The Cuban Missile Crisis
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between Director of Central Intelligence McCone and the Under Secretary of State (Ball)


Washington, December 14, 1962, 12:30 p.m.

McCone said that the negotiation of Donovan seems to be coming to a head. The President wants the Attorney General to go down because he now has commitments to cover the Castro list. McCone further said that this raises a problem of how to get down there because there is no transportation. McCone suggested, last night, that his Sanchez, head of the Family Committee, call Beratta, a close adviser of Castro's--that woman who has been described in various reports as being his advisor, his secretary or his mistress--can arrange for him to come down. McCone said that if he comes down, they would allow him in and then we would have him charter a Pan American plane and fly down there. McCone doesn't know how this will work out, but it is about the only way to do it. Ball agreed.

McCone said that he thinks this should be done rather overtly; last time it was done very secretly, and Ball had no objection to it being done overtly. McCone said the reason he thinks it ought to be done overtly is because there is no government involvement here. The second thing is that we have been freezing the three Cuban defectors, and there have been some very significant reports. He said that Hilsman has them.

McCone said that an appraisal of Soviet intentions had been made which he would like Ball to take a look at. McCone thinks that some place along the line, they are either going to take a shot at one of our birds or threaten to do so. It might be that we might be able to prevent it by some kind of a leak or statement at Ball's level or at the President's level that we have to carry this on and if they take a shot at one of those birds, we are going to have to take such action as is appropriate. Ball said that that is not a bad idea. McCone asked if Ball would give a little thought to it.

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

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