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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 23, 1962

    Telegram from Swiss Foreign Ministry to Swiss Embassy in Havana (Stadelhofer)

    A telegram from the Swiss Foreign Ministry in Berne to the Swiss Embassy in Havana that describes the difficult and complex diplomatic situation presented by the Cuban crisis.

  • October 23, 1962

    Soviet Report on American Secrecy Efforts

    Report on US secrecy prior to President Kennedy's October 22 speech announcing the discovery of Soviet missiles in Cuba and the start of a US blockade. Also describes press conference by Robert McNamara.

  • October 23, 1962

    Message from Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos to Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticos

    A message from Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos to Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticos. President Mateos expresses his concern with the possibility of weapons of aggression existing in Cuba. President Mateos hopes Cuba has not yet acquired these weapons, but that if it in fact has, he says that Mexico hopes "those bases are not used in any form whatsoever and the offensive weapons are withdrawn from Cuban territory."

  • October 23, 1962

    Soviet Report on the Atmosphere in the US following Kennedy's Announcement

    Report on the tense atmosphere in Washington following Kennedy's October 22 announcement. Intelligence from newspaper reports are also summarized.

  • October 23, 1962

    Telegram from Soviet Ambassador to Cuba A.I. Alekseev to USSR Foreign Ministry

    Alekseev transmits that Cuba’s army has mobilized and the subsequent affect on Cuba’s economy because of Kennedy’s recent speech. Cuba waits for the Soviet Union’s opinion on the recent events.

  • October 23, 1962

    Memorandum of Telephone Conversation between Mexican Foreign Ministry official and Mexican Ambassador to Brazil

    The Brazilian and Mexican diplomats to Cuba weigh in on their respective governments' opinions on the Cuban crisis and increasing U.S.-Cuban tensions.

  • October 23, 1962

    Telegram from Soviet delegate to the UN Zorin to USSR Foreign Ministry

    Zorin relays the decision to veto the US draft resolution to the UN. Zorin argues that US aggressions against Cuba can merely be regarded as a provocation pushing the world to the verge of nuclear war. He says the Soviet government would introduce a draft resolution that includes a condemnation of the US aggressions, the immediate cessation of the US blockade and infractions of maritime freedom, and an immediate end to intervention in the domestic affairs of Cuba. It would also propose US government to negotiate with Cuba directly.

  • October 23, 1962

    Telegram from Brazilian Embassy in Washington (Campos), 7 p.m. Tuesday

    A report of the meeting between OAS officials and the descisions that were made regarding the Cuban crisis. Secretary Martin puts forward that, soon, there will be fully disseminated, to convince Latin American public opinion of the gravity of the threat, photographs of the remote-controlled missiles in Cuba.

  • October 23, 1962

    Telegram from the Brazilian Embassy in Washington (Campos)

    A report on Secretary of State Dean Rusk's discussion of the severity of the American reaction to the installation of remote-controlled missiles of medium and intermediate range in Cuba by the Soviet Union.

  • October 23, 1962

    Telegram from Swiss Ambassador in Washington Lindt regarding briefing by Assistant Secretary of State William Tyler

    Before a briefing of the neutral ambassadors by US Secretary of State Dean Rusk, William Tyler, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, asks the Swiss diplomat to meet with him. After Tyler expressed thanks on behalf of the USA for what Switzerland has done, and will yet do in the future, for the American interests in Cuba, he said that he wished to inform the Swiss official more extensively than Rusk would be able to do in front of the assembled group of ambassadors. They mostly discuss Soviet missile deployed in Cuba.

  • October 23, 1962

    Ciphered Telegram from Soviet Ambassador to Cuba Aleksandr Alekseev

    A report on Alekseev's 23 October 1962 conversation with Fidel Castro, together with two members of the Cuban leadership, the day after the public crisis began. Presented with official Soviet statements on the crisis, Castro reviews the situation and confidently vows defiance to the US "aggression," which he claimed was doomed to failure.

  • October 23, 1962

    Telegram from Soviet delegate to the United Nations V. A. Zorin to USSR Foreign Ministry

    Zorin relays the events of the UN Security Council meeting, transmitting the speeches made by the US and Cuban delegates. US delegate Stevenson tried to justify US actions against Cuba and proposed the American draft resolution. Cuban delegate Inchaustegui demanded the immediate recall of the US measures. Zorin says although some Africa and Asian countries realized the illegality of US actions, however, they were not determined to take any concrete steps. Zorin also sends the proposed draft of a new resolution.

  • October 23, 1962

    Memorandum of Conversation, Federal Republic of Germany Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Dean Acheson, Special Envoy of US President Kennedy, Bonn, West Germany

    A conversation between Federal Chancellor Adenauer with the Special Adviser of the U.S. President, Acheson. They discuss plans to destabilize the Cuban regime by domestic unrest, how the missile bases in Cuba should be destroyed, Russian soldiers stationed in Cuba and the lasting impact of the Bay of Pigs landing.

  • October 23, 1962

    Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Presidium Protocol 60

    Protocol 60 details the first meeting of the Communist Party during the crisis. As Khrushchev is awaiting the announcement by President Kennedy of the discovery of missiles in Cuba, he and some of his colleagues briefly considered using tactical nuclear weapons in the event of a US airborne assault. But, at the suggestion of Soviet defense minister Rodion Malinovsky, the Kremlin postponed its consideration of a nuclear response pending details of Kennedy’s speech.The Kremlin wasted no time in taking steps to reduce the risks of confrontation. It ordered some ships that were still in the Mediterranean to turn around. The Aleksandrovsk, the ship carrying the nuclear warheads for the IRBMs (the R-14s), was ordered to keep sailing, however, because it was close enough to Cuban shores to dock before the blockade went into effect.

  • October 23, 1962

    Record of Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) Central Committee Politburo Meeting

    A meeting between the Politburo members of the East German Central Committee (CC GDR) concerning US imperialist actions against Cuba, meaning the economic sanctions and blockade. The GDR Politburo members express their strong support of Cuba.

  • October 23, 1962

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

    Dobrynin sends a report on the general mood of Washington DC, by way of media and observation, regarding Kennedy’s establishment of a quarantine around Cuba.

  • October 23, 1962

    Report on Romanian Government Delegation Visit to Moscow and Soviet-Romanian Talks, 23 October 1962

    Manescu reports on the discussions of the government delegation of the PRR with the CPSU and Soviet State leaders on 23 October 1962. They discuss mostly relations with Southeast Asian countries.

  • October 24, 1962

    Report to the CPSU Central Committee from Department of Agitation and Propaganda

    The Department of Agitation and Propaganda asks permission to increase the amount of radio broadcasts from Moscow to Cuba as a means to preempt the 24-hour broadcasts of the US.

  • October 24, 1962

    Cable from Japanese Embassy in Moscow to Tokyo

    A cable from the Foreign Minister Ohira to the Charges d'affaires ad interim Shigemitsu regarding the situation in Moscow over the Cuban blockade. The cable gives an overall report of the atmosphere in Moscow by describing the people and press gathered around the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

  • October 24, 1962

    Cable from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'Instructions on Issuing a Statement to Support Cuba'

    A plan from the Chinese Foreign Ministry office to distribute a postition statement to various press outlets regarding the situation of the Cuban Missile Crisis.