393. Memorandum of telephone conversation between McGeorge Bundy and Ball, October 241

[Facsimile Page 1]

Bundy—We are arranging not to have anything fancy happening during the night. The President is drafting for discussion and consideration one more answer to K because he thinks this one is the height of hypocrisy. I talked to Tommy and you will be interested to know that his opinion is that that last paragraph signifies local counteraction. That’s his curb stone reaction. It’s queer if it is true that they would want a naval war, but that’s what he thinks.

Ball—But that could be submarines, couldn’t it?

Bundy—That’s what he thinks.

Ball—submarines could be very serious it could indeed be serious and

Bundy—it could lead to trouble. Have you talked to Adlai?

Ball—No. He is in route back to his apartment; he will be calling me in another five minutes. Is the President still disposed to try that with U Thant?

Bundy—Sure, there’s no reason, if U Thant will send one that is satisfactory from our point of view, it cannot do any harm.

Ball—Yes, I can’t imagine him as buying it.

Bundy—If they hold the ships up, we can talk.

[Typeset Page 1191]

Ball—That’s the line. I think that U Thant’s idea would be that, he is concerned with great possibilities of some confrontation tomorrow that this could escalate and be very serious.

Bundy—Obviously, we can’t ask U Thant to send that message if we are going to do anything tonight.

Ball—That’s right. We are not going to do anything tonight.


  1. No action planned during night of October 24–25; message to Khrushchev through U Thant. No classification marking. 1 p. DOS, Ball Papers: Lot 74 D 272, Telcons—Cuba.