I still want to be quite clear, I do not have any recollection of the Director 
telling me that on this specific operation he had made such an approach and 
received assent, approval, tacit or otherwise. (Bi.s.sell, 6/11/75^ p. 11) 

In describing the manner in which Dulles might have informed the 
President of the assassination plot involving underworld figures, Bis- 
sell said circumlocution would have been used "to protect the Presi- 
dent" in accord with the concept of "plausible deniability." ^ 

My guess is that indeed whoever informed him, that is Didles directly or Dulles 
through a staff member, would have had the same desire ... to shield the Presi- 
dent and to shield him in the sense of intimating or making clear that something 
of the sort was going forward, but giving the President as little information about 
it as possible, and the purpose of it would have been to give the President an 
opportunity, if he so elected, to cancel it, to order it cancelled, or to allow it to 
continue but without, in effect, extracting from him an explicit endorsement of 
the detailed specific plan. ( Bissell, G/0/75, p. 61) 

On other occasions involving sensitive covert operations, Bissell 
said that Dulles had u,?ed just such a "circiunlocutious approach" with 
President Eisenhower. (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 10) 

{Hi) Testimony of White House OificiaU 

(1) Gordon Gray 

Gordon Gray served as President Eisenhower's Special Assistant 
for National Security Affairs from July 1958 to January 20, 1961. 
(Gray, 7/9/75, p. 4) Gray was also the President's representative on 

1 Bissell reiterated this view in a subsequent appearance :"♦**! felt that the re- 
sponsibility for obtaining necessary autliorization should remain with the Director." 
(Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 4) 

3 Bissell explained the "plausible deniability" practice as follows : 

"Any covert operations, but especially covert operations . . . that if successful, would 
have very visible consequences, it was of course, an objective to carry out in such a way 
that they could be plausibly disclaimed by the U.S. (Jovernment." (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 5.) 
Bissell apparently assumed that a corollary to that doctrine required the use of "oblique," 
"circumlocutlous" langage. 


the Special Group. (Gray, 7/9/75, p. 4) President Eisenhower in- 
structed Gray that all covert actions impinging on the sovereignty 
of other countries must be deliberated by the Special Group. (Gray, 
7/9/75, p. 6) Gray testified that from July 1958 to January 20, 1961, 
the Special Group never approved an action to assassinate Castro 
(Gray, 7/9/75, p. 6) and that no such suggestion was made by Bissell. 
(Gray, 7/9/75, p. 37) 
Gray testified that : 

I find it very diflBcult to believe, and I do not believe, that Mr. Dulles would 
have gone independently to him [President Eisenhower] with such a proposal 
without, for that matter, my knowing about it from Mr. Dulles. (Gray, 7/9/75, 
p. 35) ^ 

Gray further testified that his relationship with President Eisen- 
hower was such that President Eisenhower "would discuss with me 
anything that came to his attention independently of me." (Gray, 
7/9/75, p. 7) And Gray testified that President Eisenhower never dis- 
cussed with him the subject of a Castro assassination or of the use of 
the underworld figures and Cubans in such an effort. (Gray, 7/9/75, 
p. 7) 

(2) Andreio Goodfaster 

Goodpaster served as Piesident Eisenhower's Staff Secretary and 
Defense Liaison Officer during the last two years of the Eisenhower 
Administration. (Goodpaster, 7/17/75, p. 3) In addition to responsi- 
bility for the President's scliedule and supervision of the White House 
staff, Goodpaster was responsible for handling with the President "all 
matters of day to day operations" in the foreign affairs and national 
security field, including the activities of the CIA and the Departments 
of State and Defense. (Goodpaster, 7/17/75, p. 3) Goodpaster testified 
that he had a "very close personal relationship" with President Eisen- 
hower and saw the President "essentially every day when [President 
Eisenhower] was in Washington." (Goodpaster, 7/17/75, p. 4) Gordon 
Gra)^ and Goodpaster served as the cliannels between the CIA and the 
President, and Goodpaster had particular responsibility for "opera- 
tions in which [President Eisenhower] might take a personal part." 
(Goodpaster, 7/17/75, p. 4) 

Goodpaster testified that he never heard any mention of assassina- 
tion efforts. (Goodpaster, 7/17/75, p. 5) He said that President Eisen- 
hower never told him about any assassination effort and that it was 
his belief, under White House ])rocedures and by virtue of his close 
relationship with President Eisenhower, that if an assassination plan 
or operation had ever been raised with the President, he (Goodpaster) 
would have learned of it. (Goodpaster, 7/17/75, p. 5) 

That was simply not the President's way of doing business. He had made it 
very clear to us how he wanted to handle matters of this kind, and we had set 
up procedures to see that they were then handled that way. (Goodpaster, 7/17/75, 
pp. 6-7) 

^ Graj' pointed out "that I was not with President Eisenhower twenty-four hours a day. 
It was a few minutes every day, practically every day." (Gray, 7/9/75, p. 35) 

According to the records of the Eisenhower Library, Dulles was alone with President 
Eisenhower on one occasion in tlie fall of 1900. That meeting lasted ten minutes and 
occurred on November 25, 1960. The record of the previous portion of the meeting attended 
by Gray indicates only that, in addition to discussion of operations in another country, 
"there was also some discussion of Cuba." (Memorandum. November 28, 1960, by Gordon 
Gray, of Meeting with the President, November 25, 1960, at 10 :40 a.m.) 


General Goodpaster testified that he found Bissell's assumption of 
a "circumlociitioiis" pei-sonal conversation between Dulles and the 
President "completely unlikely-" 

According to Goodpaster, after the collapse of the Paris Summit 
Conference l)etween President P^isenhower and Premier Khrushchev 
as a result of the IT-2 incident in the spring of I960, the Eisenhower 
Administration reviewed its procedures for approval of CIA opera- 
tions and tightened them. Goodpaster said that this review was carried 

with the aim in mind of being sure we had full and explicit understanding of 
any proposals that came to us and we knew from [President Eisenhower] that 
in doing that we were responsive to a desire on his part. (Goodpaster, 7/17/75, 
P. 7) 

Goodpaster also said John Foster Dulles was a confidant of the 
President while Allen Dulles was not. (Goodpaster, 7/17/75, p. 8) 

(3) Thomas Parrott 

Thomas Parrott, a CIA officer, served as Secretary of the Special 
Group from 1957 until October 1963. (Parrott, 7/10/75, p. 4) Parrott 
stated that by virtue of this assignment, he was Allen Dulles' assistant 
in the Special Group. He came to know Dulles well, and gained an 
understanding of the Director's method of expression and his practice 
in dealing with the President.^ (Parrott, 7/10/75, pp. 13-14) 

Parrott testified that early in 1959, President Eisenhower directed 
the Special Group to meet at least once a week to consider, approve, 
or reject all significant covert action operations. (Parrott, 7/10/75, 
p. 4) He said that: 

as evidenced in his * * * revitalization * * * of this Committee [the Special 
Group], [President Eisenhower was] highly conscious of the necessity to be 
protective * * * in this field, and I just cannot conceive that [President Eisen- 
hower] would have gone off and mounted some kind of covert operation on his 
own. This certainly would not have been consistent with President Eisenhower's 
staff method of doing business * * * - 

(4) John Eisenhower 

Jolm Eisenhower was Goodpaster's Assistant Staff Secretary from 
mid-1958 to the end of his father's Administration. (Eisenliower, 
7/18/75, pp. 5, 9) Eisenhower testified that his father had confided 
in him about secret matters "to a very large extent." (Eisenhower, 
7/18/75, p. 3) For example, he said that after the Potsdam Confer- 
ence in July 1945, his father had told him that the United States had 
developed the atomic bomb (Eisenhower, 7/18/75, p. 3) and that as 
early as 1956, President Eisenhower had told him of the secret U-2 
flights. (Eisenhower, 7/18/75, p. 4) 

John Eisenhower said that President Eisenhower never told him 
of any CIA activity involving an assassination plan or attempt con- 
cerning Castro and it was his opinion that President Eisenhower 
would have told him if the President had known about such activity. 

1 Parrott testified : 

"I saw him [Allen DaiUes] several times a week for hours at a time. I had known 
him somewhat before . . . but I got to know him very well indeed during these four 
years." (Parrott, 7/10/75, p. 1.3) 

2 Parrott further testified that Allen Dulles followed a practice of Insisting upon specific 
orders rather than "tacit approval" and he also found Bissell's assumptions regarding a 
circumlocutions conversation between President Eisenhower and Allen Dulles "hard to 
believe." (Parrott, 7/10/75, p. 14) 


(Eisenhower, 7/18/75, p. 5) He also said that President Eisenhower 
did not discuss important subjects circumlocutiously. (Eisenhower, 
7/18/75, p. 8) He told the Committee that President Eisenhower be- 
lieved that no leader was indispensable, and thus assassination was 
not an alternative in the conduct of foreign policy. (Eisenhower, 
7/18/75, p. 14) 

(iv) Documentary Evidence 

(1) The Inspector Genei^aVs Report. — The concluding section of the 
Inspector General's Report advanced several possible responses to 
Drew Pearson's public charges about CIA links with the underworld.^ 
One question posed in the Inspector General's Report was : "Can CIA 
state or imply that it was merely an instrument of policy?" The an- 
swer given was : 

Not in this ease. While it is true that Phase Two (the attempt commencing in 
April 1962) was carried out in an atmosphere of intense Kennedy Administration 
pressure to do something about Castro, such is not true of the earlier phase. 
(I.G. Report, p. 132) 

{2) The Contemporaneous Documents. — The Committee also ex- 
amined records of the National Security Council, the Special Group, 
and other relevant White House files bearing on the question of au- 
thorization for the period from Castro's rise to power to the end of 
the Eisenhower Administration. Three documents were found which 
contained references arguably related to the subject of assassination. 

In March 1960, the National Security Council and the Special Group 
focused on America's Cuban policy. President Eisenhower had just 
returned from a foreign trip in which : 

Latin American Presidents had counseled further forbearance by the U.S. 
in the hope that the members of the Organization of American States would 
finally see the potential danger in Cuba and take concerted action. ( Memorandum 
of March 10, 1960 NSC Meeting) 

Castro was characterized as hostile, but his Communist ties were 
apparently then unclear.^ The minutes of the March 10, 1960, NSC 
meeting stated : 

There is no apparent alternative to the present government in the event Cas- 
tro disappears. Indeed the result of Castro's disappearance might be a Communist 

The general covert action plan against Cuba came out of these 
March 1960 meetings of the NSC and Special Group.^ 

The record of the NSC meeting of March 10, 1960 (at which Presi- 
dent Eisenhower was present) , states that Admiral Arleigh Burke, in 
commenting on Allen Dulles' statement that the Cuba covert action 
plan was in preparation, "suggested that any plan for the removal of 
Cuban leaders should be a package deal, since many of the Cuban 
leaders around Castro were even worse than Castro." According to the 
minutes of the Special Group meeting on March 14, 1960 (which 

1 On March .3. 1967, Drew Pearson stated in his newspaper column that there was a 
United States "plot" to assassinate Castro, and that "one version claims that underworld 
figures actually were recruited to carry out the plot." (Pearson, Washington Merru Oo- 
Round, March 3, 1967) 

2 Castro apparently first announced publicly that he was a "Marxist-Lenist" on De- 
cember 2, 1961. (David Larson, Cuba Crisis of 1962, p. 304) 

3 As Gray testified, this plan covered four areas ; sabotage, economic sanctions, propa- 
ganda, an-a training of a Cuban exile force for a possible invasion. Gray stated that this 
plan had nothing to do with assassination. (Gray, 7/9/75, p. 17) 


President Eisenhower did not attend), "there was a general discus- 
sion as to what would be the effect on the Cuban scene if Fidel and 
Raul Castro and Che Guevara should disappear simultaneously." 

Admiral Burke stated in an affidavit ^ that although he did not 
recall the March 10, 1960, NSC meeting, he did have a clear recollection 
of discussions of Cuba policy in the spring of 1960. (Burke affidavit) 

Burke stated that the reference to his suggestion at the March 10 
meeting "clearly refers to the general covert action plan reported 
by Allen Dulles at that meeting and to the general consideration 
given at that time in the U.S. Government to identify Cuban groups 
with which the U.S. might work to overthrow the Castro regime." 
(Burke affidavit) Burke continued: 

In this connection, it was my view that the U.S. must support those Cuban 
groups who would have a sufficient power base among the Cuban people, not 
merely to overthrow Castro, but to be able to cope with and dismantle his organi- 
zation as well. It was my firm belief at the time that many people in Castro's 
organization were Communist and that Castro was probably a Communist. I 
therefore advocated that any effort to support groups so as to achieve Castro's 
overthrow must focus, not merely on the leaders at the top of the Castro regime, 
but on the very strong organization that had been the key to Castro's rise to 
power, and was the basis for his power. 

* * * * * * * 

The question of a Castro assassination never arose at the March 10, 1960 NSC 
meeting or at any other meeting or discussion that I attended or in which I par- 
ticipated. It is my firm conviction based on five years of close association with 
President Eisenhower during my service as Chief of Naval Operations, that 
President Eisenhower would never have tolerated such a discussion, or have 
permitted anyone to propose assassination, nor would he have ever authorized, 
condoned, or permitted an assassination attempt. (Burke affidavit) 

Gordon Gray testified that the March 10 and March 14, 1960 meet- 
ings dealt with plans to overthrow the Castro government, rather 
than with assassinating Castro. He said that Admiral Burke's com- 
ment at the March 10 NSC meeting was part of a lengthy and general 
discussion about Cuba. Burke's reference to a "package deal" for the 
removal of Cuban leaders was in direct response to a comment by 
Allen Dulles that "a plan to affect the situation in Cuba was being 
worked on." (Gray, 7/9/75, pp. 13-14) Gray said he believed that 
Dulles "was certainly referring to" the Eisenhower Administration's 
plan to train Cuban exiles for an invasion, rather than to a targeted 
attempt on Castro's life.- (Gray, 7/9/75, pp. 14, 45) Gray testified 
that viewing Burke's remarks in context, he believed it was clear that 
"Admiral Burke * * * was expressing his opinion that if you have any 
plan [for the overthrow of Castro] it ought to take these factors into 

1 Admiral Burke was unable to testify in person because he was hospitalized. 

2 The memorandum of an internal CIA meeting shows that the first meeting of the 
CIA task force established to plan the training of a Cuban exile force was held on 
March 9, 1960, the day before the March 10, NSA meeting. The CIA task force discussed 
"an operation directed at the overthrow of the Castro regime" and described that 
operation as one in which a Cuban exile force would be trained for "6-7 months." In 
the discussion of this operation, it was noted that a principal problem was the weakness 
of the Cuban exile groups which "had no real leader and are divided into many parts," 
but it was hoped that during the long training period the "opposition groups will have 
been merged and will have formed a government-in-exile to which all trained elements 
could be attached." (Memorandum March 9, 1960) 

According to the memorandum of the meeting, J. C. King, Chief of the CIA's Western 
Hemisphere Division, had stated, "unless Fidel and Raul Castro and Che Guevara could 
be eliminated in one package — which is highly unlikely — this operation can be a long, 
drawn-out affair and the present government will only be overthrown by the use of 
force." Ud., p. 1) 


consideration, that you might end up with a Communist government." 
(Gray, 7/9/75, p. 45) 

Admiral Burke stated that the "general discussion" at the March 14 
Special Group meeting "clearly did not involve a discussion of assassi- 
nation of Cuban leaders, but to the possible effects should only those 
leaders be overthrown by a group not powerful enough to also master 
the organization those leaders had established in Cuba." ^ (Burke 
affidavit) Burke added: 

Thus, it was consistent with my views then that I should have been recorded 
in the record of the March 14 meeting as warning in this discussion that the 
Communists might move into control even if these three top leaders should be 
overthrown. As stated above, I strongly believed that a strong, organized group 
must be in the forefront of any effort to overthrow the Castro government. (Burke 

When the question of "whether any real planning had been done for 
taking direct positive action against Fidel, Raul and Che Guevara" 
was subsequently raised at a Special Group meeting on November 3, 
1960, General Cabell reportedly said : 

that action of this kind is uncertain of results and highly dangerous in concep- 
tion and execution, because the instruments must be Cubans. He felt that, par- 
ticularly because of the necessity for simultaneous action, it would have to be 
concluded that (such action) is beyond our capabilities. (Minutes Special Group 
Meeting, November 3, 1960) 

The reference to "direct positive action" is ambiguous and subject 
to different interpretations, including a suggestion that assassination 
be explored.^ 

However, it is clear that at most a question was being asked. More- 
over, assuming that "direct positive action" meant killing, it is sig- 
nificant that shortly after assassination plots were begun, the CIA 
Deputy Director told the Special Group that such action was "beyond 
our capabilities." 

(b) The Question of Knowledge and Authorization Outside The 
Central Intelligence Agency during the Kennedy Administration 

We have divided the evidence on whether or not assassination plots 
were authorized during the Kennedy Administration into three sec- 
tions. The first primarily relates to the assassination operation in- 
volving underworld figures prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion in 
April 1961. The second deals with the post-Bay of Pigs period, and 

1 The record of the March 14 meeting states : "Admiral Burke said that the organized 
group within Cuba today was the Communists and there was therefore the danger they 
might move into control." 

- Testimony varied as to the meaning of the phrase "direct positive action" and of Gen- 
eral Cabell's response in the November 3, 1960 memorandum. 

Gray testified that it could be talcen to include assassination, but he did not Itnow 
whether Mr. Merchant intended to refer to assassination or not. (Gray, 7/9/75, p. 9) 

Parrott, the author of the memorandum, testified that, although he had no recollection 
of the November 3, 1960 meeting, it was his opinion, based on the context of weekly Spe- 
cial Group meetings and discussion in the fall of 1960, that this discussion centered on 
the possibility of a palace coup, as opposed to a paramilitary operation mounted from 
outside Cuba : General Cabell was indicating that "we simply do not have agents inside 
of Cuba to carry out this kind" of a coup. (Parrott, 7/10/75, pp. 19-21) Parrott also 
testified that the phrase "direct positive action" was not a euphemism, and that he did 
not employ euphemisms in Special Group records, except for references to the President. 
(Parrott. 7/10/75, pp. 19-21) 

Bissell testified that he found it "difficult to understand" that General Cabell would 
have told the Special Group that it was beyond the CIA's capabilities to take "direct posi- 
tive action" (if that referred to assassination) in light of Bissell's assumption that General 
Cabell was informed of the CIA/underworld assassination effort. (Bissell, 7/17/75, 
pp. 15-18) 

Mr. Merchant was unable to testify because of ill health and orders of his physician. 


the Rosselli operation in the spring of 1962. That section also dis- 
cusses Operation Mongoose. A third section discusses the 1963 labora- 
tory schemes and the AM/LASH plot. 

(i) Pre-Bay Of Pigs Assassination Plot 

The testimony was essentially the same as for the Eisenhower Ad- 
ministration. Bissell again said he assumed and believed that Dulles 
had met with President Kennedy and informed him, in a circum- 
locutions fashion, that the operation had been planned and was being 
attempted. Bissell also testified that he (Bissell) informed neither 
the President nor any other officials outside the CIA about the assas- 
sination efforts. Each Kennedy Administration official who testified 
said that he had not known about or authorized the plots, and did not 
believe the President would have authorized an assassination. 

(1) BisselVs Testimony Concerning His Assumption That Dulles 
Told The President. — Kichard Bissell continued as DDP, the 
principal agency official responsible for efforts against the Castro 
regime, including both the Bay of Pigs operation and the assassina- 
tion plots, when Kennedy became President in January, 1961. Bissell 
is the only surviving CIA policy maker with first hand knowledge 
of high-level decisions in the pre-Bay of Pigs phase of the Castro 
assassination plot involving underworld figures. Although Bissell tes- 
tified that Allen Dulles never told him that Dulles had informed Presi- 
dent Kennedy about the underworld plot, Bissell told the Committee 
that he believed Dulles had so informed President Kennedy and that 
the plot had accordingly been approved by the highest authority.^ 

Senator Baker. * * * you have no reason to think that he [Dulles] didn't or 
he did [brief the President]. But the question I put was whether or not in the 
ordinary course of the operations of the CIA as you know them under their tradi- 
tions, their rules and regulations, and their policies in your opinion — was the 
President, President-elect briefed or was he not? 

Bissell. I believe at some stage the President and the President-elect both 
were advised that such an operation had been planned and was being attempted. 

Senator Baker. By whom? 

Bissell. I would guess through some channel by Allen Dulles. 

The Chairman. But you're guessing, aren't you? 

Mr. Bissell. I am, Mr. Chairman, and I have said that I cannot recollect the 
giving of such briefing at the meeting with the President-elect in November or 
in any meeting with President Eisenhower. (Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 38-39) 

Bissell characterized his belief that the President had been informed 
as "a pure personal opinion" (Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 60-61) ; on another 
occasion the following exchange occurred : 

Senator Morgan. Mr. Bissell, it's a serious matter to attribute knowledge of 
this sort to the President of the United States, especially one who cannot speak 
for himself. Is it fair to assume that out of an abundance of caution you are 
simply telling us that you have no knowledge unless you are absolutely certain? 
* * * I gather that you think * * * it [assassination plot information] came out 
but because of the seriousness of the accusation you are just being extremely 
cautious * * * is that a fair assumption to make? 

Bissell. That is very close to a fair assumption, sir. It's just that I have no 
direct knowledge, first-hand knowledge of his [President Kennedy's] being ad- 
vised, but my belief is that he knew of it [assassination plans]. (Bissell, 6/9/75, 
pp. 55^56) 

1 Bissell never asked Dulles whether Dulles had informed President Kennedy's National 
Security Adviser, McGeorge Bundy about the plot. (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 34.) 


Bissell said that he had not personally informed White House offi- 
cials or the President of the assassination plot because he "left the 
question of advising senior officials of the government and obtaining 
clearances in Allen EhiUes' hands." (Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 29, 33) As 
with President Eisenhower, Bissell once again "assumed" that Dulles 
"had at least intimated [to President Kennedy] that some such thing 
was underway." (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 33) ^ 

Bissell speculated that Dulles would have engaged in a "circumlocu- 
tions" conversation using "rather general terms," although Dulles did 
not mention such a briefing to Bissell, as he had on some past occasions 
when he had circumlocutiously briefed President Eisenhower on sensi- 
tive matters. (Bissell, 6/11/75, pp. 6, 10-14) 

Bissell repeatedly coupled Eisenhower and Kennedy when he spec- 
ulated that the Presidents would have been advised in a manner calcu- 
lated to maintain "plausible deniability." (Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 38, 57; 
6/11/75, pp. 5-6) : 

In the oase of an operation of high sensitivity of the sort that we are dis- 
cussing, there was a further objective that would have been pursued at various 
levels, and that was specifically with respect to the President, to protect the 
President. And, therefore, the way in which I believe that Allen Dulles would 
have attempted to do that was to have indicated to the two successive Presidents 
the general objective of the operation that was contemplated, to make that suffi- 
ciently clear so that the President — either President Eisenhower or President 
Kennedy — could have ordered the termination of the operation, but to give the 
President just as little information about it as possible beyond an understanding 
of its general purpose. Such an approach to the President would have had as its 
purpose to leave him in the position to deny knowledge of the operation if it 
should surface. 

My belief — a belief based, as I have said, only to my knowledge of command 
relationship of Allen Dulles as an individual, and of his mode of operations — 
is that authorization was obtained by him in the manner that I have indicated. 
I used the word on Monday "circumlocutious." and It was to this approach 
that I referred. 

Assuming for the moment that I am correct, since the effort would have 
been to minimize the possibility of embarrassment to the President, it is, I 
think, understandable that neither I nor anyone else in the Agency would have 
discussed this operation on our own initiative with, for instance, members of 
the White House staff. 

The effort would have been to hold to the absolute minimum the number of 
people who knew that the President had been consulted, had been notified and 
had given, i)erhaps only tacitly, his authorization. (Bissell, 6/11/75, pp. 5-6) 

(2) BisseWs Testimony Regarding His Own Actions. — ^When Bis- 
sell was asked if he had informed anyone outside the CIA that 
Bissell was asked if he had informed anyone outside the CIA that 
an effort to assassinate Castro was underway, he replied, "not to my 
recollection." He added that he was never told that any official out- 
side the Agency had been made aware of such an effort. (Bissell, 
6/9/75, pp. 28-30) 

Bissell had ample opportunity to inform appropriate officials out- 
side the CIA of the plot. He worked closely with McGeorge Bundy, the 
White House liaison for Cuban affars and formerly one of Bissell's 

^ Prior to the Bay of Pigs, there were many meetings at which both the President and 
Dulles were present. The Presidential logs from the Kennedy Administration indicate only 
one meeting before the Bay of Pigs invasion at which the President and Allen Dulles may 
have met privately. This meeting took place on March 25, 1961. (There is no record of the 
meeting. We feel compelled to state that the fact of this meeting, on the evidence avail- 
able, is of little, if any signlflcance or relevance. ) 


students at Yale University. Bissell and Bundy were also personal 
friends, but Bissell testified that he never told Bundy about the plot, 
a fact Bundy confirmed. (Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 16, 28-29 ; 7/22/75, p. 31) 
(Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 41) Bissell testified that : 

* * * almost from the beginning of tlie Kennedy Administration, the Presi- 
dent himself and a number of Cabinet members and other senior officials took a 
very active interest in the operation(s) concerning Cuba. (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 16) 

Bissell was "almost invariably" present at meetings on Cuba 
in which the President and other senior officials took an "active in- 
terest." (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 17) Bissell testified that he did not then 
inform any of them of the assassination plot. (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 39) 

(3) Kennedy Administration Officials Testimony. — The Committee 
has taken testimony from all living officials high in the Kennedy Ad- 
ministration who dealt with Cuban affairs.^ The theme of their testi- 
money was that they had no knowledge of any assassination plan or 
attempt by the United States government before or after the Bay of 
Pigs invasion, and that they did not believe President Kennedy's char- 
acter or style of operating would be consistent with approving 

Secretary of Senate Dean Rusk testified, "I never had any reason 
to believe that anyone that I ever talked to knew about had any 
active planning of assassination underway." (Rusk, 7/10/75, p. 65) 

Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara stated that he had "no 
knowledge or information about * * * plans or preparations for a 
possible assassination attempt against Premier Castro." (McNamara, 
7/11/75, p. 7) 

Roswell Gilpatric, Deputy Secretary of Defense under McNamara, 
said that killing Castro was not within the mandate of the Special 
Group, which he construed as having been only to weaken and under- 
mine "the Cuban economy." (Gilpatric, 7/8/75, p. 28) 

General Maxwell Taylor, who later chaired Special Group meet- 
ings on Operation MONGOOSE, stated that he had "never heard" of 
an assassination effort against Castro, and that he never raised the 
question of assassination with anyone. (Taylor, 7/9/75, pp. 7-8, 72, 19) 

McGeorge Bundy stated that it was his "conviction" that "no one 
in the Kennedy Administration, in the White House, or in the cabinet, 
ever gave any authorization, approval, or instruction of any kind 
for any effort to assassinate anyone by the CIA." (Bundy, 7/11/75, 
p. 54) Bundy said that he was never told that assassination efforts 
were beina: conducted against Castro. (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 63) 

Walt W. Rostow. who shared national security duties with Bundy 
before moving to the Department of State, testified that during his 
entire tenure in government, he "never heard a reference" to an inten- 
tion to undertake an assassination effort. (Rostow, 7/9/75, pp. 10, 
1^13, 38) 

1 Most of the testimony from officials high in the Kennedy Administration covered the 
period after the Bay of Pigs Invasion, involving Operation MONGOOSE and related activ- 
ities. (See following Section) It was during this period that high officials in the ^Tiite 
House State Department, Defense Department, and the CIA were drawn into the detailed 
planning of Cuban operations. Their testimony concerning the question of authorization 
for the assassination plots is extensively discussed infra, pp. 148-161. 


Asked if he had ever been told anything about CIA efforts to assassi- 
nate Castro, Richard Goodwin, Assistant Special Counsel to the Presi- 
dent, replied, "No, I never heard of such a thing." (Goodwin, 7/18/75, 
p. 13)^ 

Theodore Sorensen, who said that his "first-hand knowledge" of 
Cuban affairs was limited to the post-Bay of Pigs period, stated that 
his general opinion, based on his close contact with President Kennedy, 
was that 

* * * such an act [as assassination] was totally foreign to his character and 
conscience, foreign to his fundamental reverence for human life and his respect 
for his adversaries, foreign to his insistence upon a moral dimension in U.S. 
foreign policy and his concern for this country's reputation abroad and foreign 
to his pragmatic recognition that so horrendous but inevitably counterproductive 
a precedent committed by a country whose own chief of state was inevitably 
vulnerable could only provoke reprisals and inflame hostility. * * * (Sorensen, 
7/21/75, p. 5) 

Sorensen stated that President Kennedy "would not make major for- 
eign policy decisions alone without the knowledge or participation of 
one or more of those senior foreign policy officials in whose judgment 
and discretion he had confidence." (Sorensen, 7/21/75, p. 6) 
Sorensen concluded his testimony with the following exchange : 

Q. Would you think it would be possible that * * * the Agency, the CIA 
could somehow have been under the impression that they had a tacit authorization 
for assassination due to a circumspect discussion that might have taken place 
in any of these meetings? 

Sorensen. It is possible, indeed, I think the President on more than one 
occasion felt that Mr. Dulles, by making rather vague and sweeping references 
to particular countries was seeking tacit approval without ever asking for it, 
and the President was rather concerned that he was not being asked for ex- 
plicit directives and was not being given explicit information, so it is possible. 
But on something of this kind, assassination, I would doubt it very much. Mther 
,you are for it or you are not for it, and he was not for it. (Sorensen 7/21/75, 
pp. 32-33) 

(4) The Question of Whether Assassination Efforts Were Disclosed 
in Various Briefings of Administration Officials. 

a. Briefing of the President- Elect 

In the latter part of November 1960, after the Presidential election, 
Dulles and Bissell jointly briefed President-elect Kennedy on "the 
most important details with respect to the operation which became 
the Bay of Pigs." (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 34) Bissell testified that he 
did not believe the ongoing assassination efforts were mentioned to 
the President-elect at that meeting. (Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 27, 35-36) 
Bissell surmised that the reasons he and Dulles did not tell Kennedy 
at that initial meeting were that they had "apparently" thought it 
was not an important matter,^ and that they "would have thought that 
that was a matter of which he should be advised upon assuming office 

1 Goodwin did liear about assassination on two occasions. One involved a meeting be- 
tween the President and reporter Tad Szulc in Novembner 1961 (see discussion pp. 138-139) 
and the other involved the Special Group (Augmented) meeting of August 10, 1962. (See 
pp. 164-165) 

2 This reason was also given by Bissell in response to the Committee's questioning of his 
assumption that Dulles probably told President Eisenhower about the assassination opera- 
tion : "• * * the Mafia operation was not regarded as of enormous importance and ther» 
were much more important matters to talk about with the President." (Bissell, 7/17/75, 
p. 25) 


rather than in advance." (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 35) Bissell's latter com- 
ment led to the following exchange : 

The Chaibman. Isn't it a strange distinction that you draw that on the one 
hand (as) a Presidential designate, as President-elect, he should have all of 
the details concerning a planned invasion of Cuba, but that he should not be 
told about an ongoing attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro ? 

Mr. Bissell. I think that in hindsight it could be regarded as peculiar, yes. 

The Chairman. * * * (I) t just seems too strange that if you were charged with 
briefing the man who was to become President of the U.S. on matters so imjwr- 
tant as a planned invasion of a neighboring country, and that if you knew at the 
time in addition to the planned invasion there was an ongoing attempt to assassi- 
nate the leader of that country, that you would tell Mr. Kennedy about one 
matter and not the other. 

Mr. Bissell. Well, Mr. Chairman, it is quite possible that Mr. Dulles did say 
something about an attempt to or the possibility of making use of syndicate 
characters for this purpose. I do not remember his doing so at that briefing. My 
belief is that had he done so, he probably would have done so in rather general 
terms and that neither of us was in a position to go into detail on the matter. 
(Bissell,6/9/75, p. 35) 

However, Bissell also testified generally that pursuant to the doc- 
trine of "plausible denial," efforts were made to keep matters that 
might be "embarrassing" away from Presidents. (Bissell, 6/11/75, 
pp. 5-6) 

6. Discussion with Bvmdy on '"''Executive Action C a'pahility'''' 
Sometime early in the Kennedy Administration, Bissell discussed 
with Bundy a "capability" for "executive action" — a term Bissell said 
included various means of "eliminating the effectiveness" of foreign 
leaders, including assassination.^ (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 32) Bissell did 
not tell Bundy about the plot against Castro during their discussion 
of Executive Action capability. (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 31; Bundy, 
7/11/75, p. 41) However, Bissell did say that Castro, Trujillo, and 
Lumumba might have been mentioned in connection with a discussion 
of "research" into the capability. (Bissell, 6/11/75, pp. 50-51) 

c. Taylor/ Kennedy Bay of Pigs Inquiry 

Following the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion. President Ken- 
nedy convened a "court of inquiry" which reviewed "the causes of * * * 
[the] failure" of the operation. (Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 42, 45) Kobert 
Kennedy, General Maxwell Taylor, Allen Dulles, and Admiral Arleigh 
Burke comprised the Board. The "Taylor Report," issued on June 13, 
1961 after the panel had examined the matter for several weeks, makes 
no mention of the assassination plot. 

Bissell was questioned extensively by the Taylor/Kennedy Board. 
General Taylor considered Bissell to have been the principal govern- 
ment oflficial in the Bay of Pigs operation. He thought Bissell much 
more knowledgeable than Dulles, who had deliberately removed him- 
self from the planning and had delegated responsibilitv to Bissell. 
(Taylor, 7/9/75, p. 73) 

Bissel said he had not disclosed the assassination plot to the Taylor/ 
Kennedy Board and advanced several reasons for not having done so. 
First, "the question was never asked;" second, Dulles already knew 
about the operation ; third, "by that time the assassination attempt had 

1 The evidence concerning who Initiated the conversation, when It occurred, and what 
was said, is discussed extensively In section III-C. 


been called off;" fourth, the assassination effort was "not germane" 
because it did not contribute to the failure of the Bay of Pigs. (Bissell, 
6/9/75, pp. 44-46; 6/11/75, p. 39) Bissell added that he had "no 
reason to believe" that Allen Dulles did not discuss the plot with one 
or more of the other Board members. (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 46) However, 
both General Taylor and Admiral Burke, the only other members of 
the Board still living, stated that neither Bissell nor Dulles had in- 
formed them of the assassination plot. (Tavlor, 7/9/75, pp. 72-73; 
Burke affidavit, 8/25/75) 1 

Bissell's testimony that he had not disclosed the assassination plot 
to the Kennedy /Taylor Board is consistent with his statement that 
"I have no knowledge that Robert Kennedy was advised of this [the 
plot to kill Mr. Castro]." (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 41) 

The Committee tested this statement against other parts of Bis- 
sell's testimony. FBI Director Hoover sent the Attorney General a 
memorandum about the Las Vegas wiretap on May 22, 1961.^ An 
attachment to that memorandum quoted Sheffield Edwards as saying 
that Bissell, in his "recent briefings" of Taylor and Kennedy "told the 
Attorney General that some of the associated planning included the 
use of Giancana and the underworld against Castro." 

When Bissell was first shown this document by the Committee, 
he said : "I have no recollection of briefing those two gentlemen except 
as members of the Board of Inquiry that I have described, of which 
Allen Dulles himself was a member." (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 27) 

In a subsequent appearance before the Committee, Bissell again 
said that he had no recollection of the conversation referenced in the 
May 22 memorandum. (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 56) He was sure that if 
such a conversation had occurred it was not before the Kennedy/ 
Taylor Board. (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 64) 

Bissell speculated, however, that the memorandum quoted language 
which "I might very well have used, that is, the use of the underworld 
against Castro." (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 21) 

The examination of Bissell on whether he had discussed a pre-Bay 
of Pigs plot with the Attorney General or General Taylor and. if 
so, why he used such obscure and indirect language, elicited the fol- 
lowing testimony : 

Q. Did you, sometime in May of 1961 communicate the state of your awareness 
to the Attorney General in your briefing to him? 

Bissell. Well, there is a report which I was shown, I think it was last week, 
I believe it also came from the FBI, but I could be wrong about that, or indicat- 
ing that I did, at that time in May, brief the Attorney General, and I think 
General Taylor to the effect that the Agency had been using — I don't know 
whether Giancana was mentioned by name, but in effect, the Underworld against 
the Castro regime. 

Q. Did you tell them — them being the Attorney General and General Taylor — 
that this use included actual attempts to assassinate Mr. Castro? 

Bissell. I have no idea whether I did [.] I have no idea of the wording. I 
think it might quite possibly have been left in the more general terms of using 
the underworld against the Castro regime, or the leadership of the Castro regime. 

1 When asked if Bissell had ever informed him that underworld figures had been offered 
a large sum to assassinate Castro, General Taylor responded : "No, I never heard that, and 
it amazes me" (Taylor, 7/9/75, p. 72) Taylor said that during his review of the Bay of 
Pigs operation no mention was made of an assassination effort against Castro. (Taylor, 
7/9/75, p. 72) Taylor noted that Dulles met with the Board of Inquiry some thirty or forty 
times. (Tayor, 7/9/75, p. 78) 

* A handwritten note from the Attorney General to his assistant on the face of the 
memorandum indicates that the Attorney General had seen the document. This memo- 
randum is discussed In detail at Section (7) (b) , infra. 


Q. Mr. Bissell, given the state of your knowledge at that time, wouldn't that 
have been deliberately misleading information? 

Bissell. I don't think it would have been. We were indeed doing precisely 
that. We were trying to use elements of the underworld against Castro and the 
Cuban leadership. 

Q. But you had information, didn't you, that you were, in fact, trying to kill 

Bissell. I think that is a way of using these people against him. 

Q. That's incredible. You're saying that in briefing the Attorney General you are 
telling him you are using the underworld against Castro, and you intended that 
to mean, Mr. Attorney General, we are trying to kill him? 

Bissell. I thought it signaled just exactly that to the Attorney General, I'm 

Q. Then it's your belief that you communicated to the Attorney General that 
you were, in fact, trying to kill Castro? 

Bissell. I think it is best to rest on that report we do have, which is from a 
source over which I had no influence and it does use the phrase I have quoted here. 
Now you can surmise and I can surmise as to just what the Attorney General 
would have read into that phrase. (Bissell, 7/22/75, pp. 53-54) 

Q. Was it your intent to circumlocutiously or otherwise, to advise the Attorney 
General that you were in the process of trying to kill Castro? 

Mr. Bissell. [U]nless I remembered the conversation at the time, which I don't, 
I don't have any recollection as to whether that was my intent or not. (Bissell, 
7/22/75, p. 56) 

Bissell speculated further that a "proper" briefing might have 
omitted any reference to the assassination plot. (Bissell, 7/22/75, 
p. 59) As bases for his speculation, Bissell suggested first that even if 
he had "thoroughly briefed" the Attorney General he would have 
chosen "circumlocutions" language to tell him about the activity in- 
volving Giancana. (Bissell, 7/22/75, pp. 53-56) ; and second that the 
assassination effort had been "stood down by them." (Bissell, 7/22/75, 
p. 59) Bissell concluded by reiterating that he had "no knowledge" 
that the Attorney General was "specifically advised" of the assassina- 
tion plot against Castro. (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 62) ^ 

(5) Conversation Between President Kennedy and SeTiator George 

George Smathei-s, former Senator from Florida, testified that 
the subject of a possible assassination of Castro arose in a conversa- 
tion Smathers had with President Kennedy on the White House lawn 
in 1961.- Smathers said he had discussed the general Cuban situation 
with the President many times. (Smathers, 7/23/75, p. 6) Smathers 
had many Cuban constituents and was familiar with Latin American 
affairs. He was also a long-time friend of the President. (Smathers, 
7/23/75, p. 6) 

It was Smathers' "impression" that President Kennedy raised the 
subject of assassination with Smathers because someone else "had ap- 

1 If the FBI quotation of Edwards is to be accorded significant weight, then it is im- 
portant to note that another section of it contradicts Bissell's assumption that Presidents 
Eisenhower and Kennedy had been circumlocutiously advised by Dulles of the assassination 
plot. Edwards told the FBI that "Allen Dulles was completely unaware of Edwards' con- 
tact with Meheu" in connection with Cuban operation. 

Bissell's explanation for Edwai-ds' statement was that Edwards was being "protective" 
of the DCI. (Bissell. 7/17/75, p. 20) But this testimony must be reconciled with Bissell s 
previous testimony that Dulles knew of the operation and probably would have told the 
President about it. - /-. , 

2 Smathers' testimony about this conversation referred to the transcript of an Oral 
History interview he gave on March 31. 1964. That interview indicates that the conversa- 
tion probably took place in 1961. before the Bay of Pigs invasion in mid-April. 

White House logs of Presidential meetings indicate only two occasions in 1961 when 
Senator Smathers met alone with the President. Both of those meetings took place in 


parently discussed this and other possibilities with respect to Cuba" 
with the President. (Smathers, 7/23/75, pp. 16, 25) Smathers had no 
direct knowledge of any such discussion, or who might have been in- 
volved. (Smathers, 7/23/75, pp. 18-19, 25) The President did not indi- 
cate directly that assassination had been proposed to him. ( Smathers, 
7/23/75, p. 18) 

According to Smathers : 

* * * [President Kennedy] asked me what reaction I thought there would be 
throughout iSouth America were Fidel Castro to be assassinated * * * i told the 
President that even as much as I disliked Fidel Castro that I did not think it 
would be a good idea for there to be even considered an assassination of Fidel 
Castro, and the President of the United States completely agreed with me, that 
it would be a very unwise thing to do, the reason obviously being that no matter 
who did it and no matter how it was done and no matter what, that the United 
States would receive full credit for it, and the President receive full credit for it, 
and it would work to his great disadvantage with all of the other countries in 
Central and South America * * * i disapproved of it, and he completely dis- 
approved of the idea. ( Smathers, 7/23/75, pp. 6-7) 

Smathers said that on a later occasion he had tried to discuss Cuba 
with President Kennedy and the President had made it clear to 
Smathers that he should not raise the subject with him again.^ 

Senator Smathers concluded his testimony by indicating that on 
Cuban affairs in general, he felt he was "taking a tougher stance than 
was the President." (Smathers, 7/23/75, p. 24) Smathers said he was 
"positive" that Kennedy opposed assassination. (Smathers, 7/23/75, 
p. 16) 

(6) The Question of Whether the President or the Attorney General 
Might Have Learned of the Assassination Effort from tlie Cuban 

A memorandum for the record in CIA files dated April 24, 1961, 
reflects that on April 19-20, in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs, Presi- 
dent Kennedy and other Administration officials, including Secretary 
of Defense McNamara and General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, Chairman 
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with a translator and several members 
of Cuban groups involved in the Bay of Pigs. One of those Cuban exile 
leaders had been involved in the passage of poison pills to Cuba in 
March or April of that year; - there is no evidence that any of the 
other Cubans at the meeting were involved in or aware of the assassina- 
tion plot, and it is unclear whether that particular Cuban realized that 
the plot in which he was involved was sponsored by the CIA.^ The 
April 24 memorandum states that the atmosphere of the meeting re- 
flected depression over the failure of the Bay of Pigs. 

1 One night at dinner with Senator Smathers, the President emphasized his point by 
eraeliing his plate at the mention of Cuba. (Smathers, 7/23/75, p. 22) 

2 According to FBI memoranda dated December 21, 1960, and .January 18, 1961, the 
Cuban was associated with anti-Castro activities financed by United States raclceteers, in- 
cluding Santos Trafficante, who hoped to secure illegal monopolies in the event of Castro's 
overthrow. This same Cuban was subsequently used by Rosselli in the second passage of 
pills to Cuba in April 1962. 

^ Rosselli testified that he represented himself to the Cubans as an agent of American 
business interests that desired the removal of Castro. (Rosselli, 6/24/75, pp. 17, 89) 
Maheu testified that he and Rosselli held themselves out to the Cubans as representatives 
of American Industrialists who had been financially hurt by Castro's regime, and that 
"at no time had we identified to them that the U.S. government in fact was behind the 
project." (Maheu, 7/29/75, p. 34) The Support Chief testified that he had met the 
Cuban exile leader with whom Rosselli had dealt only once, and that he had then been 
"put out as being somebody that had a client, commercial type." The Support Chief was not 
certain that the Cuban had not suspected his true Identity, however, because the Chief 
testified that pfter that meeting, Rosselli had told him that the Cuban had remarked, "You 
•>-an't tell me this guy is not a CIA man." (O.C, 5/30/75, p. 22) 


On May 18, 1961, the Taylor/Kennedy Board interviewed several 
Cuban exile leaders who had been involved in the Bay of Pigs, includ- 
ing the leaders who had cooperated in the assassination plot. The 
summary of that session states that the subject of the inquiry was the 
Bay of Pigs operation. Attorney General Eobert Kennedy was present. 

The Cuban exile leader involved in the assassination plot may have 
seen the Attorney General on one further occasion shortly after the 
Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962. Rosselli testified that this Cuban 
then was being used by the United States Government to aid in intelli- 
gence gathering and covert operations directed at Cuba. Rosselli said 
that he met that Cuban and other Cuban leaders in Washington, 
D.C., and that the Cubans told him they "were here meeting with the 
Attorney General and that they were waiting for an appointment from 
the White House." (Rosselli, 9/22/75, p. 6) They did not tell Rosselli 
their reasons for seeing the Attorney General, indicating only that 
the meeting involved the Cuban situation generally. Rosselli said that 
he did not discuss the assassination operation with the Cuban leaders 
"because I did not want [the second leader] to hear of it, because he 
was not part of it." (Rosselli, 9/22/75, p. 10) 

(7) The Question of Whether or not the Assassination Operation 
Involving Underworld Figures loas Known about by Attorney Gen- 
eral Kennedy or President Kennedy as Revealed by Investigations of 
Giancarm and Rosselli. 

Beginning in the fall of 1960 and continuing throughout the Bay 
of Pigs and MONGOOSE priods (through 1962), the CIA under- 
took an assassination operation against Castro involving underworld 
figures. Following the discovery of the wiretap in a Las Vegas hotel 
room on October 31, 1960,^ the CIA began disclosing aspects of its 
involvement with underworld figures to the FBI, to certain Justice 
Department officials, and after the advent of the Kennedy Adminis- 
tration, to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.^ This section sets 
forth evidence bearing on what Attorney General Robert Kennedy 
did or did not know about the use of underworld figures by the CIA 
as revealed by FBI and Justice Department investigations surround- 
ing the discovery of the Las Vegas wiretap. 

This section also discusses evidence bearing on whether or not 
President Kennedy knew prior to April 1962, or at any time there- 
after about the pre-Bay of Pigs plot involving underworld figures. 
There are two issues. The first is whether the President was made 
aware, through either the FBI or the Attorney General, of the CIA's 
use of Rosselli and Giancana. The second is whether the President 
learned that the CIA had used Rosselli and Giancana in an attempt 
to assassinate Fidel Castro. 

a. I960.— On October 18, 1960, FBI Director Hoover sent a memo- 
randum ^ to DDP Bissell with copies to some other members of the 

1 The wiretap was placed on the telephone by Arthur J. Balletti. Arrangements for the 
tap were made by Maheu through his acquaintance, Edward DuBois. (FBI memo 3/23/62) 
See discussion, supra, pp. 77—79. 

2 Robert Kennedy was Attorney General from January 1961 until September 1964. 
During his tenure as Attorney General he had close ties not only to law enforcement 
agencies (FBI and Justice), but also to the CIA. He served on the Special Group (Aug- 
mented) which supervised Operation MONGOOSE from December 1961 through October 

3 This memorandum is set forth In full, supra, p. 79. 


intelligence community^ stating that an informant had reported 
that "* * * during [a] recent conversation with several friends. 
Giancana stated that Fidel Castro was to be done away with very 
shortly. When doubt was expressed regarding this statement, Gian- 
cana reportedly assured those present that Castro's assassination 
would occur in November." ^ (Memo, Hoover to Bissell, 10/18/69) 
According to the memorandum Giancana claimed to have met with 
the assassin-to-be on three occasions and said that the assassination 
could be accomplished by dropping a pill in Castro's food. The memo- 
randum did not specifically reveal CIA involvement. 

After discovering the Las Vegas wiretap on October 31, 1960, the 
FBI commenced an investigation which quickly developed that Maheu 
and Giancana were involved in the case. In April 1961, Kosselli's in- 
volvement was discovered. 

&. 1961. — The first documentary evidence indicating alleged CIA 
involvement with the wiretap case is an FBI report dated April 20, 
1961. The report stated that on April 18, 1961, Maheu informed the 
FBI that the tap had played a part in a project "on behalf of the CIA 
relative to anti-Castro activities," a fact which could be verified by 
Sheffield Edwards, CIA's Director of Security.'' 

Bissell testified that he knew during the spring of 1961 that Edwards 
was seeking to persuade the Justice Department, via communications 
to the FBI, not to prosecute the parties — including Maheu, Kosselli, 
and Giancana — who were involved in the Las Vegas tap. Although 
Bissell believed that Edwards had told the Bureau the truth, he did 
not expect that Edwards would have revealed that the CIA operation 
involved assassination. (Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 63-65)^ 

According to a May 22, 1961, FBI memorandum, on May 3, 1961, 
Edwards told the FBI ^ that the CIA had relied on Giancana because 
of Giancana's contacts with gambling figures who might have sources 
for use "in connection with CIA's clandestine efforts against the Castro 
government". Edwards reportedly said that "none of Giancana's ef- 
forts have materialized to date and that several of the plans still are 
working and may eventually 'pay off' ". Edwards also stated that he 
had never been furnished details of the methods used by Giancana and 
Maheu because this was "dirty business" and he could not afford to 

^The October 18 memo was also distributed to Assistant Attorney General J. Walter 
Yeagley and to Army, Air Force, Navy and State Department intelligence offices. Bissell 
testified that he did not recall this memorandum. (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 40) He speculated 
that the CIA's copy ordinarily would have been delivered to him and he would have 
passed it on to Sheffield Edwards. The action copy was directed to Bissell but he surmised 
that a copy would also have gone to the Director. (Bissell. 7/22/75, pp. 40, 41) 

2 The FBI copy of the memorandum contained a postscript stating : 

"By separate airtel (night cable), we have Instructed the field to be most alert for any 
additional information concerning alleged plots against Castro and to submit recom- 
mendations for close surveillance of Giancana in the event he malies trip to the Miami 
area or other trips which may be for the purpose of contacting people implicated in 
this plot." 

3 Sam Papich. the FBI liaison with the CIA during this period, stated that the FBI 
was furious when it learned of the CIA's use of Maheu, Rosselli and Giancana in the tap 
because it might inhibit possible prosecutions against them in the wiretap case and In 

An arrangement (which was informal with Edwards, but was formalized with William 
Harvey) was subsequently made between the CIA and the FBI. The arrangement was 
that Papich would be informed by Agenc.v personnel of any CIA contacts with under- 
world figures, of their movements, and any intelligence which directly or Indirectly 
related to organized crime activities in the United States. The CIA would not report to 
the FBI any information concerning the objectives of Agency operations. 

* Bissell also testified that the "cover story" for the operation may have been Intelli- 
gence gathering (i.d., p. 66). 

5 Edwards apparently gave this information to Sam Papich, 


know the specific actions of Maheu and Giancana in pursuit of any 
mission for the CIA. 

Although Edwards did not reveal the specific objective of the Gian- 
cana operation to the FBI, he was referring to the Agency's recent 
assassination attempt involving the passage of poison involving a 
Cuban exile leader sometime between mid-March and mid- April 1961.^ 

The summary of Edwards' statements to the FBI that was sent 
by Hoover to Attorney General Kennedy on May 22, 1961, stated, in 
part that : 

Colonel Edwards advised that in connection with CIA's operation against 
Castro he personally contacted Robert Maheu during the fall of 1960 for the 
purpose of using Maheu as a "cut-out" in contacts with Sam Giancana, a known 
hoodlum in the Chicago area. Colonel Edwards said that since the underworld 
controlled gambling activities in Cuba under the Batista government, it was 
assumed that this element would still continue to have sources and contacts in 
Cuba which perhaps could be utilized successfully in connection with CIA's 
clandestine efforts against the Castro government. As a result, Maheu's services 
were solicited as a "cut-out" because of his possible entree into underworld 
circles. Maheu obtained Sam Giancana's assistance in this regard and according 
to Edwards, Giancana gave every indication of cooperating through Maheu in 
attempting to accomplish several clandestine efforts in Cuba. Edwards added 
that none of Giancana's efforts have materialized to date and that several of 
the plans still are working and may eventually "pay off." 

Colonel Edwards related that he had no direct contact with Giancana ; that 
Giancana's activities were completely "back stopped" by Maheu and that Maheu 
would frequently report Giancana's action and information to Edwards. No 
details or methods used by Maheu or Giancana in accomplishing their missions 
were ever reported to Edwards. Colonel Edwards said that since this is "dirty 
business", he could not afford to have knowledge of the actions of Maheu and 
Giancana in pursuit of any mission for CIA. Colonel Edwards added that he 
has neither given Maheu any instruction to use technical installations of any 
type nor has the subject of technical installations ever come up between Edwards 
and Maheu in connection with Giancana's activity. 

Mr. Bissell, in his recent briefings of General Taylor and the Attorney Gen- 
eral and in connection with their inquiries into CIA relating to the Cuban 
situation [the Taylor Board of Inquiry] told the Attorney General that some 
of the associated planning included the use of Giancana and the underworld 
against Castro.^ 

The summary of Edwards' conversation with the FBI was accom- 
panied by a cover memorandum from Hoover stating that Edwards 
had acknowledged the "attempted" use of Maheu and "hoodlum ele- 
ments" by the CIA in "anti-Castro activities" but that the "purpose 
for placing the wiretap * * * has not been determined * * *." (FBI 
memo to Attorney General, 5/22/61) The memorandum also ex- 
plained that Maheu had contacted Giancana in connection with the 
CIA program and CIA had requested that the information be han- 
dled on a "need-to-know" basis.^ 

^ See the preceding section for a discussion of this Cuban exile leader. 

2 For a discussion of this part of the memorandum and Bissell's testimony on it. see 
pp. 121-123 supra. 

3 At the time Hoover sent the May 22, 1961, memorandum to the Attorney General, 
indicating that there was a CIA/Giancana link, Bureau flies already contained another 
memorandum revealing that Giancana had earlier talked about an assassination attempt 
against Castro. This earlier memorandum dated October 18, 1960, did not reveal any Gian- 
cana/CIA connections, but anyone seeing the October 18 memorandum and knowing of 
the CIA's association with Giancana in a project "against Castro" should have realized 
the connection. 

Courtney Evans, the FBI's liaison with the Attorney General, however, testified that 
pursuant to Bureau procedure. Hoover would have received an intra-bureau memorandum 
giving him a detailed summary of the information that was in the files. (Evans, 8/28/75, 
pp. 70, 72) (footnote continued on p. 128) 


Hoover's memorandum to Attorney General Kennedy was stamped 
"received" and a marginal notation in Kennedy's handwriting said: 
"Courtney I hope this will be followed up vigorously." ^ Carbon copies 
were sent to Deputy Attorney General Byron R. White and Assistant 
Attorney General Herbert J. Miller- Jr, 

A memorandum from Evans to Allen Belmont, Assistant to the 
Director (FBI) dated June 6, 1961, stated: 

We checked with CIA and ascertained that CIA had used Maheu as an inter- 
mediary in contacting Sam Giancana, the notorious Chicago hoodlum. This was 
in connection with anti-Castro activities. CIA, however, did not give any instruc- 
tions to Maheu to use any technical installations. In connection with this infor- 
mation received from CIA concerning their attempted utilization of the hoodlum 
element, CIA requested this information be handled on a "need-to-know" basis. 

We are conducting a full investigation in this wiretap case requested by the 
Department and the field has been instructed to press this investigation vigor- 
ously. Accordingly, the Attorney General will be orally assured that we are fol- 
lowing up vigorously and the results of our investigation will be furnished to the 
Department promptly. 

Entries in the FBI files indicate that the FBI vigorously pursued its 
investigation of the wiretap case. However, on August 16, 1961, the 
Assistant United States Attorney in Las Vegas reported his reluctance 
to proceed with the case because of deficiencies in the evidence and his 
concern that CIA's alleged involvement might become known. The 
Department of Justice files indicate no activity between September 
1961, when the FBI's investigation was concluded, and January 1962, 
when the question of prosecution in the case was brought up for 

An entry in the Justice Department files dated October 6, 1961, 
stated : 

Yesterday P.M. told me that A.O. had inquired as to status of this case and 
think Harold [ Shapiro] got it taken care of OK. 

Evans also testified tnat he did not recall ever having seen the October 18 memorandum, 
that he had never heard from any source of an assassination plot involving the Central 
Intelligence Agency ana members of the underworld during his tenure with the Bureau, 
and that he never discussed assassination with the Attorney General. (Evans, 8/28/75, 
pp. 55-57) However, he did have discussions with the Attorney General following the 
May 22 memorandum. Evans testified that If the October 18 memorandum had been sent to 
him, it would have been sent to him by Thomas McAndrews, who was Chief of the 
Organized Crime Section of the Special Investigative Division of the Bureau. McAndrews, 
who was responsible for distributing information from the FBI to the entire intelligence 
community, could not recall ever having given the October 18 memorandum to Evans. 
When asked if he believed the Information contained in that memorandum had ever 
been brought to the attention of Attorney General Kennedy, McAndrews testified : "I 
think he was briefed specifically on it, either in writing or orally * * * I think it was 
done. But I can't say for sure." (McAndrews, 9/17/75, p. 27) 

Kalph Hill was the Special Agent in charge of the Investigation of Giancana. He testi- 
fied that he recalled the information in the October 18 memorandum, but that he did not 
recall the memorandum Itself. He stated that because of the Attorney General's interest 
in organized crime figures, it was the practice for field reports concerning Giancana to 
be given to Courtney Evans, who would then forward them to the Attorney General. 

The only documents the Committee has seen indicating that the FBI realized the 
October 18 memorandum related to the CIA/underworld figures operation, were two 
memoranda, both dated March 6, 1967, and both entitled "Central Intelligence Agency's 
Intentions to Send Hoodlums to Cuba to Assassinate Castro." The first memorandum to 
Attorney General Ramsey Clark stated that "it appears that data which came to our 
attention in October 1960 possibly pertains to the above-captloned matter." The second, 
an internal FBI memorandum used in the preparation of the memorandum for the Attor- 
ney General, stated that there were two other references in the files to the overall infor- 
mation mentioned above, one of which was the statement made by Giancana that in 
October 1960 he met with an individual who was to assassinate Castro in November 1960. 

1 Courtnev Evans was the FBI's liaison with the Attorney General and the President. 
Courtney Evans had worked closely with the then Senator John Kennedy and Robert 
Kennedy on the McClellan Committee, which had investigated the relationship between 
organized labor and organized crime. During the McClellan Investigation Sam Giancana 
was one of the major crime figures examined. After becoming Attorney General. Robert 
Kennedy had singled out Giancana as one of the underworld leaders to be most Intensely 


With the exception of this briefing, the FBI and Justice files indi- 
cate no other activity in the Balletti wiretap case from September 
1961 through January 1962. There was no activity in the assassina- 
tion effort involving underworld figures from April 1961 until mid- 
April 1962. 

c. 1962. — A note of January 29, 1962, from the head of the Ad- 
ministrative Regulations Division to the first and second assistants in 
the* Criminal Division stated : 

Our primary interest was in Giancana ♦ * * apparently detective (Maheu) 
has, some connection witli Giancana but he claims was because of CI A. assignment 
in connection with Cuba — CIA has objected, may have to drop. 

Assistant Attorney General Herbert Miller then asked the FBI to 
again speak with Edwards about the prosecution of Maheu. (Memo 
from Miller, 1/31/62) 

An FBI memorandum dated February 24, 1962, set forth Miller's 
request that Edwards be reinterviewed about possible prosecutions in 
the Balletti case. A reply memorandum from the FBI to Miller on 
February 7, 1962, stated that Edwards had been contacted and that 
he objected to the prosecution. 

{1) Did President KeuTiedy Learn Anything About Assassination 
Plats as a Result of the FBI Investigation of GiancaTia and Rossellif 

As elaborated in the previous sections of this report, all living CIA 
officials who were involved in the underworld assassination attempt 
or who were in a position to have known of the attempt have testified 
that they never discussed the assassination plot with the President. 
By May 1961, however, the Attorney General and Hoover were aware 
that the CIA had earlier used Giancana in an operation against Cuba 
and FBI files contained two memoranda which, if simultaneously re- 
viewed, would have led one to conclude that the CIA operation had 
involved assassination.^ There is no evidence that any one within the 
FBI concluded that the CIA had used Giancana in an assassination 
attempt. The Committee has uncovered a chain of events, however, 
which would have given Hoover an opportunity to have assembled 
the entire picture and to have reported the information to the 

Evidence before the Committee indicates that a close friend of Pres- 
ident Kennedy had frequent contact with the President from the end 
of 1960 through mid-1962. FBI reports and testimony indicate that 
the President's friend was also a close friend of John Rosselli and Sam 
Giancana and saw them often during this same period.^ 

On February 27, 1962, Hoover sent identical copies of a memoran- 
dum to the Attorney General and Kenneth O'Donnell, Special Assist- 
ant to the President. The memorandum stated that information 
developed in connection with a concentrated FBI investigation of John 
Rosselli revealed that Rosselli had been in contact with the President's 

^ The two memoranda, which are discussed in considerable detail supra, were the Oc- 
tober 18, 1960, memorandum linking Giancana to an assassination plot (but not men- 
tioning CIA) and the May 22, 1961, memorandum linking Giancana to a CIA operation 
against Cuba Involving "dirty business" (but not mentioning assassination). 

2 White House telephone logs show 70 instances of phone contact between the White 
House and the President's friend whose testimony confirms frequent phone contact with 
the President himself. 

Both the President's friend and Rosselli testified that the friend did not know about 
either the assassination operation or the wiretap case. Giancana was killed before he was 
available for questioning. 


friend. The memorandum also reported that the individual was main- 
taining an association with Sam Giancana, described as "a prominent 
Chicago underworld figure." Hoover's memorandum also stated that a 
review of the telephone toll calls from the President's friend's residence 
revealed calls to the White House. The President's secretary ultimately 
received a copy of the memorandum and said she believed she would 
have shown it to the President. 

The association of the President's friend with the "hoodlums" and 
that person's connection with the President was again brought to 
Hoover's attention in a memorandum preparing him for a meeting 
with the President planned for March 22, 1962. Courtney Evans testi- 
fied that Hoover generally required a detailed summary of information 
in the FBI files for drafting important memoranda or preDaring for 
significant meetings. (Evans, 8/28/75, pp. 70, 72) The FBI files on 
Giancana then contained information disclosing Giancana's connec- 
tion with the CIA as well as his involvement in assassination plotting. 
(Memoranda of 10/18/60 and 5/22/61) 

On March 22, Hoover had a private luncheon with President Ken- 
nedy. There is no record of what transpired at that luncheon. Accord- 
ing to the White House logs, the last telephone contact between the 
White House and the President's friend occurred a few hours after 
the luncheon. 

