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


New York, November 4, 1962, 11:50 p.m.

1630. Eyes only for the Secretary. Meeting between McCloy and Kuznetsov, Sunday, November 4. Kuznetsov came to lunch at McCloy's home at Stamford. En famille, most informal, no other officials or any translator present. After lunch took a long walk during the course of which talk was conducted lasting until about 5:00 PM. McCloy started out with a resume of our aerial surveillance of yesterday of Cuba again expressing great concern over the evidence of the assembly of the IL-28's. The buildup of these planes was in sharp contrast to the dismantling of the sites and largely nullified the good impression we were getting from the rapidity with which the missile sites were being dismantled. K said that this had been something of a new subject to him and had been recently notified of it. He said he had notified Moscow of the importance we placed on it and that he had doubted that these were properly classified as offensive weapons but this was only his opinion. K would report Moscow attitude as soon as he received it.

McCloy told him that the President had refrained from publicly referring to the buildup of the IL-28's as he was sure there would be a sharp reaction if it were made public. McCloy also stated that there could be no doubt of the inclusion of these bombers in the list of offensive weapons and if any documentation were needed it would be easy to provide it. Mc gave him our position on verification following the lines of 1189(1) stating we had been deceived by assurances given our officials in respect to the weapons introduced in Cuba and it was impossible for us now to act merely on a gentlemen's agreement. McCloy said he was seriously troubled by the problem of verification as it seemed as if the Soviet Union would not be able to make good on their Chairman's commitment for UN observation of dismantling and removal although Mc felt certain that they could get Fidel's compliance if they really set about it. K said this was not by any means certain. Mc repeated we could not be satisfied with our reconnaissance alone (to which incidentally they still continue to object) and we would not be satisfied with the mere inspection of the abandoned missile sites. We had to have evidence of the disposition and the removal of the weapons. Mc referred to the stories about weapons in caves and said such stories were bound to arise if we did not have opportunity for inspection on the ground. We had to have evidence which would convince us as practical men that the commitments to remove these weapons had been carried out. K said they had been giving thought to this matter and the Chairman himself had been preoccupied with it as he was fully aware of his commitments and he wished to negotiate this thing honestly both in what he called the short run and the long run. K referred to a suggestion that Mc had made regarding manifests that they had followed up. He said manifests of what was going out would not be any good unless it was known what had come in, but in order to give us reasonable and practical assurance of their determination to fulfill their commitment and on instructions directly from the Chairman he wanted to submit the figures.

There were as of October 22, 24 completed sites and 16 in incomplete form, or a total of 40, and they had introduced a total of 42 missiles into Cuba. All of these sites had been dismantled and rendered inoperable by November 2. They were prepared to find reasonable means to convince us that these missiles had been removed and their suggestion was as follows: (1) They would give us photographs of the sites in dismantled form. (2) They would give us their schedule of removal to the ports and shipping schedules. He said that we could bring our own vessels along side the Soviet ships which were taking the missiles out in such a way as to enable us to see and count the missiles. They would also give us photographs of 42 missiles on the way out. Mc pointed out that the commitment to remove the missiles would include launching pads, trucks and other paraphernalia that goes with the missile and K said that he would assume this to be so. K said if we did not raise too many questions, insist on looking into every box and otherwise raise objections which would convince them that we were merely trying to find obstacles to the fulfillment of our own guaranties, he was certain we would be able to work out reasonable details involved in this verification process without friction.

Mc asked him whether as an alternative they would permit inspection in Soviet ports of the off-loading. K thought this might involve complications and from all points of view it seemed better to do it at sea where we could be sure the ships had just come from Cuba. He wanted us to know that what they had done and what they were prepared to do was not a result of weakness--simply a desire to do all possible to maintain and consolidate the peace. The balance would remain the same as it was before but he repeated that the Soviet Government wants honestly to negotiate this matter of the removal of the weapons at once. They want to normalize the situation very promptly. They want the quarantine lifted as it is a wartime rather than a peacetime measure. They want to remove the atmosphere of war. K gave Mc a rough translation of a message from the Chairman(2) to the effect that the Soviet Union seriously and sincerely sought to find a solution and make an effort to solve all the questions quickly on a basis of mutual conciliation and on the conditions which were stated in the letters of the President and the Chairman; and the Soviet Union expected that the United States will cooperate completely and promptly and lift the quarantine. The US should not doubt the full sincerity of the Soviet's statement regarding the dismantling and shipping out of the offensive weapons.

K indicated that if Castro gave his consent to an on-site inspection they might be willing to accept verification of the shipment at the docks in Cuba, but he said it was necessary to plan for other eventualities. He repeated that the whole job of dismantling and preparation for removal could be effected by November 10 and presumably the shipping schedule would begin then.

