The Bay Of Pigs Invasion Gone Wrong

Essay, Research Paper In 1959, Fidel Castro, a leader of an underground antigovernment group, successfully led a rebellion against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista to become the Premier of Cuba. He then triggered a series of events which were considered hostile by the United States. In 1960 Castro took over American oil refinery, sugar mills, and electric utilities.

Essay, Research Paper

In 1959, Fidel Castro, a leader of an underground antigovernment group, successfully led a rebellion against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista to become the Premier of Cuba. He then triggered a series of events which were considered hostile by the United States. In 1960 Castro took over American oil refinery, sugar mills, and electric utilities. Moreover, in the early 1960’s he began to welcome communism and formed close ties with the USSR. Such events led the United States to take measures. After these events took place, the US and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) started planning an invasion near Guant namo Bay, a US naval base in Cuba, in the Bay of Pigs which is in southern Cuba. The CIA set up a small sub-organization with the sole purpose of planning and undertaking the invasion. Despite the intelligence planning, the counterintelligence planning, and military planning the mission still failed. There were many problems with the CIA’s plans which were not properly deliberated before the invasion. The Bay of Pigs Invasion and the CIA foul-ups during this incident were the recipe for many US foreign relation problems and periods of hostility with the USSR. On April 18, 1961, two messages were sent. One of these messages were from Russian Premier Khrushcev to President Kennedy, the other was President Kennedy’s response. Both of these messages were about the attempted Bay of Pigs Invasion and each party’s view on the incident. On April 19, 1961, not long after these messages were released, they were published in an article in the New York Times, “The Exchange of Messages.” “Mr. President, I address this message to you at an hour of anxiety fraught with danger to world peace. An armed aggression has begun against Cuba,” began Khruschev’s letter. When he wrote this letter, he was aware of the fact that the Cuban exiles who were involved in the attack against Cuba were trained in the United States. Khruschev also wrote that he knew that the United States owned the planes and bombers that were used to bomb Cuba during the attack.Khrushcev was quick to defend Castro during this incident, being that Cuban/Soviet relations were really good. “As to the Soviet Union, there should be no misunderstanding of our position: we shall render the Cuban people and their Government all necessary assistance in beating back the armed attack on Cuba,” was Khrushcev’s statement to President Kennedy. Khrushcev continues by stating, “How are we to understand what is really being done by the United States now that the attack on Cuba has become a fact?” Being that President Kennedy guaranteed that the Bay of Pigs Invasion would not occur, the Russian Premier was very upset about the incident. Moreover, such anger could have had vital effects on the United States/Soviet relations and on world relations for that matter. He continued by stating, “I earnestly appeal to you, Mr. President, to call a halt to the aggression against the Republic of Cuba. The military techniques and the world political situation are now such that any so-called ’small war’ can produce a chain reaction in all parts of the world.” (NYT 4/19/61) Although the Russian Premier attempted to appeal to the President and maintain good US/Soviet relations, he wanted to point out that the USSR was ready to answer back with force if such attacks continued. Khrushcev wrote, “We are sincerely interested, in a relaxation of international tension, but if others aggravate it, we shall reply in full measure. And, in general, it is hardly possible to handle matters in such a way as to settle the situation and distinguish the conflagration in one area and kindle a new conflagration in another.” Being that this invasion surely caused enough commotion for the Soviet Union to take certain measures, Khrushcev continues his letter by threatening the US and stating, “I hope the United States Government will take into account these considerations of ours, prompted as they are by the sole concern for preventing such steps which could lead the world to a military catastrophe.” (NYT 4/19/61) The United States along with the CIA led an aggressive and secret operation against the Castro dictatorship. Being that the mission was a complete failure and threatened the standing of US foreign relations with Cuba and one of the major world powers at the time the USSR, President Kennedy wrote back to Premier Khrushcev and explained why these measures were taken. Kennedy wrote, “Mr. Chairman: You are under a serious misapprehension in regard to events in Cuba. For months there has been evident and growing resistance to the Castro dictatorship.” He continued, “”More than 100,000 refugees have recently fled from Cuba into neighboring countries. Their urgent hope is naturally to assist their fellow Cubans in their struggle for freedom. Many of these refugees fought alongside Dr. Castro against the Batista dictatorship; among them are prominent leaders of his own original movement and government.” (NET 4/19/61) Kennedy continued to point out that the US desired to military intervention in Cuba. He stated, “I have previously stated and I repeat now that the United States intends no military intervention in Cuba. In the event of any military intervention by an outside force we will