The fact that the President and Hoover had a luncheon at which one 
topic was presumably that the President's friend was also a friend of 
Giancana and Rosselli raises several possibilities. The first is, assum- 
ing that Hoover did in fact receive a summary of FBI information 
relating to Giancana prior to his luncheon with the President, whether 
that summary reminded the Director that Giancana had been involved 
in a CIA operation against Cuba that included "dirty business" and 
further indicated that Giancana had talked about an assassination 
attempt against Castro. A second is whether Hoover would then have 
taken the luncheon as an opportunity to fulfill his duty to bring this 
information to the President's attention.^ What actually transpired 
at that luncheon may never be known, as both participants are dead 
and the FBI files contain no records relating to it. 

On March 23, 1962, the day immediately following his luncheon 
with the President, at which Rosselli and Giancana were presumably 
discussed. Hoover sent a memorandum to Edwards stating : 

At the request of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, this 
matter was discussed with the CIA Director of Security on February 7, 1962, 
and we were advised that your agency would object to any prosecution which 
would necessitate the use of CIA personnel or CIA information. We were also 
informed that introduction of evidence concerning the CIA operation would 
be embarrassing to the Government. 

The Criminal Division has now requested that CIA specifically advise whether 
it would or would not object to the initiation of criminal prosecution against 
the subjects, Balletti, Maheu, and the individual known as J. W. Harrison for 
conspiracy to violate the "Wire Tapping Statute." 

1 The President, thus nottified. might then have inquired further of the CIA. The 
Presidential calendar indicates that the President had meetings at which most CIA 
officials witting of the assassination plot were present during the period from February 27 
through April 2, 1962. All of those persons, however, have testified that the President 
never asl^ed them about the assassination plot. 


An early reply will be appreciated in order that we may promptly inform the 
Criminal Division of CIA's position in this matter/ 

As a result of this request, the CIA did object to the prosecution of 
those involved in the wiretap case, thereby avoiding exposure of 
Giancana's and Rosselli's involvement with the Agency in an assassi- 
nation plot. We now turn to events which occurred during April 
and May 1962 which culminated in the formal decision to forego 
prosecution in the wiretap case. 

(2) The Formal Decision to Forego Prosecwtion. 

(a) Events Leading up to a Formal Briefing of the Attorney 

A memorandum for the record of April 4, 1962, reflects that Ed- 
wards met with Sam Papich, the FBI liaison to the CIA, on March 28 
or 29 and told Papich that : 

Any prosecution in the matter would endanger sensitive sources and methods 
used in a duly authorized intelligence project and would not be in the national 
interest. (Edwards' memorandum, 4/4/62) 

A memorandum for Assistant Attorney General Miller from 
Hoover dated April 10, 1962, stated that Edwards : 

Has now advised that he has no desire to impose any restriction which might 
hinder efforts to prosecute any individual, but he is firmly convinced that prose- 
cution of Maheu undoubtedly would lead to exposure of most sensitive infor- 
mation relating to the abortive Cuban invasion in April 1961, and would result 
in most damaging embarrassment to the U.S. Government. He added that In 
view of this, his agency objects to the prosecution of Maheu. (Memo, Hoover to 
Miller, 4/10/62) 

On April 16, 1962, Lawrence Houston, CIA General Counsel, met 
with Miller.^ Houston reported to Edwards that Miller envisioned 
"no major difficulty in stopping action for prosecution." Houston 
offered to brief the Attorney General, but said that he '"doubted 
if we would want to give the full story to anyone else in the De- 
partment," and Miller did not desire to know the "operational details." 
On April 20 Houston told Miller's first assistant that he was request- 
ing Justice not to prosecute "on grounds of security," and asked to 
be informed if it was necessary to brief the Attorney General. (Memo, 
Houston to Edwards, 4/26/62) 

In the latter half of April 1962 William Harvey, head of the CIA's 
anti-Castro effort, gave poison pills to Roselli for use in the post-Bay of 
Pigs assassination effort against Fidel Castro using underworld 

(b) Briefing of the Attorney General on May 7, 1962. 

An entry in Attorney General Kennedy's calendar for May 7, 1962, 
states "1 :00 — Richard Helms." ^ At 4 :00 the Attorney General met 

1 This memorandum is peculiar in two respects. First, tlie CIA had already orally 
objected to prosecution on two occasions. Second, Hoover was quizzing the CIA on behalf 
of the Department of Justice, a task that would normally be performed by the Depart- 
ment's Criminal Division. 

2 Houston testified that he did not remember these meetings. (Houston, 6/2/75, p. 3) 
Miller recalled only that Houston had spoken to him about a wiretap and possible CIA 
embarrassment. (Miller. 8/11/75, p. 16) 

3 Helms testified that he did not recall meeting with the Attorney General on May 7 
and his desk book does not reflect any such meeting. When asked if he had ever met with 
the Attorney General to set up a knowingly inaccurate briefing. Helms testified that he 
had not and that If he had, he would certainly remember it because "I would have been 
conlving or colluding, and I have no recollection of ever having done anything like that." 
(Helms, 9/16/75, p. 8) 


with Houston and Edwards to be briefed on the CIA operation in- 
volving Maheu, Rosselli, and Giancana. The briefing was at the At- 
torney General's request. (I.G. Keport, p. 62a) 

On May 9, 1962, the Attorney General met with Director Hoover. 
Hoover prepared a memorandum for the record dated May 10, 1962, 
recounting what was said at that meeting. On May 11 the Attorney 
General requested Edwards to prepare a memorandum of the May 7 
briefing. Edwards, with Houston's assistance, prepared a memo- 
randum dated May 14, 1962, relating what had transpired at the May 7 
briefing. Also, on the same day, Edwards had a telephone conversation 
with William Harvey. As a result of that conversation, Edwards 
prepared an internal memorandum for the record dated May 14, 1962, 
which falsely stated that the operation involving Eosselli was then 
being terminated. 

(aa) The Attorney General Was 7' old That the Operation Had 
Involved an Assassination Attempt 

Houston testified that the operation was described to the Attorney 
General as an assassination attempt. (Houston, 6/2/75, p. 14) When 
interviewed for the Inspector General's Report in 1967, Edwards 
said he briefed Kennedy "all the way." (I.G. Report, p. 62a) A memo- 
randum by Hoover of a conference with Kennedy on May 9, two days 
after the briefing states : 

The Attorney General told me lie wanted to advise me of a situation in the 
Giancana case which had considerably disturbed him. He stated a few days ago 
he had been advised by CIA that in connection with Giancana, CIA had hired 
Robert A. Maheu, a private detective in Washington, D.C., to approach Giancana 
with a proposition of paying $150,000 to hire some gunmen to go into Cuba and 
to kill Castro. ( Memorandum from Hoover, 4/10/62 ) 

(66) Evidence Concerning Whether the Attorney General Was 
Told That the Operation Had Been Terminated 

Houston, who said that he was told about the use of underworld 
figures for the first time by Edwards a few weeks before the briefing 
of the Attorney General, testified that it was his "understanding that 
the assassination plan aimed at Castro had been terminated com- 
pletely," and that Kennedy was told "the activity had been terminated 
as of that time." (Houston, 6/2/75, pp. 13, 15) Edwards testified that 
he had also believed at the time of the briefing that the operation had 
been concluded and that he had so informed Kennedy. (Edwards, 
5/30/75, p. 16) ^ The memorandum of the briefing prepared by Ed- 
wards describes the operation as having been "conducted during the 
period approximately August 1960 to May 1961." It further states: 

After the failure of the invasion of Cuba word was sent through Maheu to 
Bosselli to call ofE the operation and Rosselli was told to tell his principal that 
the proposal to pay one hundred fifty thousand dollars for completion of the 
operation had been definitely withdrawn. (Memo from Edwards, 4/14/62) 

1 Harvey, who was informed of the briefing by Edwards, could not recall whether 
Edwards told him that the Attorney General had been briefed that the operation had been 
terminated. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 99) 


Based upon interviews with Houston and Edwards, the Inspector 
General's Report concluded that : 

The Attorney (Jeneral was not told that the gambling syndicate operation had 
already been reactivated, nor, as far as we know, was he ever told that CIA had 
a continuing involvement with U.S. gangster elements. (I.G. Report, p. 65) ^ 

Houston and Edwards recalled that Kennedy was upset that the CIA 
had used Giancana, Houston testified : 

If you have seen Mr. Kennedy's eyes get steely and his jaw set and his voice 
get low and precise, you get a definite feeling of unhappiness. (Houston, 6/2/75, 
p. 14) 

In his memorandum of the meeting with the Attorney General two 
days after the briefing, Hoover recalled : 

I expressed great astonishment at this in view of the bad reputation of Maheu 
and the horrible judgment in using a man of Giancana's background for such a 
project. The Attorney General shared the same views. (Memo from Hoover, 

5/10/62) ^ 

Hoover's May 10 memorandum further states that the Attorney Gen- 
eral said that "CIA admitted that they had assisted Maheu in making 
this installation and for these reasons CIA was in a position where it 
could not afford to have any action taken against Giancana and 
Maheu." ^ 

According to Edwards, at the end of the briefing, Kennedy said : "I 
want you to let me know about these things," or words to that effect. 
(Edwards, 5/30/75, p. 17) Houston recalled that Kennedy said: 

In very si)ecific terms that if we were going to get involved with Mafia per- 
sonnel again he wanted to be informed first * * *. I do not remember his com- 
menting about the operation itself. (Houston, 6/2/75, p. 14) * 

Hoover recorded that two days after the briefing, the Attorney Gen- 
eral told him that : 

He had asked CIA whether they had ever cleared their actions in hiring Maheu 
and Giancana with the Department of Justice before they did so and he was ad- 
vised by CIA they had not cleared these matters with the Department of Justice. 
He stated he then issued orders to CIA to never again in the future take such 
steps without first checking with the Department of Justice. (Memo from Hoover, 

Edwards testified that at the time of the Kennedy briefing, he did 
not know that the CIA was still utilizing its underworld contacts, 

1 In a section entitled "The Facts As We Know Them." the I.G. Report stated that 
Attorney General Kennedy "was briefed on Gambling Syndicate — Phase One after It was 
over. He was not briefed on Phase Two." (I.G. Report, p. 118) 

2 The Hoover memorandum Indicates two reasons for Attorney General Kennedy's dis- 
pleasure. First, the CIA had put itself into a position where "It could not nfford to havp 
any action taken against Giancana or Maheu." Second. Hoover: "Stated as he [Kennedy] 
well knew the 'gutter gossip' was that the reason nothing had been done against Giancnna 
was because of Giancana's close relationship with Frank Sinatra who, in turn, claimed 
to be a close friend of the Kennedy famll.v. The Attorney General stated he realized this 
and It was for that reason that he was quite concerned when he received this Information 
from CIA about Giancana and Maheu." (Sinatra Is not the President's friend discussed in 
the preceding subsection.) 

Despite the Attorney General's concern that prosecutions of parties involved in the tin 
might be foreclosed In the future, both Giancana and Rosselll were in fact prosecuted Inter 
for crimes unrelated to the tap. 

3 In the CIA memorandum of the briefing prepared by Edwards, Edwards wrote that "at 
the time of the incident, neither this Agency nor the undersigned knew of the proposed 
technical Installation." 

* Houston testified that Kennedy insisted "There was not to be any contact of the 
Mafia * * * without prior consultation with him." fHouston. 6/2/75. p. 37) When Inter- 
viewed in 1967 for the Inspector General's Report. Houston had recalled Kennedy as siv- 
ing: "I trust that If you ever try to do business with organized crime again — wUh 
gangsters— you will let the Attorney General know." (I.G. Report, p. 62a) 


(Edwards, 5/30/75, p. 16) even though the operation had been re- 
activated under the Directorate of Plans, and in early April 1962, 
poison pills had been given to Rosselli. 

As concluded by the CIA itself in the Inspector General's Report, 
Edwards' statement that he was not aware of these developrhents is 
implausible. In the memorandum of May 14, 1962, prepared for the 
Attorney General, Edwards stated that Harvey had asked him to ar- 
range a contact with Rosselli, and that a meeting had been set for 
April 9. The Inspector General's Report observed : 

When the Attorney General was briefed on 7 May, Edwards kniew that Harvey 
had been introduced to Rosselli. He must also have known that his subordinate, 
the Support Chief, was in Miami and roughly for what purpose (although Ed- 
wards does not now recall this). (I.G. Report, p. 65) ^ 

Harvey testified that Edwards knew the operation was still in effect 
and that Edwards told Harvey about the briefing of the Attorney 
General shortly afterwards. (Harvey, 6/25/75, pp. 98-100) 

In the internal memorandum for the record dated May 14, 1962, 
written the same day as the memorandum of the Attorney General's 
briefing, Edwards stated : 

On this date Mr. Harvey called me and indicated that he was dropping any 
plans for the use of Subject (Rosselli) for the future. 

Harvey testified that the memorandum "was not true, and Colonel 
Edwards knew it was not true." (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 97) Edwards 
confirmed that he was aware at that time that Harvey was "trying" 
to assume control of the operation. (Edwards, 5/30/75, p. 19) 

Harvey testified that Edwards' entry would cause the record to show 
incorrectly that the operation had been terminated, when in fact it had 
not been. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 102) Harvey's reasons explaining the 
decision to "falsify" the record were : 

* * * if this ever came up in the future, the file would Show that on such and 
such a date he was advised so and so, and he was no longer chargeable with 
this. * * * (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 100) 

This was purely an internal document for use in closing out this operation as 
far as the Office of Security and its Director, that is its Chief, personally, was 
concerned. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 102) 

To bring this operation under some sort of sensible control, determine what 
it was, and attempt to insulate against what I consider a very definite potential 
for damage to the agency and to the government. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 101) 

When questioned about the fact that the Attorney General had been 
told that the operation had been terminated when in fact it was con- 
tinuing, Helms testified : 

* * * I am not able to tell you whether this operation was ongoing, whether 
it had really been stopped, whether it had been fairly stopped, whether there 
was fun and games going on between the officers involved as to, we will create 
a fiction that it stopped or go ahead with it. I just don't recall anv of those 
things at all * * =■=. (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 109) 

(ii) Post-Bay Of Pigs Underworld Plot— MONGOOSE Period 

This section discusses evidence bearing on whether the post-Bay of 
Pigs operation to assassinate Castro involving underworld figures — 
which began in April 1962. and continued at least through the Cuban 

^ Papich presumably continued to receive reports from the CIA on Harvev's subsequent 
meetings with Rosselli. 


missile crisis in October of tliat year — was authorized or known about 
by Administration officials outside of the CIA. 

This issue must be considered in li^ht of the differing perceptions 
of Helms and his subordinates, on the one hand, and of other members 
of the Kennedy Administration, including the Director of the CIA, 
on the other. While Helms testified that he never received a direct 
order to assassinate Castro, he fully believed that the CIA was at all 
times acting within the scope of its authority and that Castro's 
assassination came within the bounds of the Kennedy Administration's 
effort to overthow Castro and his regime. Helms said that he inherited 
the Rosselli program from Bissell, and, due to its sensitive and unsav- 
ory character, it was not the type of program one would discuss in 
front of high officials. He stated that he never informed McCone or 
any other officials of the Kennedy Administration of the assassina- 
tion plot. However, McCone and the surviving members of the Ken- 
nedy Administration testified that they believed a Castro assassination 
was impermissible without a direct order, that assassination was out- 
side the parameters of the Administration's anti-Castro program, and 
each testified that to his knowledge no such order was given to Helms. 

An understanding of the Kennedy Administration's 1962 covert ac- 
tion program for Cuba is essential to an evaluation of the testimony 
on the issue of authorization. That program, which was designed to 
overthrow the Castro regime, and the events in 1961 leading up to it 
are discussed below. A detailed exposition of the testimony then 

(1) Events Preceding the Establishment of MONGOOSE 


On April 22, 1961, following the Bay of Pigs failure, the President 
requested General Maxwell Taylor to conduct a reevahiation of "our 
practices and programs in the areas of military and paramilitary, 
guerilla and anti-guerilla activity which fall short of outright war." 
Taylor was to give special attention to Cuba (Letter to Maxwell 
Tayloi-, 4/22/61) and Robert Kennedy was to be his principal col- 
league in the effort. 

The resulting review concluded : 

We have been struck with the general feeling that there can be no long-term 
living with Castro as a neighbor. His continued presence within the hemispheric 
community as a dangerously effective exponent of Communism and anti-Amer- 
icanism constitutes a real menace capable of eventually overthrowing the elected 
governments in any one or more of weak Latin American republics. * * * 

It is recommended that the Cuban situation be reappraised in the light of all 
presently known factors and new guidance be provided for political, military, 
economic and propaganda action against Castro. (Report to the President. 
fi/13/61. Memo No. 4, p. 8) 

It is clear from the record, moreover, that the defeat at the Bay of 
Pigs had been regarded as a humiliation for the President personally 
and for the CIA institutionally. 

By July 1961, the Special Group had agreed that "the basic objec- 
tive toward Cuba was to provide support to a I^.S. program to develop 
opposition to Castro and to help bring about a regime acceptable to the 

U.S." (Memo for the Record, 7/21/61) Occasional harassment op- 
erations were mounted during the summer but there was no overall 
strategy and little activity, 


In the fall of 1961 the Kennedy Administration considered the con- 
sequences of Castro's removal from power and the prospects for United 
States military intervention if that occurred. Two studies were pre- 
pared. National Security Action Memorandum 100 (NSAM 100) di- 
rected the State Department to assess the potential courses of action 
open to the United States should Castro be removed from the Cuban 
scene, and to prepare a contingency plan with the Department of De- 
fense for military intervention in that event. The CIA prepared an 
"Intelligence Estimate'- on the "situation and prospects" in Cuba. The 
focus of these studies was on the possible courses of action open to the 
United States in a post-Castro Cuba, rather than on the means that 
might bring about Castro's removal. It does not appear, however, that 
assassination was excluded from the potential means by which Castro 
might be removed . 

On October 5, 1961, McGeorge Bundy issued NSAM 100 entitled 
"Contingency Planning for Cuba." It was addressed to the Secretary 
of State and stated in full : 

In confirmation of oral instructions conveyed to Assistant Secretary of State 
Woodward, a plan is desired for the indicated contingency. 

The Special Group Minutes of October 6, 1961, state that the 
Group was told that in addition to an overall plan for Cuban 
covert operations, "a contingency plan in connection with the possible 
removal of Castro from the Cuban scene" was in preparation. (Memo- 
randum for the Eecord of Special Group meeting, 10/6/61) An 
October 5, 1961 Memorandum for the Record by Thomas Parrott, Sec- 
retary to the Special Group, states that Parrott informed the Deputy 
Assistant Secretary for Latin American Affairs that "what was wanted 
was a plan against the contingency that Castro would in some way or 
other be removed from the Cuban scene." Parrott's memorandum 
stated that in preparing the plan, "the presence and positions of Raul 
(Castro) and Che Guevara must be taken into account," and that 
General Taylor had told Parrott he preferred "the President's inter- 
est in the matter not be mentioned" to the Assistant Secretary. This 
memorandum also said that "on the covert side, I talked to Tracy 
Barnes in CIA and asked that an up-to-date report be furnished as 
soon as possible on what is going on and what is being planned." 

The CIA's Board of National Estimates (which was not part of 
the Directorate of Plans) prepared a study entitled "The Situation and 
Prospects in Cuba." ^ The CIA estimate was pessimistic about the 

1 The Inspector General apparently had access to an earlier draft of this Intelligence 
estimate. (I.G. Report, p. 4) In reportintr that many CIA officers interviewed in the I.G. 
Investipntion stressed that "eliminntion of the dominant fitriires in a government * * * 
win not necessarily cause the downfall of the government," the Report stated : "This point 
wn'=! stressed with respect to Castro and Cuba in an internal CTA drift naner of October 
1'^fi], which was Initiated in response to Genpral Maxwell Taylor's desire for t contingency 
nlnn. The paner took the position that the demise of Fidel Castro, from whoteve*- cause, 
wonld offer little opportunity for the liberation of Cubn from Communist and Soviet Bloc 
control." d.G. Report, p. 41 

The CIA has been unable to locate the draft paper referred to in the Inspector General's 


success of a Cuban internal revolt, and found that Castro's assassi- 
nation would probably strengthen the Communist position in Cuba. 
After reviewing the economic, military, and political situation in 
Cuba, the CIA estimate concluded that the Castro regime had suffi- 
cient popular support and repressive capabilities to cope with any 
internal threat. The concluding paragraph of the estimate, entitled 
"If Castro Were to Die," noted that : 

His [Castro's] loss now, by assassination or by natural causes, would have 
an unsettling effect, but would almost certainly not prove fatal to the re- 
gime * * * [I]ts principal surviving leaders would probably rally together in 
the face of a common danger. (Estimate, p. 9) 

The CIA study predicted that if Castro died, "some sort of power 
struggle would almost certainly develop eventually," and, regardless 
of the outcome of such a struggle, the Communist Party's influence 
would be "significantly" increased.^ (Estimate, p. 9) 

Bundy testified that the contingency referred to in NSAM 100 and 
the related documents was "what would we do if Castro were no longer 
there," and that "clearly one of the possibilities would be assassina- 
tion." (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 77) However, Bundy emphasized that 
NSAM 100 represented an effort to assess the effect should Castro 
be removed from power by any means (including assassination) but 
"without going further with the notion [of assassination] itself." - 
(Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 77) Bundy contended that the President was not 
considering an assassination, out rather "what are things going to 
be like after Castro?" (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 81) ^ 

Taylor testified that he had no recollection of NSAM 100 or of the 
events described in the related documents. (Taylor, 7/9/75, p. 18) 
Based on his review of the documents, Taylor testified that "it sounds 
like purely a political consideration of the sequence of power in 
Cuba" ■* and he emphasized that "never at any time" did he raise the 
question of assassination with Parrott, or with anybody else. (Taylor, 
7/9/75, p. 19) 

Special Group Secretary Parrott testified that the request for a 
plan reflected in his memorandum of October 5, 1961, and the refer- 
ence in that memorandum to the "contingency that Castro would in 
some way or another be removed from the Cuban scene", reflected 
interest in a contingency study for Castro's removal, but by means 
"short of being killed." (Parrott, 7/10/75, p. 83) 

1 A cover memorandum by Lansdale transmitting the CIA estimate to Robert Kennedy 
criticized the estimate's assessment that "it is highly improbable that an extensive populf r 
uprising could be fomented" against Castro as a "conclusion of fact quite outside the aren 
of intelligence." Lansdale stated that the estimate "seems to be the major evidence to be 
"sed to onpose your program" (referring to the proposed overall MONGOOSE operation). 
(Memo, Lansdale to Robert Kennedy. 11/62, p. 1) As discussed in detail at p. 140. 
T,ansdale's basic concept for the MONGOOSE program was to overthrow Castro through 
an internal revolt of the Cuban people. 

2 "If people were suggesting this to you and you were curious about whether it was 
worth exploring, one way of getting more light on It without going any further with that 
notion itself would be to ask political people, not intelligence peopk>, what they thought 
would happen if Castro were not there any longer." (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 79) 

•'' Bundy explained : "* * * it was precisely to insulate the President from any 
false inference that what he was asking about was assassination. It is easy to confuse the 
question, what are things going to be like after Castro, with the other question, and we 
were trying to focus attention on the information he obviously wanted, which is. what 
would happen if we did do this sort of thing, and not get one into the frame of mind of 
thinking that he was considering doing it." (Bundy. 7/11/75. n. 81) 

* Taylor said he was puzzled bv the wording of NSAM 100 and the related documents 
and stated, "I just cannot tie in the language here with a plausible explanation." (Taylor. 
7/9/75, p. 18) 



In early November 1961 Tad Szulc ^ was asked by Richard Goodwin, 
a Special Assistant to President Kennedy, to meet with Attorney 
General Robert Kennedy on November 8 to discuss the situation in 
Cuba. The meeting was "off-the-record." Szulc attended as a friend 
of Goodwin's, and not as a reporter. (Szulc, 6/10/75, p. 24) During 
the meeting with Robert Kennedy, the discussion centered on "the 
situation in Cuba following the [Bay of Pigs] invasion [and] the 
pros and cons of some different possible actions by the United States 
Government in that context." (Szulc, 6/10/75, p. 25) According to 
Szulc the subject of assassination was not mentioned during this 
meeting. (Szulc, 6/10/75, p. 31) 

At the close of the meeting, Robert Kennedy asked Szulc to meet 
with the President. (Szulc, 6/10/75, p. 25) The next day Szulc, 
accompanied by Goodwin, met with President Kennedy for over an 
hour in the Oval Office.^ (Szulc, 6/10/75, p. 25) Szulc recalled that 
the President discussed "a number of his views on Cuba in the wake 
of the Bay of Pigs, asked me a number of questions concerning my 
conversations with Premier Castro, and * * * what the United States 
could [or] might do in * * * either a hostile way or in establishing 
some kind of a dialogue * * *" (Szulc, 6/10/75, pp. 25-26) 

Szulc testified that after this general discussion, the President asked 
"what would you think if I ordered Castro to be assassinated?"^ 
(Szulc, 6/10/75, pp. 26, 27; Szulc Notes of conversation with Presi- 
dent Kennedy, 11/9/61) Szulc testified that he replied that an assassi- 
nation would not necessarily cause a change in the Cuban system, and 
that it was Szulc's personal view that the United States should not be 
party to murders and political assassinations. (Szulc, 6/10/75, p. 26) 
Szulc said that the President responded, "I agree with you com- 
pletely." Szulc stated : 

He [President Kennedy] then went on for a few minutes to make the point 
how strongly he and his brother felt that the United States for moral reasons 
should never be in a situation of having recourse to assassination. (Szulc, 6/10/ 
75, p. 27) 

Szulc's notes of the meeting with the President state : 

JFK then said he was testing me, that he felt the same way — he added "I'm 
glad you feel the same way" — because indeed U.S. morally must not be part 
[sic] to assassinations. 

JFK said he raised question because he was under terrific pressure from 
advisers (think he said intelligence people, but not positive) to okay a Castro 
murder, sed [sic] he was resisting pressures. (Szulc note of conversation with 
President Kennedy, 11/9/61) 

^ Tad Szulc was a reporter in the Washington Bureau of the New York Times. Szulc 
had visited Ctiba In May-June 1961, following the Bay of Pigs invasion. During the course 
of that trip, Szulc had a "series of very long conversations" with Castro. (Szulc, 6/10/75, 
p. 24) 

2 Goodwin testified that President Kennedy met frequently with members of the press 
and others who were experts in various fields, but that it was "possible" that the meeting 
with Szulc ma.v have been an occasion for the Presidpnt to consider Szulc for a position 
in the Administration. (Goodwin, 7/18/75, pp. 29-.S0) 

On November 2, 1961, Goodwin had addressed an "eyes only" memorandum to the 
President and the Attorney General outlining a suggested organization for what became 
the MONGOOSE operation. Goodwin proposed five "staff components." including "intelli- 
gence collection." "guerrilla and underground," and "propaganda." The memorandum 
stated : "As for propaganda. I thought we might ask Tad Szulc to take a leave of absence 
from the Times and work on this one — although we should check with [USIA Directorl 
Ed Murrow and Dick Bissell." (Memo, Goodwin to the President and the Attorney General. 
11/2/61, p. 2) 

' Szulc made notes of the conversation with President Kennedy as soon as he returned 
to his office. President Kennedy's question regarding a Castro assassination aone-Ts in 
quotation marks in Szulc's notes, which were made the same day from "reasonably fresh" 
memory. (Szulc, 6/10/75, p. 30) 


Szulc stated that it is "possible" and he "believed" that President 
Kennedy used such words as "someone in the intelligence business," 
to describe the source of the pressure for a Castro assassination, (Szulc, 
6/10/75, p. 29) The President did not specifically identify the source 
of the pressure. ( Szulc, 6/10/75, p. 27 ) 

There is no evidence other than Szulc's testimony that the Presi- 
dent was being pressured. This lack of evidence was particularly 
troublesome since everyone else questioned by the Committee denied 
ever having discussed assassination with the President, let alone having 
pressed him to consider it. 

Goodwin recalled that, after President Kennedy asked Szulc for 
his reaction to the suggestion that Castro be assassinated, President 
Kennedy said, "well, that's the kind of thing I'm never going to do." 
(Goodwin, 7/18/75, p. 3) Goodwin said that several days after the 
meeting he referrexi to the previous discussion of assassination and 
President Kennedy said "we can't get into that kind of thing, or we 
would all be targets." (Goodwin, 7/18/75. pp. 4, 11) 

D. PREsroENT Kennedy's speech of November i6, 196i 

A few days after the meeting with Szulc and Goodwin, and some 
six weeks after the issuance of NSAM 100, President Kennedy de- 
livered a speech at the University of Washington, in which he stated : 

We cannot, as a free nation, compete with our adversaries in tactics of terror, 
assassination, false promises, counterfeit mobs and crises. (Public Papers of the 
Presidents, John F. Kennedy, 1961, p. 724) 

(2) Operation MONGOOSE 


In November 1962 the proposal for a major new covert action pro- 
gram to overthrow Castro was developed. The President's Assistant, 
Richard Goodwin, and General Edward Lansdale, who was exper- 
ienced in counter-insurgency operations, played major staff roles in 
creating this program, which was named Operation MONGOOSE. 
Goodwin and Lansdale worked closely with Robert Kennedy, who 
took an active interest in this preparatory stage, and Goodwin ad- 
vised the President that Robert Kennedy "would be the most effective 
commander" of the proposed operation. (Memo, Goodwin to the Pres- 
ident, 11/1/61, p. 1) In a memorandum to Robert Kennedy outlining 
the MONGOOSE proposal, Lansdale stated that a "picture of the situ- 
ation has emerged clearly enough to indicate what needs to be done 
and to support vour sense of urgency concerning Cuba." (Memo, 

At the end of the month, President Kennedy issued a memorandum 
recording his decision to begin the MONGOOSE project to "use our 
available assets * * * to help Cuba overthrow the Communist regime." 
(Memo from the President to the Secretary of State, et al., 11/30/61) 

The establishment of Operation MONGOOSE resulted in important 
organizational changes. 


(1) The. Special Group {Augmented) {SGA) 

A new control group, the Special Group (Augmented) (SGA) was 
created to oversee Operation MONGOOSE. The SGA comprised the 
regular Special Group members (^^e., McGeorge Bundy, Alexis John- 
son of the Department of State, Roswell Gilpatric of the Department 
of Defense, John McCone, and General Lyman Lemnitzer of the Joint 
Chiefs) augmented by Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Gen- 
eral Maxwell Taylor. Although Secretary of State Rusk and Secretary 
of Defense McNamara were not formal members of the Special Group 
or the Special Group (Augmented), they sometimes attended 

{2) General Lansdale named Chief-of -Operations of MONGOOSE 

As a result of the Bay of Pigs failure. President Kennedy distrusted 
the CIA and believed that someone from outside the Agency was re- 
quired to oversee major covert action programs. Rather than appoint 
his brother, Robert Kennedy, to head MONGOOSE, as proposed by 
Goodwin, President Kennedy gave General Edward Lansdale the task 
of coordinating the CIA's MONGOOSE operations with those of the 
Departments of State and Defense. Lansdale had developed a reputa- 
tion in the Philippines and Vietnam for having an ability to deal with 
revolutionary insurgencies in less developed countries. Kennedy ap- 
pointed General Taylor Chairman of the Special Group Augmented. 
Robert Kennedy played an active role in the MONGOOSE Operation, 
a role unrelated to his position as Attorney General. 

{3) CIA Organization for MONGOOSE 

In late 1961 or early 1962, William Harvey was put in charge of 
the CIA's Task Force W, the CIA unit for MONGOOSE Opera- 
tions. Task Force W operated under guidance from the Special Group 
(Augmented) and employed a total of approximately 400 people at 
CIA headquarters and its Miami Station. McCone and Harvey were 
the principal CIA participants in Operation MONGOOSE. Although 
Helms attended only 7 of the 40 MONGOOSE meetings, ho was sig- 
nificantly involved, and he testified that he "was as interested'' in 
MONGOOSE as were Harvey and McCone. (Helms, 7/18/75, p. 10) 

B. lansdale's theory and objective for mongoose 

In the fall of 1961, Landale was asked by President Kennedy to 
examine the Administration's Cuba policy and to make recommenda- 
tions. Lansdale testified that he reported to President Kennedy that 
"Castro * * * had aroused considerable affection for himself per- 
sonally with the Cuban population * * *" (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 4), 
and that the United States "should take a very different course" from 
the "harassment" operations that had been directed against Castro 
up to that time. (Lansdale, 7/8/75. p. -S) Lansdale informed the 
President that these prior United States operations were conceived 
and led by Americans. (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 5) In contrast, Lansdale 
proposed in Operation MONGOOSE that the United States work 
with exiles, particularly professionals, who had opposed Batista and 
then became disillusioned with Castro. (Lansdale, 7/8/75, pp. 4, 
10-11) Lansdale's ultimate objective was to have "the people them- 
selves overthrow the Castro regime rather than U.S. engineered 
efforts from outside Cuba." (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 41) 


Lansdale's concept for Operation MONGOOSE envisioned a first 
step involving the development of leadership elements and "a very 
necessary political basis" among the Cubans opposed to Castro. (Lans- 
dale, 7/8/75, p. 11) At the same time, he sought to develop "means to 
infiltrate Cuba successfully" and to organize "cells and activities in- 
side Cuba * * * who could work secretly and safely." (Lansdale, 
7/8/75, p. 11) Lansdale's plan was designed so as not to "arouse pre- 
mature actions, not to bring great reprisals on the people there and 
abort any eventual success." (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 11) 

c. bissell's testimony concerning presidential instructions to act 


According to the Assistant to the head of Task Force W, sometime 
early in the fall of 1961, Bissell was "chewed out in the Cabinet Room 
of the "White House by both the President and the Attorney General 
for, as he put it, sitting on his ass and not doing anything about getting 
rid of Castro and the Castro regime." (Assistant, 6/18/75, p. 8) 

The Assistant said Bissell told him about the meeting and directed 
him to come up with some plans. (Assistant, 6/18/75, pp. 8, 36-37) 
Bissell did not recall the White House meeting described by the As- 
sistant, but agreed that he had been, in essence, told to "get off your ass 
about Cuba." (Bissell, 7/25/75, pp. 37-38) 

Bissell was asked whether he considered that instruction authority 
for proceeding to assassinate Castro. He said, no, and that "formal and 
explicit approval" would be required for assassination activity {id.^ 
38-39). Bissell also said that there was in fact no assassination ac- 
tivity between the pre-Bay of Pigs/Rosselli operation and his depar- 
ture from the Agency in February 1962. 


On January 19, 1962, a meeting of principal MONGOOSE partici- 
pants was held in Attorney General Kennedy's office.^ (McManus, 
7/22/75, p. 6) Notes taken at the meeting by George McManus, Helms' 
Executive Assistant, contain the following passages : 

Conclusion Overthrow of Castro is Possible. 

"* * * a solution to the Cuban problem today carried top priority in U.S. Gov- 
[ernmen]t. No time, money, effort — or manpower is to be spared." 

"Yesterday * * * the President had indicated to him that the final chapter 
had not been written — it's got to be done and will be done." (McManus memo 
1/19/62, p. 2) 

McManus attributed the words "the top priority in the U.S. Gov- 
[ernmen]t — no time, money, effort or manpower is to be spared" to the 
Attorney General. (McManus. 7/22/75, i^p. 8-9) 

Helms stated that those words reflected the "kind of atmosphere" 
in which he had perceived that assassination was implicitly authorized. 
(Helms, 7/17/75, pp. 60-61) McManus agreed that Robert Kennedy 
"was very vehement in his speech" and "really wanted action," but 

1 Those attending included the Attorne.v General. Lansdale, McManus, General Craig, 
representing the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Don Wilson of USIA, Major Patchell of the Secretary 
of Defense's office, and Frank Hand of CIA. It is probable that DDP Helms was also 


McManus disagreed with Helms' perception, stating that "it never 
occurred to me" that Kennedy's exhortation included permission to 
assassinate Castro, Nor did the spirit of the meeting as a whole leave 
McManus with the impression that assassination was either contem- 
plated or authorized. (McManus, 7/22/75, pp. 9-10) ^ 


On January 18, 1962, Lansdale assigned 32 planning tasks to the 
agencies participating in MONGOOSE. In a memorandum to the 
working group members, Lansdale emphasized that "it is our job to 
put the American genius to work on this project, quickly and effec- 
tively. This demands a change from the business as usual and a hard 
facing of the fact that we are in a combat situation — where we have 
been given full command." (Lansdale memorandum, 1/20/62) 

The 32 tasks comprised a variety of activities, ranging from in- 
telligence collection to planning for "use of U.S. military force to 
support the Cuban popular movement" and developing an "opera- 
tional schedule for sabotage actions inside Cuba." ^ In focusing on 
intelligence collection, propaganda, and various sabotage actions, 
Lansdale's tasks were consistent with the underlying strategy of 
MONGOOSE to build gradually towards an internal revolt of the 
Cuban people. 

Lansdale transmitted a copy of the tasks to Attorney General Ken- 
nedy on January 18, 1962, with a handwritten note stating: "my re- 
view does not include the sensitive work I have reported to you ; T felt 
you preferred informing the President privately." Lansdale testified 
that this sensitive work did not refer to assassinations and that he 
"never took up assassination with either the Attorney General or the 
President." He said that he could not precisely recall the nature of this 
"sensitive work" but that it might have involved a special trip he made 
under cover to meet Cuban leaders in Florida to assess their political 
strengths. (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 30) 

In a memorandum to the Attorney General on January 27, 1962, 
Lansdale referred to the possibility that "we might uncork the touch- 
down play independently of the institutional program we are spur- 
ring." (Memo, Lansdale to Attorney General, 1/27/62) Lansdale 

1 There was a great deal of evidence showing that Cuba had a high priority in the 
Kennedy Administration, and the very existence of a high-level group like- the Special 
Group (Augmented) further demonstrated Cuba's importance. McNamara stated that "we 
were hysterical about Castro at the time of the Bay of Pigs and thereafter." (In the same 
context. McNamara stated "I don't believe we contemplated assassination.") (McNamara. 
7/22/75, p. 93) Similarly. General Lansdale informed the members of his interagency 
committee that MONGOOSE "demands a change from business-as-usual and a hard facinsr 
of the fact that you're in a combat situation where we have been given full command." 
(Lansdale Memo. 1/20/62) 

On the other hand, Theodore Sorensen testified that "there were lots of top priorities, 
and it was the job of some of [us] to continually tell various agencies their particular 
subject was the top priority" and although Cuba was "important" it was "fairly well down 
on the list of the President's agenda." (Sorensen, 7/21/75, p. 12) For example, when 
President Kennedy was told that his first letter to Khruschev in the secret correspondence 
which lasted two or three years would be "the single most important document you will 
write during your Presidency." President Kennedy said, "Yes, we get these every day 
over here." (Sorensen, 7/21/75, p. 12) 

2 Parrott sarcastically characterized Lansdale's plans as follows : 

"I'll give .vou one example of Lansdale's perspicacity. He had a wonderful plan for get- 
ting rid of Castro. This plan consisted of spreading the word that the Second Coming of 
Christ was imminent and that Christ was against Castro (who) was anti-Christ. And 
you would spread this word around Cuba, and then on whatever date it was, that there 
would be a manifestation of this thing. And at that time — this is absolutely true — and 
at that time just over the horizon there would be an American submarine which would 
surface off of Cuba and send up some starshells. And this would be the manifestation 
of the Second Coming and Castro would be overthrown * * * 

Well, some wag called this operation — and somebody dubbed this — Elimination by 
Illumination." (Parrott, 7/10/75, pp. 49, 50) 


testified that the phrase "touchdown play'' was a "breezy way of 
referring to a Cuban revolt to overthrow the regime" rather than to 
Castro's assassination. (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 45) ^ The examples of 
such plays cited in the memorandum (e.g., "stir up workers in Latin 
America and Cuba," work through "etlmic language groups," "youth 
elements," or "families through the Church") do not contain any 
indication of assassination. ^ (Memo, Lansdale to Attorney General, 
1/27/62, p. 1) 

On Januai-y 19, 1962, Lansdale added an additional task to those 
assigned on January 18. "Task 33" involved a plan to "incapacitate'" 
Cuban sugar workers during the harvest by the use of chemical war- 
fare means. Lansdale testified that the plan involved using nonlethal 
chemicals to sicken Cubans temporarily and keep them away from the 
fields for a 24-48 hour period "without ill efi^ects." The task was 
initially approved for planning purposes with the notation that it 
would require "policy determination" before final approval. After a 
study showed the plan to be unfeasible, it was cancelled without ever 
being submitted to the SGA for debate. (Lansdale, 7/8/75 p. 29; SGA 
Minutes, 1/30/62, p. 1) 

The SGA approved Lansdale's 33 tasks for planning purposes on 
January 30, 1962. (SGA Minutes, 1/30/62, p. 1) On February 20, 
Lansdale detailed a six-phase schedule for MONGOOSE, designed to 
culminate in October, 1962, with an "open revolt and overthrow of the 
Communist regime." (Lansdale Memorandum, 2/20/62, p. 2) As one 
of the operations for this "Resistance" phase. Lansdale. listed "attacks 
on the cadre of the regime, including key leaders." (Landsdale, 7/8/75, 
p. 151 ) Lansdale's plan stated : 

This should be a "Special Target" operation * * * Gangster elements might 
provide the best recruitment potential for actions against police — G2 [intelli- 
gence] officials. (Id., p. 151) " 

1 The testimony was as follows : 

The Chairman. What precisely did you mean by "uncork the touchdown play in- 
dependently of the Institutional programs we are spurring?" 

General Lansdale. Well. I was lioldlng almost daily meetings with my working group, 
and — in tasking, and finding how they were developing plans I was becoming more and 
more concerned that they kept going back to doing what I felt were pro forma American 
types of actions rather than actively exploring how to get the Cubans into this, and 
to have them undertake actions. 

To me, the touchdown play was a Cuban revolt to overthrow the regime. I did not feel 
that we had gotten into the real internal part of getting Cubans into the action, and 
I was concerned about that. 

Senator Baker. In the same context, it is fair to say that the name of the game was 
to get rid of Castro or his regime and that touchdown play was one of several methods 
that might have been used for that purpose? 

General Lansdale. Yes. 

Senator Baker. All right, now what was the touchdown play that you had in mind 

General Lansdale. Well, it was a revolt by the Cubans themselves * * * a revolution 
that would break down the police controls of the state and to drive the top people out 
of power and to do that, there needed to be political actions cells, psychological propa- 
ganda action cells, and eventually when possible, guerrilla forces developed in the 
country in a safe place for a new government to set up and direct the revolution that 
would eventuilly move into Havana and take over. (Lansdale. 7/8/75, pp. 4.5-56) 

" Lansdale's memorandum described the "touchdown play" as follows : 

"It may be a special effort which professional labor operators can launch to stir up 
workers in Latin America and Cuba. It may be through ethnic-language groups : Spain 
has an untapped action potential. It could be a warming-up of the always lively youth 
element in Latin America and Cuba, through some contacts specially used. It could be 
with the families through the Church, with families resisting the disciplined destruction 
of social justice by the Communists. It could be an imaginative defection project which 
(racks the top echelon of the Communist gang now running Cuba." (Memorandum, 
Lansdale to Attorney General, 1/27/62) 

■■' An earlier reference to use of crangster-typp elements had appeared in a CIA memo- 
randum for the SGA on January 24. 1962. Commenting on Task 5 of Lansdale's original 
32 tasks (which called for planning for "defection of top Cuban government officials"), 
the CIA memorandum noted that planning for the tnsk will "necessarily be base«1 
upon an appeal made inside the island by intermediaries " and listed "crime syndicates ' 
along with other groups as possible intermediaries. (CIA Memorandum, 1/24/62) 


Lansdale testified that early in the MONGOOSE operation he had 
suggested that working level representatives of the MONGOOSE 
agencies get in touch with "criminal elements" to obtain intelligence 
and for "possible actions against the police structure" in Cuba. (Lans- 
dale, 7/8/75, p. 104) Lansdale conceded that his proposal to recruit 
gangster elements for attacks on "key leaders" contemplated the 
targeted killing of individuals, in addition to the casualties that might 
occur in the course of the revolt itself. (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 107) 

Lansdale's 33 plans were never approved for implementation by the 
SGA. As discussed below, the SGA tabled Lansdale's six phase plan 
altogether in February 1962, and directed him to plan for and conduct 
an intelligence collection plan only. (SGA Minutes, 3/5/62) 

F. lansdale's rejection of a suggestion that a propaganda campaign, 


On January 30, 1962, the representative of the Defense Depart- 
ment and the Joint Chiefs on the MONGOOSE Working Group 
forwarded for Lansdale's consideration "a concept for creating dis- 
trust and apprehension in the Cuban Communist Hierarchy." (Memo, 
Craig to Lansdale, 1/30/62) The concept titled Operation Bounty, was 
described as a "system of financial rewards, commensurate with posi- 
tion and stature, for killing or delivering alive known Communists." 
Under the concept, leaflets would be dropped in Cuba listing rewards, 
which ranged from $5,000 for an "informer" to $100,000 for "govern- 
ment officials." A reward of "2^" was listed for Castro. Lansdale 
testified that the 2^ bounty was designed "to denigrate * * * Castro 
in the eyes of the Cuban population." (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 26) Lans- 
dale said that he "tabled" this concept when he received it because "I 
did not think that it was something that should be seriously under- 
taken or supported further." (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 26) He never 
brought Operation Bounty before the SGA. 


In establishing the MONGOOSE Operation on November 30, 1961, 
President Kennedy had emphasized that the SGA should be "kept 
closely informed" of its activities. (Memorandum by the President, 

In practice, as Harvey's Executive Assistant on the CIA MON- 
GOOSE Task Force W testified, this resulted in the submission of 
"specific detailed plans for every activity carried out by the task force." 
(Assistant, 6/18/75, p. 16) The Assistant testified that those plans were 
submitted "in nauseating detail :" 

It went down to such things as the gradients on the beach, and the composi- 
tion of the sand on the beach in many cases. Every single solitary thing was in 
those plans, full details, times, events, weaponry, how it was going to happen, 
who was going to do what * * * the full details of every single thing we did. 
(Assistant, 6/18/75, p. 17) 

Harvey also characterized the control process as requiring the sub- 
mission of "excruciating detail." It was understood that the SGA 
was to be given an opportunity to debate proposals and to decide 
after weighing their strengths and weaknesses. (Harvey, 6/25/75, 
pp. 114, 123-124) 


The documentary evidence further illustrates the SGA's tight con- 
trol procedures for MONGOOSE. For example, after Lansdale sub- 
mitted his 33 tasks and his overall concept for MONGOOSE for 
SGA consideration in January, he was ordered to cut back his plan 
and limit it to an intelligence collection program for the March-May 
1962 period, rather than the five-stage plan culminating in an October 
"popular revolution," as originally conceived by Lansdale. (Memo 
3/2/62, by Lansdale) In approving the modified intelligence collec- 
tion plan, the SGA pointed out that : 

* * * any actions which are not specifically spelled out in the plan but seem 
to be desirable as the project progresses, will be brought to the Special Group 
for resolution. (SGA Minutes, 1962) 

In addition, the Guidelines for the MONGOOSE program empha- 
sized the SGA's responsibility for control and prior approval of im- 
portant operations : 

The SGA is responsible for providing policy guidance to the [MONGOOSE] 
project, for approving important operations and for monitoring progress. ( Guide- 
lines for Operation MONGOOSE. March 14, 1962) 

The SGA request for Helms to estimate "for each week as far into 
the next twelve months as possible * * * the numbers and type of agents 
3'ou will establish inside Cuba * * * [and] brief descriptions * * * of 
actions contemplated," is another example of the close control the SGA 
exercised over Operation MONGOOSE. (Memo, Lansdale to Helms, 
3/5/62) Any proposal to supply arms and equipment to par- 
ticular resistance groups inside Cuba was also required to "be sub- 
mitted to the Special Group (Augmented) for decision ad hoc. ^^ (Lans- 
dale Memo to the Special Group, 4/11/62, p. 1) These procedural 
requirements were operative at the time of Harvey's meeting with 
Rosselli in Miami, 

The Guidelines for Operation MONGOOSE stated : 

During this period. General Lansdale will continue as Chief of Operations, 
calling directly on the participating departments and agencies for support and 
implementation of agreed tasks. The heads of these departments and agencies are 
responsible for i)erformauce through normal command channels to higher au- 
thority.' (Guideline for Operation MONGOOSE, 3/14/62) 

Harvey complained to McCone about the SGA control requirement 
for advance approval of "major operations going beyond the collec- 
tion of intelligence." He stated that : 

To permit requisite flexibility and professionalism for a maximum operational 
effort against Cuba, the tight controls exercised by the Special Group and the 
present time-consuming coordination and briefing procedures should, if at all 
possible, be made less restrictive and less stiiltifying. (Memo, Harvey to MeCone, 

1 The initial draft of these Guidelines had referred to the President, but was later 
amended to read "hipher authority." (Draft Guidelines. .3/5/62, p. 2) The minutes 
of the consideration of these Guidelines were also amended with respect to the manner 
in which the Guidelines were approved. A Memorandum for Record, entitled "Discussion 
of Ooeration MOXGOO.SE with the President." stated : 

"In the presence of the Special Group (Augmented) the President was given a progress 
report on Operation MONGOOSE. The Guidelines dated March 14. 1962 were circulated 
and were used as the basis of the discussion. After a prolonged consideration of the vis- 
ibility, noise level and risks entailed. General Lansdale and the Special Group (Augmented) 
were given tacit authorization to proceed in accordance with the Guidelines." (SGA 
Memo for the Record, 3/16/62) 

A note, dated March 22, 1962, appeared on the bottom of this memorandum and 
stated : 

"This minute was read to the Special Group (Augmented) today. The Group was 
unanimous in feeling that no authorization, either tacit or otherwise, was given by higher 
authority. The members of the (Jroup asked that the minute be amended to indicate 
that the Group itself had decided to proceed in accordance with the Guidelines." 


Even as the Cuban Missile Crisis approached, and the increasing 
pressure to act against the Castro regime led to a "stepped-up" MON- 
GOOSE plan, the SGA continued to require that all sensitive opera- 
tions be submitted to it for advance approval. For example, when the 
SGA approved in principle a proposed set of operations on Septem- 
ber 14, 1962, Bundy 

* * * made it clear that this did not constitute a blanket approval of every 
item in the paper and that sensitive ones such as sabotage, for example, will 
have to be presented in more detail on a ease by case basis. (Memo of SGA Meet- 
ing, 9/14/62, p. 1 ) 

Helms and the members of the SGA differed on whether or not 
these control requirements were consistent with Helms' perception that 
assassination was permissible without a direct order. That testimony 
is discussed in subsection (3) , infra. 


The Kennedy Administration pressed the MONGOOSE operation 
with vigorous language. Although the collection of intelligence infor- 
mation was the central objective of MONGOOSE until August 1962, 
sabotage and paramilitary actions were also conducted,^ including a 
major sabotage operation aimed at a large Cuban copper mine. Lans- 
dale described the sabotage acts as involving "blowing up bridges to 
stop communications and blowing up certain production plants." 
(Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 36) During the Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962, 
sabotage was increasingly urged. 

Despite the Administration's urgings, the SGA shied away from 
sabotage and other violent action throughout 1962, including the 
period of the Missile Crisis. Helms noted in a memorandum of a meet- 
ing on October 16, 1962, that Robert Kennedy, in expressing the "gen- 
eral dissatisfaction of the President" with MONGOOSE, "pointed out 
that [MONGOOSE] had been underway for a year * * * that there 
had been no acts of sabotage and that even the one which had been 
attempted had failed twice." (Memo by Helms, 10/16/62) A memo- 
randum to Helms from his Executive Assistant (who spent full time 
on Cuba matters) reviewed the MONGOOSE program in the after- 
math of the Missile Crisis, and stated : 

During the past year, while one of the options of the project was to create 
internal dissension and resistance leading to eventual U.S. intervention, a review 
shows that policymakers not only shied away from the military intervention 
aspect but were generally apprehensive of sabotage proposals. (Memo to Helms, 

Harvey concurred in this SGA assessment. MONGOOSE docu- 
ments bear out the operation's emphasis on intelligence gathering. The 
only phase of Lansdale's six-phase plan approved for January through 
August 1962 was described by Lansdale as "essentially an intelligence 

1 In early March 1962. the SGA recognized the need to begin "preliminary actions * * • 
Involving such things as spotting, assessing and training action-tvpe agents" but the 
SGA agreed that it must "keep its hand tightly" on these actions. The SGA saw, 
however, that such control might not be completely effective and recognized 'that many 
of the agents infiltrated into Cuba would be of an all-purpose type ; that is. they would 
be trained in paramilitary skills, as well as those of exclusively intelligence concern.^ It was 
noted that once the agents are within the country, they cannot be effectively controlled 
from the U.S., although every effort will be made to attempt such control." (SGA Minutes. 


collection" effort. (Lansdale Memo 4/11/62) The MONGOOSE 
Guidelines approved on March 5. 196*2, stated that the acquisition of 
intelligence was the "iniriiediate priority objective of I'.S. efforts in 
the coming months." (Guidelines for Operation MOXGOOSE, 
3/14/62) While the Guidelines did state that covert actions would 
be undertaken concurrently with intelligence collection, these were 
to be on a scale "short of those reasonably calculated to inspire 
a revolt" in Cuba. The SGA stipulated that :M0XG00SE action 
bevond the acouisition of intelligence "must be inconspicuous." (Lans- 
dale Memo, 3/2/62) 

After the intelligence collection phase ended in August 1962, the 
SGA considered whether to adoj^t a ''stepped-up Course B plus," 
which, in contrast to Phase I, was designed to inspire a revolt against 
the Castro regime. (INIemo for the SGA from Lansdale, 8/8/62) The 
SGA initially decided against this course and in favor of a "CLA. 
variant" on August 10, 1962. (Minutes of SGA Meeting, 8/10/62) 
The "CIA variant," which was proposed by INlcCone, posted limited 
actions to avoid inciting a revolt and sought a split between Castro 
and "old-line Communists" rather than Castro's overthrow. 

On August 20, Taylor told the President that the SGA saw no like- 
lihood that Castro's Government would be overturned by internal 
means without direct United States military intervention, and that the 
SGA favored a more aggressive MONGOOSE program.^ (]Memo, 
Taylor to the President, 8/20/62.) On August 23, McGeorge Bundy is- 
sued NSC Memorandum No. 181. which stated that, at the President's 
directive, "the line of activity projected for Operation MONGOOSE 
Plan B plus should be developed with all possible speed." On Au- 
gust 30, the SGA instructed the CIA to submit a list of possible 
sabotage targets and noted that: "The Group, by reacting to this 
list, could define the limits within which the Agency could operate 
on its own initiative." (Minutes of 8/30/62) 

The onset of the Cuban Missile Crisis intially caused a reversion to 
the stepped-up Course B plan. At an SGA meeting on October 4, 
1962, Robert Kennedy stated that the President "is concerned about 
progress on the JNIONGOOSE program and feels that more priority 
should be given to trying to mount sabotage operations." The Attorney 
General urged that "massive activity" be undertaken within the 
MONGOOSE framework. In response to this proposal, the SGA 
decided that "considerably more sabotage" should be undertaken, and 
that "all efforts should be made to develop new and imaginative ap- 
proaches with the possibility of getting rid of the Castro regime." 
(Minutes of SGA Meeting, 10/14/62, p. 3) ^ However, on October 30. 

1 There are references in the SGA records to attacks on Soviet personnel in Cuba. The 
record of the SGA meeting on September 9, 1962. states : "It was suggested that the 
matter of attacliing and harassing of Soviet personnel within Cuba should be considered." 
(SGA Minutes. 9/9/62) 

Earlier, on August 31. 1962, Lansdale had included a task "to provoke incidents between 
Cubans and Bloc personnel to exacerbate tensions" in a proposed projection of action: 
for Phase II of MONGOOSE. (Memo to SGA, Action No. 47. S/ 31/62) The Spfcia 
Group thereafter decided, as a means of "emphasizing such activit.v." to replace that tns' 
with one to "cause actions by Cubans against Bloc personnel." and to note that "con 
si'^eration will be given to provoking and conducting physical attacks on Bloc personnel.' 
(Memo to Tavlor, Rusk, and McNamara, from Lansdale. 9/12/62, pp. 1-2) 

2 The SGA also decided on October 4. 1962. that Robert Kennedy would chair the Group' 
meetings "for the time being." (Id., p. 3.) Subsequently, at a meeting on October 16. 1962 
Robert Kennedy stated that he was going to give MONGOOSE "more personal attention 
in view of the" lack of progress and would hold daily meetings with the working grou 
renresentatives. i.e.. Lansdale. Tlarvev. and the other Agency members. (Memo of Meetln 
by Helms. 10/16/62. p. 1) Helms testified that he did not recall nny such daily meptinj 
with the .\ttorney General. He had the imnression there may have been several at firs 
but that then they ceased. (Helms, 7/17/75, pp. 54-55) 

Kl-qss n - 7S 


1962, the Special Group (Augmented) ordered a halt to all sabotage 
operations. (Lansdale Memo for the record, 10/30/62)^ 

Theodore Sorensen, a member of the Executive Committee estab- 
lished to deal with the Missile Crisis, testified that Cuba was the "No. 
1 priority" during the Crisis. He said that although "all alternatives, 
plans, possibilities were exhaustively surveyed" during that time, the 
subject of assassination was never raised in the National Security 
Council or the Executive Committee. (Sorensen, 7/21/75, p. 11) 

(3) Evidence Bearing on Knowledge of and Authorization for 
THE Assassination Plot, Phase II 

As discussed below, both Helms and the high Kennedy Administra- 
tion officials who testified agreed that no direct order was ever given 
for Castro's assassination and that no senior Administration officials, 
including McCone, were informed about the assassination activity. 
Helms testified, however, that he believed the assassination activity 
was permissible and that it was within the scope of authority given 
to the Agency. McCone and other Kennedy Administration officials 
disagreed, testifying that assassination was impermissible without a 
direct order and that Castro's assassination was not within the bounds 
of the MONGOOSE operation. 

As DDP, Helms was in charge of covert operations when the poison 
pills were given to Rosselli in Miami in April 1962. Helms had suc- 
ceeded to this post following Bissell's retirement in February 1962. 
He testified that after the Bay of Pigs : 

Those of us who were still [in the Agency] were enormously anxious to try 
and be successful at what we were being asked to do by what was then a 
relatively new Administration. We wanted to earn our spurs with the President 
and with other officers of the Kennedy Administration. (Helms, 7/17/75, p. 4) 

A. helms' testimony CONCERNING AUTHORITY 

Helms testified that he doubted that he was informed when Harvey 
gave poison pills to Rosselli and that he did not recall having author- 
ized Castro's assassination by that means. He said, however, that he 
had authorized that assassination plot because "we felt that we were 
operating as we were supposed to operate, that these things if not 
specifically authorized, at least were authorized in general terms." 
(Helms, 6/13/75, p. 61) 

(1) Helms' Perception of Authority 

Helms testified that the "intense" pressure exerted by the Kennedy 
Administration to overthrow Castro had led him to perceive that the 
CIA was acting within the scope of its authority in attempting 

1 Harvey testified that he had a "confrontation" with Robert Kennedy at the height of 
the Missile Crisis concerning Harvey's order that agent teams be sent into Cuba to 
support any conventional U.S. military operation that might occur. Harvey stated that 
Robert Kennedy "took a great deal of exception" to this order and. as a result. McCone 
ordered Harvey to stop the agent operations (Harvey. 7/11/75. pp. 80-81). Elder. McCone's 
assistant at the time, similarly described this incident and stated that, although Harvey 
had attempted to get guidance from top officials during the Missile Crisis, Harvey "earned 
another black mark as not being fully under control.'^ (Elder, 8/13/75, pp. 34-35) 


Castro's assEissination, even though assassination was never directly 
ordered.^ He said : 

I believe it was the policy at the time to get rid of Castro and if killing him 
was one of the things that was to be done in this connection, that was within 
what was expected. (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 137) 

I remember vividly [the pressure to overthrow Castro] was very intense. 
(Helms, 6/13/75, p. 26) 

Helms stated that this pressure intensified during the period of 
Operation MONGOOSE and continued through much of 1963- 
(Helms, 6/13/75, p. 27) As the pressure increased, "obviously the 
extent of the means that one thought were available * * * increased 
too." (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 26) 

Helms recalled that during the MONGOOSE period, "it was made 
abundantly clear * * * to everybody involved in the operation that the 
desire was to get rid of the Castro regime and to get rid of Castro * * * 
the point was that no limitations were put on this injunction." (Helms, 
7/17/75, pp. 16-17) 

Senator Mathias. Let me draw an example from history. When Thomas 
Beckett was proving to be an annoyance, as Castro, the King said who will rid 
me of this man. He didn't say to somebody, go out and murder him. He said who 
will rid me of this man, and let it go at that. 

Mr. Helms. That is a warming reference to the problem. 

Senator Mathias. You feel that spans the generations and the centuries? 

Mr. Helms. I think it does, sir. 

Senator Mathias. And that is typical of the kind of thing which might be said, 
which might be taken by the Director or by anybody else as Presidential author- 
ization to go forward? 

Mr. Helms. That is right. But in answer to that, I realize that one sort of 
grows up in [the] tradition of the time and I think that any of us would have 
found it very difficult to discuss assassinations with a President of the U.S. I 
just think we all had the feeling that we're hired out to keep those things out of 
the Oval Office. 

Senator Mathias. Yet at the same time you felt that some spark had been 
transmitted, that that was within the permissible limits? 

Mr. Helms. Yes, and if he had disappeared from the scene they would not have 
been unhappy. (Helms, 6/13/75, pp. 12-73) 

Helms said that he was never told by his superiors to kill Castro, 
(Helms, 7/17/75, p. 15) but that : 

No member of the Kennedy Administration * * * ever told me that [assassina- 
tion] was proscribed, [or] ever referred to it in that fashion * * *. Nobody ever 
said that [assassination] was ruled out * * * (Helms, 7/17/75, pp. 18, 43) '■^ 

Helms said that the delivery of poison pills for assassinating Castro : 

"with all the other things that were going on at that time * * * seemed to be 
within the permissible part of this effort * * *. In the perceptions of the time and 
the things we were trying to do this was one human life against many other 
human lives that were being lost." (Helms, 6/13/75, pp. 64, 99)^ 

1 The extent to which pressure in fact existed "to do something about Castro" Is dis- 
cussed in detail In the section immediately above dealing with Operation MOXGOOSE, its 
strategy of causing an internal revolt of the Cuban people against Castro, the strict con- 
trol system established by the Special Group Augmented, and the pattern of intelligence 
collection and sabotage activity actually authorized an3 undertaken. 