There were other questions in addition to this matter of verification, particularly the one as to the form of the protocol or the declaration giving the United States guaranties. Those guaranties would have to be clearly expressed against invasion by the United States, in accordance with the President's letter or permitting the mounting of an attack from the soil of the United States together with the use of the good offices of the United States to induce other Latin American countries to adopt the same attitude. K said there should also be some guaranties given against subversive activities against Cuba, at which point Mc interposed that this would be very difficult indeed to comply with inasmuch as Cuba was a hotbed of subversion itself and that we would and could do nothing which could be interpreted as support of Castro or his regime.

K also mentioned Guantanamo and Mc told him that it was out of the question that the United States would permit Guantanamo to be in any way related to the solution of the present Cuban problem. K rather pressed for a commitment on the part of the US to be willing to discuss the subject at sometime in the future but Mc told him that no joining of the Guantanamo question with this incident was feasible. As to the form of the US guaranty, K said he was not particularly concerned as to whether it was by protocol or by declaration although Zorin felt very strongly about this. Mc brought up the question of submarines and possible submarine bases and K said that this was something he was familiar with and he felt sure, particularly since the Chairman himself had given assurances on this subject, that the port was presently a fishing port with no intention of making it a submarine port. Mc referred to the presence of submarines in the area and stated that we were quite concerned about this as they seemed to be appearing in conjunction with the whole weapons buildup. Mc said he must realize what we object to is the establishment of a Soviet military base in Cuba--that defensive weapons can be supplied to the Cubans if they want to but they must be in the hands of Cubans and not Soviet troops or technicians. K said he understood this point of view--and how about Turkey. At this point K made quite an argument about our characterization of weapons in Turkey as defensive that we were calling offensive in Cuba. Mc said that we would be glad to talk to him about our bases abroad at some other time.

Mc also referred to the SAM sites and repeated that we could not give any credit to the statement that this weapons system was manned and operated by Cubans rather than Soviet technicians. Mc stated the evidence was conclusive of Soviet operations and that it was apparent that the whole complex was part and parcel of the buildup of the missile sites. K did not respond to this.

In regard to the President's requirement that there should be some safeguards against the re-introduction of these weapons beyond a mere undertaking by the Soviet Union, he made reference to U Thant's idea of a UN presence in the Caribbean on a reciprocal basis which should include UN observers in some sections of the United States. Mc told him that he thought this was out of the question. What then should be the form of the safeguards against the reintroduction of weapons? Mc told him that he hadn't come to any conclusions in this regard although this might be dealt with in some way by a declaration of nuclear free zones, a thought to which K had previously referred. K again came back to the question of subversion and a guaranty against subversion. Mc again repeated that we could not take any steps which would mean support of Castro or establishment of a safe haven for Castro's subversive activities against the rest of the hemisphere. Mc also told him that his representative, Morozov, in working out the Red Cross deal seemed to be rather sticky in regard to ships from which Red Cross personnel could inspect incoming vessels as well as in some other matters. Mc told him that K should be prepared to induce the Bloc ships to agree to the same procedures that the Soviet ships would agree to. Talk then turned to the type of ship which would be used by the Red Cross personnel. Mc urged him to accept a US ship rather than a neutral ship as a US ship would cost less and could be put into operation more expeditiously. K immediately countered with a Soviet ship stating that one could probably be made available just as rapidly from Havana as any US ship. Mc told him that he could not tell him whether a Soviet ship would be acceptable and argued in favor of a US ship such as a hospital ship or any other US ship utilizing a tender bearing a Red Cross or UN flag which tender would actually serve as the means by which incoming ships were boarded.

K then brought up the hail and pass formula and said that he understood that all the Red Cross would do would be to hail and pass. Mc disabused him of this and said that there would be no sense in having Red Cross personnel if this were all that was to be done. The hail and pass formula had been intended as a temporary measure to permit Soviet ships for a brief interval to enter Cuban ports carrying food or other innocent cargo until the Red Cross operation could be put into effect provided this could be done reasonably promptly. K seemed to accept this.

Finally K registered an objection to our constant reference to the deception that the officials of this country had been exposed. There had been no obligation to tell us of the character of weapons they were introducing into the Island of Cuba. Mc said that this was probably so but there was an obligation among the friendly countries to respond truthfully to an inquiry when so much was at stake.

At the end K asked Mc what his reaction was to his earlier proposal to which Mc replied that it showed evidence of their effort to try to meet the problem of their inability to obtain the on-the-ground inspection to which the Soviet Union had been committed, but he could not say more until after Mc again had consulted his Government.

K said we must take this as the basis for other long range negotiations because it is clear we should not risk the danger involved in another such confrontation. Mc refrained from asking what these long range negotiations might cover for fear of having them complicate the immediate problem, but he agreed as to the necessity of eventual long range discussions and hoped that the constructive solution of the present difficulty would lead to them.


1 Document 141. Back

2 Document 145. Back

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.56361/11-562). Top Secret; Priority. According to the USUN copy, it was drafted by McCloy. (USUN Files: NYFRC 84-84-002 Outgoing Telegrams, 1962 (Top Secret, exdis, etc.))

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