Cuban Missle Crisis
Editorial Note


The Foreign Ministers of the Latin American Republics met at the Department of State on October 2 and 3, 1962, at the invitation of Secretary of State Rusk to discuss matters of mutual concern, with a particular emphasis on the problems posed by Cuba. The invitation was extended on September 5 through the Latin American ambassadors in Washington. (American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, page 375) The Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela attended. The meetings were informal, without agenda or resolutions. Secretary Rusk opened the first session of the Foreign Ministers meeting at 10:30 a.m. on October 2 with a discussion of the threat posed to the Americas by communism; a threat, he stated, which was rapidly expanding with each shipload of modern weaponry that the Soviet Union sent to the base for Communist penetration it had established in Cuba. Rusk outlined the magnitude of the arms build-up taking place in Cuba and repeated the warnings President Kennedy had issued against the development of Cuba as a Soviet military base, or the introduction into Cuba of ground-to-ground ballistic missiles. He noted that there were to date no indications that the Soviet Union intended to violate those guidelines. Nonetheless, he argued that Soviet penetration of the hemisphere, and the aggressive use of Cuba as a focus for subversive activities posed serious problems, which he invited the Foreign Ministers to consider and address. (Memorandum of meeting, Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 330, Secretary's Memcons) See the Supplement. President Kennedy hosted a luncheon at the White House for the Foreign Ministers following the opening session. (Kennedy Library, President's Appointment Book) The Foreign Ministers met again on the afternoon of October 2 and twice on October 3. The tenor of the remarks by the other Foreign Ministers reflected general agreement with Rusk's emphasis on the need for hemispheric solidarity to face the perceived threat. (Memoranda of these three meetings are in Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 330, Secretary's Memcons) See the Supplement.

In the final communique issued at the conclusion of the meetings on October 3, the Foreign Ministers reiterated the OAS conclusion that the Soviet Union's intervention in Cuba threatened the unity and democratic institutions of the Americas. They added that it was "desirable to intensify individual and collective surveillance of the delivery of arms and implements of war and all other items of strategic importance to the communist regime of Cuba, in order to prevent the secret accumulation in the island of arms that can be used for offensive purposes against the Hemisphere." American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, pages 391-393)

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