immediately honor our obligations under the inter-American system to protect this hemisphere against external aggression”. (NYT 4/19/61) Moreover, President Kennedy was also aware of the military capabilities that the USSR had, as well as there advanced nuclear weapons. Thus, he in his reply assures Khruschev that such force would not be necessary. He states, “I have taken careful note of your statement that the events in Cuba might affect peace in all parts of the world. I trust that this does not mean that the Soviet Government, using the situation in Cuba as a pretext, is planning to inflame other areas of the world. I would like to think that your Government has too great a sense of responsibility to embark upon any enterprise so dangerous to general peace.” (NYT 4/19/61) Although Kennedy makes it clear that the US does not want military intervention, he in his reply also makes it clear that the US applauds the Cuban people for revolting against Castro’s government. He said, “The regime in Cuba could make a similar contribution by permitting the Cuban people freely to determine their own future by democratic processes and freely to cooperate with their Latin-American neighbors.” (NYT 4/19/61) He makes it clear that he respects the Cuban people’s quest for a democratic government. It is evident by the statements made from both parties that the Bay of Pigs was an incident that ignited foreign relation problems between the US and the USSR. The Russian Premier Khruschev used his strong ties with Cuba to his advantage. He used the small islands of the Cuban republic to base nuclear weapons. Such actions would intensify US involvement, being that they had already been an aggressor against Castro’s Republic. Furthermore, it would later involve them in a serious nuclear crisis. Thus the Bay of Pigs Invasion, set the stage for later US involvement with the USSR. On February 21st, 1998, a top secret document, the Inspector General’s Survey of the Cuban Operation, was released under the Freedom of Information Act. The Inspector Generals Survey of the Cuban Operation was the internal document inside the Central Intelligence Agency explaining the failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. This document was written by the Inspector of the Central Intelligence Agency, and was kept in his files in the Agency’s building in Washington. This document exposes the CIA’s foul-ups during this operation and the reasons for these mistakes. As it is revealed in the introduction to this document, “This is the Inspector General’s report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s ill-fated attempt to implement national policy by overthrowing the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba by means of a covert paramilitary operation,” the CIA attempt of the Bay of Pigs Invasion is called ill-fated (Kirkpatrick). Furthermore, the Inspector General also comments that the purpose of the document is to “describe the weaknesses and failures disclosed by the study, and to make recommendations for their correction and avoidance in the future.” (Kirkpatrick) The Inspector General’s Survey of the Cuban Operation states that President Dwight Eisenhower authorized the following by approving a paper entitled “A Program of Covert Action Against the Castro Regime”:”a. Formation of a Cuban exile organization to attract Cuban loyalties, to direct opposition activities, and to provide cover for Agency operations. b. A propaganda offensive in the name of the opposition. c. Creation inside Cuba of a clandestine intelligence collection and action apparatus to be responsive to the direction of the exile organization d. Development outside Cuba of a small paramilitary force to be introduced into Cuba to organize, train and lead resistance groups.” (Kirkpatrick) The concept was for the Cuban exile council to serve as cover for the United States Government by acting as a group of American businessmen. Being that the United States Government went along to plan and committing actions publicly, the council was needed to act as cover, thus, “the hand of the US Government would not appear.” (Kirkpatrick) This Cuban exile group served as the governments hand, moreover, it would later form a group called FRD. Furthermore, the document authorized a strong propaganda offensive. The purpose was to inform the clandestine intelligence group and the small paramilitary group and keep them responsive with the Cuban exile group about the demands of the operation. Moreover, This document states that the reason for invasion of Cuba by the United States of America was a way to stop communism from spreading to the Western Hemisphere, near the United States which was a world power and a Democracy. Statements were made by The United States Government who said that they felt it was a danger to National Security. (Weiner, NYT 11/19/97) President Eisenhower, along with approving the document titled “A Program of Covert Action Against the Castro Regime”, also approved the budget for the operation. This budget totaled $4,400,000. This included This included Political action, $950,000; propaganda, $1,700,000; paramilitary, $1,500,000; intelligence collection, $250,000. (Kilpatrick) The Central Intelligence Agency needed a way to accomplish a second revolution in Cuba, this time a Democratic revolution. The Central Intelligence Agency developed a Branch of the Western Hemisphere Division, a division of the Central Intelligence Agency, which handled Intelligence efforts on the Western Hemisphere of the earth. This branch was named Western Hemisphere Division Branch Four, or WH/4 as an abbreviation. (Kilpatrick) WH/4 was an expandable task force in charge of the Cuban Operation, and involved in all the aspects approved by the CIA. This special task force branch was funded by the budget approved by Eisenhower. The WH/4 was a major part of the plans and the undertaking of the invasion. During the Bay of Pigs Invasion, there were many problems with the actual plan, and this is what caused the failure. Although not very obvious, The Inspector General suggested the conclusions for the problems that the CIA was experiencing with the operation. These problems were pointed out in the Inspector General’s Survey of the Cuban Operation:

