PURITY IN THE
THE CONFLICT in the field between the ambassador and the
intelligence operator is reflected on a larger scale in the frequent
clashes in Washington between the State Department and the CIA. The
uneasiness felt in other government agencies over the role of the
CIA runs deeper than that, however.
This uneasiness is little known outside of the government, and it is
almost never talked about. But the Peace Corps provides the best
During the 1960 campaign, John F. Kennedy had promised, if elected,
to establish a Peace Corps. He kept his word, created the new agency
by an executive order in March, 1961, and asked his brother-in-law,
Sargent Shriver, Jr., to head it.
Shriver accepted, but he very quickly concluded that the Peace
Corps, with its thousands of young volunteers dispersed over the
globe, could well look like an all but irresistible "cover" to an
intelligence agency always on the alert for new ways to disguise its
people. At the same time, Shriver knew that the Peace Corps, because
it would offer genuine help to the emerging nations of the world,
would be an equally tempting target for Communist propaganda, which
would seek at all costs to discredit it.
Therefore, Shriver privately proclaimed his determination to take
every possible step to divorce the Peace Corps from even the
faintest smell of intelligence work. He was well aware that even one
"spy" incident involving a volunteer might destroy the Corps.
An anecdote that went the rounds of the executive suite of the Peace
Corps at the time of its birth is revealing. It had the then
Vice-President, Lyndon Johnson, advising Shriver to "beware the
three C's -- Communism, Cuties, and the CIA."
In the spring of 1961 Shriver made a trip seeking to persuade
neutral nations to accept Peace Corpsmen. He discovered that the
leaders of those countries were blunt in asking whether he would let
the Corps be used as a cover for intelligence agents. Shriver
replied just as bluntly that he was doing everything he could within
the government to make sure that the CIA stayed out of his agency.
He also promised to assist individual countries in any security
checks they might care to make.
As early as March 16, 1961, Radio Moscow was attacking the Peace
Corps as a plan for "the collection of espionage information for
Allen Dulles' agency." On May 11 Tass, the Soviet news agency, sent
out a dispatch in English to Europe, headlined "Peace Corps Head
Shriver CIA Agent."
As a first step in his campaign to prevent the Peace Corps from
becoming tarred as an instrument of Cold War intelligence-gathering,
Shriver went directly to President Kennedy.
"Jack Kennedy gave me
his promise," Shriver later told a friend, "that there would be no
CIA agents in the Peace Corps."
President Kennedy followed up this verbal assurance to Shriver by
issuing orders to Allen Dulles and later to his successor, John
McCone, which continued in effect after President Johnson took
office. In addition, Shriver met with Dulles and later with McCone
and obtained their guarantee that the CIA would stay away from the
But the problem was more subtle than that. Shriver's dilemma was a
peculiar one, bred of the Cold War and inconceivable in the America
of even twenty years before. Could he be certain that the White
House attitude would be reflected all along the line? Could he be
sure, for example, that a lower-echelon CIA official might not
quietly attempt, despite everything, to plant agents in the Peace
Corps, in the honest belief that he was acting in some higher
Shriver must have decided he could not be sure of the answers to
these delicate questions, for he did not rely on presidential
assurances alone. A careful screening process was set up. It was
designed, of course, to catch any Communist or security risk who
might try to get into the Peace Corps. But it was also designed --
hopefully -- to spot any CIA "volunteer" before he could unpack his
cloak and dagger.
It might come as a jolt to most Americans to know that one agency of
the United States Government feels it must protect itself against
infiltration in its ranks by another agency of the United States
Government. But the Peace Corps has taken elaborate steps to prevent
Shriver designated William Delano, the Peace Corps' young general
counsel, to ride herd on the problem and make sure no intelligence
men slipped through the net. As insurance, Shriver laid down a firm
rule. No one with any intelligence background, even years ago, would
As Peace Corps officials soon discovered, there was a hitch. Openly
acknowledged "overt" employees of the CIA are allowed to say so when
they seek a new job. But covert employees of the CIA are not
permitted to reveal it, even years later on a government job
application form. They might put down the name of a commercial cover
company or perhaps some other branch of the government for which
they had ostensibly worked.
And a routine Civil Service check, Peace Corps officials realized,
would not reveal whether applicants had been or were still covert
CIA agents. Some applicants, unaware of Shriver's policy, innocently
listed such past jobs as "CIA secretary, summer of 1951." They were
Others, more sophisticated, sought to fuzz their past employment by
listing "U. S. Government" to cover a period of a year or two. But
the would-be volunteers, in these cases, were questioned by Civil
Service investigators, who naturally demanded to know more details.
One high Peace Corps official estimated that ten to twenty ex-CIA
employees who had listed "U.S. Government" on their applications
have been turned down since the Peace Corps began.
Screening out persons with a background in intelligence was only
part of the problem. The Peace Corps also decided that it had to
guard against the possibility of the CIA approaching a volunteer
after he had been accepted into the Corps.
During orientation courses for volunteers, it became standard
practice for a Peace Corps instructor to get up and pose the
"Suppose a man asks you to have a cup of coffee with him and he
identifies himself as a CIA agent. He says he doesn't want you to
spy, but that he'd like you to get together with him and just chat
every couple of weeks, and perhaps tell him a couple of things
you've learned. What would be your reaction?"
Most of the volunteers replied they would have no part of any
free-lance spying of this sort.
"Just so that no one will have any doubts about it," the instructor
would then add, "if such a solicitation is made, you are to report
it to the Peace Corps country representative within ten minutes, if
you can get to him that quickly, because the CIA man would be
defying the President's order to Dulles and McCone. Furthermore, the
CIA man will be kicked out of the country faster than you can see,
if you report it."
Because of this orientation, Peace Corps officials felt it was
unlikely that their volunteers would be solicited to do any
intelligence work. Still, one official admitted, the real problem
"covert people trying to infiltrate. I don't see any way we
can spot them. It would be a fluke. The more deliberate the attempt,
the harder it would be to find."
Shriver's concern over keeping his agency "clean" was reinforced in
September, 1961, when Secretary of the Army Elvis J. Stahr made a
speech suggesting that an Army Peace Corps be established.
