373. List of issues raised at Rostow group meeting, October 231

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1. Need for Strategic Guidelines

It was felt people are becoming immersed in operational details, without any clear concept to unify the numerous separate efforts on pieces of the problem which are springing up all around. Therefore the need for some strategic guidelines to identify central problems and [Typeset Page 1158] insure that separate efforts are not pulling in opposite directions. Apart from preparing a paper on Strategic Guidelines, it was felt the group might be useful as a mechanism for keeping track of who is doing what.

2. Missile Trade-off

Most of group expressed concern about the way the notion of trading-off missiles (e.g., missiles in Turkey and/or Italy for missiles in Cuba) was making headway in the government with little apparent thought to political costs, strategic asymmetries, etc.

It was felt the problem needed better exploration in the context of our overall foreign and military policy, even though everyone agreed the direct military value of say, missiles in Turkey, was low.

It was pointed out that the Soviets could be handed a very cheap political victory if the idea got around (to Turks, e.g.) that we were willing to sell out the security interests of our far-away allies because we had the wind up about Cuba.

It was also felt any talk of missile tradeoffs must not be confined to overseas bases, but must include Soviet-based MRBM/IRBM’s which threaten security of countries all around its periphery—Turkey, the rest of NATO, the sub-continent, Far East.

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3. Making Persuasive Case on Offensive Nature of Missiles in Cuba

It was noted that there is considerable skepticism (among some Americans as well as allies and neutrals) about how “offensive” the missiles really are, how sizeable the threat they pose, etc. There is a need to make a more persuasive case, particularly before Soviets/Cubans take measures to conceal these installations or move the missiles to other locations, etc. How much disclosure to make is a moot point. It was understood this question is currently receiving high level attention.

4. Soviet Personnel in Cuba

It was felt everything possible must be done to pin down hard evidence (particularly useable evidence) that organized Soviet military units have come into Cuba to operate missiles and other complex weapon systems. More bearing down on this point—with or without producible evidence—would also be useful to help counteract the Soviet line that this is essentially a Cuban affair—and that they are merely furnishing means to the Cubans to defend themselves. A better knowledge of the Soviet command arrangements in Cuba would also be useful—for a variety of reasons, in addition to establishing the degree of their control.

5. Inspection Issue

There was considerable discussion of various possible developments if the matter of inspection for the presence of “offensive weap[Typeset Page 1159]ons” should arise concretely. We might be asked, for example—by a UN resolution, a neutral proposal, etc.—to hold off or lift the blockade until a UN inspection of sites in Cuba would be made.

This might well provide opening for proposals that overseas bases everywhere be thrown open to inspection for “offensive” missiles, etc.

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It was strongly felt that the UN was not a good forum or instrument for any inspection proposals that might come up. It would be far better in this case to have OAS, on the principle of regional security arrangements which is firmly embedded in the UN charter, conduct its own inspection and policing—to keep this a “family matter”.

A factor against this approach is that it would run somewhat contrary to the thesis that this is essentially a US-Soviet issue, and not the big US versus little Cuba. However, this objection might be met by picturing the issue as the American states versus the Soviet Union’s incursion into this Hemisphere.

6. Need for “Initiative” Thinking

There was some criticism of the tendency to think mostly in terms of contingency planning to react to moves the Soviets might make. It was urged that more thought be given to initiatives we could take to make the Soviets uncomfortable, forestall contingencies, and play the situation in the interest of our long-term goals.

7. Question of our Cuban Objectives

In connection with possible initiatives and exploiting of opportunities, the question arose as to what was being done to estimate the possibilities of anti-Castro unrest and to prepare to exploit it. This also raised the question of defining what our objectives in Cuba are—to get removal of missiles as a minimum and stop there, or to go further—and how far—toward liberation of Cuba.

In connection with the above, Bill Jordan’s project to stimulate revolutionary sentiment was briefly discussed. Apparently it has been knocked [Facsimile Page 4] in the head, but it was felt the group might urge its revival.

8. Tobin-Greenfeld Paper

This is a second version of original Tobin paper dealing with trading of Jupiters in Turkey. First paper was rejected. Bill Jordan will furnish us a copy of the second paper tomorrow.

9. Need for Systematic Laying out of Various Contingencies, Soviet Reactions to our Moves, Etc.

Many piece-meal items have been circulating, but there has been no systematic effort—guided by any structural concept—to lay out the range of alternatives for orderly review, selection of priority areas for attention, etc.

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It was asked that Ray Garthoff and Tom Wolfe undertake such a project, working in parallel and presenting results for comparison at 24 October meeting at 1600.

  1. Strategic guidelines, missile trade-off, offensive nature of missiles in Cuba, Soviet personnel in Cuba, inspection issue, initiative thinking, Cuban objectives, Tobin-Greenfeld paper, systematic review of possible contingencies. Top Secret. 4 pp. WNRC, RG 330, OASD (C) Files: FRC 71 A 2896, Nitze Files: Black Book, Cuba, Vol. II.