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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 06, 1962


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    Kuznetsov relays the results of a meeting with U Thant during which the two talk about removal of weapons from Cuba, the lifting of the quarantine and other issues.
    "Telegram from V.V Kuznetsov to USSR Foreign Ministry," November 06, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF; copy obtained by NHK, provided to CWIHP, and on file at National Security Archive, Washington, D.C.; translation by John Henriksen
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First. On 5 November we met with U Thant. We informed him of the exchange of views which had been taking place in recent days with the Americans. We informed him in particular of our proposals, communicated yesterday to McCloy, regarding the monitoring of the weaponry being removed from Cuba (the numerical data on the quantity of launch pads and missiles which was communicated to McCloy was not passed on to U Thant). We lingered in detail over the fact that the USA is asking questions which can only complicate the resolution of the whole problem, such as, for example, their attempts the broaden their definition of the weapons considered offensive by the Americans (the IL-28 bombers, and so on). We noted as well the USA refusal with regard to guarantees of the security of Cuba, explaining meanwhile, on the basis of our protocol draft, how we approximately imagine the USA obligations in this matter. We noted the negative reaction of the USA representatives to U Thant's proposal for a "UN presence" in the area of the Caribbean Sea, including on USA territory, as a measure seeking to guarantee a lasting peace in this region. We emphasized that the stubborn refusal of the USA to lift the "quarantine" does not at all contribute to the creation of a positive atmosphere for the resolution of the Cuban problem.

Second. U Thant asked a fine-tuning question with regard to our information on the USA attempts to broaden their demands for the removal of our weaponry from Cuba. He asked in whose hands--ours or the Cubans'--the IL-28 bombers can presently be found, as well as the torpedo cutters of the "Mosquito" class and the missiles on board them, missiles of the "air-surface" class, and missiles of the "surface-surface" class, of a small operational radius.

We answered U Thant that we cannot now provide information on this issue. U Thant asked us to make inquiries to Moscow, and to give him an answer "for his own personal information."

We ask that you provide us with information on this issue.

We assume that in examining this issue it would be appropriate to bear in mind that Fidel Castro, in his speech of 1 November, declared not only that Cuba possessed the "strategic weaponry" which now "the Soviet Union had decided to seize," but also that all other weaponry "is our property."

Third. U Thant asked whether there could be a disclosure, through first-hand observation, of the missiles on the vessels that will remove them from Cuba, or whether instead they would be kept in containers. General Rikhye, who was present at the talks, said, not waiting for our answer, that he had proposed that they be packed in a way appropriate for long-distance overseas shipping, with a view for the prevention of corrosion, but that they could be viewed in their outline forms from beneath the packing.

U Thant was also interested in whether all the missiles would be removed by one trip of each of the ships used for this purpose, or whether the ships would instead remove only a part of the missiles at once, returning them to Soviet ports and then sailing back to retrieve the rest. We said that all the missiles would be loaded onto the ships and ready for shipping no later than 10 November, and that consequently the issue of a gradual removal through several trips would not arise.

Fourth. U Thant, emphasizing that he was speaking for himself personally and would not contact the Americans with regard to this issue, asked whether it would not be possible--unless, after we approve the American proposal for monitoring communicated yesterday by McCloy, the Americans accept the agreement--to entrust the monitoring to representatives of the International Red Cross, the same ones who will be conducting inspections, as is now proposed, on the Soviet vessels bound for Cuba.

We told U Thant that we would provide information on his proposal to Moscow, but that we supposed that the Soviet government had already introduced to the Americans such liberal proposals on the inspection process that they are offering the full possibility for settling the whole issue, if the other side earnestly wants such a settlement.

It appears to us that it is expedient to seek an agreement on the basis of the consent we have already given to the American proposals on the inspection process. If it is not possible to reach an agreement on this basis, examine U Thant's proposal. In such a case it may be possible, in our opinion, to agree that the International Red Cross representatives carry out inspections on vessels leaving Cuba with missiles in the same way that it has been proposed that they conduct inspections on the vessels bound for Cuba.

Fifth. U Thant stated that at each meeting with the Americans (his last meeting with them took place on 2 November) he has asked them questions about guarantees for Cuba's security and about the lifting of the "quarantine," and that he intends to continue to do so.

U Thant reacted with great interest to our information on the exchange of views with the Americans on the subject of the "UN presence" in the Caribbean Sea area. It was clear that this issue is important to him, and that he wants to reach a positive settlement of it. He asked us in particular whether we considered McCloy's negative response with regard to UN posts on USA territory to be "conclusive," or whether it was just an "initial reaction." We said that it was difficult for us to make judgments on this, but that it seemed that it was only an "initial reaction."

U Thant informed us that on 2 November he discussed the issue of the "UN presence" with delegates from Venezuela and Chile, as well as with representatives from the United Arab Republic, and that their reaction was generally positive.
Sixth. U Thant told us, evidently having in mind information published in today's American newspapers on a seemingly imminent meeting of the Security Council, that he considered it necessary and possible to convene the Council only after all issues have been resolved at the negotiations being conducted now.

We fully agreed with U Thant's point of view, and emphasized the inexpediency and even undesirability of convening the Security Council before the conclusion of the negotiations.

Seventh. U Thant asked whether Comrade A.I. Mikoyan intended to stop for a time in New York on his way back from Cuba, and agreed that if so he would like to meet with Comrade Mikoyan to get information on the results of his negotiations with Fidel Castro.

We answered that it was not yet clear to us whether Comrade Mikoyan would stop by New York on his way back from Cuba.