506. Telegram 1684 from USUN, November 81

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Eyes Only for the Secretary—pass White House. Re: Cuba.

Yost and Wellborn met this morning with Morozov and Mendelevich to clarify certain aspects of (1) “alongside” inspection of outgoing SOV vessels, and (2) ICRC procedures.

As to first, we pointed out that SOV vessels DIVNOGORSK, KURCHATOV, BRATSK and LABINSK are proceeding eastward from Cuba rather than through Straits of Florida in accordance with procedure communicated to USUN last evening by Mendelevich (OURTEL 1681). SOVS expressed surprise, confirmed that their instructions provided [Typeset Page 1379] all SOV ships carrying missiles are to proceed via Straits of Florida, and emphasized it is sincere desire SOV GOVT that this procedure be carried out as agreed in order give U.S. full assurance that missiles have left Cuba. They said they would immediately report deviation from agreed procedure by 4 SOV vessels in question and we gave them chart showing approximate location these vessels as of early this morning. They inquired whether it would be possible to carry out agreed alongside inspection these 4 vessels on course which they are apparently following and Wellborn replied that this could be done.

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On ICRC system we said we understood it was SOV view this system required only until NOV 10 or 12 and that we also understand ICRC sees no purpose in attempting to organize inspection for so short a time. SOVS asked our position on duration ICRC system which we explained at some length, emphasizing (1) that U.S. quarantine would remain in effect until obligations listed in first numbered PARA of President’s OCT 27 letter and accepted by Chairman Khrushchev had been carried out, (2) that ICRC system is intended as temporary partial substitute for quarantine and would involve suspension of quarantine in regard to such vessels as submitted to ICRC inspection, and (3) that ICRC system should continue until quarantine lifted which, since NEGOTS concerning carrying out commitments undertaken in exchange of correspondence are still in progress, might be some little time.

SOVS argued briefly that there would be no need for U.S. quarantine and hence for ICRC system after their missiles evacuated and evacuation verified through “alongside procedure” now being carried out. They said however they would report our view to Kuznetsov seeking clarification. They emphasized their desire to put ICRC procedures promptly into effect and attempted to place responsibility for delay on U.S. because of our failure to accept offer of SOV vessel for Red Cross inspections. They also pointed out Ruegger had said Red Cross would require “a good week” after agreement interested parties to put system into effect. We expressed hope ICRC could move more rapidly if pressed to do so.

  1. Report on meeting between Yost and Wellborn and Morozov and Mendelevich to clarify aspects of alongside inspection of outgoing Soviet vessels and ICRC procedures. Top Secret. 2 pp. USUN Files: NYFRC 84–84–001, Outgoing Telegrams, 1962 (TS, Exdis, etc.)