The Cuban Missile Crisis
Summary Record of the 20th Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council


Washington, November 5, 1962, 10 a.m.

Director McCone presented the intelligence summary.(1) He then compared our figures on strategic missiles in Cuba with the Russian figures which Kuznetsov gave to McCloy yesterday.(2) Kuznetsov says the Russians sent forty-two missiles to Cuba. We had estimated that there were forty-eight Soviet missiles in Cuba, thirty-three of which we have actually seen.

Secretary McNamara reported on the aerial reconnaissance missions of yesterday. Two U-2 missions aborted yesterday because of mechanical failure. Five more U-2s are flying today.

Secretary Rusk reported on the McCloy/Kuznetsov conversation yesterday. The Russians are prepared to give us an actual missile inventory, including the shipping schedules, so that we can count the missiles on their way out. Secretary Rusk said he continued to believe that we must have inspection arrangements on the ground in Cuba. We need a UN presence in Cuba, plus a Latin American atom-free treaty zone, if Castro will accept such. If not, we must refuse to give a commitment not to invade and we must continue aerial reconnaissance missions and our present intelligence efforts on the ground in Cuba. We are unable to put forward an inspection plan until we know what Mikoyan has proposed to the Cubans and what Castro has agreed to accept.

The President recalled that Zorin wanted a protocol covering the agreement on the withdrawal of the Soviet missiles. He asked that thought be given to how this might be done.

Secretary Rusk called attention to the difficulty of legislating on Communist subversion in the hemisphere.

The President asked:

1. How we would get a guarantee that no Soviet submarine base would be built in Cuba.

2. How to get out the IL-28 bombers.

3. What was our position if a demand were made that UN observers inspect refugee camps in the U.S. and in other areas where Cuban nationalists might receive military training.

4. How the U.S. or the UN would continue reconnaissance flights.

The President's basic question was how much should we give for a permanent UN presence in Cuba. He believed that we should keep open the question of accepting UN observers in the U.S. until we knew exactly what we would get in return.

Secretary Rusk emphasized that all arrangements arising out of the current situation must focus on Cuba. Comparable actions such as inspection in Cuba in return for the UN investigation of complaints about the U.S. were difficult, not only for the U.S., but for other members of the OAS. As to future assurances, we want a permanent UN presence in Cuba for which we would guarantee that we would not invade. For us, the UN presence would be a guarantee against the reintroduction of strategic missiles. We should think about overflights of Cuba and the U.S. and about a UN presence in Florida as well as in Cuba.

Mr. Bundy said that the UN route to the demilitarization of Cuba would lead to a realignment of our relations with Castro.

Secretary Rusk said we must under all circumstances continue to overfly Cuba. The President asked how we would continue to overfly as long as the SAM sites were operational. Secretary Rusk replied that our overflights would continue by tacit agreement of the Cubans and the Russians.

The President asked whether a group was at work on what to tell McCloy in answer to questions raised by Kuznetsov. He believed that if Mikoyan asks Kuznetsov about our future assurances with respect to Cuba, McCloy should be in a position to respond. Secretary Rusk preferred to delay sending our final position to McCloy until after we knew what took place in Havana.

The President agreed that no release should be made to the press of pictures which reveal Soviet activity yesterday in Cuban ports. He added that we might have the International Red Cross inspect incoming ships and we would look at ships leaving Cuba. He agreed that we could delay reaching a final position on the permanent arrangements, but we should not discuss any arrangements for the time being with Mikoyan.(3)

Bromley Smith(4)

1 Based in part on CIA memorandum, "The Crisis, USSR/Cuba," Information as of 6 a.m. November 5, in which the lack of agreement between the Soviet Union and Cuba on inspection in Cuba and verification of the removal of Soviet missiles was highlighted. (Ibid., National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Executive Committee, Vol. II, Meetings, 17-24) McCone's memorandum for the record of this meeting, November 5, indicated that he also summarized other intelligence reports, including the SC 11157/62, a special memorandum on offensive missile strength in Cuba. (Central Intelligence Agency, DCI/McCone Files, Job 80-B01285A, DCI Meetings with the President) See the Supplement. Back

2 See Document 142. Back

3 McGeorge Bundy prepared a record of action of this meeting. It summarized the decisions and major points of the discussion and noted that a cable would be sent to McCloy which would give answers to the questions posed by Kuznetsov on November 4. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Executive Committee, Vol. II, Meetings, 17-24) See the Supplement. For the cable to McCloy, see Document 147. Back

4 Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature. Back

Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Executive Committee, Vol. II, Meetings, 17-24. Top Secret. The meeting lasted until 10:40 a.m. (Ibid., President's Appointment Book)

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