379. Memorandum for the record, October 241

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  • Daily White House Staff Meeting, 24 October 1962

1. Mr. Bundy presided. All DEFCONS were still at 3, but Cdr. McCabe noted that SAC would be going on DEFCON 2 at 1000 hours today.

2. The following matters arose:

a. Captain Shepard introduced CDR Walker who provided about a five minute briefing on what the Navy was doing by way of preparation for intercepts. He stressed the attention being given to the Kimovsk, which can probably be intercepted this afternoon (and probably will be because of its 70-foot hatches), and the Poltava, for which the intercept appears likely early tomorrow morning, 25 October. After the meeting Shepard explained to me how SecDefJCS have carefully selected these two ships for initial attention so as to be able to stand on a good example at the beginning of this business—i.e., avoid stopping a ship loaded with food or medicine, for example.

b. Admiral Lee had telephoned me before the meeting, and consequently I announced to the group that the Nitze Berlin–NATO Subcommittee of the NSC Executive Committee would be meeting at 1100 right there in the Situation Room and would almost surely be doing so every day into the somewhat indefinite future. Attached is a list of the names which Admiral Lee furnished me this morning.

c. In response to my announcement, Bundy noted that Walt Rostow has also set up a subcommittee. His group will address itself to “advance planning”. The nominee from the NSC staff will be Komer. Bundy told Bromley Smith to talk to Colonel Ewell about the possible assignment of a Joint Staff representative to this Rostow subcommittee. I gather there are reasons for and reasons against such an assignment.

d. Bundy was obviously very eager to break off the meeting so as to begin preparing himself for the 1000 meeting of the NSC Executive [Facsimile Page 2] Committee. On the other hand, everyone on his staff was and is obviously inclined to find out what is going on and what everyone is supposed to be doing. Bromley Smith and I stuck our necks out with a couple of questions, but were somewhat cut off by Bundy because [Typeset Page 1167] of his very understandable preoccupation with the larger meeting coming up at 1000.

e. In case it has not come out clearly above, it may be useful to remember that as of this moment the duty officer who, in Bundy’s night-time absence, will apparently be carrying the ball, was Forrestal on the night of 23–24 October, and it is supposed to proceed and rotate through Klein, Komer, Legere, and back to Forrestal.

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11 A.M. 24 October 1962
Situation Room

Hon. Paul H. Nitze OSD/ISA
Ambassador Thompson State
Mr. Martin Hillenbrand State
Mr. J. Robert Schaetzel State
B/Gen. Hamilton A. Twitchell JCS
Mr. Willard Matthias CIA
Mr. Charles Sullivan Treasury
Mr. Raymond J. Albright Treasury
Mr. Donald Wilson USIA
M/Gen. David W. Gray JCS
Colonel D. C. Armstrong OSD/ISA
Captain John H. Cotton OSD/ISA
Colonel Wilbur E. Showalter OSD/ISA
Mr. David Klein NSC/WH
Colonel L.J. Legere NSC/WH
  1. Daily White House staff meeting covering Navy preparations for intercepts, Nitze Berlin–NATO Subcommittee, Rostow subcommittee, duty officer assignments. Secret. 3 pp. NDU, Taylor Papers, Chairman’s Staff Group, Oct.–Nov. 1961.