Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
December 12, 2016
Document Release Date: 
July 17, 2000
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
March 19, 1963
Content Type: 
PDF icon CIA-RDP92B01090R002600090020-9.pdf115.61 KB
Approved For Release,., 2001/12/05 : CIA-RDP92B01090R002266000090020-9 SECRET 19 March 1963 SUBJECT- Need for Low-Level Reconnaissance of Cuba in Connection with Soviet Troop Withdrawals REFERENCE: USIB-D-41.14/13 (COMDR-D-24/4$), 21 Feb 63, L. The United States Intelligence Board on 21 February approved the requirements for low-level reconnaissance of both Soviet military camps and unidentified installations in Cuba (see reference). That document dates- Order of battle for ground forces e . . cannot be fully established from high-level photography or apparently from collateral sources. Low-level photography, if carried ?nut comprehensively and simultaneously, might enable us to make a more valid appraisal of the ektent of Soviet deployment, including indications of the intro- duction or pullout of personnel and equipment or turnover of equipment to the Cubans. It also recommended that high-level photography be suppimented by low-level, photography of certain unidentified installations 2. Since 21 February and especially since 6 March which was the last time that the Board considered the need for low-level reconnaissance of Cuba, high-altitude coverage almost daily over the four largest Soviet military camps, Artemisa, Remedies, Holguin, and Santiago de las Vegas, and the headquarters at Torrens has failed to reveal signs of withdrawal which would equate to the numbers of Soviet military personnel known to have sailed from Havana. Indeed, with the exception of the removal of a few tents and a radar or commu- nications site at Holguin and the observation on two occasions of some unidentified gear between barracks wings at Roan erlios, the appearance of the camps, as interpreted from high-level photography, has been remarkably static, with little evidence of the sort of activity which might be expected if the camps were as occupied as they have been ebtimated to be. It is impossible on. the basis of high altitude coverage tnd limited. ground sightings by Western observers to identify the units locations or arms of service from which the departing personnel have been withdrawn, Approved For Release 2001/12/05: J 2B01090R002600090020-9 Approved For Release 2001/12/05 : CIA-RDP92BO109OR002600090020-9 3. The estimate of 17, 500 Soviet military personnel in Cuba is based on a manning factor for the military equipment and Soviet in- stallations known to be present in Cuba.. The actual number of Soviet military personnel in Cuba could have been less, even prior to the recent departures. It is essential, therefore, to attempt to determine whether the major Soviet camps are manned on a more than caretaker basis. Low-level coverage offers a greater possibility of making this determination and of discovering signs of impending or accomplished troop withdrawals. 4. At the same time, the suspicions held concerning cer- tain of the 18 unidentified installations in Cuba listed in Tab A of the referenced report continue in force, and the prospects for clarifica- tion from other than low-level coverage continue to be small. The community is in agreement with regard to. the need for low-level reconnaissance of the 5 military camps. Whereas on a long-term basis the unidentified installations are of prime importance for coverage, the coverage of the 5 military camps is critical at the moment in connection with reported troop withdrawal, 6. Recommendation: It is recommended that low -level photographic missions be initiated over the Soviet camps at Artemisa, Remedios, Holguin, Santiago de las Vegas, and Torrens and the un- identified installations at El Horno, Mayari Arriba, Santiago do Cuba, and the underground installations at Holguin (No. 13 at Tab A of Ref), ;hairman CommitteVon Overhead Reconnaissance Approved For Release 2001/12M1; -RDP92B01090R002600090020-9