' Helms testified : "In my 2.5 years in the Central Intelligence Agency, I always thought 
I was working within a-'thoriaation, that I was doing what I had been asked to do by 
proper authority and when I was operating on my own I was doing what I believed to 
be the legitimate business of the Agency as it would have been exiiected of me." (Helms, 
6/13/75, pp. .30-31) 

* Helms elaborated: "* * * people were losing their lives in raids, a lot of people had 
lost their life at the Bay of Pigs, agents were being arrested left and right and put 
before the wall and shot." (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 64) 


(2) Helms'' Testimony Concerning the Absence of a Direct Order and 
Why He Did Not Inform Administration Officmls 
Helms testified that there was no direct order to assassinate Castro. 
He said that his perceptions of authority did not reacli the point where 
he could testify that he had specific instructions to kill Castro. Helms 
told the Committee : 

I have testified as best I could about tbe atmosphere of the time, what I 
understood was desired, and I don't want to take refuge in saying that I was 
instructed to specifically murder Castro * * *. (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 88) 

When asked if President Kennedy had been informed of any assassi- 
nation plots, Helms pointed out that "nobody wants to embarrass a 
President of the United States by discussing the assassination of for- 
eign leaders in his presence." (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 29) He added that 
the Special Group was "the mechanism that was set up * * * to use as a 
circuit breaker so that these things did not explode in the President's 
face and that he was not held responsible for them." (Helms, 6/13/75, 
p. 29) He said that he had "no knowledge that a Castro assassination 
was ever authorized" by the SGA. (Helms, 6/13/75, pp. 28-29) 

Helms testified that he never informed the SGA or any of its mem- 
bers that Harvey had given the pills to Rosselli in Miami "because to 
this day I do not recall Harvey ever having told me they were passed-" 
(Helms, 7/18/75, p. 22) 

{3) Hel'ms' Perception of Robert Kennedy^s Position on Assassmation 
Helms emphasized that Robert Kennedv continually pressed for 
tangible results in the MONGOOSE effort.^ He testified : 

I can say absolutely fairly we were constantly in touch with each other in 
these matters. The Attorney General was on the phone to me, he was on the 
phone to Mr. Harvey, to Mr. Fitzgerald, his successor. He was on the phone even 
to people on Harvey's staff, as I recall it. (Helms, 7/17/75, p .IS)^ 

^ Q. So it was your impression that he was sort of setting the tone for the group's 
action or activity. 

"A. Oh, yes * * * there wasn't any doubt about that. He was very much interested in 
this and spent a great deal of time on it." (Helms, 6/13/7.5, p. 22) 

3 The telephone records of the Attorney General's oflBce indicate frequent contact be- 
tween the Attorney General and Helms. Helms stated that his conversations with Robert 
Kennedy were "candid" and that "he and I used to deal in facts most of the time." 
(Helms, 6/13/75, p. 63) Helms testified about the detail of his talks with Robert Kennedy : 

"For example, we had projects to land sabotage teams. Well, (the Attorney General 
would ask) have you got the team organized, did the team go? Well, no, we've been 
delayed a week because the weather is bad or the boats don't run, or something of this 
kind. It even got down to that degree of specificity." (Helms, 7/17/75, p. 40) 

An official in the Western Hemisphere Division of the Directorate of Plans who was 
responsible for evaluating potential Cuban assets testified that in June or July 1962, 
he was told bv his superior [either Harvey or Harvey's assistant] "go see the Attorney 
General, he has something to talk about" (Official. 9/18/75, p. 28). The official said that 
he went to the Justice Department and was told by the Attorney General that : "He 
wanted to see a man who had contact with a small group of Cubans who had a plan 
for creating an insurrection, or something like that * * *" (Official, 9/18/75, p. 30) 

The contact recommended by the Attorney General, referred the official to five or six 
Cubans who claimed to have connections within Cuba and who requested weapons, money, 
and supplies to start an insurrection. The official said he reported to the Attorney Gen- 
eral that the Cubans did not have a concrete plan ; the Attorney General rejected the 
official's evaluation and ordered him to go to Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba "using 
whatever assets we could get to make contact with people inside Cuba, and start work- 
ing and developing this particular group." (Official, 9/18/75, p. 34) When the official 
protested that the CIA had agreed not to work out of Guantanamo, the Attorney General 
responded, "we will see about that." The official said that he then reported his conver- 
sation with the Attorney General to Harvey, who replied : "There was a meeting about 
that this morning. I forgot to tell you about it. I will take care of it * * *" (Official. 
9/18/75, p. 35) The official said that he had no further contact with the Attorney Gen- 
eral or the (Albans. 


During one appearance before the Committee, Helms was asked by 
the Chairman : 

The Chairman. Since he [Kennedy] was on the phone to you repeatedly did 
he ever tell you to kill Castro? 
Mr. Helms. No. 
The Chaibman. He did not? 
Mr. Helms. Not in those words, no. (Helms, 7/17/75, p. 13) ^ 

Helms testified that he had never told Attorney General Kennedy 
about any assassination acti^dty. He assumed that "he wasn't in- 
formed by anyone/' and added that "Harvey kept phase 2 [the 
Rosselli plot] pretty much in his back pocket'' (Helms, 6/13/75, pp. 
57-58). Helms also said that the Attorney General had never told him 
that assasination was ruled out. (Helms, 7/17/75, p. 13) He added 
that he did not know if Castro's assassination would have been morally 
unacceptable to the Attorney General, but he believed that Robert 
Kennedy "would not have been unhappy if [Castro] had disappeared 
off the scene by whatever means." (Helms, 7/17/75, pp. 17-18) 

(4.) Helms'^ Testimony as to Why he Did Not Oltain a Direct Order 
Helms testified that assassination "was not part of the CIA's f)ol- 
icy" and was not part, of its "armory." (Helms, 6/13/75, pp. 87-88) 
Helms said that he "never liked assassination," and banned its use five 
years after he became Director of Central Intelligence. (Helms, 
6/13/75, p. 166) Helms also testified to his "very grave doubts about 
the wisdom" of dealing with underworld figures when Harvey pro- 
posed contacting Rosselli to see if gangster links to Cuba could be 
developed. (Helms. 6/13/75, p. 33: 7/18/75, p. 31) 

Despite these reservations, Helms did not seek approval for the 
assassination activity. He said this was because assassination was not 
a subject which should be aired with higher authority. (Helms, 
7/18/75, pp. 31-32) Specifically, he said he did not seek SGA ap- 
proval because: 

I didn't see how one would have expected that a thing like killing or murdering 
or assassination would become a part of a large group of people sitting around 
a table in the United States Government. (Helms, 7/17/75, p. 14) 

His unwillingness "to embarrass a President of the United States 
[by] discussing the assassination of foreign leaders in his presence" 
has already been noted. (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 29) 

Helms gave additional testimony in response to questions concern- 
ing his failure to seek explicit authorization for assassination 

Senator Huddleston. * * * it did not occur to you to inquire of the Attorney 
General or of the Special Group or of anyone that when they kept pu.shing and 
asking for action * * * to clarify that question of whether you should actually 
be trying to assassinate? 

Mr. Helms. I don't know whether it was in training, experience, tradition or 
exactly what one points to, but I think to go up to a Cabinet officer and say, am 

' Helms Immediately reiterated that his perception of authority for Castro's assassina- 
tion derived from the pressure exerted by the Administration against Castro. The exchange 
between the Chairman and Helms continued as follows : 

"The Chairman. Well, did he ever tell you in other words that clearly conveyed to 
you the message that he wanted to kill Castro? 

"Helms. Sir, the last time I was here [before the Committee], I did the best I could 
about what I believed to be the parameters under which we were working, and that 
was to get rid of Castro. I can't imagine any Cabinet officer wanting to sign off on some- 
thing like that. I can't imagine anybody wanting something in writing saying I have just 
charged Mr. .Tones to go out and shoot Mr. Smith." (Helms, 7/17/75, pp. 13-14) 


I right in assuming that you want me to assassinate Castro or to try to assassi- 
nate Castro, is a question it wouldn't have occurred to me to ask. 


Senator Huddleston. * * * [because assassination has such serious conse- 
quences] it seems to fortify the thought that I would want to be dead certain, I 
would want to hear it from the horse's mouth in plain, simple English language 
before I would want to undertake that kind of activity." (Helms, 7/17/75, 
pp. 51-52) 


"Senator Morgan. In light of your previous statement that this is a Christian 
country and that this Committee has to face up to the prime moral issue of 
whether or not killing is * * * acceptable * * * don't you think it would have 
taken affirmative permission or authority to kill, rather than just saying it was 
not eliminated from the authority or you were not restricted * * * ? 

"Mr. Helms. * * * killing was not part of the CIA's policy. It was not part 
of the CIA's armory * * * but in this Castro operation * * ♦ i have testified as 
best I could about the atmosphere of the time, what I understood was desired 
[and] that this was getting rid of Castro, if he had been gotten rid of by this 
means that this would have been acceptable to certain individuals * * * *i was 
just doing my best to do what I thought I was supposed to do." (Helms, 6/13/75, 
pp. 87-88) 

When asked why he had not sought clarification from the Special 
Group, its members, or Robert Kemiedy as to whether it was "in fact, 
the policy of the Government to actually kill Fidel Castro," Helms 

I don't know * * * There is something about the whole chain of episodes in 
connection with this Rosselli business that I am simply not able to bring back in a 
coherent fashion. And there was something about the ineffectuality of all this, or 
the lack of conviction that anything ever happened, that I believe in the end made 
this thing simply collapse, disappear. And I don't recall what I was briefed on at 
the time. Maybe I was kept currently informed and maybe I wasn't, and today 
I don't remember it * * * But I do not recall ever having been convinced that 
any attempt was really made on Castro's life. And since I didn't believe any 
attempt had been made on Castro's life, I saw no reason to pursue the matter 
further. (Helms, 7/18/75, pp. 31-32) 

(5) Helms'' Perception of the Relation of Special Group Controls to 
Assassination Activity 

Helms stated that the SGA's control system for MONGOOSE was 
not intended to apply to assassination activity. (Helms, 7/18/75, p. 21) 
Helms stated that the SGA's decision on ISIarch 5, 1962, that major op- 
erations going beyond the collection of intelligence must receive ad- 
vance approval referred to "rather specific items that the Special 
Group had on its agenda" from the outset of MONGOOSE (Helms, 
7/18/75, p. 21) Helms said that since assassination was not among those 
items, the SGA would not have expected assassination activity to come 
within its purview. (Helms, 7/18/75, p. 21) As to the SGA's stated 
desire to "keep its hands tightly on preliminary actions" leading 
towards sabotage and other covert activity. Helms characterized it as 
the kind of iniuTiction "that a]3pears in all kinds of governmental 
minutes of meetings." (Helms, 7/18/75, pp. 16-17) 

Helms stated that althousfh there were "no limitations" on actions 
to remove Castro during MONGOOSE, there were restraints on sabo- 
tage operations. He did not understand the absence of specific limita- 
tions to authorize more drastic actions, such as committing the United 
States military to an invasion of Cuba. (Helms, 7/18/75, p. 9)^ 

1 Rplms testified that, althoiis'h loss of life was implicit in the MONGOOSE operations. 
"I think there was an effort made not to take tacks that would recklessly kill a lot of 
people and not achieve very much. I think there was an effort, if you had a sabotage 
operation, not to throw a lot of hand grenades into a city, but rather take out the power 
plant which would actually damage the economy of the country. There was an effort made 
to find devices that would seem to have a useful end." (Helms, 7/17/75, pp. 63-64) 


B. harvet's testimony concerxing authority 

(1) Harvey^ s Perception of Authority 

Harvey stressed that he was a line officer reporting to the DDP, his 
immediate superior within the Agency. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 83) He 
pointed out that his information about authorization from outside the 
agency came from the DDP : 

[A]t no time during this entire period * * * did I ever personally believe or 
have any feeling that I was either free-wheeling or end-running or engaging 
in any activity that was not in response to a considered, decided U.S. policy, prop- 
erly approved, admittedly, perhaps, through channels and at levels I personally 
had no involvement in, or first-hand acquaintance with, and did not consider it 
at that point my province to, if you will, cross-examine either the Deputy Director 
or the Director concerning it. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 83) 

Harvey stated that he believed that authorization for the 1962 as- 
sassination activity carried over from the period when Allen Dulles 
was DCI. He based his belief on statements made to him by Bissell. 
On the question of McCone's knowledge or authorization, the follow- 
ing exchange occurred between Harvey and the Chairman : 

The Chairman. That doesn't necessarily mean that because the previous direc- 
tor had knowledge that Mr. McCone had knowledge. It is not like a covenant that 
runs in the land. 

Mr. Habvey. No, of course not, and they don't always brief their successors. 
(Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 85) 

[2) Harvey and the Special Group {Augmented) 

During the MONGOOSE period, Harvey attended many SGA 
meetings as the CIA's representative. He testified that he never in- 
formed the SGA or any of its members of the ongoing assassination 
plots and that at no time was assassination discussed at any meetings, 
except the one on August 10, 1962.^ 

Early in 1962, Harvey was appointed chief of Task Force W, 
CIA's action arm for MONGOOSE activities. In the latter part of 
April 1962, Harvey went to Miami where the CIA had its JM/WAVE 
station. Harvey testified that in addition to meeting with Rosselli and 
delivering the poison pills, his trip had other purposes totally un- 
related to assassination : 

" * * * this was one of a number of periodic trips for the purpose of reviewing 
in toto * * ♦ the actual and potential operations at the Miami bas^ * * * and this 
covered the whole gamut from personnel administration, operational support in 
the way of small craft [and] so on * * *." (Harvey, 7/11/75, pp. 15-16) 

The SGA expected to receive a report from Harvey on his April 
trip to Miami. While Harvey was still in Miami, Lansd^le told the 
SGA that : 

"Upon the return of Mr. Harvey from his current field visit, more specific 
information on the status of agent training and operations should be made 
available." (Memorandum for the SGA, 4/19/62, p. 2) 

On April 26, 1962, Lansdale told the SGx\ that Harvey was in 
Florida "initiating a new series of agent infiltrations" and would 
return to Washington on April 30. (Memo for the SGA, 4/26/62, from 
Lansdale) At an SGA meeting on April 26, General Taylor requested 
that Harvey "attend the next meeting and report on agent activities." 

a This meeting and the testimony concerning it is treated in depth in the section, infra, 
pp. 161-169. 


(Memo for the Record, April 26, 1962, by McCone) The next day, Mc- 
Cone's assistant sent Harvey a memorandum informing him of Gen- 
eral Taylor's request and notifying him that McCone wanted to meet 
with Harvey and Lansdale "immediately on your return to discuss the 
Task Force activities." (Memo for Action, Elder to Harvey, 4/27/62) 

Harvey reported to the SGA as requested. He testified that he did 
not inform the SGA, or any individual outside the Agency, that he 
had given the poison pills to Rosselli. (Harvey, 7/11/75, p. 16) Harvey 
said he did not tell McCone about the poison pills when he briefed the 
Director because he did not believe it was necessary. (Harvey, 7/11/75, 
p. 17)^ 

Harvey gave a progress report to the SGA on "agent teams" and 
the "general field of intelligence" when he reported to them following 
his trip to Miami. (Memo of SGA Meeting, 5/3/62) According to the 
minutes, Harvey reported that three agent teams had been infiltrated 
and that 72 actual or potential reporting sources were also in the place. 
The minutes of the May 3, 1962, SGA meeting make no mention of 
Harvey's assassination activities. 

Shortly after the May 3 meeting, General Taylor gave the President 
what Taylor called a "routine briefing." (Tayior, 7/9/75, p. 27) Gen- 
eral Taylor's memorandum of that briefing makes no reference to 
Harvey's contacts with RosseUi or the delivery of pills and guns. 
(Memo for Record, May 7, 1962, by General Taylor) Taylor te.stified 
that he had never heard of Harvey's delivering pills to poison Castro, 
or of any assassination attempts. (Taylor, 7/9/75, p. 42) 


The Committee took testimony from the Kennedy Administration 
officials principally involved in the MONGOOSE operation, all of 
whom testified that the assassination plots were not authorized. Their 
testimony focused on whether any authority for a Castro assassination 
existed, whether they had knowledge of any Castro assassination ac- 
tivity, and whether it was probable that Robert Kennedy might have 
given Helms an assassination order through a "back channel." ^ 

McCone, who testified that he had never been informed of the 
assassination plots, said that neither President Kennedy, Attorney 
General Kennedy, nor any of the Cabinet or White House staff ever 
discussed with him any plans or operations to assassinate Castro. 
(MoCone, 6/6/75, p. 44) 

McCone said that although the Cuban problem was discussed in 
terms of "dispose of Castro," or "knock off Castro," those terms were 
meant to refer to "the overthrow of the Communist Government in 
Cuba," and not to assassination. (McCone, 6/6/75, p. 44; Memo to 
Helms, April 14, 1967) 

1 Harvey explained his failure to brief the SGA in the following exchange : 

"Q. * * * Did you believe that the White House did not want the Special Group to know? 

"Harvey. Well, I would have had no basis for that belief, but I would have felt that if 
the White House [tasked] this [operation to the CIA] and wanted the Special Group to 
know about It, it was up to the White House to brief the Special Group and not up to me 
to brief them, and I would have considered that I would have been very far out of line 
and would have been subject to severe censure." (Harvey, 7/11/75, p. 77) 

= In one of Helms' subsequent appearances before the Committee he testified that Robert 
Kennedy never gave him such an order. 


McCone told the Committee that "it is very hard for me to believe" 
that Robert Kennedy would have initiated an assassination effort 
against Castro AvitJiout consulting the SGA. (McCone, 1975 p. 52) 

Taylor served as Chairman of the SGA during the MONGOOSE 
Operation (Taylor. 7/9/75, p. 12), and as President Kemiedy's Mili- 
tary Representative and Intelligence Advisor after the Bay of Pigs 
until his appointment as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 
November 1962. (Taylor, 7/9/75, p. 11; Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 25) He 
testified that a plan to assassinate Castro was "never" submitted to 
the SGA, either orally or in writing. (Taylor, 7/9/75, p. 41) He said 
the SGA was never told of the poison pills given to Rosselli in April 
1962, and that the passage of those pills without the knowledge of the 
SGA was "entirely, completely out of [the] context and character of 
the way the [SGA] operated or the way it would accept" that an 
operation was properly authorized. (Taylor, 7/9/75, p. 43) Taylor 
testified that altJiough the SGA was "certainly anxious for the down- 
fall of Castro," an " assassinaton never came up" at its meetings. 
(Taylor, 7/9/75, p. 62) 

Taylor stated "the President and the Attorney General would nevei 
have gone around" the SGA to deal with Helms or other CIA offi- 
cials in planning an assassination. (Taylor, 7/9/75, p. 49) To have 
done so would have been "entirely contradictory to every method of, 
operation I ever saw on the part of the President and his brother." 
(Taylor, 7/9/75, p. 45) Taylor acknowledged that Robert Kennedy 
frequently pushed for more direct action during MONGOOSE, but 
said that "there was no suggestion [of] assassination." (Taylor, 7/9/75, 
p. 67) He testified that Robert Kennedy dealt directly with Lansdale 
outside SGA channels "only for the purpose of imparting his own 
sense of urgency," but "never" would have done so on substantive 

In General Lansdale's appearance before the Committee, the fol- 
lowing exchange occurred : 

The Chairman. You do not recall ever having discussed with the Attorney 
General a plan or a proposal to assassinate Fidel Castro? 

General Lansdale. No. And I am very certain Senator, that such a discussion 
never came up * * * neither with the Attornev General nor the President." (Lans- 
dale, 7/8/75, p. 18)' 

Lansdale said that he had not discussed assassination with the Pres- 
ident or the President's brother because he "had doubts" that assas- 
sination was a "useful action, and one which I had never employed in 
the past, during work in coping with revolutions, and I had con- 

^ The evidence showed, however, that there were occasions when the Attorney General 
dealt with oflScials Involved in MONGOOSE without consulting General Taylor. For ex- 
ample (as discussed in detail in the section on MONGOOSE operations), on January IS, 
1962, General Lansdale sent a copy of his MONGOOSE program review to Robert Kennedy 
with a cover memorandum indicating that other "sensitive work"' not in the review was to 
be dealt with by the President, the Attorney General, and Lansdale only. The nature of 
that work, which Lansdale testified involved political contacts in the Cuba exile com- 
munity, is discussed at o. 142. 

2 Lansdale was questioned about tlie term "touchdown plays" which appeared in one 
set of SGA minutes : 

"Senator Baker : Now do you completely rule out the possibility that the touchdown 
play had to do with the possible assassination efforts against Fidel Castro? 

"General Lansdale : Yes * * * l never discussed, nor conceived, nor received orders about 
an assassination of Castro with my dealings with either the Attorney General or the Presi- 
dent." (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 56) 


siderable doubts as to its utility and I was trying to be very prag- 
matic/' 1 (Lansdale( 7/8/75, p. 31) 

When asked if he thought the President was aware of efforts to de- 
pose Castro and his government, Lansdale answered : 

I am certain he was aware of efforts to dispose of the Castro regime. I am 
really not one to guess what he knew of assassinations, because I don't know. 
{Id., p. 32.) 

With regard to the Castro assassination attempts, Lansdale testified 
that Harvey "never" told him that Harvey was attempting to assas- 
sinate Castro. (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 24) Lansdale stated: 

I had no knowledge of such a thing. I know of no order or permission for such 
a thing and I was given no information at all that such a thing was going on by 
people who I have now learned were involved with it. (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 58) 

Wlien asked if Robert Kennedy might have by-passed the SGA and 
Lansdale to deal directly with Agency officials on a Castro assassina- 
tion, Lansdale testified : 

I never knew of a direct line of communication between the President or the 
Attorney General and Harvey apart from me on this * * *? 

Bundy served as President Kennedy's Special Assistant for Na- 
tional Security Affairs throughout the Kennedy Administration 
(Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 2) and participated in the planning that led 
to the creation of Operation MONGOOSE. He was also a member of 
the SGA. (Bundy, 7/11/75, pp. 34, 87) Bundy worked on an intimate 
basis with the President and the Attorney General during the entire 
Kennedy Administration. 

Bundy testified that it was his conviction that "no one in the Ken- 
nedy Administration, in the White House * * * ever gave any au- 
thorization, approval, or instruction of any kind for any effort to 
assassinate anyone by the CL\." (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 54) He said that 
Castro's assassination was "mentioned from time to time," but "never 
that I can recall by the President." (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 73) Bundy 
emphasized that the question came up "as something to talk about 
rather than to consider." (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 73) 

The Chairman. Based upon that acquaintanceship, do you believe, under 
any of the circumstances that occurred during that whole period, either one 
of them would have authorized the assassination of Fidel Castro? 

Mr. Bundy. I most emphatically do not * * *. if you have heard testimony 
that there was pressure to do something about Cuba, there was. There was 
an effort, both from the President in his style and from the Attorney General 
in his style to keep the government active in looking for ways to weaken the 
Cuban regime. There was. But if you, as I understand it, and not even those 
who pressed the matter most closely as having essentially been inspired by the 

' "Senator Baker: Is that the reason you didn't, because of the principle of denlabillty? 

"General I-'NPr>ALE: No, it wasn't. The subject never came up, and I had no reason to 
bring it up with him." 

2 "Senator Httddlerton : You never had any reason to believe that the Attorney General 
had dealt directly with Mr. Harvey? 

"General Lansdale : I hadn't known about that at all, no "* * *. 

"Senator Hdddleston ; * * * You have no reason to believe that he might have broached 
[a Castro assassination 1 with the Attorney General? 

"General Lansdale : I wouldn't know about that — I certainly didn't know It. 

"Senator Huddleston : You had no reason to believe that there was any kind of activity 
going on in relation to Cuba outside of what you were proposing or what was coming before 
the Special Group? 

"General Lansdale : No, I was supposed to know it all, and T had no indication that I did 
not know it all [except for one operation by Harvey unrelated to assassinations]." (Lans- 
dale, 7/8/75. p. 48) 


White House can tell you that anyone ever said to them, go and kill anyone. 
Let me say one other thing about these two men, and that is that there 
was something that they really wanted done, they did not leave people in doubt, 
so that on the one hand, I would say about their character, their purposes, and 
their nature and the way they confronted international affairs that I find it 
incredible that they would have ordered or authorized explicitly or implicitly 
an assassination of Castro. I also feel that if, contrary to everything that I know 
about their character, they had had such a decision and such a purpose, people 
would not have been in any doubt about it. (Bundy, 7/11/75, pp. 98-99) 

Bundy said that he could not explain Helms' testimony that Helms 
had believed the CIA had been authorized to develop and engage in 
assassination activity. (Bundy, 7/11/75, pp. 99-100) He said that 
despite the extreme sense of urgency that arose during the Cuban 
Missile Crisis, Castro's assassination was never discussed, and it would 
have been "totally inconsistent" with the policies and actions of the 
President and the Attorney General during that crisis. (Bundy, 7/11/ 
75, pp. 95, 97-98)^ 

Bundy testified that he was never told that assassination efforts 
against Castro had been undertaken or that the CIA had used under- 
world figures for that purpose. (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 63) He said that 
he had heard about "Executive Action * * * some time in the early 
months of 1961" (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 4), but that since it had been 
presented to him as an untargeted capability, he did not "discourage 
or dissuade" the person who briefed him.^ (Bundy, 7/11/75, pp. 4, 7, 

When asked if he recalled any specific covert plans against Cuba 
involving poisons, Bundy stated : 

I have no recollection of any specific plan. I do have a very vague, essentially 
refreshed recollection that I heard the word poison at some point in connection 
with a possibility of action in Cuba. But that is as far as I have been able to 
take it in my own memory. (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 42) 

Bundj' recalled that the proposal had seemed "impractical" because 
it was going to kill "a large group of people in a headquarters mess, or 
something of that sort." (Bundy, 7/11/75, pp. 42-43) 

Bundy stated that although Robert Kennedy did spur people to 
greater effort during MONGOOSE, "he never took away from the 
existing channel of authority its authority or responsibility." (Bundy, 
7/11/75, pp. 47-48) He said that Eobert Kennedy and Maxwell Taylor 
(SGA Chairman) had "a relation of real trust and confidence." It was 
Bundy's opinion that Robert Kennedy would not have by-passed 
Taylor to develop a "back-channel" with someone else to assassinate 
Castro. (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 87) 

McNamara served as Secretary of Defense throughout the Kennedy 
Administration. He represented the Department on the Special Group 
and the SGA during the MONGOOSE operations. 

McNamara stated that he had never heard either the President or 
the Attorney General propose Castro's assassination. (McNamara, 
7/11/75, p. 4) He noted that: "We were hysterical about Castro at 

1 Bundy stated : "* * * the most Important point I want to make » * * Is that I find the 
notion that thev separatel.v. privately encouraged, ordered, or arranged efforts at assassina- 
tion totally inconsistent with what I knew of both of them. And. as an example. I would 
cite — and one among very many — the role played by the Attorney General in the Missile 
Crisis, because it was he who. most emphatically, argued against a so-called surgical air 
strike or anv other action that would bring death upon many, in favor of the more careful 
approach which was eventually adopted by the President In the form of a quarantine or a 
blockade." (Bundy. 7/11/75, p. 98) 

■ Executive Action is fully discussed in Section (III) (c). 


the time of the Bay of Pigs and thereafter, and that there was pres- 
sure from [President Kennedy and the Attorney General] to do 
something about Castro. But I don't believe we contemplated assassi- 
nation. We did, however, contemplate OA^erthrow," ■ (McNamara, 
7/11/75, p. 93) ; . 

An exchange that occurred during McNamara's testimony captures 
tlie dilemma posed by the evidence : 

The Chairman. We also have received evidence from your senior associates 
that they never participated in the authorization of an assassination attempt 
against Castro nor ever directed the CIA to undertalie such sfttempts. 

We have much testimony establishing the chain of command where covert 
action was concerned, and all of it has been to the effect that the Special Group 
or the Special Group (Augmented) had full charge of covert operations, and that 
in that chain of command any proposal of this character or any other proposal 
having to do with covert operations being directed against the Castro regime, or 
against Castro personally, were to be laid before the Special Group (Augmented) 
and were not to be undertaken except with the authority of that. group and at the 
direction of that group. 

Now, at the same time we know from the evidence that the CIA was in fact 
engaged during the period in a series of attempts to assassinate Castro. 

Now, you see what we are faced with is this dilemma. Either the CIA was a 
rogue elephant rampaging out of control, over which no effective direction was 
being given in this matter of assassination, or there was some secret channel 
circumventing the whole structure of command by which the CIA and certain 
officials in the CIA were authorized to proceed with assassination plots and 
assassination attempts against Castro. Or the third and final point that I can 
think of is that somehow these ofBcials of th? CIA who were so engaged misunder- 
stood or misinterpreted their scope of authority. 

Now it is terribly import-ant, if there is any way that we can find out which of 
these three points represented what actually hapi>ene<l. That is the nature, that 
is the quandry. 

Now, is there anything that you can tell us that would assist us in finding an 
answer to this central question ? 

Mr. McNamara : I can only tell you what will further your uneasiness. Because 
I have stated before and I believe today that the CIA was a highly disciplined 
organization, fully under the control of senior officials of the government, so 
much so that I feel as a senior official of the government I must assume respon- 
sibility for the actions of the two, putting assassination aside just for the moment. 
But I know of no major action taken by CIA during the time I was in the govern- 
ment that was not properly authorized by senior officials. And when I say that I 
want to emphasize also that I believe with hindsight we authorized actions that 
were contrary to the interest of the Republic but I don't want it on the record 
that the CIA was uncontrolled, was operating with its own authority and we 
can be absolved of responsibility for what CIA did, again with exception of 
assassination, again which I say I never heard of. 

The second point you say that you have, you know that CIA was engaged in a 
series of attempts of assassination. I think to use your words. I don't know that. 
I accept the fact that you do and that you have information I was not aware of. 
I find that impossible to reconcile. I just can't understand how it could have 
happened and I don't accept the third point, that they operated on the basis of 
misunderstanding, because it seems to me that the McCone iwsition that he was 
opposed to it, his clear recollection and his written memo of 1967 that I was 
strongly opposed to it, his statement that Murrow opposed, all should eliminate 
any point of misunderstanding. So I franklv can't reconcile. (McNamara, 7/11/75, 
pp. 38-41) 

McNamara concluded : 

I find it almost inconceivable that the assassination attempts were carried on 
during the Kennedy Administration days without the senior members knowing 
it, and I understand the contradiction that this carries with respect to the facts. 
(McNamara, 7/11/75, p. 90) 


He emphasized that approval of an assassination by the President or 
his brother would have be«n "totally inconsistent with everything I 
know about the two men." ( McNamara, 7/11/75, p. 4) 

Roswell Gilpatric served as Deputy Secretary, of Defense through- 
out the Kennedy Administration and represented the Department on 
the Special Group and the SGA during the MONGOOSE operation. 
(Gilpatric, 7/8/75, p. 5) 

Gilpatric testified that he understood the mandate of the Special 
Group during Mongoose was not to kill Castro, but to "so undermine, 
so disrupt the Cuban system under Castro that it could not be ef- 
fective.^ (Gilpatric, 7/8/75, p. 28) Gilpatric emphasized that "it 
was the system we had to deal with,'' and that words such as "get rid 
of Castro" were said "in the context of the system, of the * * * govern- 
ment he had installed and was j^residing over, but of which [Castro] 
was only one part." (Gilpatric, 7/8/75, p. 29) 

Gilpatric said he knew of no express restriction barring assassina- 
tion, but that it was undei'stood that "there were limits on the use of 
power," and that those limits precluded assassination. (Gilpatric. 
7/8/75, p. 31) Wliile he believed that it was "perfectly possible" that 
someone might reasonably have inferred that assassination was au- 
thorized, tlie limits imposed by the SGA would have required anyone 
I'eceiving general instructions to make specific efforts to determine 
whether those instructions authorized assassination.^ 

Gilpatric testified that "within our charter, so to speak, the one 
thing that Avas off limits was militarv invasion." (Gilpatric, 7/8/75, 
p. 45) When asked whether the "killing of Castro by a paramilitary 
group r^ould] have been within bounds," Gilpatric responded, "I 
know of no restriction that would have barred it." {Id.) A^-lien asked 
if there was any concern that the raids and infiltration efforts were 
too limited, Gilpatric said : 

No, to the contrary. The complaint that the Attorney General had, if we 
assume he was reflecting the President's views on it. [was that] the stei>s taken 
hy the CIA up to that point, [and] their plans were too petty, were too minor, 
they weren't massive enough, they weren't going to be effective enough. (Gil- 
patric, 7/8/7.5, p. 47) 

^ ■'''hen Gilpatric was first interviewed by the Committee staff on July 7, 1975, he did not 
recall the Operation MONGOOSE designation and what It referenced. Nor did he recaU 
that General Lansdale was Chief of Operations for the proiect. even though Gilpatric 
had previously recommended Lansdale for promotion to Brigadier General and had worked 
closely with him earlier on a Viet Nam operation. Gilpatric did generally recall the covert 
activities in Cuba. Gilpatric attributed his failed recollections to the lapse of time (approxi- 
nntely fifteen years) since the events. 

Robert McNamara testified before the Committee on July 11. 1975. that he had spoken 
with Gilpatric on May .30. 1975. McNamara said ; "* * * on May 30 in connection with 
my inquiries to determine exnctly who General Lansdale was working for at the time of 
August 1962. I called * * * Ros Gilpatric * * *. and during my conversation with 
Mr. Gilpatric I asked him specifically what Lansdale was working for in August '62 and 
Mr. Gilpatric stated that he was not working for either himself, that is Gilpatric. or me 
in August '62, hut rather for the committee that was dealing with the MONGOOSE 
operation." (McNamara. 7/11/75. p. 78) 

- "Senator HroDLE.sTON : * * * it"s on the basis of these words that everybody admits 
were used, like replace or get rid of, on the basis of these kinds of conversat'on alone thnt 
[Helms] was firmly convinced and that apparently went right down through the whole 
rank of command, firmly convinced that he had that authoritv to move against the life 
of a head of state. Now this disturbs me, and I don't know whether our councils of gov- 
ernment operate that way in all areas or not. but if they do then it seems to me it would 
raise a ver.v serious question as to whether or not the troons are getting the rierht orders. 

'Sir. Gilpatric : * * * I thought there were limits on the use of power, and that was 
one of them. 

Senator Huddueston : And going beyond that would require that somebody make a spe- 
cific effort to make sure he understood precisely what they were talking about, would that 
be your interpretation? 

Mr. Gilpatric : It would." (Gilpatric, 7/8/75. p. 31) 


Contrary to the opinion expressed by other witnesses. Gilpatric 
testified that "it was not unusual'* for the President and the Attorney 
General to deal directly with people at various levels in the Execu- 
tive Branch. (Gilpatric, 7/8/75, p. 58) He described Robert Kennedy 
as the "moving spirit" of MONGOOSE (Gilpatric, 7/8/75, p. 11) 
whose role was "principally to spur us on, to get going, get cracking." 
(Gilpatric, 7/8/75, p. 47.) Although Robert Kennedy frequently com- 
plained that the plans of the CIA and MONGOOSE were not "massive 
enough," and that "we should get in there and do more," Gilpatric 
said that the Attorney General was not urging specific proposals, and 
that he had desired only "to limit the Castro regime's effectiveness." 
(Gilpatric, 7/8/75, p. 47) 

Dean Rusk served as Secretary of State throughout the Kennedy 
Administration and participated in a number of SGA meetings dur- 
ing the MONGOOSE operation. (Rusk, 7/10/75, p. 7) 

Rusk testified that he had never been informed of any Casti-o 
assassination plans or undertakings and had no knowledge of any 
such activity. (Rusk, 7/10/75, p. 52) He found it "very hard to be- 
lieve" that in the course of urging action against Castro, President 
Kennedy or Robert Kennedy would have sanctioned any measure 
against Castro personally.^ He believed that while it was "possible" 
that someone might have thought that specific courses of action were 
authorized by the emphasis in SGA meetings, pennission to commit 
an assassination could not have been reasonably inferred. 

It would have been an abuse of the President and the Attorney General if 
somebody had thought they were getting that without confirming that this was, 
in fact, an official, firm policy decision. (Rusk, 7/10/75, pp. 97-98) 

Rusk testified that he could not imagine the President or the At- 
torney General having circumvented the SGA by going directly to 
Helms or Harvey about assassinating Castro.^ 

Theodore Sorensen served as a Special Assistant to President Ken- 
nedy during the entire Kennedy Administration. He was a member 
of the National Security Council Executive Committee that dealt with 
the Missile Crisis, but was not involved with MONGOOSE. 

Sorensen testified that in all his daily personal meetings with the 
President and at NSC meetings he attended, there was "not at any 

1 "Senator HnoDLESTON : * * * [Do] your contacts with Robert Kennedy or President 
Kennedy, indicate to you that they were agitated to such an extent about Cuba and 
MOiVGOOSB progress tihat in a conversation with someone urging them to get off their rear- 
end and get something done that they might convey the message that they meant anything, 
go to any length to do something about the Castro regime? 

Mr. Rdsk. I find it very hard to believe that Robert Kennedy standing alone, or par- 
ticularly Robert Kennedy alleging to speak for President Kennedy, would have gone 
down that trail * * *." (Rusk, 7/10/75, p. 96.) 

- "Senator Mondale ; * • * We asked General Taylor yesterday whether he thought 
something of informal, subterranean, whatever kinds of communications from the highest 
level to Helms would have been possible without his knowledge, and he said he felt that 
was incredible, he didn't think it was possible. 

Do you think that it would be likely that an informal order around channels, say to 
Helms or to Harvey 

The Chairman : Over a three-year period. 

Senator Mondale : Over a three-year period would have been possible without your 
being informed? 

Mr. Rusk : Theoretically, Senator, one would have to say It is possible. 

Senator Mondale: But based on your experience? 

Mr. Rusk : In terms of practicality, probability and so forth, I don't see how it could 
have happened. 

You know those things, in these circles we were moving In could not be limited in that 
way. You know the echoes would come back." (Rusk, 7/10/75, p. 99) 


time any mention — much less approval by [the President] — of any 
U.S. -sponsored plan to assassinate any foreign leaders." (Sorensen, 
7/21/75, p. 4) 

(4) The Aikjust 10, 1962 Special Group (Augmented) Meeting 

The question of liquidating Cuban leaders was raised at a meeting 
of the SGA on August 10, 1962. On August 13, 1962, Lansdale directed 
Harvey to include in a proposed plan for Phase II of MONGOOSE, 
an option for the "liquidation of leaders." 

At the outset, it should be noted that the documents and testimony 
about the meeting indicate that the discussion of assassination on 
August 10 was unrelated to the assassination activity undertaken by 
Harvey and Kosselli, or to any other plans or efforts to assassinate 
Castro. The Inspector General's Report states: 

The subject (of a Castro assassination) was raised at a meeting at State on 
10 August 1962, but is unrelated to any actual attempts at assassination. It did 
result in a MONGOOSE action memorandum by Lansdale assigning to CIA 
action for planning liquidation of leaders. (I.G. Report, p. 118) 

This finding of the Inspector General is supported by both the 
chronology of the Castro assassination efforts and the testimony of 
Harvey. Harvey gave Rosselli the poison pills for use against Castro 
(and shortly thereafter was informed that the pills were inside Cuba) 
three months before the August 10 meeting. There was no Castro 
assassination activity during the remainder of 1962. 

Harvey attended the August 10 meeting and recalled that the ques- 
tion of a Castro assassination was raised. He testified that the assas- 
sination discussion was not related to his activities with Rosselli. 
(Harvey, 7/11/75, pp. 48-50) He said that he did not regard the 
SGA discussion as authorization for his Rosselli operation because 
"the authority, as I understood it, for this particular operation went 
back long before the formation of the SGA." (Harvey, 7/11/75, p. 49) 

A. THE contemporaneous DOCUMENTS 

(1) Lansdale' s August 13^ 1962 Memorandum 

Lansdale's August 13 memorandum was sent to Haivey and to 
the other members of Lansdale's interagency working group.^ The 
Memorandum stated : 

In compliance with the desires and guidance expressed in the August 10 policy 
meeting on Operation MONGOOSE, we will produce an outline of an alternate 
Course B for submission. 

I believe the paper" need contain only a statement of objectives and a list of 
implementing activities. The list of activities will be under the heading of : 
Intelligence, Political, Economic, Psychological, Paramilitary, and Military. 

' Lansdale sent copies of his memorandum to Robert Hurwitch (State Department). 
General Benjamin Harris (Defense Department) and Donald Wilson (United States In- 
formation Agency). 

When General Harris testified, he Identified a document drafted b.v the MONGOOSE 
Working Group in the Defense Department shortly before the August 10 meeting. The 
document listed a number of steps that could be taken in the event of an intensified 
MONGOOSE program that might involve United States military intervention. One S"ch 
step was "assassinate Castro and his handful of top men." General Harris stated that this 
was "not out of the ordinary in terms of contingency planning * * * it's one of the 
things you look at." (Harris. 8/1.S/75, p. ."^T) There was no evidence that this document 
was distributed outside the Defense Department's MONGOOSE Working Group. 


Lansdale's memorandum then assigned to Harvey preparation of 
papers on the following subjects : 

Mr. Hakvet. Intelligence, Political, [words deleted], Economic, (sabotage, 
limited deception), and Paramilitary." (Id.) 

According to a memorandum from Harvey to Helms on the following 
day, the words deleted from the quoted passage were "including liqui- 
dation of leaders." (Memo, Harvey to Helms, 8/14/62) 

(2) Harvey^s August llf.^ 1962 Meinorandum 

After receiving Lansdale's August 13 memorandum, Harvey wrote 
a memorandum to Helms. He attached a copy of the Lansdale memo- 
randum, and noted that he had excised the words "including liquida- 
tion of leaders." Harvey's memorandum explained that : 

The question of assassination, particularly of Fidel Castro, was brought up by 
Secretary McNamara at the meeting of the Special Group (Augmented) in 
Secretary Rusk's office on 10 August. It was the obvious consensus at that 
meeting, in answer to a comment by Mr. Ed Murrow, that this is not a subject 
which has been made a matter of official record. I took careful notes on the 
comments at this meeting on this point, and the Special Group (Augmented) is 
not expecting any written comments or study on this point." {Id.) 

Harvey's memorandum further stated that he had called Lansdale's 
office and pointed out "the inadmissability and stupidity of putting 
this type of comment in writing in such a document." {Id.) He also 
told Lansdale's office that the CIA "would write no document pertain- 
ing to this and would participate in no open meeting discussing it." 

{3) The Minutes of the August 10, 1962 Meeting 

The minutes of the August 10 meeting contain no reference to 
assassination. (Memo for Record, Special Group Augmented Meet- 
ing, August 10, 1962, hereafter "August 10 Minutes") Thomas Parrott, 
who authored the August 10 ]Minutes, testified that he did not recall 
a discussion of assassination at that meeting, but that the fact that 
the minutes reflect no such discussion does not necessarily indi- 
cate that the matter had not come up. (Parrott, 7/10/75, p. 34) 
Parrott pointed out that his minutes "were not intended to be a 
verbatim transcript of everything that was said," since their purpose 
was "to interpret what the decisions were and to record those and to 
use them as a useful action document." [Parrott, 7/10/75. pp. 34-35.] 
Parrott testified : "we had 15 or 16 people [at the August 10. 1962 meet- 
ing] * * * all of them well informed, all of them highly articulate. 
This meeting, as I recall, went on for several hours. * * * Now I'm 
sure that particularly in a group like this that there were a great many 
proposals made that were just shot down immediately." (Parrott, 
7/10/75, pp. 34-35) 

Parrott testified that he did not record proposals that were quickly 
rejected. (Parrott, 7/10/75, p. 35) He said that, although he had no 
recollection of a discussion of Castro's assassination at the meeting, he 
would infer from the related documents [the Lansdale and Harvey 
Memoranda of August 13 and 14, respectively] that the subject was 


raised but "it never got off the ground * * *. Therefore, I did not 
record it." (Parrott, 7/10/75, p. 35) 

(^) The August 10 Meeting 

The purpose of the August 10 Meeting was to decide on a course of 
action to succeed the intelligence collection phase of MONGOOSE, 
scheduled to conclude in August. (McCone, 6/6/75, p. 34) Because it 
was a policy meeting, a larger number of officials than usual attended. 
The Meeting was chaired by Secretary of State Rusk and those attend- 
ing included the principals of the other agencies taking part in MON- 
GOOSE, i.e.. Secretary of Defense McNamara, CIA Director McCone, 
and USIA Director Murrow. 

General Lansdale submitted a MONGOOSE proposal for a 
"stepped-up Course B" that would involve operations to "exert all 
possible diplomatic, economic, psychological, and other overt pressures 
to overthrow the Castro-Communist regime, without overt employ- 
ment of U.S. militaiy." (Lansdale Memo for Special Group Aug- 
mented, 8/8/62) 

The SGA decided against the "stepped-up Coui-se B." In discussing 
Lansdale's proposal, Rusk "emphasized the desirability of attempting 
to create a split between Castro and old-line Communists."' McNamara 
questioned whether the practice of building up agents in Cuba would 
not lead to actions that "would hurt the U.S. in the e3'es of world opin- 
ion." ^ The minutes state that McNamara 's concern "led to the sug- 
gestion by General Taylor that we should consider changing the over- 
all objective [of MONGOOSE] from one of overthrowing the Castro 
regime" to one of causing its failure. (SGA Minutes, 8/10/62, p. 2) 

Instead of Lansdale's "stepped-up Course B," the SGA chose a plan 
advanced by McCone which assumed Castro's continuance in power 
and had the more limited obiective of splittin.q: off Castro from "old- 
line Communists."' (SGA Minutes, 8/10/62, p. 2) The decision and 
"action" were described as follows : 

The principal members of the Special Group felt, after some discussion, that 
the CIA variant should be developed further for consideration at next Thursday's 
meeting of the Special Group. McCone was asked to stress economic sabotage, 
and to emphasize measures to foment a Castro-oldline Communist split. 
• »****» 

Action tn be taken : CIA to prepare a new version of its variant plan, in accord- 
ance with the above^ummarized discussion. This should be ready by Wednesday, 
August 15. ( SGA Minutes Memo, 8/10/62, pp. 2-3) 

The discussion which follows treats testimony bearing on whether 
Lansdale's request to Harvey for an assassination plan reflected the 
wishes of the SGA or was contemplated by the SGA's decision to pro- 
ceed with a plan of "reduced effort" that posited Castro's continuance 
in power. 

'That remark bv McNRnnra seems to be inconsistent with his raising the question of 
assassination in any sense of advocacy at the same meeting. 

2 The Aiisrust 10 Minutes show that McCone pointed out that the stened-un Course B 
"will risk invltinfr an uprising, which might result in a Hungarv-tvne blood hath if "n- 
supported." McCone "emphasized that the stepped-up nlan should not be undertaken unless 
the F.S. is prepared to accept attributability for the necessary actions, includinnr t'-e 
eventual use of military force." The August 10 Minutes further stated that, in McCone's 
view, the CIA variant "would avoid all of these dangers because it would not Invite an 
uprising." (SGA Minutes. 8/10/62, p. 2) 



Harvey, McCone, and Goodwin recalled that the question of assassi- 
nating Castro was raised at the August 10 meeting.^ Their testimony 
is discussed first with regard to the meeting itself, and second, with 
regard to the action that followed. 

{1 ) Testimony A hout the Augiost 10 Meeting 

(a) McCone 

McCone testified that "liquidation" or removal of Castro and other 
Cuban leaders arose at the August 10 meeting in the context of "ex- 
ploring the alternatives that were available" for the next phase of 
MONGOOSE. (McCone, 6/6/76, p. 34) He did not recall who made 
this suggestion, but remembered that he and Edward Murrow took 
"strong exception" to it. A memorandum written by McCone in 1967 
states : ^ 

I took immediate exception to tliis suggestion, stating that the subject was 
completely out of bounds as far as the USG [U.S. Government] and CIA were 
concerned and the idea should not be discussed nor should it appear in any 
papers, as the USG could not consider such actions on moral or ethical grounds. 

McCone testified that there was no decision at the meeting not 
to include assassination in the program, and that "the subject was 
just dropped" after his objection. (McCone, 6/6/75, p. 37) McCone's 
1967 memorandum stated that: "At no time did the suggestion receive 
serious consideration by the Special Group (Augmented) nor by any 
individual responsible for policy." 

(6) Harvey 

It was Harvey's recollection that the question of assassination was 
raised by Secretary McNamara as one of "shouldn't we consider the 
elimination or assassination" of Castro. (Harvey, 7/11/75, p. 30) 
Harvey testified : 

1 think the consensus of the Group was to sweep that particular proposal or 
suggestion or question or consideration off the record and under the rug as rapidly 
as possible. There was no extensive discussion of it, no discussion, no back and 
forth as the whys and wherefores and possibilities and so on. (Harvey, 7/11/75, 
p. 30) 

(c) Goodwin 

Goodwin testified that he had a recollection of "limited cert-ainty" 
that the subject of a Castro assassination was raised at the August 10 

mother participants (Rusk, McNamara, Bundy, and GUpatric) did not recall the August 
10 discussion. 

2 On April 14, 1967, after McCone left the CIA. he dictated a memorandum stating his 
recollection of the August 10, 1962 meeting. The memorandum was prompted by a 
telephone call from the newspaper columnist. Jack Anderson, who at that time was pre- 
paring a column on Castro assassination attempts, implicating President Kennedy and 
Robert Kennedy. After talking with Anderson on the telephone at Robert Kennedy's 
request, McCone dictated the April 14, 1967 memorandum, which stated, in nnrt, 
several MONGOOSE meetings on August 8. 9, or 10. 1962, "I recall a suggestion being 
made to liquidate top people in the Castro regime, including Castro." 


meeting/ but he was unable to say "with any certainty" who raised the 
subject. (Goodwin, 7/18/75, p. 8) ^ 

(d) McNamara 

McNamara testified that although he did not recall assassination 
being discussed at the SGA meeting, he did remember having ex- 
pressed-opposition to any assassination attempt or plan when he spoke 
with McCone several days later. (McNamara, 7/11/75, pp. 7, 8) 

(2) Testimony about Events After the August 10^ 1962 meeting 

{a) McCone 

McCone testified that he called McNamara after receiving Lans- 
dale's August 18 Memorandum and : 

* * * insisted that that Memorandum be withdrawn because no decision was 
made on this subject, and since no decision was made, then Lansdale was quite 
out of order in tasking the Central Intelligence Agency to consider the matter.^^ 

McCone said that McNamara agreed that Lansdale's Memorandum 
should be withdrawn * for the same reason, (McCone, 6/6/75, p. 39) 

(5) Harvey 

Harvey's demand that the words "liquidation of leaders" be excised 
from Lansdale's memorandum and his further statement that "the 
Special Group (Augmented) is not expecting any written comments 
or study on this point," raise an important question. Did Harvey mean 
that the SGA was not considering assassination or merely that the 
subject should not be put in writing? Wlien Harvey was asked ''was it 

J In a staff interview prior to his testimony, Goodwin recalled the date of the meeting 
at which a Castro assassination was raised as falling in early 1961, after the Bay of Pigs. 
(Memorandum of Staff Interview with Goodwin, 5/27/75, p. 2) After reviewing the 
Minutes of the August 10. 1962 meeting and the Lansdale and Harvey memoranda of 
August 13 and 14, respectively, Goodwin testified that he had "misplaced the date of the 
meeting in my own memory." (Goodwin, 7/18/75, p. 7.) In placing the incident on August 
10, 1962, Goodwin stated "Now, of course, you know, it may not be. That's the best 
recollection I now have. It's a little better than the earlier one, but it's not certain." 
(Goodwin. 7/18/75, p. 8) 

2 In a magazine article in June 1975, Goodwin was quoted as stating that at one of 
the meetings of a White House task force on Cuba it was McNamara who said that 
"Castro's assassination was the only productive way of dealing with Cuba." (Branch and 
Crile, "The Kennedy Vendetta," Harpers, July, 1975, p. 61). In his testimony on July 18, 
1975, Goodwin said : "that's not an exact quote" in the article, and explained : "I didn't 
tell [the author of the magazine article] that it was definitely McNamara, that very 
possibly it was McNamara. He asked me about McNamara's role, and I said it very well 
could have been McNamara." (Goodwin, 7/18/75, p. 33) 

Goodwin told the Committee : "It's not a light matter to perhaps destroy a man's 
career on the basis of a fifteen year old memory of a single sentence that he might have 
said at a meeting without substantial certainty in your own mind, and I do not have 
that" (Goodwin. 7/18/75, pp. 34—35). It is diflScult to reconcile this testimony with 
Goodwin's testimony that he told the author of the article that McNamara might very 
well have made the statement about assassination at the August meeting. 

^ McCone's 1967 Memorandum stated : "Immediately after the meeting. I called on 
Secretary McNamara personally and reemphasized my position, in which he heartily 
agreed. I did this because Operation MON(JOOSE — an interdepartmental affair — was 
under the operational control of [the Defense Department] * * *." 

* McNamara confirmed this testimony : "I agreed with Mr. McCone that no such plan- 
ning should be undertaken." (McNamara, 7/11/75, p. 8.) He added : "I have no knowledge 
or information about any other plans or preparations for a Castro assassination." (Mc- 
Namara, 7/11/75, p. 7) 


understood in an unwritten way that [assassination] was to proceed," 
he replied : 

Not to my knowledge, no * * *. If there was any unwritten understanding 
on the part of the members of the Special Group concerning this, other than 
what was said at the meeting, I do not know of it * * *. (Harvey, 7/11/75, pp. 

Harvey said that shortly after the meeting, McCone informed him 
that he had told McNamara that assassination should not be discussed. 
McCone also told McNamara that involvement in such matters might 
result in his own excommunication. (Harvey, 7/11/75, p. 25) 

(c) Elder 

Walter Elder, McCone's Executive Assistant, was present when Mc- 
Cone telephoned McNamara after the August 10 meeting. Elder testi- 
fied that McCone told McNamara "the subject you just brought up, I 
think it is highly improper. I do not think it should be discussed. It is 
not an action that should ever be condoned. It is not proper for us to 
discuss, and I intend to have it expunged from the record."' (Elder, 
8/13/75, p. 23) 

Elder testified that this was the essence of the conversation but 
that he distinctlv remembered "several exact phrases, like 'would not be 
condoned' and 'improper'." (Elder, 8/13/75, pp. 23, 24) ^ 

IVIcCone spoke with Harvey in Elder's presence after receiving 
Lansdale's August 13 memorandum. According to Elder, "McCone 
made his views quite clear in the same language and tone * * * that 
he used with Mr. McNamara." (Elder, 8/13/75, p. 25) Elder testified 
that Harvey did not then tell McCone that Harvey was engaged in a 
Castro assassination effort. (Elder, 8/13/75. p. 25) 

Elder also described a meeting held in his office with Helms shortly 
after the McCone/Harvey /Elder meeting. Elder stated: 

I told Mr. Helms that Mr. McCone had expressed his feeling to Mr. McNamara 
and Mr. Harvey that assassination could not be condoned and would not be 
approved. Furthermore. I conveyed Mr. McCone's statement that it would be 
unthinkable to record in writing any consideration of assassination it left 
the impression that the subject had received serious consideration Dy govern- 
mental policymakers, which it had not. Mr. Helms responded, "I imderstand." 
The point is that I made Mr. Helms aware of the strength of Mr. McCone's opposi- 
tion to assassination. I know that Mr. Helms could not have been under any mis- 
apprehension about Mr. McCone's feelings after this conversation. (Elder 
Affidavit. 8/26/75, p. 2) 

Helms, after reading Elder's affidavit, told the Committee that he 
had no recollection of the meeting. (Helms, 9/16/75, p. 16) 

(d) Lansdalc 

Lansdale recalled that the subject of Castro's assassination had sur- 
faced at the August 10 meeting. He testified that the "consensus was 
* * * hell no on this and there was a very violent reaction." (Lansdale, 

1 Elder said he henrd the entire telephone conversation via a speaker phone. He said 
that McNamara "just more or less accepted what Mr. McCone said without comment or 
rejoinder." (Elder, S/13/75, p. 24) 


7/8/75, p. 20) Lansdale was questioned as to why he subsequent!}' 
asked Harvey for a Castro assassination plan : 

Senator Baker. Why did you, three days later if they all said, hell no, [go] 
ahead with it? 

General Lansdale. * * * the meeting at which they said that was still on a 
development of my original task, which was a revolt and an overthrow of a 
regime. At the same time, we were getting intelligence accumulating very quickly 
of something very different taking place in Cuha than we had expected, which 
was the Soviet technicians starting to come in and the possibilities of Soviet 
missiles being placed there * * * At that time, I thought it would be a possibility 
.someplace down the road in which there would be some possible need to take 
action such as that [assassination]^ (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 21) 

Lansdale stated that he had one brief conversation with Harvey 
after the Au^ist 13 memorandum in which Harvey stated "he would 
look into it * * * see about developing some plans." Lansdale said that 
was the last he ever heard of the matter. (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 124) 
Lansdale stated that as the Cuban Missile Crisis developed, MON- 
GOOSE "was being rapidly shifted out of consideration" and thus 
"I wasn't pressing for answers * * * it was very obvious that another 
situation ^as developing that would be handled quite differentlv in 
Cuba." (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 124) 

Lansdale testified that he was "very certain" that he never discussed 
a Castro assassination plan or proposal with Robert Kennedy or with 
President Kennedy. He said that he had asked Harvey for a plan 
without having discussed the matter with anyone: 

Senator Baker ; * * * did you originate this idea of laying on the CIA a require- 
ment to report on the feasibility of the assassination of Castro or did someone 
else suggest that? 

General Lansdale : I did, as far as I recall. 

Senator Baker : "Who did you discuss it with before you laid on that require- 

General Lansdale: I don't believe I discussed it with anyone. 

Senator Baker: Only with Harvey? 

General Lansdale: Only with Harvey. 

Senator Baker: Did you ever discuss it with Helms? 

General Lansdale : I might have, and I don't believe that I did. I think it was 
just with Harvey. 

Senator Baker: Did you ever di.scuss it with Robert Kennedy? 

General Lansdale : Xo, not that I recall. 

Senator Baker: With the President? 

General Lansdale: No. (Lansdale, 7/8/75, pp. 19-20) 

(3) Testimony of Reporters About Lansdole^s Commsnts on the Au- 
gust 10 Meeting 
During the Committee's investigation, reports concerning the 
August 10 meeting and Landsdale's request for a Castro assassination 
plan appeared in the press. One report was based on statements made 
by Lansdale to David Martin of the Associated Press and another 
on Lansdale's statements to Jeremiah 0'Lear\^ of the Washington 
Star-News. Because there was conflict between Lansdale's testimonv 

1 .iQ * * * Why, if it is true that assassination idea was turned down on August 10, did 
you send out your memo on August 13? 

General Lansdale. * * * I don't recall that thoroughly, I don't remember the reasons 
whv I would. 

Q. Is it your testimony that the August 10 meeting turned down assassinations as a 
subject to look into, and that you nevertheless asked Mr. Harvey to look into it? 

General Lansdalr I guess it is, yes. 'The way you put it to me now has me baffled about 
why I did it. I don't know." (Lansdale, 7/8/75, pp. 123-124) 


to the Committee and what he was reported to have told Martin and 
O'Leaiy, the Committee invited both reporters to testify. Martin 
testified under subf)oena. O'Leary appeared vohmtarily but stated 
that the policy of his newspaper against disclosing news sources pre- 
cluded him from elaborating on the contents of a prepared statement, 
which he read under oath. O'Leary stated that his news report "rep- 
resents accurately my understanding of the relevant information I 
obtained from news sources." (O'Leary, 9/26/75, p. 5) 

(a) The Martin Report 

The lead paragraph of Martin's report stated: 

Retired Maj. Gen. Edward G. Lansdale said Friday that acting on orders 
from President John F. Kennedy delivered through an intermediary, he devel- 
oped plans for removing Cuban Premier Fidel Castro by any means ineludiag 

Martin testified tliat this paragraph was an accurate reflection of 
his conclusion based on the totalitv of his interview with Lansdale 
on May 30, 1975. (Martin, 7/24/75, pp. 19-20) Lansdale testified that, 
after reading INIartin's story, he told the report-er that "your first 
sentence is not only completely imtrue, but there is not a single thing 
in your story that says it is true." (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 65) 

in view of Martin's testimony that the report's lead paragraph was 
a conclusion based on his total interview with Lansdale, it should 
be noted that the remainder of Martin's story does not state that Lans- 
dale was ordered by President Kennedy or the Attorney General to 
develop plans for Castro's assassination. The report quotes Lansdale 
as stating "I was working for the highest authority in the land * * * 
the President," and then states that Lansdale said he did not deal 
directly with the President, but "Avorked through" an intermediary 
who was more intimate with the President than Bundy.^ The Com- 
mittee notes that the phrases "working for" and "working through" 
do not carry the same meaning as the lead paragraph's conclusion that 
Lansdale was "acting on orders" to develop a Castro assassination 
]>lan. Subsequent paragraphs in the INIartin report indicate that Lans- 
dale told the reporter that the decision to undertake assassination plan- 
ning was his own ; Lansdale so testified before the Committee. Accord- 
ing to the Martin article, Lansdale said that assassination was "one of 
the means he considered," that he believed assassination would not have 
been "incompatible" with his assignment, and that he "* * * just 
wanted to see if the LT.S. had any such capabilities." Martin said he 
did not ask Lansdale specifically if Lansdale had acted on orders 
regarding an assassination plan, nor did Lansdale volunteer that infor- 
mation. Rather, Martin asked Lansdale "Who were vou working 
for?" 2 

^ Lansdale refused to provide Martin the intermediary's name for the record. The Com- 
mittee did not asls Martin about Lansdale's ofif-the-record statements out of respect for 
the confidentiality of news sources (Martin, 7/24/75, p. 18) 

^Martin testified that his interview with Lansdale involved two questions: (1) "What 
were you [Lansdale] doing in August 1962?" (Martin, 7/24/75. p. 16), and (2) "Who were 
you working for?" (Martin 7/24/75, p. 17) Martin stated that in discussing Lansdale's 
activities in August 1962, Lansdale stated, "I just wanted to see if the U.S. hnd any such 
capabilities" and that this included "assassination" as well as other means of disposing 
of Castro. As to the second question "Who were you working for?" Lansdale replied "on 
that project I was working for the highest authority in the land." (Martin, 7/24/75. 
p. 18) 


In a subsequent conversation on June 4, 1975, ISIartin said he asked 
Lansdale specifically, "Were you ever ordered by President Kennedy 
or any other Kennedy to draw up plans to assassinate Castro?" 
(Martin, 7/24/75, p. 21) Martin testified that Lansdale replied ''no" 
and that his orders were "very broad." (Martin, 7/24/75, p. 21) 
Martin further testified that in the June 4 conversation he asked Lans- 
dale whether "any assassination planning you did was done on your 
own initiative," and that Lansdale replied "yes." (Martin 7/24/75, 
p. 21) Martin stated his belief that Lansdale's statements on June 4 
were at variance with his prior statements on IVIay 30. (Martin 7/24/75, 
p. 21) It is, of couree, possible tliat sinc« Martin posed different ques- 
tions in the two conversations, he and Lansdale may have misunder- 
stood each other. 

