The Cuban Missile Crisis
Summary Record of the 33d Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council


Washington, December 6, 1962, 11 a.m.

Director McCone reported that all IL-28 bombers had been located at Cuban ports or on ships leaving Cuba. He called attention to a buildup of the Soviet communications system in Cuba and referred to the existing SAM sites and to the Soviet air defense capability.

The President read extracts from an FBI report on Mikoyan's briefing of the Soviet delegation in New York(1) and asked that it be circulated to all Executive Committee members.(2)

Ambassador Stevenson reported on the most recent New York meeting with the Russians. He read the proposed changes in a draft declaration on the Cuban problem which we would make and recommended that we give to the Russians a draft, as revised in his telegram,(3) before the Soviet delegation received its draft from Moscow. The purpose would be to end the discussion. If our draft was not accepted by the Russians, then we should return to our position of circulating our own original draft declaration to the Security Council. He urged that we focus on our paper rather than theirs. We cannot haggle too long lest the Russians get tougher on Cuba and insist on discussion of other issues. The U.S. has achieved a victory, i.e., the strategic weapons have been removed. The longer we prolong the negotiation over minor issues, the closer we come to appearing to have failed. Mr. McCloy said that we may be dissipating our victory. In addition, the Russians may accept a one-shot inspection scheme which we don't want but which would be difficult for us to oppose.

The President said he agreed that we could vitiate our success by prolonging the New York negotiations, but as long as Castro is in power, many will think that our victory will be pale. Senator Russell had already said that we had made a mistake by not invading Cuba. We are committed to make some kind of an invasion pledge. Do we want an agreement in New York or do we not? If we do not, we should stick on our present position. We do not know whether such a negotiating position in New York would affect negotiations on other issues.

Mr. McCloy said we should stick on our statement about aerial reconnaissance, but he opposed on constitutional grounds any statement of a declaration of our intentions on invasion.

Secretary Rusk said we do not want an agreement for agreement's sake. We want only a good agreement. We should not chip away at our statement but wait until the Soviets produce theirs. We should stay with our present position. Prolonged negotiations in New York may appear as a failure, but if we give away our position in a declaration, we are failing.

The President commented that the hardening of the Soviet posture is not due to our action in Cuba.

Secretary Dillon said he thought disagreement in New York was certain, but Mr. McCloy said we might get an acceptable Soviet declaration, accompanied by a statement that our overflights were not acceptable.

The President asked what we would do if there was a civil war in Cuba. Would we go in only if invited? Secretary Rusk said we could not allow a Soviet takeover of Cuba similar to that which occurred in Hungary.

The President asked whether an agreement reached in New York would prevent us from taking action against Cuba if the Soviets moved in Berlin. He asked whether the Chinese Communists would come into Cuba if the Soviets phased out. Would we consider a Soviet submarine base as an offensive weapon? If many additional MIGs were sent to Cuba, would we consider these to be offensive weapons? He concluded by saying we should put in a revised draft declaration and tell the Russians they could take it or leave it. If they decide to leave it, we will rewrite our declaration entirely, taking a tough view.

Secretary McNamara said if we rewrite the declaration we should take a firmer stand on the no-invasion course so that we would not guarantee Castro sanctuary.

Mr. Bundy favored rewriting the declaration so that we could back away from a no-invasion guarantee. We could tell the Russians this was the last chance.

Ambassador Stevenson said we should be ready with a revised draft in the event the Russians rejected a new proposal.

There followed a discussion of whether we should tell the Latin American Ambassadors where the negotiations now stand. Ambassador Stevenson said all of them will leak to the press but even so we should brief them in New York. Secretary Rusk preferred to inform the OAS representatives here first, but preferred to hold off for a day or two. If the briefing is not given before Monday,(4) it would be possible to do it with the OAS representatives here and the Latin American Ambassadors at the UN in New York.

The President suggested that we wait until tomorrow to see if we get an agreement from the Russians before we put out our statement. Mr. McCloy pointed out that there would be no time to get an agreement tomorrow. Secretary Rusk recommended that we do not put out our statement before we get the Russian draft because our statement would cause anxiety.

Mr. Murrow stated that if we are going to give up our demand for on-site inspection, then we should make a louder noise about aerial surveillance.

Ambassador Stevenson reported that the status of the proposal to create the nuclear-free zone in Latin America was in doubt because if we could not get the concurrence of all Latin American States we would have difficulty putting the proposal forward.

The President approved revised instructions to the New York team to cover the negotiation during the next few days.(5) (Copy of instructions attached.)(6)

Bromley Smith(7)

1 In McCone's account of this meeting, December 6, Rusk briefed the committee on Mikoyan's visit to Cuba. According to that account "Secretary Rusk reported that Mikoyan had stated he had extreme difficulty in Cuba, that Castro refused to see him for nine days, and when he threatened to leave, Castro immediately stated he was prepared to make an arrangement with the Chinese Communists. Rusk therefore felt the Soviets may be inclined to leave substantial forces in Cuba to forestall a ChiCom takeover." (Central Intelligence Agency, DCI/McCone Files, Job 80-B01285A) Back

2 The Federal Bureau of Investigation report, December 4, is attached to a December 6 memorandum from Smith to the members of the Executive Committee. (Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, NSC Executive Committee) See the Supplement. Back

3 Document 227. Back

4 December 10. Back

5 McGeorge Bundy prepared a brief 3-point record of action of this meeting on December 6. It noted McCone's intelligence briefing, the recommended revisions to the U.S. draft declaration, and the President's approval of those revisions. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Executive Committee, Meetings, 33-37, 12/6/62-12/17/62) Back

6 Sent as telegram 1511 to USUN, December 6. (Department of State, Central Files, 737.56361/12-662) See the Supplement. Back

7 Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature. Back

Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Executive Committee, Vol. III, Meetings 33-37, 12/5/62-12/17/62. Top Secret; Sensitive.

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