93. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 0

1494. Cuba. Stevenson, McCloy, Yost and Plimpton had conference with SYG alone at 11:45 this morning.

We showed SYG Khrushchev’s message of last night to the President,1 pointing out that it contained no reference to Turkey. We also pointed out it in effect conceded existence in Cuba of complete nuclear missile capability. SYG had just seen Reuter despatch regarding Khrushchev’s public statement regarding Turkey.2
We pointed out that effect of Khrushchev’s Turkey proposal was that, as the result of his own clandestine nuclear intrusion into the Western Hemisphere, he gets a guarantee of Cuban integrity and the removal of the Turkey base, whereas all we get is removal of intrusion which he should not have made anyway.
We also pointed out that the Turkey base is not for the defense of Turkey but for the defense of Europe and is part of the whole NATO defensive structure. The removal of that base would upset the European balance of power.
We pointed out that these were informal observations and that we had no positive instructions from Washington.
We said the Turkish base might be a proper subject for discussion covering various aspects of the overall disarmament and European situations after the status quo had been restored, and that such restoration requires removal of weapons from Cuba.
Since all NATO partners involved in Turkey base any negotiations as to its removal would require a great deal of time whereas removal of nuclear weapons from Cuba was an immediate essential.
We said it seemed highly probable that the Cuban issue could be very promptly settled on the basis of Khrushchev’s first letter, namely, on basis of immediate withdrawal of nuclear weapons as against US guarantee as to territorial integrity and political independence of Cuba, and we urged SYG to press for such immediate solution and for confining all discussions to Cuba and the exclusion of the Turkish base problem.
SYG said he would keep these points in mind, but that he did not wish to make any remarks on substance of the matter.
He said he hoped the President’s reply to Khrushchev would be cooperative and conciliatory in tone, as the SYG does not want the American image tarnished by any public impression that Khrushchev is reasonable and the US not, and that the reply would evidence willingness to negotiate.
SYG mentioned the great concern all over world as to seriousness of situation. He said he had received 620 telegrams, most from US, as to his proposals, only 5 of which were negative.
SYG said he had urged both Castro and Zorin to have work on sites stopped immediately. Cuban Rep had said he would communicate SYG’s request to his govt. Zorin had turned request aside asking how anyone could rely on US intelligence.
SYG also said that as to inspection of ship cargoes arriving in Cuba, Zorin had said this question should be addressed to Cuban authorities.
While we believe SYG would prefer to confine discussions to Cuba, we have little confidence he will take firm position with Sovs on this point since he shows every evidence of wanting to avoid being caught in middle.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.3722/10-2762. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Received in the Department of State at 2:06 p.m.
  2. See Document 84.
  3. See the source note, Document 91.