"We must plan so that we can use our tools in cold war as well as
hot war and employ them anywhere in the world, " said Stahr. General
Barksdale Hamlett, Army Deputy Chief of Staff, gave added details of
the plan, which seemed to envision use of the Army in worthy social
projects in underdeveloped countries -- but linked to paramilitary
To Shriver, it smacked of precisely the sort of military and
intelligence overtones he was trying so hard to avoid. Shriver
objected strenuously. A high-level meeting was held at the Pentagon,
attended by Stahr, Shriver, General Hamlett and a platoon of
beribboned Army brass.
The generals at the meeting insisted that the Army Peace Corps would
have no relation to any intelligence work. At that, Lee St.
Lawrence, a Peace Corps official, spoke up. St. Lawrence had served
with the Agency for International Development in Southeast Asia and
was familiar with CIA operations in that part of the world.
He asked the generals to name the officers who would be in charge of
the proposed "Army Peace Corps" in Southeast Asia. When they did,
St. Lawrence singled out some as CIA men. He offered to reel off the
names of others, but there was no need. The project was dropped.
But Communist attacks on Shriver and the Peace Corps continued.
United States intelligence obtained, from Eastern Europe, what
appeared to be a guide for satellite nations on how to phrase
propaganda against the Peace Corps. The document stressed the
general line that the Corps was a CIA operation and that volunteers
were selected by the CIA. Peace Corps officials believed that it
served as a primer for subsequent propaganda emanating from various
points in the Communist world.
Certainly the Russian and Communist Chinese attacks followed a
familiar pattern. In March, 1962, for example, Radio Moscow
broadcast in Hindi to India:
"U.S. agents are sent to Afro-Asian
countries under the U.S. Peace Corps label. The plan to organize the
corps was jointly prepared by the U.S. State Department, Pentagon
and CIA. Director of the Corps, Shriver, is an old employee of the
Radio Peking joined in, and so did Fidel Castro. Radio Havana
broadcast attacks on the Peace Corps that paralleled the Moscow
Also in Havana, the newspaper Roy warned Venezuela to "watch out"
for the Peace Corps. "These Corps are land U-2s. Their mission
consists in poking their noses into all places where meek rulers
open the door for them."
On March 27, 1963, a Polish paper published an article attacking the
Peace Corps by charging that girl volunteers were Mata Haris. It ran
photographs of girls training, with the caption: "The Americans
consider all means acceptable. Where other methods do not succeed,
sex * may be very useful. Girl members of the Corps on the exercise
About the same time, Tass picked up the sex theme and charged that a
wicked Peace Corps woman teacher in Somalia tried to teach pupils
the "indecent movements" of the twist.
By the spring of 1963, United States analysts concluded that the
Soviet Union, having had little success with this loud, public
campaign against the Peace Corps, had embarked on a simultaneous
behind-the-scenes campaign against the Corps. In Ghana, for example,
the Soviet ambassador succeeded in persuading the government of
President Kwame Nkrumah to impose some restrictions on the Peace
Corps. And in May, 1963, the Ghanaian Times, regarded as the
unofficial spokesman for Nkrumah, openly attacked the Corps as an
alleged CIA tool.
There seemed no likelihood that the public attacks would stop, but
their very intensity logically dictated that Shriver, more than
ever, would want to keep the Peace Corps pristine. A spy incident
involving a volunteer would give the Russians a propaganda field day
and could possibly wreck the Peace Corps, and Shriver's political
career as well.
The Peace Corps, it should be noted in fairness to the CIA,
maintains it does not know of a single case in which it could be
sure of an attempted infiltration by an intelligence agent seeking
to use the Corps as cover.
But the fact that Shriver felt he had to take the astonishing
precautions he did, speaks volumes. It reflects the atmosphere of
mistrust that is felt, rightly or wrongly, by many overt officials
of the United States Government toward their less visible
colleagues. The distrust is not universal, however. Some unlikely
departments of the government have become vehicles for secret
operations of various shadings. The story of one of these begins in
a house in Cuba.
* Actually, the Peace Corps has rather strict rules about sex.
"In-service marriages of single volunteers must have the prior
approval of the Peace Corps representative in charge of the
project," a Peace Corps booklet warns sternly. "Approval will not be
granted when the future spouse has come from the U.S. or from some
other country for the purpose of marrying a volunteer ... married
couples who find they are to become parents must notify their Peace
Corps representative as quickly as possible."
Back to Contents
Outside the high garden wall of the decaying villa in Miramar, on
the outskirts of Havana, guards armed with Tommy guns patrolled back
Inside, James Donovan, the remarkable, soft-spoken New York
attorney, picked up the telephone and asked the Cuban operator to
put him through to a number in the United States.
He took out a black wallet, of the type that was large enough for
foreign bills, and reached into an apparently empty pouch. From a
concealed pocket in the wallet he pulled out a typewritten sheet of
On it, down the left-hand side, were key words like "negotiations."
On the right side were various phrases such as "1 am meeting with"
and then a list of various people, including the name "Fidel." The
sheet also contained what appeared to be a list of stocks.
By ordering his "broker" to "sell Quaker City" and by using other
innocuous key words, Donovan, through his code sheet, was able to
convey to the CIA men on the line in the United States the real
progress of his negotiations to ransom the lives of more than 1,000
James Donovan was on his most important mission. He was playing for
high stakes -- the freedom of the 1,113 survivors of the Bay of Pigs
invasion. The men were captives in the jails of Fidel Castro.
Donovan was a silver-haired, forty-six-year-old former OSS man,
short but powerfully built. In February, 1962, on the bridge in
Berlin, he had traded the Soviet master spy Rudolf Abel (whom he
defended five years earlier in Federal Court) for the U-2 pilot
Francis Gary Powers and Yale student Frederic L. Pryor, held on a
charge of espionage by the East Germans. It was the most spectacular
spy swap in the history of the Cold War.
Donovan's Cuban adventure began a few months later, early in June,
1962, when Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent to him a delegation
of Cubans made up of survivors of the Bay of Pigs brigade and their
Up to that time, sixty prisoners had been ransomed for a pledge of
cash, but efforts to free the rest had failed in June, 1961, when
negotiations between Castro and a Tractors for Freedom Committee
collapsed. The committee, sponsored by the Kennedy Administration,
had been unable to reach agreement with Castro on the dictator's
continually shifting offers to trade the prisoners for 500 tractors
Donovan, after listening to the pleas of his visitors, agreed to
become the general counsel to the group. It was called the Cuban
Families Committee for Liberation of Prisoners of War, Inc., a
charitable corporation that had been granted tax-exempt status by
the Internal Revenue Service.
