The Cuban Missile Crisis
Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State


New York, December 28, 1962, 9 p.m.

2513. Dept pass White House. Cuba. McCloy, Plimpton and Yost met this afternoon with Kuznetsov and Mendelevich (USSR).

1. McCloy gave Soviets following draft of suggested separate letter to be given to SYG by US, on assumption Soviets would also give SYG a separate letter in form previously submitted to US, presumably accompanied by copies of Khrushchev's letters of Oct 27 and 28 and reference to any other documents Soviets want.

[Here follows the draft of the first letter in Document 258 with the exception of the last 2 paragraphs that were slightly revised and combined. The revised final paragraph of the letter as submitted to the Soviet delegates is printed below.]

2. McCloy pointed out US draft merely referred to White House press statement Oct 27 and Presidential news conference statement Nov 20, and did not submit them as UN docs, thus moving toward Soviet position.

3. Kuznetsov asked why the reference in the letter could not be limited only to the Presidential letters of Oct 27 and 28 since the White House press statement and news conference were matters of public record, and since the basic obligations of the two parties were contained in the four letters of Oct 27 and Oct 28.

4. McCloy said this was impossible and that he had gone as far as he possibly could in eliminating the submission to the UN of the press statement and news conference statement and merely referring to them.

5. Kuznetsov said the letter was not acceptable, and that the Soviets could not agree to or approve either openly or tacitly any reference to any qualifications or reservations to the US obligations under the October 27 and October 28 letters.

6. McCloy pointed out that Soviets were not being asked to approve or agree to anything, and that the Soviet separate letter would presumably not contain any such intimation.

7. Kuznetsov repeated that Soviets could not approve any reference to over-flights over Cuba or intrusion into Cuban territorial waters (which violation of Charter and international law) or to Cuban behavior. None of foregoing had been referred to in Oct 27 and 28 letters or negotiations incident thereto. Presidential news conference Nov 20 was first reference to Cuban behavior as a qualification of US obligation not to invade, and qualifying references to subversion, export of communism, Cuban aggression, etc., so vague as to weaken and vitiate US obligation.

8. McCloy said that these were familiar Soviet arguments, and that he would not repeat US counter-arguments, and that neither US nor any other country could unqualifiedly and unconditionally agree not to invade another country.

9. Kuznetsov also objected to word "offensive" as applied to weapons in US draft. McCloy said he would agree to taking out word.

10. Kuznetsov then submitted following new draft of joint letter to SYG by USSR and USUN Reps (accompanying Russian text being pouched Cleveland).

McCloy stated this not acceptable, since US must make reference to White House press statement Oct 27 and President's press conference Nov. 20.

Begin Verbatim text.

Esteemed Mr. Secretary General,

Attached herewith are the letters of the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers N.S. Khrushchev and the President of the United States John F. Kennedy of October 27 and 28, 1962 which contain the obligations assumed by the Govts of the USSR and of the US on settling the recent crisis in the Caribbean area.

It is requested to transmit them to the President of the Security Council for circulation as documents of the Council.

The Government of the USSR and the Government of the United States express the hope that the action taken to avert war arising from the crisis in the Caribbean area will lead to further constructive efforts by the parties concerned to settle differences existing between them and generally to lessen the tensions which might induce further threat of war.

On the instructions of our respective governments we express gratitude to you, Mr. Secretary General, for your efforts in the cause of a peaceful settlement of the crisis in the Caribbean area.


The Representative of the USSR

The Representative of the United States

End verbatim text.

11. McCloy said he had done his best to meet the Soviet position in that the last US draft merely referred to the White House press statement and Presidential news conference without submitting them, thus making them of less dignity than the Oct 27 and 28 letters, but that no country could give an absolute guarantee against invasion if it or its allies were attacked, and that the US did not intend to make Cuba a sanctuary for Castro. He also pointed out that the Nov 20 press conference statement contained many provisions favorable to the Soviets, going beyond the Oct 27 and 28 letters. He also pointed out that the Nov 20 statement was made before the weapons were all removed, and that Khrushchev had publicly thanked the President for that statement.

12. Kuznetsov said that Soviets had hoped that there could be an agreed text evidencing an agreement between the Soviets and the US which would have provided a favorable atmosphere for the future composition of differences, but that the raising by the US of new conditions, new points made the matter more complicated and gave the impression that the US did not want to finish the matter and that it would have been in the interest of the whole world to have a full agreement reached. He further referred to the US responsibility for the Bay of Pigs affair and that recent statements by US officials gave the impression that the US was continuing to do its utmost to overthrow the Castro regime mentioning great TV emphasis on returned prisoners and their statements that they would go back. He also referred to supposed US support ever since World War II of reactionary groups such as Nationalist Chinese, South Koreans, etc., and to US unwillingness to consider U Thant's suggested reciprocal inspection plan.

13. McCloy, after appropriate rejoinder to Kuznetsov propaganda, said that perhaps new negotiations should be initiated for proper inspection of US, the Soviet Union and Cuba, but that time was limited and that perhaps the best thing for Soviets and US to do was to send joint letter to SYG to effect that they express their thanks to him for his efforts, that they had made progress but had not completely agreed as to the matter, and that they saw no need for further SC meeting. He then presented, as an uncleared draft of his own, the following proposed joint letter:

[Here follows the verbatim text of the second letter in Document 258.]

15. McCloy said it might be possible to incorporate in such joint draft letter some of the language contained in the Soviet draft joint letter just submitted by Kuznetsov, but that any joint letter must indicate that there had not been complete agreement between the parties.

16. Kuznetsov said he could not make a comment on the new draft, but would consider it and report it to his govt.

17. The meeting closed with Kuznetsov's admission that the ball was "in his net." We would like to think this meant we had scored a goal at basketball, but realize he thought the game was tennis.

18. Comment: Kuznetsov gave impression he had firm, explicit instructions not to agree to any reference to White House press statement of Oct 27 or Presidential press conference statement of Nov 20.(1)


1 Stevenson, McCloy, and Plimpton met Kuznetsov and Mendelevich on the morning of December 31. Kuznetsov said that he gave "sincere examination" to the first U.S. draft letter submitted to him on December 28, but it was still unacceptable. The two sides discussed the second joint letter, Kuznetsov suggested some minor changes, but neither side came to any final decision. (Ibid., 737.56361/12-3162) See the Supplement. Back

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.56361/12-2862. Confidential; Limited Distribution.

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.