Cuban Missle Crisis

The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The series documents the facts and events that contributed to the formulation of policies and includes evidence of supporting and alternative views to the policy positions ultimately adopted.

The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. This documentary editing proceeds in full accord with the generally accepted standards of historical scholarship. Official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series were first promulgated by Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

A new statutory charter for the preparation of the series was established by Public Law 102-138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102-138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State's Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded. The editors are convinced that this volume, which was compiled in 1990-1991, meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of the 3 years (1961-1963) of the administration of John F. Kennedy. The subseries presents in 25 print volumes and 5 microfiche supplements a documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of President Kennedy's administration.

This volume presents the documentary record of the Cuban missile crisis and its aftermath as well as U.S. policy toward Cuba during the period October 1962 to December 1963. Volume X, Cuba, 1961-1962, covers the period January 1961 through September 1962 and includes documentation on the Bay of Pigs incident and U.S. courses of action in response to the unsuccessful invasion. A separate microfiche supplement will contain additional documentation on the crisis and U.S. policy toward Cuba for the period 1961-1963 regarded by the editors as significant but not warranting inclusion in this printed volume or Volume X. The microfiche publication will also include documentation supplementing Volume XII, American Republics.

Principles of Document Selection for the Foreign Relations Series

In preparing each volume of the Foreign Relations series, the editors are guided by some general principles for the selection of documents. Each editor, in consultation with the General Editor and other senior editors, determines the particular issues and topics to be documented either in detail, in brief, or in summary. Some general decisions are also made regarding issues for which space does not exist in the volume but which will be included in a microfiche supplement.

The following general selection criteria are used in preparing volumes in the Foreign Relations series. Individual compiler-editors vary these criteria in accordance with the particular issues and the available documentation. The editors also tend to apply these selection criteria in accordance with their own interpretation of the generally accepted standards of scholarship. In selecting documentation for publication, the editors gave priority to unpublished classified records, rather than previously published records, which are accounted for in appropriate bibliographical notes.

Selection Criteria (in general order of priority):

1. Major foreign affairs commitments made on behalf of the United States to other governments, including those that define or identify the principal foreign affairs interests of the United States;

2. Major foreign affairs issues, commitments, negotiations, and activities, whether or not major decisions were made, and including dissenting or alternative opinions to the process ultimately adopted;

3. The decisions, discussions, actions, and considerations of the President, as the official constitutionally responsible for the direction of foreign policy;

4. The discussions and actions of the National Security Council, the Cabinet, and special Presidential policy groups, including the policy options brought before these bodies or their individual members;

5. The policy options adopted by or considered by the Secretary of State and the most important actions taken to implement Presidential decisions or policies;

6. Diplomatic negotiations and conferences, official correspondence, and other exchanges between U.S. representatives and those of other governments that demonstrate the main lines of policy implementation on major issues;

7. Important elements of information that attended Presidential decisions and policy recommendations of the Secretary of State;

8. Major foreign affairs decisions, negotiations, and commitments undertaken on behalf of the United States by government officials and representatives in other agencies in the foreign affairs community or other branches of government made without the involvement (or even knowledge) of the White House or the Department of State;

9. The main policy lines of intelligence activities if they constituted major aspects of U.S. foreign policy toward a nation or region or if they provided key information in the formulation of major U.S. policies, including relevant National Intelligence Estimates and Special National Intelligence Estimates as may be declassified;

10. The role of the Congress in the preparation and execution of particular foreign policies or foreign affairs actions;

11. Economic aspects of foreign policy;

12. The main policy lines of U.S. military and economic assistance as well as other types of assistance;

13. The political-military recommendations, decisions, and activities of the military establishment and major regional military commands as they bear upon the formulation or execution of major U.S. foreign policies;

14. Diplomatic appointments that reflect major policies or affect policy changes.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, Volume XI

The original research and compilation of this volume was completed in 1992, and additional documents were added after access agreements permitting further research were concluded with various agencies. The editors of the volume focused much of their selection on documenting the most serious U.S.-Soviet confrontation of the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis and its aftermath. Although the crisis itself was short, it was so intense that it absorbed the entire attention of President Kennedy and his closest advisers. The editors reviewed the available written records as well as transcripts and accounts based on audiotape recordings in order to present a comprehensive record of the daily policy discussions of the crisis. The editors included the major policy option papers that Kennedy and his advisers were examining as part of these discussions. Only a small fraction of the extensive intelligence material relating to the crisis was included; most of the important intelligence documentation is in the microfiche supplement with footnote and editorial references in the print volume.

