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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Cuban Missile Crisis

Documents concerning the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962--a major confrontation that brought the Soviet Union and the United States close to war over the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba. The documents are drawn from countries all around the world and discuss armament and military supplies sent to Cuba, troop training, security issues in the region, and relations with the US. There are many items of correspondence during the crisis itself, including letters between Soviet representatives in Cuba, the US, the UN, and the USSR Foreign Ministry. See also Cuban Foreign Relations, and the related collections in the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. (Image, Castro and Khrushchev, 1960)

  • October 08, 1962

    Telegram from Brazilian Delegation at the 17th UN General Assembly

    Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticos says in a meeting with Afonso Arinos de Mello-Franco that Cuba does not desire to be armed more than it has to for defense. They also discuss United States interference in Cuban affairs.

  • October 10, 1962

    Speech by Senator Keating, "Cuba"

    Keating alleges that there are six IRBM bases being constructed by the Soviet Union in Cuba.

  • October 11, 1962

    Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Presidium Protocol 58

    Protocol 58 provides insight into what was occupying the mind of Khrushchev at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The theme of the meeting was centered around the Sino-Indian conflict, questions surrounding the McMahon line, and the future of Tibet. With the focus on China and India, it is reasonable to assume that the crisis caught Khrushchev by surprise.

  • October 13, 1962

    Memorandum of the Conversation between China’s Ambassador to Cuba Shen Jian and Cuban Finance Minister Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Havana

    A conversation between China’s Ambassador to Cuba Shen Jian and Cuban Finance Minister Ernesto “Che” Guevara. They discuss the situation of the Cuban economy given recent U.S. blockades, as well as the various situations in other countries like Yugoslavia, Argentina and Guatemala.

  • October 14, 1962

    Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Presidium Protocol 59

    Protocol 59 further details the focus of the Soviet Union just before the Cuban Missile Crisis. Khrushchev was so confident that his plan with Cuba would go unhindered that he spent his efforts on resolving the Sino-Indian border conflict, thinking the matter with missiles was done.

  • October 15, 1962

    Cable from USSR Ambassador to the USA A.F. Dobrynin to Soviet Foreign Ministry

    Dobrynin reports confidential intelligence of "piratic raids by the so-called 'Alpha 66' group on the Cuban coast and on several vessels near Cuba are being carried out not from a base on the American mainland, but rather directly from the sea, from American landing ships carrying the corresponding cutters."

  • October 18, 1962

    Telegram from Polish Embassy in Washington (Drozniak), 18 October 1962

    Drozniak discusses the possibility of US military action against Cuba, as well as Cuba's foreign relations with the USSR and the US.

  • October 18, 1962

    Telegram from Soviet Ambassador to the USA Dobrynin to the USSR MFA

    Dobrynin sends statements issued by Kennedy, Rusk, Taylor and Martin in a closed briefing for American media where they discussed the gravity of the Cuban issue.

  • October 18, 1962

    Telegram from Polish Embassy in Washington (Drozniak), 18 October 1962

    Drozniak forwards a report from US Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs [Edwin M.] Martin. Martin says that the Americans are well-informed of the military situation in Cuba, that Cuba does not possess nuclear weapons (nor will they be likely to because the USSR did not give such weapons to China, so why would they give them to Cuba?), that the level of the Cuban economy is twenty-five percent lower than the period before Fidel Castro came to power and Cuba is much more economically dependent on the USSR, and finally that any military invasion or complete blockade of Cuba would be considered an act of war by the USSR.

  • October 18, 1962

    From the cable on the conversation between Gromyko and Kennedy

    Gromyko reported on his meeting with Kennedy. The Soviet representative argued that Cuba was never a threat to the US and Washington should end its hostile activities against Havana. He also warned Kennedy of the possibility of nuclear war in the event of an invasion of Cuba. Gromyko reiterated the Moscow's intention of supporting Cuba only in economic and defensive issues. Kennedy, however, pointed out that it was difficult to explain the surge in Soviet military aid to Cuba. The US president reaffirmed that Washington did not have any plan to invade Cuba, at least after Bay of Pigs and Operation Mongoose. The US was only preventing actions that could have led to war. Gromyko reemphasized the peaceful rivalry of the two ideological systems and proposed a meeting between the two leaders.

  • October 19, 1962

    Minutes of the Council of Ministers, The Hague, 19 October 1962 (excerpt)

    The meeting of the Council of Ministers at The Hague revolved around the ongoing naval blockade of Cuba by the United States. The Dutch Assistant Secretary of State related that while the Americans are remaining firm on the Cuban situation, his visit to President Kennedy revealed he was very tense and was looking for a solution. The Foreign Ministry has yet to give an definitive stance on Cuba, but the primary concern for the Dutch Government was freedom of the sea and free flow of trade. The Minister of Justice concludes that while the government has no power to stop ships from going to Cuba, it does have the power to bar arms shipments.

  • October 19, 1962

    Telegram from Soviet Foreign Minister A.A. Gromyko to the CC CPSU

    Gromyko expresses satisfaction at the current American policy of economic embargo toward Cuba and the administration’s current preoccupation in West Berlin

  • October 19, 1962

    Cable from USSR ambassador to the USA Dobrynin to Soviet Foreign Ministry

    Dobrynin reports a speech made by Kennedy during a closed conference, where he discusses Cuba.

  • October 20, 1962

    Telegram from Polish Embassy in Washington (Drozniak)

    Drozniak compiles information he has collected from US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs William R. Tyler and US Ambassador at Large Llewellyn E. Thompson on the rising Cuban situation and US-USSR relations.

  • October 20, 1962

    Telegram from Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko to the CC CPSU

    Gromyko relays the results of a meeting with Dean Rusk where the two discuss Cuba, issues in Latin America and American acts or aggression toward Cuba.

  • October 20, 1962

    Cable from Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko on 18 October 1962 meeting with President Kennedy (excerpts)

    Gromyko expresses that the Soviet government is committed to assist Cuba in the face of a US blockade. Kennedy says that the recent build up Soviet supplies to Cuba negatively affected the US population and Congress and that his actions were meant to calm public opinion; also that the US had no intention of invading Cuba.

  • October 22, 1962

    Telegram from Soviet Ambassador to Cuba Alekseev to the USSR MFA

    Alekseev’s response to the US threats toward Cuba.

  • October 22, 1962

    Telegram from the Brazilian Delegation at the Annual Conferences of CIES (Celso Furtado), Mexico City

    US Secretary of the Treasury C. Douglas Dillon tells the Brazilian delegation that he must leave the Annual Conference of Cities in Mexico because the situation between the US and Cuba is too volatile and "he could not say if there will be or not a world nuclear war by the weekend."

  • October 22, 1962

    Telegram from the Brazilian Delegation at the Annual Conference of CIES (Celso Furtado), Mexico City (Part II)

    Furtado, in a follow-up telegram to his earlier message, recalls the impression that the American government considered the speech of Kennedy as an ultimatum to the USSR on the Cuban question.

  • October 22, 1962

    Telegram from TROSTNIK (Soviet Defense Minister Rodion Malinovsky) to PAVLOV (General Isa Pliev)

    Malinovsky warns Pliev of possible a American landing in Cuba and directs him to make preparations, a joint effort between Cuban and Soviet troops.