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

2178. Department pass White House. Eyes only Secretary. Re: Cuba. Reference: Deptel 1511.1 In mtg with McCloy and Yost this evening Kuznetsov and Mendelevich, after commenting on preferred changes in US draft declaration, put forward new suggestion as fols: That two sides agree on very brief declarations which would be presented in SC, that SC adopt res concerning these declarations and that points which are not agreed between parties be made in separate statements either in SC or outside. Sovs presented drafts their short declaration and SC res, text of which being transmitted immediately fol tel.2

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At outset of mtg McCloy referred briefly to complications caused by Cuban declaration3 and probability acrimonious squabble in SC resultingtherefrom. He then said in attempting to meet points in US draft declaration that Sovs had raised and to reach more or less agreed position we had some new language to propose. He emphasized however that, if Sov declaration which we had not received proves unacceptable, we would have to withdraw our new proposals and simply content ourselves with two separate statements drafted as we thought fit.

He then went over changes authorized first five numbered paras Deptel 1511. He also suggested that words “have not been fulfilled” at end first sentence para 6 might be changed to “have not been capable of fulfillment.”

Sovs continued to object strongly to phrase “offensive weapons systems”, claiming that it was as loose and as subject to expansion and misinterpretation as original phrase had been. Kuznetsov said it was definitely unacceptable. He insisted that weapons concerned were only those about which agreement had been reached in exchange of letters between Pres and Khrushchev.

McCloy replied that this was impossible since there are four types of missiles and of bombers as well as submarines, for example, which are clearly offensive weapons systems the introduction of which into Cuba would cause us gravest concern. It finally appeared Sovs might accept some language referring to other weapons “similar” or “comparable” to weapons agreed upon between Pres and Khrushchev, but they continued to maintain new US language was unacceptable.

As to overflights, while recognizing McCloy's statement that new text removed any implication Sovs are approving overflights, Kuznetsov nevertheless declared it maintains same idea and is not acceptable. US wants to get official justification to overfly. Moreover in connection with clause commencing “pending such time”, he claimed US does not want any arrangements for international safeguards since it has turned down U Thant plan. He objected strongly to any reference to overflights in declaration and declared it was also unacceptable. McCloy countered with clear exposition why it was essential in US point of view that this reference be maintained.

As to proviso that “Cuba does not commit aggressive acts against any nation in the Western Hemisphere”Kuznetsov said this proviso is not in exchange of letters. McCloy replied Pres could not possibly say he would stand by if Cuba attacked another country with which we have a treaty obligating us to come to its defense. Kuznetsov replied Cuba has offered in protocol not to attack anyone else and that moreover threat is [Page 593]not from but against Cuba, citing Dec 4 attack on Cuban soil by boat containing exiles.

After inquiring whether we really had to put it in, Kuznetsov did not object seriously to new language in regard to US treaty rights.

Concluding discussion on changes in US draft Kuznetsov said that they had not removed main obstacles. McCloy thought we had sincerely tried to meet Sovs half way but that this is best we can do and if we cannot agree on this we must agree to disagree.

Kuznetsov thereupon put forward new suggestion reported in opening para this message. He proposed we make our declarations very brief and limit them to agreed points. All other points which either side feels it necessary to make could then be covered in separate statements either inside or outside UN.

He then went over US draft suggesting what might be omitted to make it acceptable to Sovs if we adopted suggestion of shorter form. These omissions were as fol: Two numbered paras quoted from Pres' letter of Oct 27; in next para reference only to medium and not intermediate-range missiles (it appears same Russian word applies to both these two); omit sentence concerning Sov military units and personnel; in next para omit whole of first sentence commencing “The undertakings in the President's letter”; in next sentence omit word “substantial”; in fol para omit words “to date”; in fol para omit two provisos so that pertinent portion would read “the US further gives assurances that it does not intend, as the President made clear” etc; omit whole of next para. He concluded he would consult about new language our final para.

Kuznetsov reiterated argument that new procedure he proposed would raise both sides of difficulties in reaching agreement which had emerged from discussion US draft. The points not agreed could be sure they were not “too odious”. This procedure would also take care of Cuban declaration which he understood would not be agreed.

McCloy concluded by saying he was disappointed in response to our new proposals. He emphasized again that they were in any case dependent on our reaching agreement and would have to be withdrawn if there is no agreement. He pointed out we were going far in giving our assurance against invasion without any arrangements for on-site inspection. This of course further underlined necessity for overflights.

Also in conclusion Kuznetsov indicated that new Sov suggestion had been put forward by Khrushchev with view to making settlement easier for both sides. He thought however SC should adopt res and that mere consensus statement by Chairman would not be enough. It was important for peace of world that we go as far as possible in settlement of Cuban question and that parties therefore continue negotiations normalize situation. McCloy remarked again that we do not intend to negotiate with Castro in framework this transaction though of course would[Page 594]negotiate willingly with him if he showed signs of wishing to live in peace in this hemisphere. He noted however US and Sovs had achieved good momentum in these negotiations and urged it be maintained and carried forward to other problems. Kuznetsov agreed.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 737.56361/12-662. Top Secret; Priority. A note on the source text indicates it was passed to the White House at 10:15 p.m. December 6.
  2. Telegram 1511 to USUN, December 6, 2:46 p.m., contained modifications to the draft U.S. statement on Cuba as approved at the NSC's Executive Committee on December 6, (see Document 230). (Department of State, Central Files, 737.56361/12-662) See the Supplement.
  3. Document 234.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 227.