454. Memorandum of telephone conversation between McCloy and Rusk, October 291

[Facsimile Page 1]

M said they just came back from Thant and understands Ball gave the Sec a rundown but M will fill in more: There may be a time element—he wanted announcement to go out about the freezing of the quaranting (read it). M asked it has gone out yet and Sec said no—thought tomorrow a.m. M thinks that does not matter. Thinks it should be in that form and only that and no talk about its coming back on. Sec said trouble is he is not going to get to see the sites. M said that is the reason—anxious to have you put in accordance with his request. . . .

Kuznetsov said re Red Cross they would permit them to inspect cargoes to see no arms at all coming in from the Soviet Union to Cuba but did not want personnel to be boarding from American men-of-war—should be from a Russian or neutral vessel. Re operating within the ports—o.k. with him if Castro agrees. Sec said would Red Cross take on a political job like that? M does not know but there was a communication with someone and the upshot was they were anxious to be of service and so perhaps they would be ready. K said he did not make it a condition but prefers personnel should be composed of neutrals or non-aligned people. Sec said make it Swiss then. M said o.k. and thinks they would be competent. We did not commit on Red Cross. M thinks you might get good personnel from Swiss rather than otherwise—this for inspection at sea or at port if Castro agrees. M said they made it clear there is a problem in the interim because Kuznetsov made it definite there could be no on-site inspection until dismantling had been done. M said we can’t be sure they are gone until there is inspection. It ended by our indicating to him we would reserve our right through a UN reconnaissance satisfactory or us or our own air [Typeset Page 1278] reconnaissance during the period they were saying they were dismantling and then see re on-site inspection thereafter. M replied this was K but thinks he was talking about on-site. They agreed we could work out some arrangement on that. M said to Thant we have to make up our mind whether we would be satisfied in the interval with aerial reconnaissance minus assurances on site. M thinks air is better but on site could supplement aerial. Whether K is ready to take that or whether he is just talking about on-site inspection, M does not know but T thinks he would(?) object to aerial inspection. Those are the salient features of this.

Re Cubans: He wanted to make it clear they had made no commitment whatever to the existence of UN body on the Island. They would welcome Thant to talk about it but would negotiate out what they were prepared to do. In conv with Thant re guarantee to Cubans—he saw a copy of letter Stevenson sent yesterday—talking about continuation of absence of weapons: would it mean permanent inspection? If you ask for that he felt the Cubans would ask for the right of UN visitation of CIA establishments around the Caribbean. Sec said it would involve a lot of inspection in Cuba. T said if you don’t mean permanent he does not think we will face the problem and he won’t bring it up.

[Facsimile Page 2]

M said Yost was with him and checked to see if he left anything out. JOHNSON indicated he was on the extension and asked what weapons were included? M said we would give him a list of weapons which Sec said Khrushchev mentioned. J sent to Ball some notes on this which might be of help. M said they would watch for those. M said it was clear when he talked about Red Cross inspection he was talking about any weapons. M said the procedure would be when Russians had completed their dismantling and removal they would go to SC and say we have completed this and we propose a UN body go down to confirm the fact that all our commitments have been fulfilled—then there would be a resolution. Sec asked did they say how long? M talked about it at considerable length—our estimate is a month. Thant said he got the contrary impression from K of a week. They did not ask when specifically—this is only an impression. Sec said if so they must have ships around. M said there are—about 13. M said we have to communicate with him whether we would be willing to take a suitable Red Cross inspection on ships. Also have to tell him whether we would be satisfied for an interim period with merely an aerial reconnaissance. Sec said when does he want to know. M thinks before he leaves tomorrow. Sec said we will not know about our takes until early a.m. and should see those before making up our mind. M agreed—wondered if we can communicate when he gets there. He will leave at 10. Sec thinks we may be able to do it by then. M said could do it [Typeset Page 1279] now on Red Cross. Sec said yes but should give both answers at the same time. Sec asked re atmosphere from Cuban talk. M said they had the idea they might be sticky about conditions. They mentioned Guantanamo and Castro’s speech. We were emphatic we would have to have some sort of verification of this during interim period. We could not take the chance. M replied he thinks Thant agreed with that. Modalities had to be discussed and K spoke about how Red Cross would be brought into action etc. M replied their preference for boarding is from neutral or Russian vessels. Sec asked if Thant has asked the Red Cross and M said he will wait until we say it will be satisfactory to us.

M said through his disarmament line he got word this p.m. from Zorin’s assistant that K would like to see him. Wondered whether he ought to see him—thinks Stevenson will see him for lunch but he is apparently clandestinely indicating he wants to talk with M. M does not want to go out of line. Sec said to go to see what is on his mind. If we could make moves on disarmament so much the better. M thinks Stevenson is not in accord with this but will talk it over with him.

  1. Quarantine inspection at sea; UN weapon inspections in Cuba; disarmament. No classification marking. 2 pp. WNRC, RG 330, OASD (C) A Files: FRC 71 A 2896, Cuba 1962, (McN Working Papers).