Memo: Pretexts to Justify Military Intervention in Cuba, Pg 2


The U.S. federal government considered implementing various terrorist activities to justify an American military invasion of Cuba. The top-secret (now declassified) plan, referred to as “Operation Northwoods” was set-forth in a memo dated March 13, 1962.

This image depicts the second page of an Appendix listing possible activities - referred to in the memo as “Pretexts” - which would cause outrage against Cuba and justify U.S. action against that island nation. Split into paragraphs here, for easier reading, the document states as follows:

        (5) Blow up ammunition inside the base; start fires.

        (6) Burn aircraft on airbase (sabatage).

        (7) Lob morter shells from outside of base into base. Some damage to installations.

        (8) Capture assault teams approaching from the sea of vicinity of Guantanamo City.

        (9) Capture militia group which storms the base.

        (10) Sabotage ship in harbor; large fires -- napthalene.

        (11) Sink ship near harbor entrance. Conduct funerals for mock-victims (may be lieu of (10)).

     b. United States would respond by executing offensive operations to secure water and power supplies, destroying artillery and mortar emplacements which threaten the base.

     c. Commence large scale United States military operations.

3. A "Remember the Maine" incident could be arranged in several forms:

     a. We could blow up a US ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba.

     b. We could blow up a drone (unmanned) vessel anywhere in the Cuban waters. We could arrange to cause such incident in the vicinity of Havana or Santiago as a spectacular result of Cuban attack from the air or sea, or both.  The presence of Cuban planes or ships merely investigating the intent of the vessel could be fairly compelling evidence that the ship was taken under attack. The nearness to Havana or Santiago would add credibility especially to those people that might have heard the blast or have seen the fire. The US could follow with an air/sea rescue operation covered by US fighters to "evacuate" remaining members of the non-existent crew. Casualty lists in US newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.

4. We could develop a Communist Cuba terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington.

And ... the list of possible federal-government-caused terrorist activities goes on. To see the entire document, visit the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

As the U.S. government was considering these activities, the Soviet government was considering installing ballistic missiles in Cuba.  The clash between those two super-powers, over weapons of mass destruction on the Caribbean island, is known (among other descriptions) as the "Cuban Missile Crisis."

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

Image described above, online courtesy the U.S. National Archives and the National Security Archive at George Washington University.



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