The Cuban Missile Crisis
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the Under Secretary of State (Ball) and the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)


Washington, December 3, 1962, 9:35 a.m.

Ball--I just had a call from McCloy and he is seeing Kuznetsov at 11:00 am. He says Adlai is down here.

Bundy--I didn't know that. Over this Alsop-Bartlett thing,(1) I guess.

Ball--He has a great anxiety to settle this thing and I am not at all clear . . . .

Bundy--That is not our view at all.

Ball--Jack is against trying to do business on the other fellow's drafting. He wanted to see what kind of instructions he could get that would enable him to make some progress this morning.

Bundy--Have we seen the other fellow's draft?


Bundy--Well how can we say that?

Ball--He wanted some instructions . . . .

Bundy--He should do business on his draft but not theirs. He shouldn't do much business. We can't give him a free hand when we don't know what their answer is. He should stonewall until we get back to him.

Ball--He says there are only three problems and he thinks if we want to settle we can get a quick deal and on probably plenty good terms.

Bundy--He has to do us the favor of letting us know the score. He should just go and listen. He should stand on the reasons of the President and Secretary of State and listen hard and we can't give him a mandate.

Ball--I was only reporting. He was wailing on . . . .

Bundy--He has nothing to wail on.

Ball--I got the impression that he had a kind of telephone conversation on the areas of where the differences lay. One is on the overflights and there is a question of how we can state it as not to tie Kuznetsov to it. The second was Kuznetsov's thinking this threat on security language is too rough. The third was this intention business. He said they are the only three elements that are interfering.

Bundy--Tell him to press them again; his client is not in any hurry.

Ball--All right.

1 Reference is to a story written by Stewart Alsop and Charles Bartlett for the forthcoming edition of the Saturday Evening Post claiming that Stevenson dissented from the Executive Committee consensus. The article claimed that Stevenson wanted to trade Turkish, Italian, and British bases for Cuban bases and that Stevenson advocated a new "Munich" appeasement settlement. A December 2 memorandum from Schlesinger to President Kennedy refutes the assertions of Alsop and Bartlett. (Kennedy Library, Schlesinger Papers, Cuba, 1961-1963) See the Supplement. See also Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, pp. 835-838. Back

Source: Department of State, Ball Files: Lot 74 D 272, Telephone Conversations--Cuba. No classification marking.

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.