The Cuban Missile Crisis
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Among the Under Secretary of State (Ball), the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson), and the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)


Washington, November 8, 1962, 10 a.m.

Ball told Bundy about the call from Stevenson saying he was concerned they have not seen the President's reply to Mr. K.(1) Ball knows it was agreed it not be sent up to them. Someone will have to placate him because he is upset about the fact they can't conduct their business unless they at least know what the exchanges are at all levels. Bundy thought they were too leaky and Ball said he couldn't say that to him because his answer would be they haven't leaked anything and Washington has leaked everything.

Bundy said he knew the substance of what was in the message. He could read it when he is down here. Bundy was afraid if it were sent to him it would be all over the place. Ball suggested we send it up to him with someone who could show it to him and bring it back. Bundy thought that was all right. Ball told him we should do something because he was upset about it, and he is a member of the Cabinet. Bundy suggested it for his eyes only(2) and Ball should explain to him the reason we are being edgy about this is the very existence of secret correspondence with K has been a nuisance in the past; the moment anyone says there is a message, we have to show it to Alphand; then we are in trouble--as the message of the 26th shows. That is the reason for the absolute rigid rule; they don't go anywhere but to people working in Washington and Moscow on the list approved by the President personally. Ball suggested that Bundy mention this to the President.

Johnson said the Secretary wants to get together at 12 over here.(3) We are waiting for confirmation from Bob. We would be happy if Ted and Bundy could come. Bundy replied he would come.

1 Johnson called Ball at 9:55 a.m. to report that he had just spoken to Stevenson who complained that he had not received the President's answer to Khrushchev's letter of November 5 (Document 145). Johnson told Stevenson that there was agreement in Washington not to send Kennedy's response of November 6 (see Document 155) to the Mission at the United Nations. Stevenson told Johnson the Mission could not operate without it. Johnson asked Ball what should be done. (Department of State, Ball Files: Lot 74 D 272, Telephone Conversations--Cuba) Back

2 At 10:15 on November 8, Ball called Stevenson to tell him that the President's letter "was an attempt to nail it down to the IL-28's," and that only 4 or 5 people know of it. Stevenson said that unless the Mission knew what was being said at other levels, they could not operate. Ball told Stevenson he was "sure this was an oversight." He would check it out and get the message to Stevenson right away. (Ibid.) Back

3 Rusk met with McNamara, Nitze, Ball, U. Alexis Johnson, Cleveland, Gilpatric, Martin, Thompson, and Manning from noon to approximately 2 p.m. McGeorge Bundy joined the meeting at 12:45 p.m. (Johnson Library, Rusk Appointment Book) No other record of the meeting has been found. Back

Source: Department of State, Ball Files: Lot 74 D 272, Telephone Conversations--Cuba. No classification marking.

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