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


Washington, November 1, 1962, 3 p.m.

1158. Eyes only from Undersecretary Ball. President believes it essential that in conversation with Mikoyan (and Kuznetsov as appropriate) following points be made with utmost emphasis:

1. Kennedy-Khrushchev understanding based on assumption that Sovs would and could deliver on Khrushchev commitment to remove all offensive weapons systems in Cuba and through UN verification satisfy U.S. and other OAS countries. This in fact done and does not recur.

2. Although four days have now passed since understanding reached that U Thant has made best efforts, all we have so far is verbal assurances by Sov reps in NY and Cuba to US and UN without element of verification which in view history of this affair US regards as essential.

3. US has acted expeditiously and in good faith, promptly accepting Soviet proposal that ICRC act as UN agent for inspection incoming vessels. (US believes we should promptly move to put this in effect with or without Cuban agreement. Further instructions on this will come later today.) US also promptly responded SYG request suspend quarantine and recon flights during period his Havana visit. Also as Sovs aware USG has close watch to prevent anti-Castro Cubans from any action which would upset execution of agreement, e.g. arrest of group with boat in Florida yesterday.

4. On question verification USG has expressed willingness accept wide range of possible UN arrangements but there does not yet appear likelihood even any one of these can be implemented.

5. President's responsibility for US security demands that in absence UN verification, US undertake whatever steps it can to provide verification. Subordinate to this overriding consideration but nevertheless important is assurance to US and LA publics.

6. Thus, although much less satisfactory than UN verification on the ground and from the air with cooperation Sovs and Cuba, US must in elemental interests of safety continue aerial surveillance. This surveillance is being carried out in as unprovocative a manner and on as limited a scale as possible by unarmed aircraft. While US accepts that some conventional anti-aircraft guns may be under Cuban control, it cannot accept that sophisticated weapons and control systems, including SAM's, do not require participation of Sov technicians and thus are not or could not be made subject to Soviet control. If US reconnaissance aircraft fired on or destroyed, serious question appropriate means protect US aircraft will arise. We might thus face a cycle of action and reaction which would put us back where we were last week. Thus of utmost importance Sovs immediately take measures to assure reconnaissance aircraft not fired on.

7. Second sentence of President's letter to Chairman Khrushchev of October 27 is clear in covering "all weapons systems in Cuba capable of offensive use." This covers not only systems under Soviet control but also those allegedly under Cuban control. The President considers Khrushchev's reply of October 28 as clear acceptance that all of these arms are to be dismantled, crated and returned to Sov Union (or destroyed). You should seek to elicit a clear confirmation that the IL28's are included and are being dismantled for removal from Cuba.

8. In addition, you should point out that if Sov missiles and bombers are being removed, there seems no need for Soviets to leave in Cuba equipment and military technicians brought to Cuba primarily to protect the offensive weapons. (Note that SAM's use missile fuel which proscribed under quarantine regulations.) President's undertaking against invasion is adequate assurance that these weapons are not needed.

9. The President particularly desires that there should be no discussion of wider issue from our side until the offensive weapons in Cuba are clearly on their way home. You must therefore avoid any exploration of tempting fields like Berlin and disarmament, making it plain that while we look forward to such discussion later, we cannot get anywhere on anything else until we have successfully put in operation the Kennedy-Khrushchev agreement on this present matter.


Source: USUN Files: NYFRC 84-84-001, Incoming Telegrams, 1952-1963. Confidential; Niact.

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