On August 29, 1962, Donovan went to Cuba for his first talks with
Castro. He stayed at the crumbling villa in Miramar and conferred
with Castro at the Presidential Palace in Havana. He made it clear
he would offer drugs and baby foods for the men, but no cash or
tractors. Castro agreed to negotiate on this basis, provided the
Cuban Families Committee came up with the $2,900,000 it had pledged
in return for the sixty prisoners released the previous April.
Donovan returned to New York and visited John E. McKeen, the
president of Charles Pfizer Company, who lived in the penthouse of
Donovan's apartment building near Prospect Park in Brooklyn. They
called in John T. Connor, head of Merck, Sharp & Dohme, another
friend of Donovan. The executives of the two drug companies offered
to donate medicines to help Donovan get the men out.
The CIA separately approached the drug industry trade association,
to explore the chances of large- scale donations by manufacturers.
In the meantime, Donovan had entered the political arena. On
September 18, shortly after his return from Cuba, Donovan won the
Democratic nomination for United States Senate. His opponent was the
Republican incumbent, Senator Jacob K. Javits.
On October 2, the drug-company pledges in his pocket, Donovan
returned to Havana, confident he could reach agreement with Castro.
The Pfizer Company quietly began moving $2,000,000 worth of drugs in
refrigerator cars to Idlewild International Airport. The United
States Government began making preparations to receive the influx of
prisoners in Miami.
It was on this second trip that Castro agreed to trade the men for
baby foods and medicines. All was going well except for a painful
attack of bursitis in Donovan's right shoulder that forced him to
fly to Miami briefly for treatment.
He returned to Havana to continue his talks with Castro, but back in
the United States there were charges that Donovan was seeking to
make political capital out of his role as Cuban negotiator. And some
members of Congress said that the United States ought not to be
dickering with Castro at a time when it was asking other countries
to cut off trade.
The White House refused to say whether any government funds would be
used to ransom the men. It insisted Donovan was acting as a private
attorney but said he was keeping President Kennedy advised of his
activities. Donovan returned from Cuba on October 11.
Three days later a U-2 plane flying secretly over western Cuba took
a photograph of a Soviet mobile medium-range missile site.
The Cuban missile crisis was on. The world moved close to nuclear
war during the latter half of October. Against this background of
tension it looked as though Donovan's chances of reaching an
agreement to free the men had been shattered. He suffered a
personal, although not unexpected, blow when he lost the election on
November 6 to Senator Javits.
By late November the situation was this:
Donovan still had Castro's general agreement to a swap. But now in
the wake of the missile crisis, the drug industry was unwilling to
take the risk of donating medicines to Castro unless the Kennedy
Administration made it publicly clear that the deal was in the
national interest. The drug firms, already hit hard by the Senate
investigation of their high prices, had no desire to bring a new
wave of public disapproval down upon themselves.
On November 30 a meeting was held at the Justice Department of top
aides to Robert Kennedy and officials of the Internal Revenue
Service, the State Department and the CIA (including Lawrence R.
Houston, the general counsel of the CIA, Donovan's CIA contact in
the Powers-Abel trade). Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach
and Assistant Attorney General Louis F. Oberdorfer represented the
Justice Department. Robert Hurwitch spoke for the State Department.
The high-level meeting concluded that Castro's demand of $53,000,000
in drugs would cost only $17,000,000 at wholesale U.S. prices. It
was also decided to study the tax angle involved in possible
contributions of drugs by the companies. It was agreed that a
memorandum would be prepared over the weekend to be ready for Robert
Kennedy on Monday December 3.
*1 In the meantime, a drug-industry
representative was contacted informally.
On Monday morning the New York Herald Tribune published a front-page
story by Warren Rogers, Jr., stating that the President felt a
"moral obligation" to free the men. It was the kind of reassurance
the drug companies had been looking for. Donovan's phone began to
ring in Brooklyn with additional pledges of drugs from the industry.
In Washington, Robert Kennedy called on the President at the White
House, and at noon the Attorney General phoned Oberdorfer to give
him the green light to go ahead with the operation. The American Red
Cross then agreed to accept the drugs as contributions to charity
and to deliver them to Havana.
The next day Donovan slipped into Washington to confer with Robert
Kennedy. On December 7 the Attorney General met with officials of
the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. He told the drug
manufacturers that the Bay of Pigs invasion had been launched by the
United States, that the plan had been started by the Eisenhower
Administration and continued by the Kennedy Administration, and that
both the nation and the government had a moral obligation to get the
Robert Kennedy talked about the courage of forty members of the
brigade who had escaped and crossed the Caribbean in an open boat.
He went on to say that the United States could not directly conduct
negotiations with Cuba because it would be "misunderstood" by the
world and would be a diplomatic disaster if the deal failed. He said
that all departments had received a list of the drugs Castro wanted
and that none were considered strategic.
Finally, the Attorney General assured the companies that the sight
of the returning prisoners would still any criticism of the drug
companies for contributing to Castro. He made it clear that
contributions were voluntary.
He then ordered Oberdorfer to devote his full time to the project.
And on December 9, Robert Kennedy gave the same talk to a group of
Oberdorfer's office in the Justice Department became the command
post for "Project X." Additional telephones were installed. A group
of private attorneys, including John E. Nolan, Jr., and E. Barrett
Prettyman, Jr., were brought in to help. (Both later joined the
From Oberdorfer's office, the private attorneys (and two Justice
Department lawyers) now began telephone solicitation of the drug
companies. The Justice Department attorneys did not identify
themselves as government employees, but said they were calling as
representatives of the Cuban Families Committee.
The Justice Department team obtained clearances from the Civil
Aeronautics Board and the Interstate Commerce Commission to permit
charitable contribution of air and surface transportation to haul
the drugs to Miami. The CIA, the Air Force, the Immigration and
Naturalization Service and the Department of Health, Education and
Welfare began making arrangements to receive and process the
prisoners in Florida. The Commerce Department granted export
licenses for the food and drugs.
During this time Donovan told the Justice Department that Castro was
demanding a guarantee of full payment of the ransom; otherwise he
would hold back the brigade officers until the last payment was
made. Katzenbach flew to Montreal on December 14 but the Royal Bank
of Canada balked at issuing a letter of credit without some formal
guarantees by American banks. The Justice Department official flew
back to New York. The Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York and
the Bank of America agreed to participate; special meetings of their
boards of directors were hastily convened to approve the plan.
