359. Circular telegram 706 to selected ARA diplomatic posts, October 221

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Refcirtel 700. For Ambassador from Secretary. Info: USUN Eyes Only Stevenson. Following is text letter from President Kennedy to Chief of State which you should deliver in accordance with instructions contained Depcirtel 700: QUOTE

Dear Mr. President:

We face the necessity and the opportunity in this Hemisphere of determining by the wisdom of our joint action in the next few days what may be the whole future of man on this earth.

You will see from my statement to the American people the grave nature of the threat to the Western Hemisphere which the present regime in Cuba has permitted the USSR to establish on its soil.

But this is not just a matter of a military threat to us. Such action by the Soviet Union in the face of our [Facsimile Page 2] well-known and long cherished Hemisphere defense and security arrangements, its continuance in the face of my warning of September 4, well-known to them, and the repeated Soviet denials in public statements and private conversations that any such action was being taken or even contemplated, all make clear that the Soviets are issuing a bold and warlike challenge to all free peoples.

We must respond to this rash move with a united resolve. Otherwise the Soviet Union will move to more and more flagrant violations [Typeset Page 1133] of the requirements of international peace and liberty, until we shall have no choice left to us but complete surrender or the initiation of a nuclear holocaust.

We must make a stand now; the whole world will be watching us. Issues on which we in the Hemisphere may have marginal disagreements as well as political divisions among our peoples, become insignificant in the face of this threat to the peace.

I hope in these circumstances you will feel that your country will wish to join my own in expressing its outrage at this Cuban and Soviet behavior, and that you will want to express publicly what your people feel.

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I hope also that you will agree with me on the urgent necessity of calling an immediate meeting of the Organ of Consultation of the Inter-American System under the Rio Pact.

The United States will propose to that body, once assembled, the adoption of a resolution to deal effectively with this new and dangerous situation, the proposed text of which my Ambassador will be able to give you. The placing of offensive weapons with a nuclear capability in Cuba, clearly “endangers the peace and security of the continent in the terms of Article 6 of that Pact. I am sure you will agree that such a resolution is urgent.

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I am also requesting an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council. I have asked Ambassador Stevenson to present on behalf of the United States a resolution calling for the withdrawal of missile bases and other offensive weapons in Cuba under the supervision of United Nations observers. I hope that you will instruct your representative in New York to work actively with us and speak forthrightly in support of the above program in the United Nations.

I also wish to invite you to have your military officials discuss with mine the possibility of participation on some appropriate basis with United States and other Hemisphere forces in any military action which the developing situation in Cuba may require.

I feel confident that by a common approach to this threat through wise measures, which combine the firmness and the restraint which the nature of the crisis calls for, we shall move onto a new plane of progress for the free world, with reduced fear of world domination by international communism. In this sense after pointing out the dangers to world peace of the course the Soviet Union has followed in Cuba, I have written

  1. Transmits text of letter from President to respective chiefs of state about the U.S. response to the Cuban missile crisis. Top Secret. 4 pp. DOS, CF, 737.00/10–2262.