Wednesday, September 26, 2018

General Krulak to Joint Chiefs of Staff



J-3 Records Series –

SAOSA-M 457-639

9 August 1963


Subject: JCS Briefing by Mr. Desmond Fitzgerald

1.      A synopsis of the briefing given to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 31 July by Mr. Fitzgerald makes clear that he did not go into detail concerning the CIA operations against Cuba, nor the magnitude of the support which the on-going program will require from the military..

2.      Since the Joint Chiefs of Staff, except for (USMC) General Shoup, were absent, I propose that Mr. Fitzgerald be brought back in about two weeks. For that presentation I will prepare a talking paper which will include questions designed to draw out Mr. Fitzgerald concerning mattes which are of particular moment to the Chiefs.

3.      If this is agreeable, I will make the necessary arrangements.

V. H. KRULAK Major General, USMC

BK NOTES: I never heard of General Victor "Brute" Krulak until he was mentioned by Col. Fletcher Prouty, whose Pentagon office was just down the hall. Krulak was a young marine officer in the South Pacific during World War II when his men were trapped on a small island being overwhelmed by superior Japanese forces. In a scene depicted in the movie PT-109, Navy Lt. JFK took PT-109 close to the shore so the marines could board it and escape under intense fire. Krulak said he told Kennedy that he owed him a bottle of whiskey for that. When he was appointed Special Assistant for Counter-Insurgency and Special Operations (SACISO) at the Pentagon, Krulak claims he visited the White House after hours and gave the President the belated bottle of whiskey, that they share and recalled war stories.

As SACISO Krulak was responsible for the military support for CIA covert operations, especially those aimed at Cuba, and it was his aide Colonel Walter Higgins who attended and wrote the memo of the September 1963 meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, chaired by General LeMay (USAF), and briefed by Desmond Fitzgerald, the CIA officer responsible for covert operations against Cuba.

This document reflects the fact that meeting with Fitzgerald and his briefing was held at the specific request of General Krulak.

It also gives us a few leads to search for other related records, such as the 31 July briefing by Fitzgerald when only the Chief of Staff of the Marine Corps General Shoup was present.

Then there is Krulak’s “Talking Paper” he said he was to prepare for questioning Fitzgerald specifically about the US military support for CIA covert Cuban operations.

Of the military support for such covert ops there were a number that are apparent – the CIA use of military bases for training of JMWAVE Cubans, the supplying of small arms and ammunition, and contingencies for US Navy maritime or air support against aggressive Cuban military response.

If anyone comes up with the documentary report of Fitzgerald’s July 31, 1963 briefing or Krulak’s “Talking Paper” bullet points for Fitzgerald, it would be greatly appreciated if you share it here. Brute: The Life of Victor Krulak, U.S. Marine (9780316067430): Robert Coram: Books

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