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


Washington, October 29, 1962, 10:50 p.m.

1136. Subject: Cuba.

1. We understand from telcons that Khrushchev has proposed that International Red Cross (ICRC) assume function of monitoring shipments into Cuba to make sure that no arms are coming in from Soviet Union to Cuba. This inspection to be in port of entering if Cuba agrees or at sea if preferred. If at sea, Red Cross personnel should board from neutral or Soviet ships, not American vessels. Red Cross personnel should be citizens of neutral or non-aligned countries.

2. This arrangement on monitoring in shipments is satisfactory. If possible, we would prefer that ICRC operate in some fashion as executive agent of the SYG, in manner analogous work of League of [International] Red Cross Societies (LICROSS) in refugee field.

3. Some continuing reconnaissance from the air seems essential, during period of dismantling and withdrawal of missiles and other major weapons. This will be especially true if no on-site inspection of missile sites can be arranged until dismantling completed. If necessary U.S. will continue its own reconnaissance. If possible, we would still prefer a technically competent reconnaissance done by UN itself. Therefore important to pursue Canadian offer of pilots for RF-101s, or other possibilities accomplishing same purpose.

FYI. One of U.S. planes on today's reconnaissance was fired on by Cubans. End FYI.

4. Statement on quarantine approved for release Monday evening:

"The White House announced tonight that, in response to the request of Acting Secretary General U Thant, enforcement of the quarantine has been voluntarily suspended during the period of his visit to Cuba."

5. Pending examination results of today's reconnaissance, no decision yet on whether to suspend US aerial reconnaissance during period SYGs visit to Cuba.

6. It will be important to have assurance, including if possible photographs, of missiles being packed up and actually leaving on ships. Perhaps as part of monitoring operation in ports, ICRC could likewise monitor export of major weapons.


Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.3722/10-2962. Confidential. Drafted by Cleveland, cleared with the Department of Defense, approved by U. Alexis Johnson. Repeated to Moscow.

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