The Cuban Missile Crisis
Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations


Washington, November 23, 1962, 9:43 p.m.

1359. For Stevenson and McCloy. Subject: Next Steps in New York Negotiations.(1)

You should see Kuznetsov promptly to discuss next steps in effecting understanding of October 27 and 28. You should begin by emphasizing our desire that this be wound up very promptly, a desire Chairman Khrushchev evidently shares. Ways and means of ending matter should be governed by this requirement.

You should present SC scenario contained Deptel 1338,(2) give Kuznetsov our draft declaration (revised text of final paragraphs in next message),(3) and explain it to him as the most we can do--and more than was originally promised--in the light of Cuban refusal to permit UN verification or safeguards. You should request prompt study and response. At the same time you should indicate that we do not want a long and fruitless haggle in the UN over differences which undoubtedly exist between what they would like and what we would like, particularly since some of these differences may wither away over time if things go well. Such a haggle is not in their interest either. If our statement is one which they could not live with in UN, we believe a satisfactory wind-up can be obtained by use of a Presidential statement, as in last press conference, which Soviets can readily interpret as promised assurance against invasion. We note with interest Chairman's last message(4) which does indeed interpret President's last press conference in this way.

You should emphasize that there is in fact no present danger of invasion of Cuba, but that we cannot be put in position of giving a blanket guarantee to a man who has refused to cooperate with UN to fulfill understanding of October 27 and 28.

If Kuznetsov's initial response is cool, you may wish to press the point that exchanges between President and Chairman show no such Soviet position and that it may be helpful for Kuznetsov and perhaps Mikoyan to see President in Washington early next week so that negotiations in New York will not get out of phase with promising exchanges between Washington and Moscow.

If Kuznetsov presses Caribbean inspection scheme you should express readiness to discuss this point and point out again that any inspection of US would require inspection of USSR. We anticipate that these matters can well be discussed at Geneva in connection with negotiation on surprise attack. This is obviously a complex problem going well beyond initial understanding and requiring long discussion. Therefore we should not hold up all exchanges of assurances pending such an agreement but should promptly do the best we can in the light of Castro's position and move on to other issues. We of course have confidence in your ability to persuade Kuznetsov that our draft declaration is an ideal solution.


1 Ball and Bundy discussed these instructions on November 11 at 3:30 p.m. Bundy told Ball that "the President is prepared to fall back from this but he does not see any reason not to try it out. The President asked Bundy, and Bundy gave him assurances, on the point whether we thought McCloy had it clear in his mind that we don't want to haggle it to a dead end up there [United Nations]; that we would do anything [something?] else. He [the President] even suggested an exchange of private messages with the Chairman. Bundy told him he did not think the Secretary [Rusk] was ready to recommend this. Ball said he would be against anything that can't be published. Bundy agreed this was something to be careful of." (Memorandum of telephone conversation, November 23; ibid., Ball Files; Lot 74 D 272, Telephone Conversations--Cuba) Back

2 Document 204. Back

3 Document 208. Back

4 Document 206. Back

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.56361/11-2362. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Drafted by Ball, cleared by U. Alexis Johnson, and approved by Ball.

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