“1.The Central Intelligence Agency, after starting to build up the resistance and guerrilla forces inside Cuba, drastically concerted the project into what rapidly became an overt military operation. The Agency failed to recognize that when the project advanced beyond the stage of plausible denial it was going beyond the area of Agency responsibility as well as Agency capability. 2.The Agency became so wrapped up in the military operation that it failed to appraise the [blurred] of [blurred] realistically. Furthermore, it failed to keep the national policy-makers adequately and realistically informed of the conditions considered essential for success, and it did not [burred] sufficiently for prompt policy decisions in a fast moving situation. 3.As the project grew, the Agency reduced the exiled leaders to the status of puppets, thereby losing the advantages of their active participation. 4.The Agency failed to build up and supply a resistance organization under rather favorable conditions. Air and boat operations showed up poorly. 5. The Agency failed to collect adequate information on the strengths of the Castro regime and the extent of the opposition to it; and it failed to evaluate the available information correctly. 6.The project was badly organized. Command lines and [blurred] controls were ineffective and useless. Senior Staffs if the Agency were not utilized; air support stayed independent of the project; the role of the large forward [blurred] was not clear. 7.The project was not staffed with top-quality people, and a number of people were not used to the best advantage. 8. The Agency entered the project without adequate [blurred] in the way of [blurred], bases, training facilities, [blurred][blurred], Spanish-speakers, and similar essential ingredients of a successful operation. [Blurred] these been already in being, such time and effort would have been saved.” (Kirkpatrick, 143) The US government and the CIA did in fact take several actions that were mentioned in the Inspector General’s report. Such actions led to problems that caused the failure of the invasion. In the weeks before the actual invasion, the Western Hemisphere Division Branch Four picked up their pace in the preparations. On March 12th, 1961 the LCI “Barbara J” launched and recovered a sabotage team against the Texaco refinery in Santiago, Cuba. Beginning on March 13th, and ending on March 15th, the project chiefs worked on a revised plan that they presented to the President on March 15th. (Higgins, 112) Although the planning was going along smoothly, it was taking to long for the Cuban exiles to wait, and several went AWOL. Although the mission was being prepared and almost ready, the Guatemala Camp was accepting trainees as late as the week of April 4th. These men were not able to complete the full training needed to go up against such a well organized defense as was Castro’s. In addition, during the invasion, certain military tactics did not work to the advantage of the invasion. Flights over Cuba were suspended on March 28th. The Government gave two reasons for the suspension. “(a) That the aircraft were needed to move the strike force from Guatemala to Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, for embarkation on the invasion ships; (b) that the Agency wished to avoid any incident, such as a plane being downed over Cuba, which might upset the course of events during the critical pre-invasion period.” (Higgins, 132) Three Cuban airfields were raided by eight B-26s on April 15th, and resulted in destroying about half of Castro’s air force, which was estimated by post-strike photography. Attacks were not the only aspect of the invasion that was increasing. Propaganda efforts were increased. Before D-Day, Radio Swan, a propaganda offensive radio station, as well as other propaganda outlets were broadcasting eighteen hours a day on medium wave, and sixteen hours a day on short wave. The military tactics along with their mistakes continued. The invasion fleet which had assembled off the south coast of Cuba on the night of 16 April included two LCIs owned by the Agency, a US Navy LSD carrying three LCUs and four LCVPs, all of them pre-loaded with supplies, and even charted commercial freighters. All these craft participated in the assault phase, except for three freighters which were loaded with follow-up supplies for ground and air-forces. These vessels were armed with 50-caliber machine guns. In addition, each LCI mounted two 75-mm. Recoilless rifles. (Higgins, 156) In addition to the personal weapons of the Cuban exile soldiers, the armament provided for combat included sufficient numbers of Browning automatic rifles, machine guns, mortars, recoilless rifles, rocket launchers, and flame-throwers. There were also five M-41 tanks, 12 heavy trucks, an aviation fuel tank truck, a tractor crane, a bulldozer, two large water trailers, and numerous small trucks and tractors. (Higgins, 156-157) A total of 1,511 men fought in the invasion, all of them were on the invasion ships, except for one airborne infantry company comprised of 177 men. The entire brigade included five infantry companies, one heavy weapons company, on intelligence-reconnaissance company, and one tank platoon. Although