The Cuban Missile Crisis
Memorandum of Conversation


Washington, October 28, 1962, 6:15 p.m.




The Secretary

Sir David Ormsby Gore, British Ambassador

Mr. William R. Tyler, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs

The British Ambassador told the Secretary how gratified HMG was by the present course of events. He said that the most important thing to do now was to consider what the next stage would be (assuming that things continue to go well). His Government thought that it was important to consider what might be done next, and in what forum. Should there be an initiative in terms of NATO-Warsaw Pact discussions, or should we try to do something about Berlin?

The Secretary said he first wished to make it very clear that there had been no "cozy deals" in connection with the change in the Soviet position. The only thing that Khrushchev was getting for his present attitude was that the United States would not intervene militarily in Cuba so long as the offensive weapons were removed under conditions of proper inspection and verification. He added that we were not going to guarantee the Castro Government, and that the Rio Pact still holds.

The British Ambassador said he thought that there might be some value in making the US guarantee dependent on Khrushchev's behavior with regard to Berlin; perhaps Khrushchev could be brought to giving some assurances in this respect.

The Secretary agreed that if developments continued on their present course, this would require a major consideration of a lot of problems.

The British Ambassador said that Khrushchev would doubtless try to salvage his position by assuming the posture of "a man of peace" who was leading the world in the direction of solutions of problems of disarmament and nuclear testing, etc.

The Secretary agreed and said it was important not to "crow" about the strengthened Western position. He said he had briefed the press on a background basis today to stress the importance of maintaining a tone of moderation as well as caution.(1)

The Secretary said that the prompt and full support of the British Government, as well as that of our other NATO Allies,(2) have been a powerful factor in strengthening our position and in bringing home to Khrushchev the danger and the price of continuing on the course he had taken. However, we were not out of the woods yet, and it was not excluded that we would have to face unpleasant surprises tomorrow.

The British Ambassador said he agreed, but that he felt that the chances were all in favor of the West emerging from the present crisis in a greatly strengthened position, and that it was important and urgent to consider how this could be turned to even greater advantage.

1 A transcript of the background briefing at 1:04 p.m. is ibid., S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, Miscellaneous. Back

2 A report on the North Atlantic Council discussion of the Cuban situation on October 28, is in Polto circular 12, October 28. (Ibid., Central Files, 611.3722/10-2862) See the Supplement. Back

Source: Department of State, Secretary's Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330. Secret. Drafted by Tyler and approved in S on October 30. A memorandum of a similar conversation with Alphand earlier in the afternoon is in the Supplement. (Department of State, Secretary's Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330)

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