To complete the financial arrangements, the Continental Insurance
Company wrote out a $53,000,000 performance bond without charge,
guaranteeing that the Red Cross would meet its obligations to
deliver the drugs to Cuba.
Meanwhile, the drugs contributed to "Project X" by the manufacturers
were flooding into Miami and creating a monster job of cataloging
and bookkeeping at Opa-locka (ironically, the same CIA air base used
as a jumping-off point for the Bay of Pigs trainees). The CIA
provided a pharmacist, Stephen Aldrich, who helped log the drugs as
they arrived in Florida.
On December 16 Donovan began his final mission. He stopped off in
Washington to confer with officials and then went on to Miami, where
he disappeared. The press could not find him, and with good reason.
Donovan stayed in a CIA house in Miami on December 16 and 17,
telephoning to Havana. About 9:00 P.M., December 17, Donovan called
Washington to say that he had arranged to go to Havana in the
morning. He also reported that one of Castro's negotiators had a
sick child who needed a certain medicine immediately.
Katzenbach called Walter Reed Hospital and got ten vials of the
medicine. Shortly after midnight Oberdorfer, his assistant Frank
Michelman, John Nolan and a CIA attorney flew to Miami from
Washington, taking the medicine along.
They did not arrive at the CIA "safe house" until 5:00 A.M. on
December 18. There, Donovan received a final pre-dawn briefing. Then
he flew into Havana. Nolan stayed at the house, helping to man the
CIA telephones. The rest of the team flew back to Washington.
Two days later Donovan returned briefly to Miami. Then he flew back
to Havana, taking with him Dr. Leonard Scheele, the former Surgeon
General of the United States. On December 21 Donovan and Castro
signed a Memorandum of Agreement. But Castro was wary of Donovan's
representations. Donovan suggested that Castro's aides inspect some
of the drugs.
Shortly after midnight three Cuban Red Cross officials in olive drab
flew secretly into Miami. They were met by Dr. Scheele and Barrett
Prettyman, shown the supplies at Opa-locka and then taken to Port
Everglades to inspect the drugs being loaded on the African Pilot, a
ship donated by the Committee of the American Steamship Lines.
The Cubans then adjourned to a Howard Johnson's motel and said to
Prettyman they wanted to remain for the day. It was now 5:00 A.M.,
December 22. Nolan and Prettyman were alarmed at what would happen
if the press learned that Castro emissaries were holed up in a
Florida motel. One of the Cuban Red Cross men smoked big cigars and,
in his olive uniform, did not project the image of a man of mercy.
Nolan and Prettyman finally prevailed on the Cubans to fly back to
Havana, which they did at 9:00 A.M.
That same day the African Pilot sailed for Havana with the first
shipload of drugs. Early on Sunday, December 23, Nolan and Prettyman
joined Donovan in Havana. The African Pilot docked that afternoon.
Castro met the ship.
The prisoner exchange seemed to be proceeding smoothly. At 5:00 P.M.
the first plane left the San Antonio de los Banos airport for
Homestead Air Force Base south of Miami. It landed in Florida an
hour and five minutes later. All told, four planeloads and a total
of 426 prisoners left Cuba by nightfall.
But, in Havana, it had become obvious to Donovan that the airlift
would be halted by Castro unless the Cuban Families Committee came
up with the $2,900,000 that had been pledged as ransom for the sixty
wounded prisoners released in April before Donovan entered the
At 2:00 A.M. on Monday, December 24, Nolan flew to Miami. He placed
a 5:00 A.M. phone call to Robert Kennedy in Washington. Nolan made
it clear that unless the money was raised by three o'clock that
afternoon, the deal would collapse.
"What are you going to tell Jim Donovan?" Robert Kennedy asked.
"I'm going to tell him you're going to get the money," Nolan
There was a pause. Then Robert Kennedy said: "Have a nice trip
Nolan flew back to Havana. The Attorney General called Richard
Cardinal Cushing, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston, who
pledged $1,000,000. Robert Kennedy also called General Lucius Clay,
who was a sponsor of the Cuban Families Committee.
Clay borrowed the remaining $1,900,000 on his own signature, then
solicited contributions from American business firms to cover that
amount. Texaco, Standard Oil of New Jersey and the Ford Motor
Company Fund each contributed $100,000.
In Cuba, that Monday, two more planeloads of prisoners were
permitted to take off. Then Castro stalled.
First he staged a military air show at San Antonio de los Banos to
tie up the airport. Then, about 1:00 P.M., Castro halted all flights
until he received word about the money. Late in the afternoon Castro
was assured the Royal Bank of Canada had deposited it in Montreal.
Donovan and Castro then met at the Canadian consul's office to
accept the financial guarantees.
At 9:35 P.M. the last of the planes carrying the returning prisoners
touched down at Homestead Air Force Base. Aboard was James Donovan,
a quiet American -- his mission accomplished.
For each of the returning prisoners, the routine was the same. Clean
clothes, a meal and then a bus trip to Dinner Key Auditorium, where
their families and friends were waiting. There, they marched between
double lines of fellow members of Brigade 2506 as a band played the
march from The Bridge Over the River Kwai.
It was Christmas Eve, 1962.
There were some people who were not content to accept the prisoner
exchange as a humanitarian act arranged by a private citizen. Months
later, in June, 1963, all thirteen Republican members of the House
Foreign Affairs Committee called for a Congressional inquiry into
Donovan's role. They charged that many aspects of the exchange
Donovan replied: "I was a private citizen acting on behalf of the
Cuban Families Committee."
It was not, of course, quite as simple as that, as has been shown.
Although both Donovan and the White House took this position (for
reasons Robert Kennedy had explained privately to the drug industry
on December 7, 1962), the fact is that no fewer than fourteen
branches of the government participated in the complex deal: the
CIA, the Air Force, the Departments of Health, Education and
Welfare, Justice, Defense, Commerce, Agriculture, Treasury, the
Internal Revenue Service, the White House, Immigration, the CAB, the
ICC and the State Department.
In January, 1963, the Agriculture Department gave 5,000,000 pounds
of dried milk to the Red Cross for shipment to Cuba and pledged more
as needed. In all, the Agriculture Department contributed a total of
35,000,000 pounds of surplus food to the prisoner exchange --
15,000, 000 pounds of dried milk and 20,000,000 pounds of
But the administration was fearful that it would come under
political attack for helping Castro. The milk and. shortening deal
was played down.