(b) The 0''Leary Report 

O'Leary's report began : 

Retired Maj. Gen. Edward G. Lansdale has named Robert F. Kennedy as the 
administration official who ordered him in 1962 to launch a CIA project to 
work out all feasible plans for "getting rid of" Cuban Prime Minister Fidel 

Lansdale, in an interview with the Washington Star, never used the word 
"assassination" and said it was not used by Kennedy, then the attorney general. 

But he said there could be no doubt that "that project for disposing of Castro 
envisioned the whole spectrum of plans from overthrowing the Cuban leader to 
assassinating him." 

O'Leary's report contained the statement that "Lansdale said he was 
contacted by Eobert Kennedy in mid-summer of 1962 * * *." O'Leary 
told the Committee that this reference modified the reference in the 
lead paragraph of his report. (O'Leary, 9/26/75, p. 13) 

Lansdale testified that he had submitted a statement to the Wash- 
ington Star Neivs stating that O'Leary's report was "a distortion of 
my remarks." (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 61) Lansdale said he told the 
newspaper that : "perhaps someplace in the planning there is some- 
thing about what to do with a leader who would threaten the lives of 
millions of Americans [with Soviet Missiles] * * * but I can say I 
never did receive any order from President Kennedy or from Robert 
Kennedv about taking action against Castro personally." (Lansdale, 
7/18/75', pp. 61-62) 

Lansdale testified that he told O'Leary that he did take orders from 
Robert Kennedy, but made clear that "Kennedy's orders to him were 
on a very wide-ranging type of thing." (Lansdale, 7/8/75, p. 62) 

After the story appeared, the * * * Washington Star asked me what wide- 
ranging things were you talking about? 

I said there were economic matters and military matters and military things 
and they were very wide-ranging things. I said perhaps all O'Leary was think- 
ing of was assassination. I was thinking of far wider than that. (Lansdale, 
7/8/75, pp. 62-83) 

The O'Leary report states : 

Lansdale said he is certain Robert Kennedy's instructions to him did not in- 
clude the word "assassination." He said the attorney general, as best he could 
recall, spoke in more general terms gf exploring all feasible means and practicali- 
ties of doing something "to get rid of" Castro. 


{Hi) The Question- of Whether the AM/LASH Plot (1963-1965) 
Was Known About or Authorized by Administration Officials 
Outside the CIA 

This section examines evidence relating to whether officials in the 
Kennedy or Johnson Administrations were aware of or authorized 
the CIA's use of AM/LASH as a potential assassin. The question is 
examined in light of the policies of those Administrations toward 
Cuba as well as the evidence bearing more directly on the authoriza- 
tion issues. 

The evidence falls into a pattern similar to that described in the 
discussion of post-Bay of Pigs activity in the Kennedy Administra- 
tion. Administration officials testified that they had never been in- 
formed about the plot and that they never intended to authorize 
assassination. Richard Helms, on the other hand, testified that he had 
believed that assassination was permissible in view of the continuing 
pressure to overthrow the Castro regime exerted by the respective 
Administrations and the failure of either Administration to place 
limits on the means that could be used to achieve that end. 


a. OrganiBotional Changes 

The MONGOOSE Operation was disbanded following the Cuban 
Missile Crisis, and an interagency "Cuban Coordinating Committee" 
was established within the State Department with responsibility for 
developing covert action proposals. (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 148) The 
SGA was abolished, and the Special Group, chaired by McGeorge 
Bundy, reassumed responsibility for reviewing and approving covert 
actions in Cuba. (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 148) 

United States policy toward Cuba in 1963 was also formulated in 
the National Security Council's Standing Group, the successor to the 
Executive Committee which had been established for the Missile 
Crisis. Members of the Standing Group included Robert Kennedy, 
Robert McNamara, John McCone, McGeorge Bundy and Theodore 

Four aspects of the Kennedy Administration's 1963 Cuba policy 
are discussed below: (1) the Standing Group's discussion of possible 
developments in the event of Castro's death; (2) the Standing 
Group's discussion of policy options; (3) the covert action program 
approved by the Special Group; and (4) the diplomatic effort to 
explore the possibility of reestablishing relations with Castro. The 
first three took place in the spring or early summer of 1963; the 
fourth — the effort to communicate with Castro — occurred at the same 
. time the CIA offered AM/LASH the poison pen device for Castro's 

h. Discussion of the Contingency of Castro''s Death 

In the spring of 1963, Bundy submitted to the Standing Group a 
memorandum entitled "Cuba Alternatives" which discussed "possible 
new directions" for American policy toward Cuba. (Bundy Memo- 
randum, 4/21/63) The memorandum distinguished between events 
which might occur independently of actions taken by the United 


States, and those which the United States might "initiate." Listed 
under the first category was the possibility of Castro's death. In May 
1963, the Group discussed this contingency and found that the possi- 
bilities for developments favorable to the United States if Castro 
should die were "singularly unpromising.'' (Summary Record of 
Standing Group Meeting, 5/28/63) 

When Bundy's memorandum was first discussed by the Group in 
April, Robert Kennedy proposed a study of the "measures we would 
take following contingencies such as the death of Castro or the shoot- 
ing down of a U-2." (Summary Record of Standing Group Meeting, 
4/23/63) Bundy's follow-up memorandum, an agenda for a future 
Standing Group discussion of Cuban policy, listed contingency 
planning for Castro's death under a category comprising events not 
initiated by the United States, e.g.^ "occurrence of revolt or repression 
in the manner of Hungary," "attributable interference by Castro in 
other countries," and "the reintroduction of offensive weapons." 
(Bundy Memorandum, 4/29/63) 

After the Standing Group's meeting on April 23, 1963, the CIA's 
Office of National Estimates was assigned the task of assessing pos- 
sible developments if Castro should die. (Memorandum for Members 
of the Standing Group, 5/2/63) The resulting paper analyzed the 
forces likely to come into play in Cuba after Castro's death, includ- 
ing the roles of his top aides, Raul Castro and Che Guevara, and 
possible Soviet reactions. (Draft Memorandum by Office of National 
Estimates titled "Developments in Cuba and Possible U.S. Actions in 
the Event of Castro's Death," pp. 2-5) The paper concluded that "the 
odds are that upon Castro's death, his brother Raul or some other fig- 
ure in the regime would, with Soviet backing and help, take over con- 
trol" ^ The paper warned : "If Castro were to die by other than natural 
causes the U.S. would be widely charged with complicity, even though 
it is widely known that Castro has many enemies." 

The paper also identified several courses of action open to the United 
States in the event of Castro's death, ranging from no United States 
initiatives, action to support a government in exile, quarantine and 
blockade, and outright invasion. 

On INIay 28. 1963, the Standing Group discussed this paper. The 
Group decided that "all of the courses of action were singularly un- 
promising". (Summary Record of NSC Standing Group Meeting 
No. 7/63, May 28, 1963) 

Bundy testified that the Standing Group "certainly posed the ques- 
tion" in the Spring of 1963 of what would happen if Castro died or 
were killed. (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 130) However, he said that he had 
no recollection of Castro's assassination being considered by the Stand- 
ing Group when that contingency was discussed. (Bundy, 7/11/75, 
p. 14)^ 

Bundy said that one reason for having requested the estimate was 
to make a record establishing that the United States should not be 

1 The paper also saw little chance that a government favorably disposed toward the 
United States would be able to come to power without extensive United States military 
support : "Anti-Moscow Cuban nationalists would require extensive U.S. help in order 
to win, and probably U.S. military intervention." 

^ Bundy did recall that over the period 1&61 to 196.3 "the subject of a Castro as- 
sassinntion was mentioned from time to time by different individuals." but he said tliat 
he w«s not aware of "much discussion in the Spring of 1963 on that subject." (Bundy, 
7/11/75, p. 140) 


"fussing" with assassination, and that assassination was not a sound 
policy. (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 142) 

Bimdy said that it was not unusual to assess the implications of a 
foreign leader's death, and named Stalin and De Gaulle as examples. 
In the case of Castro, Bundy said he felt it was only prudent to at- 
tempt to assess a post-Castro Cuba since Castro was such a "dominant 
figure." (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 145) 

G. The Standing Growp's Discussion of United States Policy Toward 

The Standing Group's documents indicate it continued to assume 
the desirability of harassing Cuba, but recognized that there were 
few practical measures the United States could take to achieve Cas- 
tro's overthrow. 

In his April 21 memorandum on "Cuban Alternatives" Bundy 
identified three possible alternatives: (1) forcing "a non-Communist 
solution in Cuba by all necessary means," (2) insisting on "major but 
limited ends," or (3) moving "in the direction of a gradual develop- 
ment of some form of accommodation with Castro." (Bundy Memo- 
randum, 4/21/63, p. 3) These alternatives were discussed at the Stand- 
ing Group meetings on April 23 and May 28, 1963. 

Sorensen participated in these meetings. He testified that the 
"widest possible range of alternatives" was discussed, but that 
"assassination was not even on the list." (Sorensen, 7/21/75, p. 4) 
He said that options such as forcing "a non-Communist solution in 
Cuba by all necessary means" 

* * * could not have included or implied assassination. Instead, it expressly 
referred to the development of pressures and gradual escalation of the con- 
frontation in Cuba to produce an overthrow of the regime, including a willing- 
ness to use military force to invade Cuba. Such a course was obviously not 
adopted by the President, and in any event expressed an approach far different 
from assassination. (Sorensen aflBdavit, 7/25/75)^ 

The record of the first Standing Group discussion of Bundy's 
memorandum shows that a number of alternatives (none of which 
involved assassination) were considered but no conclusions were 

The Standing Group again met on May 28, 1963. McCone argued 
for steps to "increase economic hardship" in Cuba, supplemented by 
sabotage to "create a situation in Cuba in which it would be possible 
to subvert military leaders to the point of their acting to overthrow 
Castro." (Summary Record of NSC Standing Group Meeting, 
5/28/63) McNamara said that sabotage would not be "conclu- 
sive" and suggested that "economic pressures which would upset 
Castro" be studied. Robert Kennedy said "the U.S. must do something 
against Castro, even though we do not believe our actions would bring 
him down." {id.) Bundy summarized by stating that the task was 
"to decide now what actions we would take against Castro, acknowl- 

^The Bundy memorandum also used the phrase "all necessary measures" to describe 
the steps the American Government was willing to take to "prevent" a direct military 
threat to the United States or to the Western Hemisphere from Cuba. Sorensen explained 
the meaning of this phrase in the context of the April 23 discussion of Kennedy Adminis- 
tration policy, "[this phrase] could not by any stretch of semantics or logic have in- 
eluded assassination or any other initiative. It reflected the purely defensive posture 
implemented six months earlier when long-range missiles and other offensive weapons 
were placed in Cuba." (Sorensen affidavit, 7/25/75) 


edging that the measures practical for us to take will not result in his 
overthrow." (id.) 

d. The Special Group's AiUhorizaiion of a /Sabotage Program 
Against Cuha 

During the first six months of 1963, little, if any, sabotage activity 
against Cuba was undertaken.^ However, on June 19, 1963, following 
the Standing Group's discussion of Cuba policy in the spring. Presi- 
dent Kennedy approved a sabotage program.- (Memorandum for the 
Special Group, 6/19/63) In contrast to the MONGOOSE program, 
which sought to build toward an eventual internal revolt, the 1963 
covert action program had a more limited objective, i.e.^ "to nourish a 
spirit of resistance and disaffection which could lead to significant 
defections and other byproducts of unrest." {id) 

After initial approval, specific intelligence and sabotage operations 
were submitted to the Special Group for prior authorization. On Octo- 
ber 3, 1963, the Special Group approved nine operations in Cuba, sev- 
eral of which involved sabotage. On October 24, 1963, thirteen major 
sabotage operations, including the sabotage of an electric power plant, 
an oil refinery, and a sugar mill, were approved for the period from 
November 1963 through January 1964. (Memorandum, 7/11/75, 
CIA Review Staff to Select Committee, on "Approved CIA Covert 
Operations into Cuba") 

e. The Diplomatic Effort to Explore an Accommodation with Castro 
As early as January 4, 1963, Bundy proposed to President Kennedy 

that the possibility of communicating with Castro be explored. 
(Memorandum, Bundy to the President, 1/4/63) Bundy's memo- 
randum on "Cuba Alternatives" of April 23, 1963, also listed the 
"gradual development of some form of accommodation with Castro" 
among policy alternatives. (Bundy memorandum, 4/21/63) At a meet- 
ing on June' 3, 1963, the Special Group agreed it would be a "useful 
endeavor" to explore "various possibilities of establishing channels 
of communication to Castro." (Memorandum of Special Group meet- 
ing, 6/6/63) 

In the fall of 1963, William Atwood was a Special Advisor to the 
United States Delegation to the United Nations with the rank of 
Ambassador. (Atwood, 7/10/75, p. 3) Atwood testified that from 
September until November 1963, he held a series of talks with the 
Cuban Ambassador to the United Nations to discuss opening negotia- 
tions on an accommodation between Castro and the United States. 

Atwood said that at the outset he informed Robert Kennedy of these 
talks and was told that the effort "was worth pursuing." (Atwood, 
7/10/75, pp. 5-9) Atwood said he regularly reported on the talks to the 
White House and to Adlai Stevenson, his superior at the United 
Nations. (Atwood, 7/10/75, pp. 6-7) Atwood stated that he was told 

1 At an April 3, 1963 meeting on Cuba, Bundy stated that no sabotage operations were 
then underway because the Special Group "had decided • • * that such activity is not 
worth the effort expended on it." (Memorandum of Meeting on Cuba, 4/3/63) 

2 The sabotage program was directed at "four major segments of the Cuban economy." 
(1) electric power; (2) petroleum refineries and storage facilities; (3) railroad and 
highway tran.sportatlon and (4) production and manufacturing. (Memorandum for the 
Special Group. June 19, 1963, p. 1.) Operations under this program were to be conducted 
by CIA-controlled Cuban agents from a United States island off Florida and were to 
complement a similar effort designed to "develop internal resistance elements which 
could carry out sabotage." (ii) 


by Bundy tJiat President Kennedy was in favor of "pushing towards 
an opening toward Cuba" to take Castro "out of the Soviet fold and 
perhaps wiping out the Bay of Pigs and maybe getting back to 
normal." (Atwood, 7/10/75, pp. 5-9) 

Atwood said he believed that the only people who knew about his 
contacts with the Cubans were the President, Ambassador Averell 
Harriman, Ambassador Stevenson, Attorney General Kennedy, 
McGeorge Bundy, Bundy's assistant, and journalist Lisa Howard.^ 
Atwood also testified that he arranged for a French journalist, 
Jean Daniel, to visit the "V^Tiite House prior to Daniel's scheduled trip 
to see Castro. (Atwood, 7/10/75, p. 19) (According to an article by 
Daniel in December 1963, Daniel met with President Kennedy on 
October 24, 1963. They discussed the prospects for reestablishing 
United States-Cuba relations and President Kennedy asked Daniel to 
report to him after seeing Castro.) ^ 

On November 18, 1963, Atwood spoke by telephone with a member 
of Castro's staff in Cuba. (Atwood, 7/10/75, p. 8) Pursuant to White 
House instructions, Atwood informed Castro s staff member that the 
United States favored preliminary negotiations at the United Nations 
(rather than in Cuba as proposed by the Cubans) , and that the United 
States desired to work out an agenda for these talks. (Atwood, 7/10/ 
75, pp. 8-9) Atwood reported this conversation to Bundy who told 
him that after the Cuban agenda was received. President Kennedy 
wanted to see Atwood to "decide what to say and whether to go or 
what we should do next." {id., p. 9) Jean Daniel, the French jour- 
nalist, met with Castro four days later on November 22, 1963, the 
same day AM/LASH was given the poison pen. On that same day. 
President Kennedy was assassinated.^ With the change of Admin- 
istrations, Atwood's talks with the Cubans became less frequent, and 
eventually ceased early in 1964. (Atwood, 7/10/75, p. 10) 



a. The October Meeting with AM/LASH and the Use of Rohert 
Kennedy's Name 'Without Obtaining His Approval 

Desmond Fitzgerald met AM/LASH in October 1963, and repre- 
sented to AM/LASH that he was the personal representative of Robert 
Kennedy. He gave AM/LASH assurances of full support should 
AM/LASH succeed in overthrowing Castro. 

The 1967 Inspector General's Eeport states that, according to Fitz- 
gerald, Helms and Fitzgerald discussed the planned meeting with 
AM/LASH, and Helms decided "it was not necessary to seek approval 
from Robert Kennedy for Fitzgerald to speak in his name." (I.G. 
Report, pp. 88-89) When he testified before the Committee, Helms 
said he did not recall such a discussion with Fitzgerald. He stated 

1 Howard had initially placed Atwood in contact with the Cuban Ambassador after re- 
portlnc to Atwood that during a trip to Cuba, she had learned Castro was anxious 
to establish communications with the United States. Thereafter Howard served as an 
intermediary in arranging Atwood's meetings with the Cubans. (Atwood, 7/10/75 pp. 4, 
18. ) 

= Daniel. "Unoffldal Envoy: A Historic Report from Two Capitals," (New Republic, 
December 14, 1963). 

" Daniel was with Castro when Castro received the report of President Kennedy's 
assassination. Daniel, "When Castro Heard the News," (Neic Republic, December 7, 1963) 


however, that he believed he had pre-existing authority to deal with 
AM/LASH regarding "a change in government" (as opposed to 
assassination) and that authority would have obviated the need to 
obtain Kobert Kennedj-'s approval.^ Helms testified: "I felt so sure 
that if I went to see Mr, Kennedy that he would have said yes, that I 
don't think there was any need to." (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 132) 

Helms said he had considered AM/LASH to be a political action 
agent, not a potential assassin, and that Fitzgerald's meeting with 
AM/LASH and Helms' decision not to contact Kobert Kennedy 
should be viewed in that light. 

* * * given this Cuban of his standing and all the history * * * of trying to 
find someone inside Cuba who might head a government and have a group to re- 
place Castro * * * this was so central to the whole theme of everything we had 
been trying to do, that I [found] it totally unnecessary to ask Robert Kennedy 
at that point [whether] we should go ahead with this. This is obviously what 
he had been pushing, what everybody had been pushing for us to try to do * * * 
let's get on with doing it." (Helms, 6/13/75, pp. 117-118) ^ 

h. The Delivery of the Poison Pen on November 22., 1963. 

Helms testified that while the delivery of a poison pen to AM/LASH 
was not part of an assassination plot, he believed Castro's assassina- 
tion was within the scope of the CIA's authority. As in the case of the 
1962 plots. Helms based his belief on the vigor of the Administration's 
policy toward Cuba and his perception that there were no limits on 
the means that could be used in the effort against Castro. (Helms, 
9/11/75, pp. 11-12) "\^Tien asked whether it was his opinion that the 
offer of the poison pen to AM/LASH was authorized because it came 
within the scope of the 1963 program against Castro, Helms 
responded : 

I think the only way I know how to answer that is that I do not recall 
when things got cranked up in 1963 any dramatic changes or limitations being 
put on this operation. There was still an effort being made by whatever device, 
and perhaps slightly differently oriented at this time, to try to get rid of Castro 
* * * But I do not recall specific things being said now, [we are not] going to do 
this, we're not going to do that, and we're not going to do the other things, and 
we will do just these things. (Helms, 9/11/75, 11-12) 

Each Kennedy Administration official who testified on AM/LASH 
agreed that he had never been informed about any assassination plot 
and that he knew of no order to assassinate Castro. Their statements 

1 The following exchange occurred in Helms' testimony. 

Sen. Hart of Michigan. Dealing with respect to what? A change In government, or 
assassination ? 

Mr. Helms. A change in government, Senator Hart. This Is what we were trying to do." 
(Helms, 6/13/75, p. 132.) 

2 As discussed above (see pp. 88), there was conflicting testimony from CIA officers 
concerning whether or not they viewed AM/LASH as an assassin and the purpose for 
giving him the poison pen. The documentary evidence, however, indicates that in 1963 
AM/LASH was intent on assassinating Castro, that the CIA officers linew this, and that 
in addition to offering him a poison pen, the officers told AM/LASH they would supply 
him with higii Dowered rifles with telescopic sights. 

Helms testified that because AM/LASH "was the asset we were looking for, [w]e didn't 
want him to blow himself or blow anything else by getting involved in something like 
this [assassination] and have It fall. We wanted him to stay In place." (Helms, 6/13/75, 
p. 131) Helms stated that "at no time was It the Idea of [the AM/LASHl case officers, 
or those people in the chain behind, to use [AM/LASH] to assassinate Castro." (Helms, 
6/13/75. p. 135) 

Helms further stated ; "* * * there was an enormous amount of temporizing with this 
fellow to keep him on the team, to keep him working away at this job. but to try and 
persuade him that this was not the way to go about it." (Helms. 6/13/75, p. 133.) Helms 
testified that AM/Lu\SH was given the poison pen "because he was insisting on something 
and this was a temporizing gesture rather than giving him some kind of a gun he had 
asked for * * *." (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 133) 


are consistent with Helms' testimony that he did not know that the 
AM/LASH operation involved assassination, but they a^ain disagreed 
with Helms' view that an assassination plot could be undertaken with- 
out express authority. Running against the possibility that Admin- 
istration officials intended an assassination of Castro was testimony 
that it was inconceivable that the President would have approved an 
assassination at the same time that he had authorized talks to explore 
the possibility of improved relations with Castro.^ 


a. Sv/m/mary of the Assassination Activity 

The CIA delivered arms to AM/LASH in Cuba in March and June 
of 1964. Early in 1965, after AM/LASH had become more insistent 
that Castro's assassination was necessary and had asked for a silenced 
weapon, the Agency put AM/LASH in contact with the leader of an 
anti-Castro group, "B-1,'' with the intention that AM/LASH obtain 
his desired weapon from that group. The Agency subsequently learned 
that AM/LASH had received a silencer and other special equipment 
from B-1 and was preparing to assassinate Castro. 

6. The Issue of Authorization 

The issue of authority in the Johnson Administration is similar to 
that in the Kennedy Administration. The principal officials of the 
Kennedy Administration - (and DDP Helms) continued in their 
positions during the relevant period of the Johnson Administration 
(Robert Kennedy left the Administration in September 1964). Helms 
testified that he believed Castro's assassination was within the scope 
of the CIA's authority in view of Administration policy toward Cuba 
reflected in the AM/LASH operation in both 1963 and 1964-65. 
(Helms, 6/13/75, pp. 137-138) Again, there was no direct evidence that 
McCone or anyone outside the Agency authorized or knew about the 
AM/LASH plot. 

The Committee examined four events that may shed light on the 
perceptions of the Administration and CIA officials about assassina- 
tion during the early years of the Johnson Administration: (1) the 
covert action program against Cuba in 1964-1965; (2) the Special 
Group's action in investigating reports of Cuban exiles/underworld 
plots to assassinate Castro; (3) Helms' report to Rusk that CIA was 
not involved with AM/LASH in a Castro assassination plot; and (4) 
Helms' briefing of President Johnson on the 1967 Inspector General's 
Report on alleged CIA assassination plots. 

1 Rusk testified that "I find It extraordinarily diflScult to believe" and that "I just can't 
conceive" President Kennedy would have authorized the passage of an asassination device 
for use against Castro while Atwood was exploring the possibility of normalizing relations 
with Castro. (Rusk, 7/10/75, pp. 85-86) Similarly, Bundy testified he "absolutely" did 
not believe President Kennedy would have authorized or permitted an assassination device 
to have been passed at the same time a possible rapprochment with Castro was being 
pursued. (Bundy, 7/11/75, pp. 150-151.) 

On the other hand, when the possibility of exploring better relations with Castro was 
Initially raised (but before any talks were begun) Bundy Indicated that accommodation 
could be explored on a "separate track" while other proposed actions, such as sabotage, 
were going on. (Agenda for Special Group meeting of 4/29/63, p. 2) 

2 Rusk (Secretarv of State), McNamara (Secretary of Defense), McCone (Director of 
Central Intelligence), and Bundy (Special Assistant for National Security and Chairman 
of the Special Group). 


c. The Covert Action Program, Against Cuba in 196Ji.-1965 
According to the minutes of a Special Group meeting on April 7, 

1964, President Johnson decided to discontinue the use of CIA-con- 
trolled sabotage raids against Cuba/ (Memorandum of Special Group 
Meeting, 4/7/64) A McCone memorandum indicated that in reaching 
that decision, President Johnson had abandoned the objective of 
Castro's overthrow. 

At the April 7 meeting, Rusk opposed sabotage raids because they 
were unproductive and had a "high noise level" that called attention 
to them. Rusk added he suspected the "Cuban exiles who actually con- 
duct the raids of possibly wishing to leave fingerprints pointing to U.S. 
involvement in order to increase that involvement." (/</, p. 2) McCone 
disagreed noting that the covert action program relied on a "well- 
planned series of sabotage efforts. Bundy said that since the June 1963 
approval of the current sabotage program "policy makers * * * had 
turned sabotage operations on and off to such an extent that [the sabo- 
tage program] simply does not, in the nature of things, appear feasi- 
ble." (/^, p. 2) ^ 

d. Tlie Special Group Investigation of Reported Castro Assassina- 
tion Plots hy Cuban Exiles 

On June 10, 1964, Helms sent McCone a memorandum stating that 
Agency officials had learned of several plots by Cuban exiles to 
assassinate Castro and other Cuban leaders. (Memorandum, Helms to 
McCone, 6/10/64) According to the memorandum, several of the plots 
involved "people apparently associated with the Mafia" who had been 
offered $150,000 by Cuban exiles to accomplish the deed. Helms' memo- 
randum stated that the sources of the reports were parties to the plots 
who had presumably given this information to CIA officials with the 
expectation that they would receive legal immunity if the plots 
succeeded. {Id.) 

Helms' memorandum, however, did not mention any of the CIA 
assassination plots against Castro.^ To the contrai-y, it stated that 
"Agency officers made clear to each of the sources that the United 

^A memorandum by Bundy on April 7, 1964, listed seven aspects of the covert action 
program which had been in effect. These were: (1) collection of intelligence; (2) covert 
propaganda to encourage low risk forms of active and passive resistance; (3) cooperation 
with other agencies in economic denial (4) attempts to identify and establish contact with 
potential dissident elements inside Cuba; (5) indirect economic sabotage; (6) CIA-con- 
trolled sabotage raiding; and (7) autonomous operations. (Memorandum for the Record 
of the Special Group, 4/7/64) 

2 In a memorandum the day after President Johnson's decision to stop CIA-controlled 
sabotage operations, McCone stated : "the real issue to be considered at the meeting and 
by the President was a question of whether we wished to Implement the policv (out- 
lined in certain memoranda) or abandon the basic objective of bringing about the liquida- 
tion of the Castro Communist entourage and the elimination of Communist presence 
in Cuba and thus rely on future events of an undisclosed nature which might accomplish 
this objective". (Memorandum by McCone, 4/8/64) 

In the context of the Special Group's discussion, McCone's use of the words "liquida- 
tion" and "elimination" appears to be another example of inartful language. A literal in- 
terpretation of these words leaves one with the impression that assassination was con- 
templated. But the context of the discussion does not bear out such an interpretation. 
Thus in specifying what he meant by "future events of an undisclosed nature" McCone 
pointed to "extreme economic distress caused b.v a sharp drop in sugar prices." and "other 
external factors." (Id., p. 8) McCone testified that such references as the "elimination" or 
"liauidation" of the Castro regime may not refer to assassination. (McCone, 6/6/75, 
p. 32) 

3 Moreover, according to Bundy, no one Informed him at the meetings that "in earlier 
years there had been a relationship with * * • persons allegedly involved with the criminal 
syndicate — in order to accomplish the assassination of Fidel Castro." (Bundy, 7/11/75, 
p. 71) 


States Government would not, under any circumstances, condone the 
planned actions." {Id., p. 1) 

McCone said in. a Special Group Meeting on June 18, 1964, that he 
was "somewhat skeptical" and opposed additional investigation, but 
"others, including Mr, Bundy, felt that the United States was being 
put on notice and should do everything in its power to ascertain 
promptly the veracity of the reports and then undertake prevention." 
(Memorandum of Special Group Meeting, 6/18/64) McCone made a 
Memorandum of the June 18 meeting which indicated that he had 
dissented from the Special Group's decision. He had expressed his 
belief that the Special Group was "overly exercised," and that he was 
inclined to dismiss the matter as "Miami cocktail party talk." McCone 
noted, however, that the Special Group "was more concerned than I 
and therefore planning to discuss the subject with the Attorney Gen- 
eral and possibly Mr. Hoover." (Memorandum, 6/18/64, p. 1) 

The Special Group decided to transmit the reports to the Attorney 
General "as a matter of law enforcement," and when Robert Kennedy 
was so informed a few days later, he stated that the Justice Depart- 
ment would investigate. (Memorandum of Meeting, 6/22/64) The 
FBI then conducted an investigation and its results were submitted 
by McCone to the Special Group on August 19, 1964.^ (McCone to 
Bundy Memorandum, 8/19/64) 

e. Helms'' Report to Rush 

In 1966 Helms sent a memorandum to Rusk reporting the CIA's rela- 
tions with AM/LASH. The memorandum stated that the CIA's con- 
tact with AM/LASH was for "the express purpose" of intelligence 
collection. {Id.) Noting allegations that had come to his attention that 
AM/LASH had been involved with the CIA in a Castro assassination 
plot. Helms stated : 

The Agency was not involved with [AM/LASH] in a plot to assassinate Fidel 
Castro. * * * nor did it ever encourage him to attempt such an act. 

Helms' memorandum made no mention of the fact that CIA officers, 
with Helms' knowledge, had offered a poison pen to AM/LASH on 
November 22 1963, that the CIA had supplied arms to AM/LASH in 
1964, or that the CIA had put AM/LASH in touch with B-1 to obtain 
a silenced weapon to assassinate Castro. 

Helms told the Committee that this memorandum to Rusk was 
"inaccurate" and not factual. (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 115) 

The CIA's copy of the memorandum contains a typed notation 
recommending that Helms sign the document. That notation was by 
Thomas Karamessines, who had become DDP. (Rusk, 7/10/75, p. 2) 
Helms testified that the day before his June 13, 1975, testimony to the 
Committee he had asked Karamessines why the memorandum to Rusk 
had been written in the way that it was. Helms stated he and Kara- 
messines had concluded that they did not know the reason but Helms 
speculated that "it may be until we conducted the Inspector General's 
Investigation somewhat later we didn't have the facts straight, or 

^ McCone's memorandum summarized seven FBI reports on Its Investigation. The FBI 
said that several of the persons interviewed stated they had knowledge of the exiles' plot 
and had reported the information to the CIA. Others Interviewed denied knowledge of 
the plans. 


maybe we had the facts straight then but we did not have them 
straight later." (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 115) 

/. Helms' Briefing of President Johnson on the 1967 Inspector Gen- 
eraVs Report 

Drew Pearson's newspaper article in the spring of 1967 alleging 
United States involvement in plots to assassinate Fidel Castro 
prompted President Johnson to direct Helms, who was then DCI, to 
conduct an investigation. The result was the Inspector General's Re- 
port of May 23, 1967. (Helms, 6/13/75, pp. 35-36) After receiving 
the Report, Helms briefed the President "orally about the contents.'' 
(/f/., p. 36.) During his testimony. Helms was shown his handwritten 
notes which appeared to have been made in preparation for his brief- 
ing of the President. Those notes carried the story of CIA's involve- 
ment in assassination through mid-1963. "Wlien asked if he had told 
President Johnson that the Inspector General had concluded that 
efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro had continued into Johnson's presi- 
dency. Helms replied, "I just can't answer that, I just don't know. I 
can't recall having done so." {Id.^ p. 38.) He did note that it would 
not have occurred to him to brief President Johnson on the 1964 
AM/LASH gun deliveries because "I don't think one would have ap- 
proached the AM/LASH thing as an assassination plot against 
Castro." (/<?., p. 39)1 

{If) Helms'' Testimony on Authorization in the Johnsmi Adminis- 

Helms was asked if the Agency regarded "whatever marching 
orders they had obtained prior to the death of President Kennedy as 
still being valid and operative" when President Johnson succeeded 
to the office. Helms replied : 

This is not very clear to me at this stage. A lot of the same officers were 
serving President Johnson as they served President Kennedy, and * * * I can't 
recall anymore whether there was any specific issue about whether this was 
taken up with President Johnson at any meeting or any session. If it had been, 
I would have thought there woul^ have been records someplace. (Helms, 6/13/75, 
p. 139.) 

Helms testified that with respect to the AM/LASH operation in the 
period 1964—1965, he had no knowledge or recollection that assassina- 
tion was involved in the CIA's relationship with him. (Helms, 
9/11/75, pp. 20-21) Helms said: "[t]he policy making and policy 
approval mechanism in President Johnson's Administration has to 
have gone through some changes in shifts I don't remember exactly 
what they were." (/f/., p. 22) 

So if these things [placing AM/LASH in contact with a Cuban exile leader 
who would supply him with an assassination device] were happening after 
President Kennedy was assassinated, I don't know what authorization they're 
working on or what their thought processes were, whether these were simply low 
level fellows scheming and so forth, on something that didn't have high level 
approval. I honestly cannot help you. I don't recall these things going on at the 
time. {Id.) 

When asked whether President Johnson had been informed of or 
had authorized continuing efforts to assassinate Castro, Helms replied : 

1 Helms earlier testified that AMLASH was an intelligence and political action agent. 
The Inspector General Report, however, treated the AMLASH operation as an assassina- 
tion plot. 

61-985 O - 75 - 13 


The Special Group would have continued to consider these matters, and I 
would have assumed that whoever was chairing the Special Group would have in 
turn reported to the President, which was the usual practice. (Id.)^ 

The records of the Special Group do not show any consideration 
of Castro's assassination or of the AM/LASH plot during the Johnson 
Administration (or earlier) and there was no other evidence that 
McCone or anyone above the Agency was informed of or specifically 
authorized the AM/LASH plots. 

1 In an Interview with Leo Janis in 1971, former President Johnson was reported to 
have said that when he had taken office, he had discovered that "we had been operating a 
damned Murder, Inc., in the Caribbean." (L. Janis. "The Last Days of the President," At- 
lantic, July 1973, pp. 35, 39, Janis was interviewed by the Committee staff and affirmed the 
accuracy of this remark.) The Committee has not ascertained who related this statement 
to Johnson. It should be noted that Johnson attended post-Trujillo assassination meetings 
wliich assessed United States involvement in that killing. His reference to Murder, Inc., 
may have derived from his knowledge of that episode or from general knowledge he had 
of other violent covert activities conducted during the Kennedy Administration. 


In addition tx) investigating actual assassination plots, the Com- 
mittee has examined a project known as Executive Action which 
included, as one element, the development of a general, standby 
assassination capability. As with the plots, this examination focused 
on two broad questions: \^Tiat happened? What was the extent and 
nature of authorization for the project ? 


Sometime in early 1961, Bissell instructed Harv^ey, who was then 
Chief of a CIA Foreign Intelligence staff, to establish an "executive 
action capability," which would include research into a capability 
to assassinate foreign leaders.^ (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 51 ; Harvey, 6/25/75, 
pp. 36-37) At some point in early 1961 Bissell discussed the Executive 
Action capability with Bundy. The timing of that conversation and 
whether "the White House" urged that a capability be created were 
matters on which the evidence varied widely, as is discussed in section 
(2) below. 

Bissell, Harvey and Helms all agreed that the "generalized" capa- 
bility was never used. (Bissell 6/9/75. p. 87; Harvey 6/25/75; p. 45; 
Helms 6/13/75, p. 52) 

^ During the late spring or early summer of 1960, Richard Bissell had requested his 
Science Advisor, Mr. Joseph Scheider, to review the general "capability of the clan- 
destine service In the field of incapacitation and elimination." Scheider testified that 
assassination was one of the "capabilities" he was aslsed by Bissell to research. 
(Scheider, 10/9/75. pp. 5-6, 24-25) 

Scheider indicated that Bissell turned to him because he was knowledgeable about 
"substances that might be available in CIA laboratories" and because Bissell would 
have considered it part of my job as his technical aide." (W., 6). 

Also prior to this time, there had been an internal CIA committee which passed on 
proposals involving the operational use of drugs, chemicals and biological agents. The 
purpose of this Committee is suggested by the following Incident : 

In February 1960, CIA's Near East Division sought the endorsement of what the 
Division Chief called the "Health Alteration Committee" for its proposal for a "special 
operation" to "Incapacitate" an Iraqi Colonel believed to be "promoting Soviet bloc 
political Interests in Iraq." The Division sought the Committee's advice on a technique, 
"which while not likely to result in total disablement would be certain to prevent the 
target from pursuing his usual activities for a minimum of three months." adding : 

"We do not consciously seek subject's permanent removal from the scene : we also 
do not object should this complication develop." (Memo. Acting Chief N.E. Division to 
DC/CI. 2/25/60.) 

In April, the Committee unanimously recommended to the DDP that a "disabling 
operation" be undertaken, noting that Chief of Operations advised that it would be 
"highly desirable." Blssell's deputy, Tracv Barnes, approved on behalf of Bissell. (Memo, 
Deputy Chief CI to DDP. 4/1/62) 

The approved operation was to mail a monogrammed handkerchief containing an 
Incapacitating agent to the colonel from an Asian country. Scheider testified that, while 
he did not now recall the name of the recipient, he did remember mailing from the Asian 
country, during the period in question, a handkerchief "treated with some kind of 
material for the purpose of harassing that person who received it." (Scheider Affidavit. 
10/20/75 ; Scheider, 10/9/75, pp. 52-55 : 10/18/75, pp. 55-56.) 

During the course of this Committee's investigation, the CIA stated that the hand- 
kerchief was "in fact never received (if. indeed, sent)." It added that the colonel: 

"Suffered a terminal Illness before a firlnar squad in Baphda'i (an event we had nothing 
to do with) not verv long after our handkerchief proposal was considered." (Memo, 
Chief of Operations, N.E. Division to Assistant to the SA/DDO. 9/26/75.) 



"Executive Action" was a CIA euphemism, defined as a project for 
research into developing means for overthrowing foreign political 
leaders, including a "capability to perform assassinations." (Harvey, 
6/25/75, p. 34) Bissell indicated that Executive Action covered a 
"wide spectrum of actions" to "eliminate the effectiveness" of foreign 
leaders, with assassination as the "most extreme" action in the spec- 
trum. (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 32) The Inspector General's Report de- 
scribed executive action as a "general standby capability" to carry out 
assassination when required. (I.G. Report, p. 37) The project was 
given the code name ZR/RIFLE by the CIA.^ 

A single agent ("asset") was given the cryptonym QJ/WIN, and 
placed under Harvey's supervision for the ZR/RIFLE project. He 
was never used in connection with any actual assassination efforts. 
Helms described QJ/WIN's "capability" : 

If yoii needed somebody to carry out murder, f[ guess you had a man who 
might be prepared to carry it out. (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 50) 

Harvey used QJ/WIN, to spot "individuals with criminal and 
underworld connections in Europe for possible multi-i^urpose use." 
(Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 50) For example, QJ/WIN reported that a 
potential asset in the Middle East was "the leader of a gambling 
syndicate" with "an available pool of assassins." (CIA file, ZR/ 
RIFLE/Personality Sketches) However, Harvey testified that : 

During the entire existence of the entire ZR/RIFLE project * * * no agent 
was recruited for the purpose of assassination, and no even tentative targeting 
or target list was ever drawn. ( Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 45) 

In general, project ZR/RIFLE involved assessing the problems 
and requirements of assassination and developing a stand-by assas- 
sination capability ; more specifically, it involved "spotting" potential 
ao-ents and "researching'' assassination techniques that might be used. 
(Bissell, 7/17/75, p. Hand 6/9/75, p. 73; Harvey, 6/25/75, pp. 37-A, 
45) Bissell characterized ZR/RIFLE as "internal and purely pre- 
paratory." (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 32) The 1967 Inspector General's Re- 
port found "no indication in the file that the Executive Action 
capabilitv of ZR/RIFLE-QJ/WIN was ever used," but said that 
"after Harvey took over the Castro operation, he ran it as one 
aspect of ZR/RIFLE." (I.G. Report, pp. 40-41) 


Harvey testified that Bissell had told him that "the White House" 
had twice urged the creation of such a capability and the Inspector 
General's Report quoted notes of Harvey's (no longer in existence) 
to that effect. Bissell did not recall any specific conversation with the 
"White House," but in his initial testimony before the Committee he 
assumed the correctness of Harvey's notes and stated that, while he 
could have created the capability on his own, any urgings would have 
come from Bundy or Walt Rostow. In a later appearance, however, 
Bissell said he merely informed Bundy of the capability and that 

1 ZR/RIFLB was a cryptonym relatlnicr to two areas. One was the Executive Action 
assassination capability. The other ZR/RIFLE area is not part of the subject matter of 
this report. This second program was genuine, but it was also meant to provide a cover 
for any Executive Action operation. William Harvey had been in charge of the CIA sec- 
tion with general responsibility for such programs. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 49) 


the context was a briefing by him and not urging by Bundy. Bundy 
said he received a briefing and gave no urging, though he raised no 
objections. Rostow said he never heard of the project. 

William Harvey testified that he was "almost certain" that on Janu- 
ary 25 and 26, 1961, he met with two CIA officials : Joseph Scheider, 
who by then had become Chief of the Technical Services Division, 
and a CIA recruiting officer, to discuss the feasibility of creating a 
capability within the Agency for "Executive Action." (Harvey, 6/25/ 
75, p. 52) After reviewing his notes of those meetings,^ Harvey testi- 
fied that the meetings occurred after his initial discussion of Executive 
Action with Bissell, which, he said, might have transpired in "early 
January," (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 52) When Bissell was shown these 
notes, he agreed with Harvey about the timing of their initial discus- 
sion. (Bissell, 7/17/75, p. 10) 

Harvey testified that the Executive Action capability was intended 
to include assassination. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 35) His cryptic hand- 
written notes of the January 25/26 meetings, preserved at the CIA, 
contain phrases which suggest a discussion of assassination: "last 
resort beyond last resort and a confession of weakness," "the magic 
button," and "never mention word assassination". Harvey confirmed 
this interpretation. (Harvey, Ex. 1, 6/25/75) ^ 

The Inspector General's Report did not mention Harvey's notes, or 
their dates. However, in describing BisselFs initial assignment of the 
Executive Action project to Harvey, the Report referred to Harvey's 
notes, now missing, and which quoted Bissell as saying to Harvey, 
"the A^Tiite House had twice urged me to create such a capability." 
(I.G. Report, p. 37) Harvej' also testified that this "urging'' was men- 

* Harvey was asked whether his notations "25/1-Joes" and "26/1" indicate that he 
spoke to Joseph Scheider and the recruiting officer In 1961. 

"Q : And is it your judgment that that Is January 26, 1961 and Is about the subject of 
Executive Action? 

"Harvey. Yes, it is. 

"Q : And it followed your conversation with Mr. Bissell that you have recounted? 

"Harvey. • • * [W]ell, when I first looked at this, I thought this, well, this has got 
to be 1962, but I am almost certain now that it Is not. If this is true, this might place 
the first discussion that I had with Dick Bissell In early January and this is difficult to 
pinpoint because there were several such discussions in varying degrees of detail durin-r 
the period In the Spring, and very early in 1961 to the fall of 1961 period, but I did flnrl 
out fairly early on that [the recruiting officer] had — or that Bissell had discussed the 
question of assassination with [the recruiting officer] and this discussion, at the very least, 
had to take place after I know Bissell already had discussed the matter with [him]." 
(Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 52) 

Harvey had also testified that, after receiving Bissell's initial Instructions to establish 
an Executive Action capability : 

"The first thing I did * * * was discuss In theoretical terms with a few officers whom 
I trusted quite implicitly the whole subject of assassination, our possible assets, our 
posture, going back, if you will, even to the fundamental questions of (a). Is assassination 
a proper weapon of an American intelligence service, and (b), even if you assume that 
it is. is it within our capability within the framework of this government to do it eflfec- 
tlvelv and properly, securely and discreetly." (Harvey, 6/25/75, pp. 37-A, 38) 

The Inspector General's Report connected [the recruiting officer] and Scheider to the 
early stages of the Executive Action project as follows : 

"ilarvey says that Bissell had alreadv discussed certain aspects of the problem with 
[the recruiting officer] and with Joseph Scheider. Since [the recruiting officer] was already 
cut in, Harvev used him in developing the Executive Action Capability ♦ * *. Harvey s 
mention of him [Scheider] in this connection may explain a notation by [a CIA doctor] 
that Harvey instructed [the doctor] to discuss techniques with Scheider without associat- 
ing the discussion with the Castro operation." (I.G. Report, pp. 37-38) 

It is evident from the testimonv of Harvey and Bissell that the turnover to Harvey 
of the Rosselll contact in November. 1961 was discussed as part of ZR/RIFLE (see Section 
(d), infra). Thus, their initial discussion of Executive Action can. at the least, be datert 
before November. 1961 and the "25/1" and "26/1" notations would have to refer to 
January. 1961. ^ ., . „ r, 

^Harvev's notes also contained a phrase which suggests his concern that any U.&. 
assassination attempts might breed retaliation from other governments : 'Dangers of KlS 
^Russian Intelligence Service) counter-action and monitor if they are blamed. (Harvey. 
Ex. 1, 6/25/75 : Bissell. Ex. 1, 7/17/75) 


lioned in his initial discussion of Executive Action with Bissell. 
(Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 37) However, the testimony from Bissell and 
from the White House aides is in conflict with Harvey's testimony as 
to whether such "urging'' had in fact been given to Bissell. 

The testimony regarding the relationship between "the White 
House" and the Executive Action capability is summarized as follows : 

Harvey. — Harvey testified that his missing notes which had been 
destroyed had indicated that Bissell mentioned White House urgings 
to develop an Executive Action capability. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 37) 
Harvey said that he "particularly remember[ed]" that Bissell said 
that he received "more than one" urging from the l^^iite House. (Har- 
vey, 6/25/75, pp. 36-37; 7/11/75, p. 59) As he testified: 

"On two occasions or on more than one occasion, and I particularly remember 
the more than one because I recall at the time this was clear this was not just 
a one-shot thing tossed out * * * the White House — I quote this much ; this is 
exact — had urged him (Bissell) — him in this case not personally, but the Agency — 
to develop an Executive Action capability." (Harvey, 6/25/75, pp. 3(>-37) 

But Harvey had no direct evidence that Bissell actually had any such 
discussion with "the White House." No specific individual in the 
"WHiite House was named to Harvey by Bissell. (Harvey, 6/25/75, 
p. 31) Harvey said that it would have been "improper" for him to 
have asked Bissell whom he had talked to and "grossly improper" for 
Bissell to have volunteered that name. (Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 37) 

BuseJl. — Bissell specifically recalled assigning Harvey to investigate 
tlie capability. (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 51) However, Bissell did not re- 
call "a specific conversation with anybody in the White House as the 
origin" of his instruction to Harvey. (Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 51) 

During the course of several appearances before the Committee, 
Bissell's testimony varied as to whether or not he had been urged by 
the White House to develop an Executive Action capability. 

In his initial appearances before the Committee on June 9 and 11, 
1975, Bissell made statements that tended to indicate that White 
House authorization had been given. In response to the "twice urged" 
quotation of Harvey's notes in the Inspector General's Report, Bissell 
said, "I have no reason to believe that Harvey's quote is wrong." 
(Bissell, 6/9/75, p. 51) Bissell also said that as far as he knew, it 
was true that he was asked by the White House to create a general 
stand-by assassination capability. (Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 49, 51) 

Based again on Harvey's missing notes ("White House urging"), 
and his statement that he had no reason to challenge their accuracy, 
Bissell initially gave his opinion that McGeorge Bundy and Walt 
Rostow were the two people from whom such a request was most 
likely to have come because they were "the two members of the "WHiite 
House staff who were closest to CIA operations." (Bissell, 6/9/75, 
pp. 49-54) 

At another point in his initial testimony, Bissell said that the crea- 
tion of the capability "may have been initiated within the Agency" 
{Id., p. 81). Two days later he said: "There is little doubt in my mind 
that Project RIFLE was discussed with Rostow and possibly Bundy." 
(Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 46) 

When Bissell appeared before the Committee on July 17 and 22, his 
testimony, given in light of information obtained since his earlier ap- 


pearanc€S, was that there was no White House urging for the creation 
of the Executive Action project, although tacit approval for the 
"research'' project was probably given by Bundy after it was 

First, Bissell was shown the Harvey notes which had been preserved 
and which, without any mention of the AVhite House, indicated 
Harvey had received his assignment prior to Januaiy 25/26, 1961. 
Those dates — just 5 days after the change in administration — made 
Bissell conclude that it was "very unlikely that that assignment to 
[Han-ev] was taken as a result of White House urging or consulta- 
tion.'' (Bissell. 7/17/75, p. 10) Bissell said that Bundy did not have 
any influence at the Agency before the Presidential inauguration. 
Bissell added that he did not remember meeting with anyone in the 
new administration on matters prior to the inauguration. (Bissell, 
7/22/75, p. 23) 

Second, when he returned in July, Bissell also said he had been 
convinced by telephone conversations with Rostow and Bundy after 
his first appearances that since Rostow's duties in 1961 had nothing 
to do with covert action, he had "never discussed" Executive Action 
with Rostow. (Bissell, 7/17/75, p. 10 ; 7/27/75, p. 22) 

Bissell's final testimony about Bundy (given after his telephone 
contact with Bundy) was that he believed that he had informed Bundy 
about the capabilitv after it had been created. (Bissell, 7/17/75, pp. 
10-11; 7/22/75, pp. 21-22) But Bissell confirmed his original testi- 
mony that he had not briefed Bundy on the actual assassination plots 
against Castro already undertaken by the CIA. (Bissell, 6/11/75, 
p. 47; 7/22/75, p. 31) Bissell was "quite certain'' that he would not 
have expected Bundy to mention the Executive Action capability to 
the President. ( Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 35 ) He testified : 

Q. Would you think the development of a capability to kill foreign leaders 
was a matter of suflicient importance to bring to the attention of the President? 

Bissell. In that context and at that time and given the limited scope of activ- 
ities within that project, I would not." (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 35) 

Bissell said that he and Bundy had discussed an untarg-eted "capabil- 
ity" rather than the plan or approval for an assassination operation. 
(Bissell, 7/17/75, p. 11) Bissell said that although he does not have 
a specific recollection, he "might have" mentioned Castro, Lumumba, 
and Trujillo in the course of a discussion of Executive Action "because 
these were the sorts of individuals at that moment in history against 
whom such a capabilitv might possiblv have been employed." (Bissell, 
6/11/75, p. 51) 

Bissell said his impression was that in addition to expressing no 
unfavorable reaction to the project, Bundy actually might have given 
a more affirmative response. (Bissell, 7/22/75, pp. 25, 28) Bissell testi- 
fied that he might have interpreted Bundy's reaction as approval (or 
at least no objection) for the Executive Action concept. (Bissell, 
7/22/75, p. 30) 

Q : * * * I think the testimony of this witness is going further in saying what 
you received from [Bundy] was, in your view, tantamount to approval? 

Bissell: I, at least, interpreted it as you can call it approval, or you could 
say no objection. He [Bundy] was briefed on something that was being done, as 
I now believe, on the initiative of the Agency. His [Bundy's] comment is that 
he made no objection to it. I suspect that his reaction was somewhat more favor- 


able than that, but this is a matter that probably someone listening to the con- 
versation on which such a person could have had differing interpretations. (Bis- 
sell, 7/22/75, p. 33) 

All of the Bissell testimony on his Executive Action conversation 
with Bundy was speculative reconstruction. From his first appear- 
ance to his last, Bissell had no "clear recollection'' of the events. (Bis- 
sell, 7/22/75, pp. 29, 36) But Bissell maintained that more "formal 
and specific and explicit approval would have been required" before 
any "actual overt steps in use of the capability." (Bissell, 7/22/75, 
p. 31) 

Bissell said that Harvey's notation about White House urgings to 
develop an Executive Action capability may have been a slightly con- 
fused account of a Bissell/Harvey conversation subsequent to the initi- 
ation of the project in which Bissell relayed Bundy 's reaction to Har- 
vey. (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 25) 

Bissell ultimately testified that the development of an Executive 
Action capability was "undoubtedly," or "verv much more likely" 
initiated within the Agency. (Bissell, 7/22/75^ pp. 22, 27) He had 
acknowledged on his first day of testimony that this would not have 
been unusual : 

It was the normal practice in the Agency and an important part of its 
mission to create various kinds of capability long before there was any reason 
to be certain whether those would be used or where or how or for what purix)se. 
The whole ongoing job of * * * a secret intelligence service of recruiting agents is 
of that character * * *. So it would not be particularly surprising to me if the 
decision to create * * * this capability had been taken without an outside request. 
(Bissell, 6/9/75, pp. 67-68) 

Bundy. — McGeorge Bundy also testified to a conversation with 
Bissell, during which the Executive Action capability was discussed. 
Bimdy's testimony comports with BisselPs on the fact that they dis- 
cussed an untargeted capability, rather than an assassination opera- 
tion. But Bundy said that the capability included "killing the indi- 
vidual." (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 5)^ Bundy's impression was that the 
CIA was "testing my reaction," not "seeking authority." (Bundy, 
7/11/75, p. 15) Bundy said : 

I am sure I gave no instruction. But it is only fair to add that I do not recall 
that I offered any impediment either. (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 10) 

Bundy said that he did not take steps to halt the development 
of tlie Executive Action capability or "pursue the matter at all" 
(Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 19) because he was satisfied. 

That this was not an operational activity, and would not become such without 
two conditions : first, that there be a desire or a request or a guidance that 
there should be planning against some specific individual ; and second, that 
there should be a decision to move against the individual. (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 7). 

Bundy believed that neither of these conditions had been fulfilled. 
(BundV, 7/11/75, p. 7) 

Bundy recalled the conversation with Bissell as taking place "some- 
time in the early months of 1961." (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 4) When ques- 
tioned about the dates in Harvey's notes, Bundy rated the chance that 
his conversation about Executive Action took place before January 

"^ Spe p. 157, supra, for Bundy's testimony about having a vague recollection of hearing 
about poisons in relation possibly to use against a large group of people in Cuba. But he 
did not connect this to the conversation about executive action. 


25 — when Harvey was already discussing the project at the CTA pursu- 
ant to Bissell's directive — as "near zero" because the new Administra- 
tion had been in office less than a week and he had been preoccupied 
with other problems, including the Berlin crisis and reorganizing the 
National Security Staff. (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 9) 

Bundy testified that he did not brief the President on the Executive 
Action project : 

Chaibman. And you have testified that you did not take the matter to the 

Bundy. As far as I can recall, Mr. Chairman. (Bundy, 7/11/7.5, p. 16) 

Bundy explained that the division of responsibility for national 
security affairs excluded Rostow from jurisdiction over covert opera- 
tions, making it unlikely that Rostow would have been briefed on a 
project like ZR/RIFLE^. (Bundy, 7/11/75, p. 11) 

Rostoiv.— Rostov; testified that he was "morally certain" that during 
his entire tenure in government, he never heard a reference to executive 
action or "such a capability for such an intention to act by the Ij.S." 
(Rostow, 7/9/75, pp. 10, 13) ^ 



Richard Bissell said he was "quite certain" that Allen Dulles had full 
knowledge of the Executive Action project for two reasons: first, it 
"would have come to the DCI's attention" when Harvey was trans- 
ferred between components of the Agency and assigned to work on 
Cuban operations ; - and second, Bissell "would imagine" it was men- 
tioned to Dulles at the initiation of the project, (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 35) 
Bissell and Harvey briefed Richard Helms on Project ZR/RIFLE 
when he became DDP. (Bissell, 6/11/75. p. 53 ; Harvey. 7/11/75. p. 63) 
But Bissell did not recall briefing John McCone about the project when 
McCone took over as DCI. (Bissell, 7/17/75, p. 11) McCone testified 
that he had no knowledge of such a project. (]McCone, 6/6/75, p. 43) 

William Harvey said it was assumed that the project was within the 
parameters permitted by the DCI. But Harvey testified that officially 
advising the DCI of the existence of the project was "a bridge we did 
not cross" and would not have crossed until "there was either specific 
targeting or a specific operation or a specific recruitment." (Harvej", 
6/25/75, p. 59) 



The Committee has sought to determine whether the CIA develop- 
ment of an Executive Action capability was related in any (way to 
the actual assassination efforts. One question raised by this inquiry 
is whether the participants in the assassination operations might have 

1 Goodpaster and Gray. — Andrew Goodpaster and Gordon Gray were the White House 
officials with responsibility for national security affairs during the latter part of the Eisen- 
hower Administration. However, there was no evidence which raised the name of either 
man in connection with the development of an Executive Action capability. Goodpaster and 
Gray testified to having no l?nowledge of it. (Goodpaster, 7/17/75. p. 11 ; Gray, 7/9/75, 
p. 56 > 

- Harvey's transfer to Cuban operations was not completed until late in 1961. 


perceived the Executive Action capability as in some way lending 
legitimacy to the actual assassination efforts. 

(a) Co7iversafion hetween BisseJl and Bundy 

In his early testimony, Bissell said he did not have a recollection 
of whether he discussed the names of Castro, Lumumba, and Trujillo 
with anyone in the White House in the course of discussing the project 
to develop an executive action capability. However, Bissell testified 
that it was "perfectlv plausible that I would have used examples." 
(Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 51) He continued : 

In such a discussion of a capability, I might well have used the three names 
that I just gave, because these were the sorts of individuals at that moment in 
hi'storv against whom such a capability might possibly have been employed. 
(Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 51) 

Bissell and Bundy both testified, however, that their discussion 
on the development of the capability for assassination did not involve 
any mention of actual assassination plans or attempts (see detailed 
treatment at Section (b), supra). There is no testimony to the con- 
trary. The account of this conversation raises a question as to whether 
Bissell acted properly in withholding from Bundy the fact that assas- 
sination efforts against Castro had already been mounted and were 
moving forward. Bundy was responsible to a new President for na- 
tional security affairs and Bissell was his principal source of infor- 
mation about covert operations at the CIA. 

(&) Bissell'S instruction to Hartley to take over resjyonsihiUty for 
undencorld contact: November 1961 

Both Bissell and Harvey recall a meeting in November 1961, in 
which Harvey was instructed to take over the contact with John Ros- 
selli as part 'of Project ZR/RIFLE. (Bissell, 6/11/75, pp. 19, 47; 
Harvey, 6/25/75, p. 86; and 6/11/75, p. 19) Harvey's notes placed the 
meeting on November 15. 1961, (I.G. Report, p. 39), during the period 
in which Harvey was freed from his duties on another Agency staff 
and assumed direction of Task Force W which ran CIA activity 
against the Castro regime. 

According to Bissell and Harvey, their November meeting involved 
only the planning and research of a capability rather than a targeted 
operation against Castro. (Bissell, 7/17/75, p. 13; Harvey, 7/11/75, p. 
60) But Bissell acknowledged that the purpose of the Rosselli contact 
had been to assassinate Castro, and that "it is a fair inference that 
there would have been no reason to maintain it [the contact] unless 
there was some possibility of reactivating that operation." (Bissell, 
6/11/75, p. 19) Bissell stated that because the assassination plot 
against Castro involving the underworld figures 

Had been stood do\^^l after the Bay of Pigs * * * and there was no authoriza- 
tion to pursue it actively * * * the responsibility that was given to him [Harvey] 
was that of taking over an inactive contact. (Bissell, 7/17/75, p. 14) 

Bissell said that in effect he had asked Harvey to stand watch over 
the contact in case any action should be required and further testified 


that it was never required. However, as noted above, the Rosselli op- 
eration was reactivated by Harvey in April 1962 after Bissell had left 
the Agency. 

The Inspector General's Report stated: "After Harvey took over 
the Castro operation, he ran it as one aspect of ZR/RIFLE." (I.G. Re- 
port, p. 40) Harvey recalled that during a discussion with Bissell of the 
creation of an Executive Action capability, Bissell advised him of "a 
then going operation" involving the names of Maheu and possibly 
Rosselli and Giancana. "which was a part of the Agency's effort to 
develop * * * a capability for executive action." Harvey said that at 
the time of this discussion, the operation had been "in train" for 
"approximately two vears or perhaps 18 months." (Harvey, 7/11/75. 
pp. 54, 55, 61) 

Although his "net impression" was that both the "exploratory proj- 
ect" and the "specific operation" were "fully authorized and ap- 
proved," Harvey said he could not testify that "specific White House 
authority for this given operation was implied or stated." (Harvey, 
7/11/75, p. 54) Bissell does not recall telling anyone in the White 
House that something liad been done to bring a CIA officer together 
with the criminal syndicate. (Bissell, 6/11/75, pp. 19-20) Harvey did 
not recall any mention of the White House or any authority higher 
than the DDP in his November 1961 meeting with Bissell. (Harvey, 
7/11/75, pp. 60-61) 

Although Richard Helms was briefed and given administrative re- 
sponsibility (as DDP) for Project ZR/RIFLE thi-oe months later, he 
did not recall that ZR/RIFLE was ever considered as part of the plot 
to assassinate Castro. (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 55) Asked whether the ac- 
tual assassination efforts against Castro were related to ZR/RIFLE 
(Executive Action), Helms testified: "In my mind those lines never 
crossed." (Helms, 6/13/75, p. 52) 

Bissell's testimony, however, leaves more ambiguity : "the contact 
with the syndicate which had Castro as its target * * * folded into the 
ZR/RIFLE project * * * and they became one." (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 
47) When asked whether the Executive Action capability "* * * for 
assassination" was "used against Castro," Bissell replied that it was 
"in the later phase." (Bissell, 6/11/75, p. 47) The instruction from 
Bissell to Harvey on November 15, 1961, however, preceded by approx- 
imately five months the reactivation of the CIA/underworld assassina- 
tion operation against Castro. 

(c) Use of QJ/WIN in Africa 

QJ/WIN was a foreign citizen with a criminal background who had 
been recruited by the CIA for certain sensitive programs prior to 
Project ZR/RIFLE. As noted above, QJ/WIN's function during 
ZR/RIFLE was restricted to the "spottin.o;" of potential assets for 
"multi-purpose" covert use. The Lumumba section of this report 
treats fully QJ/WIN's role. 

Two factors may raise a question as to whether QJ/WIX was al- 
ready being used in an ad hoc capacity to develop an assassination 
capability before ZR/RIFLE was formally initiated. First, there is a 


similarity in the cast of characters : Harvey, QJ/WIN, the recruiting 
officer, and Scheider were connected with the Lumumba matter and re- 
appear in connection with the subsequent development of ZR/RIFLE. 
Second, Bissell informed Harvey that the development of an assassina- 
tion capability had already been discussed with the recruiting officer 
and Scheider before Harvey's assignment to ZR/RIFLE. (Harvey, 
6/25/75, p. 52 ; I.G. Report, pp. 37-38 ) 

Nevertheless, there does not appear to be any firm evidence connect- 
ing QJ/WIN and the plot to assassinate Lumumba, (see pp. 43 to 48) , 



Rafael Trujillo was assassinated by a group of Dominican dissi- 
dents on May 30, 1961. 

