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JFK: There Were No Plans for Air Cover for Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961

Jan. 24, 1963 - President Kennedy (pictured last month at an Orange Bowl ceremony for former Cuban invasion prisoners) insisted today there never were any plans for U.S. forces to provide air cover for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. The President said such air cover would have meant a complete commitment involving a full-scale invasion by U.S. forces. “That was not the policy of the U.S. in 1961,” he said at his news conference. The President thus supported the statements made a few days ago by his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who denied that U.S. Air Force cover had been promised and then withdrawn at the last minute. The President said the only air cover planned was that by World War II B-26 bombers flown by Cuban refugees themselves from bases on the continent but not on U.S. soil. He said the B-26 cover was not effective because the training jets used by the Castro regime were able to maintain air supremacy on the beach. He repeated, however, that responsibility for the failure of the invasion rested with the White House.


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