The Cuban Missile Crisis
Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Cleveland) to Secretary of State Rusk


Washington, December 19, 1962.



Mr. McCloy called to report on his luncheon with Kuznetsov today. He will try to do a cable on it later on this evening.(1) Meanwhile, this is my understanding of what he was saying:

1. Kuznetsov was "intrigued" with the general idea of separate submissions to the Secretary General of the documents in the public record on Cuba since the last Security Council meeting, which was October 25. Mr. McCloy got the impression that Kuznetsov would favorably recommend our proposal to Moscow.

2. The Soviets continue to be sticky about using the word "register". Assuming there are two separate submissions to the Secretary General, they would presumably use the word "register" in theirs, but we would be free to use any word we wanted to describe our submission. The problem is that the "Prime Minister" (Khrushchev) used the term "register" in "his" correspondence.

3. Kuznetsov "winced" at the idea of the President's November 20 Press Conference being included in our package of documents. He conceded that there was much in the Presidential statement that was good from the Soviet point of view but said that "25% of it is bad", notably the reference to overflights and the provisos on the President's non-invasion assurance.

4. Kuznetsov said that he didn't know whether the Soviet Government would want to publish the October 26 letter. He had reread it and saw nothing discreditable in it, but as we could probably tell, it had a rather special style and was in fact written by Khrushchev himself. Mr. McCloy explained we would have to show this letter to the Congression-al leaders on request, since it is referred to in the President's letter of October 27. But, McCloy added, we would not ourselves publish it unless the Soviet Government wants it published.

5. During the discussion of overflights, Mr. McCloy threw in the warning that if any plane is shot down we will be "right back in October".

6. Kuznetsov was unclear of what the Cuban submission would consist of. He referred vaguely to an early statement by Castro (which might be his long television speech answering the President's original October 22 address) and to a document dated November 13 which we are still trying to identify here.(2)

7. Kuznetsov said he appreciated that we were trying to wind this negotiation up without delay, and that this was also the desire of the Soviets.

1 Telegram 2416 from USUN, December 19, 5:30 p.m. (USUN Files: NYFRC 84-84-001, 1-B December/January Meetings) See the Supplement. A 12-page memorandum of conversation of this meeting indicates that the discussion lasted from 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and was held in Stevenson's office. (Ibid.) Back

2 Possible reference to Castro's letter to U Thant, November 15; for text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, pp. 459-460. Back

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/12-1962. Top Secret. Drafted by Cleveland. Also sent to U. Alexis Johnson.

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