690. Memorandum of telephone conversation between Kaysen and Ball, June 241

[Facsimile Page 1]

GB: We’ve just got a note from the Cubans.

CK: Yes, I have seen the content in another form.

GB: So did I; I think we were expecting it. Now two things—there are references in there to low levels and then to high levels, indicating that they’re getting ready to deal with the high levels and as far as the low levels are concerned that they will shoot them down. I think, as I understand it, the low levels are called off until the President gets back.

CK: Let me check on that.

GB: No, I’m going to be talking with Bob, because on the high levels they are putting in planes with different engines.

[Typeset Page 1781]

CK: Yes, Alex told me that we were getting an extra 4,000 feet. Let me talk to Bob, too, because I think we should err on the side of caution—it is better to miss a day’s information than to have the argument. Do you know what I mean?

GB: Well, we don’t want to have the argument while everybody’s away.

CK: I mean we don’t want one shot down.

GB: That’s the point.

CK: Yes, so let me talk to Bob.

GB: I’ve got to talk to him anyway. What I was going to say was that as far as I was concerned I thought the line we ought to take was that—I don’t think—there’s no threat in there that they’re going to shoot any of the high levels down right away.

CK: No, but let me put it this way. The question I think you have to push at Bob is are you really confident, are you satisfied that that extra altitude does it?

[Facsimile Page 2]

GB: And we have to get something off tonight, I think, to Bonn to bring them up-to-date on the thing.

CK: Absolutely. Alex is drafting something, is he?

GB: No, I told Ed Martin to do it.

CK: I think we ought to put something on our wire which brings the two parts of it together. Will Ed Martin’s do that?

GB: That’s what it’s designed to do—to bring the two parts of it together.

CK: Ed will deal with the operational side too?

GB: Yes. And I thought that after he gets it up, I’ll look at it and get it back to you.

CK: OK, fine.

GB: In the meantime, I’m going to give Bob a ring and if you want to talk to him afterwards.

CK: I don’t need to do it. I think the big point is the confidence point. Persecute him a little.


  1. U–2 reconnaissance missions over Cuba in response to Cuban note of protest. No classification marking. 2 pp. Kennedy Library, Ball Papers, Telephone Conversations, Cuba.