The Cuban Missile Crisis
Summary Record of the 25th Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council


Washington, November 12, 1962, 5 p.m.

Mr. Bundy summarized Khrushchev's reply(1) to the President's message of November 6th.(2) The strategic missiles and warheads are out of Cuba. The IL-28 bombers might come out at some point, but would be removed under Soviet control.

There was a discussion of the McCloy offer which involved lifting the quarantine in return for the Russian promise to take out the IL-28 bombers. The question of safeguards against the reintroduction of strategic weapons would not be raised now because we have a limited set of unilateral safeguards to use which we do not want to lose.

Secretary Rusk said that there was an issue over whether the Soviet commitment on missiles and warheads was to be public or private. We would wish it to be public and Khrushchev wishes it to be private.

The President said we could live for two weeks with no public knowledge of the Soviet commitment.

Secretary McNamara asked if we are not willing to accept the situation as it now exists on the basis of the Soviet reply, would we reimpose the quarantine?

Mr. Bundy commented that the IL-28 bombers appear not to be a sticking point.

The President said we still have the questions of continued surveillance and the form of an assurance against invasion. The quarantine is not our only move. We could set the IL-28s off against the quarantine and our assurances against invasion off against safeguards covering reintroduction of missiles.

Ambassador Stevenson referred to the words in Khrushchev's reply "at some point" and commented that this was not a specific time but meant that the bombers would come out when Khrushchev gets what he wants, such as assurances against an invasion.

Ambassador Thompson said that the timing of our commitment not to invade was important to Khrushchev because the Communist Central Committee will be meeting in Moscow soon.

Secretary Rusk suggested that we concentrate on a deal involving the quarantine offset against withdrawal of the bombers, but that we add that to the other subjects to be discussed.

Mr. Bundy suggested we might tell Khrushchev that he should give the order to remove the bombers, that we would then check on their removal, and verifying that the bombers had left, we would lift the quarantine. He proposed that an informal note be sent now and a letter later.

There was a discussion of the alternatives which consist of a public announcement that the bombers are coming out or verifiable proof that the bombers are being recrated, plus private assurances that they will be removed. The question of whether we should ask the Russians to remove them within thirty days was raised. The consensus was that Khrushchev should be told that he should give the order to remove the bombers, and when we observe the crated bombers leaving Cuba on Soviet ships, we will lift the quarantine.(3)

The President decided that we should not announce any message from Khrushchev. The public reason a second meeting had been held today was because the group's business had not been finished in the morning.

The President approved up to five U-2 flights and ten low-level sorties for tomorrow.

Bromley Smith(4)

1 Document 171. Back

2 Document 155. Back

3 For the message as passed to the Soviet Union, see Document 173. 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. III, Meetings, 25-32A. Top Secret; Sensitive. According to the President's Appointment Book, this meeting began at 5:30 p.m. and lasted until 6:15 p.m. (Ibid.) McGeorge Bundy's record of action of this meeting is ibid., National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Executive Committee, Vol. III, Meetings, 25-32A. See the Supplement.

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