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1697. Dept pass White House. Eyes only for the Secretary. Cuba. Fol is summary of this evening's meeting of Stevenson, McCloy, and Yost with Kuznetsov, Zorin and Mendelevich. Full report follows:(1)
Sovs gave us position as of today of nine vessels leaving Cuba carrying 42 missiles. They pointed out vessels, while commencing voyage in Florida Strait, in fact turning eastward and proceeding through Bahama Strait by Crooked Island. They said masters of vessels have been given instructions concerning uncovering some missiles and concerning use of helicopters. (This info being telephoned this evening to Navy Department.)
Kuznetsov, after declaring Sovs have complied with their commitment to withdraw offensive weapons and that it is now up to us to comply with its commitments of guarantees to Cuba, read list of seven points which he felt should be embodied in our commitment. These seven points were elaboration of Castro's five points(2) supplemented by US acceptance of what Kuznetsov described as U Thant's plan for UN presence in Caribbean, including US, Cuba, and other LA states, to observe carrying out of obligations by all parties. Stevenson made clear guarantees we envisaged are those defined in exchange of letters between Pres and Khrushchev.
In reply to Stevenson's repeated inquiries about IL-28s and rehearsal of record defining bomber aircraft as offensive weapons, Kuznetsov rigidly maintained Sov position that these were never included in definition of offensive weapons and that Sovs had now fully complied with their commitments to remove offensive weapons from Cuba.
As to warheads Kuznetsov said that Khrushchev's statement that all offensive weapons will be removed from Cuba means that there will be on Cuba no warheads related to such weapons. He went on to specify that "such weapons" means those loaded on vessels and now proceeding to the Soviet Union. He added that in fact warheads were loaded on board ship and carried out of Cuba immediately after decision to remove missiles had been taken. This being the case any further talk about verification of removal of warheads is pointless. Moreover it would be absurd to suggest warheads might be left behind after missiles removed since warheads without missiles are not weapons and cannot be used.
When Stevenson pointed out Sovs had not kept commitments made by Khrushchev for UN verification of dismantling of sites in Cuba Kuznetsov replied that implementation of this verification of course depended on Cuban agreement, which had not been forthcoming. Para in summing up Stevenson pointed out (1) that in so far as concerns IL-28s Pres's letter of Oct 27(3) had referred not only to missiles but to "all weapons systems in Cuba capable of offensive use" and that Khrushchev's reply had made no objection to this stipulation; (2) that verification of withdrawal of warheads is no more "pointless" to US than verification of removal of rockets and that furthermore no reference had been made to nuclear aerial bombs; (3) that US guarantee to Cuba in terms set forth in exchange of correspondence between Pres and Khrushchev would be forthcoming when conditions are met, conditions being removal of all offensive weapons systems from Cuba and appropriate verification. Guarantee is clear and conditions are clear, he concluded, but transaction is not yet complete. If Soviet Union would help to complete transaction by removal of bombers and by enabling US to verify removals of all nuclear components, then we will give guarantees pursuant to exchange of correspondence, in form of declaration in the SC if that appears to be most suitable means.
Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.56361/11-862. Top Secret; Priority. According to the USUN copy, Yost was the drafter. (USUN Files: FRC 84-84-002, Outgoing Telegrams (Top Secret, Exdis, etc.)) Received at the Department of State at 11:04 p.m. and relayed to the White House at 11:14 p.m.