Furthermore, the Agriculture Department announced on January 8,
1963, that "the Red Cross had indicated that the Cuban Families
Committee expects to raise funds to reimburse the department." In
other words, the government was saying that it would be paid back in
cash for the surplus food.
What happened was somewhat different.
The dried milk cost the government $2,505,000 when it was bought
from producers as part of the farm price support program. The
shortening cost the government $3,150,000. Consequently, the
government gave away commodities for which it had paid $5,655,000.
However, in calculating the value of the milk and shortening given
to the Red Cross, the government figured its contribution as worth
just under $2,000,000 -- the lower price the milk and repackaged
shortening might have brought had it been sold by the government on
the world market. Normally, the government uses the higher price
that it paid to producers when it figures the value of a
contribution of surplus food to charity. In this instance, it
obviously sought to minimize the size of the donation because of the
domestic political implications of giving anything away to Castro.
Nor was the government paid back any amount in cash for its donation
of milk and shortening. Instead, in a bit of complex bookkeeping
that leaves the onlooker breathless, the government accepted as
"reimbursement" 4,000,000 pounds of an insecticide called Sevin. The
Union Carbide Company had contributed $2,000,000 worth of the
bug-killer to the Red Cross for the prisoner exchange. The Commerce
Department ruled that the insecticides would be of strategic
economic value to Castro by helping his sugar-cane crops.
"So the following took place: The Red Cross accepted the
insecticides, then immediately turned them over to the Agency for
International Development, which dispatched them to India, Pakistan
and Algeria. The government accepted this as repayment for the milk
and shortening. This was not quite the same as the "funds" which the
Agriculture announcement had indicated would be raised "to reimburse
A conservative estimate of what it cost the government to extricate
itself after the Bay of Pigs would be $29,793, 000. This consists of
a $20,000,000 tax loss
*2 to the government as a result of the drug
companies' charitable deductions; $5,655,000 in skim milk and
shortening; $4,000,000 in secret CIA payments to families of the Bay
of Pigs prisoners over a twenty-month period, and $138,000 in costs
to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare when the
prisoners returned. (Each man got a $100 check; the other costs were
clothing, housing and food.)
Because of the political risks at home of dealing with Castro, the
government felt it necessary to mask its participation in the
prisoner exchange both by acting through Donovan and by a certain
amount of fiscal hocus-pocus. It decided that the realities of the
situation were such that even an act of humanity had to be
approached with the utmost political caution.
Nevertheless, Donovan succeeded and the prisoners' lives were saved.
As an unexpected part of the deal, Donovan persuaded Castro not to
let the Red Cross ships sail away empty. Castro began releasing
thousands of refugees previously unable to leave Cuba, including
over 5,000 members of the families of the prisoners.
Then in March and April of 1963 Donovan won the release of more than
thirty Americans held in Cuban jails, including three CIA men. On
July 3, when the last of the medical supplies reached Cuba, the
American Red Cross announced that a total of 9,703 persons
(including the Bay of Pigs prisoners and the Americans) had been
brought out of Cuba under the agreements negotiated by Donovan.
The staggering figure of nearly 10,000 persons rescued by one man is
not widely known, because the total figure received less public
attention than did the dramatic return of the invasion prisoners.
In all of these missions, Donovan had the assistance of, and worked
hand in hand with, the United States Government. But he was not
formally a part of it. In each case, as a private citizen, he was
breaking new ground in a form of intelligence diplomacy that is a
unique outgrowth of the Cold War.
In the case of the Powers-Abel swap, the negotiations that
culminated on the Berlin bridge began with a series of letters to
Donovan signed "Hellen Abel" The writer of the letters claimed to be
the wife of the Soviet spy imprisoned in the United States. The
letters came from Leipzig, East Germany.
Donovan turned each of them over to Lawrence Houston, the CIA
general counsel. The agency prepared an answer to each letter from
"Mrs. Abel," and shipped them back to Donovan in New York, who sent
them off to Leipzig. But when Donovan eventually went to East Berlin
to negotiate the final details directly with the Russians and East
Germans, he was technically on his own, a private American citizen
with no diplomatic immunity or protection.
Donovan's missions, then, have defied any neat categorization.
President Kennedy, in a letter to Donovan after the East Berlin
mission, characterized them as "unique." Because of their very
nature, there was public confusion over whether he acted as a
private citizen or as a secret agent of the United States
Government. The truth is that he was somewhere in-between.
The government was unwilling to tell the full story of its role in
the Cuban prisoner exchange, as it has been related here, because to
have done so during Donovan's negotiations might have handicapped
his ability to deal with Castro. And, afterward, it might have
engendered too many delicate political questions. In a very real
sense, the seeds of one covert operation, the Bay of Pigs, had given
rise to another -- the return of the invasion brigade.
Those who sought a clear, simple explanation of whether an operation
was private or governmental were bound to be disappointed in the
case of James Donovan.
His rescue of the Bay of Pigs prisoners was not precisely a "black,
" i.e., secret operation. Nor was it entirely "white." It might be
most accurately described as a mixture of both -- truly a gray
The memorandum noted that some drug companies might gain a tax
"windfall" by making charitable contributions to the prisoner
exchange deal. An accompanying letter by Oberdorfer to Robert
Kennedy pointed out that the drug companies would nevertheless
insist on approval of the deal by someone at least as high as a
Cabinet officer as well as "maximum protection from legislative and
public criticism in two particular directions: (a) charges of
pro-Communism and (b) criticism for inferences drawn from any price
mark-up exposed in the transaction."
The estimate of tax loss was made by Mitchell Rogovin, counsel to
the Internal Revenue Service, on December 28, 1962.
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In the summer and fall of 1962, as Donovan was negotiating with
Castro to rescue the victims of one of the Invisible Government's
operations in Cuba, another operation was being conducted in the
airspace over the island. In utmost secrecy, the U-2 spy plane was
photographing every foot of Cuban territory in search of Soviet
The U-2 had been flying over Cuba from the earliest days of the
Castro regime. In 1959 a U-2 was sent over the Zapata swamps near
the Bay of Pigs to check an erroneous report that missiles were
being set up in the area. By 1962 two U-2s a month were being flown
over the island.
