The Cuban Missile Crisis
Letter From President Kennedy to Chairman Khrushchev


Washington, November 3, 1962.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I wish to thank you for your letter of October 30.(1) I am commenting now only on a problem raised in your letter which relates to the Cuban affair.

With respect to the quarantine on shipments to Cuba, I am hopeful that arrangements can be worked out quickly by the United Nations which would permit its removal. We were happy to agree to your suggestion that the International Committee of the Red Cross undertake responsibility for inspection. You are, of course, aware that Premier Castro has announced his opposition to measures of verification on the territory of Cuba. If he maintains this position this would raise very serious problems. So far as incoming shipments are concerned, I understand that efforts are being made to have the International Red Cross carry out the necessary measures at sea and I hope that these will be successful. In the meantime, perhaps the existence of the quarantine can be of assistance to Mr. Mikoyan in his negotiations with Premier Castro. I should also like to point out that in an effort to facilitate matters, I instructed our delegation in New York to inform your representative there, Mr. Kuznetsov, that for the next few days any Soviet ships in the quarantine area would be passed without inspection and only the hailing procedure which was carried out in the case of your vessel, the Bucharest, would be applied.

I am hopeful we can dispose of this pressing matter quickly so that we can go on in a better atmosphere to the broader questions. We both must make our best efforts to this end.


John F. Kennedy(2)

1 Document 120. Back

2 Printed from a copy that indicates President Kennedy signed the original. Back

Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, USSR, Khrushchev Correspondence (Cuba), Vol. I-C, 11/3/62-11/16/62. Secret. No drafting information appears on the source text. A note on the source text indicates that a copy went to Thompson who "took it w/him." Thompson and Bundy met with the President on November 2, from 6:10 to 6:23 p.m. for an "off the record meeting." (Ibid., President's Appointment Book) The letter could have been drafted then.

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