seemingly powerful and overwhelming, this invasion lacked the intelligence and the organization which was pointed out by the Inspector General. Its lack of adequate information on the strengths of the Castro regime and the incapability for the CIA to build up the resistance and guerrilla forces inside Cuba were two of the major reasons why the invasion went wrong. Even though there was an adequate plan for invasion, the failure for resistance inside of Cuba made it impossible for the invaders to overpower Castro’s well trained army. The distraction of the guerrilla forces was needed for the invasion to work, however, as the failed the Bay of Pigs Invasion failed as well. The Inspector General Lymon Kirkpatrick was right when he said that the Central Intelligence Agency should have done more research on the Cubans’ weaknesses and strengths before invading, so that the Central Intelligence Agency Western Hemisphere Division Branch Four could have possibly defeated the Fidel Castro regime of the Republic of Cuba. The United States should have also done more to help relations with the United Soviet Socialist Republic. (Kirkpatrick) The CIA failure and “ill-fated” attempt at the Bay of Pigs, along with their poor relations with the USSR, caused many moments of tension between Cuba, the United Soviet Socialist Republic, and the United States of America. Beginning for two weeks on October 15, the Cuban Missile Crisis existed. On October 15, a U-2 spy plane piloted by Richard Heyser revealed SS-4 nuclear missiles in Cuba all aimed at various points in the United States. The missile silos were disguised as trees, or at least the communists tried to disguise them as trees. (Weiner, NYT 8/5/97) On October 16, the next day, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was informed of this sighting during breakfast. He called a meeting of EX-COMM, his twelve most important advisors. According to EX-COMM, Khruschev would retaliate no matter what action they took. Still, Kennedy called a blockade to begin at 10 am Eastern Daylight Time on October 24th 1962. President John F. Kennedy was able to talk Khruschev into disabling the missiles on October 26th , but on October 27th, Khruschev demanded to renegotiate terms. On October 28th, 1962, Khruschev had agreed to remove all missiles from the Republic of Cuba. In the next several years, the CIA still had a tense time with the USSR, and the Republic of Cuba. In the internal memo” Views of a Cuban Official on the future of Cuban-United States Relations”, it says that the United States would be able to intervene in the Vietnam War without any consequences to Cuban relations. The United States Policy was to isolate Cuba from the rest of the free world on December 12th, 1963. The United States’ plan was to replace the Castro regime and replace it with an administration that would be fully compatible with the United States of America. “In the last analysis, however, there are only two courses which would eliminate the Castro regime at an early date: an invasion or a complete blockade. Both of the actions would result in a major crisis between the US and the USSR and would produce substantial strains on US relations with other countries-allied as well as neutral. To a greater extent than in any of the courses discussed above, OAS support would be important, if not critical, in reducing the risks and in increasing the practical and political effect of an invasion or a blockade.”( In conclusion, the Bay of Pigs Invasion was surrounded by US and CIA foul-ups and one overwhelming, feeble, and “ill-fated” attempt to overthrow Castro’s Communist Republic. The Bay of Pigs was an invasion that was doomed from the initial plans and Eisenhower’s authorization of go ahead documents for the operation. The unorganized CIA committee in charge of the major parts of the invasion, Western Hemisphere Division Branch Four, and its under budgeted attempt never really took of the ground. This invasion was an embarrassment to the Kennedy Administration as well as to the US and the Central Intelligence Agency. It set up much tension between two world powers, like the US and the USSR, at a very unstable time. It let to the Cuban Missile Crisis and to a prolonged period of shaky political and economic relations between the countries involved. It is best said by Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick in his report, “Furthermore, it is essential to keep in mind that the possibility of an invasion was doomed in advance, that an initially successful landing by 1,500 men would eventually have been crushed by Castro’s combined military resources strengthened by Soviet Bloc-supplied military materiel.” (Kirkpatrick) WORK CITED PAGE “The CIA on the CIA: Scathing View of Invasion” The New York Times, New York, New York, February 22, 1998 Cuban Missile Crisis: Relating to the Bay of Pigs Invasion:”The Exchange of Messages” The New York Times, New York, New York, April 19, 1961Gilbert, Joseph, The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, MLA Association of America, 1997Internal Memos from the CIA/EDRC Search :, Lyman. The Inspector General’s Survey of the Cuban Operation(Document) The National Security Archive, The Gelman Library, George Washington University, Washington, D.C, 1998The Timetable History of Cuba: sierra/cuba/history/baypigsTrumbull, Higgins, The Perfect Failure: Kennedy, Eisenhower, and the CIA at the Bay of Pigs, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, New York, 1987.Weiner, Tim, “Documents Show Pentagon’s Anti-Castro Plots During Kennedy Years,” The New York Times, New York, New York, November 19, 1997.Weiner, Tim, “Word for Word: The Cuban Missile Crisis,” The New York Times, New York, New York, October 5, 1997.