University Archives


Robert McNamara’s Ornate “Order of the Cuban Red Cross First Class” Undoubtedly Presented to him for his Crucial Role as Secretary of Defense in the Aftermath of the Bay of Pigs Invasion

Order of the Cuban Red Cross First Class. A silver gilt and enamel medal comprising a coat of arms within a white ring with “Inter Inimicos Charitas” in the center of a Red Cross mounted on an 8-point star, measuring 2.25” across, flanked by four 5-point stars; the hanger is an enamel laurel wreath. With a red and white 17” long grosgrain ribbon. Housed in its original Antigua Vilardebo & Riera (Cuba’s official medal makers) 4” x 7.25” x 1.25” box. Ex-Estate of Robert S. McNamara, JFK and LBJ’s Secretary of Defense from 1961-1968.  From the collection of Ron Hoskins, assassinologist.

On April 14, 1961, 1400 Cuban exiles launched their invasion at the Bay of Pigs on the south coast of Cuba and were crushed by roughly 20,000 Cuban troops. Almost 1,200 exiles surrendered, and more than 100 were killed.

The Cuban Red Cross was involved in the distribution of the $53 million in supplies, mostly food and medicine, agreed to by Premier Fidel Castro in exchange for the release of 1,113 prisoners in December 1962.

McNamara had played a large role in the Administration’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis in late October 1962. He was a strong proponent of the blockade option over a missile strike and helped persuade the Joint Chiefs of Staff to agree with him. Negotiations for the exchange had begun in mid-1961. A missile strike would have ended any chance for the prisoners’ release.

On December 27, 1962, three days after all 1,113 Cuban prisoners had arrived in Miami, McNamara met with President Kennedy in Palm Beach, Florida. Later that day, JFK met with a Cuban exile group. It is possible that McNamara was at this meeting and that this medal was presented to him by the Cuban exiles for his crucial role during the negotiations.

Sold by our firm for $2,800 in 2014.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Online Payments Accepted

Accepted Forms of Payment

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


We do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice, unless you inform us otherwise, immediately upon your receipt of invoice***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 5 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Westport, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Westport, CT, US

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25.0% and any applicable taxes and shipping

View full terms and conditions

From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000