367. Circular telegram 726, October 231
In view situation described President’s radio-TV statement this evening (communicated separately) you instructed seek appointment immediately at highest feasible level and by such means as may seem most likely achieve purpose, to endeavor persuade government to which accredited take such actions as indicated in following paragraphs to prevent Soviet Bloc military equipment reaching Cuba.
US considers its own safety and world peace jeopardized by confirmation of offensive nuclear build up on Cuba. You should emphasize in your discussions that Government has before it critical opportunity take decisive action for preservation of peace as well as positive demonstration its friendship for U.S.
All African Ambassadors accredited Washington, along with others will be fully briefed by Secretary at State Department this evening and will presumably urgently communicate gist.
Briefing will include critical proofs reasons our concern. Needless to say Government should be made aware deadly serious nature this démarche.
If you believe your démarche should be followed up by Presidential communication to Chief of State, advise immediately.
The following African countries have civil aviation agreements with Soviet Bloc: UAR, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan. In [Facsimile Page 2] addition, overflight rights have been requested from Chad, Libya, Niger, Somalia and Tunisia, with the following results: Niger, request approved; Chad, Somalia and Tunisia, have not replied to the Soviet request; Libya has stated that overflights will be considered individually.
At present time, flights from Khartoum to the West Coast of Africa have been blocked by Chad’s refusal to grant overflights.[Typeset Page 1147]
A. CA–674, sent to Rabat, Dakar, Lagos, Paris, should be implemented as quickly as possible and cabled responses sent soonest.
B. In countries where agreements now in force, high level approach should be made seeking prohibition of through flights direct to Cuba or to Cuba via South America. Should it prove impractical to secure these blanket assurances our retreat position should be to urge denial of onward flights carrying military equipment of any type. This particularly true where Czechs and Polish airlines unlike Soviet have legal rights overfly and make technical landings such as in Senegal.
C. All governments involved should be urged to deny special rpt special Soviet Bloc flights which appear to be destined for South America and Cuba.
D. Urge governments who have not yet granted overflights to refuse such as request if made.
For Fort Lamy: Government should be immediately urged continue its policy and not rpt not reply to Soviet requests for overflights.
For Rabat: Morocco a key control point between Belgrade or Cairo and Dakar, Conakry or Bamako. Refusal by Morocco authorities to permit landings or onward [Facsimile Page 3] flights of Bloc aircraft carrying military equipment would contribute immeasurably to successful blocking of shipments by air.
For Khartoum: While onward Western flights under Soviet agreement not yet implemented because of Chad refusal permit overflight GOS could make maximum contribution this effort by refusing Soviet rights military laden aircraft land Khartoum.
For Accra-Bamako-Conakry: In view of the avowed policy of non-alignment of the Government of Guinea (Mali and Ghana) and consequent intention to avoid scrupulous involvement in the Cold War, the U.S. Government is confident that the Governments of Guinea (Mali and Ghana) will not (rpt not) permit the use of its territory, including overflights for the transport by aircraft of the Soviet Union and its allies of arms, munitions and other implements of war destined for Cuba. To assist the Government of Guinea (Mali and Ghana) in identifying material of this type the U.S. Government would be willing to make competent technical personnel available.
For Lagos & Monrovia: While it doubtful Soviets will plan use routes through Liberia & Nigeria nevertheless U.S. request to refuse overflights should be made.
For UAM States: Niger & Senegal only UAM countries in which Soviets have air agreement or overflight permission. However, same approach as indicated above for Lagos and Monrovia should be made by Niamey. Dakar Embassy should make strongest possible representa[Typeset Page 1148]tions as to key airport from which principal air shipment may jump off for Cuba.[Facsimile Page 4]
For Paris: France should be urged influence UAM countries approve U.S. request and act accordingly. This is of maximum necessity in Niger and Senegal.
- Instructions to meet with highest available official to persuade government to which accredited to take actions to prevent Soviet Bloc military equipment from reaching Cuba. Secret. 4 pp. DOS, CF, 737.00/10–2362.↩