INT: Did you ever detect any nuclear missile warheads on Cuba?

SH: No we didn't. The pictures showed nuclear warhead storage sites and that they could see very clearly in the photographs, but we never did pick up and as far as I'm concerned, the rest of the government didn't either we never [inaudible] never knew that there were nuclear warheads on the island and we did not know they had tactical nuclear warheads already on what was called the 'frogs'.

INT: What do you think would have happened if the invasion had taken place?

SH: I think it would have been a bloody awful mess and we might not have been sitting here talking like this.

INT: Could you just put that into a phrase for me. If the invasion had taken place...

SH: Well, if the invasion had taken place, I'm not so sure we would be talking here, as we are now, safe and sound. It would have been an awful mess, not only the... Cuba might not have disappeared from the fof the earth as an island, but there would have been, I think, some missile exchanges and I can't write a scenario for that.

INT: Excellent. Final three questions, if I may.

SH: Can I have somewater?


INT: So what was the reaction with your family, when on the twenty eighth of October...


INT: So on the twenty eighth of October the radio announcement came from Moscow, Khrushchev said he was prepared to remove the missiles, what was your personal reaction, really?

SH: Well, my personal reaction was it seemed to me that we had now suddenly gotten out of the missile crisis by creating a Soviet protected base in the Western hemisphere and we were the ones protecting the Soviet base, since part of the agreement was we would not invade Cuba, the US would not invade Cuba, in return for the Soviets taking out the missiles. somehow I didn't particularly like that. obviously it's better than going to war, I suppose, but I didn't like the idea of us protecting a Soviet base in the Western Hemisphere, let alone the Monroe Doctrine, which people had forgotten about long ago.

INT: So, what happened? I mean, the rest of the world sits back, says, whew, it's all over we survived the crisis, what did you continue to do?

SH: Well, we continued, believe it or not, to try and run some sabotage operations in Cuba, because we did not get the orders to stop sabotage activities in Cuba until the thirtieth of October that's two days later. So we had to continue doing that. either somebody forgot that we were still there doing something or they just maybe got around to it on their check sheet, I don't know. things quieted down after the thirtieth and November and December were kind of a cleaning up party, you know, putting ourselves back into normal activity, which was trying to collect intelligence and plan for whatever else they wanted us to do. Bill Harvey was reassigned by January of 1963 and a new officer came in to take over the Cuban operations and that was Desmond FitzGerald, who had been the chief of division of the Far East Division, now called East Asia Division, by the way. and in January of '63, believe it or not, the Kennedys put us back in action, without General Lansdale. Now we were reporting just to Bobby Kennedy as the Attorney General and not through Ed Lansdale as Chief of Operations. Mongoose as such disappeared with the end of the missile crisis, Ed Lansdale went back to doing whatever the Pentagon had him doing or wanted him to do and I don't know what he was assigned to. but here we were in January of '63 with Des FitzGerald and the orders from the White House were get rid of Castro and the Castro regime, all over again. Here we start again. This time we had a better base of knowledge, we had some decent intelligence sources, and we had some better ideas as to what we might be trying to do. but the pressure was there to keep doing something. This is after the missile crisis and after the promise to the Russians that we were not going to invade Cuba. Well, we never were going to invade Cuba anyway, that wasn't anywhere near the plans except at the time of the missile crisis, when the military were getting ready to move in. but January of '63, Des was being hounded the way Bill Harvey and Dick Helms had been hounded on doing something against the Castro regime. So all over again, here we go.

INT: And what were some of the more unusual plans that were then tried out?

SH: Well, Des came back one morning from his place out in the plains of Virginia, which is about twenty or thirty miles outside of Washington in Virginia. and he came back one Monday morning, he usually went there on the weekends, and came back one Monday morning with an idea for an exploding sea shell and I thought he was crazy at the time and I told him so. I said, that's sense, it's crazy, and he said, what do you know about that? Why don't you check with the technicians and you'll find out? So, I said, all right, I'll do it. I checked with the technicians, who can do that kind of stuff, and the guy on the other end of the phone, I don't even know who answered the phone, said, sure Sam, we can make anything blow up, it doesn't matter. But what are you going to do about how you're going to emplace this thing? Where you gonna emplace it? How are you gonna be sure that only one man gets to pick it up? No matter how gorgeous the shell looks, there could be somebody else there, it doesn't have to be just this one individual you guys have in mind for the target? he said, there are a lot of other problems. He said, blowing up something is no problem at all, and tell your boss that. So I went and told Des, I said, you know, but they're saying that it doesn't make any sense. How are you going to be sure only one man touches it, how are you going to emplace it? You going to use submarines to do that and you got to get the navy to do that, etc., etc., etc. And finally we just dropped it and nothing else happened about that. They never even built a model, they didn't have to. Oh, there were other ideas as to how to get rid of Castro. some of them go back to the Bay of Pigs, in terms of making his hair fall out by some depilatory that they would put in his shoes or somewhere. Somebody had some ideas about contaminating his cigars. Well, how do you get close to the cigars that he's going to be using and so on? there were a whole bunch of nutty ideas like that kept floating around. We did have one possibility. nobody liked the idea of assassinations, but we did have one possibility. We had a political action operation with a fellow by the name of Rolando Corbella , who's living now I'm told, in Spain somewhere, retired. He was major in the Cuban armed forces, that's about the highest rank they have actually, and he was a close friend of Fidel Castro's from the days in the hills. and he had an idea of creating a military coup against Castro, which would get rid of the Castro regime. And as he said to the case officer involved, he said, and sometimes people get killed in coups. So he had the idea that let's try a military coup and see what happens. And we were all for that and at first we turned down all his requests for any kind of assassination equipment and the - and I don't know what caused the change in the orders - but then the orders were, all right, let's give him what he's looking for. he was looking for some kind of assassination equipment. He was looking for a sniper's rifle, which we initially turned down, and then we finally called our station in Miami to put down a cache in Cuba, containing a sniper's rifle and in the interim we went to the case officer and I went and talked to one of our medical doctors, who supplied medical operational support to any of our operations and he had the idea of taking an ordinary ball point pen and turning it into what amounted to a hypodermic and with the use of something called Black Leaf 40, which was a pesticide, which was available anywhere in any hardware store practically in the world, and this particular fella could get some Black Leaf 40 in Cuba and fill a pen with it and if he got close to Castro enough to be able to scratch him or inject him with this lethal poison. At that point, in my opinion, what was a political action operations turns into a assassination operation, although when the case officer showed the pen to the agent, unfortunately on the s

INT: Very last thing. To clarify, it was such an interesting point, I don't want to lose it, is that effectively the missile crisis, technically I know there was a lot of other things happened, came to an end on the twenty eighth. At least Khrushchev declaredpublicly he'd remove the missiles. Can you just clarify what happened on the next couple of days?

SH: Well, when Castro said... I mean, when Khrushchev said, OK, we'll take out the missiles, based upon the agreement with the US government, that was fine as far as we was concerned and word got to Task Force, but we had no other orders, except to keep going with what we were doing and so any sabotage operation that was in the works still kept on going. intelligence collection always goes on, no matter what, and it wasn't until when... I forget who it was, some officer asked, you know, what about this sabotage nonsense? And it wasn't until the thirtieth of October two days later that we finally got an order from the White House, or from Ed Lansdale actually, who got it from the White House, saying cease all sabotage operations, at which point we were all very happy, because we thought it was a lot of nonsense.

INT: Excellent interview, thank you very much...