Trujillo was a brutal dictator, and both the Eisenhower and Ken- 
nedy Administrations encouraged the overthrow of his regime by 
Dominican dissidents. Toward that end the highest policy levels of 
both Administrations approved or condoned supplying arms to the 
dissidents. Although there is no evidence that the United States insti- 
gated any assassination activity, certain evidence tends to link United 
States officials to the assassination plans. 

Material support, consisting of three pistols and three carbines, was 
supplied to various dissidents. While United States' officials knew that 
the dissidents intended to overthrow Trujillo, probably by assassina- 
tion, there is no direct evidence that the weapons which were passed 
were used in the assassination. The evidence is inconclusive as to how 
high in the two Administrations information about the dissidents' 
assassination plots had been passed prior to the spring of 1961. 

Beginning in March of 1961, the dissidents began asking United 
States officials for machine guns. By the time four M-3 machine guns 
were shipped to the CIA Station in the Dominican capital in April, 
it was well known that the dissidents wanted them for use in con- 
nection with the assassination. Thereafter, however, permission to 
deliver the machine guns to the dissidents was denied, and the guns 
were never passed. The day before the assassination a cable, person- 
ally authorized by President Kennedy, was sent to the United States' 
Consul Greneral in the Dominican Republic stating that the United 
States Government, as a matter of general policy, could not condone 
political assassination, but at the same time indicating the United 
States continued to support the dissidents and stood ready to recognize 
them in the event they were successful in their endeavor to overthrow 


Rafael Trujillo came to power in the Dominican Republic in 1930. 
For most of his tenure, the. United States Government supported him 
and he was regarded throughout much of the Caribbean and Latin 
America as a protege of the United States. Trujillo's rule, always 
harsh and dictatorial, became more arbitrary during the 1950's. As a 
result, the United States' image was increasingly tarnished in the eyes 
of many Latin Americans. 

Increasing American awareness of Trujillo's brutality and fear that 
it would lead to a Castro-type revolution caused United States' offi- 
cials to consider various plans to hasten his abdication or downfall. 



As early as February 1960, the Eisenhower Administration gave high 
level consideration to a program of covert aid to Dominican dissidents. 
(Special Group Minutes, 2/10/60) In April 1960 President Eisen- 
hower approved a contingency plan for the Dominican Republic which 
provided, in part, that if the situation deteriorated still further : 

* * * the United States would immediately take political action to remove 
Trujillo from the Dominican Republic as soon as a suitable successor regime 
can be induced to take over with the assurance of U.S. political, economic, and — 
if necessary — ^military support. (Memo from Secretary of State Herter to the 
President, 4/14/60 ; Presidential approval indicated in Herter letter to Secretary 
of Defense Gates, 4/21/60) 

Simultaneously, the United States was trying to organize hemis- 
pheric opposition to the Castro regime in Cuba. Latin American 
leaders, such as President Betancourt of Venezuela, pressed the 
United States to take affirmative action against Trujillo to dispel 
criticism that the U.S. opposed dictatorships of the left only. A 
belief that Castro's road to power was paved by the excesses of Batista 
led to concern that the Dominican Republic might also eventually 
fall victim to a Castro-style Communist regime. (Rusk, 7/10/75, 
pp. 8, 9) 


During the spring of 1960, the U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican 
Republic, Joseph Farland, made initial contact with dissidents who 
sought to free their country from Trujillo's grasp. They asked for 
sniper rifles. Although documentary evidence indicates that a recom- 
mendation to provide these rifles was approved both within the State 
Department and the CIA, the rifles were never provided. 

{a) Dissident contacts 

Ambassador Farland established contact with a group of dissidents 
regarded as moderate, pro-United States and desirous of establish- 
ing a democratic form of government.^ (Farland affidavit, 9/7/75, 
p. 1 ) Prior to his final departure from the Dominican Republic in May 
1960, the Ambassador introduced his Deputy-Chief -of-Mission, Henry 
Dearborn, to the dissident leaders, indicating that Dearborn could be 
trusted. Then on June 16, 1960, CIA Headquarters - cabled a request 
that Dearborn become the "communications link" between the dis- 
sidents and CIA. The cable stated that Dearborn's role had the 
^^unofficial approval of [Assistant Secretary of State for Inter- 
American Affairs, Roy R.] Rubottom." (Emphasis in original.) 
(Cable, HQ to Station, 6/16/60) 

Dearborn agreed. He requested, however, that the CIA confirm the 
arrangement with the dissidents as being that the United States would 
"clandestinely" assist the opposition to "develop effective force to ac- 

1 This loosely-organized group, with which contact was established, was referred to 
in cables, correspondence, and memoranda as "the dissidents" and is so referenced herein. 

- As used herein "Headiiuarters" refers to Headquarters of the Central Intelligence 
Agency ; "Department" indicates the Department of State. 


complish Trujillo overthrow," but would not "undertake any overt 
action itself against Trujillo government while it is in full control 
of Dominican Kepublic.*' (Cable, Station to HQ, 6/17/60) CIA Head- 
quarters confirmed Dearborn's understanding of the arrangement. 
(Cable, HQ to Station, 6/16/60) 

(b) The request for sniper^ Hfles 

During the course of a cocktail party in the Dominican Republic, 
a leading dissident made a specific request to Ambassador Farland for 
a limited number of rifles with telescopic sights. The Ambassador 
promised to pass on the request. (Farland affidavit, 9/7/75, p. 1) He 
apparently did so after returning to Washington in May 1960. (CIA 
Memo for the Record, 6/7/61) 

Documents indicate that consideration was given within the CIA 
to airdropping rifles into the Dominican Republic. At a June 21, 1960, 
meeting with an officer of the CIA's "Western Hemisphere Division, 
^Vmbassador Farland reportedly suggested possible sites for the drops. 
(CIA memo, 6/21/60) 

Documents also indicate that a meeting was held around the end 
of June 1960 between Assistant Secretaiy of State for Inter- American 
Affairs Roy R. Rubottom and Col. J. C. King, Chief of CIA's Western 
Hemisphere Division. Apparently King sought to learn the Assistant 
Secretary's view regarding "[to] what extent will the U.S. govern- 
ment participate in the overthrow of Trujillo." A number of questions 
were raised by King, among them : 

Would it provide a small number of sniper rifles or other devices for the 
removal of key Trujillo people from the scene? 

King's handwritten notes indicates that Rubottom's response to that 
question was "yes." (CIA memo, 6/28/60; King affidavit, 7/29/75, 
pp. 1-2) ^ 

On July 1, 1960, a memorandum directed to General Cabell, the 
Acting Director of Central Intelligence, was prepared for Colonel 
King's signature and, in his absence, signed by his principal deputy. 
(I.G. Report, p. 26) The memorandum stated that a principal leader 
of the anti-Trujillo opposition had asked Ambassador Farland for a 
limited number of arms to precipitate Trujillo's overthrow, and recog- 
nized that such arms presumably "would be used against key members 
of the Trujillo regime." The memorandum recommended that the 
arms be provided, since the fall of the Trujillo regime appeared in- 
evitable, and therefore United States relations with the opposition 
should be as close as possible. "Providing the arms as requested would 
contribute significantly toward this end." (CIA memo, 7/1/60) 

Specifically, the recommendation was to deliver to dissidents in 
the Dominican Republic 12 sterile ^ rifles with telescopic sights, to- 
gether with 500 rounds of ammunition. 

Paragraph 4 of the memorandum stated : 

Approval for delivery of these arms has been given by Assistant Secretary 
of State Roy Rubottom, who requests that the arms be placed in hands of the 
opposition at the earliest possible moment. (CIA Memo, 7/1/60) 

1 Neither King nor Rubottom recalls such a meeting, nor does either recall any proposal 
for supplying sniper rifles. (Rubottom affidavit. King affidavit, 7/29/75) 

2 "Sterile" rifles are regarded as "untraceable." (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 69) 


The Acting Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division's recom- 
mendation was concurred in by Richard Helms, as Acting DDP, and 
approved by General Cabell. (I.G. Report, p. 26) 

The kind of arms approved, sterile rifles with telescopic sights, 
together with the statement that they presumably would be used 
against key members of the Trujillo* regime clearly indicated the 
"targeted use" for which the weapons were intended. (Bissell, 7/22/75, 
p. 77) 

On July 1, 1960, a cable was sent to Dearborn by CIA Headquarters 
informing him of the plan to airdrop 12 telescopically-sighted rifles 
into the Dominican Republic. The cable inquired whether the dissidents 
had the capability to realign the sights if thrown off by the drop. On 
July 14, 1960, Dearborn replied that the dissident leaders were against 
any further action in the Dominican Re))ublic until after resolution by 
the OAS of a Venezuelan complaint then pending against Trujillo, 
The dissidents reportedly believed that sufficiently strong action by the 
OAS could bring Trujillo's downfall without further effort on their 
part. (Cable, Station to HQ, 7/14/60) The 12 sniper rifles were never 
furnished to the dissidents. 

On August 26, 1960, Dearborn cabled Deputy Assistant Secretary 
of State Lester Mallory reporting on a meeting between a dissident 
leader and a Consulate political officer. The dissident leader was re- 
ported to have lost enthusiasm for an assassination attempt and was 
then speaking of an invasion from Venezuela. However, by Septem- 
ber 1, 1960, dissidents were again speaking about the possible provi- 
sion to them of arms. This time the request Avas for 200 rifles. For the 
next several months, consideration centered on providing 200 to 300 


In August 1960, the United States interrupted diplomatic relations 
with the Dominican Republic and recalled most of its personnel. Dear- 
born was left as Consul General and de facto CIA Chief of Station.^ 
Consideration was given both to providing arms and explosive devices 
and to the use of high level emissaries to persuade Trujillo to abdicate. 
By the end of the year, a broad plan of general sujjport to anti- 
Trujillo forces, both within and without the country, was approved. 

{a) Diplomatic development — withdraical of United States 


Events occurring during the Summer of 1960 further intensified 
hemispheric opposition to the Trujillo regime. In June, agents of Tru- 
jillo tried to assassinate Venezuelan President Betancourt. As a result, 
the OAS censured the Trujillo government. At the same time, in Au- 
gust 1960, the TTnited States interrupted diplomatic relations with the 
Dominican Republic and imposed economic sanctions. 

With the interruption of diplomatic relations, the United States 
closed its Embassy. Most American personnel, including the CIA Chief 

1 Dearborn's role as communication's linl, and de facto Station Ctiief was, according 
to the evidence before the Committee, quite unusual. This open involvement, b.v the 
senior State Department representative, in clandestine activities was a subsequent concern 
within both the State Department and the CIA. 


of Station, left the Dominican Republic. With the departure of the 
CIA Chief of Station, Dearborn became de facto CIA Chief of Station 
and was recognized as such by both CIA and the State Department. 
Although in January 1961, a new CIA Chief of Station came to the 
Dominican Republic, Dearborn continued to serve as a link to the 

{h) Dearhoni reports assassination may he o^ily loay to overthro^o 

Trujillo regime 

Dearborn came to believe that no effort to overthrow the Trujillo 
government could be successful unless it involved Trujillo's assassina- 
tion. He communicated this opinion to both the State Department and 
the CIA. In July 1960, he advised Assistant Secretary Rubottom that 
the dissidents were 

* * * in no way ready to carry on any type of revolutionary activity in the 
foreseeable future except tlie assassination of their principal enemy. (Letter, 
Dearborn to Rubottom, 7/14/60) 

It is uncertain what portion of the information provided by Dear- 
born to State was passed above the Assistant Secretary level. Through 
August of 1960, only Assistant Secretary Rubottom, his Deputy, Lester 
Mallory, and his Staff Assistant, were, within the Latin American 
Division of the Department, aware of Dearborn's "current projects." 
(Letter, Staff Assistant to Dearborn, 8/15/60) ^ 

By September 1960, Thomas ]Mann had replaced Roy Rubottom as 
Assistant Secretary for Inter- American Affairs, and the Staff Assist- 
ant had become a Special Assistant to Mr. Mann. While serving as 
Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary, the Special Assistant re- 
portedly spent ninety percent of his time coordinating State Depart- 
ment-CIA activities in Latin America. It was in this capacity that the 
Special Assistant maintained almost daily communication with 
officials of the CIA's Western Hemisphere Division. (Special Assist- 
ant, 7/9/75, p. 7) - 

Mami solicited Dearborn's comments concerning plans under dis- 
cussion for forcing Trujillo from power. Dearborn replied in a detailed 
letter which concluded : 

One further point which I should probably not even make. From a purely 
practical standiwint, it will be best for us, for the OAS, and for the Dominican 
Republic if the Dominicans put an end to Trujillo before he leaves this island. 
If he has his millions and is a free agent, he will devote his life from exile to 
preventing stable government in the D.R., to overturning democratic governments 
and establishing dictatorships in the Caribbean, and to assassinating his enemies. 
If I were a Dominican, which thank heaven I am not, I would favor destroying 
Trujillo as being the first necessary step in the salvation of my country and I 
would regard this, in fact, as my Christian duty. If you recall Dracula, you will 
remember it was necessary to drive a stake through his heart to prevent a con- 
tinuation of his crimes. I believe sudden death would be more humane than the 
solution of the Nuncio who once told me he thought he .should pray that Trujillo 
would have a long and lingering illness. (Letter, Dearborn to Mann, 10/27/60) 

1 Dearborn's candid reporting to State during the summer of 1960 raised concern witliin 
the Department and he was advised that certain specific information should more 
appropriately come through "the other channel." (presumably, CI.V communications) 
Dearborn was advised that his cables to State were distributed to at least 19 different 
recipient offices. (Id.) 

-The Special Assistant to the Assistant for Inter-American Affairs is currently serving, 
in another capacity, in the State Department. He is referred to hereinafter as the "Special 

61-985 O - 75 - 14 


(c) E forts to conmnce Tmpllo to abdicate 

Throughout the fall of 1960, efforts were made on both the diplo- 
matic and economic fronts aimed at pressuring Trujillo into relin- 
(|uishing control, and ideally, leaving the Dominican Republic. The use 
of high level emissaries, both from within and without the ranks of 
government, was considered. (Special Group Minutes, 9/8/60; letter, 
Mann to Dearborn, 10/10/60) None of the efforts proved successful, 
and at the end of 1960, Trujillo was still in absolute control. 

{d) CIA 'plans of Octoher 1960 

A CIA internal memorandum dated October 3, 1960 entitled "Plans 
of the Dominican Internal Opposition and Dominican Desk for Over- 
throw of the Trujillo Government'" set forth plans which "have been 
developed on a tentative basis which appear feasible and which might 
be carried out * * * covertly by CIA with a minimal risk of exposure." 
These plans provided, in part, for the following: 

a. Delivery of approximately 300 rifles and pistols, together with ammunition 
and a supply of grenades, to secure cache on the South shore of the island, about 
14 miles EJast of Ciudad Trujillo. 

b. Delivery to the same cache described above, of an electronic detonating 
device with remote control features, which could be planted by the dissidents in 
such manner as to eliminate certain key Trujillo henchmen. This might neces- 
sitate training and introducing into the country by illegal entry, a trained 
technican to set the bomb and detonator. (Emphasis added.) (CIA Memo, 

(e) December J 960 Special Group plan of covert actions 

On December 29, 1960, the Special Group considered and approved a 
broad plan of covert support to anti-Trujillo forces. The plan, pre- 
sented Dv Bissell, envisioned support to both Dominican exile groups 
and internal dissidents. The exile groups were to be furnished money 
to organize and undertake anti-Trujillo propaganda efforts and to 
refurbish a yacht for use in paramilitary activities. Bissell emphasized 
to the Special Group that "the proposed actions would not, of them- 
selves, bring about the desired result in the near future, lacking some 
decisive stroke against Trujillo himself." (Special Group Mmutes, 


On January 12, 1961, with all members present,^ the Special Group 
met and, according to its Minutes, took the following action with 
respect to the Dominican Republic : 

Mr. Merchant explained the feeling of the Department of State that limited 
supplies of small arms and other material should be made available for dissidents 
Inside the Dominican Republic. Mr. Parrott said that we believe this can be 
managed securely by CIA, and that the plan would call for final transportation 
into the country being provided by the dissidents themselves. The Group approved 
the project. (Special Group Minutes, 1/12/61) 

*The members of the Special Group were at the time: Livlnpston Merchant, Under 
Secretary of State for Political Affairs ; Gordon Gray. Advisor to the President for 
National Security Affairs ; John N. Irwin, Deputy Secretary of Defense ; and Allen Dulles, 
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. 


(a) MeTTborandum underlying the Special Group action 

On January 12. 1961, Thomas Mann sent a memorandum to Under 
Secretary Livingfston Merchant. The memorandum, sent through 
Joseph Scott, Merchant's Special Assistant, reported the disillusion- 
ment of Dominican dissidents with the United States for its failure 
to furnish them with any tangible or concrete assistance. Further, it 
reported : 

Opposition elements have consistently asked us to supply them with "hard- 
ware" of various types. This has included quantities of conventional arms and 
also, rather persistently, they have asked for some of the more exotic items 
and devices which they associate with revolutionary effort. (Memo, Mann to 
Merchant, 1/12/61) 

Mann suggested for Merchant's consideration and, if he approved, 
for discussion by the Special Group, the provision of token quantities 
of selected items desired by the dissidents. Mann specifically men- 
tioned small explosive devices which would place some "sabotage 
potential'' in the hands of dissident elements, but stated that there 
"would be no thought of toppling the GODR [Government of Do- 
minican Republic] by any such minor measure." (Memo, Mann to Mer- 
chant, 1/12/61) This memorandum was drafted on January 11 by 
Mann's Special Assistant for CIA liaison. 

A covering memorandum from Scott to Merchant, forwarding 
Mann's memo, was apparently taken by Merchant to the Special Group 
meeting. Merchant's handwritten notations indicate that the Special 
Group "agreed in terms of Tom Mann's memo" and that the Secretary 
of State was informed of that decision by late afternoon on Janu- 
ary 12, 1961. (Memo. Scott to Merchant, 1/12/61) 

There is no evidence that any member of the Special Group, other 
than Allen Dulles, knew that the dissidents had clearly and repeatedly 
expressed a desire for arms and explosives to be used by them in assas- 
sination efforts .^ T\niile it is, of coui-se. possible that such information 
was passed orally to some or all of the members of the Special Group, 
and perhaps even discussed by them on January 12, 1961, there is no 
documentary evidence of which the Committee is aware which would 
establish this to be the case. 

On January 19. 1961, the last day of the Eisenhower Administration, 
Consul General Dearborn was advised that approval had been given 
for supplying arms and other material to the Dominican dissidents. 
(Cable, HQ. to Station, 1/19/61) Shortly thereafter, Dearborn in- 
formed the Special Assistant that the dissidents were "delighted" 
about the decision to deliver "exotic equipment." (Cable, Dearborn tp 
Special Assistant, 1/31/61) 


On January 20, 1961, the Kennedy Administration took office. Three 
of the four members of the Special Group (all except Allen Dulles) 

1 Various CIA cables, Including those dealing with the sniper rifles, indicate that 
copies were sent to the DCI, AUen Dulles. 


Prior to the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion on April 17, 1961, 
a number of significant events occurred. These events included meet- 
ings with Dominican dissidents in which specific assassination plans 
were discussed, requests by dissidents for explosive devices, the pas- 
sage by United States officials of pistols and carbines to dissidents in- 
side the Dominican Republic and the pouching to the Dominican Re- 
public of machine guns which had been requested by the dissidents for 
use in connection with an assassination attempt.^ These events are dis- 
cussed below under subheading (a) . 

Evidence reflecting the degree of knowledge of these events pos- 
sessed by senior American officials is treated thereafter. As used herein, 
"senior American officials" means individuals in the White House or 
serving as members of the Special Group. 

(a) Specific events indirectly linking United States to dissidents^ 

assassination plans 

(^) Assassination Discussions and Requests for Explosives 

At meetings held with dissident leaders in New York City on Feb- 
ruary 10 and 15, 1961, CIA officials were told repeatedly by dissident 
leaders that "the key to the success of the plot [to overthrow the 
Trujillo regime] would be the assassination of Trujillo." (CIA Memo 
for the Record, 2/13/61) Among the requests made of the CIA by 
dissident leaders were the following : 

(a) Ex-FBI agents who would plan and execute the death of 

(b) Cameras and other items that could be used to fire pro- 

(c) A slow- working chemical that could be rubbed on the palm 
of one's hand and transferred to Trujillo in a handshake, causing 
delayed lethal results. 

(d) Silencers for rifles that could kill from a distance of sev- 
eral miles. {Id.) 

Other methods of assassinating Trujillo proposed by dissidents at the 
February 10 or February 15 meetings included poisoning Trujillo's 
food or medicines, ambushing his automobile, and attacking him 
with firearms and grenades. (CIA Memos for the Record. 2/13/61, 
2/16/61) - 

The dissidents' "latest plot," as described in the February CIA 
memoranda, was said to involve the planting of a powerful bomb, 
which could be detonated from a nearby electric device, along the 
route of Trujillo's evening walk. {Id.) 

On March 13, 1961, a dissident in the Dominican Republic asked 
for fragmentation grenades "for use during the next week or so." 
This request was communicated to CIA Headquarters on March 14, 
1961, and was followed the next day by an additional request for 
50 fragmentation grenades, 5 rapid-fire weapons, and 10 64-mm. anti- 

1 As indicated in the post-Bay of Pigs section, infra, permission to pass these machine 
guns was denied and the guns were never passed. 

-There is no record that the CIA responded affirmatively to any of these requests and 
the CIA officer who drafted the February 13 memorandum stated the view that some of 
the questions raised by the dissidents did not require an answer. 


tank rockets. This further request was also passed on to CIA Head- 
quarters. (Cable, Station to HQ, 3/15/61) There is no evidence that 
any of these arms were supplied to the dissidents. 

The documentary record makes clear that the Special Assistant at 
the State Department was also advised of related developments in a 
March 16, 1961. "'picnic'' letter from Dearborn who complained that 
his spirits were in the doldrums because : 

* * * the members of our club are now prepared in their minds to have a 
picnic but do not have the ingredients for the salad. Lately they have devel- 
oped a plan for the picnic, which just might work if they could find the proper 
food. They have asked us for a few sandwiches, hardly more, and we are not 
prepared to make them available. Last week we were asked to furnish three 
or four pineapples for a party in the near future, but I could remember noth- 
ing in my instructions that would have allowed me to contribute this ingredient. 
Don't think I wasn't tempted. I have rather specific guidelines to the effect that 
salad ingredients will be delivered outside the picnic grounds and will be brought 
to the area by another club. (Letter, Dearborn to Special Assistant, 3/16/16) 

After reviewing his ''picnic" letter, together with the requests in 
the March 14 and 15 cables discussed above, Dearborn concluded dur- 
ing his testimony before the Committee that the "pineapples" were 
probably the requested fragmentation grenades and the restriction 
on delivering salad ingredients outside of the picnic grounds was, al- 
most certainly, meant to refer to the requirement, of the January 12 
Special Group decision that arms be delivered outside the Dominican 
Republic. (Dearborn, 7/29/75, pp. 25-27) 

(ii) The Passage of PistoU 

(1) Pouching to the DoTiiinican Republic 

In a March 15, 1961 cable, a Station officer reported that Dearborn 
had asked for three .38 caliber pistols for issue to several dissidents. 
In reply. Headquarters cabled: "Regret no authorization exists to 
suspend pouch regulations against shipment of arms," and indicated 
that their reply had been coordinated with State. (Cable, HQ to Sta- 
tion, 3/17/61) The Station officer then asked Headquartere to seek 
the necessary authorization and noted that at his last two posts he 
had received pistols via the pouch for "worthy purposes" and, there- 
fore, he knew it could be done. (Cable, Station to HQ, 3/21/61) Two 
days later. Headquarters cabled that the pistols and ammunition were 
being pouched. However, the Station was instructed not to advise 
Dearborn. (Cable, HQ to Station, 3/24/61) . ^ 

(2) Reason for the CIA instruction not to tell. Dearhorn 

A Station officer testified that he believed the "don't tell Dearborn 
the pistol is being pouched" language simply meant that the sending 
of firearms through the diplomatic pouch was not something to be 
unnecessarily discussed. (Didier, 7/8/75, pp. 78, 79) Dearborn said 
he never doubted the pouch was used, since he knew the Station had 
no other means of receiving weapons. (Dearborn, 7/20/75, p. 33) 

1 The Inspector General's Report, issued in connection with a review of these events, 
concludes that : 

"There is no indication in the EM/DBED operational files that the pistols were aetuall.v 
pouched. The request for pistols appears to have been overtaken by a subsequent request 
for submachine guns." (I.G. Report, p. 60) 

This conclusion is difficult to understand in light of the March 24, 1961, Headquarters 
to Station cable, which provides : 

"Pouching revolvers and ammo requested TRUJ 0462 (in 20040) on 28 March. Do 
not advise (name Dearborn deleted) this material being pouched. Explanation follows." 


(3) 'Were the pistols related to assassination? 

Dearborn testified that he had asked for a single pistol for purposes 
completely unrelated to any assassination activity. (Dearborn, 7/29/ 
75, pp. 29-31) He said he had been approached by a Dominican 
contact who lived in a remote area and who was concerned for the 
safety of his family in the event of political reprisals. Dearborn testi- 
fied that he had believed the man's fears were well-founded and had 
promised to seek a pistol.^ 

Although there is no direct evidence linking any of these pistols 
to the assassination of Trujillo, a June 7, 1961, CIA memorandum, 
unsigned and with no attribution as to source, states that two of the 
three pistols were passed by a Station officer to a United States citizen 
who was in direct contact with the action element of the dissident 
group. It should also be noted that the assassination was apparently 
conducted with almost complete reliance upon hand weapons. Whether 
one or more of these .38 caliber Smith & Wesson pistols eventually 
came into the hands of the assassins and, if so, whether they were used 
in connection with the assassination, remain open questions. 

Both Dearborn and the Station officer testified that they regarded 
the pistols as weapons for self-defense purposes and that they never 
considered them to be connected, in any way, with the then-current 
assassination plans. (Dearborn 7/29/75, p. 70; Didier, 7/8/75, pp. 38, 
73) However, none of the Headquarters cables inquired as to the 
purpose for which the handguns were sought and the Station's cable 
stated only that Dearborn wanted them for passage to dissidents. 
(Cable, Station to HQ, 3/15/61) Indeed, the March 24, 1961, cable ad- 
vising that the pistols were being pouched was sent in response to a 
request by the dissidents for machine guns to be used in an assassina- 
tion effort. As with the carbines discussed below, it appears that 
little, if any, concern was expressed within the Agency over passing 
these weapons to would-be assassins. 

{Hi) Passing of the Carbines 

(1) Request hy the Station and hy Dearborn and approval by CIA 
In a March 26, 1961, cable to CIA Headquarters, the Station asked 

for permission to pass to the dissidents three 30 caliber Ml carbines. 
The guns had been left behind in the Consulate by Navy personnel 
after the United States interrupted formal diplomatic relations in 
August 1960. Dearborn testified that he knew of and concurred in the 
proposal to supply the carbines to the dissidents. (Dearborn, 7/29/75. 
pp. 42, 43) On March 31, 1961, CIA Headquarters cabled approval of 
the request to pass the carbines. (Cable, HQ to Station, 3/31/61) 

(2) Were the carbines related to assassination? 

The carbines were passed to the action group contact on April 7, 
1961. (Cable, HQ to Station. 4/8/61) Eventually, they found their 
way into the hands of one of the assassins. Antonio de la Maza. (Cable, 
Station to HQ, 4/26/61; I.G. Reports, pp. 46, 49) Both Dearborn 

^ Dearborn is clear In his recollection tliat he asked the station officer to request only 
one pistol. (Dearborn, 7/29/75, pp. 30, 31) The station officer on the other hand, testified 
that if his cables requested three pistols for Dearborn then Dearborn must have asked for 
three pistols. (Didier 7/8/75, p. 72) 

The pistols were, however, apparentl.v sent in one package. (Cables, HQ to Station, 
3/21/61, 3/24/61) and Dearborn testified that, what he believed to be the one gun, 
came "wrapped up" and that he passed it. (Dearborn, 7/29/75, p. 30) 


and a Station officer testified that the carbines were at all times viewed 
as strictly a token show of support, indicating United States support 
of the dissidents' efforts to overthrow Trujillo. (Dearborn, 7/29/75, 
pp. 46-48 ; Didier, 7/8/75, p. 39) 

(3) Failure to Disclose to State Department Officials in Washington 
There is no indication that the request or the passage of the car- 
bines was disclosed to State Department officials in Washington until 
several weeks after the passage. In fact, on April 5, Headquarters re- 
quested its Station to ask Dearborn not to comment in correspondence 
with State that the carbines and ammunition were being passed to the 
dissidents. This cable was sent while a Station officer was in Washing- 
ton, and it indicated that upon his return to the Dominican Kepublic, 
he would explain the request. The Station replied that Dearborn had 
not commented on the carbines and ammunition in his correspondence 
with State and he realized the necessity not to do so. (Cable, Station 
to HQ, 4/6/61) 

Dearborn testified, however, that he believed, at the time of his 
April 6 cable, that someone in the State Department had been con- 
sulted in advance and had approved the passage of the carbines. 
(Dearborn, 7/29/75, p. 44) 

{iv) Requests for and Pouching of the Machine Guns 
( 1 ) Requests for Machine Guns 

The Station suggested that Headquarters consider pouching an 
M3 machine gun on February 10, 1961. (Didier, 7/8/75, pp. 63, 64; 
cable. Station to HQ, 3/15/61) The request was raised again in 
March but no action was taken. On March 20, 1961, the Station cabled 
a dissident request for five M3 or comparable machine guns specifying 
their wish that the arms be sent via the diplomatic pouch or similar 
means. The dissidents were said to feel that delivery by air drop or 
transfer at sea would overly-tax their resources. (Cable, Station to 
HQ, 3/20/61) 

The machine guns sought by the dissidents were clearly identified, 
in the Station cable, as being sought for use in connection with an 
attempt to assassinate Trujillo. This plan was to kill Trujillo in the 
apartment of his mistress and, according to the Station cable : 

To do they need five M3 or comparable machine guns, and 1500 rounds ammo 
for personal defense In event fire fight. Will use quiet weapons for basic job. 

In essence, CIA's response was that the timing for an assassination 
was wrong. The Station was told that precipitous or uncoordinated 
action could lead to the emergence of a leftist, Castro-type regime and 
the "mere disposal of Trujillo may create more problems than solu- 
tions." It was Headquarters' position that : 

* * * we should attempt to avoid precipitous action by the internal dissidents 
until opposition group and HQS are better prepared to support [assassination] ^ 
effect a change in the regime, and cope with the aftermath. (Cable, HQ, to 
Station, 3/24/61) 

The cable also stated that Headquarters was prepared to deliver 
machine guns and ammunition to the dissidents when they developed 

1 Word supplied by CIA previously sanitized cable. 


a capability to receive them, but that security considerations prechided 
use of United States facilities as a carrier.^ Soon thereafter, on 
April 6, 1961, while a station officer was in Washington for consulta- 
tion with Headquarters, he reported on events in the Dominican 
Republic and: 

* * * especially on the insistence of the EMOTH [digsidentl leaders that they 
be provided with a limited number of small arms for their own protection (spe- 
cifically, five M3 .45 SMG's) (CIA Memo for the Record, 4/11/61) 

(2) Pouching of Machine Guns Approved by Bissell 

On April 7, 1961 a Pouch Restriction Waiver Request and Certi- 
fication was submitted seeking permission to pouch "four M3 ma- 
chine guns and 240 rounds of ammunition on a priority basis for 
issuance to a small action group to be used for self protection." (Pouch 
Restriction Waiver Request, 4/7/61) 

The request, submitted on behalf of the Chief, Western Hemisphere 
Division, further provided : 

A determination has been made that the issuance of this equipment to the 
action group is desirable if for no other reason than to assure this important 
group's continued cooperation with and confidence in this Agency's determina- 
tion to live up to its earlier commitments to the group. These commitments took 
the form of advising the group in January 1961 that we would provide limited 
arms and assistance to them provided they develop the capability to receive it. 
Operational circumstances have prevented this group from developing the assets 
capable of receiving the above equipment through normal clandestine channels 
such as air drops or sea infiltration. {Id.) 

The Waiver Request was approved by Richard Bissell, as DDP, on 
April 10, 1961. {Id.) 

Walter Elder, Assistant to the Director, issued a memorandum, 
also on April 10, which stated : 

Mr. Dulles wants no action on drops of leaflets or arms in the Dominican Re- 
public taken without his approval. (Elder Memo, 4/10/61 ^) 

The Elder memorandum suggests that Dulles did not then know 
that an air drop of arms was regarded as unfeasible and that conse- 
quently pouching of the arms had been approved. 

The machine guns were pouched to the Dominican Republic and 
were received by the Station on April 19, 1961.^ (I.G. Report, p. 42; 
Cable, Station to HQ, 4/19/61 ) 

[h) Knowledge of senior American officials {pre-Bay of Pigs) 
On February 14, 1961, prior to the passage of weapons, but a month 

after the generalized apjDroval of the passage of arms by the prior 

Administration, a meeting of the Special Group was held with Messrs. 

McNaniara, Gilpatric, Bowles, Bundy, Dulles, Bissell and General 

Cabell in attendance. 
The minutes state that : 

1 This same cable of March 24, 1961, Is the one which advised that the revolvers and 
ammunition were being pouched. 

2 Elder testified that this note, sent the weekend before the Bay of Pigs invasion of 
Cuba, was intended to make sure that there were "no unusual planes shot down or 
any unnecessary noise in the Dominican Republic" prior to the Cuba invasion. (Elder, 
8/13/75, p. 51) 

* Permission to pass the machine guns was never obtained and the guns never passed 
Into the hands of the dissidents. 


Mr. Dulles, assisted by Mr. Bissell, then summarized for the benefit of the 
new members of the Special Group the specific actions taken by the predeces- 
sor group during the past year, and also a list of significant projects which 
antedate the beginning of 1960 and which it is planned to continue. (Special 
Group Minutes, 2/14/61) 

In the course of the discussion, the following point, among others, 
was made : 

Dominican Reptiblio — Mr. Bundy asked that a memorandum be prepared for 
higher authority on the subject of what plans can be made for a successor govern- 
ment to Trujillo. (Id.) 

The request attributed to Bundy suggests that the Dominican Re- 
public had been one of the matters on which Dulles and Bissell briefed 
the new members. 

What is unclear from the February 14 minutes (just as it is unclear 
from the January 12 minutes) is the degree to which the Special 
Group was informed concerning the means by which the dissidents 
planned to accomplish the overthrow of the Trujillo regime. Spe- 
cifically, it is not known if the new members of the Special Group 
were told that the dissident group had expressed the desire to assas- 
sinate Trujillo. Nor is it known if the Special Group was advised 
that the State Department representative in the Dominican Republic 
had made the assessment that the Dominican government could not 
be overthrown without the assassination of Trujillo. 

Bissell testified that he had no clear recollection of the details of 
the February 14 briefing and he was unable to say whether or not 
the method of overthrow to be attempted by the dissidents was dis- 
cussed. (Bissell, 7/22/75, pp. 101, 102) Robert McNamara, one of 
the new members of the Special Group in attendance for the briefing, 
had no recollection as to the specificity in which the Dominican Re- 
public was discussed at the February 14 meeting. He did not recall 
any mention by either Dulles or Bissell of dissident plans to assassi- 
nate Trujillo. (McNamara affidavit, 7/11/75) 

February meTnoranda 

The Secretary of State sent the President a memorandum on Feb- 
ruary 15, 1961, in response to a request concerning progress to assure 
an orderly takeover "should Trujillo fall." The memorandum advised 
that : 

Our representatives in the Dominican Republic have, at considerable risk 
to those involved, established contacts with numerous leaders of the under- 
ground opposition * * * [and] * * * the CIA has recently been authorized to 
arrange for delivery to them outside the Dominican Republic of small arms 
and sabotage equipment. (Memo, Rusk to President Kennedy, 5/15/61) 

This reference to recent authorization for delivery of arms indi- 
cates that Secretary Rusk had received some briefing concerning events 
in the Dominican Republic and the January 1961 Special Group deci- 
sion to provide arms to anti-Trujillo elements. Assistant Secretary for 
Inter- American Affairs, Thomas Mann; Deputy Assistant Secretary 
William Coerr; and the Special Assistant continued in their respective 
positions throughout the transition period. The Committee has 
been furnished no documents indicating that Secretary Rusk or 
Under Secretary Bowles were specifically advised as to the inten- 
tions of the Dominican dissidents to kill Trujillo; intentions of which 


the Bureau of Inter- American Affairs certainly had knowledge. In- 
deed, Secretary Rusk testified that he was not personally so advised. 
(Rusk, 7/10/75, pp. 41, 42) 

On February 17, 1961, Richard Bissell sent a briefing paper on the 
Dominican Republic to McGeorge Bundy, President Kennedy's 
National Security Advisor. The paper, requested by Bundy for "higher 
authority," made note of the outstanding Special Group approval for 
the provision of arms and equipment to Dominican dissidents and 
stated that the dissidents had been informed that the United States 
was prepared to provide such arms and equipment as soon as they 
developed the capability to receive them. 

The briefing paper also indicated that dissident leaders had in- 
formed CIA of "their plan of action which they 'felt could be imple- 
mented if they were provided with arms for 300 men, explosives, and 
remote control detonation devices." Various witnesses have testified, 
however, that supplying arms for 300 men would, standing alone, 
indicate a "non-targeted" use for the arms (i.e., a paramilitary or 
revolutionary implementation as opposed to a specifically targeted 
assassination use ) . (Bissell, 7/29/75, p. 80) 

Concerning the briefing paper, Bissell testified that : 

* * * it is perfectly clear that I was aware at the time of the memorandum to 
Mr. Bundy that these dissident groups were, and had for a long time, been 
hoping they could accomplish the assassination of Trujillo. As a matter of fact, 
the request, since some seven or eight months earlier, was a perfectly clear indi- 
cation of that, so that fact was not new knowledge. (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 102) 

When asked why the memorandum did not include the fact that 
the dissidents intended the assassination of Trujillo, Bissell replied: 

I cannot tell you, Mr. Chairman. I do not remember what considerations moved 
me. I don't know whether it was because this was common knowledge and it 
seemed to me unnecessary to include it, or as you are implying, there was 
an element of concealment here. I would be very surprised if it were the latter, 
in this case. (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 101) 

In response to questions concerning the lack of information in the 
February 17, 1961 briefing paper concerning the uses to which the re- 
quested arms might likely be put by the dissidents, Bissell stated : 

* * * I would say that the Agency's failure, if there be a failure here was [not] 
to state in writing that the plans of the dissidents would include assassination 
attempts. (Bissell, 7/22/75, p. 99) 

Bissell's briefing paper for Bundy concluded with the assessment 
that a violent clash might soon occur between Trujillo and the internal 
opposition, "which will end either with the liquidation of Trujillo 
and his cohorts or with a complete roll up of the internal opposition." 
In this regard, the fear was expressed that existing schedules for the 
delivery of weapons to the internal opposition might not be sufficiently 
timely, and it was therefore recommended that consideration be given 
to caching the requested arms and other materials. (Memo, Bissell to 
Bundy, 2/17/61) 

Thus, by the middle of February 1961, the senior members of the 
new Administration (and in view of the "for higher authority" nature 
of Bundy 's request, presumably President Kennedy himself) were 
aware of the outstanding Special Group approval for the passage of 
arms and other materials to opposition elements within the Domini- 


can Kepublic. There was no modification or recision of the "inherited" 
Special Group approval and it would seem fair, therefore, to regard 
the approval as having been at least acquiesced in by the new 

During March and early April 1961, operational levels within both 
the CIA and the State Department learned of increasingly detailed 
plans by the dissidents to assassinate Trujillo. There is no evidence 
that this information was passed to the White House or to any 
member of the Special Group, except Allen Dulles.^ Similarly, there 
is no evidence that the passage of the pistols or the carbines or the 
pouching of the machine gims to the Dominican Republic was dis- 
closed to anyone outside of the CIA during this period.^ 


Following the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, attempts were 
made by State and CIA representatives in the Dominican Republic to 
dissuade the dissidents from a precipitous assassination attempt. The^e 
efforts to halt the assassination of Trujillo were the result of instruc- 
tions from CIA Headquarters and were prompted by concern over 
filling the power vacuum which would result from Trujillo's death. 

The machine gims arrived in the Dominican Republic but permis- 
sion to pass them to the dissidents was never given and the guns never 
left the Consulate. 

Dearborn returned to Washington for consultation and a contin- 
gency plan for the Dominican Republic was drafted. 

The day before Trujillo's assassination, Dearborn received a cable 
of instructions and guidance from President Kemiedy. The cable ad- 
vised that the United States must not run the risk of association with 
political assassination, since the United States, as a matter of gen- 
eral policy, could not condone assassination. The cable further advised 
Dearborn to continue to hold open ofl^ers of material assistance to the 
dissidents and to advise them of United States support for them if 
they were successful in overthrowing the Trujillo government. The 
cable also reconfirmed the decision not to pass the machine guns. 

(a) Decision not to pass the machine guns and unsuccessful United 
States attempt to stop assassination effort 

By April IT, 1961, the Bay of Pigs invasion had failed. As a result, 
there developed a general realization that precipitous action should 
be avoided in the Dominican Republic until Washington was able 
to give further consideration to the consequences of a Trujillo over- 
throw and the power vacuum which would be created. (Bissell, 6/11/75, 
p. 113) A cable from Headquarters to the Station, on April 17, 1961, 
advised that it was most important that the machine guns not be 
passed without additional Headquarters approval. 

1 Copies of CIA cables, including the March 20, 1961 cable describing the plan to 
assassinate Trujillo in the apartment of his mistress, were apparently sent to the office 
of the Director of Central Intelligence. 

2 Although a copv of the CIA cable advising that the pistols were being pouched was 
sent to the Director's office, Dulles apparently did not receive copies of the cables 
approving passage of the carbines or pouching of the machine guns. 


The machine guns arrived in the Dominican Republic on April 19, 
1961, and Headquarters was so advised. The earlier admonition that 
the machine guns should be held in Station custody until further notice 
was repeated in a second cable from Headquarters, sent April 20, 
1961. This decision was said to have been "based on judgment that 
filling a vacuum created by assassination now bigger question than 
ever view unsettled conditions in Caribbean area." (Cable, HQ to 
Station, 4/20/61) 

The dissidents continued to press for the release of the machine 
guns and their requests were passed on to Headquarters in cables from 
Dearborn and from the Station. (Cables, Station to HQ, 4/25/61) On 
April 25, 1961, the Station advised Headquarters that an American 
living in the Dominican Republic and acting as a cut-out to the dissi- 
dents had informed the Station that Antonio de la Maza was going to 
attempt the assassination between April 29 and May 2. The Station 
also reported that this attempt would use the three carbines passed 
from the American Consulate, together with whatever else was avail- 
able. {Id.) 

In response to the April 25 cable. Headquarters restated that there 
was no approval to pass any additional arms to the dissidents and re- 
quested the Station to advise the dissidents that the United States was 
simply not prepared at that time to cope with the aftermath of the 
assassination. (See C/S comments. Cable, Station to HQ, 4/27/61) 
The following day, April 27, 1961, the Station replied that, based upon 
further discussions with the dissidents, "We doubt statement U.S. 
government not now prepared to cope with aftermath will dissuade 
them from attempt." ( Cable, Station to HQ, 4/27/61 ) 

Dearborn recalls receiving instructions that an effort be made to turn 
off the assassination attempt and testified that efforts to carry out the 
instructions were unsuccessful. In effect, the dissidents informed him 
that this was their affair and it could not be turned off to suit the con- 
venience of the United States government. (Dearborn, 7/29/75, p. 52) 

On April 30, 1961, Dearborn advised Headquarters that the dissi- 
dents had reported to him the assassination attempt was going to take 
place during the first week of May. The action group was reported to 
have in its possession three carbines, four to six 12-guage shotguns and 
other small arms. Although they reportedly still wanted the machine 
guns, Dearborn advised Headquarters that the group was going to go 
ahead with what they had, whether the United States wanted them to 
or not. (Cable, Station to HQ, 4/30/61) 

Dearborn's cable set forth the argument of the action group that, 
since the United States had already assisted the group to some extent 
and was therefore implicated, the additional assistance of releasing the 
machine guns would not change the basic relationship. The cable con- 
cluded : 

Owing to far-reaching political implications involved in release or non-release 
of requested items, Headquarters may wish discuss foregoing with State De- 
partment. {Id.) 

Beginning with Dearborn's April 30 cable, there was a fairly 
constant stream of cables and reports predicting Tnijillo's imminent 
assassination. Certain of these reports predicted the specific date or 
dates on which the assassination would be attempted, while others 


spoke of the attempt being made at the first propitious opportunity. In 
addition to cables sent directly to CIA Headquarters, the substance 
of these assassination forecasts was circulated throughout the intelli- 
gence community and the higher echelons of the government in the 
form of intelligence bulletins. These bulletins did not, however, con- 
tain references to any United States involvement in the assassination 

As a result of these reports, Robert Kennedy had a discussion with 
Allen Dulles, apparently sometime in the early part of May, and 
thereafter "looked into the matter." (June 1, 1961, dictated notes of 
Robert F. Kennedy.)^ Robert Kennedy reportedly called the Presi- 
dent and it was "decided at that time that we'd put a task force on 
the problem and try to work out some kind of alternative course of 
action in case this event did occur." Robert Kennedy's notes state 
that at the time he called the President, "He [the President] had 
known nothing about it [the reports of Trujillo's imminent assassi- 
tion]." {Id.) 

There is no record as to the specificity with which Allen Dulles 
discussed the matter of Trujillo's predicted assassination with Robert 
Kennedy. Dulles was, of course, fully informed at this time both 
as to the relationship between State Department and CIA represent- 
atives in the Dominican Republic and the dissidents planning Tru- 
jillo's removal, and, also, of the weapons which had been furnished 
to the dissidents and those which they were then requesting for use 
in connection with the assassination effort. 

( h ) Further consideration of passing Tmwhine gv/ns 

In response to Dearborn's cable, a cable was drafted at CIA Head- 
quarters authorizing passage of the machine guns. The cable which 
was sent to Allen Dulles, with Bissell's recommendation for its dis- 
patch, provided : 

Since it appears that opposition group has committed itself to action with 
or without additional support, coupled with fact ref. C items [the carbines] 
already made available to them for personal defense ; station authorized pass 
ref. A items [the machine guns] to opposition member for their additional pro- 
tection on their proposed endeavor." (Draft Cable, HQ to Station, 5/2/61) 

The cable was never sent. 

In his testimony before the Committee, Bissell characterized his 
reasoning for recommending release of the machine guns as 

* * * having made already a considerable investment in this dissident group 
and its plans that we might as well make the additional investment. (Bissell, 
7/22/75, p. 127) 

The following day, May 3, 1961, the Deputy Chief of the Western 
Hemisphere Division of CIA, who frequently acted as liaison with the 
State Department in matters concerning covert operations in the 
Dominican Republic, met with Adolpli Berle, Chairman of the Inter- 
agency Task Force on Latin America. 

A Berle memorandum of the meeting states that the CIA officer 
informed Berle that a local group in the Dominican Republic wished 

1 These notes were dictated by Robert Kennedy on June 1, 1961, after he learned of 
Trujillo's assassination. 


to overthrow Trujillo and sought arms for that purpose. The memo- 
randum continued : 

On cross examination it developed that the real plan was to assassinate Tru- 
jillo and they wanted ^ns for that purpose. [The CIA officer] wanted to know 
what the policy should be. 

I told him I could not care less for Trujillo and that this was the general 
sentiment. But we did not wish to have anything to do with any assassination 
plots anywhere, any time. [The CIA officer] said he felt the same way. (Berle, 
Memo of Conversation, 5/3/61 ) 

Copies of Berle's memorandum were sent to Wymberly Coerr, the 
Acting Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs, and to the 
Special Assistant. 

Both the CIA officer and the Special Assistant,, who had been in 
almost daily contact with each other since August of 1960, had been 
advised of the assassination plans of the dissident group. In fact, the 
CIA officer, along with Bissell, had signed off on the proposed cable 
of May 2, releasing the machine guns for passage. 

(c) Special group meetings of May 4- <^^ il!/(^y 18, 1961 

On the day following the Berle-CIA officer meeting, the Special 
Group met and, according to the INIinutes: 

The DCI referred to recent reports of a new anti-Trujillo plot. He said we 
never know if one of these is going to work or not, and asked what is the status 
of contingency planning should the plot come off. Mr. BUndy said that this point 
is covered in the Cuba paper which will be discussed at a high level in the very 
near future. (Special Group Minutes, 5/4/61) 

Once again, the cryptic reporting of Special Group Minutes makes 
subsequent analysis as to the scope of matters discussed speculative. 
It is not known to what extent and in what detail Allen Dulles re- 
ferred to "recent reports" of a new anti-Trujillo plot. Certainly, the 
most recent report of such a plot was Dearborn's April 30 cable — dis- 
closing an imminent assassination attempt potentially utilizing United 
States-supplied weapons. 

On May 18, 1961, the Special Group again considered the situation 
in the Dominican Republic and, according to the Minutes : 

Cabell [Deputy DCI] noted that the internal dissidents were pressing for the 
release to them of certain small arms now in U.S. hands in the Dominican Re- 
public. He inquired whether the feeling of the Group remained that these arms 
should not be passed. The members showed no inclination to take a contrary 
position at this time. (Special Group Minutes, 5/18/61)' 

{d) Final requests hy dissidents for machine gvms 

On May 16, 1961, Dearborn cabled the State Department (attention 
Acting Assistant Secretary Coerr) with an urgent request from the 
dissidents for the machine guns. The cable advised that the assassina- 
tion attempt was scheduled for the night of May 16 and that, while the 
chances of success were 80 percent, provision of the machine guns 
would reduce the possibility of failure. The dissidents reportedly 

1 There was no meeting of the Soeotel Group at wlilcli the Dominican Republic was 
discussed between May 4 and May 18. The language attributed to General Cabell as to 
Whether the feeling of the Group remained not to pass the arms, tends to suggest 
tnat the question of passing these arms must have been raised prior to the May 18 Group 
meeting, perhaps at the May 4, 1961 meeting. 


stressed to Dearborn that if the effort failed, due to United States re- 
fusal to supply the machine guns, the United States would be held 
responsible and would never be forgiven. Dearborn reported that he 
had informed the dissidents that, based on his recent conversations in 
Washington, he wa.s reasonably certain that authorization could not 
be obtained for handing over machine gun. (Cable, Dearborn to De- 
partment, 5/16/61) 

A return cable from the State Department to Dearborn, sent the 
same day, confirmed Dearborn's judgment. It instructed him to con- 
tinue to take the same line until he received contrary instructions 
which clearly indicated they had l>een cleared in advance by the State 
Department itself. This cable from State was approved by Under 
Sex^retary Bowles. (Cable, Depaiiment to Dearborn, 5/16/61) 

An officer in the CIA's Western Hemisphere Division referred to 
Dearborn's May 16 request in a memorandum he sent to the Special 
Assistant on the same dat^ and asked to be advised as to the Depart- 
ment's policy concerning passage of the machine guns. The CIA 
officer noted that when this request was last taken to the Department, 
Berle made the decision that the weapons not be passed. (Memo to 
ARA from CIA, 5/16/61) 

Devine responded to the CIA officer's memorandum on the same day, 
advising him that the Department's policy continued to be negative 
on the matter of passing the machine guns.^ The CIA officer's atten- 
tion was directed to the January 12, 1961 Special Group limitation con- 
cerning the passage of arms outside of the Dominican Republic. A 
copy of the Special Assistant's memorandum to the CIA officer was 
forwarded to the Office of the ITnder Secretary of State, to the atten- 
tion of his personal assistant, Joseph Scott. (Memo, Special Assistant 
to [CIA officer], 5/16/61) 

(e) Dearborn in Washington for consultation — drafting of 
contingency plans 

At a meeting of the National Security Council on May 5, 1961, the 
question of United States policy toward the Dominican Republic was 
considered and it was : 

Agreed that the Task Force on Cuba would prepare promptly both emergency 
and long-range plans for anti-communist intervention in the event of crises in 
Haiti or the Dominican Republican. Noted the President's view that the United 
States should not initiate the overthrow of Trujillo before we knew what govern- 
ment would succeed him, and that any action against Trujillo should be multi- 
lateral. (Record of Actions by National Security Council, 5/5/61) (Approved by 
the President, 5/16/61)^ 

Although the precise dates are uncertain. Dearborn was recalled to 
Washington to participate in drafting of these contingency plans and 
recommendations. Dearborn was in Washington at least from May 10 
through May 13, 1961. 

' By May 27, 1961, Dearborn was advising the State Department that the group was 
no longer requesting the arms and had accepted the fact that it must make do with what 
it had. (Cable, Dearborn to State, 5/27/61) 

2 As noted supra, p. 207, the President, prior to his May 16 approval of the NSC Record 
of Actions, had been informed by Robert Kennedy of the reports that Trujillo might 
be assassinated. Richard Goodwin of the White House staff had also received, prior to 
May 16. a CIA memorandum which disclosed that Dominican dissidents, intending to 
"neutralize" Trujillo, had been supplied by the U.S. with certain weapons and had 
sought further weapons. 


While in Washington, Dearborn met with State Department per- 
sonnel and with Richard Goodwin and Arthur Schlesinger of the 
White House staff. When testifying before the Committee, he was 
unable to recall the substance of his discussions with Goodwin and 
Schlesinger, aside from his general assumption that the current situa- 
tion in the Dominican Republic was discussed. He did not recall any 
discussion with Goodwin or Schlesinger concerning arms, either those 
which had been passed to the dissidents or those which were being 
sought. (Dearborn, 7/29/75, pp. 58-61) Dearborn left the meeting at 
the White House, however, with the firm impression that Goodwin 
had been reviewing cable traffic between Washington and the Domini- 
can Republic and was very familiar with events as they then stood. 
(Dearborn, 7/29/75, p. 62) 

On May 11, 1961, Dearborn prepared a two-page draft document 
which set forth ways in which the U.S. could overtly aid and encour- 
age the opposition to Trujillo. The draft noted that means of stepping 
up the covert program were considered in separate papers. (Dearborn 
draft document of May 11, 1961) This Dearborn draft of May 11, 
1961, was apparently used as a basis for portions of the "Dominican 
Republic — Contingency Paper" discussed below. 

Two documents entitled, Program of Covert Action for the Domin- 
ican Republic" were provided to the Committee staff from State De- 
partment files. Each appears to be a draft of the covert activities 
paper described in Dearborn's May 11, 1961 memorandum. One draft 
recommended an expanded U.S. offer to deliver small explosive devices 
and arms. (Document indicating it was attached to "Dominican Re- 
public—Contingency," dated 5/12/61 and bearing Nos. 306-308) The 
other draft is very similar except that it concludes that delivery of 
arms within the Dominican Republic to members of the underground 
is not recommended. (Document from State Department files bearing 
No. 310) 

Attached to the second draft was a one-page document which the 
Special Assistant believes he wrote. It listed eight numbered points in- 
cluding the following : 

1. The U'SG should not lend itself to direct political assassination. 

2. U.S. moral posture can ill afford further tarnishing in the eyes of the world. 

3. We would be encouraging the action, supplying the weapons, effecting the 
delivery, and then turning over only the final execution to (unskilled) local 

4. So far we have seen no real evidence of action capability. Should we entrust 
ourselves and our reputation to this extent in the absence thereof? 

7. Can we afford a precedent which may convince the world that our diplomatic 
pounches are used to deliver assassination weajwn? (Document from the State 
Department files bearing No. 313) 

The other points raised in document No. 313 related to the likelihood 
that any such involvement by the United States would ultimately be 

On May 15, 1961, Acting Assistant Secretary Coerr sent to Under 
Secretary Bowles a document entitled "Covert Action Programs Au- 
thorized With Respect to the Dominican Republic." That document 
outlined the existing Special Group approvals for covert assistance to 
Dominican dissidents and, while making no recommendation as to 


further policy, suggested that the Special Group review the outstand- 
ing approvals and communicate to interested agencies the status of 
such authorizations. (State Dept. document from Coerr to Bowles, 

During this period a document dated May 13, 1961, was prepared at 
the request of Richard Goodwin and was thereafter circulated within 
the State Department.^ This document, entitled "Program of Covert 
Action for the Dominican Republic" reported : 

CIA has had in the direct custody of its Station in Ciudad Trujillo, a very 
limited supply of weapons and grenades. In response to the urgent requests from 
the internal opposition leaders for personal defense weapons attendant to their 
projected efforts to neutralize TRUJILLO, three (3) 38 Cal revolvers and three 
(3) carbines with accompanying ammunition have been passed by secure means 
to the opposition. The recipients have repeatedly requested additional armed 

This memorandum is the first direct evidence of disclosure to anyone 
on the White House staff of the fact that arms had been passed to dis- 
sidents in the Dominican Republic. 

The original ribbon copy of the memorandum has the above quoted 
material circled in pencil and the word "neutralize" is underscored. 
Goodwin testified before the Committee that he circled the above para- 
graph when first reading the memorandum because the information 
concerning passage of the arms was new to him and struck him as 
significant. (Goodwin, 7/18/75, pp. 48, 49) 

Under the heading of "Possible Covert Actions Which Require 
Additional Authorization," the memorandum to Goodwin indicated 
that the CIA had a supply of four .45 caliber machine guns and a small 
number of grenades currently in the direct custody of the Station in 
Ciudad Trujillo and that a secure means of passing these weapons to 
the internal opposition "for their use in personal defense attendant to 
their projected efforts to remove Trujillo" could be developed by the 
Station. The memorandum made no recommendation to approve or 
disapprove passage of these weapons. {Id.) 

On May 15, 1961, Bundy forwarded to Goodwin another memoran- 
dum. This one, entitled "The Current Situation in and Contingency 
Plans for the Dominican Republic," had been received by Bundy from 
the State Department. Attached was an underlying document which 
began : 

Recent reports indicate that the internal Dominican dissidents are becoming 
increasingly determined to oust Trujillo by any means, and their plans in this 
regard are well advanced. 

The May 15 memorandum stressed that it was highly desirable for 
the United States to be identified with and to support the elements 
seeking to overthrow Trujillo. The attachment recommended that Con- 
sul General Dearborn inform the dissidents that if they succeed "at 
their own initiative and on their own responsibility in forming an 
acceptable provisional government they can be assured that any rea- 
sonable request for assistance from the U.S. will be promj)tly and 
favorably answered." (Documents from State Dept. files bearing Nos. 

1 See Scott to Bowles memorandum of May 19, 1961, enclosing copy of Goodwin 


(/) Cable of May 29, 1961 

A copy of Dearborn's cable of May 16, 1961, requesting urgent State 
Department guidance, was forwarded to Richard Goodwin. At the 
specific request of Goodwin, the State Department replied to Dear- 
born on May 17, and advised him to keep in mind the President's view, 
as expressed at the May 5 National Security Council Meeting, that the 
United States should not initiate the overthrow of Trujillo before 
knowing what government would succeed him. (Cable, Department to 
Dearborn, 5/17/61) 

Dearborn responded on May 21, 1961, pointing out that for over a 
year State Department representatives in the Dominican Republic 
had been nurturing the effort to overthrow Trujillo and had assisted 
the dissidents in numerous ways, all of which were known to the De- 
partment. It was, Dearborn stated, "too late to consider whether 
United States will initiate overthrow of Trujillo." Dearborn invited 
further guidance from State. 

In response to Dearborn's request for guidance, the State Depart- 
ment drafted a reply on May 24. The draft discussed a conflict between 
two objectives : 

(1) To be so associated with removal Trujillo regime as to derive credit among 
DR dissidents and liberal elements throughout Latin America ; 

(2) To disassociate US from any obvious intervention in Dominican Republic 
and even more so from any political assassination which might occur. 

It was said to be the Department's considered opinion that "former 
objective cannot, repeat not, easily override latter." (Draft Cable, 
Department to Dearborn, 5/24/61 — not sent) 

This State Department draft was forwarded to Under Secretary 
Bowles with the comment that Goodwin considered it "too negative" 
and that he would try his hand on a draft "for Bundy to present tomor- 
row morning." (Memo from Achilles to Bowles, 5/24/61) 

A May 26, 1961, memorandum from Bowles to Bundy begins : 

Following up on our discussion of the Dominican Republic at yesterday's meet- 
ing of the Special Group, I am forwarding you a draft telegram which we would 
like to send to Henry Dearborn, our Consul General in Ciudad Trujillo, supple- 
menting the guidance he will be receiving on the recently approved contingency 

The minutes of the Special Group meeting on May 25, 1961, do not, 
however, reflect any discussion of the Dominican Republic. If, as 
Bowles' memorandum suggests, a discussion concerning the Domini- 
can Republic did occur at the May 25 meeting, it is not known what the 
discussion involved or what decisions, if any, were made. 

Richard Goodwin personally prepared alternate drafts to the pro- 
posed State Department cable to Dearborn. Goodwin testified that it 
was his intent in revising the cable to communicate to Dearborn, Presi- 
dent Kennedy's personal belief that the United States "* * * didn't 
want to do anything that would invcylve us further, the United States 
further, in any effort to assassinate Trujillo." (Goodwin, 7/10/75, 
P- 32) 

At the same time, Goodwin's draft raised the issue of further covert 
action and transfer of arms to the dissidents and advised Dearborn to 
hold out the arms as being available to the dissidents pending their 
ability to receive them. 


It was the twofold intent of the cable as revised by Goodwin, (1) to 
express the desire to remain in the good graces of the dissidents who, it 
was believed, would constitute the new government following TrujiDo's 
assassination, and (2) to avoid any action which might further involve 
the United States in the anticipated assassination. This dual purpose 
is clearly evident in the cable which advised : 

* * * we must not run risk of U.S. association with political assassination, since 
U.S. as m<itter of general policy cannot condone assassination. This last principal 
is overriding and must prevail in doubtful situation. (Emphasis added) 

Continue to inform dissident elements of U.S. support for their position. 

According to Goodwin, the italicized material was inserted in the 
cable at the specific direction of President Kennedy. (Goodwin, 
7/10/75, pp. 22, 23) 

With respect to the four machine guns which were in the Consulate 
and which had been repeatedly requested by the dissidents, the cable 
advised Dearborn that the United States was unable to transfer these 
arms to the dissidents. Dearborn was instructed 

Tell them that this is because of our suspicion that method of transfer may be 
unsafe. In actual fact, we feel that the transfer of arms would serve very little 
purpose and expose the United States to great danger of association with assassi- 
nation attempt. 

