Sources for the Foreign Relations Series

The Foreign Relations statute requires that the published record in the Foreign Relations series include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation on major foreign policy decisions and actions of the U.S. Government. It further requires that government agencies, departments, and other entities of the U.S. Government cooperate with the Department of State Historian by providing full and complete access to records pertinent to foreign policy decisions and actions and by providing copies of selected records. The editors believe that in terms of access this volume was prepared in accordance with the standards and mandates of this statute.

The editors had complete access to all the retired records and papers of the Department of State: the central files of the Department; the special decentralized files (“lot files”) of the Department at the bureau, office, and division levels; the files of the Department’s Executive Secretariat, which contain the records of international conferences and high-level official visits, correspondence with foreign leaders by the President and Secretary of State, and memoranda of conversations between the President and Secretary of State and foreign officials; and the files of overseas diplomatic posts. The editors were able to use intelligence-related files maintained in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

When this volume was compiled, all Department of State records consulted were still under the custody of the Department, and the footnotes citing Department of State files suggest that the Department is the repository. By the time of publication, however, all the Department’s indexed central (or decimal) files for these years were permanently transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II) at College Park, Maryland. Many of the Department’s decentralized office (or lot) files covering this period, which the National Archives deems worthy of permanent retention, will also be transferred from the Department’s custody to Archives II over the next several years.

The editors of the Foreign Relations series also have full access to the papers of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Eisenhower and other White House foreign policy records. Presidential papers maintained and preserved at the Presidential libraries include some of the most significant foreign affairs-related documentation from other federal agencies including the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

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Department of State historians also have access to records of the Department of Defense, particularly the records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretaries of Defense and their major assistants.

Since 1991, the Central Intelligence Agency has provided expanded access to Department of State historians to high-level intelligence documents from those records in the custody of that Agency. This access is arranged and facilitated by the History Staff of the Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, pursuant to a May 1992 memorandum of understanding. This access arrangement was concluded in connection with the research of volumes for the 1961-1963 triennium and in order to enlarge the scope of coverage as required by the 1991 law. Department of State and CIA historians continue to work out the procedural and scholarly aspects of identifying the key portions of the intelligence record. The variety of documentation made available to Department of State historians and ultimately selected for publication in the volumes has expanded.

All of this documentation has been made available for use in the Foreign Relations series thanks to the consent of these agencies, the assistance of their staffs, and especially the cooperation and support of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Sources for Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, Volume XI

All sources for this volume are briefly identified in the list below.

Collections in the Kennedy Library were the primary sources for this volume, although material on informal contacts with Cuba for the later part of 1963, which was originally from the Kennedy White House, was filed in the National Security File, Country File, Cuba, at the Johnson Library along with material on Cuba after November 22, 1963.

Among Kennedy Library materials, the single most important collection was the National Security Files. Within it the Memoranda and Meetings Series, the records of the Executive Committee (EXCOM) and the National Security Council Standing Group were key. Also extremely valuable were the records in the Country Series for Cuba and the Soviet Union as well as the files of Kennedy’s key advisers such as Arthur Schlesinger and Theodore Sorensen. Also of importance are the audiotape recordings of meetings of the EXCOM whichbecame available to the editors in July 1994. As the two transcripts of these tapes printed in this volume demonstrate (see Documents 18 and 21), they are verbatim accounts of long and sometimes confusing meetings. The sound quality is often poor and it is occasionally difficult to determine the identity of the speakers. The transcripts were used only when no written account of the meeting had been found. Otherwise, those tape recordings that were available at the time of preparation of this volume have been referred to in the footnotes. These transcripts are not a substitute for listening to the [Page XVII] tapes themselves, which provide context and nuance that cannot be adequately reflected in a verbatim text.

The Meetings and Memoranda Series also has folders containing papers of key members of the White House Staff:Walt W. Rostow, Carl Kaysen, Robert Komer, and Chester V. Clifton. The files of Clifton, who was Military Aide to the President, include the memoranda of most of the President’s meetings with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Some important materials are also available in Department of State files. The most valuable Department of State collections are the lot (office) files, as described below. The most useful of all of these lot files is S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438, the most concentrated Department of State collection on the missile crisis. Also consulted and listed below were several relevant files in the Department’s decimal and subject-numeric indexed central files. Since the central files of Department were in constant use for Freedom of Information requests, the editors felt it wise to consult and use USUN files especially for documentation on the negotiations at New York following the crisis.

The single best collection of Department of Defense records at the Washington National Records Center was OASD (C) A Files:FRC 71 A 2896. This extensive collection on the missile crisis includes material that, for reasons of space and redundancy, was not included in the volume or microfiche supplement. Prominent among these are handwritten notes on EXCOM meetings by Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric and Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Paul Nitze.

