Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with William A. Crawford
CRAWFORD: To some extent, yes. Of course, we lost some of our functions in basic research when the NIS was transferred to the CIA: but we acquired others that were to prove more exciting. We were now asked to give our principal attention to producing policy-oriented papers for the Secretary of State and for the White House. We were to keep these papers fairly brief, and they were to be addressed to subjects of direct interest to the policy-makers. We consequently found ourselves producing fewer basic studies, but many more short and timely papers outlining policy alternatives on matters of key interest. The usual recipients, who were also often the requesters, were the geographic bureaus, the policy planning staff of the Department, the NSC [National Security Council] and the White House. We were under stiffer pressures, but in dealing with central issues for such a select audience, we found ourselves getting a great deal more satisfaction out of our work than before. And despite the cutbacks, we seemed to find more time to devote to the actual preparation and writing of papers, even at my level. All in all, I think our change of direction proved not only more stimulating for us, but more useful to Uncle Sam.
Q: All right. Two of the events that occurred in the first year of the Kennedy administration, before you went to Romania, of course, were the Bay of Pigs and the Vienna meeting.
Q: Did you have any relationship with either of these events? Wathere any input from your department?
CRAWFORD: Only in a somewhat peripheral fashion. I recall some meetings requiring estimates to be developed on just what the possibilities were of Castro's [Fidel Castro] overthrow from within—and what the reactions might be within Cuba if this occurred.
Q: At what time was this—at what point in time?
CRAWFORD: This, I suppose, must have been in the very early days othe administration, that is in early '61.
Q: How extensively were you aware of what was transpiring,developing?
CRAWFORD: I wasn't aware of anything to suggest that our government was involved. But because the subject of a possible internal uprising was being addressed with such interest, we naturally wondered a little if perhaps something was going on.