The cable, as revised by Goodwin and approved by President Ken- 
nedy, was sent to Dearborn on May 29, 1961. (Cabbie, Department to 
Dearborn, 5/29/61) 


(a) TrujiUo assassinated 

Late in the evening of May 30, 1961, Trujillo was ambushed and 
assassinated near San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. The assassina- 
tion closely paralleled the plan disclosed by the action group to 
American representatives in the Dominican Republic and passed on 
to officials in Washington at both the CIA and the State Department. 
(Cable, Dearborn to Department, 4/30/61) The assassination was con- 
ducted by members of the action group, to whom the American car- 
bines had been passed, and such sketchy information as is available 
indicates that one or more of the carbines was in the possession of the 
assassination group when Trujillo was killed. (I.G. Report, pp. 60-61) 
This evidence indicates, however, that the actual assassination was 
accomplished by handguns and shotguns. (I.G. Report, p. 61) 

(h) Cables to Washington 

After receiving the May 29 cable from Washington, both Consul 
General Dearborn and the CIA Station sent replies. According to 
Dearborn's testimony, he did not regard the May 29 cable as a change 
in U.S. policy concerning support for assassinations, (Dearborn, 
7/29/75, p. 74) 

He interpreted the May 29 cable as saying : 

* * * we don't care if the Dominicans assassinate Trujillo, that is all right. 
But we don't want anything to pin this on us, because we aren't doing it, it is 
the Dominicans Who are doing it. (Dearhorn, 7/29/75, p. 104) 


Dearborn testified that this accorded with what he said had always 
been his personal belief : that the U.S. should not be involved in an 
assassination and that if an assassination occurred it would be strictly 
a Dominican affair. (Dearborn, 7/29/75, pp. 100-101) 

In contrast, the CIA Station officer did regard the cable as mani- 
festing a change in U.S. policy, particularly on the question of supply- 
ing arms. (Didier, 7/8/75, p. 120) He believed the May 29 cable was 
the final word in United States policy on this matter and consequently 
felt that the government had retreated from its prior position, of 
offering material support to the dissidents, and had adopted a new 
position of withholding such support. His responsive cable to Head- 
quarters stated : 

HQ aware extent to which U.S. government already associated with assassina- 
tion. If we are to at least cover up tracks, CIA personnel directly involved in 
assassination preparation must be withdrawn. (Cable, Station to HQ, 5/30/61) 

Immediately following the assassination, all CIA personnel in the 
Dominican Republic were removed from the country and within a few 
days Consul General Dearborn was back in Washington. The State De- 
partment cabled the CIA station in the Dominican Republic to destroy 
all records concerning contacts with dissidents and any related matters, 
except not to destroy the contingency plans or the May 29, 1961 caible 
to Dearborn. (Cable, HQ to Station, 5/31/61) 

(c) Immediate post-assassination period 

The United States Consulate in the Dominican Republic was quick 
to dispatch its early reports that Trujillo had been assassinated, and 
the United States communications network transmitted the report to 
President Kennedy in Paris. The President's Press Secretary, Pierre 
Salinger, made the first public announcement of the assassination, pre- 
ceeding by several hours release of the news in the Dominican Republic. 
Secretary of State Rusk testified that when he learned of Salinger's 
announcement he was most concerned. Rusk said that Trujillo's son 
Ramfis was also in Paris and he was afraid that Ramfis, upon first 
learning of his father's death from the press secretary to the President 
of the United States, might reason that the United States had been in 
some way involved and he might therefore try to retaliate against 
President Kennedy. (Rusk, 7/10/75, pp. 32-33) 

Following the assassination, there were several high-level meetings 
in Washington attended by President Kennedy, Vice President John- 
son, Secretary of State Rusk, Secretary of Defense McNamara, At- 
torney General Kennedy, and many lower-level officials who had been 
involved in the Dominican Republic operation. The meetings consid- 
ered the crisis in the Dominican Republic, caused by Trujillo's assas- 
sination, and attempted to ascertain the facts concerning the degree of 
United States involvement in the assassination. The passage of carbines 
to the dissidents was discussed at one such meeting. (State Department 
Memorandum for the files, 6/1/61) 

On June 1, 1961, Robert Kennedy dictated four pages of personal 
notes reflecting his contemparajieous thoughts on the situation in the 
Dominican Republic. A review of these notes evidences considerable 
concern regarding the lack of information available in Washington 


as to events in the Dominican Republic.^ The notes end with the 
following statement: 

The great problem now is that we don't know what to do because we don't (sic) 
what the situation is and this shouldn't be true, particularly when we have known 
that this situation was pending for some period of time. 

There is no indication or suggestion contained in the record of 
those post-assassination meetings, or in the Robert Kennedy notes, of 
concern as to the propriety of the known United States involvement 
in the assassination. Nor is there any record that anyone took steps 
following Triijillo's assassination to reprimand or censure any of the 
American officials involved either on the scene or in Washington, or 
to otherwise make known any objections or displeasure as to the 
degree of United States involvement in the events which had tran- 
spired. Whether this was due to the press of other matters, including 
concern over Trujillo's successor and the future government of the 
Dominican Republic, or whether it represented a condonation or rati- 
fication of the known United States involvement, is uncertain. 

In any event, when, some years later, the project covering American 
involvement in changing the government of the Dominican Republic 
was terminated by the Agency, the project was described in Agency 
documents as a "success" in that it assisted in moving the Dominican 
Republic from a totalitarian dictatorship to a Western-style 

^Robert Kennedy's concern, Immediately following the assassination, with the Agency's 
inability to provide first-hand information from the Dominican Republic as to popular 
support for the anti-Trujillo group, the extent of fighting, if any, in the country, and 
the lilselihood of the dissidents seizing control of the country, was also discussed in a 
1962 CIA report. 

1. Summary 

South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother, Xgo 
Dinh Xhu, were assassinated during a coup by Vietnamese generals on 
November 2, 1963. Evidence before the Committee indicates that the 
United States government oft'ered encouragement for the coup, but 
neither desired nor was involved in the assassinations. Rather, Diem's 
assassination appears to have been a spontaneous act by Vietnamese 
generals, engendered by anger at Diem for refusing to resign or put 
himself in the custody of the leaders of the coup. 

On one occasion, General Duong Van Minh ("Big Minh") outlined 
to a CIA officer the possible assassination of Xhu and another brother, 
Ngo Dinh Can, as one of three methods being considered for changing 
the government in the near future. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge 
and Deputy Chief of Mission William Trueheart ^ we're informed of 
this possibility by the Saigon Chief of Station, who recommended that 
"we do not set ourselves irrevocably against the assassination plot, 
since the other two alternatives mean either a bloodbath in Saigon or a 
protracted struggle which would rip the Army and the country 
assunder." (CIA cable, Saigon Station to DCI. 10/5/63) Upon being 
informed. Director McCone sent two cables. The first stated "[w]e 
cannot be in the position of stimulating, approving, or supporting as- 
sassination," and the second directed that the recommendation be with- 
drawn because "we cannot be in position actively condoning such 
course of action and thereby engaging our responsibility therefor." 
(CIA cable, DCI to Saigon, 10/5/63; CIA cable, DCI to Saigon, 

2. The Abortive Coup or August 1963 

On May 8, 1963, South Vietnamese troops in the City of Hue fired 
on Buddhists celebrating Buddha's birthday (and carrying the Bud- 
dhist flag contrary to edicts proscribing the flying of religious flags) 
killing nine and wounding fourteen. This incident triggered a nation- 
wide Buddhist protest and a sharp loss of popular confidence in the 
Diem regime.^ 

On May 18, United States Ambassador Frederick E. Nolting met 
with Diem and outlined steps which the United States desired him to 
take to redress the Buddhist grievances and recapture public confi- 

^ Trueheart Is currently a consultant to the Select Committee. 

" Senator Gravel Edition. The Pentagon Papers, The Defense Department History of 
I'nited States Decision-mnlvinjj on Vietnam, pp. 2O7-20S, Vo'ume II. Beicon Press. Boston 
(hereinafter cited as Pentagon Papers). Former Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Em- 
bassy in Saigon, John Mecklin, in his book. Mission in Torment. .\n Intimate Account of 
the U.S. Role in Vietnam. Doubleday and Company, 1965 (hereinafter cited as MeclJlin), 
at pages 158-60 described the vulnerability of the Buddhists to Communist infiltration 
during this period noting that it "offered a classic opportunity for a Communist sleeper 



dence. These steps included admitting responsibility for the Hue in- 
cident, compensating the victims, and reaffirming religious equality 
in the country. On June 8, Madame Nhu, the wife of Diem's brother, 
Nhu, publicly accused the Buddhists of being infiltrated with Com- 
munist agents. Trueheart, in the absence of Ambassador Nolting pro- 
tested her remarks to Diem and threatened to disassociate the United 
States from any repressive measures against the Buddhists in the fu- 
ture. (Pentagon Papers, p. 308) Shortly thereafter, Madamfe Nhu com- 
mented on the self-immolation of Quang Due and other Buddhist 
monks by stating that she would like to furnish mustard for the monks' 
barbecue. On June 12, Trueheart told Diem that Quang Due's suicide 
had shocked the world and again warned that the United States would 
break with his government if he did not solve the Buddhist problem. 
(Pentagon Papers, p. 208) 

Lucien Conein, a OIA officer in Saigon,^ testified that the Buddhist 
uprisings were the catalyst that ultimately brought down the Diem 
regime. (Conein, 6/20/75, pp. 42-44) These events led the United 
States to apply "direct, relentless, and tablehammering pressure on 
Diem such as the United States has seldom before attempted with a 
sovereign friendly government." (Mecklin, p. 169) 

By July 4, 1963, Generals Minh, Don, Kim, and Khiem had agreed 
on the necessity for a coup.^ 

In his final meeting on August 14 with Ambassador Nolting, Diem 
agreed to make a public statement offering concessions to the Bud- 
dhists. This statement took the form of an interview with the column- 
ist, Marguerite Higgins, in which Diem asserted that his policy toward 
the Buddhists had always been conciliatory and asked for harmony and 
support of the government. 

Shortly after midnight on August 21, 1963, Nhu ordered forces loyal 
to him to attack pagodas throughout Vietnam, arresting monks and 
sacking the sacred buildings. Over thirty monks were injured and 
1,400 arrested. The American Embassy was taken by surprise and 
viewed the attacks as a shattering repudiation of Diem's promises to 
Nolting, (Pentagon Papers, p. 210)^ 

On August 24, 1963, the State Department sent a cable (Deptel 243) 
to the new Ambassador in Vietnam, Henry Cabot Lodge. The tele- 
gram was prepared by Roger Hilsman, Assistant Secretary of State 
for Far Eastern Affairs, and Under Secretary of State Averell Harri- 
man, and was approved by President Kennedy. (Pentagon Papers, p. 
235) Deptel 243 told Lodge to press Diem to take "prompt dramatic 
actions" to redress the grievances of the Buddhists : 

We must at same time also teU key military leaders that US would find it 
impossible to continue support GVN [South Vietnamese Government] militarily 
and economically unless above steps are taken immediately which we recognize re- 

1 Conein testified that he had known the generals involved in the coup "for many 
years. Some of them I had known back even in World War II. Some of them were in 
powerful positions, and I was able to talk to them on a person to person basis, not as a 
government official." (Conein, 6/20/75, p. 17.) 

2 Conein's After-Action Report stated that : "The majority of the officers, including 
(jeneml Minh, desired President Diem to have honorable retirement from the political 
scene in South Vietnam aad exile. As to Ngo Dinh Nhu and Ngo Dinh Can, there was 
never dissention. The attitude was that their deaths, along with Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu 
would be welcomed." (Conein After-Action Report, 11/1/63, p. 10.) 

3 Conein testified that the raids might have been timed to occur when no American 
Ambassador was in Vietnam (Nolting had left a few days before and his replacement. 
Henry Cabot Lodge, had not yet arrived) (Conein, 6/20/75, p. 21) 


quires removal of the Nhus from the scene. We wish give Diem reasonable 
opportimity to remove Nhus but if he remains obdurate, then we are prepared to 
accept the obvious implication that we can no longer support Diem. You may also 
tell appropriate military commanders we will give them direct support in any 
interim period of breakdown central government mechanism * * *. Concurrently 
with above. Ambassador and country teams should urgently examine all possible 
alternative leadership and make detailed plans as to how we might bring about 
Dieni's replacement if this should become necessary. 

A cable on Aiicfiist 25 reported tlie result of a conference among 
a station representative. Lodge. Trueheart. General Harkins [Com- 
mander, Militra'v Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV)] and 
General Weede (Chief of Staff. MACV). They accepted Deptel 243 
"as a basic decision from Washington and would proceed to do their 
best to carry out instructions," (I.G. Report, C, pp. 7-8) but believed 
that Diem would refuse to remove his brother from his position in the 

Early in the morning of August 26, 1963, the Voice of America in 
South Vietnani placed the blame on Nhu for the August 21 raids and 
absolved the army. The broadcast also reported speculation that the 
United States contemplated suspending aid to the South Vietnamese 
Government.^ (Pentagon Papers, p. 212) Later on that same day. 
Lodge presented his credentials to Diem. CIA officer Coneiin and 
another CL\ officer were told to see Generals Khiem and Khanh, 
respectively, and to convey to them the substance of Deptel 243, but 
to remind them that "We cannot be of any help during initial action 
of assuming power of state. Entirely their own action, win or lose." 
(DCI to Saigon, 8/26/63). 

A message from the White House on August 29 authorized Harkins 
to confirm to the Vietnamese generals that the United States would 
support a coup if it had a good chance of succeeding, but did not 
involve United States armed forces. Lodge was authorized to suspend 
United States aid at his discretion. (Deptel 272, 8/29/63) A cable 
from the President to Lodge on the same day stated : 

I have approved all the messages you are receiving from others today, and I 
emphasize that everything in these messages has my full support. We will do 
all 'that we can to help you conclude this operation successfully. Until the very 
moment of the go .signal for the operation by the Generals, I must reserve a 
contingent right to change course and reverse previous instructions. While fully 
aware of your ai^^essment of the consequences of such a reversal, I know from 
experience that failure is more destructive than an appearance of indecision. 
I would, of course, accept full responsibility for any such change as I must also 
bear the full resi>onsibility for this operation and its consequences. (Cable, 
President Kennedy to Lodge 8/29/63) 

In a reply cable. Lodge stated : 

1. I fully understand that you have the right and responsibility to change 
course at any time. Of course I will always respect that right. 

2. To be successful, this operation must be essentially a Vietnamese affair 
with a momentum of its own. Should this happen you may not be able to control 
it, i.e., the "go signal" may be given by the genei^als. (Caible, Lodge to President 
Kennedy, 8/30/63) 

1 In a cable to Harriman, Lodge complained that the VOA broadcast had "complicated 
our already difficult problem" by eliminating "the possibility of the generals' effort achiev- 
ing surprise." Lodge further warned that "the US must not appear publicly In the matter, 
thus giving the 'kiss of death' to its friends" (Cable, Lodge to Harriman. 8/26/63). 


A cable from Saigon dated August 31, 1963, stated : 

This imrticul'ar coup is finished. Grenerals did not feel reiady and did not have 
suflSeient balance of forces. There is little doubt that GVN [South Vietnamese 
Government] aware US role and may have considerable detail. (CIA Cable, Sta. 
to Hq. 8/31/63) 

Deptel 243 and the VOA broadcast set the tone for later relations 
between the United States representatives and the generals. Big Minh, 
who had initial doubts about the strength of American support, grew 
in confidence. 

3. The November 1903 Coup 

American dissatisfaction with the Diem regime became increasingly 
apparent. On September 8, AID Director David Bell, in a television 
interview, stated that Congress might cut aid to South Vietnam if 
the Diem government did not change its course. (Pentagon Papers, 
p. 214) Lodge suggested a study to determine the most effective meth- 
ods of cutting aid to topple the regime. (Pentagon Papers, p. 
214) On September 12, with White House approval, Senator Church 
introduced a resolution in the Senate condemning the South Viet- 
namese Government for its repressive handling of the Buddhist prob- 
lem and calling for an end to United States aid unless the oppressive 
measures were curtailed. (Pentagon Papers, pp. 214-215) 

In mid-September 1963, two proposals for dealing with Diem were 
considered by the Administration. The first contemplated increasingly 
severe pressure to bring Diem in line with American policy ; the second 
involved acquiescing in Diem's actions, recognizing that Diem and 
Nhu were inseparable, and attempting to salvage as much as possible. 
It was decided to adopt the first proposal, and to send Secretary of 
Defense McNamara and General Taylor on a fact-finding mission to 
Vietnam. (Pentagon Papers, p. 215) 

On October 2, McNamara and Taylor returned to Washington and 
presented their findings to the National Security Council. Their re- 
port confirmed that the military effort was progressing favorably, but 
warned of the dangere inherent in the political turmoil and recom- 
mended bringing pressure against Diem. This pressure would include 
announcing the withdrawal of 1,000 American troops by the end of 
the year, ending support for the forces responsible for the pagoda 
raids, and continuing Lodge's policy of remaining aloof from the 
regime. The report recommended against a coup, but sugjrested that 
alternative leadership should be identified and cultivated. The recom- 
mendations were promptly approved by the President. (Pentagon 
Papers, pp. 215-216) 

On October 3, Conein contacted Minh. Minh explained that a coup 
was being planned, and requested assurances of American support if 
it were successful. Minh outlined three courses of action ^ one of which 
was the assassination of Diem's brothers, Nhu and Can. (Conein, 
6/20/75, p. 25; cable, Saigon to Director, 10/5/63) The Station 
cabled on October 5 that it had recommended to Lodge that "we do 
not set ourselves irrevocably against the assassination plot, since the 
other two alternatives mean either a blood bath in Saigon or a pro- 
tracted struggle." (Cable, Saigon to Director, 10/5/63) 

1 The other courses of action were the encirclement of Saigon by various military units 
and direct confrontation between military units involved in the coup and loyalist units. 


A cable from the CIA Director to Saigon responded that : 

(W)e certainly cannot be in the position of stimulating, approving, or supi)ort- 
ing assassination, but on the other hand, we are in no way resixjnsible for stop- 
ping every such threat of which we might receive even partial knowledge. We 
certainly would not favor assassination of Diem. We believe engaging ourselves 
by taking position on this matter opens door too easily for probes of our position 
re others, re support of regime, et cetera. Consequently believe best approach is 
hands off. "However, we naturally interested in intelligence on any such plan." ^ 

McCone testified that he met privately with the President and the 
Attorney General, taking the position that "our role was to assemble 
all information on intelligence as to what was going on and to report 
it to the appropriate authorities, but to not attempt to direct it." 
(McCone, 6/6/75. p. 62) He believed the United States should main- 
tain a "hands otf attitude." (McCone, 6/6/75, p. 62) McCone testified: 

I felt that the President agreed with my position, despite the fact that he had 
great reservations concerning Diem and his conduct. I urged him to try to bring 
all the pressure we could on Diem to change his ways, to encourage more support 
throughout the country. My precise words to the President, and I remember them 
very clearly, was that "Mr. President, if I was manager of a baseball team, I had 
one pitcher, I'd keep him in the box whether he was a good pitcher or not." By 
that I was saying that, if Diem was removed we would have not one coup but we 
would have a succession of coups and ix>litical disorder in Vietnam and it might 
last several years ami indeed it did. (McCone, 6/6/75, pp. 62-63) 

McCone stated that he did not discuss assassination with the Presi- 
dent, but rather "whether we should let the coup go or use our influ- 
ences not to." He left the meeting believing that the President agreed 
with his "hands-off" recommendation. (McCone, 6/6/75, pp. 62-63) 
McCone cabled the Station on October 6 : 

McCone directs that you withdraw recommendation to ambassador (concerning 
assassination plan) under McCone instructions, as we cannot be in position ac- 
tively condoning such course of action and thereby engaging our responsibility 
therefore (Cable, CIA to Saigon, 10/6/63) 

In response, the CIA Station in Saigon cabled Headquarters : 

Action taken as directed. In addition, since DCM Trueheart was also present 
when original recommendation was made, specific withdrawal of recommendation 
at McCone's instruction was also conveyed to Trueheart. Ambassador Lodge com- 
mented that he shares McCone's opinion. (Cable, Saigon to CIA, 10/7/63) 

Conein, the CIA official who dealt directly with the Generals,^ 
testified that he was first told of ISIcCone's response to the assassina- 
tion alternative by Ambassador I^dge around October 20. (Conein, 
6/20/75, p. 35) Conein testified (but did not so indicate in liis detailed 
After- Action Report) that he then told General Don that the United 
States opposed assassination, and that the General responded, "Al- 
right, you don't like it, we won't talk about it anymore." (Conein, 
6/20/75, p. 36) 

1 Colby, who was then Chief, Far Eastern Division, drafted this cable for McCone. 
Colby testified : 

"Q. So you were on notice as of that date that the Director personally opposed any 
inolvement by the CIA in an assassination? 

"Colby. I certainly was." (Colby, 6/20/75, p. 57) 

- Conein described his role as follows : "My job was to convey the orders from my Am- 
bassador and the instructions from my Ambassador to the people who were planning the 
coup, to monitor those individuals who were planning the coup, to get as much information 
so that our government would not be caught with their pants down." (Conein, G/20/75, 
pp. 38-39) 


The United States increased pressure on Diem to mend his ways. 
On October 17, General Richard Stillwell (MACV operations chief) 
informed Secretary Thuan that the United States was suspending aid 
to the Special Forces units responsible for the pagoda raids until they 
were transferred to the field and placed under Joint General Staff 
(JGS) command. (Pentagon Papers, p. 217) On October 27, Lodge 
traveled to Dalat with Diem, but did not receive any commitment from 
Diem to comply with American requests. (Pentagon Papers, p. 219) 

On October 28, Conein met with General Don, who had received 
assurance from Lodge that Conein spoke for the United States. Don 
said that he would make the plans for the coup available to the Am- 
bassador four hours before it took place, and suggested that Lodge not 
change his plans to go to the United States on October 31. (I.G. Re- 
port, C, p. 37 ; Pentagon Papers, p. 219) 

On October 30, Lodge reported to Washington that he was power- 
less to stop the coup, and that the matter was entirely in Vietnamese 
hands. General Harkins disagreed and cabled his opposition to the 
coup to General Taylor. (Pentagon Papers, p. 220) A cable from 
Bundy to Lodge dated October 30 expressed White House concern 
and stated that "[w]e cannot accept conclusion that we have no power 
to delay or discourage a coup." (Cable, Bundy to Lodge, 10/30/63) 
A subsequent cable on that same day from Washington instructed 
Lodge to intercede with the Generals to call off the coup if he did 
not believe it would succeed. The instructions prescribed "strict non- 
involvement and somewhat less strict neutrality." (Pentagon Papers, 
p. 220) 

Late in the morning of November 1, the first units involved in the 
coup began to deploy around Saigon. The Embassy was given only 
four minutes warning before the coup began. ( Cable, MACV to Joint 
Chiefs of Staff, 11/1/63) An aide to Don told Conein to bring all 
available money to the Joint General Staff headquarters. Conein 
brought 3 million piasters (approximately $42,000) to the headquar- 
ters, which was given to Don to procure food for his troops and to pay 
death benefits to those killed in the coup. (Conein, 6/20/75, p. 72)^ 

Conein was at the Joint General Staff headquarters during most of 
the coup. (I.G. Report, C, pp. 41^2) At 1 :40 p.m., the Generals pro- 
posed that Diem resign immediately, and guaranteed him and Nhu safe 
departure. (Conein After- Action Report, p. 15) The palace was sur- 
rounded shortly afterwards, and at 4 :30 p.m. the Generals announced 
the coup on the radio and demanded the resignation of Diem and Nhu. 
Diem called Lodge and inquired about the L'nited States' position. 
Lodge responded that the United States did not yet have a view, and 
expressed concern for Diem's safety. (Pentagon Papers, p. 221) 

According to Conein's report, Minh told Nhu that if he and Diem 
did not resign within five minutes, the palace would be bombed. Minh 
then phoned Diem. Diem refused to talk with him and Minh ordered 
the bombing of the palace. Troops moved in on the palace, but Diem 
still refused to capitulate. Minh offered Diem a second chance to sur- 

^ Passing money to the coup leaders was considered sometime prior to the coup. On 
October 29. Lodge cabled that a request for funds should be anticipated. (Cables, Lodge to 
State, 10/29/63, and 10/30/63) Conein received the money on October 24, and kept it in a 
safe in his house. 


render half an hour later, telling him that if he refused he would be 
"blasted off of the earth." Shortly before nightfall an air assault was 
launched on the Presidential Guard's barracks. (Conein After- Action 
Report, 11/1/63, pp. 17-18) 

At 6 :20 on the morning of November 2, Diem called General Don 
at the Joint General Staff headquarters and offered to surrender if he 
and Nhu were given safe conduct to an airport. Shortly afterwards, 
Diem offered to surrender unconditionally and ordered the Presi- 
dential Guard to cease firing. According to Conein, an escort for Diem 
appeared in front of the palace at 8 :00 a.m., but Diem and Nhu were 
not present. (Conein After- Action Report, 11/1/63, p. 24) 

Conein testified that he left the JGS headquarters amidst prepara- 
tions by the Vietnamese generals to house Diem and Nhu there under 
proper security. After his return home he received a telephone call 
and was told to come to the Embassy. At the Embassy he was told that 
orders had come from the President of the United States to locate 
Diem. He further testified that he returned to JGS headquarters about 
10 :30 a.m. and asked General Big Minh where Diem was. After some 
discussion, Conein stated, Minh said that they were behind the General 
Staff Headquarters, but professed that they had died by their own 
hand. Minh offered to show the bodies to Conein but Conein declined 
because he feared that doing so might damage United States interests. 
(Conein, 6/20/75, pp. 55-57) . 

The details of Diem's and Nhu's deaths are not known.^ There is 
no available evidence to give any indication of direct or indirect in- 
volvement of the United States.^ 

1 Conein speculated that Diem and Nhu escaped through a tunnel from the palace and 
fled to a Catholic Church in Cholon. He opined that an informant must have identified 
them and called the General Staff headquarters. (Conein After-Action Report, 1/11/63, 
p. 23) A CIA source stated that Diem and Nhu had left the palace the previous 
evening with a Chinese businessman and arrived at the church at 8 :00 on the morning 
of November 2. Ten minutes later they were picked up by soldiers and forced into an army 
vehicle. (Cable, Saigon to State, 11/2/63) Minh originally told Conein that Diem and 
Nhu had committed suicide, but Conein doubted that Catholics would have taken their 
own lives in a church. (Conein. 6/20/75, p. 56) The Inspector General's Report states 
that on November 16, 1963, a field-grade officer of unknown reliability gave the CIA two 
photographs of the bodies of Diem and Nhu in which it appeared their hands were tied 
behind their backs. (I.G. Report, C, pp. 43—44) The source reported that Diem and Nhu had 
been shot and stabbed while being conveyed to the Joint General Staff headquarters. 

- It must be noted that on October 30. 1963. Ambassador Lodge notified Washington 
that there might be a request by key leaders for evacuation, and suggested Saigon as a 
point for evacuation. (Cable. Saigon to Washington, 10/30/63) Conein was charged 
with obtaining the airplane. Between 6 :00 and 7 :00 on the morning of November 2, Minh 
and Don asked Conein to procure an aircraft. Conein relayed the request to a Station 
Officer at the Embassy who replied that it would not be possible to get an aircraft for 
the next twenty-four hours, since it would have to be flown from Guam. Conein testified 
that a Station representative told him that Diem could be flown only to a country that 
offered him asylum and that the plane could not land in any other country. There were 
no aircraft immediately available that had sufficient range to reach a potential country 
of asylum. (Conein, 6/20/75, p. 54) 



On September 4, 1970, Dr. Salvador Allende Gossens won a plurality 
in Chile s Presidential election.^ Since no candidate had received a ma- 
jority of the popular vote, the Chilean constitution required that a 
joint session of its Congress decide between the first anjj second place 
finishers. This constitutional requirement had, in the past, been pro- 
forma. The Congress had always selected the candidate who received 
the highest popular vote. The date set for the Congressional joint ses- 
sion was October 24, 1970. 

On September 15, 1970, President Richard Nixon informed CIA 
Director Richard Helms that an Allende regime in Chile would not be 
acceptable to the United States. The CIA was instructed by President 
Nixon to play a direct role in organizing a military coup d'etat in Chile 
to prevent Allende's accession to the presidency. The Agency was to 
take this action without coordination with the Departments of State 
or Defense and without informing the U.S. Ambassador in Chile. 
While coup possibilities in general and other means of seeking to pre- 
vent Allende's accession to power were explored by the 40 Committee 
throughout this period, the 40 Committee was never informed of this 
direct CIA role. In practice, the Agency was to report, both for infor- 
mational and approval purposes, to the President's Assistant for Na- 
tional Security Ailairs, Henry Kissinger, or his deputy. 

Between October 5 and October 20, 1970, the CIA made 21 contacts 
with key military and Carabinero (police) officials in Chile. Those 
Chileans who were inclined to stage a coup were given assurances of 
strong support at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, both be- 
fore and after a coup. 

One of the major obstacles faced by all the military conspirators in 
Chile was the strong opposition to a coup by the Commander-in-Chief 
of the Army, General Rene Schneider, who insisted the constitutional 
process be followed. As a result of his strong constitutional stand, the 
removal of General Schneider became a necessary ingredient in the 
coup plans of all the Chilean conspirators. Unable to have General 
Schneider retired or reassigned, the conspirators decided to kidnap 
him. An unsuccessful abduction attempt was made on October 19, 1970, 
hj a group of Chilean military officers whom the CIA was actively 
supporting. A second kidnap attempt was made the following day. 

1 Dr. Allende, a long-time Senator and founder of the Socialist Party In Chile, was a 
candidate of the Popular Unity Coalition. The Coalition was made up of Communists, Social- 
ists, Social Democrats, Radicals, and dissident Christian Democrats. Allende was a self-pro- 
claimed Marxist and was making his fourth try for the presidency. His opponents were 
Rodomiro Tomic Romero, candidate of the ruling Christian Democratic Party, and Jorge 
Alessandri Rodriguez, candidate of the right-wing National Party. Dr. Allende won 36.3% 
of the popular vote; Alessandri was second with 35.,^% of the vote. Dr. Allende's margin 
of victory was 39,000 votes out of a total of 3 million votes cast in the election. The 
Incumbent President, Eduardo Frel Montalvo, a Christian Democrat, was ineligible for re- 
election. Chilean law prohibits Presidents from succeeding themselves. 



again unsuccessfully. In the early morning hours of October 22, 1970, 
machine guns and ammunition were passed by the CIA to the group 
that had failed on October 19. That same day General Schneider was 
mortally wounded in an attempted kidnap on his way to work. The 
attempted kidnap and the shooting were apparently conducted by con- 
spirators other than those to whom the CIA had provided weapons 
earlier in the day. 

A Chilean military court found that high-ranking military officers, 
both active and retired, conspired to bring about a military coup and 
to kidnap General Schneider. Several of the officers whom the CIA 
had contacted and encouraged in their coup conspiracy were convicted 
of conspiring to kidnap General Schneider. Those convicted of carry- 
ing out the actual kidnap attempt and the killing of General Schneider 
were associates of retired General Roberto Viaux, who had initially 
been thought by the CIA to be the best hope. However, later the CIA 
discouraged General Viaux because the Agency felt other officers, such 
as General Camilo Valenzuela, were not sufficiently involved. General 
Viaux was convicted by the military court and received a twenty-year 
prison sentence for being the "intellectual author" of the Schneider 
kidnap attempt. General Valenzuela was sentenced by the military 
court to three years in exile for taking part in the conspiracy to prevent 
Allende's assumption of office. The military court found that the two 
Generals had been in contact throughout the coup plotting. 

The principal facts leading up to the death of General Schneider 
(all of which are discussed in more detail below) are as follows: 

1. By the end of September 1970, it appeared that the only feasible 
way for the CIA to implement the Presidential order to prevent Al- 
lende from coming to power was to foment a coup d'etat. 

2. All of the known coup plots developed within the Chilean mili- 
tary entailed the removal of General Schneider by one means or 

3. United States officials continued to encourage and support Chil- 
ean plans for a coup after it became known that the first step would 
be to kidnap General Schneider. 

4. Two unsuccessful kidnap attempts were made, one on October 19, 
the other on October 20. Following these attempts, and with knowl- 
edge of their failure, the CIA passed three submachine guns and am- 
munition to Chilean officers who still planned to kidnap General 

5. In a third kidnap attempt on October 22, apparently conducted 
by Chileans other than those to whom weapons had been supplied. 
General Schneider was shot and subsequently died. The guns used in 
the abortive kidnapping of General Schneider were, in all probability, 
not those supplied by the CIA to the conspirators. Tlie Chilean mili- 
tary court which investigated the Schneider killing determined that 
Schneider had been murdered by handguns, although one machine gun 
was at the scene of the killinof.^ 

1 The Committee has not been able to determine whether or not the machine gun at the 
scene of the Schneider killing was one of the three supplied by the CIA. 


6. While there is no question that the CIA received a direct instruc- 
tion from the President on September 15th to attempt to foment a 
coup, the Committee received sharply conflicting testimony about 
whether the White House was kept ififorlhed of, and authorized, the 
coup efforts in Chile after October 15. On one side of the conflict is 
the testimony of Henry Kissinger and General Alexander Haig; on 
the other, that of CIA officials. Kissinger testified that the White 
House stood down CIA efforts to promote a military coup d'etat in 
Chile on October 15, 1970. After that date, Kissinger testified — and 
Haig agreed — that the White House neither knew of, nor specifically 
approved, CIA coup activities in Chile. CIA officials, on the other 
hand, have testified that their activities in Chile after October 15 
were known to and thus authorized by the WTiite House.^ 

This conflict in testimony, which the Committee has been unable 
to resolve through its hearings or the documentary record, leaves un- 
answered the most serious question of whether the CIA was acting 
pursuant to higher authority (the CIA's view) or was pursuing coup 
activities in Chile without sufficient communication (the Kissinger/ 
Haig view). 


(a) /September 15 White House meeting 

On September 15, 1970, President Nixon met with his Assistant for 
National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, CIA Director Richard 
Helms, and Attorney General John Mitchell at the White House. The 
topic was Chile, Handwritten notes taken by Director Helms at that 
meeting reflect both its tenor and the President's instructions : 

One in 10 chance perhaps, but save Chile ! 

worth spending 

not concerned risks involved 

no involvement of Embassy 

$10,000,000 available, more if necessary 

full-time job — best men we have 

game plan 

make the economy scream 

48 hours for plan of action. 

In his testimony before the Select Committee, Director Helms re- 
called coming away from the meeting on September 15 with : 

* * * [the] impression * * * that the President came down very hard that he 
wanted something done, and he didn't much care how and that he was prepared 
to make money available.* * * This was a pretty all-inclusive order. * * * If I 

^ The basic issue is whether or not the CIA informed the White House of its activities. 
In context, informing was tantamount to being authorized. No one who testified believed 
that the CIA was required to seek step-by-step authorization for Its activities ; rather the 
burden was on the White House to object if a line of actlvit.v being pursued by the CIA 
seemed unwise. Both Kissinger and Haig agreed that if the CIA had proposed a persua- 
sive plan to them, it almost certainly would have been approved. The CIA did not believe 
it needed specific White House authorization to transfer weapons to the Chileans ; In 
fact, CIA Deputy Director (Plans) Thomas Karaiiiessines testified that he did not formally 
approve the transfer, but rather that in the context of the project it was clear that the 
Agency had the authority to transfer weapons and that it was clear to Karamessines' 
subordinates that he would approve their decision to do so. He believed he probably was 
informed before the weapons actually were sent. 


ever carried a marshall's baton in my knapsack out of the Oval Office, it was that 
day.' (Helms, 7/15/75, pp. 6, 10, 11) 

However, none of the CIA officers believed that assassination was with- 
in the guidelines Helms had been given. 

Senator Habt of Colorado. . . . did the kind of carte blanche mandate you 
carried, the marshall's baton that you carried out in a knapsack to stop AUende 
from assuming office include physicial elimination? 

Mr. Hei,ms. Well, not in my mind, because when I became Director, I had 
already made up my mind that we weren't going to have any of that business 
when I was Director, and I had made that clear to my fellows, and I think they 
will tell you this. 

The following day, September 16, Director Helms called a meeting 
at the CIA to discuss the Chilean situation. At this meeting, he 
related to his colleagues his understanding of the President's in- 
structions : 

2. The Director told the group that President Nixon had decided that an 
Allende regime in Chile was unacceptable to the United States. The President 
asked the Agency to prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him. 
The President authorized $10,000,000 for this purpose, if needed. Further, the 
Agency is to carry out this mission without coordination with the Departments 
of State or Defense. (Memorandum/Genesis of the Project, 9/16/70) 

Henry Kissinger's recollection of the September 15 meeting with 
President Nixon is in accord with that of Eichard Helms.^ Although 
Dr. Kissinger did not recall the President's instructions to be as pre- 
cise as those related by Director Helms, he did testify that : 

* * * the primary thrust of the September 15th meeting was to urge Helms to 
do whatever he could to prevent Allende from being seated. (Kissinger, S/12/75, 
p. 13) 

* * * ■ * * * * 

It is clear that President Nixon wanted him [Helms] to encourage the Chilean 
military to cooperate or to take the initiative in preventing Allende from taking 
office. (Kissinger, 8/12/75, p. 12) 

Operationally, the CIA set the President's instructions into motion 
on September 21. On that day two cables were sent from CIA Head- 
quarters to Santiago informing the CIA Chief of Station (COS) of 
his new directive : 

3. Purpose of exercise is to prevent Allende assumption of power. Parlia- 
mentary legerdemain has been discarded. Military solution is objective. (Cable 
236, Hq. to Sta., 9/21/70) 

^ Director Helms also testified that the September 15th meeting with President Nixon 
may have been triggered by the presence of Augustin Edwards, the publisher of the 
Santiago daily El Mercurio, in Washington. That morning, at the request of Donald Ken- 
dall, President of Pepsi Cola, Henry Kissinger and John Mitchell had met for breakfast 
with Kendall and Edwards. (Mitchell calendar) The topic of conversation was the political 
situation in Chile and the plight of El Mercurio and other anti-Allende forces. According 
to Mr. Helms : ,^ ■ ^ , 

I recall that prior to this meeting [with the President] the editor of El Mercurio had 
come to Washington and I had been asked to go and talk to him at one of the hotels 
here, this having been arranged through Don Kendall, the head of the Pepsi Cola Com- 
pany. * * * I have this impression that the President called this meeting where I have 
my handwritten notes because of Edwards' presence in Washington and what he heard 
from Kendall about what Edwards was saying about conditions in Chile and what was 
happening there. (Helms, 7/15/75, pp. 4—5) 
2 The documents, and the officials from whom the Committee has heard testimony, are in 
substantial agreement about what President Nixon authorized on September 15, namely 
CIA involvement in promoting a military coup d'etat in Chile. There is not, however, 
agreement about what was communicated between the CIA and the White House — and 
hence what was authorized by the latter — in the week between October 15 and the shooting 
of General Schneider on October 22. This matter will be discussed in Part V of this report. 


B. (Track Two) — This is authority granted to CIA only, to work toward a 
military solution to problem. As part of authority we were explicitly told that 
40 Committee, State, Ambassador and Embassy were not to be told of this 
Track Two nor involved in any matter. (Cable 240, Hq. to Sta., 9/21/70) 

(6) BackgrouTid: TtocTcs I and II 

United States Government concern over an Allende regime in Chile 
did not begin with President Nixon's September 15 instruction to the 
CIA.^ For more than a year, Chile had been on the 40 Committee's 
agenda. At an April 15, 1969, meeting of the 303 Committee (the pred- 
ecessor of the 40 Committee) the question arose as to whether any- 
thing should be done with regard to the September 1970 Presidential 
election in Chile. At that time, Director Helms pointed out that "an 
election operation will not be effective unless an early enough start is 
made." ^ On March 25, 1970, the 40 Committee approved a joint Em- 
bassy/CIA proposal recommending that "spoiling" operations — 
propaganda and other activities — be undertaken by the CIA in an 
effort to prevent an election victory by AUende's Popular Unity (UP) 
Coalition. A total of $135,000 was authorized by the 40 Committee for 
this anti-Allende activity. On June 18, 1970, the U.S. Ambassador to 
Chile, Edward Korry, submitted a two-phase proposal to the Depart- 
ment of State and the CIA for review. The first phase involved an 
increase in support to the anti-Allende campaign. The second was a 
contingency plan to make "a $500,000 effort in Congress to persuade 
certain shifts in voting on 24 October 1970." On June 27, 1970, the 40 
Committee increased funding for the anti-Allende "spoiling" opera- 
tion to $390,000. A decision on Ambassador Korry's second proposal 
was deferred pending the results of the September 4 election. 

The 40 Committee met twice between the time Allende received a 
plurality of the popular vote on September 4 and President Nixon 
issued his instruction to Director Helms on September 15.^ At both 
these meetings the question of U.S. involvement in a military coup 

* Covert U.S. Government involvement in large-scale political action projrams in Cliile 
began with tiie 1964 Presidential election. As in 1970, this was, in part, in response to the 
perceived threat of Salvador Allende. Over $3 million was spent by the CIA in the 1964 
effort. (Colby. 7/14/75, p. 5) 

2 This and other references to 40 Committee discussions and actions regarding Chile 
are contained in a memorandum provided to the Committee by the CIA entitled "Policy 
Decisions Related to Our Covert Action Involvement in the September 1970 Chilean 
Presidential Election," dated October 9, 1970. On August 25, 1975, we subpoenaed all 
White House/National Security Council documents and records relating to the effort 
by the United States Government to prevent Salvador Allende from assuming office. On 
September 4, the Committee received 46 documents from the White House relating to 
Chile covering the period September 5 to October 14, 1970. 

3 Following the September 4 election, the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence circulated 
an Intelligence community assessment of the impact of an Allende government on U.S. 
national interests. That assessment, dated September 7, 1970, stated : 

Regarding threats to U-S. interests, we conclude that : 

1. The U.S. has no vital national interests within Chile. There would, however, 
be tangible economic losses. 

2. The world military balance of power would not be significantly altered by an 
Allende government. 

3. An Allende victory would, however, create considerable political and psychologi- 
cal costs : 

a. Hemispheric cohesion would be threatened by the challenge that an Allende 
government would pose to the OAS, and by the reactions that it would create in other 
countries. We do not see, however, any likely threat to the peace of the region. 

b. An Allende victory would represent a definite psychological set-back to the U.S. 
and a definite psychological advance for the Marxist idea. (Intelligence Memorandum/ 
"Situation Following the Chilean Presidential Election," CIA's Directorate of Intelli- 
gence, (9/7/70) 


against Allende was raised. Kissinger stressed the importance of these 
meetings when he testified before the Committee : 

I think the meeting of September 15th has to be seen in the context of two 
previous meetings of the 40 Committee on Sept]ember 8th and September 14th 
in which the 40 Committee was asked to look at the pros and cons and the prob- 
lems and prospects of a Chilean military coup tb be organized with United States 
assistance. (Kissinger, 8/12/75, p. 5) 

According to the summary of the 40 Committee meeting on Septem- 
ber 8, the following was discussed : 

* * * all concerned realized that previous plaps for a Phase II would have to 
be drastically redrawn. * * * The DCI made the point, however, that congres- 
sional action against Allende was not likely to succeed and that once Allende was 
in oflSce the Chilean opposition to him would disintegrate and collapse rapidly. 
While not advocating a specific course of action, the Director further observed 
that a military golpe against Allende would have very little chance of success 
unless undertaken soon. Both the Chairman and the Attorney General supported 
this view. * * * At the close of the * * * meeting the Chairman directed the 
Embassy to prepare a "cold-blooded assessment" of : 

(1) the pros and cons and problems and prospects involved should a Chilean 
military coup be organized now with TJ.S. assistance, and 

(2) the pros and cons and problems and prospects involved in organizing an 
effective future Chilean opposition to Allende. (CIA Memorandum/Policy Deci- 
sion Related to Our Covert Action Involvement in the September 1970 Chilean 
Presidential Election, 10/9/70) 

Ambassador Korry responded to the 40 Committee's request for a 
"cold-blooded assessment" on September 12. He stated that "We [the 
Embassy] believe it now clear that Chilean military will not, repeat 
not, move to prevent Allende's accession, barring unlikely situation 
of national chaos and widespread violence." The Ambassador went 
on to say that "Our own military people [are] unanimous in rejecting 
possibility of meaningful military intervention in political situation." 
He concluded by stating : "What we are saying in this 'cold-blooded 
assessment' is that opportunities foi: further significant USG action 
with the Chilean military are nonexistent." (Memorandum/Ambas- 
sador's Response to Request for Analysis of Military Option in Pres- 
ent Chilean Situation, 9/12/70) 

The CIA's response was in the same vein. Kissinger's assistant for 
Latin American aifairs on the NSC staff summarized the CIA's 
"cold-blooded assessment" in a memo to his boss : '"''Military action is 
impossihle ; the military is incapable and unwilling to seize power. We 
have no capability to motivate or instigate a coup." (Memorandum 
for Dr. Kissinger/Chile — 40 Committee Meeting, Monday — Septem- 
ber 14, 1970) 

On September 14, the 40 Committee met to discuss these reports 
and Avhat action was to be taken : 

Particular attention was devoted to a CIA prepared review of political and 
military options in the Chilean electoral situation based on the Embassy and 
Station's "cold-blooded assessment." The Committee focused on the so-called 
"Rube Goldberg" gambit which would see Alessandri elected by the Congress 
on October 24th, resigning thereafter to leave Frei constitutionally free to run 
in a second election for the presidency. 

Ambassador Korry was asked to go directly to President Frei to see if he 
would be willing to commit himself to this line of action. A contingency of 
$250,000 was approved for "covert support of projects which Frei or his trusted 
team deem important." It was further agreed that a propaganda campaign be 
undertaken by the Agency to focus on the damage of an Allende takeover.^ 

1 The $250,000 approved by the 40 Committee was never spent. The only proposal for 
using it which arose — bribing Chilean congressman to vote against Allende — was quickly 
perceived to be unworkable. 


(CIA Memo/Policy Decision Related to Our Covert Action Involvement in the 
September 1970 Chilean Presidential Election, 10/9/70) 

Following the September 14 Forty Committee meeting and Presi- 
dent Nixon's September 15 instruction to the CIA, U.S. Government 
efforts to jjrevent Allende from assuming office proceeded on two 
tracks.^ Track I comprised all covert activities approved by the 40 
Committee, including the $250,000 contingency fund to bribe Chilean 
congressmen as well as propaganda and economic activities. These 
activities were designed to induce the opponents to Allende in Chile 
to prevent his assumption of power, either through political or mili- 
tary means. Track II activities in Chile were undertaken in response to 
President Nixon's September 15 order and were directed towards 
actively promoting and encouraging the Chilean military to move 
against Allende. In his testimony before the Committee, Kissinger 
stressed the links between Tracks I and II : 

* * * There was work by all of the agencies to try to prevent Allende from 
being seated, and there was work by all of the agencies on the so-called Track 
I to encourage the military to move against Allende * * * the difference between 
the September 15th meeting and what was being done in general within the 
government was that President Nixon was encouraging a more direct role for 
the CIA in actually organizing such a coup. (Kissinger, 8/12/75, p. 13) 

Tracks I and II did, in fact, move together in the month after Sep- 
tember 15. The authorization to Ambassador Korry, who was formally 
excluded from Track II, to encourage a military coup became broader 
and broader. In the 40 Committee meeting on September 14, he and 
other "appropriate members of the Embassy Mission" were authorized 
to intensify their contacts with Chilean military officers to assess their 
willingness to support the "Frei gambit" — a voluntary turn-over of 
power to the military by Frei, who would then have been eligible to 
rmi for President in a new election. (Memorandum/Policy Decisions 
Kelated to Our Covert Action Involvement in the September 1970 
Chilean Presidential Election, 10/9/70) 

In a situation report to Dr. Kissinger and Assistant Secretary 
Charles Meyer on September 21, Ambassador Korry indicated that 
in order to make the Frei gambit work, "if necessary. General Schnei- 
der would have to be neutralized, by displacement if necessary." ^ 

iThe terms Track I and Track II were known only to CIA and White House officials 
who were knowledgeable about the President's September 15 order to the CIA. The Com- 
mittee sent letters to various senior officials inquiring if they were, in fact, not knowledge- 
able of the Track II activities. Those letters were sent to Secretary of State William 
Rogers, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, Deputy Secretary of Defense David Packard, 
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs U. Alexis Johnson, Chairman of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer, NSC Staff Member for Latin America Viron P. 
Vaky, Director of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research Ray S. 
Cline, and the Deputy Chief of Mission in Santiago Harry W. Shlaudeman. The Committee 
has received written responses from Messrs. Moorer, Johnson, Vaky, Shlaudeman and 
Cline. All except Cline have indicated that they had no knowledge of the Track II activity 
at the time ; Cline indicated he heard of the activities in a general way, from his sub- 
ordinate who handled 40 Committee work and from former associates at the CIA. In 
oral communications with Committee staff members, Secretaries Rogers and Laird have 
Indicated they were unaware of Track II. 

2 In this same situation report, Ambassador Korry related a message that he had sent 
to President Frei through his Defense Minister Indicating the economic pressures that 
would be brought to bear on Chile should Allende assume office : 

Frei should know that not a nut or bolt will be allowed to reach Chile under Allende. 

Once Allende comes to power we shall do all within our power to condemn Chile and the 

Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty, a policy designed for a long time to come 

to accelerate the hard features of a Communist society in Ciliile. Hence, for Frei to 

believe that there will be much of an alternative to utter misery, such as seeing Chile 

muddle through, would be strictly illusory. 

The use of economic instruments as levers on Frei and the Chilean military was a 

persistent subject of White House/CIA discussions and of instructions to the field. 

Helms' notes from the September 15 meeting with the President included the notation 

"make the economy scream." Economic leverage was the primary topic of a September 18 

White House meeting involving Kissinger, Helms and Karamessines. 


(Situation Report, Korry to Meyer and Kissinger, 9/21/70) In testi- 
fying, Kissinger felt the Korry report indicated "the degree to which 
Track I and Track II were merging, that is to say, that individuals on 
Track I were working on exactly the same problem as the CIA was 
working on Track II." (Kissinger, 8/12/75, p. 21) 

Ambassador Korry's activities in Chile between September 4 and 
October 24 support Kissinger's view that the line separating Track I 
and Track II often became blurred. For example, the Ambassador was 
authorized to make his contacts in the Chilean military aware that if 
Allende were seated, the military could expect no further military 
assistance (MAP) from the United States. Later, in response to his 
own recommendation, Korry was authorized to inform the Chilean 
military that all MAP and military sales were being held in abeyance 
pending the outcome of the Congressional election on October 24. On 
October 7, Ambassador Korry received the following cable from 
Washington, apparently authorized by the 40 Committee : 

2. * * * you are now authorized to inform discreetly the Chilean military 
through the channels available to you that if a successful effort is made to block 
Allende from taking ofHce, we would reconsider the cuts we have thus far been 
forced to make in Chilean MAP and otherwise increase our presently programmed 
MAP for the Chilean Armed Forces. * ♦ ♦ If any steps the military should take 
should result in civil disorder, we would also be prepared promptly to deliver 
support and material that might be immediately required. (Cable 075517, Hq. to 
Sta., 10/7/70) 

The essential difference between Tracks I and II, as evidenced by 
instructions to Ambassador Korry during this period, was not that 
Track II was coup-oriented and Track I was not. Both had this objec- 
tive in mind The difference between the two tracks was, simply, that 
the CIA's direct contacts with the Chilean military, and its active 
promotion and support for a coup without President Frei's involve- 
ment, were to be known only to a small group of individuals in the 
White House and the CIA. Kissinger testified that Track II matters 
were to be reported directly to the White House "for reasons of secur- 
ity." (Kissinger, 8/12/75, p. 14) Thomas Karamessines, the CIA's 
Deputy Director for Plans at the time and the principal CIA contact 
with the White House on Track II matters, testified on his understand- 
ing of why State, Defense, the 40 Committee and Ambassador Korry 
were excluded from Track II : 

That was not a decision that we made. But the best I can do is suggest that 
there was concern about two things. Number one, that there might be serious 
objections lodged, for example, by the State Department particularly if Track II 
were to be laid out at a Forty Committee meeting. And the only other thing I 
can contribute to that is that it was felt that the security of the activity would be 
better protected if knowledge of it were limited. (Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 122) 

{c) CIA views of difficulty of project 

On one point the testimony of the CIA officials who were involved 
in Track II is unanimous : they all said they thoug'ht Track II was 
unlikely to succeed. That view ran from the working levels of the 
Agency to the top. They all said they felt they were being asked to do 
the impossible, that the risks and potential costs of the project were 
too great. At the same time, they felt they had been given an explicit 
Presidential order, and they tried to execute that order. 


A few excerpts from the testimony follow : 
Richard Helms, CIA Director — 

* * * my heart sank over this meeting, because * * * the possibility of bringing 
off something like this seemed to me at that time to be just as remote as anything 
could be. In practical terms, the Army was constitutionalist. ♦ * * And when 
you look here at the time frame in which the man was suddenly asking you to 
accomplish something, it seemed really almost inconceivable. * * * 

What I came away from the meeting with the distinct impression that we were 
being asked to do almost the impossible and trying to indicate this was going 
to be pretty tough. * * * (Helms, 7/15/75, pp. 6-7) 

Chief, Chile Task Force— 

* * * it [was] my feeling that the odds [were] unacceptable, it [was] some- 
thing that [was] not going to work, and we [were] going to be burned if we [got] 
into it * * * what [were] the chances of pulling off a coup successfully, or in any 
way stopping Allende from assuming the presidency? * ♦ * we never even got to 
two chances out of 20. (Chief, Chile Task Force, 7/31/75, p. 16) 

* * * I assure you that those people that I was in touch with at the Agency 
just about universally said, my God, why are we given this assignment? (Chief, 
Chile Task Force, 7/31/75, p. 53) 

Deputy Chief, Western Hemisphere Division — 

There was just no question that we had to make this effort, no matter what the 
odds were. And I think that most people felt that the odds were just pretty long. 
(Deputy Chief/WH Division, 7/15/75, p. 20) 

Further, CIA officials believed their judgment of the project's 
difficulty was known to the White House. Helms commented on the 
September 15th meeting: "So realizing all of these things, I'm rela- 
tively certain that day that I pointed out this is going to be awfully 
tough." (Helms, 7/15/75, p. 16) Karamessines recalled pointing out to 
the President that "the Chilean military seemed to be disorganized and 
unwilling to do anything. And without their wanting to do something, 
there did not seem to be much hope." (Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 10) 


(a) Evolution of CIA strategy 

The President's instruction to the CIA on September 15 to prevent 
Allende's assumption of power was given in the context of a broad 
U.S. Government effort to achieve that end. The September 15 in- 
struction to the CIA involved from the beginning the promotion of a 
military coup d'etat in Chile. Although there was talk of a coup in 
Chilean military circles, there was little indication that it would actu- 
ally take place without active U.S. encouragement and support. 

There was much talk among Chilean oflBcers about the possibility of some kind 
of coup . . . but this was not the kind of talk that was being backed by, y6u 
know, serious organizational planning. (Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 32) 

(i) The ^^Constitutional Coup^^ Approach 

Although efforts to achieve a political solution to the Allende victory 
continued simultaneous with Track II, the Agency premised its ac- 
tivities on the assumption that the political avenue was a dead end. On 
September 21, CIA Headquarters cabled its Station in Santiago: 

Purpose of exercise is to prevent Allende assumi>tion of power. Paramilitary 
legerdemain has been discarded. Military solution is objective. (Cable 236, Hq. to 
Sta., 9/21/70) 


The initial strategy attempted to enlist President Frei in promoting 
a coup to perpetuate his presidency for six more years. The Agency 
decided to promise "help in any election which was an outgrowth of a 
successful military takeover." (Memo, Helms to Kissinger, 11/18/70) 
Under this plan Frei would invite the military to take over, dissolve 
the Congress, and proclaim a new election. Thomas Karamessines, the 
Deputy Director for Plans, testified : 

So this was in a sense not Track II, but in a sense another aspect of a quiet and 
hopefully non-violent military coup. * * * This was abandoned when the military 
were reluctant to push Frei publicly * * * and, number two, Frei was reluctant 
to leave on his own in the absence of pressure from the military. * * * There 
was left as the only chance of success a straight military coup. (Karamessines 
8/6/75, p. 6) 

At the same time, the Station in Santiago reported : 

Strong reasons for thinking neither Frei nor Schneider will act. For that 
reason any scenario in which either has to play an active role now appears utterly 
unrealistic. Overtures to lower echelon officers (e.g., Valenzuela) can of course 
be made. This involves promoting Army split. (Cable 424, Sta. to Hq., 9/23/70) 

(^^) Military Solution 

President Frei's failure even to attempt to dissuade his own party 
convention on October 3^ from reaching a compromise with Allende 
ended all hope of using him to prevent an Allende presidency. (Memo, 
Helms to Kissinger, 11/18/70, p. 16) Thus, by the beginning of Octo- 
ber, it was clear that a vehicle for a military solution would have 
to be found in the second echelon of Chilean officers, and that the 
top leadership of the Armed Services, particularly General Rene 
Schneider, constituted a stumbling block. (Cable 424, Sta. to Hq., 
9/23/70; Cable 439, Sta. to Hq., 9/30/70) The Agency's task was to 
cause a coup in a highly unpromising situation and to overcome the 
formidable obstacles represented by Frei's inaction, Schneider's strong 
constitutionalism, and the absence of organization and enthusiasm 
among those officers who were interested in a coup. 

A three-fold program was set into motion : 

a. Collect intelligence on coup-minded officers ; 

b. Create a coup climate by propaganda,^ disinformation, and terrorist activi- 
ties intended to provoke the left to give a pretext for a coup : (Cable 611, Hq. to 
Sta., 10/7/70) 

c. Inform those coup-minded officers that the U.S. Government would give them 
full support in a coup short of direct U.S. military intervention. (Cable 762, Hq. 
to Sta., 10/14/70) 

lA cable sent from CIA Headquarters to Santiago on October 19 focused on creating 
an appropriate justification for a coup. The cable stated : 

1. It still appears that Ref A coup has no pretext or justification that It can offer to 
make it acceptable in Chile or Latin America. It therefore would seem necessary to create 
one to bolster what will probably be their claim to a coup to save Chile from com- 
munism * * * You may wish Include variety of themes in justification of coup to military 
for their use. These could include but are not limited to: (A) Firm Intel, that Cubans 
planned to reorganize all intelligence services along Soviet/Cuban mold thus creating 
structure for police state. * * * (B) Economic situation collapsing. * * * (C) By quick 
recognition of Cuba and Communist countries Allende assumed U.S. would cut off material 
assistance to Armed Forces thus weakening them as constitutional barriers. Would then 
empty armories to Communist Peoples Militia with task to run campaign of terror based 
on alleged labor and economic sabotage. (Use some quotes from Allende on this.) 

2. Station has written some excellent prop guidances. Using themes at hand and which 
best known to you we are now askine you to prepare Intel report based on some well 
known facts and some fiction to justify coup, split opposition, and gain adherents for 
military group. With appropriate military contact can determine how to "discover" Intel 
report which could even be planted during raids planned by Carabineros. 

3. We urge you to get this idea and some concrete suggestions to plotters as soon as you 
can. Coup should have a justification to prosper. (Cable 882, Hq. to St.. 10/19/70) 


(h) The Chile task force 

Because of the highly sensitive nature of the operation, a special 
task force was created in the CIA's Western Hemisphere Division to 
manage it. The task force was placed under the daily direction of the 
Deputy Director for Plans, Thomas Karamessines, and a group of the 
Agency's most experienced and skilled operators were detailed to the 
task force. One experienced CIA officer was summoned back to Wash- 
ington from an overseas assignment to head the operation. With the 
exception of the Division Chief, William Broe, his deput}' and the 
head of the Chile Branch, no other officers in the Division were aware 
of the task force's activities, not even those officers who normally had 
responsibility for Chile. The task force had a special communications 
channel to Santiago and Buenos Aires to compartment cable traffic 
about Track II. (Memo, Helms to Kissinger, 11/18/70, p. 30) Most of 
the significant operational decisions were made by the Chief of the 
Chile Task Force, Broe and Karamessines, who met on a daily basis. 

It should be noted that all those involved with the task force de- 
scribed the pressure from the White House as intense. Indeed, Kara- 
messines has said that Kissinger "left no doubt in my mind that he was 
under the heaviest of pressure to get this accomplished, and he in turn 
was placing us under the heaviest of pressures to get it accomplished." 
(Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 7) The Deputy Chief of the Western Heni- 
isphere Division testified that pressure was "as tough as I ever saw it 
in my time there, extreme." (Deputy Chief /WH Division, 7/18/75, 
p. 20) Broe testified that "I have never gone through a period as we 
did on the Chilean thing. I mean it was just constant, constant, * * * 
Just continual pressure. * * * It was coming from the Wliite House." 
(Broe, 8/4/75, p. 55) 

{g) Use of the U.S. military attache and interagency relations 

The CIA Station in Santiago had inadequate contacts within the 
Chilean military to carry out its task. However, a U.S. military at- 
tache in Santiago knew the Chilean military very well due to his 
broad personal contacts among the Chilean officers. Following a pro- 
posal by the Chief of Station, the CIA decided to enlist the attache 
in collecting intelligence concerning the possibility of a coup and to 
use him as a channel to let the interested Chilean military know of 
U.S. support for a coup. Karamessines described this procedure for 
the Committee : 

We also needed contact with a wider segment of the military, the senior mili- 
tary which we had not maintained and did not have, but which we felt confident 
that our military representative in Chile had. * * * And we got the approval 
of the DIA to enlist the cooperation of the attache in our effort to procure 
intelligence. (Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 6) 

To obtain the attache's services, CIA officials prepared a suggested 
message for the Director of DIA to send to him in Santiago 
through CIA communications channels. Because the DIA Director, 
General Donald V. Bennett, was in Europe on official business, the 
Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, General Cushman, invited 
DIA Deputy Director Dt. General Jamie M. Philpott to his office 


on September 28, 1970.^ During that meeting, General Cushman re- 
quested the assistance of the attache, and General Philpott signed a 
letter which authorized transmission of a message directing him : 

* * * to work closely with the CIA chief, or in his absence, his deputy, in 
contacting and advising the principal military figures who might play a decisive 
role in any move which might, eventually, deny the presidency to Allende. 

Do not, repeat not, advise the Ambassador or the Defense Attache of this 
message, or give them any indication of its portent. In the course of your routine 
activities, act in accordance with the Ambassador's instructions. Simultaneously, 
I wish — and now authorize you — to act in a concerted fashion with the CIA 

This message is for your eyes only, and should not be discussed with any per- 
son other than those CIA oflBcers who will be knowledgeable. CIA will identify 
them. (Cable 380, Hq. to Sta., 9/28/75) 

For this and all subsequent messages intended for the attache, 
the secret CIA communications channel was used. 