That August photographs were taken of SA-2 anti-aircraft missiles
being unloaded at Cuban docks. The over-flight program was stepped
up and seven U-2s were sent over the island in the five weeks
between August 29 and October 7. Each mission returned with new
pictures of short-range SA-2 defensive missiles.
But President Kennedy, citing the information provided him by the
intelligence community, insisted there was no evidence that the
Russians were moving in long-range offensive missiles that could
threaten the United States. Kennedy gave his assurances despite the
fact that John McCone had a suspicion -- never passed along to the
White House -- that the Soviets were deploying ballistic missiles in
In testimony before the Senate Preparedness Subcommittee on March
12, 1963, McCone said he had reported this view within the CIA on
"I couldn't understand," he explained, "why these
surface-to-air missile sites were there, so useless for protecting
the island against invasion. They must be there, in my opinion, to
shield the island against observation from aerial reconnaissance."
McCone conceded, however, that his view, was based on "intuition"
without "hard intelligence." And although as Director of Central
Intelligence he could have ordered that his view be made the
official view and reported to Kennedy, he did not do so.
McCone left Washington on August 23 to marry Theiline McGee Pigott,
the widow of a rich Seattle industrialist and an old family friend.
During his honeymoon cruise to Europe and his three-week stay on Cap
Ferrat on the French Riviera, he received daily briefing telegrams.
They deepened his apprehension, and on September 7, 10, 13 and 20 he
responded with telegrams expressing his mounting concern. But,
again, he did not direct that the "honeymoon telegrams" be passed
along to the President. They were treated as "in-house" messages and
were not circulated outside the CIA.
During McCone's absence, the Board of National Estimates was asked
to assess the possibility that the Soviets would station offensive
missiles in Cuba. And on September 19 a National Intelligence
Estimate was produced. It conceded that the Russians might be
tempted to introduce the missiles for psychological reasons,
particularly to impress the Latin Americans. It also alluded to the
possibility that the Soviets might wish to strengthen their position
in Cuba as a prelude to a move against Berlin.
Nevertheless, the Estimate stated that it was highly unlikely that
offensive missiles would be sent in, because the Soviets would be
deterred by their awareness of the violent reaction which such a
move would provoke on the part of the United States. The chief
Kremlinologists in the State Department, Charles E. (Chip) Bohlen
and Llewellyn E. (Tommy) Thompson, Jr., both former ambassadors to
Moscow, concurred with the Estimate.*1
However, on September 20, the day after the Estimate was handed
down, a reliable eyewitness report of an offensive missile reached
Ray Cline, the CIA's deputy director for intelligence. A CIA
sub-agent had spotted a missile part on a highway on September 12,
but had experienced delay in getting his information out of Cuba.
Missile experts in Washington, who had rejected hundreds of prior
reports by Cuban refugees, concluded that the sub-agent's
description checked out against the known features of Russian
offensive missiles. In retrospect the CIA decided the/missile part
had arrived in a shipment of Soviet cargo on September 8.
McCone returned from his honeymoon on September 26, and on October 4
an urgent meeting of the United States Intelligence Board was
called. The members took a look at the "mosaic" -- a photographic
panorama of the entire island of Cuba pieced together from the
latest U-2 pictures. There were still no photographic indications of
offensive missiles. But McCone noted that there had been no pictures
of the western sector of the island since September 5. He ordered
that overflights be further stepped up and concentrated on that
section of Cuba.
Until that time all U-2 flights had been made by civilian CIA
pilots. Now, however, the risks would be greatly increased by the
expanded schedule of missions and by the presence of the
anti-aircraft missiles. The CIA had concluded that an SA-2 had
downed Francis Gary Powers over the Soviet Union in 1960, and that
another had accounted for a Nationalist Chinese U-2 over Communist
China on October 9, 1962. Rather than risk another U-2 incident
involving the CIA, McCone agreed to McNamara's recommendation that
the overflight operation be transferred to the Strategic Air
During this interval, on October 10, Senator Kenneth B. Keating, the
New York Republican, announced that he had confirmed reports of
intermediate-range missile sites under construction in Cuba.
Four days later, early on the morning of October 14, SAC flew its
first U-2 mission over Cuba and returned with photographs of mobile
medium-range ballistic missiles (MMRBM) at San Cristobal, 100 miles
to the southwest of Havana.
The pictures were analyzed by the photo-interpreters in Washington
all the next day, and late in the afternoon the findings were
reported to General Carter, McCone's deputy (McCone had left
Washington earlier in the afternoon for Los Angeles to take the body
of his stepson, Paul J. Pigott, who had been killed in a sports-car
crash, to Seattle).
General Carroll, the director of the DIA, was next to be informed.
Then Carroll took two civilian photo-interpreters to dinner at the
home of General Maxwell Taylor. Joining them were Carter, and
Roswell Gilpatric and U. Alexis Johnson, both members of the Special
Group. When the officials had been convinced that Soviet missiles
were in place in Cuba, McGeorge Bundy was notified at his home. He
arranged for the photo-interpreters to report to him at the White
House the following morning.
Shortly before nine o'clock on the morning of October 16 Bundy took
the pictures to President Kennedy, who was in his bedroom in pajamas
and robe, reading the newspapers. Kennedy quickly indicated those
officials who were to be called to the White House.
At 11:45 the group, which was later to be named the Executive
Committee (Excomm) of the National Security Council, gathered in the
Cabinet Room for the first of a running series of meetings during
the following two weeks. Present were Kennedy, his brother Robert,
Lyndon Johnson, Rusk, McNamara, Gilpatric, Bundy, Taylor, Carter,
Theodore C. Sorensen, the presidential adviser, Secretary of the
Treasury Douglas Dillon, Under Secretary of State George Ball and
Edwin M. Martin, Assistant secretary of State for Latin American
Affairs. Adlai Stevenson joined the group that afternoon. McCone was
brought in immediately upon his return from the West Coast. And two
Truman Cabinet members were called in later in the week: Dean
Acheson, former Secretary of State, and Robert Lovett, former
Secretary of Defense.
Kennedy entered the first Excomm meeting with the feeling that two
choices were open: knock out the missiles with an air strike or make
representations to Khrushchev.
During the next four days the Excomm weighed the alternatives,
moving gradually toward a consensus that the safest course was to
take the middle way: to set up a blockade and insist that the
Soviets withdraw, or direct military force would be applied.
