The Cuban Missile Crisis
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the Chairman of the Coordinating Committee (McCloy) and the Under Secretary of State (Ball)


November 21, 1962, 9:45 a.m.

McC: I have a feeling we have to do something now on our own and we can't stall much longer. I think they(1) came forward pretty well yesterday.

Ball: Yes, I think they did.

McC: Kuznetsov was on the phone a minute ago with me.

Ball: What's his reaction to the President's press conference?

McC: Well, I think he was all right on that, but he was angry over the passage of words between him and Adlai yesterday. Adlai was a little too blunt. He said "You ought to take those SAM-sites out". We weren't talking SAM-sites, we were talking about getting all the troops out. Then he blew his top and said "We are digging up something new all the time". They were wrangling down at the end of the table; I was at the other end of the table and couldn't intervene. But he came out of there boiling. He said "Gee whiz, after all we've done", etc "to get that sort of reaction just convinces me you are stalling, and I'm going to pack up and go home and tell the Chairman that I have been misleading him about the good-will of the Americans in regard to settlement". I think he was quite sincere. He was angry; there is no doubt about that. Now he called me up this morning and said "I'm going to call for a meeting right away", and I said "Don't do that. I can't tell you this minute what we are going to do. I believe that the time has come to expedite the conclusion of this thing and we ought to pretty quickly have a SC meeting. Let me get in touch with Washington and let me get a little more bearing because I think their mood down there is that the Premier has made some very definite steps and it is our move--at least to sit down and give you some stuff and tell you this is the way it is going to go." Then he said: "That's okay with me. You know, the only progress we've made has been the result of our . . . . I would hope we could have another similar meeting to that which we had at Stamford and Glen Cove."(2) Well, this is delicate. It is going to be all right if we are definite. If we know what our position is, then we can do it. If there is any further exploratory business, I'm inclined to think that it isn't wise to have one of those formal meetings. He said that he had made a complete report of the Sunday meeting(3) to the Premier and he said he hoped that we saw in the Premier's reply(4) the results of that meeting. And I think you do. I haven't seen that thing, by the way.

Ball: It's on its way up by messenger right now.

McC: Okay. I think we ought to get a look at it and see the tone of it. My feeling is if you can only get off this on-site inspection you are better off than if you keep talking about verification instead. A memorandum that is coming down to you, the first one, was dictated by Stevenson and company, and the second one is the one that I did that I showed Rusk last night.(5) I think that that is a deal we can make, and that is the business of getting their troops out and the best safeguard of their reintroduction, leaving off in the vague future the UN presence. I think you ought to sit down at this stage and draft the thing that we can say in the declaration and don't pussy foot on that any longer. Rusk said yesterday that we were deliberately holding it back from us. Let's see what it looks like and send it up here so that we can get to work on it.

Ball: We've got a meeting at 4 p.m.(6) scheduled to go over some instructions and we might have some conversations on the phone in the meantime about what those instructions should be.

McC: I think that would be good. Mind you, if the President goes off for the weekend it is going to be hard to hold Kuznetsov, and I think we should tell him something today. I think the Pentagon agrees with me on the general best safeguard business--removal of those troops, and I would push that ahead as something we ought to do and then draft the statement and get it up quickly as you can.

Ball: All right. I'll get hold of Dean and see if we can get something so that we can at least work something out with you on the phone to get approved at 4 p.m.

McC: All right. And call me back this afternoon.(7)

1 The Soviet Union. Back

2 Kuznetsov and McCloy met at McCloy's house in Stamford, Connecticut, on November 4 and at the Soviet compound in the city of Glen Cove (sometimes described as being located in the village of Locust Valley), on Long Island, on November 18; see Documents 142 and 191. Back

3 Sunday, November 18, see footnote 2 above. Back

4 Document 196. Back

5 McCloy is referring to drafts of U.S. guarantees against invasion of Cuba. A memorandum from Cleveland to Rusk, November 22, contains three drafts including the McCloy version as revised by Rusk. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Cuba, General, 11/21/62-11/30/62) See the Supplement. Back

6 See Document 201. Back

7 No memorandum of the afternoon conversation has been found, but Ball summarized for the President an hour-long afternoon conversation with McCloy and Stevenson, see Document 203. Back

Source: Department of State, Ball Files: Lot 74 D 272. Telephone Conversations--Cuba. No classification marking. McCloy was in New York; Ball was in Washington.

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