The Cuban Missile Crisis
Memorandum of Conversation


Washington, October 29, 1962.


Turkish Missiles and the Cuban Crisis


Ambassador Turgut Menemencioglu, Turkish Ambassador

William R. Tyler, Assistant Secretary, EUR

Irwin M. Tobin, Deputy Director, RPM

GTI--William A. Helseth

The Turkish Ambassador, acting on the urgent instructions of his Government, called on Mr. Tyler on October 29. First, he said, he wished to extend the thanks and gratitude of his Government for President Kennedy's refusal of any "deal" with the Soviet Union regarding the missile bases in Turkey.

Secondly, he wished to inform the United States Government that the Turkish Government had instructed its permanent representative in NATO to ask urgently for a special session of the North Atlantic Council. At this special session, the Turkish permanent representative would review the events which led up to the IRBM's being stationed in Turkey and would emphasize that the IRBM's were placed in Turkey not merely for Turkey's defense but for NATO defense. The Turkish permanent representative would state that the Turkish Government regretted that, when dangers subsequently appeared, some seemed to regard Turkey as at fault. Turkey wished to discuss this turn of events with its allies. (The Ambassador then referred to press comments in various allied countries and to some non-United States personalities who spoke in the same tone.)

Mr. Tyler stated his appreciation for the advance information the Ambassador had given us and said he wished to repeat and to reinforce what the Ambassador had said regarding the circumstances that led to the placing of the missiles on Turkish soil. The United States Government, he said, looked at these from the point of view of the NATO complex. These missiles were for the defense of the NATO area and that defense was indivisible. The United States viewed our commitments in all areas of NATO as being equal. Furthermore, he hoped that Ankara would not pay too much attention to our own press comment which had ranged far and wide. Even we, he said, wondered at times whether a given article had been inspired, was a trial balloon or what. Ambassador Menemencioglu interrupted to say that he recognized the freedom of our press but had noticed that it was disciplined when the facts were known and mentioned particularly that the line taken by the press today (October 29) was a very good one. Mr. Tyler said that the Secretary had recently talked with the press on a background basis.

Mr. Tyler stated that the Cuban crisis was not yet settled and that we would know tonight if work on the bases had been stopped. We had, he said, resumed aerial surveillance today. Mr. Tyler stated that he wished to reassure the Ambassador again that there had been no "deal" regarding Turkey. The Ambassador responded that he had no doubt of that. He remarked upon the audacity of Khrushchev in drawing a parallel between Turkey and Cuba. Mr. Tyler said that there was nothing in the arrangement with the Soviets which implied a guarantee of the Castro regime. We had only stated we would not attack Cuba. We had based our action on the Rio Treaty.

(Note: On the way out of the building, Ambassador Menemencioglu informed Mr. Helseth that his Government would be especially pleased with Mr. Tyler's response to the Ambassador's approach.)

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 782.56311/10-2962. Secret. Drafted by Helseth on October 30 and initialed by Tyler.

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