The Cuban Missile Crisis
Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State


New York, October 26, 1962, 7 p.m.

1484. Cuba. Stevenson, McCloy, Yost and Plimpton met at 4:30 pm at Secretariat with SYG, Loutfi, Narasimhan and Rikhye.

1. We pointed out that the real essence of the problem was to get the missiles and the nuclear aircraft out of Cuba.

2. Immediate problems were:

(A) No further weapons or materiel should be introduced;

(B) There should be no further work on the sites;

(C) The missiles presently in Cuba should be inoperable; and

(D) The suspension of the quarantine.

3. As to shipping, if it were agreed that no bloc ships or bloc-chartered ships were to approach Cuba, the only remaining problem would be the inspection of other ships.

4. This inspection could take place at the ports of embarkation, on the assumption that the ship was not calling at a bloc port, or at the landing ports. Rikhye pointed out that ships declare cargoes at landing ports, which should simplify inspection.

5. We stated that US Fleet would continue to be deployed during interim period, not for purpose of interception but to ensure that there was no trans-shipment at sea or landing at uninspected ports. US Fleet would report any violation to the SYG.

6. It was agreed that the problem of inspection would be quite simple if bloc lived up to Khrushchev agreement to keep bloc shipping away from Cuba.

7. We next raised question of inspection of incoming aircraft at airfields. It was pointed out that few aircraft come in from the bloc, and that the principal problem might relate to incoming cargo planes from other countries.

8. We then raised question of ensuring that IL 28's would be inoperable. Rikhye thought that UN presence might be sufficient check. We pointed out that they were located at a strictly military field, which had previously been closed up. Rikhye agreed it might be practicable to close it up again.

9. As to sites, we said that construction was progressing rapidly through yesterday, and that heavy camouflaging of the sites was being attempted. We pointed out this was vitally important and urgent problem, which required UN inspectors and constant reports by them.

10. SYG said he would send appeal to Castro tonight through Inchaustegui (Cuba) to suspend construction of the sites, and would also speak to Zorin about it.

11. As regards the ultimate dismantling of the sites, SYG said he would insist on a UN team to oversee compliance.

12. We stated that non-operability of existing missiles was a difficult problem which it was essential to deal with. Problem related primarily to medium-range missiles since IRBM missile sites were not yet ready and would not be for some time.

13. We discussed possibility of separating the missiles from the launchers as a guarantee of non-operability. If missiles close to launchers, only a few hours are required for firing, and we must have guarantee against surprise launching.

14. Rikhye said he was sure Soviets would not permit inspectors to look at such equipment. He asked whether UN presence might not give assurance that there would be no attack. Our aerial surveillance was also mentioned as a possible deterrent and a possible Soviet and Cuban guarantee of no attack.

15. We pointed out that problem of crucial importance since the Soviet nuclear striking capacity was estimated to be increased 20 per cent by Cuban installations.

16. SYG again raised question of solving whole problem through assurance by US that it would not attack Cuba and would prevent others from doing so, with resulting dismantling of all Soviet installations, and reiterated that this should be a starting point. He suggested the possibility of the President's writing him a letter to the effect that the US willing to make such a guarantee, if offensive weapons withdrawn, which he would use in negotiations.

17. We pointed out that the OAS would have to be consulted in any such connection, which the SYG said he understood. We also referred to problem of what LA states considered Cuban indirect aggression against them.

18. As regards UN inspection teams in Cuba, SYG said it would be much easier to get Cuba to agree if there were some reciprocity for face-saving purposes, such as UN inspection of Cuban refugee camps to prove no military training, and to ascertain that no evidence of preparations for any invasion of Cuba.

19. With reference to the constitution of the UN inspection teams, we pointed out that they must include sophisticated experts who understand enough of missiles to know what to look for. We pointed out that US ought to be able to designate or nominate people for the team.

20. SYG said it would be difficult to include nationals of US and USSR, and that he was sure that teams would have to be composed of neutrals. It was pointed out that many neutral countries now know quite a bit about missiles as a result of Geneva conferences.

21. It was agreed that the US could brief the teams ahead of time to show them what to look for. Rikhye said that he would be glad to get together with a US expert on missile matters to discuss the inspection problem as related to missiles. Comment: Suggest such expert be sent to New York immediately.

22. As regards publication of SYG's recent letters to and from President and to and from Khrushchev, SYG asked Zorin as to publication. Zorin said he had no instructions and would ask for them. Until agreement to publish was received from Soviet, SYG said publication of such letters should be withheld.

23. General atmosphere was quite relaxed and friendly. SYG much less concerned with blockade than at earlier meeting with Yost and Plimpton,(1) and seemed much more aware of site construction and missile operability problems and need for inspection. He clearly putting principal emphasis in his mind on possibility of US guarantee to Cuba as short-circuit solution of whole problem.


1 The Mission to the United Nations had reported on this conversation at 11:30 a.m. in telegram 1479 from New York, transmitted at 4 p.m. (Ibid.) Since Stevenson was still in Washington, Yost and Plimpton had represented the U.S. side. The discussion generally proceeded along the lines above. Back

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.3722/10-2662. Secret; Priority; Limited Distribution. Received in the Department of State at 8:19 p.m.

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