Unpublished Sources

  • Department of State
    • Decimal Central Files. All the Department’s central files for this period have been transferred to Record Group 59 in the National Archives and Records Administration. The following files were most useful in compiling this volume:
      • 601.6111: diplomatic representation between the United States and Soviet Union
      • 611.3722: U.S. blockade of Cuba
      • 611.61: U.S.-Soviet Union political relations
      • 737.00: political affairs and conditions in Cuba
      • 737.5211: U.S. intelligence activities in Cuba
      • 737.56311: U.S. bases in Cuba
      • 737.56361: Soviet bases in Cuba
      • 761.00: political conditions in the Soviet Union
      • 782.56311: U.S. bases in Turkey
    • Central Files. In February 1963 the Department of State changed its decimal central files to a subject-numeric central file system. The following files were most useful in compiling this volume:
      • POL CUBA: general policy toward Cuba
      • POL CUBA-USSR: Soviet Union-Cuba relations
      • POL 27 CUBA-US: military operations between the United States and the Soviet Union
      • POL 30-2 CUBA: Cuban exile political activities
      • POL 36 CUBA: travel control to and from Cuba
    • Lot Files: These are the special decentralized files of the policymaking level of the Department of State, including the Executive Secretariat, overseas Foreign Service posts, and U.S. special missions. A list of the lot files used or consulted for this volume follows.
      • ARA/CCA Files: Lot 66 D 501
        • Files of the Coordinator of Cuban Affairs for 1964 including certain top secret material from 1961-1963.
      • Ball Papers: Lot 74 D 272
        • Files of Under Secretary of State George Ball, 1961-1966, including transcripts of his telephone conversations.
      • Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204
        • Exchanges of correspondence between the President and heads of foreign governments, as well as certain correspondence of the Secretary of State, for 1953-1964 as maintained by the Executive Secretariat.
      • Presidential Correspondence: Lot 77 D 163
        • Exchanges of correspondence between the President with the leaders of the Soviet Union, 1961-1964, the so-called “Pen Pal” correspondence. Also contains drafts of messages and memoranda to the President and Secretary of State about the correspondence.
      • President’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 66 D 149
        • A chronological record of cleared memoranda of conversations with foreign visitors for 1956-1964 as maintained by the Executive Secretariat.
      • Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330
        • Memoranda of the Secretary’s and Under Secretary’s conversations for 1961-1964 as maintained by the Executive Secretariat.
      • S/S Files: Lot 65 D 438
        • Principal Department of State lot file on the Cuban missile crisis, October 1962-January 1963, as maintained by the Executive Secretariat. Also contains background material from 1961 and 1962, including documentation on Operation Mongoose.
      • S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316
        • Department of State copies of National Security Action Memorandum (NSAMs) and related materials.
      • U.S. Mission to the United Nations Files
        • NYFRC 84-84-001/002. Secret and Top Secret records of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations with extensive material on the post-missile crisis negotiations.
  • Central Intelligence Agency
    • Cuban Files: Job 80-D0167R
    • DCI/McCone Files: Job 80-B1285A
      • Files of John C. McCone as Director of Central Intelligence, 1961-1965.
    • DDI Files: Job 79-R1012A
      • The Deputy Directorate for Intelligence’s Registry of National Intelligence and Special Intelligence Estimates
    • HS/HC Files: Job 84-00499R
      • Central Intelligence Agency History Staff’s source collection.
    • O/D/NFAC Files: Job 80-R1386R
      • Files of the Deputy Directorate for Intelligence.
  • Department of Defense
    • Office of the Secretary of Defense, Historian’s Office, Secretary of Defense’s Cable Files
      • Telegrams to and from the Secretary of Defense as maintained by the Office of the Historian, Department of Defense
  • Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Austin, Texas
    • National Security File:
      • Country File, Cuba
      • Rusk Appointment Book
      • Vice Presidential Security File
  • John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts
    • National Security Files:
      • Chester V. Clifton Series
      • Countries Series, Cuba, USSR
      • Meetings and Memoranda Series: National Security Council Meetings, Executive Committee Meetings, Standing Group Meetings, National Security Action Memoranda
      • Regional Series
    • President’s Appointment Books
    • President’s Office Files:
      • Countries: Cuba, USSR
    • Presidential Recordings
    • Staff Memoranda
    • Papers of George Ball
    • Papers of Roger Hilsman
    • Papers of Arthur Schlesinger
    • Papers of Theodore Sorensen
  • National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
    • Taylor Papers
      • Papers of General Maxwell D. Taylor, Chief of Staff of the Army, 1955-1959; Military Advisor to the President 1961-1962; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1962-1964.
  • Washington National Records Center, Suitland, Maryland
  • Record Group 330, Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense
    • OASD (C) A Files:FRC 71 A 2896
      • Principal file on the Cuban missile crisis as maintained by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Administration. Includes files of the Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.
    • OSD Files:FRC 77-0131
      • Office of the Secretary of Defense, Foreign Policy Files, 1962-1972.

Published Sources

Documentary Collections and Official Publications

  • U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Documents on Disarmament, 1962, vol. II, Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963.
  • U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962, Mary S. McAuliffe (ed.), Washington: Central Intelligence Agency, 1992.
  • U.S. Department of State. Department of State Bulletin, 1963, Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963.
  • U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States:John F. Kennedy, 1962, Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963.
  • ———Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States:John F. Kennedy, 1963, Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964.


  • Note: The Department of State takes no responsibility for the accuracy of these memoirs nor endorses their interpretation of events.
  • Bundy, McGeorge. Danger and Survival: Choices about the Bomb in the First Fifty Years. New York: Random House, 1988.
  • Hilsman, Roger. To Move a Nation. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1967.
  • Johnson, U. Alexis (with Jeff O. McAllister). The Right Hand of Power: The Memoirs of an American Diplomat. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc., 1984.
  • Kennedy, Robert F. Thirteen Days, A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1969.
  • Macmillan, Harold. End of the Day, 1961-1963. London, 1973.
  • Salinger, Pierre. With Kennedy. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1966.
  • Schlesinger, Arthur M. Robert Kennedy and His Times. A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965.
  • Sorensen, Theodore. Kennedy. New York: Harper & Row, 1965.
  • Rusk, Dean (as told to Richard Rusk). As I Saw It. New York:W.W. Norton & Co., 1990.