183. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State0

1818. Department pass White House. Eyes only for Secretary. Cuba. Policy. In course three-hour meeting with Stevenson and Yost tonight1 at his request Kuznetsov stated he was instructed to tell us that “all nuclear weapons have been removed from Cuba.” Also stated that offensive weapons will not be reintroduced and that USSR was prepared cooperate in seeking suitable formula and to speak about guarantees about their non-reintroduction. At outset of meeting, before Kuznetsov spoke, Stevenson expressed vigorous reaction to Castro letter to SYG2 threatening to shoot down US observation planes. Stevenson said this would be very serious matter with predictable consequences. Aerial surveillance was only means we had to assure ourselves in light Soviet failure produce verification in Cuba. He was certain we would issue counter-protest to Cuban protest and hoped this would end issue because consequences would not be our responsibility. Kuznetsov said he had nothing to add to previous Soviet position on overflights.

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Reading originally from typewritten text, and frequently reiterating point throughout conversation, Kuznetsov took firm position that time had come to deal with entire settlement of Cuban problem, maintaining all remaining questions must be dealt with together and would then be more easily resolved.

Kuznetsov referred to Soviet-Cuban protocol3 previously given SYG, gave us copy and reviewed its general terms listing obligations mainly directed at US. He referred to suggestion for UN Caribbean presence as means verification these obligations as proposal from U Thant and stated Cuban Government was prepared to support UN presence in Caribbean including parts of US and Western Hemisphere with corresponding control of Cuban territory. Noting this was at present scheme only in principle, Kuznetsov maintained that its spelling out would not be difficult for U Thant to arrange on basis equal rights, obligations and verification.

Kuznetsov also suggested that Cuba should be brought into discussions inasmuch as they affected Cuba and dealt with obligations of three governments. He added he was “expressing Soviet opinion for US consideration, of course.”Stevenson rejected proposal pointing out agreement was only between US and USSR.

Stevenson said we had studied Soviet protocol and found it “wholly unsatisfactory”. We did not agree to idea of a protocol and had said on many occasions we were prepared to have mutual declarations in SC in accordance with correspondence.

Stevenson noted Kuznetsov had said nothing about most important question—withdrawal of IL-28’s. Throughout rest of conversation he stressed that this was key issue which now needed to be resolved. Stevenson reiterated we were prepared to lift quarantine when Kuznetsov assured us IL-28’s would be taken out within limited period of time. Kuznetsov said he had nothing to add on IL-28’s.

In response to repeated Kuznetsov position that USSR had fulfilled its obligations and time had come for US to do something Stevenson said that we had made accommodations to Soviets on ship-side inspection and were prepared to lift quarantine when Soviets promised to take IL-28’s out. When all offensive weapons were out and appropriate inspection arranged we would make declaration on invasion. We would also be prepared to recommend in OAS that LA states restore status quo prior October 22 by repealing resolution authorizing quarantine. This would mean all rights and obligations under Rio Pact would apply, including obligations with respect to attack of one state against another. [Page 466] Kuznetsov said USSR did not recognize OAS decisions and was not interested in being involved in how we obtain LA adherence to President’s letter; if US stated it and LA’s would not invade Cuba that would be in accord with spirit of President’s letter.

Re UN presence in Caribbean to which Kuznetsov had referred, Stevenson said we were not aware of any proposal from SYG. We were unable therefore to comment on Kuznetsov’s remarks. We would have to find out more and talk about it later. Kuznetsov took note of this reply and he said he would expect to hear from us further on this point.

Re on-site inspection in Cuba, Kuznetsov reiterated that USSR did not object but agreement of Government of Cuba was required.

Toward end of conversation Stevenson listed unfulfilled obligations as follows:

On part of USSR:

Removal of IL-28’s;
Assurances all nuclear components, warheads and nuclear aerial bombs, had been removed; (it was in response to this that Kuznetsov made statement that “All nuclear weapons had been removed from Cuba”, adding that he hoped this would be sufficient to put an end to this question.)
Provision for on-site inspection in Cuba;
Assurances against reintroduction offensive weapons; (thereupon reiterated by Kuznetsov)
Soviet suggestions re safeguards on non-reintroduction weapons. (Stevenson subsequently made point that Kuznetsov’s assurances re points 2 and 4 should be repeated in SC.)

On part of US:

Lifting of blockade;
Assurances against invasion;
Seeking cooperation of other LA states with respect to assurances against invasion.

Stevenson concluded with statement that US had assumed no other obligations either to USSR or to Cuba.

At conclusion of meeting Kuznetsov said that their draft protocol contained provisions which should be in any document but that he would appreciate our opinion on their protocol and other suggestions, adding that if all issues were dealt with simultaneously we could reach agreement on form and wording.

Stevenson said we would be glad to prepare and show them statement we would be willing make in SC re assurances against invasion Cuba when USSR had fulfilled its obligations; he hoped we would be able to do so tomorrow. Stressed however no final conclusion could be reached before IL-28’s removed and verification of transaction worked out.

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Stevenson also reiterated toward end of conversation that USSR should take careful note of our protest on Cuban threat to shoot at US planes.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/11-1562. Confidential; Priority. Received at 1:22 a.m. and passed to the White House at 1:43 a.m.
  2. A 23-page memorandum of conversation of this meeting, which lasted from 6 to 9:20 p.m. and was held at the Soviet Mission, is in USUN Files:NYFRC 84-84-001, 1A October/November Meetings.
  3. Dated November 15, in which Castro also rejected any inspection of Cuban territory. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, pp. 459-460.
  4. The proposed protocol was transmitted in telegram 1798 from USUN, November 15. (Department of State, Central Files, 737.00/11-1562) See the Supplement.