Much of the documentation printed in this volume relates to discussions with key Soviet officials through a variety of channels ranging from Kennedy-Khrushchev letters to communications through an American newsman with a Soviet official. Because of space constraints, the editors have included only the most important examples of the frequent and detailed consultation with key allies regarding the crisis.

The Cuban missile crisis, the "sixteen days in October," ending with the Kennedy-Khrushchev "agreement" of October 28, 1962, has been studied extensively by scholars and has been described in a variety of published works. Less well-known in published works was the second dangerous crisis over the removal of Soviet IL-28 bombers from Cuba, which the United States insisted were "offensive weapons" and thus subject to the October 28 agreement. The editors have given full attention to this second crisis using the same methodology used for the missile crisis.

By January 1963 it was clear that no formal agreement would result. The editors gave special emphasis to the negotiations regarding the removal of Soviet bombers from Cuba and the establishment of procedures for the verification of Soviet compliance not only because they consider them an important if unsuccessful epilogue to the crisis, but also because the records of these talks were not available until they were declassified for this volume. In the concluding portion of the volume documenting U.S. policy in 1963, the editors focused on U.S. concern with Cuban President Fidel Castro. They also included documentation on a highly secret preliminary effort to explore a possible rapprochement with Castro through intermediaries at the United Nations, as part of the negotiations for the return of the prisoners captured in the unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961.

Only a representative amount of finished intelligence on the viability, strength, and weakness of the Castro regime has been selected for publication here or in the microfiche supplement. U.S. efforts to prevent Cuban subversion in the rest of Latin America are documented in Volume XII, American Republics, released in July 1996.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time or, in the case of conferences, in the order of individual meetings. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The source text is reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents in the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the source text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the source text are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the source text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount of material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of source text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed by headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. The amount of material omitted from this volume because it was unrelated to the subject of the volume, however, has not been delineated. All brackets that appear in the source text are so identified by footnotes.

An unnumbered source note to each document indicates the document's source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document. Every effort has been made to determine if a document has been previously published, and this information has been included in the source footnote.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. Although the Advisory Committee does not attempt to review the contents of individual volumes in the series, it does monitor the overall process and makes recommendations on particular problems that come to its attention.

The Advisory Committee has not reviewed this volume.

Declassification Review

The declassification review of this volume at the Department of State and other agencies resulted in decisions to withhold less than 1 percent of the documentation selected. No documents were denied in full. The withheld information in no way diminishes the accuracy of this account of U.S. Government policy during and after the Cuban missile crisis through 1963.

The Division of Historical Documents Review of the Office of Freedom of Information, Privacy, and Classification Review, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12356 on National Security Information, which was superseded by Executive Order 12958 on April 20, 1995, and applicable laws.

Under Executive Order 12356, information that concerns one or more of the following categories, and the disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national security, requires classification:

1) military plans, weapons, or operations;

2) the vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, projects, or plans relating to the national security;

3) foreign government information;

4) intelligence activities (including special activities), or intelligence sources or methods;

5) foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States;

6) scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to national security;

7) U.S. Government programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities;

8) cryptology; or

9) a confidential source.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments.


The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the John F. Kennedy Library of the National Archives and Records Administration, in particular Suzanne Forbes, and the officials at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library of the National Archives and Records Administration, the History Staff at the Central Intelligence Agency, especially Mary McAuliffe, Vivienne Manber at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and other officials of specialized repositories who assisted in the collection of documents for this volume.

Louis J. Smith did the research for the volume and he and Charles S. Sampson selected and edited the portion of the volume dealing with the Cuban missile crisis. Edward C. Keefer selected and edited the portion of the volume beginning with November 1962 through to the end of 1963. All three editors worked under the general supervision of then Editor in Chief John P. Glennon. Kerry E. Hite, David C. Geyer, and Donna Hung coordinated the declassification of the documentation, and Vicki E. Futscher, Deb Godfrey, and Rita M. Baker did the copy and technical editing. Max Franke prepared the index.

William Z. Slany
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
December 1996
127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.