85. Editorial Note

According to a 4-page paper in the Sorensen papers at the Kennedy Library, ABC Correspondent John Scali met with Soviet Counselor Alexandr Fomin at 7:45 p.m. on October 26, 1962, and made the following statement:

“I have reason to believe that the United States Government sees real possibilities in this and supposes that the representatives of the USSR and the United States in New York can work this matter out with U Thant and with each other. My definite impression is that time is very urgent and time is very short.”

The paper went on to note that Fomin asked several times if this message came from high sources and Scali replied that it came from very high places. The Soviet Counselor then inquired if it would be possible to have U.N. inspectors also check U.S. bases in Florida and surrounding Caribbean countries. Scali replied that he had no official information on this possibility, but stated that “he felt it would raise a terrible complication for President Kennedy in a period when time was of the essence.” Fomin, who left the meeting in haste, said the information would be communicated simultaneously to the highest Soviet sources and to the Soviet U.N. Representative in New York. (Kennedy Library, Sorensen Papers Classified Subject Files, Cuba—Subjects) For a similar account including some of the details of the discussion and drafting of the statement, see Hilsman, To Move a Nation, pages 217-219. For a memorandum by Scali on this second meeting and reports on similar conversations during the next 3 days, see Pierre Salinger, With Kennedy, pages 274-279.