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There was a general discussion on how to bring the New York negotiations on Cuba to an acceptable conclusion. Two papers were circulated--a UN plan and a Washington plan.(1)
Ambassador Stevenson reported that the Soviet proposals had been put in at the same time as ours. He handed to the President a paper listing the advantages and disadvantages of several courses of action.(2) He urged that a Security Council session be called so that the Security Council could be put on notice by means of an unagreed U.S. statement of our intention to overfly Cuba.
Mr. McCloy said that there was not much difference in the procedural recommendations but he preferred we try to get one statement agreed with the Russians and disagreed statements from both the U.S. and the USSR. He felt it was better to give one agreed statement and then file our own views in a separate document.
The President said the key part of any statement is the no-invasion assurance. If we could put in no more than a reference to the November 20th press conference statement, this would be acceptable.
Secretary Rusk suggested that both sides make a full statement in the Security Council, revealing their differences, and then introduce a separate paper containing agreed sentences.
Under Secretary Ball argued that we were not anxious to end the Cuban affair because the Cuban problem will continue to be with us. The Soviet military presence remains in Cuba.
Ambassador Thompson argued for a prompt agreement in New York. He thought an agreement would make it easier for Khrushchev to remove the remaining Soviet troops.
Secretary Rusk noted that all we were doing was ending the offensive weapons phase of the problem. The Cuban problem is still with us.
The President asked why we had to take the overflights problem into the Security Council. Mr. McCloy replied that we must cover our no-invasion pledge by stating the exception, i.e., our continuance of overflights. Secretary Rusk noted that the Rio Treaty makes our overflights legal, as spelled out in the OAS Resolution.
Ambassador Stevenson predicted that the Russians would reject our statement, but we should go back to them again and discuss it. Mr. McCloy agreed. If the Russians again rejected our position, then we could go the route of filing separate statements.
Secretary Rusk said it was important to us in Latin America and for our domestic public to get out our full statement. Once we have done this the Soviets could point out what they disagree with.
Ambassador Stevenson read the statement which the Security Council President hoped we and the Russians could accept.(3) The President called attention to the implication that the Cuban crisis was over. He preferred more general language. Mr. Bundy said that if the Soviet presence in Cuba was important to us, we do not want to draw a line under the crisis. How can we give no-invasion assurances if the Soviet miliary presence remains in Cuba? The President said we do not want to have the Soviets restating our no-invasion statement. Ambassador Stevenson reviewed his position again, calling attention to his telegram and noting that the Soviets expect to conclude the Cuban negotiations in the UN.
Secretary Rusk said we should be careful not to paper over our disagreement. Our agreement with the Russians is not real. Mr. Ball noted that if a Security Council meeting were held, the Cubans would be given a chance to voice their complaints.
The President favored Secretary Rusk's plan. We should try to get our statement out. We and the Russians could file disagreed statements. We should avoid a Security Council meeting and we should abandon any attempt to get a consensus in the Security Council because this would be misleading.
Secretary Rusk said that others might try to force us into the Security Council, but they might not if they know we will be unable to agree with the Russians. We might tell Kuznetsov that no agreed statement was possible.
Mr. McCloy said that we cannot throw out entirely Kuznetsov's plan. He urged that we try again to get an agreement with the Russians.
The President said our best position is to go for separate statements filing it with the UN, but without a Security Council meeting. The least desirable position is a Security Council meeting. We could live with agreed/disagreed statements without a Council meeting.
Secretary Rusk suggested that we do not break up the negotiations this week during the plenary session of the Communist Presidium in Moscow. Mr. McCloy hoped that we could record an agreement and Ambassador Stevenson said that if we told the Russians we could not agree on a statement with them, the Russians would not want a Security Council meeting. He said we could create a mood of trying to reach an agreement.
The President expressed his concern that the OAS States and the domestic public opinion, including Congressional opinion, will exert great pressure on the Government in the next few months. We must not go too far down the line of no-invasion assurances. We may have a showdown with the Russians later. We will be going no place on Berlin. Thus, there may be a difference of view among those in New York thinking of the UN climate and those in Washington who are looking at our overall relations with the Russians.
Mr. McCloy said the negotiations in New York would have an effect on worldwide problems.
There followed further discussion of what our position should be in New York. Ambassador Stevenson summarized his view again and Secretary Rusk made clear that our position was to discuss our proposal as well as theirs. The President concluded the discussion by saying we could discuss the Russian plan but we should keep the negotiations out of the Security Council.
In response to a request by Mr. Murrow, the President authorized CIA, in coordination with USIA on policy matters, to resume broadcasts by Cuban refugees on transmitters under Agency contract. Such broadcasts had been forbidden during the earlier phase of the missile crisis.(4)
4 McGeorge Bundy prepared a record of action of this meeting stating that there was discussion on how to bring the negotiations in New York to an acceptable conclusion and a decision by the President to resume broadcasts by Cuban refugees to Cuba. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Executive Committee, Meetings, 33-37, 12/6/62-12/17/62) See the Supplement. Back
Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Executive Committee, Vol. III, Meetings 33-37, 12/4/62-12/17/62. Top Secret; Sensitive. The meeting lasted until 7:12 p.m. (Ibid., President's Appointment Book)