Both General Philpott and Thomas Karamessines testified that ini- 
tially the attache would be used only to "obtain or procure" in- 
telligence on Chilean military officers.- (Philpott, 8/5/75, p. 11; 
Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 6) The September 28, 1970 message to the 
attache, however, did in fact trigger his deep involvement in the coup 
attempt. According to the attache's testimony, he received day-to-day 
instructions from the Chief of Station, and on occasion, the COS 
would show him messages, ostensibly from Generals Bennett and/or 
Philpott, directing him to take certain actions. The COS also trans- 
mitted messages from the attache to these Generals. 

General Bennett testified that he never had knowledge of Track II 
and that he never received any communication relating thereto, nor 
did he ever authorize the transmission of any messages to the attache. 
General Philpott also testified that he had no recollection of anything 
connected with Track II after his initial meeting with General Cush- 
man on September 28. (Philpott. 8/5/75. p. 16) 

U.S. Army Colonel Robert C. Roth, who in September and October 
1970 was the Chief of the Human Resources Division, Director of Col- 
lection, DIA, testified that he recalled working for Generals Bennett 
and Philpott on "a priority requirement to identify Chilean personali- 
ties who might be helpful in preventing the election of Allende as 
President of Chile." (Roth, 8/14/75, p. 6) Though Roth recalls no 
mention of Track II as such, the goal of this mission was identical to 
that described in the message of September 28 bearing Philpott's 

Beginning on October 15, Roth kept a chronology of his activities 
connected with Chile. This chronology reflects that there was a meeting 
on October 21 regarding the preparation of biographic material on 
Chilean generals which focused on their willingness to participate in 
a military coup. Generals Bennett, Philpott, and a CIA representa- 
tive attended. The chronology also shows that on October 21 . Roth 
delivered a message to Mr. Broe to be sent by CIA channels.^ A 

1 General Bennett returned to the United States on the evening of October 10, 1970. 
General Philpott was Actlntr Director In Bennett's absence. 

''In this connection It should be noted that when onestloned about this letter. General 
Philpott testified that be recalled slgnine an authorization such as that contained In the 
first paragraph of Heaiiouarters .380 btit that he did not recall the authorizations and 
Instructions In paragraphs two and three. 

* Roth believes that General Philpott directed him to deliver this message and also 
pressed him on several rx^f^aslons to seek a response from Broe to an earlier message to 
the attache. (Roth, 10/7/75. p. 53) 


message was sent to the attache that same day, ostensibly from 
General Bennett, which authorized : 

FYI : Suspension temporarily imposed on MAP and FMS has been rescinded. 
This action does not repeat not imply change in our estimate of situation. On the 
contrary, it is intended to place us in a posture in which we can formally cut 
off assistance if Allende elected and situation develops as we anticipate. Request 
up date on situation. (Cable 446, Sta. to Hq., 10/21/70; Ref . : Cable 762, Hq. to 
Sta., (Cable 934, Hq. to Sta., 10/21/70) 

Roth testified that this DIA project ended on October 23 when he 
followed Philpott's instructions to deliver biographic information on 
Chilean figures to Mr. Broe at CIA. Philpott also instructed him that 
"any further action on the subject would henceforth be the respon- 
sibility of the CIA and that DIA would perform normal support 
functions." (Roth, 8/14/75, p. 8) ^ 

Both Bennett and Philpott testified that the activities described by 
Roth were routine DIA activities. However, Colonel Roth testified: 

I believe my impression at the time, or my recollection, is that I was informed 
that there was concern at the highest U.S. Governmental level over the possible 
election of Allende, that DIA then had a priority responsibility of coming up with 
the identities of key Chilean personalities that would be helpful, and so forth. 
I have nothing specific as to the nature of the instructions or the channels through 
which they came. 

Q. It was your sense at the time that you were working on a project that if 
it had not been initiated by, at least had the attention of or concern of, the 
highest level? 

Colonel Roth. That was my impression at the time. 

Q. You understand from your work in the Defense Department that the highest 
level of government usually indicated the President of the United States? 

Colonel Roth. I would assume that. 

The CIA produced copies of several messages which identify Gen- 
erals Bennett and Philpott as either the sender or recipient. Among 
these documents is a message relating to Track II which bears Phil- 
pott's purported signature. (Undated message, 10/14/70) General 
Philpott admitted that the signature appears to be his but doubted 
that it was and he could not recall signing it, or having seen it. (Phil- 
pott, 8/5/75, p. 22) CIA also produced messages of October 14 (Cable 
762, Hq. to Sta., 10/14/70) and October 21 (Cable, 934, Hq. to Sta., 
10/21/70) conveying instructions from General Bennett to the attache. 
General Bennett testified he did not authorize these messages : 

It is beyond the responsibilities which I had in the military assistance area. 
It goes beyond the responsibility which I had in terms that I would have to get 
the authority or the approval of the Secretary through the Chairman for covert 
action of this magnitude. This message would not have been signed by me. 
(Bennett, 8/5/75, p. 21) 

According to Karamessines, only the White House had the authority to 
issue the directives contained in those messages. (Karamessines, 8/6/75, 
p. 84) 

The Department of Defense was unable to provide any documents 
bearing on the issue of the attache's Track II instructions or responses. 
A DOD file search under the direction of General Daniel O. Graham, 
Director of DIA, produced no copies of communication documents for 
the September-October 1970 period. (Graham, 8/5/75, p. 6) However, 

^ Roth's chronology also Indicates that Philpott had asked that Broe be queried on two 
or three occasions regarding a report from the attache and that Philpott instructed that 
only he (Philpott) would communicate with Cushman If the need arose. (Roth. 8A4/75, 
p. 11 > Roth Hlso testified that Philpott advised him that communications with the attache 
would be by CIA channels. (Roth, 8/14/75, p. 41) 


Eoth testified that detailed memoranda for tlie record which he pre- 
pared on his activities are missing from the files. (Roth, 10/7/75. p. 58) 
CIA officials maintain that they acted faithfully in transmitting 
messages to Generals Bennett and/or Philpott and in never sending a 
message without proper authorization. Mr. Karamessines was par- 
ticularly forceful in this regard : 

* * * I can recall no instance in my experience at the Central Intelligence 
Agency in which a message was received for an individual, an officer of the 
government anywhere, in whatever department, which was not faithfully, di- 
rectly, promptly and fully and accurately delivered to that officer, or to his duly 
authorized representative. (Karamessines, 8/0/75, p. 79) 

We may have played tricks overseas, but it stopped at the water's edge, and 
we didn't play tricks among ourselves or among our colleagues within the Agency 
or in other agencies. (Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 79) 

We could not remain in business for a day * * * if this had been the practice 
of the Agency. It would have been no time at all before we would have been 
found out, a single instance of the kind of thing you are suggesting might have 
taken place would have put us out of business. (Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 80) 

Dr. Kissinger denied he was ever informed of the attache's role or 
that he authorized any messages to be sent to the attache. (Kissinger, 
8/12/75, p. 22) 

The investigation to date has not resolved the conflict between the 
statements of the senior CIA, DIA and White House officials. There 
are four possibilities that could explain the conflict. First, Generals 
Bennett and Philpott were cognizant of Track II and communicated 
their general instructions to the attache. This possibility Avould be con- 
trary to their sworn testimony. Second, General Bennett was not aware 
of Track II but General Philpott was and communicated general in- 
structions to the attache. This possibility is supported by Roth's 
testimony but would be contrary to Philpott 's sworn testimony and his 
duty to keep General Bennett informed. Third, the CIA acted on its 
own, and, after receiving initial authority from General Philpott, co- 
oj^ted and ordered the attache without further informing any member 
of the Department of Defense or the White House. This possibility 
would be contrary to the swoni testimony of the Chief of the Chile 
Task Force. William Broe, Thomas Karamessines, and William Colby. 
Fourth, members of the White House staff authorized the CIA to con- 
vey orders to the attache on the basis of high or highest government 
authority. Further, that the White House staff directed that the 
attache's superiors in the Pentagon not be informed. This possibility 
w'ould contradict the sworn testimony of Dr. Kissinger and General 
Alexander Haig. 

(d) Agents irho posed as third country nationals 

In order to minimize the risks of making contact with dissident 
Chilean officers, the task force decided in late September to send four 
agents to Chile posing as third country nationals to supplement the 
attache's contacts with Chilean military officers. Headquarters felt this 
Avas necessary because "We don't want to miss a chance." (Cable 363, 
Hq. to Sta., 9/27/70) The agents were compartmented from each 
other and reported separately on their contacts to an operative in 
Santiago, who in turn reported to the Station. According to the testi- 
mony of the Chief of Station, they received their instructions from 
Washington and not from the Station. 

' (e) Chief of Station 

Although most of the Station officers in Santiago did not know of 
Track II, the Chief and Deputy Chief of Station were knowledgeable 
and the Chief of Station initiated contacts on his own with Chilean 
officers. The COS has testified that he regarded Track II as unrealistic : 

I had left no doubt in the minds of my colleagues and superiors that I did 
not consider any kind of intervention in those constitutional processes desirable. 
* * * And one of the reasons certainly for my last recall [to Washington] was 
to be read the riot act — which was done in a very pleasant, but very intelligible 
manner. Specifically, I was told at that time that the Agency was not too 
interested in continuously being told by me that certain proposals which had 
been made could not be executed, or would be counterproductive. (Chief of 
Station (Felix) , 8/1/75, p. 10) 

The Chief of Station's objection to Track II did not go unnoticed. 
The following instruction to the COS was sent on October 7 : "Report 
should not contain analysis and argumentation but simply report on 
action taken." (Cable 612, Hq. to Sta., 10/7/70) Very simply, Head- 
quarters wanted the Station to take orders quietly as was the Agency 

Three examples of the Chief of Station's reporting bear out his 
claim to have dissented : 

Bear in mind that parameter of action is exceedingly narrow and available 
options are quite limited and relatively simple. (Cable 424, Sta. to Hq., 9/23/70) 

Feel necessary to caution against any false optimism. It is essential that we 
not become victims of our own propaganda. (Cable 441, Sta. to Hq., 10/1/70) 

Urge you do not convey impression that Station has sure-fire method of 
halting, let alone triggering coup attempts. (Cable 477, Sta. to Hq., 10/7/70, p. 2) 


(a) The Chilean Conspirators 

Anti-Allende coup plotting in Chile centered around several key 
individuals. One of these was retired General Roberto Viaux, the 
General who had led the "Tacnazo" insurrection a year before.^ Fol- 
lowing the "Tacnazo" revolt, and his dismissal from the Army, Viaux 
retained the support of many non-commissioned and junior officers as 
well as being the recognized leader of several right-wing civilian 
groups. (CIA Briefing Paper, "Special Mandate from the President 
on Chile," 7/15/75) Another individual around which plotting cen- 
tered was General Camilo Valenzuela, Commander of the Santiago 
Garrison, who was in league with several other Chilean officers. (CIA 
Report on Chilean Task Force Activities, 11/18/70) These officers, 
with one possible exception, were in contact with Viaux as well.^ 

There was considerable communication among the various plotting 
elements. As Thomas Karamessines testified : 

♦ ♦ ♦ I might add here that it seemed that a good dozen or more Chilean senior 
officers were privy to what was going on * * ♦ they were all talking to one another 

^ This revolt was engineered by Viaux ostensibly for the purposes of dramatizing the 
military's demand for higher pay, but was widely interpreted as an abortive coup. 

2 The record of meetings between Viaux and the active duty military officers is incom- 
plete. The record does show, however, that several met with Viaux during the Track II 
period. One high ranking officer may have been a member of Vlaux's inner circle of 
conspirators. Although a distinction can be made between the Viaux and Valenzuela groups, 
as CIA witnesses did throughout their testimony before the Committee, the prlncloal dis- 
tinction between the two was that the latter was led by active duty military officers. The 
two groups were in contact with each other. The record also indicates that they worked 
together in at least two of the three Schneider kidnap attempts. 


exchanging views and trying to see how best to mount the kind of coup that they 
wanted to see take place. (Karamessines, 8/6/75, p, 10.) 

(b) Contacts prior to October 15 

The CIA's initial task in Chile was to assess the potential within the 
Chilean military to stage a coup. It recognized quickly that anti- 
Allende currents did exist in tlie military and the Carabineros 
(police), but were immobilized by "the tradition of military respect 
for the Constitution" and "the public and private stance of General 
Schneider, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, who advocated strict 
adherence to the Constitution." (CIA Report on Chilean Task Force 
Activities, 11/18/70), p. 17) The Agency's task, then, was to overcome 
"the apolitical, constitutional-oriented inertia of the Chilean mili- 
tary." (Ibid, p. 2) 

Since the very top of the Chilean military, embodied by General 
Schneider and his second-in-command. General Prats, were hostile to 
the idea of a coup against Allende, discreet approaches were made to 
the second level of general officers. They were to be informed that the 
U.S. Government would support a coup both before and after it took 
place/ (Cable 611, Hq. to Sta., 10/7/70) This effort began in earnest 
on October 5 when the attache informed both an Army General 
("Station's priority contact") and an Air Force General of the pro- 
coup U.S. policy. (Santiago 469, October 5; Santiago 473, October 
6.) 2 Three days later the Chief of Station told a high ranking Cara- 
binero official that "the U.S. Government favors a military solution 
and is willing to support it in any manner short of outright military 
intervention." (Task Force Log, 10/9/70) The official informed the 
COS that there was no chance of a coup by the Chilean Army high 
command. ( Task Force Log, 10/10/70) 

On October 7, the attache approached members of the War Academy 
in Santiago who in turn asked him to provide light weapons. This was 
the attache's first contact with the Army officer to whom he would 
ultimately pass three submachine gims on October 22.^ At this meet- 
ing, the Army officer told the attache that he and his colleagues were : 

* * * Trying to exert forces on Frei fo eliminate Gen. Schneider to either re- 
place him, send him out of the count i-y. They had even studied plans to kidnap 
him. Schneider is the main barrier to all plans for the military to take over the 
government to prevent an Allende presidency. (Cable 483, Sta. to Hq., 10/8/70) 

The next day, October 8, Headquarters cabled the Station in re- 

1 The military officers were told, for example, that should Allende be prevented from 
taking office, "The Chilean military will not be ostracized, but rather can continue to 
count on us for MAP support and maintenance of our close relationship." (Cable 075517, 
Hq. to Sta., 10/7/70) 

2 According to the CIA's wrap-up report on Track II, between October 5 and October 20, 
the CIA Station and the attache — ^for the most part the latter — made 2i contacts with key 
military and Carablnero officials. (CIA Eeport on Chilean Task Force Activities. 11/8/70) 

3 In his testimony, the attache Indicated tliat the Army officer was affiliated with an Army 
general. (U.S. military attache, 8/41/75, p. 52) In a cable sent to Headquarters on Octo- 
ber 18, in which the Army officer's reauest for three submachine guns was made, the Station 
indicated that the attache believed the officer, and his comnanlon, a Navy officer were in 
league with a Navy admiral. (Cable 562, Sta. lo Hq., 10/18/70) At another point in his tes- 
timony, the attache stated. '"There was Valenzuela here and the Navy officer and the Army 
officer and the Air Force General over here." (The attache, 8/4/75, p. 107) The Committee 
has been unable to determine the exact affiliation of the Army officer. However, as previoi'sly 
stated, both the Army general and the Navy admiral were affiliated with General Valen- 
zuela and the Navy admiral was in contact with General Viaux. 


sponse to the attache-Army officer meeting. Headquarters took note of 
Schneider's resistance to coup plans and stated : 

* * * This would make it more important than ever to remove him and to 
bring this new state of events . . . aiiytliing we or Station can do to effect 
removal of Schneider? We know this rhetorical question, but wish inspire 
thought on both ends on this matter. (Cable 628, Hq. to Sta., 10/8/70) 

During the first week of intensive efforts chances of success looked 
bleak. The Chile Task Force Log connnented : 

* * * the highest levels of the armed forces unable to pull themselves together 
to block Allende. The Chilean military's tradition of non-intervention, Frei's re- 
luctance to tarnish his historical image, General Schneider's firm constitutional 
stand, and most importantly, the lack of leadership within the government and 
military are working against a military takeover. (Task Force Log, 10/8/70) 

The following day the Station made reference to the "rapid (ly) 
waning chances for success." (Cable 487, Sta. to Hq., 10/9/70) This 
pessimism was not dispelled by their simultaneous judgment: "Sta- 
tion has arrived at Viaux solution by process of elimination." (Cable 
504, Sta. to Hq., 10/10/70) Three days later the Task Force agreed: 
"We continue to focus our attention on General Viaux who now ap- 
pears to be the only military leader willing to block Allende." (Task 
Force Log, 10/13/70) 

If Viaux was the CIA's only hope of staging a coup, things were 
bleak indeed. His own colleagues, including General Valenzuela, de- 
scribed him as "a General without an army." (Cable 495, Sta. to Hq., 
10/9/70) Yet in the first two weeks of October he came to be regarded 
as the best hope for carrying out the CIA's Track II mandate. 

Although the U.S. military attache was instructed not to involve 
himself with Viaux because of the high risk involved (Cable 461, Sta. 
to Hq., 10/5/70), he served initially as a contact to Viaux through a 
military attache of another country. This attache reported on October 5 
that Viaux wanted several hundred paralyzing gas grenades to launch 
a coup on October 9. (Cable 476, Sta. to Hq., 10/6/70) Headquarters 
turned down the request, concluding that a "mini-coup at this juncture 
would be counterproductive" and Viaux should postpone his plans, 
"while encouraging him in a suitable manner to maintain his posture 
so that he may join larger movement later if it materializes." (Cable 
585, Hq. to Sta., 10/6/70) 

The primary purpose of the CIA agents who posed as third country 
nationals was to contact Viaux, and they very rapidly relieved the at- 
tache of his indirect role in that task. Viaux reiterated his demand for 
an air drop of weapons to one of these CIA agents, and again the re- 
sponse was the same : reject the demand for arms, but encourage him to 
keep planning. In essence the Agency was buying time with Viaux : 
"We wish to encourage Viaux to expand and refine his coup planning. 
Gain some influence over his actions." (Cable 689, Hq. to Sta., 10/10/ 
70) To achieve this latter purpose. Headquarters authorized passing 
$20,000 in cash and a promise of $250,000 in life insurance to Viaux 
and his associates, as a demonstration of U.S. support. (Cable 729, Hq. 
to Sta., 10/13/70) 

On October 13, Headquarters again indicated its concern over 
Schneider by asking : "What is to keep Schneider from making state- 
ment in early hours which will freeze those military leaders who might 


otherwise join ViauxT' (Cable 729, Hq. to Sta., 10/13/70.) The Sta- 
tion's response later that same day was "'Viaux intends to kidnap 
Generals Schneider and Prats within the next 48 hours in order to 
precipitate a coup." (Cable 527, Sta. to Hq., 10/13/70) This Viaux 
kidnapping of Schneider was reported by the Station ''as part of a 
coup that included Valenzuela." (Cable 529, Sta. to Hq., 10/13/70) 
At about this time the Station began to receive encouragement from 
its other contacts. On October 14, ten days before the Chilean Congress 
was to vote, the Task Force Log concluded : 

Now we are beginning to see signs of increasing coup activity from other mili- 
tary quarters, specifically, an Army General [deleted] and Admiral [deleted], 
and tlie forces in Concepcion and Valdivis * * * (Task Force Log, 10/14/70) 

(c) October 15 decision 

To siunmarize, by October 15 General Viaux had advertised to his 
contact a desire to proceed with a coup, had indicated he would deal 
with the Schneider obstacle by kidnapping him, had met at least once 
with General Valenzuela and had once postponed his coup plans.^ 

On October 15 Thomas Karamessines met with Henry Kissinger and 
Alexander Haig at the White House to discuss the situation in Chile. 
According to the Agency's record of this meeting, Karamessines pro- 
vided a rundown on Viaux, a meeting betw^een two other Chilean mili- 
tary coup conspirators, and, in some detail, "the general situation in 
Chile from the coup-possibility viewpoint.'' (JNIemorandum of Conver- 
sation/Kissinger, Karamessines, and Haig, 10/15/70) A decision was 
made at the meeting '"to cle-fuse the Viaux coup plot, at least 
temporarily :" 

It was decided by those present that the Agency must get a message to Viaux 
warning him against any precipitate action. In essence the message should state : 
"We have reviewed your plans and based on your information and ours, we come 
to the conclusion that your plans for a coup at this time cannot succeed. Failing, 
they may reduce your capabilities in the future. Preserve your assets. We will 
stay in touch. Tlie time will come when you with all your other friends can do 
something. You will continue to have our support." (Memorandum of Conversa- 
tion, Kissinger, Karamessines, Haig, 10/15/70) 

The meeting concluded, according to the Agency's record, "on Dr. 
Kissinger's note that the Agenc}^ should contmue keeping the pressure 
on every Allende weak spot in sight — now, after the 24th of October, 
after 5 November, and into the future until' sitch time as new march- 
ing orders are given. Mr. Karamessines stated that the Agency would 
comply." " 

1 The reason for Viaux postponing his coup plans was the subject of a cable from 
Santiago to Headquarters : 

We discount Viaux's statement that he had called off his coup attempt because 
of the CIA agent's impending visit. Otlier reporting indicated Viaux probabl.v not able 
or intending move this weekend. (Cable 499. Sta. to Hq., 10/10/70) 
There is also reason to believe that General Valenzuela was instrumental in persuading 
Viaux to postpone. According to the Chile Task Force Log : 

Station reported that on 12 October General Valenzuela met with General Viaux 

and attempted to persuade him not to attempt a coup. (Chile Task Force Log, 


" Secretary Kissinger's recollection of the October 15 meeting Is not in accord with 

that of Mr. Karamessines or the cable (Headquarters 802) that was sent the following 

day to the Station in Santiago. This matter will be discussed in Part V of this report. 


The following day CIA Headquarters cabled the results of the White 
House meeting to the Station in Santiago : 

2. It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup. . . . We 
are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing every 
appropriate resource. 

3. After the most careful consideration it was determined that a Viaux coup 
attempt carried out by him alone with the forces now at his disposal would fail. 
Thus it would be counterproductive to our Track Two objectives. It was decided 
that CIA get a message to Viaux warning him against precipitate action. (Cable 
802, Hq. to Sta. 10/16/70) 

The message was supplemented by orders to "continue to encourage 
him (Viaux) to amplify his planning; encourage him to join forces 
with other coup planners." (Cable 802, Hq. to Sta., 10/16/70) The 
message concluded : "There is great and continuing interest in the ac- 
tivities of Valenzuela et at and we wish them optimum good fortune." 

{(I) Coup planning and attempts after October 15 

The decision to "de-fuse" General Viaux was passed to a Viaux as- 
sociate on October 17. The associate responded that it did not matter 
because they had decided to proceed with the coup in any case. (Cable 
533, Sta. to Hq., 10/17/70) At the final meeting of the CIA agent and 
the Viaux associate on October 18, the Agency was informed that the 
coup would proceed on October 22, "and that the abduction of General 
Schneider is the fii-st link in chain of events to come." (Cable 568, Sta. 
to Hq., 10/19/70) An "emergency channel" of communication with 
Viaux was maintained. (Eeport on CIA Chilean Task Force Activi- 
ties, 11/18/70, p. 21) 

As previously stated, by mid-October things suddenly looked 
brighter for a coup being mounted by the high-level Chilean military 
contacts.^ A CIA overview statement on Track II stated : 

Coup possibilities afforded by the active duty military group led by General 
Valenzuela and Admiral [deleted] had always seemed more promising than the 
capabilities of the Viaux group. These military oflicers had the ability and re- 
sources to act providing they decided to move and organized themselves accord- 
inglv. (CIA Briefing Paper, "Special Mandate from the President on Chile," 
7/15/75, p. 5) 

By mid-October the Chilean military officers appeared to be moving 
in this direction. 

On the evening of October 17, the U.S. military attache met with the 
Chilean Army officer and the Xavy officer. They requested 8 to 10 tear 
gas grenades, three 45-caliber machine guns and 500 rounds of ammu- 
nition. The Xavy officer said he had three machine guns himself "but 
can be identified by serial numbers as having been issued to him. There- 
fore unable to use them." (Cable 562. Sta. to H., 10/18/70) The attache 
and the Chief of Station have testified that the officers wanted the 
machine guns for self-protection. The question, of course, is whether 

1 Two coup plotters, both Chilean generals, made one last attempt to persuade General 
Schneider to change his anti-coup position on October 15. The Station reported that the 
meeting turned out to be a "complete fiasco. Schneider refused to listen to their eloquent 
presentation of Communist action in Chile * * * and f remained] adamant in maintaining 
his non-involvement stance." (Cable 548, Sta. to Hq., 10/16/70) 

61-985 O- 75 - 17 


the arms were intended for use, or were used, in the kidnapping of 
General Schneider. The fact that the weapons were provided the 
Army officer and the Navy officer and that Viaux associates were con- 
victed of the Schneider killing suggests that the guns were not 

The machine guns and ammunition were sent from Washington 
by diplomatic pouch on the morning of October 19, although Head- 
quarters was puzzled about their purpose: "Will continue make ef- 
fort provide them but find our credulity stretched by Navy officer 
leading his troops with sterile guns. What is special purpose for these 
guns? We will try send them whether you can provide explanation 
or not." (Cable 854, Hq. to Sta., 10/18/70) The first installment was 
delivered to the Army officer and the Navy officer late in the evening 
of October 18 and consisted of the six tear gas grenades intended 
originally for Viaux.^ 

That same day. General Valenzuela informed the attache that he 
and three other high ranking military officers were prepared to 
sponsor a coup. (CIA Report on Chilean Task Force Activities, 
11/18/70) Their plan was to begin with the kidnapping of General 
Schneider on the following evening, October 19, at a military dinner 
being given for Schneider,^ after which Schneider would be flown 
to Argentina, Frei would resign and leave Chile, one of Valenzuela's 
colleagues would head the military junta, and dissolve Congress. With 
respect to the kidnapping of Schneider, the cable reported : 

General Viaux knowledgeable of above operation but not directly involved. 
He has been sent to Vina to stay with prominent physician. Will be seen in 
public places during 19 and 20 October to demonstrate fact that above opera- 
tion not his doing. Will be allowed to return to Santiago at end of week. Military 
will not admit involvement in Schneider's abduction which is to be blamed on 
leftists. (Cable 566, Sta. to Hq., 10/19/70) 

The kidnapping of the evening of October 19 failed because Gen- 
eral Schneider left in a private vehicle, rather than in his official car, 
and his police guard failed to be withdrawn. The Army officer assured 
the attache that another attempt would be made on October 20. (Cable 
582, Sta. to Hq., 10/20/70) The attache was authorized to pay Va- 
lenzuela $50,000 "which was the price agreed upon between the plotters 
and the unidentified team of abductors," but the attache insisted that 
the kidnapping be completed before he paid the money. (Task Force 

^As previously stated, after October 15 CIA efforts to promote a coup in Chile focussed 
on the active duty military officers — Valenzuela. et al. — rather than Viaux. An example of 
this shift In focus was the decision to orovide the Army officer and the Navy officer the 
tear gas grenades originally Intended for Viaux. A cable from Santiago explained the 
purpose of this action : 

Station plane give six tear gas grenades to the attache for delivery to Armed Forces offi- 
cers (deletion) Instead of having CIA agents posing as third country nationals deliver them 
to Viaux group. Our reasoning Is that the attache dealing with active duty officers. Also 
CIA agent leaving evening 18 October, and will not be replaced but the attache will stay 
here. Hence Important that the attache credibility with Armed Forces officers be strength- 
ened. (Cable 562, Sta. to Hq., 10/18/70.) 

= The CIA agent who was in contact with Viaux at the time the Valenzuela plan was given 
to the attache apparently understood that Viaux was involved in the October 19 attempt. He 
stated : 

Q. Were you told any of the details of how the (Viaux) kidnapping would be carried out? 

Mr. Sarno. Thev indicated it was going to be at some sort of a banquet which the General 
^Schneider) would be attending. (Sarno, 7/29/75, p. 37) 


Log, 10/20/70) At the same time General Valenzuela assured the 
attache that the military was now prepared to move. (Task Force 
Log, 10/20/70) The second abduction attempt on the 20th also failed 
and the Task Force concluded 

Since Valenzuela's group is apparently having considerable difficulty execut- 
ing even the first step of its coup plan, the prospects for a coup succeeding or 
even occurring before 24 October now appears remote. (Task Force Log, 

(e) The Shooting of General Schneider 

In the early morning hours of October 22 (2 a.m.), the attax^he 
delivered the three submachine guns with annnunition to the Army 
officer in an isolated section of Santiago.^ 

At about 7 am that day the group that intended to kidnap General 
Schneider met to discuss last-minute instructions. According to the 
findings of the Chilean Military Court which investigated the 
Schneider killing, neither the Army officer nor the Navy officer were 
there. Shortly after 8 am. General Schneider's car was intercepted on 
his way to work by the abductors and he was mortally wounded when 
he drew his handgun in self-defense. The Military Court determined 
that hand guns had been used to kill General Schneider, although it 
also found that one unloaded machine gun was at the scene of the 

The first Station reports following the Schneider shooting said 
"Military Mission sources claim General Schneider machine gunned 
on way to work" (Cable 587. Sta. to Hq., 10/22/70) and "Assailants 
used grease guns, (Cable 589, Sta. to Hq.. 10/22/70) The subma- 
chine guns had previously been described by the Station as "grease 
guns.'' Thus the initial reaction of the Station was that Schneider had 
been shot with the same kind of weapons delivered several hours 
earlier to the Army officer. Santiago then informed Headquarters 
"Station has instructed the attache to hand over $50,000 if Gen. Valen- 
zuela requests" (Cable 592, Sta. to Hq.. 10/22/70), thus indicating 
that the Station thought the kidnapping had been accomplished by 
Valenzuela's paid abductors. Later that day. the Station cabled 
Headquarters : 

Station unaware if assassination was premeditated or whether it constituted 
bungled abduction attempt. In any case, it important to bear in mind that move 

1 Although the attache's testimony and the cable traffic do not clearly establish the iden- 
tity of the group to which the Army officer was affiliated (see page 240 of this report) two 
CIA statements on Track II tie the weapons and therefore the Army officer, to the Valen- 
zuela group : 

* * * The only assistance requested by Valenzuela to set the plan [of October 19] into 
motion through Schneider's abduction was several submachine guns, ammunition, a few 
tear gas grenades and gas masks (all of which were provided) plus $50,000 for expenses 
(which was to be passed upon demand). (CIA Report on Chilean Task Force Activities, 
11/18/70, P. 22) 

* * * Three sub-machine guns, together with six gas cannisters and masks, were 
passed to the Valenzuela group at 2 a.m. on 22 October. The reason why they still wanted 
the weapons was because there were two days remaining before the Congress decided the 
Presidential election and the Valenzuela group maintained some hope they could still 
carrv out their plans. (CIA Briefing Paper, "Special Mandate from President on Chile," 
7/15/75. n. 7) 

2 The Military Court determined that those who participated in the shooting of General 
Schneider on October 22 were part of the Viaux-led conspiracy. The Court also found that 
this same gronp had pRrticipated in the October 19 and 20 kidnap attempts. 

In June 1972 General Viaux was convicted for complicity in the plot culminating in the 
death of General Schneider. He received a 20-year prison sentence for being "author of 
the crime of kidnapping which resulted in serious injury to the victim," and a five-year 
exile for conspiring to cause a military coup. General Valenzuela was also convicted on 
the latter charge. He received a sentence of three years in exile. 


against Schneider was conceived by and executed at behest of senior Armed 
Forces oflBcers. We know that General Valenzuela was involved. We also near 
certain that Admiral [deleted], Army ofBcer and Navy officer witting and 
involved. We have reason for believing that General Viaux and numerous 
associates fully clued in, but cannot prove or disprove that execution or attempt 
against Schneider was entrusted to elements linked with Viaux. Important factor 
to bear in mind is that Armed Forces, and not retired officers or extreme rightists, 
set Schneider up for execution or abduction. * * * All we can say is that attempt 
against Schneider is affording Armed Forces one last opportunity to prevent 
AUende's election if they are willing to follow Valenzuela's scenario. (Cable 598, 
Sta. to Hq., 10/22/70) 

(/) Post October 22 events 

The shooting of General Schneider resulted immediately in a decla- 
I'ation of martial law, the appointment of General Prats to succeed 
Schneider as Commander in Chief, and the appointment of General 
Valenzuela as chief of Santiago province. These measures, and others 
taken, caused the Chile Task Force to make the following initial 

With only 24 hours remaining before the Congressional runoff, a coup climate 
exists in Chile. * * * The attack on General Schneider has produced develop- 
ments which closely follow Valenzuela's plan. * * * Consequently the plotters' 
positions have been enhanced. (Chile Task Force Log, 10/22/70) 

On October 23, Director Helms reviewed and discussed Track II : 

It was agreed * * * that a maximum effort has been achieved, and that now 
only the Chileans themselves can manage a successful coup. The Chileans have 
been guided to a point where a military solution is at least open to them. (Task 
Force Log, 10/24/70) 

Although it was not immediately clear to CIA observers, the Sta- 
tion's prediction of October 9 that the shooting of Schneider (as a 
result of an abduction attempt) would "rally the Army firmly be- 
hind the flag of constitutionalism" was correct. (Cable 495, Sta. to Hq., 
10/9/75) On October 24 Dr. Allende was confirmed by the Chilean 
Congress. General Schneider died the next day. 


The testimony given to the Committee by Henry Kissinger and 
General Haig conflicts with that given by CIA officials. 

Kissinger and Haig testified that on October 15, 1970, the White 
House stood down CIA efforts to promote a military coup d'etat in 
Chile. Both testified that after that date they were neither informed 
of, nor authorized, CIA Track II activities, including the kidnap plans 
of General Schneider and the passage of weapons to the military 

By contrast, CIA officials testified that they operated before and 
after October 15 Avith the knowledge and approval of the White House. 

The conflict pertains directly to the period after October 15, but it 
bears on the degree of communication between the "V^Hiite House and 
the CIA in the earlier period as well. For instance, Henry Kissinger 
testified that he was informed of no coup plan which began with the 
abduction of General Schneider. He was aware of General Viaux's 
plan — which he and Karamessines decided on October 15 to try to 


forestall — but did not know that it was to begin with Schneider's 

CIA officials, especially Thomas Karamessines, stated that there was 
close consultation throughout Track II between the Agency and the 
White House. Karamessines testified that he met with Kissinger some 
six to ten times during the five weeks of Track II (Karamessines, 
8/6/75, p. 66) ; and that he kept Kissinger generally informed of 
developments, {/hid., p. 56) The Committee has records of two meet- 
ings between Karamessines and Kissinger and of one telephone con- 
versation between Karamessines and Kissinger's deputy, General 
Alexander Haig. Karamessines' daily calendar indicates that three 
other meetings with General Haig took place — but does not establish 
with certainty that the topic was Track II. The calendar also suggests 
that Karamessines and Kissinger met on three other occasions and 
so might have had the opportunity to discuss Track II. 

Henry Kissinger's testimony before the Committee differs from 
Karamessines in two respects : he believed Track II was "turned off" 
on October 15,^ and, after that date, he was informed neither of the 
coup plans of the Chilean conspirators nor of the passage of weapons 
to them. He said that Track II was: 

In the nature of a probe and not in the nature of a plan, * * * no plan for a 
coup was ever submitted to the "WTiite House. So my recollection of events, this 
was a request by President Xixon for Track II which led to two or three meetings 
which then on October 1.5th led to being turned off by the White House, after 
which Track II was dead as far as my office was concerned, and we never 
received another report on the subject. (Kissinger, 8/12/75, p. 15) 

In my mind Track II was finished on October 15th and I never received any 
further CIA information after October loth on the basis of any records that I 
have been able to find. (Ibid., p. 59) 

General Haig's testimony generally coincided with Kissinger's 
recollection : 

I left [the October 15th meeting] with the distinct impression that there was 
nothing that could be done in this covert area that offered promise or hope for 
succes.s. I had the distinct impression that was Dr. Kissinger's conclusion, and 
that in effect these things — and I wasn't even really familiar with what these 
two groups were to do and how they were to do it, but they were to cease and 
desist. (Haig. 8/15/75, pp. 26-27) 

My recollection would be that we had no hope for a viable, covert plan of 
action. That is the impression I got. (Ibid., p. 29) 

The following pages present the Committee's record of communica- 
tion between the White House and the CIA from September 18 through 
December 21, 1970: 

(a) September 
September 18 

Helms and Karamessines met with Kissinger at the White House. 
As Helms' notes of the September 15 meeting indicate, Kissinger 
wanted a plan within 48 hours. In the meeting on the 18th, according 
to CIA records, there was little discussion of a military coup. Rather 

1 Secretary Kissinger, in a written response to a Committee ouestion. stated that he 
had not been able to find any "written instruction from the President to discontinue 
efforts to organize a coup. The President did, however, convey this decision to me orally 
in mid-October, 1970." „ ,, ^r. ^v. 

To date, the Committee has been unable to question former President Nixon on this 


the conversation focused on "what economic leverage could be exer- 
cised in the Chilean situation." (Memorandum/Meeting with DDP, 
9/18/70) The efficacy of economic pressure continued to be a subject 
of concern during the last days of September. Apparently that pres- 
sure was viewed as another inducement to Frei to opt for the "Frei 

September 21 

The 40 Committee met. The Committee has no confirmation that 
Chile w^as on the agenda at this meeting. Karamessines' calendar 
confirms that he attended; presumably Kissinger, the 40 Committee 
chairman, also attended, although the Committee has not been able to 
review his calendar. All that can be said about this meeting — and the 
meetings of the Senior Review Group, which Kissinger also chaired — 
is that the meetings afforded Karamessines and Kissinger ah oppor- 
tunity to meet privately and discuss Track II if they desired. In all 
these instances save the 40 Committee meeting on September 22, the 
Committee has no evidence to confirm that such a private Kissinger/ 
Karamessines meeting actually took place. That the CIA prepared a 
memorandum of convereation for the private meeting on the 22nd but 
has been able to find none for other meetings may provide some sup- 
port for the argument that no other such private meetings occurred. 

Septemher 22 

Kissinger asked Karamessines to stay behind after a 40 Committee 
meeting called to discuss Track I. The two men also discussed Track 
II actions. According to the CIA record of the meeting, Kissinger told 
Karamessines that "our handling of the problem during the earlier 
meeting had been perfect and he added we were doing fine and keep 
it up." (Karamessines Memorandum for the Record/Chile, 9/22/70) 

(b) October 
October 5 

A cable sent to Santiago, released by Karamessines, requested a 
report on how the Station planned to contact the three Chilean Gen- 
erals, including Valenzuela, named in a cable of September 30. (Cable 
449, Hq. to Sta., 9/30/70) The October 5 cable mdicated that the 
report was needed for a discussion with Kissinger on October 6.^ 
(Cable 556. Sta. to Hq., 10/5/70) Karamessines presumed such a 
meeting had taken place, although he had no specific memory of it. 
(Karamessines, 8/6/75, pp. 69-70) His calendar for October 6 indi- 
cates that he attended a 40 Committee meeting on Chile. (Karames- 
sines calendar.) Kissinger chaired that meeting. 

October 6 

The Station reported that General Viaux was "ready to launch 
golpe evening 9 October, or morning 10 October." (Cable 472, Sta. 
to Hq., 10/6/70) In response, CIA Headquarters labeled the prospec- 
tive coup one "with scant chance of success which will vitiate any 
further more serious action." The Station was directed to try to "stop 

1 In a written response to a Committee question, Kissinger stated tliat he was never 
informed that these contacts had been made. 


ill-considered action at this time." (Cable 585, Hq. to Sta., 10/6/70) 
Kissinger testified he had not been informed of the Viaux plan, 
supporting his recollection with the fact that the CIA memorandum 
of an October 10 conversation between Karamessines and Haig (see 
below) makes no mention of any previous plots. (Kissinger, 8/12/75, 
p. 24) Similarly, Kissinger did not remember having been informed 
that tlie CIA had called off a coup it regarded as premature. He 
stated : 

My perception at that period was that if they had a coup they would come ♦ * * 
back to us before triggering it * ♦ * at no time during the period did they, in 
fact, tell us • * * that they had a coup that might be ready to go. And, indeed, 
they generally told us the opposite. (Kissinger, 8/12/75, pp. 25-26) 

As Karamessines' calendar indicated, there was a 40 Committee 
meeting on October 6. He attended this meeting, along with Richard 
Helms and William Broe of the CIA. According to the minutes of 
that meeting, CIA efforts to promote a military coup in Chile were 
not discussed. However, in an exchange with Charles Meyer, who was 
then the State Department's Assistant Secretary for Latin American 
Affairs, Dr. Kissinger stressed the desire of "higher authority" (Pres- 
ident Nixon) to prevent Allende's assumption of office. According to 
tho minutes: 

Mr. Meyer pointed to the need to determine a post-Allende position such as 
proposed in NSSM 97. It was agreed that an early NSC meeting was desirable 
on that subject. Mr. Kissinger said this presumed total acceptance of a fait 
accompli and higher authority had no intention of conceding before the 24th ; 
on the contrary, he wanted no stone left unturned. (Memorandum for the 
Record/Minutes of the Meeting of the 40 Committee, 10/6/70, 10/7/70) 

October 8 

Karamessines met for lunch with General Haig. (Karamessines 
calendar. ) 

In his testimony, Haig recalled being aware that the CIA was in 
touch with two different groups of military plotters. He believed there 
must have been another meeting in which the CIA informed him of 
its on-going contacts. 

It seems to me, although the records don't reflect it, that there was a meet- 
ing in September, a very brief one, in which I must have been told that there was 
a specific program going underway. That probably would have been by Henry 
(Kissinger) and perhaps with Karamessines there. I am not sure. (Haig, 
8/15/75, p. 12) 

October 10 

Karamessines discussed the Chilean situation by telephone with 
General Haig. He indicated that the Station had "made direct con- 
tact with a number of the senior military officers, especially those who 
had been reportedly very activist-minded and had received pessimis- 
tic reactions from all." (Memorandum/FUBELT, by William Broe, 

Haig recalled the telephone conversation with Karamessines on 
the 10th. His recollection accords with the CIA memorandum of 

I do know, and I know that from looking at the record this morning, that 
Karamessines made a telephone call to me in which he gave a progress report. 
I recall that. It was in effect a negative progress report, that they were just 
not coming up with it. (Haig, 8/15/75, p. 12) 


Haig indicated to the Committee that he would have passed along 
the substance of that conversation to Kissinger, and that in general 
his role at the time was one of a conduit to Kissinger : 

I am quite confident that, given my own conception of my role at that time, 
that I would have conveyed that information to Henry, ♦ ♦ ♦. (Haig, 8/15/75, 
p. 13) 

Q. If Mr. Karamessines was unable to see Dr. Kissinger, and talked to you, 
what degree of latitude did you have concerning what you would pass on to 
Dr. Kissinger? 

General Haig. At that time I would consider I had no degree of latitude, other 
than to convey to him what had been given to me. (Id., p. 15) 

October llf, 

A cable to Santiago for the attache, ostensibly from General 
Bennett, authorized the attache to select two Chilean general officers 
and convey to them the following message : "High authority in Wash- 
ington has authorized you to offer material support short of armed 
intervention to Chilean Armed Forces in any endeavors they may 
undertake to prevent the election of Allende on October 24." (Cable 
762,= Hq. to Sta., 10/14/70) Karamessines testified that in this case 
"high authority" would have been Kissinger or the President, for no 
one else could have given the attache such broad authorization. Kara- 
messines presumed that the message had been drafted in, or at least 
cleared with, the White House. (Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 91) 

However, Kissinger did not recall having authorized the October 
14th cable. He found the sequence of events puzzling; having been told 
on the 10th that little was happening, he would have expected in the 
meeting on the 15th (see below) to have discussed the results of the 
October 14th message. But the CIA record makes no mention of any 
such discussion. (Kissinger, 8/12/75, p. 53) 

The 40 Committee met to discuss, among other topics, Chile. In addi- 
tion to the 40 Committee principals (Kissinger, John Mitchell, David 
Packard, Alexis Johnson, Admiral Moorer) , the meeting was attended 
by Karamessines, William Broe and General Robert Cushman of the 
CIA, Charles Meyer from State, and Ambassador Korry, who had re- 
turned to Washington from Santiago for a short period of consulta- 

According to the minutes of that meeting, Kissinger asked Kara- 
messines to give a rundown on the latest developments and present 
situation in Chile. Karamessines pointed out that "a coup climate does 
not presently exist." He noted that "the unpredictable General Viaux 
is the only individual seemingly ready to attempt a coup and * * * 
his chances of mounting a successful one were slight." Ambassador 
Korrv agreed with Karamessines' assessment and stated that "as of 
now it seemed almost certain that Allende would be voted into office 
on October 24th." Kissinger then observed that "there presently ap- 
peared to be little the U.S. can do to influence the Chilean situation 
one way or another." Other participants at the meeting concurred. 
(Memorandum for the Record/Minutes of the Meeting of the 40 Com- 
mittee, 10/14/70, 10/16/70) 

October 15 

Karamessines met with Kissinger and Haig at the White House to 
discuss Track II. According to the CIA memorandum of conversation. 


Karamessines ^ave a run-down on Viaux, a meetino; between two other 
Chilean military conspirators and "the general situation in Chile from 
the coup-possibility A-iewpoint." It was concluded that Yiaux did not 
have more than one chance in twenty — perhaps less — to launch a suc- 
cessful coup. Kissinger ticked oft" the list of negative repercussions 
from an unsuccessful coup. The CIA record of the meeting continues : 

5. It was decided by those present that the Agency must get a message to Viaux 
warning him against any precipitate action. In essence our message was to state : 
"We have reviewed your plans, and based on your information and ours, we come 
to the conclusion that your plans for a coup at this time cannot succeed. Failing, 
they may reduce your capabilities for the future. Preserve your a.ssets. We will 
stay in touch. The time will come when you with all your other friends can do 
something. You will continue to have our support." 

6. After the decision to de-fuse the Viaux coup plot, at least temporarily, Dr. 
Kissinger instructed Mr. Karamessines to preserve Agency assets in Chile, work- 
ing clandestinely and securely to maintain the capability for Agency operations 
against Allende in the future. 

8. The meeting concluded on Dr. Kissinger's note that the Agency should con- 
tinue keeping the pressure on every Allende weak spot in sight — now, after the 
24th of October, after .5 November, and into the future until such time as new 
marching orders are given. Mr. Karamessines stated that the Agency would 
comply. (Memorandum of Conversation/Dr. Kissinger, Mr. Karamessines, Gen. 
Haig at the White House, 10/15/70) 

Kissinger, in his testimony before the Committee, regarded the CIA 
memorandum of conversation as substantially correct, although some- 
what more detailed than he would have remembered. (Kissinger, 
8/12/75, p, 52) He believed the Agency had been told to "stand down 
and preserve your assets.'' 

Kissinger believed that the gist of the October 15th meeting as 
recorded in the CIA memorandum was incompatible with the order 
the CIA issued to its Station the next day, an order ostensibly based 
on the October 15th meeting. And. he noted, in Avriting its memo- 
randum of the meeting of the 15th. the CIA had a "high incentive to 
preserve the maximum degree of authority." (Ibid., pp. 55-56) The 
October 16th order indicated that Track II had been reviewed at 
"high USG level'' the previous day, and stated : 

2. It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup. It 
would be much preferable to have this transpire prior to 24 October but efforts 
in this regard will continue vigorously beyond this date. * * * 

4. There is great and continuing interest in the activities of Valenzuela et al. 
and we wish them optimum good fortune. (Cable 802, Hq. to Sta., 10/16/70) 

Kissinger recalled the October 15th conversation as "turning off 
the coup plans rather than giving a new order to do them." (Kissinger, 
8/12/75, p. 56) Haig agreed in his testimony. 

The conclusions of that meeting were that we had better not do anything rather 
than something that was not going to succeed. * * * My general feeling was, I 
left that meeting with the impression that there was nothing authorized." (Haig, 
8/15/75, p. 13) 

October 10-Octoher 22 {appi^oximate) 

Karamessines and one or two others went with Kissinger to speak 
with the President, after a larger meeting. Karamessines believed this 
meeting took place between October 10 and 24. (Karamessines, 8/6/75, 
p. 89) According to Karamessines, the "President went out of his way 
to impress all of those there with his conviction that it was absolutely 
essential that the election of Mr. Allende to the presidency be thwart- 


ed." ^As they were leaving the Oval Office, the President took Kara- 
messines aside to reiterate the message. ( Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 8) 

October 19 

Station cabled Headquarters early in the morning, advising that 
the tear gas had been passed and outlining the Valenzuela coup plan, 
beginning with the kidnap of Schneider. In testimony before the 
Committee, Karamessines indicated he certainly would have reported 
the Valenzuela plan to Kissinger "very promptly, if for no other rea- 
son than that we didn't have all that much promising news to report 
to the White House. * * * - (Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 72) 

In the afternoon of the 19th. Karamessines met with General Haig 
at the White House. (Karamessines calendar.) By then, Karamessines 
would have had in hand the cable outlining the Valenzuela plan, since 
the cable had arrived that morning. However, Genei'al Haig had no 
recollection of the meeting with Karamessines on the 19th. Nor did he 
believe he had been informed of the Valenzuela ])lan. "This is all very 
new to me. I hadn't seen any of this, and I was not familiar with this 
particular plan * * * or $50,000, or any of the characters that are 
described in here." (Haig, 8/15/75, pp. 38-39) 

Similarly, Kissinger testified that he had not been informed of the 
Valenzuela plan. He said he "was informed of nothing after Octo- 
ber 15th. (Kissinger, 8/12/75, p. 65) He indicated that, accord- 
ing to his daily calendar, he had no convei'sation with either Karames- 
sines or Helms between the 15th and the 19th. {Ihid., p. 53) He indi- 
cated that he never knew that the CIA was in the process of passing- 
guns and tear gas to Chilean military conspirators. He said 
"there was no further meeting on that subject. In anybody's record, 
mine or theirs [the CIA's], none of the information from the 16th 
on was familar to me." {Ihid.^ p. 62) 

Kissmger further testified he did not know that the United States 
was dealing with Chilean officei-s who plotted a coup which involved 
the abduction of General Schneider : 

Senator Hart of Colorado. I am not sure that the record clearly shows your 
answer to the direct question of whether you knew or did not know that we were 
negotiating with military oflBcers with regard to a plot that did involve the abduc- 
tion of General Schneider. 

Secretary Kissinger. I said I did not know. (Kissinger, 8/12/75, p. 86) 

Nor did General Haig believe he had been infonned of any abduc- 
tion plans before the fact. 

Q. Were you aware during that period of time of the plans to kidnap Gen- 
eral Schneider? 

General Haig. I was aware after the fact. . . . 

Q. But you were never informed prior to his attempted abduction? 

General Haig. I don't believe I was at all. 

^ If the meeting with the President occurred after October 15, that would lend credence 
to the testimony of CIA officials that they were not directed to end their coup eflforts in 
the October 15th meeting. Unfortunately, the Committee has not had access to the daily 
calendars of President Nixon or Secretary Kissinger, which might pinpoint the date of the 
President's conversation with Karamessines. 


October 20 

A cable to the Station indicated that "while awaiting word on what- 
ever events may have occurred 19 October, please let us know what you 
can on interim basis. * * * Headquartei-s must respond during morn- 
ing 20 October to queries from high levels." (Cable 883, Hq. to Sta., 
10/20/70) Karamessines testified that the references to "high levels" 
in the cable of the 20th meant White House officials, probably Kis- 
singer. He felt quite certain that Kissinger would have been briefed 
in advance about Valenzuela's plan for the 19th and so would have 
been expected to ask what happened on the morning of the 20th. 
(Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 73) In contrast, Kissinger interpreted that 
cable in precisely the opposite light. He felt it indicated that he had 
not been informed of the Valenzuela plan in advance. Wien news of 
tlie Schneider kidnap reached the White House, Kissinger believed 
he would have had "somebody pick up a telephone and say, 'What is 
this all about T '* (Kissinger, 8/12/75, p. 68) 

Octoler '22 

Karamessines met with Haig at the ^^liite House. (Karamessines 
calendar) General Haig remembered that word of the shooting of 
Schneider came as " a great shock" to him, and he believed that 
Karamessines had told him about it in their meeting on the 22nd. He 
tliought that Kissinger either was present at the meeting or that he, 
Haig, had gone immediately in to Kissinger's office to relate what 
Karamessines liad told him. (Haig, 8/15/75, p. 36) 

((?) December 
Decemher 2 

A memorandum, dated December 2, 1970, from Helms to Kissinger 
stated that Helms had given a recapitulation on Track II to Attorney 
General Mitchell, who would deliver it pereonally to Kissinger. A 
handwritten note on the memorandum read: "sent to Kissinger via 
DCI [Helms]." (Memo, Helms to Kissinger, 12/12/70) The report, 
which was dated November 18, 1970, contained a full account of CIA 
activities during Track II, including the several plans to kidnap 
Schneider and the passage of weapons to the Chilean conspirators. 
(Report on CIA Chilean Task Force Activities, 15 September to 
3 November 1970, 10/18/70) 

In his testimony to the Committee, Kissinger did not recall receiv- 
ing the report, although he doubted that he would have read such an 
"after action" report in any case. He testified that he could not find 
it in his files, in contrast to his finding a CIA report on Track I, dated 
November 19, 1970. Kissinger was puzzled by a number of aspects of 
the memorandum and report: Avhy there were two reports, why the 
report of the 18th apparently was only called to his attention on the 
2nd of December, and why it was to be delivered through Mitchell. 
(Kissinger, 8/12/75, pp. 71, 74) 

{d) Did Track II end? 

The Committee also received conflicting testimonv about whether 
Track II ever ended, formally or in fact. As noted above, Kissinger 
indicated that Track II was supposed to have ended, as far as he was 


concerned, on October 15. It was formally terminated, according to 
Kissinger, by a new Presidential marching order issued prior to the 
October 24 vote of the Chilean Congress. The Committee does not 
have this new "marching order" in its possession. However, CIA 
officials from whom the Committee took testimony believed that there 
had been no such definitive end to Track II. It merely tapered off, to 
be replaced by a longer-term effort to effect a change of government in 
Chile. Karamessines' testimony was most explicit : 

Mr. Karamessines. I am sure that the seeds that were laid in that effort in 
1970 had their impact in 1973. I do not have any question about that in my mind 
either. (Karamessines, 8/6/75, p. 26) 

Q. Was Track II ever formally ended? Was there a specific order ending it? 

Mr. Karamessines. As far as I was concerned, Track II was really never 
ended. What we were told to do in effect was, well, AUende is now President. So 
Track II, which sought to prevent him from becoming President, was technically 
out, it was done. But what we were told to do was to continue our efforts. Stay 
alert, and to do what we could to contribute to the eventual achievement of the 
objectives and purposes of Track II. That being the case, I don't think it is proper 
to say that Track II was ended. (Ibid., pp. 128-129) 

When informed of Karamessines' testimony that Track II was never 
ended, Kissinger testified : 

The Chairman. Would you take issue with that, with the [Karamessines] 
testimony ? 

Secretary Kissinger. Totally. * * * it is clear that * * * after October 15th 
that there was no separate channel by the CIA to the White House and that all 
actions with respect to Chile were taken in the 40 Committee framework. There 
was no 40 Committee that authorized an approach to or contact with military 
people, no plots which I am familiar with, and all the covert operations in Chile 
after Allende's election by the Congress were directed towards maintaining the 
democratic opposition for the 1976 election. And that was the exclusive thrust, 
and if there was any further contact with military plotting, it was totally un- 
authorized and this is the first that I have heard of it. (Kissinger, 8/12/75, pp. 


In evaluating the evidence and arriving at findings and conclusions, 
the Committee has been guided by the following standards. We believe 
these standards to be appropriate to the constitutional duty of a Con- 
gressional committee. 

1. The Committee is not a court. Its primary role is not to determine 
individual guilt or innocence, but rather to draw upon the experiences 
of the past to better propose guidance for the future. 

2. It is necessary to be cautious in reaching conclusions because of 
the amount of time that has passed since the events reviewed in this 
report, the inability of three Presidents and many other key figures 
to speak for themselves, the conflicting and ambiguous nature of much 
of the evidence, and the problems in assessing the weight to be given 
to particular documents and testimony. 

3. The Committee has tried to be fair to the persons involved in the 
events under examination, while at the same time responding to a need 
to understand the facts in sufficient detail to lay a basis for informed 

With these standards in mind, the Committee has arrived at the 
following findings and conclusions. 

A. Findings Concerning the Plots Themselves 


The Committee finds that officials of the United States Government 
initiated and participated in plots to assassinate Patrice Lumumba 
and Fidel Castro. 

The plot to kill Lumumba was conceived in the latter half of 1960 by 
officials of the United States Government, and quickly advanced to the 
point of sending poisons to the Congo to be used for the assassination. 

The effort to assassinate Castro began in 1960 and continued until 
1965. The plans to assassinate Castro using poison cigars, exploding 
seashells, and a contaminated diving suit did not advance beyond the 
laboratory phase. The plot involving underworld figures reached the 
stage of producing poison pills, establishing the contacts necessary to 
send them into Cuba, procuring potential assassins within Cuba, and 
apparently delivering the pills to the island itself. One 1960 episode 
i]ivolved a Cuban who initially had no intention of engaging in as- 
sassination, but who finally agreed, at the suggestion of the CIA, to 
attempt to assassinate Raul Castro if the opportunity arose. In the 
AM/LASH operation, which extended from 1963 through 1965, the 
CIA gave active support and encouragement to a Cuban whose intent 
to assassinate Castro was known, and provided him with the means of 
carrying out an assassination. 





The poisons intended for use against Patrice Lumumba were never 
administered to him, and there is no evidence that the United States 
was in any way involved in Lumumba's death at the hands of his 
Congolese enemies. The efforts to assassinate Castro failed. 


American officials clearly desired the overthrow of Trujillo, offered 
both encouragement and guns to local dissidents who sought his over- 
throw and whose plans included assassination. American officials also 
supplied those dissidents with pistols and rifles. 

American officials offered encouragement to the Vietnamese generals 
who plotted Diem's overthrow, and a CIA official in Vietnam gave the 
generals money after the coup had begun. However, Diem's assassina- 
tion was neither desired nor suggested by officials of the United States. 

The record reveals that United States officials offered encouragement 
to the Chilean dissidents who plotted the kidnapping of General Rene 
Schneider, but American officials did not desire or encourage 
Schneider's death. Certain high officials did know, however, that the 
dissidents plamied to kidnap General Schneider. 

As Director Colby testified before the Committee, the death of a 
foreign leader is a risk foreseeable in any coup attempt. In the cases 
we have considered, the risk of death was in fact known in varying 
degrees. It was widely known that the dissidents in the Dominican 
Republic intended to assassinate Trujillo. The contemplation of coup 
leaders at one time to assassinate Nhu, President Diem's brother, was 
communicated to the upper levels of the L^nited States Government. 
While the CIA and perhaps the White House knew that the coup 
leaders in Chile planned to kidnap General Schneider, it was not an- 
ticipated that he would be killed, although the possibility of his deatli 
should have been recognized as a foreseeable risk of his kidnapping. 



The Committee fully appreciates the importance of evaluating the 
assassination plots in the historical context within which they occurred. 
In the preface to this report, we described the perception, generally 
shared within the United States during the depths of the Cold War, 
that our country faced a monolithic enemy in Communism. That atti- 
tude helps explain the assassination plots which we have reviewed, 
although it does not justify them. Those involved nevertheless ap- 
peared to believe they were advancing the best interests of their 



Running throughout the cases considered in this report was the 
expectation of American officials that they could control the actions 
of dissident groups which they were supporting in foreign countries. 


Events demonstrated that the United States had no such power. This 
point is graphically demonstrated by cables exchanged shortly before 
the conp in Vietnam. Ambassador Lodge cabled Washington on 
October 30, 1963, that he was unable to halt a conp; a cable from 
William Bundy in response stated that "we cannot accept conclusion 
that we have no power to delay or discourage a coup." The coup took 
place three days later. 

Shortly after the experience of the Bay of Pigs, CIA Headquarters 
requested operatives in the Dominican Republic to tell the dissidents 
to "turn off" the assassination attempt, because the United States was 
not prepared to "cope with the aftermath." The dissidents replied that 
the assassination was their affair and that it could not be turned off 
to suit the convenience of the United States Government. 


Officials of the CIA made use of persons associated with the crim- 
inal underworld in attempting to achieve the assassination of Fidel 
Castro. These underworld figures were relied upon because it was be- 
lieved that they had expertise and contacts that were not available to 
law-abiding citizens. 

Foreign citizens with criminal backgrounds were also used by the 
CIA in' two other cases that we have reviewed. In the development of 
the Executive Action capability, one foreign national with a criminal 
background was used to "spot" other members of the European under- 
world who might be used by the CIA for a variety of purposes, in- 
cluding assassination, if the need should arise. In the Lumumba case, 
two men with criminal backgrounds were used as field operatives by 
CIA officers in a volatile political situation in the Congo. 

B. Conclusions Concerning the Plots Themselves 


We condemn the use of assassination as a tool of foreign policy. 
Aside from pragmatic arguments against the use of assassination sup- 
plied to the Committee by witnesses with extensive experience in 
covert operations, we find that assassination violates moral precepts 
fundamental to our way of life. 

In addition to moral considerations, there were several practical 
reasons advanced for not assassinating foreign leaders. These reasons 
are discussed in the section of this report recommending a statute 
making assassination a crime. 

(a) Distinction between targeted assassinations instigated by the 
United States and support for dissidents seeking to oijerthrow local 

Two of the five principal cases investigated by the Committee in- 
volved plots to kill foreign leaders (Lumumba and Castro) that were 
instigated by American officials. Three of the cases (Trujillo, Diem, 
and Schneider) involved killings in the course of coup attempts by local 
dissidents. These latter cases differed in the degree to which assassina- 


tion was contemplated by the leaders of the coups and in the degree 
the coups were motivated by United States officials. 

The Committee concludes that targeted assassinations instigated 
by the United States must be prohibited. 

Coups involve vaiying degrees of risk of assassination. The possi- 
bility of assassination in coup attempts is one of the issues to be con- 
sidered in determining the propriety of United States involvement in 
coups, particularly in those where the assassination of a foreign leader 
is a likely prospect. 

This country was created by violent revolt against a regime believed 
to be tyrannous, and our founding fathers (the local dissidents of 
that era) received aid from foreign countries. Given that history, we 
should not today rule out support for dissident groups seeking to over- 
throw tyrants. But passing beyond that principle, there remain serious 
questions: for example, whether the national interest of the United 
States is genuinely involved; whether any such support should be 
overt rather than coveit; what tactics should be used; and how such 
actions should be authorized and controlled by the coordinate branches 
of government. The Committee believes that its recommendations on 
the question of covert actions in support of coups must await the 
Committee's final report which will be issued after a full review of 
covert action in general. 

