The Cuban Missile Crisis
Summary Record of the 23d Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council


Washington, November 8, 1962, 4:30 p.m.

A press release was revised and approved for the Defense Department to issue, copy attached.(1)

The problem of long-term surveillance requirements was discussed. A paper by Mr. Nitze was circulated.(2) Another surveillance paper will be prepared covering three contingencies:

a. The missiles are out and we obtain satisfactory on-the-ground inspection.

b. The missiles are out but we do not obtain satisfaction on ground inspection.

c. The missiles and the IL-28 bombers are taken out.

There followed discussion on how pressure could be kept on Cuba without continuing the quarantine. None of the suggestions were quick acting. A proposal was made to ask the allies to put the maximum pressure on Castro so as to avoid a situation in which we would be retaliating for a shoot-down of one of our reconnaissance planes. Ambassador Thompson urged that we keep the maximum amount of flexibility until Khrushchev replies to our last letter(3) and until the Mikoyan talks with Castro in Havana are completed.

The President said the key issue is whether we lift the quarantine if the IL-28 bombers don't come out. Do we resume the quarantine and stop Soviet ships if we don't get the bombers out? He thought we would know more in twenty-four hours about what we should do. He was inclined not to reimpose the quarantine, but he did favor pressure on our allies to keep their ships out of Cuba.

Secretary Rusk suggested that two courses be studied. The first, reimposition of the quarantine, and the second, covert actions against Castro.

Five U-2 flights and ten low-level flights were authorized for tomorrow. Secretary McNamara reported that there was no reaction to today's flights, but the weather had been bad, i.e., clouds had obscured the targets.

Bromley Smith(4)

1 Attached, but not printed, for text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, p. 458. Back

2 Document 161. Back

3 Document 155. 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; Sensitive. The meeting lasted until 5:30 p.m. (Ibid., President's Appointment Book) McGeorge Bundy's record of action of this meeting is ibid., National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Executive Committee, Vol. II, Meetings, 17-24. See the Supplement.

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.