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


New York, October 29, 1962, 9 p.m.

1535. Cuba. At mtg with Stevenson, McCloy and Yost this afternoon SYG gave fol report on discussion with Kuznetzov:

Latter commenced by saying USSR had complied with SYG's appeals by suspending arms shipments and avoiding confrontation at sea but there had been no US response. Thant replied response is that US will suspend blockade when verification established. Thant had suggested to Zorin two days ago that Sov ships submit to verification. Kuznetzov replied "USSR is prepared to agree to proposal that Red Cross visit Sov ships going to Cuba in order to ascertain that they carry no weapons as the US is worried about offensive weapons to Cuba". Kuznetzov added his govt would prefer Red Cross personnel undertaking task should be from neutral nations. Red Cross could board Sov vessels either from neutral ships or Sov ships at sea. When SYG mentioned inspection at Cuban ports Kuznetzov replied he had no objection but this would depend on Cuba. He made clear he was not willing to have UN team inspect Sov ships.

SYG expressed to US personal doubts that Red Cross would undertake this duty, though UN had had offer from high Red Cross official several days ago to help in Cuban crisis. If they did accept he supposed they would fly people from Geneva to some spot near Cuba where they would embark on neutral ships to accost Sov ships. Obviously inspection in Cuban ports if Castro accepts would be far simpler. SYG expressed view Sovs would not submit even to Red Cross inspection if they had any intention of shipping arms and that they would therefore be very unlikely to do so at least during immediate future.

As to sites and missiles, Kuznetzov mentioned reference in Khrushchev's second letter to SC involvement. He said missiles now being dismantled and shipped out. When dismantling has been completed Sovs will report to SC and propose UN team be sent to verify dismantling. No UN team is required until Sovs report to SC. Kuznetzov did not estimate duration of dismantling but SYG got impression it would be no longer than week or two. He is therefore thinking of SC mtg early next week after he has had opportunity for further round of consultations with US, USSR and Cuba following his return. Stevenson made clear it is imperative that US have assurance that dismantling is going on. He did not think we could allow more than 24-hour interval.

SYG expressed hope Sovs might be ready to send teams as early as next Monday. He was not inclined to press Sovs too hard since he could not imagine they would set off rockets at US during next few days. Cubans had refused to state their views on verification until he arrives in Havana but it is clear that Sovs control missile sites, are presumably engaged in rapid dismantling and will not permit verification until dismantling completed. Narasimhan pointed out this would probably be the case while weapons are actually being removed but that verification on the spot might well be permitted in second stage while launching pads and emplacements are being destroyed.

Stevenson made clear that our intense and urgent preoccupation is with weapons being rendered immediately inoperable and with this fact being verified.

SYG referred to fol phrase in second para of President's Oct 27 letter to Khrushchev:(1) "To insure the carrying out and continuation of these commitments". He was worried at implications of word "continuation" and feared this meant US expected UN to continue inspection of Cuba for indefinite period. If this were the case he felt it certain that Castro would make counter-demand for inspection of what SYG called "CIA training camps for exiles" in US and certain Caribbean countries. We disabused him of idea that inspection for an indefinite period is contemplated.

Stevenson and McCloy again referred to necessity of inspection during immediate interim period. If inspection on the spot cannot be obtained, aerial inspection becomes all the more important. SYG said he saw no objection to aerial inspection during interim period if Cuban Govt agrees. McCloy indicated that until UN aerial observation set up US has to reserve right to maintain observation itself.

McCloy also indicated we could give no assurances concerning lifting of quarantine until verification established. Discussion ensued whether quarantine linked only with imports of arms into Cuba or with elimination of offensive weapons from Cuba with UN side maintaining former and US side latter. It was eventually agreed that for immediate purpose of SYG's visit most desirable handling would be issuance by US of simple statement to effect that at SYG's request quarantine being temporarily suspended for the duration of his visit.

Stevenson emphasized importance of dissuading Castro from introducing into negots extraneous elements, such as those covered in yesterday's five-point declaration,(2) which would only complicate and perhaps even jeopardize settlement reached between US and USSR. He also mentioned that expression in Pres's letter to Khrushchev that he was confident other Western Hemisphere nations would also give assurances against invasion of Cuba was of course merely expression of US conviction and not commitment on behalf other American Republics. Presumably there would be an agreed OAS position on this subject.


1 See Document 95. Back

2 For text of this statement, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, pp. 447-448. Back

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.3722/10-2962. Confidential; Priority; Limit Distribution. Received in the Department of State at 9:16 p.m. At 5:22 p.m. McCloy had called Rusk to report on the meeting described in this telegram. A memorandum of that conversation is in the Supplement. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD(C) A Files: FRC 71 A 2896, Cuba 1962)

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