In coming to this decision the Excomm was strongly influenced by
Robert Kennedy. Recalling Pearl Harbor, he opposed an air strike
against the small island of Cuba. He argued that the nation might
never recover from the moral outrage of the world and the shock to
its own conscience.
At first, the discussion centered on the immediate problem of
getting the missiles dismantled or removed. There were detailed
technical analyses of what kind of surveillance and inspection would
be necessary to make sure the missiles were rendered inoperable.
Stevenson was troubled that the discussion would bog down in details
and that the larger problem of eliminating the Soviets from Cuba
would be obscured. He reminded the Excomm that a long period of
negotiation would probably follow the removal of the missiles. And
he recommended that some thought be given to possible United States
proposals during that period.
Stevenson suggested that once the missiles were out, the United
States might propose this deal: a pull-out of all Soviet troops from
Cuba in return for a promise by the United States that it would not
invade the island and would withdraw its missiles from Turkey.
Stevenson was aware that the administration had decided the previous
year to remove the missiles from Turkey (they were Jupiter IRBMs,
obsolescent, clumsy liquid-fuel rockets. The plan was to replace
them with missile-bearing Polaris submarines stationed in the
Mediterranean. Turkey announced on January 23, 1963, that it had
agreed to removal of the Jupiters).
As the Excomm deliberated, the President went through with two
scheduled campaign trips, lest their cancellation betray the secret
maneuvering. On October 17 he kept speaking engagements in Stratford
and New Haven, Connecticut, and on October 19 he campaigned in
Cleveland, Springfield, Illinois, and Chicago. He was supposed to go
on to St. Louis and Seattle that weekend, but on Saturday morning,
October 20, Pierre Salinger announced that the President would
return to Washington immediately because he had a cold and was
running a slight temperature.
At the White House that afternoon the secret meetings continued.
Kennedy approved the Excomm's recommendation that a blockade be
imposed around Cuba. The decision was ratified the next day by the
National Security Council. (Up to that point the Excomm had been
operating without formal, statutory authority. To make its actions
official, it was necessary to include the Office of Emergency
Planning, one of the five statutory members of the NSC. The Office
had been excluded from the previous deliberations.)
The President also arranged to go on television Monday night,
October 22, to inform the nation that offensive missiles had been
discovered in Cuba and that a blockade would be imposed.
All weekend long, starting the previous Thursday and continuing
until the afternoon of the President's speech, the Defense
Department had repeated: "The Pentagon has no information indicating
the presence of offensive weapons in Cuba."
In his TV address the President emphasized that the blockade was
only an "initial" step and indicated strongly that direct military
force would be employed if necessary to get the missiles out.
"It shall be the policy of this nation," Kennedy added, "to regard
any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the
Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United
States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet
For the next four days the world balanced on the brink of war,
watching fearfully to see if the Soviets would continue work on the
missiles, attempt to run the blockade, or otherwise defy the
Finally, late in the night of October 26, a message was received
from Khrushchev. It suggested he was ready to withdraw his missiles
under United Nations supervision in return for a lifting of the
blockade and a pledge by the United States not to invade Cuba.
The Excomm convened the next morning in a hopeful atmosphere. But
the optimism was quickly shattered by a second Khrushchev message,
which was made public in Moscow. It offered to swap the Soviet
missiles in Cuba for the U.S. missiles in Turkey.
The members of the Excomm knew that President Kennedy would not
accept such a deal. As Kennedy was later to explain privately, he
felt it imperative to reject the missile swap in order to preserve
the Western alliance. The Turks had opposed the removal of the
Jupiters during 1962. They looked upon the missiles as symbols of
U.S. determination to defend them against Russian attack.
To accept Khrushchev's deal, Kennedy reasoned, would be to confirm
all the things Europe had said and suspected about the United
States: that when the vital interests of the United States were at
stake, Europe's interests would be sacrificed.
It was a strange and ironic situation, Kennedy conceded, since he
had decided the previous year to remove the obsolescent missiles
from Turkey: a future historian might question the wisdom of risking
a nuclear war over missiles that the nation did not need or want.
Kennedy issued a public statement, in effect rejecting the missile
swap. Then he sent off a private message to Khrushchev, ignoring the
Turkey proposal and agreeing to the terms of Khrushchev's first
Meantime, the Excomm's apprehension deepened as reports came in,
first, that an SA-2 had opened fire in Cuba for the first time,
downing a SAC U-2, and second, that a U-2 had wandered over Siberia
while on an "air sampling" mission near the Arctic Circle.*3
The first U-2 incident that day suggested to the Excomm that
Khrushchev might have reversed himself overnight and decided to defy
Kennedy's demands. The Excomm also realized the second incident
might have suggested to Khrushchev that Kennedy was planning some
type of direct military action against Russia.
The President and the Excomm waited uneasily through the night.
Then, shortly after ten o'clock on Sunday morning" October 28,
Moscow released the text of another message from Khrushchev to
Kennedy. The Soviet leader said he had ordered a stop to work on the
Cuban bases and had directed that the missiles be crated and
returned to the Soviet Union. United Nations representatives would
"verify the dismantling."
Kennedy hailed Khrushchev's decision and responded with an
expression of "regret" for the Siberian U-2 incident, which the
Russian had complained about in his letter.
The missile crisis was over. Kennedy had won perhaps the greatest
triumph of the Cold War. And in the November Congressional elections
the triumph was reflected in a major Democratic victory .
The crisis had cost the Republicans as many as twenty House seats,
said Representative Bob Wilson of California, the chairman of the
Republican Congressional Committee. He insisted that the
administration had known in late September that Russian missiles
were in Cuba but had delayed announcing the fact in order to go into
the election in a time of crisis, when the nation traditionally
rallies round the President.
Wilson said administration officials had held a secret briefing for
him and other members of the CIA subcommittee in the House six weeks
before the election and had disclosed that offensive missiles were
then in Cuba (Wilson apparently was referring to the eyewitness
report of a missile part which reached the CIA on September 20).
The administration denied Wilson's accusation, but its credibility
was called into question when Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary
of Defense for Public Affairs, made a series of statements which
suggested that the administration might have been manipulating the
facts in its official announcements.
"The generation of news by actions taken by the government,"
Sylvester declared on October 30 in commenting upon the Cuban
crisis, "becomes one weapon in a strained situation. The results, in
my opinion, justify the methods we use ... News generated by actions
of the government as to content and timing are part of the arsenal
of weaponry that a President has in application of military force
and related forces to the solution of political problems, or to the
application of international political pressure."
