msc_cuba241.asp The Avalon Project : The Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis
Memorandum for the Record


Washington, December 10, 1962, 5:30 p.m.


Executive Committee Meeting--10 Dec 1962--5:30 p.m.

All Present plus Stevenson and McCloy

McCone covered most recent intelligence, indicating no developments, intense study of photography was continuing and then reported on the telegram covering the interview with Ricardo Nunez (IN 32394),(1) reading and emphasizing the underlined portions. McCone then pointed out to the Committee that Guantanamo involved 7,000 officers and enlisted men, replacement value of $400 million whereas in current estimates the Soviets had 12,000 officers, enlisted men and technicians and equipment valued in excess of a billion and it appeared very logical to answer the arguments about Guantanamo by emphasizing that the real occupier and the real military threat to Cuba is the Soviets, not the U.S. Note: We should consider ways and means of playing this up on radio and further news media.

There followed a long discussion which involved a sharp difference between Rusk, Ball, Johnson and Martin on one hand and Stevenson and McCloy on the other as to negotiating procedures to be followed in attempting to reach a sign-off arrangement with Kuznetsov. Stevenson and McCloy wished to take our statement and the Soviets' and attempt to draft a statement in which the areas of agreement were pointed out, and in a second chapter, the areas of disagreement would be set forth. The consensus was that this would be a wrong procedure; that it would down-grade the importance of on-site inspection and continued aerial inspection and it would be misunderstood by the public and Latin American states and therefore was undesirable. The President expressed himself as favoring a presentation of our position with a unilateral presentation by the Soviets with their position (there was some indication that an attempt would be made to reach agreement on these two statements in advance of their publication), and let the Secretary General or the public reach their own conclusions as to where the areas of agreement and disagreement lie. At the end of almost two hours of discussion the disagreement seemed to prevail and, although attempts were made to reconcile the differing opinion, it was my conclusion that in the actual execution of the agreement or the talks with Kuznetsov in the next couple of days there will evolve a procedure favored by Stevenson and McCloy and opposed by the Secretary of State.

Mr. Murrow brought up the question of resuming the clandestine radio broadcasts which had been sponsored by CIA and carried on by the Cuban refugee community. He pointed out to the President that these efforts had been "stood down" following the October 22nd speech and during the complicated negotiations. He strongly recommended that they be reinstituted. The President and the Executive Committee approved and instructed CIA to reinstitute the broadcasts or to permit the Cuban refugee groups to go right ahead. Action: CIA should act upon this question at once and should report to me as to the actions taken so that I in turn can report to the President.

Note: In the evening at the White House I discussed the meeting with the President and the Attorney General. Both were amused by the argument but obviously somewhat disturbed that such a difference should be brought before the Executive Committee. Undoubtedly the President "heard" Stevenson because of recent publicity. I continue to be concerned over the danger of placing undue reliance on photography. We seem to be drifting into a frame of mind that high-level photography is all we need, that it will show everything that must be seen, that it is preferable to on-site inspection, that really on-site inspection is undesirable because it would be impartially conducted and the institution of it would automatically end over-flights and that there is little to be gained from low over-flights.

I wish General Carter and appropriate members of the staff to consider this very seriously and to discuss it at the level of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and NRO to be sure that we are not becoming overly dependent upon aerial photography and so run the risk of making a serious error. I would like this taken up at once and reported back not later than Monday, December 17th. Also I would like to personally discuss this with the Joint Chiefs and the President prior to leaving for the West Coast on December 21st.

John A. McCone(2)

1 Not further identified. Back

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

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI/McCone Files, Job 80-B01285A, Meetings with the President. Secret; Eyes Only.

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