The Cuban Missile Crisis
Memorandum for the Record


Washington, November 15, 1962, 6 p.m.

Conversation between the President and Prime Minister Macmillan 15 November 1962, 6 pm

President: Did you get my two messages?(1)

Prime Minister spoke, and obviously said yes.

President: Yes, except that he still wants us to make a "no invasion" pledge and there can be no agreement on how to maintain surveillance. We may have to do so with disagreement. The other question, the IL-28's must be removed before we make an agreement on invasion. You realize that here this is a major political step. What happens if he doesn't agree to remove the IL-28's without our agreement on the quarantine and invasion? What is your view on our re-imposing the quarantine?

Prime Minister spoke, but apparently did not answer the question.

President: We must have him take out the bombers. Perhaps we will agree to disagree on overflights. We continue them and they won't shoot. Then we will agree, no invasion. We must have some type of inspection of sites, even though it won't mean much with all the caves and cellars in Cuba. This just becomes an action for the record.

Prime Minister spoke.

President: Now on the subject of Laos. Our information is that it is coming apart. It would be bad if Souvanna left because Laos is an example of something negotiated with the Russians. It is the one ornament of the last two years.

Prime Minister spoke.

President: We can't bring this up until Cuba is settled. So what about your going to him and pointing out that if fighting breaks out and we have partition, everyone will say that no agreement with the Russians will last more than a few months.

Prime Minister spoke.

President: Well, I thought if we got Cuba settled and if Laos will stay together, then we may have a good chance on Berlin. If he will agree to have the IL-28's out before Christmas or New Year's, and will give some type of on-site inspection for the record and understand that we will continue overflights, we will lift the quarantine and make a "no invasion" pledge.

Prime Minister spoke.

President: You go ahead on Laos. We will continue hard on Cuba.

Prime Minister spoke.

President: His conversation with Roberts gives promise. If we can get Cuba settled, we may make progress on Berlin. But from our information it looks like Laos is coming apart. If we can keep Laos together, go ahead on Berlin, we can look at Laos again six months from now.

[Here follows discussion on Yemen and Germany.]

1 The messages have not been found. On November 14 Kennedy called Macmillan to discuss the issue. Macmillan quotes from the November 14 telephone call in At the End of the Day, 1961-1963, p. 215. Back

Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, Macmillan Telephone Conversations, 10/62-11/62. Top Secret.

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