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


New York, December 5, 1962, 8 p.m.

2140. Department pass White House. Eyes only for Secretary. Cuba. McCloy and Stevenson believe it is very much in US interest, if possible, to bring US-Sov negots on Cuba to rapid and mutually acceptable conclusion.(1) They have growing impression that effects of victory in public mind are being gradually effaced by prolonged and inconclusive negotiation which gives impression we are still seeking vital objective we have not achieved. If public presumes this objective is on-site inspection, more and more importance will be attached to such inspection as negotiation continues. If and when we emerge from negotiation without achieving that objective, even though it may have been otherwise successful, we will risk seeming to have failed rather than to have succeeded.

Second consideration which we have in mind is that there may be some substance in Kuznetsov's frequent reiteration of assertion that whether or not we agree on Cuban settlement will have most important effect on possibility of agreement in other fields. This may be bluff but there also may be element of sincerity in it and, if so, real effort on our part to reach prompt and agreed settlement could have substantial effect on Berlin, nuclear testing, etc.

We realize proposed Cuban SC declaration(2) creates new, though not unforeseen complication and that either some way must be found to handle SC mtg harmoniously or alternative of separate declarations outside SC must be pursued.

In any case we think prompt determination should be reached as to what changes could be made in our draft declaration for use as soon as seems appropriate. We believe fol suggested changes largely verbal rather than substantive, would not in any sense jeopardize or weaken essential US positions. They might on other hand provide sufficient accommodation on some of points to which Sovs have most seriously objected so that latter could take amended declaration as basis for agreed settlement. If we put forward these amendments before receiving Sov draft declaration we would of course have to make clear that unacceptable Sov draft would necessitate withdrawal of our proposed declaration. However we are inclined to feel that more acceptable proposal on our part might produce less objectionable Sov draft and hence substantially reduce period of negotiation. In putting forward our amended draft we would certainly state unequivocally that it was as far as we could go and there was no use wasting time in attempting to negotiate our declaration further.

Our proposed amendments follow:

(1) Omit word "minimum" in second sentence para 6;

(2) In ninth para substitute for "other weapons capable of offensive use" more exact and less sweeping language which could not, as is case with present language, be applied to rifles and pistols. One possibility would be "other weapons of major offensive capability";

(3) In same para, for words "provided Cuba does not take action to threaten the peace and security of the hemisphere" substitute "provided Cuba does not attack (or commit aggression against) any nation of the Western Hemisphere";

(4) For penultimate para present draft substitute fol: "Pending such time as arrangements can be effected to provide the safeguards necessary to ensure that no such weapons systems are maintained or reintroduced into Cuba, the US will employ such other means of observation and verification as may be necessary." We have several other drafts for this para if the Dept finds above unsatisfactory.

(5) Since there can be no question that the Rio Pact remains in full effect and that our declaration in SC on this occasion does not and cannot impair it, there is some question whether it need be mentioned in declaration. Alternatively President in subsequent press conference might make statement along lines final para present draft declaration.


1 In a telephone conversation between Ball and Stevenson at 6:40 p.m., December 5, Stevenson informed Ball that after a long discussion with McCloy, "there is obviously a feeling in the White House, which is shared by the Secretary, which is quite adverse to Jack's [McCloy] views. (Ibid., Ball Files: Lot 74 D 272, Telephone Conversations--Cuba) Back

2 The text is in telegram 2104 from USUN, December 4. (USUN Files: NYFRC 84-84-001, Outgoing Telegrams, 1953-1963) See the Supplement. Back

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.56361/12-562. Top Secret. Sent with instructions to pass to the White House.

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