The Cuban Missile Crisis
Summary Record of the 36th Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council


Washington, December 17, 1962, 10 a.m.

Director McCone presented intelligence summaries on Cuba and on the Congo.

The President sent instructions to Mr. McCloy in New York to remind the Russians of our often repeated statement that if any U.S. planes are attacked over Cuba we will retaliate.(1) The instructions grew out of a discussion of whether the President, at his next press conference, should make public our position to retaliate if our reconnaissance planes were attacked. The repeated warning is to be done as a reminder of our position, not as if we were making a new point.

The President commented on the rise in the price of sugar which is benefiting Cuba. He asked whether there was anything that could be done about this but was told that the price was set by the world market and was not easily affected.(2)

Secretary Rusk summarized his recent meeting with the NATO Council in Paris. He said the NATO powers expressed great satisfaction with the way the Cuban missile crisis had been handled. De Gaulle had the same view.

With respect to NATO problems, Secretary Rusk said he had stressed the need for increased European continental forces. NATO is marking time on organization problems and on nuclear questions pending the completion of the Common Market negotiations. The NATO meeting was so placid that reporters had to resort to sensationalized stories.

Returning to Cuba, Secretary Rusk said there was no sense of urgency. The Russians apparently want more time prior to deciding what to do in New York. We appeared to be heading toward separate statements on the Cuban crisis.

The remainder of the meeting was taken up with the discussion of a Congo plan and policy recommendations of the Subcommittee on South Asia.

Bromley Smith(3)

1 See Document 252. McGeorge Bundy prepared a record of action of this meeting. The actions relating to the discussion of Cuba indicated that McCone presented a current intelligence summary and the President asked Rusk to instruct McCloy to remind the representatives of the Soviet Union in New York that if U.S. planes were attacked over Cuba, the United States would retaliate. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Executive Committee, Meetings, 33-37, 12/6/62-12/17/62) Back

2 The CIA sent OCI No. 3622/62, December 16, "Rising World Sugar Prices and the Effect on Cuba," to the White House on December 20. The conclusions of the memorandum were that sugar market was tight and Cuba would benefit economically. (Ibid., Countries Series, Cuba, Intelligence Material, Vol. III) See the Supplement. Back

3 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, 12/6/62-12/17/62. Top Secret. The meeting lasted until 12:28 p.m. (Ibid., President's Appointment Book)

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