CIA report on U2 surveillance of Cuba (1962)

On September 3rd 1962 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) compiled the following report, based on recent U2 photographic surveillance of the island of Cuba. This CIA report revealed the installation of surface-to-air missiles, used for shooting down overflying planes. It presaged the discovery of Soviet ballistic missiles in Cuba the following month:

“1. U-2 photography of August 29th confirms extensive Soviet military deliveries to Cuba in recent weeks. Surface to air missile (SAM) sites, guided missile boats and additional land armaments were observed.

2. The photography shows eight SAM sites being set up. One probable assembly area has been identified and SAM equipment has been located at one additional site.

The small amount of permanent construction at these sites and the speed of the work indicate the progress is proceeding on a crash basis. Some of these sites could be operational within a week or two.

A minimum of 125 technically trained personnel will be required to operate each site. This figure excludes security and support personnel. [There are] no indications that Cubans are trained for SAMs. Soviet personnel doubtless will man the sites for at least the nine to 12 months while Cubans are being trained.

3. Additional SAM sites probably will be set up in the near future…

4. At least eight Komar class missile boats have been delivered to Cuba in recent weeks. These PT-like boats carry two missile launchers each, with the radar guided missile effective against surface targets to ranges of between 15 and 17 miles. The missile carries a 2,000 pound HE [high explosive] warhead…

5. The photography shows that current deliveries to Cuba also contain land armaments, including tanks and possibly self-propelled guns. Reports indicate that other shipments have contained artillery, tanks and possibly combat aircraft, but these are not confirmed…

6. Soviet shipments of military equipment and personnel to Cuba show no sign of letting up. About 16 Soviet dry cargo ships are now en route to Cuba, of which at least 10 are probably carrying military equipment…”