( h ) The setting in lohich the assassination plots occw^ed explains^ hut 
does not justify them 

The Cold War setting in which the assassination plots took place 
does not change our view that assassination is unacceptable in our 
society. In addition to the moral and practical problems discussed else- 
where, we find three principal defects in any contention that the tenor 
of the period justified the assassination plots : 

First, the assassination plots were not necessitated by imminent 
danger to the United States. Among the cases studied, Castro alone 
posed a physical threat to the United States, but then only during the 
period of the Cuban missile crisis. Attempts to assassinate Castro had 
begun long before that crisis, and assassination was not advanced by 
policymakers as a possible course of action during the crisis. 

Second, we reject absolutely any notion that the United States 
should justify its actions by the standards of totalitarians. Our 
standards must be higher, and this difference is what the struggle is 
all about. Of course, we must defend our democracy. But in defending 
it, we must resist undermining the very virtues we are defending. 

Third, such activities almost inevitably become known. The damage 
to American foreign policy, to the good name and reputation of the 
United States abroad, to the American people's faith and support of 
our government and its foreign policy is incalculable. This last point — 
the undermining of the American public's confidence in its govern- 
ment — is the most damaging consequence of all. 

Two documents wliich have been supplied to the Committee graph- 
cally demonstrate attitudes which can lead to tactics that erode and 
could ultimately destroy the very ideals we must defend. 

The first, document was written in 1954 h^ a special committee 
formed to advise the President on covert activities. The United States 


may, it said, have to adopt tactics "more ruthless than [those] em- 
ployed by the enemy" in order to meet the threat from hostile nations. 
The report concluded that "long standing American concepts of 
American fair play must be reconsidered."^ 

Although those proposals did not involve assassinations, the atti- 
tudes imderlying them were, as Director Colby testified, indicative of 
the setting within which the assassination plots were conceived. 
(Colby, 6/4A^, p. 117) 

We do not think that traditional American notions of fair play need 
be abandoned when dealing with our adversaries. It may well be our- 
selves that we injure most if we adopt tactics "more ruthless than the 

A second document which represents an attitude which we find im- 
proper was sent to the Congo in the fall of 1960 when the assassination 
of Patrice Lumumba was being considered. The chief of CIA's Africa 
Division recommended a particular agent — WI/ROGUE — because: 

He is indeed aware of the precepts of right and wrong, but if he is given an 
assignment which may be morally wrong in the eyes of the world, but necessary 
because his case officer ordered him to carry it out, then it is right, and he will 
dutifully undertake appropriate action for its execution without pangs of con- 
science. In a word, he can rationalize all actions. 

The Committee finds this rationalization is not in keeping with the 
ideals of our nation. 


We conclude that agencies of the United States must not use under- 
world figures for their criminal talents^ in carrying out Agency 
operations. In addition to the corrosive effect upon our government,^ 
the use of underworld figures involves the^following dangers : 

a. The use of underworld figures for "dirty business" gives them 
the power to blackmail the government and to avoid prosecution, for 
past or future crimes. For example, the figures involved in the Castro 
assassination operation used their involvement with the CIA to avoid 

1 The full text of the passage Is as follows : 

"• • * another Important requirement is an aggressive covert psychological, political, 
and paramilitary organization far more effective, more unique, and. if necessary, more 
ruthless than that employed by the enemy. No one should be permitted to stand in the 
way of the prompt, efficient, and secure accomplishment of this mission. 

"The second consideration, it is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy 
whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means at whatever cost. There 
are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. 
If the U.S. is to survive, long standing American concepts of American fair play must 
be reconsidered." 

2 Pending our investigation of the use of informants by the FBI and other agencies, 
we reserve judgment on the use of known criminals as informants. We are concerned 
here only with the use of persons known to be actively engaged in criminal pursuits for 
their expertise in carrying out criminal acts. 

» The corrosive effect of dealing with underworld figures is graphically demonstrated 
by the fact that Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who had devoted much of his pro- 
fessional life to fighting organized crime, did not issue an order against cooperating 
with such persons when he learned in May 1961 that the CIA had made use of Sam 
Glancana in a sensitive operation in Cuba. 

In May, 1962, the Attorney General learned that the operation — which was described 
to him as terminated — had involved assassination. According to a CIA witness, the 
Attorney General was angered by the report and told those briefing him that he must 
be consulted before underworld figures were used again. He did not, however, direct that 
underworld figures must never again be used. 

61-985 O - 75 - 18 


prosecution. The CIA also contemplated attempting to quash criminal 
charges brought in a foreign tribunal against QJ/WIN. 

b. The use of persons experienced in criminal techniques and prone 
to criminal behavior increases the likelihood that criminal acts will 
occur. Sometimes agents in the field are necessarily given broad discre- 
tion. But the risk of improper activities is increased when persons of 
criminal background are used, particularly when they are selected pre- 
cisely to take advantage of their criminal skills or contacts. 

c. There is the danger that the United States Government will be- 
come an unwitting accomplice to criminal acts and that criminal 
figures will take advantage of their association with the government to 
advance their own projects and interests. 

d. There is a fundamental impropriety in selecting persons because 
they are skilled at performing deeds which the laws of our society 

The use of underworld figures by the United States Government for 
their criminal skills raises moral problems comparable to those rec- 
ognized by Justice Brandeis in a different context five decades ago : 

Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it 
teaches the whole people by its example. Grime is contagious. If the Government 
becomes a law-breaker, it breeds contempt for law ; it invites every man to be- 
come a law unto himself. To declare that in the administration of the criminal 
law the end justifies the means — to declare that the Government may commit 
crimes in order to secure the conviction of the private criminal — ^would bring 
terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely 
set its face. [Olmstcad v. U.S., 277 U.S. 439, 485 (1927) ] 

e. The spectacle of the Government consorting with criminal ele- 
ments destroys respect for government and law and undermines the 
viability of democratic institutions. 

C. Findings and Conclusions Relating to Authorization 
AND Control 

In the introduction to this report, we set forth in summary form our 
major conclusions concerning whether the assassination plots were 
authorized. The ensuing discussion elaborates and explains those 

The Committee analyzed the question of authorization for the 
assassination activities from two perspectives. First, the Committee 
examined whether officials in policymaking positions authorized or 
were aware of the assassination activities. Second, the Committee in- 
quired whether the officials responsible for the operational details of 
the plots perceived that assassination had the approval of their su- 
periors, or at least was the type of activity that their superiors would 
not disapprove. 

No doubt, the CIA's general efforts against the regimes discussed 
in this report were authorized at the highest levels of the government. 
However, the record is unclear and serious doubt remains concerning 
whether assassination was authorized by the respective Presidents. 
Even if the plots were not expressly authorized, it does not follow that 
the Agency personnel believed they were acting improperly. 



As emphasized throughout this report, we are unable to draw firm 
conclusions concerning who authorized the assassination plots. Even 
after our long investigation it is unclear whether the conflicting and 
inconclusive state of the evidence is due to the system of plausible 
denial or whether there were, in fact, serious shortcomings in the sys- 
tem of authorization which made it possible for assassination efforts 
to have been undertaken by agencies of the United States Government 
without express authoi-ity from officials above those agencies.^ 

Based on the record of our investigation, the Committee finds that 
the system of Executive command and control was so inherently 
ambiguous that it is difficult to be certain at what level assassination 
activity was known and authorized. This creates the disturbing pros- 
pect that assassination activity might have been imdertaken by officials 
of the United States Government without its having been incontro- 
vertibly clear that there was explicit authorization from the Presi- 
dent of the United States. At the same time, this ambiguity and 
imprecision leaves open the possibility that there was a successful 
"plausible denial" and that a Presidential authorization was issued 
but is now obscured. 

\Vhether or not assassination was authorized by a President of 
the United States, the President as the chief executive officer of the 
United States Government must take ultimate responsibility for major 
activities during his Administration. Just as these Presidents must be 
held accountable, however, their subordinates throughout the Govern- 
ment had a concomitant duty to fully disdose their plans and 
activities. ^ 

As part of their responsibility, these Presidents had a duty to deter- 
mine the nature of major activities and to prevent undesired activities 
from taking place. This duty was particularly compelling when the 
Presidents had reason to believe that major undesired activities had 
previously occurred or were being advocated and might occur again. 
Whether or not the Presidents in fact knew about the assassination 
plots, and even if their subordinates failed in their duty of full dis- 
closure, it still follows that the Presidents should have known about 
the plots. This sets a demanding standard, but one the ComiTiittee sup- 
ports. The future of democracy rests upon such accountability. 


(a) Diem, 
We find that neither the President nor any other official in the 
United States Government authorized the assassination of Diem and 
his brother Nhu. Both the DCI and top State Department officials 

1 As noted above, there are also certain inherent limitations in the extensive record 
compiled by the Committee. Many years have passed, several of the key figures are dead, 
and while we have been assured by the present Administration that all the relevant 
evidence has been produced, it is always possible that other more conclusive material 
exists, but has not been found. 


did kiiow, however, that the death of Nhii, at least at one point, had 
been contemplated by the coup leaders. But when the possibility that 
the coup leaders were considering assassination was brought to the 
attention of the DCI, he directed that the United States would have 
no part in such activity, and there is some evidence that this infomia- 
tion was relayed to the coup leaders. 

(h) Soh^ieider 
We find that neither the President nor any other official in the 
United States Government authorized the assassination of General 
Rene Schneider. The CIA, and perhaps the White House, did know 
that coup leaders contemplated a kidnapping, which, as it turned out 
resulted in Schneider's death. 

(c) Trujillo 

The Presidents and other senior officials in the Eisenhower and 
Kennedy Administrations sought the overthrow of Trujillo and 
approved or condoned actions to obtain that end. 

The DCI and the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter- American 
Affairs knew that the Dominican dissidents viewed the removal of 
Trujillo as critical to any plans to overthrow his regime and that 
they intended to assassinate Trujillo if given the opportunity. It is 
uncertain precisely when officials at higher levels of government with 
responsibility for formulating policy learned that the dissidents 
equated assassination with overthrow. Clearly by early May 1961 
senior American officials, including President Kennedy, knew that 
the dissidents intended to assassinate Trujillo. The White House and 
State Department, as well as the CIA, knew that the United States 
had provided the dissidents with rifles and pistols and that the dis- 
sidents had requested machine guns which they intended to use in 
connection with an assassination effort. 

Thereafter, on ISIay 16, 1961 President Kennedy approved Xational 
Security Council recommendations that the United States not initiate 
the overthrow of Trujillo until it was known what government would 
succeed the dictator. That recommendation was consistent with earlier 
attempts initiated by the CIA to discourage the planned assassination 
and thereby avoid potential problems from a power vacuum which 
might arise. After deciding to discourage the planned assassination, 
the DCI directed that the machine guns not be passed to the Dominican 
dissidents. That policy was reconfirmed by the State Department, the 
Special Group, and, in a cable of May 29, 1961, by President Kennedy 

The day before the assassination. President Kennedy cabled the 
State Department representative in the Dominican Republic that the 
United States "as [a] matter of general policy cannot condone assassi- 
nation.'- However, the cable also stated that if the dissidents planning 
the imminent assassination of Trujillo succeeded, and thereby estab- 
lished a provisional government, the United States would recognize 
and support them. 

The President's cable has been construed in several ways. One read- 
ing stresses the President's opposition to assassination "as a matter of 
general policy." Another stresses those portions of the cable which 
discuss pragmatic matters, including the risk that the United States' 


involvement might be exposed, and suggests that the last minute tele- 
gram was designed to avoid a charge that the United States shared 
responsibility for the assassination. A third construction would be 
that both of the ])rior readings are correct and that they are not 
mutually exclusive. However the cable is construed, its ambiguity 
illustrates the difficulty of seeking objectives which can only be accom- 
plished by force — indeed, perhaps only by the assassination of a lead- 
er — and yet not wishing to take specific actions which seem abhorrent. 

(d) Lumumha 

The chain of events revealed by the documents and testimony is 
strong enough to permit a reasonable inference that the plot to as- 
sassinate Lumumba was authorized by President Eisenhower. Never- 
theless, there is enough countervailing testimony by Eisenhower Ad- 
ministration officials and enough ambiguity and lack of clarity in the 
i-ecords of high-level policy meetings to preclude the Committee from 
making a finding that the President intended an assassination effort 
against Lumumba. 

It is clear that the Director of Central Intelligence, Allen Dulles, 
authorized an assassination plot. There is, however, no evidence of 
United States involvement in bringing about the death of Lumumba 
at the hands of Congolese authorities. 

Strong expi-essions of hostility toward Lumumba from the Presi- 
dent and his National Security Assistant, followed immediately by CIA 
steps in furtherance of an assassination operation against Lumumba, 
are part of a sequence of events that, at the least, make it appear that 
Dulles believed assassination was a permissible means of complying 
with pressure from the President to remove Lumimiba from the politi- 
cal scene. 

Robert Johnson's testimony that he understood the President to 
have ordered Lumumba's assassination at an NSC meeting does, as he 
said, offer a "clue" about Presidential authorization. His testimony, 
however, should be read in light of the fact that NSC records during 
this period do not make clear whether or not the President ordered 
Lumumba's assassinatipn and the fact that others attending those 
meetings testified that they did not recall hearing such a Presidential 

Richard Bissell assumed that Presidential authorization for assassi- 
nating Lumumba had been communicated to him by Dulles, but Bissell 
had no specific recollection concerning when that communication oc- 
curred. The impression shared by the Congo Station Officer and the 
DDP's Special Assistant Joseph Scheider that the President author- 
ized an assassination effort against Lumumba was derived solely from 
conversations Scheider had with Bissel and Bronson Tweedy. How- 
ever, the impression thus held by Scheider and the Station Officer 
does not, in itself, establish Presidential authorization because neither 
Scheider nor the Station Officer had first-hand knowledge of Allen 
Dulles' statements about Presidential authorization, and because 
Scheider may have misconstrued Bissell's reference to "highest 

{e) Castro 
There was insufficient evidence from which the Committee could 
conclude that Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, or Johnson, their close 
advisors, or the Special Group authorized the assassination of Castro. 


The assassination plots against Castro were clearly authorized at 
least through the level of DDP. We also find that DCI Allen Dulles ap- 
proved "thorough consideration" of the "elimination" of Castro. Fur- 
ther, it is also likely that Dulles knew about and authorized the actual 
plots that occurred during his tenure. Bissell and Edwards testified 
that they had briefed Dulles (and Cabell) on the plot involving under- 
world figures "circumlocutiously," but that they were certain that he 
had understood that the plot involved assassination. Their testimony 
is buttressed by the fact that Dulles knew about the plot to assassinate 
Lumumba which was being planned at the same time, and which also 
involved Bissell. We can find no evidence that McCone was aware of 
the plots which occurred during his tenure. His DDP, Richard Helms, 
testified that he never discussed the subject with McCone and was 
never expressly authorized by anyone to assassinate Castro. 

The only suggestion of express Presidential authorization for the 
plots against Castro was Richard Bissell's opinion that Dulles would 
have informed Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy by circumlocution 
only after the assassination had been planned and was underway. 
The assumptions underlying this opinion are too attenuated for the 
Committee to adopt it as a" finding. First, this assumes that Dulles 
himself knew of the plot, a matter which is not entirely certain. Sec- 
ond, it assumes that Dulles went privately to the two Presidents— a 
coui-se of action which Helms, who had far more covert action experi- 
ence than Bissell, testified was precisely what the doctrine of plausible 
denial forbade CIA officials from doing. Third, it necessarily assumes 
that the Presidents would understand from a "circumlocutions" de- 
scription that assassination was being discussed. 

In view of the strained chain of assumptions and the contrary testi- 
mony of all the Presidential advisors, the men closest to both Eisen- 
hower and Kennedy, the Committee makes no finding implicating 
Presidents who are not able to speak for themselves. 

Helms and JVIcCone testified that the Presidents under which they 
served never asked them to consider assassination. 

There was no evidence whatsoever that President Johnson knew 
about or authorized any assassination activity during his Presidency. 


The CIA officials involved in the targeted assassination attempts 
testified that they had believed that their activities had been fully 

In the case of the Lumumba assassination operation, Richard Bis- 
sell testified that he had no direct recollection of authorization, but 
after having reviewed the cables and Special Group minutes, testified 
that authority must have flowed from Dulles through him to the sub- 
ordinate levels in the Agency. 

^ The lower level operatives, such as the AM/LASH case officers, are not discussed 
in this section, since they had clear orders from their immediate superiors within the CIA, 


In the case of the assassination effort against Castro, Bissell and 
Sheffield Edwards testified they believed the operation involving 
underworld figures had been authorized by Dulles when they briefed 
liim shortly after the plot had been initiated. William Harvey testi- 
fied he believed that the plots 'Svere completely authorized at every 
apjjropriate level within and beyond the Agency," although he had 
"no personal knowledge whatever of the individuals' identities, times, 
exact words, or channels through which such authority may have 
passed." Harvey stated that he had been told by Eichard Bissell that 
the effort against Castro had been authorized "from the highest level," 
and that Harvey had discussed the plots with Richard Helms, his im- 
mediate superior. Helms testified that although he had never discussed 
assassination with his superiors, he believed : 

* * * that in these actions we were taking against Cuba and against Fidel 
Castro's government in Cuba, tliat they were what we had been asked to do. * * * 
In other words we had been asked to get rid of Castro and * * * there were no 
limitations put on the means, and we felt we were acting well within the guide- 
lines that we understood to be in play at this particular time. 

The evidence points to a disturbing situation. Agency officials testi- 
fied that they believed the effort to assassinate Castro to have been 
within the parameters of permissible action. But Administration of- 
ficials responsible for formulating policy, including McCone. testified 
that they were not aware of the effort and did not authorize it. The 
explanation may lie in the fact that orders concerning overthrowing 
the Castro regime w^ere stated in broad terms that were subject to 
differing interpretations by those responsible for carrying out those 

The various Presidents and their senior advisors strongly opposed 
the regimes of Castro and Trujillo, the accession to power of Allende, 
and the potential influence of Patrice Lumumba. Orders concerning 
action against those foreign leaders were given in vigorous language. 
For example. President Xixon's orders to prevent Allende from assum- 
ing power left Helms feeling that "if I ever carried a marshairs baton 
in my knapsack out of the Oval Office, it was that day." Similarly, 
General Lansdale described the Mongoose effort against Cuba as "a 
combat situation,"' and Attorney General Kennedy emphasized that 
"a solution to the Cuba problem today carries top priority." Helms 
testified that the pressure to "get rid of Castro and the Castro regime" 
was intense, and Bissell testified that he had been ordered to "get off 
your ass about Cuba." 

It is possible that there was a failure of communication between 
policymakers and the agency personnel who were experienced in secret, 
and often violent, action. Although policymakers testified that assassi- 
nation was not intended by such words as "get rid of Castro." Some of 
their subordinates in the Agency testified that they perceived that 
assassination was desired and that they should proceed Avithout 
troubling their superiors. 

The 1967 Inspector General's Report on assassinations appropriately 
observed : 

The iwint is that of frequent resort to synecdoche — the mention of a part when 
the whole is to be understood, or vice versa. Thus, we encounter repeated refer- 
ences to phrases such as "disposing of Castro," which may be read in the narrow, 
literal sense of assassinating him. when it is intended that it be read in the 
broader figurative sense of dislodging the Castro regime. Reversing the coin, we 
find i>eople speaking vaguely of "doing something about Castro" when it is clear 


that what they have specifically in mind is killing him. In a situation wherein 
those spealfing may not have actually meant what they seemed to say or may not 
have said what they actually meant, they should not be surprised if their oral 
shorthand is interpreted differently than was intended. 

Differing perceptions between superiors and their subordinates 
were graphically illustrated in the Castro context.^ McCone, in a 
memorandum dated April 14, 1967, reflected as follows : 

Through the years the Cuban problem was discussed in terms such as "dis- 
pose of Castro," "remove Castro," "knock off Castro," etc., and this meant the 
overthrow of the Communist government in Cuba and the replacing of it with 
a democratic regime. Terms such as the above appear in many working papers, 
memoranda for the record, etc., and, as stated, all refer to a change in the 
Cuban government.' 

Helms, who had considerable experience as a covert operator, gave 
precisely the opposite meaning to the same words, interpreting them 
as conveying authority for assassination. 

Helms repeatedly testified that he felt that explicit authorization 
was unnecessary for the assassination of Caitro in the early 1960's, but 
he said he did not construe the intense pressure from President 
Nixon in 1970 as providing authority to assassinate anyone. As Helms 
testified, the difference was not that the pressure to prevent Allende 
from assuming office was any less than the pressure to remove the 
Castro regime, but rather that "I had already made up my mind that 
we weren't going to have any of that business when I was Director." 

Certain CIA contemporaries of Helms who were subjected to simi- 
lar pressures in the Castro case rejected the thesis that implicit author- 
ity to assassinate Castro derived from the strong language of the 
policymakers. Bissell testified that he had believed that "foi-mal and 
explicit approval" would be required for assassination, and Helms' as- 
sistant, George McManus, testified that "it never occurred to me" that 
the vigorous words of the Attorney General could be taken as authoriz- 
ing assassination. The diff'ei'ing perceptions may have resulted from 
their different backgrounds and training. Neither Bissell (an acade- 
mician whose Agency career for the six years before he became DDP 
had been in the field of technology) nor McManus (who had concen- 
trated on intelligence and staff work) were experienced in covert 

The perception of certain Agency officials that assassination was 
within the range of permissible activity was reinforced by the continu- 
ing approval of violent covert actions against Cuba that were sanc- 

1 Senator Mathias. Let me draw an example from history. When Thomas Becket was 
proving to be an annoyance, as Castro, the King- said, "who will rid me of this troublesome 
priest?" He didn't say, "go out and murder him". He said, "who will rid me of this man " 
and let it go at that. 

Mr. Helms. That is a warming reference to the problem. 

Senator Mathias. You feel that spans the generations and the centuries? 

Mr. Helms. I think it does, sir. 

Senator Mathias. And that is typical of the kind of thing which might be said, which 
might be taken by the Director or by anybody else as presidential authorization to go 
forward ? 

Mr. Helms. That is right. But in answer to that, I realize that one sort of grows 
up in tradition of the time and I think that any of us would have found it very difficult 
to discuss assassinations with a President of the U.S. I just think we all had the feeling 
that we were hired out to keep those things out of the oval office. 

■^ It should be noted, however, that this memorandum was prepared several years 
after the assassination plots when a newspaper article alleged CIA involvement in 
attempts on Castro's life. 

's Of course, this analysis cannot be carried too far. In the Lumumba case, for example, 
Johnson and Dillon, who were Administration officials with no covert operation experience, 
construed remarks as urging or permitting assassination, while other persons who were 
not in the Agency did not so interpret them. 


tioned at the Presidential level, and by the failure of the successive 
administrations to make clear that assassination was not permissible. 
This point is one of the subjects considered in the next section. 


While we cannot find that officials responsible for making policy 
decisions knew about or authorized the assassination attempts (with 
the possible exception of the Lumumba case), Agency operatives at 
least through the level of DDP nevertheless perceived assassination 
to have been permissible. This failure in communication was inexcus- 
able in light of the gravity of assassination. The Committee finds that 
the failure of Agency officials to inform their superiors was reprehen- 
sible, and that the reasons that they oifered for having neglected to 
inform their superiore are unacceptable. The Committee further finds 
that Administration officials failed to be sufficiently precise in their 
directions to the Agency, and that their attitude toward the possibility 
of assassination was ambiguous in the context of the violence of other 
activities that they did authorize. 

(a) Agency ofhcidls failed mi several occasions to reveal the plots to 
their swper'iors^ or to do so with swffLcient detail and clarity 

Several of the cases considered in this report raise questions con- 
cerning whether officials of the CIA sufficiently informed their su- 
periors in the Agency or officials outside the Agency about their 

[i) Castro 

The failure of Agency officials to inform their superiors of the assas- 
sination efforts against Castro is particularly troubling. 

On the basis of the testimony and documentary evidence before the 
Committee, it is not entirely certain that Dulles was ever made aware 
of the true natui"e of the underworld operation. The plot continued into 
McCone's term, apparently without McCone's or the Administration's 
knowledge or approval. 

On some occasions when Richard Bissell had the opportunity to in- 
form his superiors about the assassination efi^ort against Castro, he 
either failed to inform them, failed to do so clearly, or misled them. 

Bissell testified that he and Edwards told Dulles and Cabell about 


the assassination operation using underworld figures, but that they did 
so "circumlocutiously", and then only after contact had been made 
with the underworld and a price had been offered for Castro's death. 

Perhaps Bissell should have checked back with Dulles at an earlier 
stage after having received approval to give "thorough considera- 
tion" to Castro's "elimination" from Dulles in December 1959. 

Bissell further testified that he never raised the issue of assassina- 
tion with non-CIA officials of either the Eisenhower or Kennedy Ad- 
ministration. His reason was that since he w^as under Dulles in the 
chain of command, he would normally have had no duty to discuss the 
matter with these Presidents or other Administration officials, and that 
he assumed that Dulles would have "circumlocutiously" spoken with 
Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy about the operation. These rea- 
sons are insufficient. It was inexcusable to withhold such information 
from those responsible for formulating policy on the unverified as- 
sumption that they might have been "circumlocutiously" informed by 

The failure either to inform those officials or to make certain that 
they had been informed by Dulles was particularly reprehensible in 
light of the fact that there were many occasions on which Bissell 
should have infonned them, and his failure to do so was misleading. 
In the first weeks of the Kennedy Administration, Bissell met with 
Bundy and discussed the development of an assassination capability 
within CIA — Executive Action. But Bissell did not mention that an 
actual assassination attempt was underway. Bissell appeared before 
the Taylor-Kennedy Board of Inquiry which was formed to report 
to the President on the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban situation, but he 
testified that he did not inform the Board of the assassination opera- 
tion.- As chief of tJie CIA directorate concerned with clandestine 
operations and the Bay of Pigs, Bissell frequently met with officials 
in the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations to discuss Cuban 
operations, and his advice was frequently sought. He did not tell them 
that the CIA had undertaken an effort to assassinate Castro, and did 
not ask if they favored proceeding with the effort. He was present at 
the meeting with Dulles and President Kennedy at which the new 
President was briefed on covert action in Cuba, but neither Dulles 
nor Bissell mentioned the assassination operation that was under- 
way. Dulles himself may not have always been candid. On December 
11, 1959, he approved the CIA's giving "thorough consideration to the 
elimination of Fidel Castro," but told the Special Group in a meeting 
the following month that "we do not have in mind the quick elimina- 
tion of Castro, but rather actions designed to enable responsible opposi- 
tion leaders to get a foothold." 

The failures to make forthright disclosures to policy-makers con- 
tinued during the time that Richard Helms was DDP. Helms' failure 
to inform McCone about the underworld operation (when it was re- 
activated under Harvey and poison pills were sent to Cuba) was a 
grave error in judgment, and Helms' excuses are unpersuasive. In 
May 1962 the Attorney General was told that the CIA's involve- 

1 Even assuming that Bissell correctly perceived that Dulles understood the nature of 
the operation, it was also inexcusable for Bissell not to have briefed Dulles in plain 
language. Further, even if one accepts Bissell's assumption that Dulles told the Presi- 
dents, they would have been told too late, because Bissell "guessed" they would have 
been told that the operation "had been planned and was being attempted." 

- Dulles was also a member of the Board. 


ment in an assassination plot had terminated with the Bay of Pigs. 
Not only did Edwards, who had briefed the Attorney General, know 
that the operation had not be-en terminated, but Helms did not inform 
the Attorney General that the operation was still active when he 
learned that the Attorney General had been misled. Helms did not 
inform McCone of the plot until August 1963, and did so then in a 
manner which indicated that the plot had been terminated before 
McCone became Director. Helms' denial that AM/LASH had been 
involved in an assassination effort in response to Secretary of State 
Rusk's inquiries was, as Helms conceded, not factual. 

Wlien Helms briefed President Johnson on the Castro plots, he 
apparently described the activities that had occurred during prior 
administrations but did not describe the AM/LxA.SH operation which 
had continued until 1965. Helms also failed to inform the Warren 
Commission of the plots because the precise question was not asked.^ 

Helms told the Committee that he had never raised the assassina- 
tion operation with McCone or other Kennedy Administration officials 
because of the sensitivity of the matter, because he had assumed that 
the project had been previously authorized, and because the aggressive 
character of the Kennedy Administration's program against the 
Castro regime led him to believe that assassination was permissible, 
even though he did not receive an express instruction to that effect. 
He added that he had never been convinced that the operation would 
succeed, and that he would have told McCone about it if he had ever 
believed that it would "go anyplace." 

Helms' reasons for not having told his superiors about the assassina- 
tion effort are unacceptable ; indeed, many of them were reasons why 
he should have specifically raised the matter with higher authority. 
As Helms himself testified, assassination was of a high order of sensi- 
tivity. Administration policymakers, supported by intelligence esti- 
mates furnished by the Agency, had emphasized on several occasions 
that successors to Castro might be worse than Castro himself. In addi- 
tion, the Special Group (Augmented) required that plans for covert 
actions against Cuba be submitted in detail for its approval. Although 
the Administration was exerting intense pressure on the CIA to do 
something about Castro and the Castro regime, it was a serious error 
to have undertaken so drastic an operation without making certain 
that there was full and unequivocal permission to proceed. 

William Harvey, the officer in charge of the CIA's attempt using 
underworld figures to assassinate Castro, testified that he never dis- 
cussed the plot with McCone or officials of the Kennedy Administra- 
tion because he believed that it had been fully authorized by the pre- 
vious Director, because he was uncertain whether it had a chance of 
succeeding, and because he believed that it was not his duty to inform 
higher authorities. 

Nonetheless, the Committee believes there were occasions on which 
it was incumbent on Harvey to have disclosed the assassination opera- 
tion. As head of Task Force W, the branch of the CIA responsible 
for covert operations in Cuba, Harvey leported directly to General 
Lansdale and the Special Group (Augmented). The Special Group 

1 .Tohn McConp was Director of the CIA and at least knew about the pre-Bay of Pics 
plot durinjr the Warren Commission's inquiry. McCone failed to disclose the plot to the 
Commission. Allen Dulles was on the Warren Commission. He did not inform the other 
members about the plots that had occurred during his term as DCI. 


(Augmented) had made it known that covert operations in Cuba should 
be first approved by it, both by explicit instruction and by its practice 
that particular operations be submitted in "nauseating detail". Yet 
Harvey did not inform either General Lansdale or the Special Group 
(Augmented) of the assassination operation, either "when he was ex- 
plicitly requested to report to INIcCone, General Taylor, and the 
Special Group on his activities in INIiami in April 1962, or when the 
subject of assassination was raised in the August 1962 meeting and 
McCone voiced his disapproval. Harvey testified that a matter as 
sensitive as assassination would never be raised in a gathering as 
large as the Special Group (Augmented) . 

The Committee finds the reasons advanced for not having informed 
those responsible for formulating policy about the assassination op- 
eration inadequate, misleading, and inconsistent. Some officials viewed 
assassination as too important and sensitive to discuss with superiors, 
while others considered it not sufficiently important. Harvey testified 
that it was premature to tell INIcCone about the underworld operation 
in April 1962, because it was not sufficiently advanced; but too late 
to tell him about it in August 1962, since by that time Harvey had 
decided to terminate it. On other occasions, officials thought disclosure 
was someone else's responsibility; Bissell said he thought it was up 
to Dulles, and Harvey believed it was up to Helms. 

The Committee concludes that the failure to clearly inform policy- 
makers of the assassination effort against Castro was grossly improper. 
The Committee believes that it should be incumbent on the DDP 
to report such a sensitive operation to his superior, the DCI, no matter 
how grave his doubts might be about the possible outcome of the opera- 
tion. It follows that the DCI has the same duty to accurately inform 
his superiors. 

(ii) Trujillo 

In the Trujillo case there were several instances in which it appears 
that policymakers were not given sufficient information, or were not 
informed in a timely fashion. 

At a meeting on December 29, 1960, Bissell presented a plan to the 
Special Group for supporting Dominican exile groups and local dissi- 
dents, and stated that the plan would not bring down the regime with- 
out "some decisive stroke against Trujillo himself." At a meeting on 
January 12, 1961, the Special Group authorized the passage of "limited 
supplies of small ai-ms and other materials" to Dominican dissidents 
under certain conditions. 

At this time, the fact that the dissidents had been contemplating the 
assassination of Trujillo had been known in the State Department at 
least through the level of the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter- 
American Affairs, and by senior officials of the CIA, including the 
DCI. Yet the internal State Department memorandum which was 
furnished to Undersecretary Livingston Merchant, and w4iich was said 
to have been the basis for the Special Group's agreeing to the limited 
supply of small arms and other material (i.e., explosive devices), did 
not mention assassination. Instead, it spoke of "sabotage potential" 
and stated that there "would be no thought of toppling the [govern- 
ment] by any such minor measure [as the supplying of small arms and 

At a meeting of the Special Group on February 14, 1961, representa- 
tives of the CIA briefed the new members of the Group on outstanding 


CIA projects. The Dominican Republic was one of the briefing topics. 
The minutes of that meeting indicate that Mr. Bundy requested a 
memorandum for "higher authority" on the subject of what plans 
could be made for a successor government to Trujillo. Bissell had no 
clear recollection as to the details of the February 14 briefing and was 
unable to recall whether or not the method of overthrow to be at- 
tempted by the dissidents was discussed. It is not known, therefore, 
whether the new members of the Special Group learned, at that time, of 
Bissell's assessment that overthrow of the regime required a decisive 
stroke against Trujillo himself. Robert McNamara recalled no men- 
tion at that meeting of any dissident plans to assassinate Trujillo. 

On February 15 and 17, 1961, memoranda were prepared for the 
President by Secretary of State Rusk and by Richard Bissell respec- 
tively. Although both the Department of State and the CIA then had 
information concerning the dissidents' intent to assassinate Trujillo 
if possible, neither memorandum referred to such a contingency. Rusk 
disclaimed any know^ledge of the dissidents intent to assassinate 
Trujillo until shortly before the event occurred, but Bissell admitted 
personal awareness of the assassination plans. 

Bissell's February 17 memorandum indicated that dissident leaders 
had informed the CIA of "their plan of action which they felt could 
be implemented if they were provided with arms for 300 men, explo- 
sives, and remote control detonation devices." Various witnesses testi- 
fied that supplying arms for 300 men would, standing alone, indicate a 
"non-targeted" use for the arms. One possible method of assassinating 
Trujillo which had long been discussed by the dissidents and which 
was the favored approach at the time of BisselFs memorandum en- 
visioned assassination by means of a bomb detonated by remote con- 
trol. But the memorandum made no reference to the use to which the 
explosive devices might be put. (There is no record of any query from 
recipients of the briefing paper as to the nature of the dissidents' "plan 
of action" or the uses for which the arms and explosives were in- 

The passage of the carbines was approved by CIA Headquarters on 
March 31, 1961. Although the State Department's representative in 
the Dominican Republic concurred in the decision to pass the car- 
bines, he was requested by the CIA not to communicate this informa- 
tion to State Department officials in Washington, and he complied 
with that request. Accordingly, neither the State Department nor the 
AVhite House was aware of the passage for several weeks. Similarly, 
there was no contemporaneous disclosure outside the CIA, other than 
to the State Department representative in the Dominican Republic, 
that machine guns had been sent to the Dominican Republic via the 
diplomatic pouch. 

A memorandum prepared by Adolph Berle, the State Department 
official from whom the CIA sought permission to pass the machine 
guns, states that "on cross-examination it developed that the real plan 
was to assassinate Trujillo and they wanted guns for that purpose." 
(Berle, Memorandum of Conversation, 5/3/61) Berle's memorandum 
states that he informed the CIA officials that "we did not wish to 
have anything to do with any assassination plots anywhere, any 
time." The CIA official reportedly said he felt the same way, even 
though on *;he previous day he had been one of the signers of a draft 
CIA cable which would have permitted passage of the machine guns 


to the dissidents for "* * * their additional protection on their pro- 
posed endeavor,'' (Draft HQs to Station Cable, 5/2/61) 

Although the report of a new anti-Trujillo plot was discussed at a 
meeting of the Special Group on May 4, 1961, there is no indication 
that Berle, who was the Chairman of the Inter- Agency Task Force 
having responsibility for contingency planning for Cuba, the Domin- 
ican Eepublic, and Haiti, disclosed to higher authority the assassina- 
tion information which he discovered by "cross-examination." The 
National Security Council met the next day and noted the President's 
view that the United States should not initiate the overthrow of 
Trujillo before it was known what government would succeed him. 
That National Security Council Record of Action was approved by 
the President on May 16, 1961. There is no record indicating whether 
Berle communicated to the President, or to members of the National 
Security Council, his knowledge as to the lethal intent of the dissi- 
dents who would be carrying out the overthrow of Trujillo. 

(Hi) Schneider 

The issue here is not whether the objectives of the CIA were con- 
trary to those of the Administration. It is clear that President Nixon 
desired to prevent Allende from assuming office, even if that required 
fomenting and supporting a coup in Chile. Nor did White House 
officials suggest that tactics employed (including as a first step kid- 
napping General Schneider) would have been unacceptable as a matter 
of principle. Rather, the issue posed is whether White House officials 
were consulted, and thus given an opportunity to weigh such matters 
as risk and likelihood of success, and to apply policy-making judgments 
to particular tactics. The record indicates that up to October 15 they 
were ; after October 15 there is some doubt. 

The documentary record with respect to the disputed post-October 15 
period gives rise to conflicting inferences. On the one hand, Karames- 
sines' calendar shows at least one White House contact in the critical 
period prior to the kidnapping of General Schneider on October 22. 
However, the absence of any substantive memoranda in CIA files — 
when contrasted with several such memoranda describing contacts 
with the White House between September 15 and October 15 — may 
suggest a lack of significant communication on the part of the CIA 
as well as a lack of careful supervision on the part of the Wliite House. 

The standards applied within the CIA itself suggest a view that 
action which the Committee believes called for top-level policy dis- 
cussion and decision was thought of as permissible, without any further 
consultation, on the basis of the initial instruction to prevent Allende 
from assuming power. Machine guns were sent to Chile and delivered 
to military figures there on the authority of middle level CIA officers 
without consultation even with the CIA officer in charge of the pro- 
gram. We find no suggestion of bad faith in the action of the middle 
level officers, but their failure to consult necessarily establishes 
that there was no advance permission from outside the CIA fo^' the 
passage of machine guns. And it also suggests an unduly lax attitude 
within the CIA toward consultation with superiors. Further, this case 
demonstrates the problems inherent in giving an agency a "blank 
check" to engage in covert operations without specifying which actions 
are permissible and which are not, and without adequately supervising 
and monitoring these activities. 


(h) Administration officials faded to rule out assassin-ation as a tool of 
foreign policy^ to make clear to their subordin/ites that assassination 
was impermissihle or to inquife further after receiving indications 
that assassination was being considered 

AVliile we do not find that hi^h Administration officials expressly 
approved of the assassination attempts, we have noted that certain 
agency officials nevertheless perceived assassination to have been au- 
thorized. Althoiio;h those officials were remiss in not seeking express 
authorization for their activities, their superiors were also at fault for 
giving vague instructions and for not explicitly ruling out assassina- 
tion. Xo written order prohibiting assassination was issued until 1972, 
and that order was an internal CIA directive issued by Director Helms. 

(0 Tmjillo 

Immediately following the assassination of Trujillo, there were a 
number of high-level meetings about the Dominican Eepitblic attended 
by the policymakers of the Kennedy Administration. All relevant 
facts concerning CIA and State Department support of the Dominican 
dissidents were fully known. No directive was issued by the President 
or the Special Group criticizing any aspect of United States involve- 
ment in the Dominican affair. Similarly, there is no record of any 
action having been taken prohibiting future support or encouragement 
of groups or individuals known to be planning the assassination of a 
foreign leader. The meetings and discussions following the Trujillo 
assassination represent another missed opportunity to establish an 
administration policy against assassination and may partially account 
for the CIA's assessment of the Dominican operation as a success a few 
years later. They may also have encouraged Agency personnel, in- 
volved in both the Trujillo and the Castro plots, in their belief that 
the Administration w^ould not be unhappy if the Agency were able 
to make Castro disappear. No such claim, however, was made in testi- 
mony by any agency official. 

{ii) Schneider 

As explained above, there is no evidence that assassination was 
ever proposed as a method of carrying out the Presidential order to 
prevent Allende from assuming office. The Committee believes, how- 
ever, that the granting of carte hlanche authority to the CIA by the 
Executive in this case may have contributed to the tragic and unin- 
tended death of General Schneider. This was also partially due to 
assigning an impractical task to be accomplished wathin an unreason- 
ably short time. Apart from the question of whether any intervention 
in Chile was justified under the circumstances of this case, the Com- 
mittee believes that the Executive in any event should have defined 
the limits of permissible action. 

(m) Lum/u/mba 

We are unable to make a finding that President Eisenhower inten- 
tionally authorized an assassination effort against Lumumba due to 
the lack of absolute certainty in the evidence. However, it appears 
that the strong language used in discussions at the Special Group and 
NSC, as reflected in minutes of relevant meetings, led Dulles to be- 
lieve that assassination was desired. The minutes contain language 


concerning the need to "dispose of" Lumumba, an "extremely strong 
feeling about the necessity for straightforward action," and a refusal 
to rule out any activity that might contribute to "getting rid of' 

(iv) Castro 

The efforts to assassinate Fidel Castro took place in an atmosphere of 
extreme pressure by Eisenhower and Kennedy Administration officials 
to discredit and overthrow the Castro regime. Shortly after Castro's 
ascendancy to power, Allen Dulles directed that "thorough considei-a- 
tion" be given to the "elimination" of Castro. Richard Helms recalled 

I remember vividly [that the pressure] was very intense. And therefore, when 
you go into tlie record, you find a lot of nutty schemes there and those nutty 
schemes were borne of the intensity of the pressure. And we were quite 

Bissell recalled that : 

During that entire period, the Administration was extremely sensitive about 
the defeat that had been inflicted, as they felt, on the U.S. at the Bay of Pigs, 
and were pursuing every possible means of getting rid of Castro. 

Another CIA official stated that sometime in the Fall of 1961 
Bissell was: 

* * * chewed out in the Cabinet Room in the ^Miite House by l)oth the President 
and the Attorney General for, as he put it, sitting on his ass and not doing any- 
thing about getting rid of Castro and the Castro Regime. 

General Lansdale informed the agencies cooperating in Operation 
MONGOOSE that "you're in a combat situation where we have been 
given full command." Secretary of Defense McNamara confirmed 
that "we were hysterical about Castro at the time of the Bay of Pigs 
and thereafter." 

Many of the plans that were discussed and often approved contem- 
plated violent action against Cuba. The operation which resulted in the 
Bay of Pigs was a major paramilitary onslaught that had the approval 
of the highest government officials, including the two Presidents. 
Thereafter, Attorney General Kennedy vehemently exhorted the Spe- 
cial Group (Augmented) that "a solution to the Cuban problem today 
carried top priority * * * no time, money, effort — or manpower is 
to be spared.'' ^ Subsequently, Operation MONGOOSE involved 
propaganda and sabotage operations aimed toward spurring a revolt 
of the Cuban people against Castro. Measures which were consid- 
ered by the top policymakers included incapacitating sugar workers 
during harvest season by the use of chemicals; blowing up bridges 
and production plants; sabotaging merchandise in third countries — 
even those allied with the United States — prior to its delivery to Cuba ; 
and arming insurgents on the island. Programs undertaken at the urg- 
ing of the Administration included intensive efforts to recruit and arm 
dissidents within Cuba, and raids on plants, mines, and harbors. Con- 
sideration and approval of these measures may understandably have 
led the CIA to conclude that violent actions were an acceptable means 
of accomplishing important objectives. 

1 The Attorney General himself took a personal interest in the recruitment and develop- 
ment of assets within Cuba, on occasion recommending Cubans to the CIA as possible 
recruits and meeting in Washington and Florida with Cuban exiles active in the covert 
war against the Castro Government. 


Discussions at the Special Group and NSC meetings might well have 
contributed to the perception of some CIA officials that assassination 
was a permissible tool in the effort to overthrow the Castro Regime. 
At a Special Group meeting in November 1960, Undersecretary Mer- 
chant inquired whether any planning had been undertaken for "direct, 
positive action" against Che Guevara, Raul Castro, and Fidel Castro. 
Cabell replied that such a capability did not exist, but he might well 
have left the meeting with the impression that assassination was not 
out of bounds. Lansdale's plan, which was submitted to the Special 
Group in January 1962, aimed at inducing "open revolt and overthrow 
of the Communist regime." Included in its final phase an "attack 
on the cadre of the regime, including key leaders." The proposal 
stated that "this should be a 'Special Target' operation * * *. Gang- 
ster elements might provide the best recruitment potential against 
police * * *." Although Lansdale's proposal was shelved, the type of 
aggressive action contemplated was not formally ruled out. Minutes 
from several Special Group meetings contain language such as "pos- 
sible removal of Castro from the Cuban scene." 

On several occasions, the subject of assassination was discussed in 
the presence of senior Administration officials. Those officials never 
consented to actual assassination efforts, but they failed to indicate 
that assassination was impermissible as a matter of principle. 

In early 1961, McGeorge Bundy was informed of a CIA project 
described as the development of a capability to assassinate. Bundy 
raised no objection and, according to Bissell, may have been more af- 
firmative.^ Bissell stated that he did not construe Bundy's remarks as 
authorization for the underworld plot against Castro that was then 
underway. But the fact that he believed that the development of an 
assassination capability had, as he subsequently told Harvey, been 
approved by the "Wliite House, may well have contributed to the gen- 
eral perception that assassination was not prohibited.- 

Documents received by the Committee indicate that in May 1961, 
Attorney General Kennedy and the Director of the FBI received in- 
formation that the CIA was engaged in clandestine efforts against 
Castro which included the use of Sam Giancana and other underworld 
figures. The various docunients referred to "dirty business," "clandes- 
tine efforts," and "plans" which were still "working" and might even- 
tually "pay off." The Committee is unable to determine whether 
Hoover and the Attorney General ever inquired into the nature of the 
CIA operation, although there is no evidence that they did so inquire. 
The Committee believes that they should liave inquired, and that their 
failure to do so was a dereliction of their duties. 

Documents indicate that in May 1962, Attorney General Kennedy 
was told that the CIA had sought to assassinate Castro prior to the 
Bay of Pigs. According to the CIA officials who were present at the 
briefing, the Attorney General indicated his displeasure about the 
lack of consultation rather than about the impropriety of the attempt 

^The Inspector Generars Report states that Harvey's notes (which no longer exist) 
quoted Bissell as saying to Harvey : "The White House has twice urged me to create 
such as capability." 

- Bundy, as the National Security Advisor to the President, had an obligation to tell the 
President of such a grave matter, even though it was only a discussion of a capabilitj' to 
assassinate. His failure to do so was a serious error. 

61-985 O - 75 - 19 


itself. There is no evidence that the Attorney General told the CIA 
that it must not engage in assassination plots in the future. 

At a meeting of the Special Group (Augmented) in August 1962, 
well after the assassination efforts were underway, Robert McNamara 
is said to have raised the question of whether the assassination of 
Cuban leaders should be explored, and General Lansdale issued an 
action memorandum assigning the CIA the task of preparing con- 
tingency plans for the assassination of Cuban leaders. \Vhile McCone 
testified that he had immediately made it clear that assassination 
was not to be discussed or condoned, Harvey's testimony and docu- 
ments which he wrote after the event indicate that Harvey may have 
been confused over whether McCone had objected to the use of assas- 
sination, or whether he was only concerned that the subject not be 
put in writing. In any event, McCone went no further. He issued no 
general order banning consideration of assassination within the 

One of the programs forwarded to General Lansdale by the De- 
fense Department in the MONGOOSE program was entitled "Opera- 
tion Bounty" and envisioned dropping leaflets in Cuba offering re- 
wards for the assassination of Government leaders. Although the plan 
was vetoed by Lansdale, it indicates that persons in agencies other than 
the CIA perceived that assassination might be permissible. 

While the ambivalence of Administration officials does not excuse 
the misleading conduct by Agency officials or justify their failure to 
seek explicit permission, this attitude displayed an insufficient con- 
cern about assassination which may have contributed to the perception 
that assassination was an acceptable tactic in accomplishing the Gov- 
ernment's general objectives. 

Moreover, with the exception of the tight guidelines issued by the 
Special Group (Augmented) concerning Operation MONGOOSE, 
precise limitations were never imposed on the CIA requiring prior 
permission for the details of other proposed covert operations against 

No general policy banning assassination was promulgated until 
Helms' intra-agency order in 1972. Considering the number of times 
the subject of assassination had arisen, Administration officials were 
remiss in not explicitly forbidding such activity. 

The committee notes that many of the occasions on which CIA 
officials should have informed their superiors of the assassination 
efforts but failed to do so, or did so in a misleading manner, were also 
occasions on which Administration officials paradoxically may have 
reinforced the perception that assassination was permissible. 

For example, when Bissell spoke with Bundy about an Executive 
Action capability, Bissell failed to indicate that an actual assassina- 
tion operation was underway, but Bundy failed to rule out assassina- 
tion as a tactic. 

In May 1962, the Attorney General was misleadingly told about 
the effort to assassinate Castro prior to the Bay of Pigs, but not about 
the operation that was then going on. The Attorney General, however, 
did not state that assassination was improper. 

When a senior administration official raised the question of whether 
assassination should be explored at a Special Group meeting, the 


assassination operation should have been revealed. A firm written 
order against engaging in assassination should also have been issued 
by McCone if, as he testified, he had exhibited strong aversion to 


Various witnesses described elements of the system within which 
the assassination plots were conceived. The Committee is disturbed 
by the custom that permitted the most sensitive matters to be pre- 
sented to the highest levels of Government with the least clarity. We 
view the following points as particularly dangerous : 

(1) The expansion of the doctrine of "plausible denial" beyond its 
intended purpose of hiding the involvement of the United States from 
other countries into an effort to shield higher officials from knowledge, 

and hence responsibility, for certain operations. 

(2) The use of circumlocution or euphemism to describe serious 
matters — such as assassination — when precise meanings ought to be 
made clear. 

(3) The theory that general approval of broad covert action pro- 
grams is sufficient to justify specific actions such as assassination or 
the passage of weapons. 

(4) The theory that authority granted, or assumed to be granted, 
by one DCI or one Administration could be presumed to continue 
without the necessity for reaffirming the authority with successor 

(5) The creation of covert capabilities without careful review and 
authorization by policymakers, and the further risk that such capa- 
bilities, once created, might be used without specific authorization. 

(a) The danger inherent in overextendAng the doctrine of '■'"plausible 


The original concept of "plausible denial" envisioned implementing 
covert actions in a manner calculated to conceal American involvement 
if the actions were exposed. The doctrine was at times a delusion and 
at times a snare. It was naive for policymakers to assume that sponsor- 
ship of actions as big as the Bay of Pigs invasion could be concealed. 
The Committee's investigation of assassination and the public dis- 
closures which preceded the inquiry demonstrate that when the United 
States resorted to cloak-and-dagger tactics, its hand was ultimately 
exposed. We were particularly disturbed to find little evidence that the 
risks and consequences of disclosure were considered. 

We find that the likelihood of reckless action is substantially in- 
creased when policymakers believe that their decisions will never be 
revealed. Whatever can be said in defense of the original purpose of 
plausible denial — a purpose which intends to conceal United States 
involvement from the outside world — the extension of the doctrine to 
the internal decision-making process of the Government is absurd. 
Any theory which, as a matter of doctrine, places elected officials on 
the periphery of the decision-making process is an invitation to error. 


an abdication of responsibility, and a perversion of democratic govern- 
ment. The doctrine is the antithesis of accountability. 

(b) The danger of using ''''Ciroumlocution''' amd '■^Euphemism''' 

According to Richard Bissell, the extension of "plausible denial" to 
internal decision-making required the use of circumlocution and 
euphemism in speaking with Presidents and other senior officials. 

Explaining this concept only heightens its absurdity. On the one 
hand, it assumes that senior officials should be shielded from the truth 
to enable them to deny knowledge if the truth comes out. On the other 
hand, the concept assumes that senior officials must be told enough, by 
way of double talk, to grasp the subject. As a consequence, the theory 
fails to accomplish its objective and only increases the risk of mis- 
understanding. Subordinate officials should describe their proposals in 
clear, precise, and brutally frank language ; superiors are entitled to, 
and should demand, no less. 

Euphemism may actually have been preferred — not because of 
"plausible denial" — but because the persons involved could not bring 
themselves to state in plain language what they intended to do. In some 
instances, moreover, subordinates may have assumed, rightly or 
wrongly, that the listening superiors did not want the issue squarely 
placed before them. "Assassinate," "murder" and "kill" are words 
many people do not want to speak or hear. They describe acts which 
should not even be proposed, let alone plotted. Failing to call dirty 
business by its rightful name may have increased the risk of dirty 
business being done. 

{c) The danger of generalized instruetions 

Permitting specific acts to be taken on the basis of general ap- 
provals of broad strategies (e.g., keep AUende from assuming office, 
get rid of the Castro regime) blurs responsibility and accountability. 
Worse still, it increases the danger that subordinates may take steps 
which would have been disapproved if the policymakers had been 
informed. A further danger is that policymakers might intentionally 
use loose general instructions to evade responsibility for embarrassing 

In either event, we find that the gap between the general policy 
objectives and the specific actions undertaken to achieve them was 
far too wide. 

It is important that policymakers review the manner in which their 
directives are implemented, particularly when the activities are sensi- 
tive, secret, and immune from public scrutiny. 

(d) The danger of ^^ Floating Authorization'^ 

One justification advanced by Richard Helms and William Harvey 
for not informing John McCone about the use of underworld figures 
to attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro was their assertion that the proj- 
ect had already been approved by McCone's predecessor, Allen Dulles, 
and that further authorization was unnecessary, at least until the 
operation had reached a more advanced stage. 


We find that the idea that authority might continue or "float" from 
one administration or director to the next and that there is no duty to 
reaffirm authority inhibits responsible decision-making. Circumstances 
may change or judgments differ. New officials should be given the 
opportunity to review significant programs. 

(e) The problems connected loith creating neio covert capabilities 

The development of a new capability raises numerous problems. 
Having a capability to engage in certain covert activity increases the 
probability that the activity will occur, since the cajDability represents 
a tool available for use. There is the further danger that authoriza- 
tion for the mere creation of a capability may be misunderstood as 
permitting its use without requiring further authorization. 

Finally, an assassination capability should never have been created. 


The Committee's long investigation of assassination has brought 
a number of important issues into sharp focus. Above all stands the 
question of whether assassination is an acceptable tool of American 
foreign policy. Recommendations on other issues must await the com- 
pletion of our continuing investigation and the final report, but the 
Committee needs no more information to be convinced that a flat ban 
against assassination should be written into law. 

We condemn assassination and reject it as an instrument of Ameri- 
can policy. Surprisingly, however, there is presently no statute mak- 
ing it a crime to assassinate a foreign official outside the United States. 
Hence, for the reasons set forth below, the Committee recommends the 
prompt enactment of a statute making it a Federal crime to commit 
or attempt an assassination, or to conspire to do so. 

A. General Agreement That the United States Must Not 
Engage in Assassination 

Our view that assassination has no place in America's arsenal is 
shared by the Administration. 

President Ford, in the same statement in which he asked this 
Committee to deal with the assassination issue, stated : 

I am opposed to political assassination. This administration has not and will 
not use such means as instruments of national policy. (Presidential Press Con- 
ference, 6/9/75, Weekly Compilation of Presidential Doounients, Vol. II, 
No.24, p. 611.) 

The witnesses who testified before the Committee uniformly con- 
demned assassination. They denounced it as immoral, described it as 
impractical, and reminded us that an open society, more than any 
other, is particularly vulnerable to the risk that its own leaders may 
be assassinated. As President Kennedy reportedly said : "We can't get 
into that kind of thing, or we would all be targets." (Goodwin, 
7/18/75, p. 4) 

The current Director of Central Intelligence and his two predeces- 
sors testified emphatically that assassination should be banned. Wil- 
liam Colby said : 

With respect to assassination, my position is clear, I just think it is wrong. 
And I have said so and made it very clear to my subordinates. (Colby, * * * 
5/21/75, p. 89) 

Richard Helms, who had been involved in an assassination plot 
before he became DCI. said he had concluded assassination should be 
ruled out for both moral and practical reasons : 

As a result of my experiences through the years, when I became Director I 
had made up my mind that this option * * * of killing foreign leaders, was 
something that I did not want to happen on my watch. My reasons for this were 
these : 

There are not only moral reasons but there are also some other rather practi- 
cal reasons. 



It is almost impossible in a democracy to keep anything like that secret * * *. 
Somebody would go to a Congressman, his Senator, he might go to a newspaper 
man, whatever the case may be, but it just is not a practical alternative, it 
seems to me, in our society. 

Then there is another consideration « * * if you are going to try by this kind 
of means to remove a foreign leader, then who is going to take his place running 
that country, and are you essentially better off as a matter of practice when 
it is over than you were before? And I can give you I think a very solid example 
of this which happened in Vietnam when President Diem was eliminated from 
the scene. We then had a revolving door of prime ministers after that for quite 
some period of time, during which the Vietnamese Government at a time in its 
history when it should have been strong was nothing but a caretaker govern- 
ment * * *. In other words, that whole exercise turned out to the disadvantage 
of the United States. 

* * * there is no sense in my sitting here with all the experience I have had 
and not sharing with the Committee my feelings this day. It isn't because I have 
lost my cool, or because I have lost my guts, it simply is because I don't think 
it is a viable option in the United States of America these days. 

Chairman Church. Doesn't it also follow, Mr. Helms — I agree with what you 
have said fully — but doesn't it also follow on the practical side, apart from the 
moral side, that since these secrets are bound to come out, when they do, they 
do very grave political damage to the United States in the world at large? 
I don't know to what extent the Russians involved themselves in political assas- 
sinations, but under their system they at least have a better prospect of keeping 
it concealed. Since we do like a free society and since these secrets are going to 
come out in due course, the revelation will then do serious injury to the good 
name and reputation of the United States. 

Would you agree with that? 

Mr. Helms. Yes, I would. 

Chairman Church. And finally, if we were to reserve to ourselves the preroga- 
tive to assassinate foreign leaders, we may invite reciprocal action from foreign 
governments who assume that if it's our prerogative to do so, it is their preroga- 
tive as well, and that is another danger that we at least invite with this kind of 
action, wouldn't you agree? 

Mr. Helms : Yes, sir. (Helms, 6/13/75, pp. 76-78) 

John McCone said he was opposed to assassinations because : 

I didn't think it was proper from the standpoint of the U.S. Government and 
the Central Intelligence Agency. (McCone, 6/6/75. p. 15) 

B. CIA Directives Banning Assassination 

'Helms in 1972 and Colby in 1973 issued internal CIA orders ban- 
ning assassination. Helms' order said : 

It has recently again been alleged in the press that CIA engages in assassina- 
tion. As you are well aware, this is not the case, and Agency policy has long been 
clear on this issue. To underline it, however, I direct that no such activity or 
oi>eration be undertaken, assisted or suggested by any of our personnel * * *. 
(Memo, Helms to Deputy Directors, 3/6/72) 

In one of a series of orders arising out the CIA's own review of 
prior "questionable activity," Colby stated : 

CIA will not engage in assassination nor induce, assist or suggest to others 
that assasination be employed. (Memo, Colby to Deputy Directors, 8/29/73) 

C. The Need for a Statute 

Commendable and welcome as they are, these CIA directives are not 
sufficient. Administrations change, CIA directors change, and some- 
day in the future what was tried in the past may once again become a 
temptation. Assassination plots did happen. It would be irresponsible 
not to do all that can be done to prevent their happening again. A law 


is needed. Laws express our nation's values; they deter those who 
might be tempted to ignore those values and stiffen the will of those 
who want to resist the temptation. 

The Committee recommends a statute ^ which would make it a 
criminal offense for persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United 
States (1) to conspire, within or outside the United States, to assas- 
sinate a foreign official ; (2) to attempt to assassinate a foreign official, 
or (3) to assassinate a foreign official. 

Present law makes it a crime to kill, or to conspire to kill, a foreign 
official or foreign official guest while such a person is in the United 
States. (18 U.S.C. 1116-1117). However, there is no law which makes 
it a crime to assassinate, to conspire to assassinate, or to attempt to 
assassinate a foreign official while such official is outside the United 
States. The Committee's proposed statute is designed to close this gap 
in the law. 

Subsection (a) of the proposed statute would punish conspiracies 
within the United States; subsection (b) would punish conspiracies 
outside the United States. Subsection (b) is necessary to eliminate the 
loophole which would otherwise permit persons to simply leave the 
United States and conspire abroad. Subsections (c) and (d), respec- 
tively, would make it an offense to attempt to kill or to kill a foreign 
official outside the United States. 

Subsections (a), (b), (c), and (d) would apply expressly to any 
"officer or employee of the United States" to make clear that the 
statute punishes conduct by United States Government personnel, as 
well as conduct by private citizens. In addition, subsection (a), which 
covers conspiracies within the United States, would apply to "any 
other person," regardless of citizenship. Non-citizens who conspired 
within the United States to assassinate a foreign official would clearly 
come within the jurisdiction of the law. Subsections (b), (c), and 
(d), which deal with conduct abroad, would apply to United States 
citizens, and to officers or employees of the United States, regardless 
of their citizenship. Criminal liability for acts committed abroad by 
persons who are not American citizens or who are not officers or em- 
ployees of the United States is beyond the jurisdiction of the United 

"Foreign official" is defined in subsection (e) (2) to make clear that 
an offense may be committed even though the "official" belongs to an 
insurgent force, an unrecognized government, or a political party. 
The Committee's investigation — as well as the reality of international 
politics — has shown that officials in such organizations are potential 
targets for assassination.^ Killing, attempting to kill, or conspiring 
to kill would be punishable under the statute only if it were politically 
motivated. Political motivation would encompass acts against foreign 
officials because of their political views, actions, or statements. 

The definition of "foreign official" in section (e) (2) also provides 
that such person must be an official of a foreign government or move- 
ment "with which the United States is not at war pursuant to a 
declaration of war or against which the United States Armed Forces 

1 The recommended statute is printed in Appendix A. 

a For example. Lumumba was not an official of the Congolese government at the time 
of the plots against his life, and Trujillo. even though the dictator of the Dominican 
Republic, held no official governmental position in the latter period of his regime. 


have not been introduced into hostilities or situations pursuant to 
the provisions of the War Powers Resolution." This definition makes 
it clear that, absent a declaration of war or the introduction of United 
States Armed Forces pursuant to the War Powers Resolution, the 
killing of foreigfn officials on account of their political views w^ould 
be a criminal offense. 

During the Committee's hearings, some witnesses, while strongly 
condemning assassination, asked whether assassination should abso- 
lutely be ruled out in a time of truly unusual national emergency. 
Adolf Hitler was cited as an example. Of course, the cases which the 
Committee investigated were not of that character. Indeed, in the 
Cuban missile crisis — the only situation of true national danger con- 
sidered in this report — assassination was not even considered and, if 
used, might well have aggravated the crisis. 

In a grave emergency, the Pre