Sylvester went even further in a speech on December 6:
inherent in [the] government's right, if necessary, to lie to save
itself when it's going up into a nuclear war. This seems to me
In order to keep a closer watch over government information,
Sylvester directed that a representative of his office monitor each
interview between a reporter and a Pentagon official. Alternately,
the official could report the substance of the interview to
Sylvester at the end of the day. The State Department instituted a
similar practice, but withdrew it a few weeks later under pressure.
Critics accused the administration of "managing the news," using
information as a "weapon," even lying to protect itself.
Kennedy's October triumph was further compromised when Castro
refused to allow on-site inspection of the missile sites by the
United Nations. The Republicans seized upon this to suggest that the
Russian military buildup was continuing and that all of the
offensive weapons had not been removed.
Leading the Republican attack was Senator Keating, who had gained
something of a reputation as an intelligence expert by virtue of his
announcement on October 10, twelve days before Kennedy's TV address,
that there were offensive missiles in Cuba.
Keating issued a series of post-crisis statements, culminating in a
speech on January 31, 1963, in which he said:
"There is continuing, absolutely confirmed and undeniable evidence
that the Soviets are maintaining the medium-range sites they had
previously constructed in Cuba ... they may have missiles left on
the island and need only to wheel them out of caves ... Without
on-site inspection, it is hard to see how we will ever know for sure
the true missile situation in Cuba."
Keating's statement drew banner headlines across the country. And
the administration had difficulty gaining public acceptance of its
denials. Its failure to quiet the storm over Cuba was undermining
efforts to turn the October triumph into a Cold War breakthrough.
Finally, Kennedy decided he would have to overwhelm his critics with
photographic proof. The original idea was to invite the small group
of reporters covering Keating to view the special briefing which had
been put together for several Congressional committees. At the last
minute, however, the President decided that if classified material
was to be released, he might as well go the whole way. He ordered
McNamara to go on nationwide television that evening -- February 6
-- and display the aerial reconnaissance photos brought back from
The decision was reached so quickly that there was no time to check
with McCone. The CIA boss would have opposed the idea on grounds
that the TV show would reveal the high degree of perfection which
had been achieved with the U-2 cameras (much better than those which
fell into Khrushchev's hands when Powers' plane was captured in
At the time of the decision, McCone was on Capitol Hill testifying:
"We are convinced beyond reasonable doubt ... that all offensive
missiles and bombers known to be in Cuba were withdrawn."
A few hours later McNamara went on TV. For close to two hours the
American people were exposed to some of the "blackest" secrets of
the Invisible Government. Most of the briefing was conducted by
General Carroll's thirty-four-year-old assistant, John Hughes. He
displayed dozens of blowups of reconnaissance photos showing the
Cuban missile sites first under construction and then in the process
of dismantling, and finally he showed the missile equipment being
put aboard ships and carried away from the island.
It was a breathtaking demonstration of the high degree of
sophistication which had been achieved in electronic intelligence.
But the presentation prompted two questions which were to prove
embarrassing to the administration. First, no pictures were shown
for the period between September 5 and October 14, raising the
question of whether the intelligence community had neglected to
conduct aerial reconnaissance during this period or whether the
administration was suppressing pertinent photos. And second, the
briefing added up to a tacit admission that there had been no
photographic count of the number of missiles shipped to Cuba and,
therefore, there could be no certainty that the number spotted going
out represented the total arsenal.
McNamara sidestepped these problems in answering questions after the
briefing. But the next day Kennedy admitted frankly to his news
"We cannot prove that there is not a missile in a cave
or that the Soviet Union isn't going to ship next week."
however, that the Soviets were aware that if any missiles were
discovered, it would "produce the greatest crisis which the world
has faced in its history."
The President deplored the "rumors and speculations" which, he said,
compelled the administration to go on TV and disclose "a good deal
of information which we are rather reluctant to give about our
As to the so-called "photo gap" between September 5 and October 4,
McNamara finally explained at a news conference in February that the
U-2 missions during that period "didn't relate" to the areas where
the Russian missiles were found. In plain English, McNamara was
saying that the CIA failed to photograph the western half of Cuba
during the six weeks preceding the flight which discovered the
At his news conference on March 6 Kennedy argued that it really
didn't matter very much because the Soviets set up their missiles so
quickly, there would have been nothing to see until a few days
before October 14.
"I suppose," the President remarked, "we could have always perhaps
picked up these missile bases a few days earlier, but not very many
days earlier ... ten days before might not have picked up anything.
The week before might have picked up something ... So I feel that
the intelligence services did a very good job ... I am satisfied
with Mr. McCone, the intelligence community, the Defense Department
and the job they did in these days, particularly taken in totality."
But many important members of the administration were not so
satisfied with the Invisible Government. They suspected that someone
in the Pentagon or high in the CIA had been funneling incriminating
evidence to the Republicans, possibly raw intelligence which had not
yet been analyzed or brought to the President's attention. On March
25, when McCone came for one of his periodic meetings with the
President, a third person, McGeorge Bundy, was included for the
first time. Clearly, Bundy was there to monitor the conversation.
The Invisible Government had taken great pride in its performance
during the missile crisis, only to find its achievement compromised
by suspicions that it was playing politics with intelligence.
There was no denying, however, that the intelligence community had
succeeded in raising the art of aerial photography to unimagined
heights. The missile crisis had revealed unmistakably that
automation was revolutionizing the spy business as rapidly as it was
transforming American industry.
*1 After the October crisis McCone was urged to make Sherman Kent of
the Board of Estimates, the scapegoat for the bad guess. But McCone
refused to fire him, despite repeated reminders from the White House
that the Estimate was wrong.
In a speech on March 11, 1963, Salinger insisted that during the
Cuban crisis "We did not lie to the American people." He went on to
explain that the Pentagon spokesman who issued the denials "was not
lying. He was communicating the information as he knew it." By
implication, Salinger excused his own statements about Kennedy's
The Russians had charged that another U-2 flew over Sakhalin
Island north of Japan on August 30, 1962. The United States replied
that "severe winds" might have forced the plane "unintentionally" to
violate Soviet airspace. After the Powers incident, Presidents
Eisenhower and Kennedy promised there would be no more U-2 overflights of the Soviet Union. But their pledge did not rule out
flights over Cuba, other Communist countries or along the borders of
the Soviet Union.
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