383. Telegram 1458 from USUN to Rusk, October 241

Pass White House. Policy. Re Cuba.

Following is second message from SYG to President just delivered to me:

“Dear Mr. Ambassador,

I would be grateful if you would be so kind as to transmit the enclosed message to the President of the United States John F. Kennedy.”

“Message to President Kennedy

“I have today sent a further message to Chairman Khrushchev expressing my grave concern that Soviet ships already on their way to Cuba might challenge the quarantine imposed by your government and produce a confrontation at sea between Soviet ships and United States vessels, which could lead to an aggravation of the situation. I have also stated that what concerns me most is the fact that such a confrontation and consequent aggravation of the situation would destroy any possibility of the discussions that I have suggested as a prelude to negotiations on a peaceful settlement. I have accordingly expressed to him my earnest hope that Soviet ships [Facsimile Page 2] already on their way to Cuba might be instructed to stay away from the interception area for a limited time only, in order to permit discussions of the [Typeset Page 1173] modalities of a possible agreement which could settle the problem peacefully in line with the Charter of the United Nations.

“In continuation of my message of yesterday and my speech before the Security Council, I would now like to appeal to your excellency that instructions may be issued to United States vessels in the Caribbean to do everything possible to avoid direct confrontation with Soviet ships in the next few days in order to minimize the risk of any untoward incident. If I could be informed of the action taken by your government on the basis of this appeal, I could inform Chairman Khrushchev that I have assurances from your side of your cooperation in avoiding all risk of an untoward incident. I would express the further hope that such cooperation could be the prelude to a quick agreement in principle on the basis of which the quarantine measures themselves could be called off as soon as possible.

U Thant Acting Secretary-General.”

  1. Message from U Thant to President Kennedy re U Thant message to Khrushchev expressing concern over Soviet ships challenging the U.S. quarantine. Confidential. 2 pp. OSD, Historical Office, Secretary of Defense, Cable Files, Cuba, Oct. 23–24, 1962.