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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 15, 1962

TELEGRAM FROM SOVIET FOREIGN MINISTER A.A. GROMYKO TO A.I. MIKOYAN

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    Gromyko sends instructions to Mikoyan regarding his, Mikoyan’s, negotiations with the Americans concerning Guantanamo Bay and future weapons in Cuba.
    "Telegram from Soviet Foreign Minister A.A. Gromyko to A.I. Mikoyan," November 15, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF, Moscow; copy obtained by NHK, provided to CWIHP, and on file at National Security Archive, Washington, D.C.; translation by John Henriksen, Harvard University https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110444
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In connection with the last paragraph of Comrade Kuznetsov's telegram (relayed by you separately), which says that the Americans are insisting that their guarantees of non-aggression against Cuba be made simultaneously with the Soviet Union's promise not to bring any more "offensive" weaponry into Cuba, we have sent the following instructions to Comrade Kuznetsov:

In your memorandum you said that that the Americans are persistently pushing for the simultaneous granting of USA guarantees for non-aggression against Cuba and of Soviet guarantees not to bring "offensive" weaponry into Cuba any longer.

From such a formulation of this issue on the part of the USA it can be deduced that they are trying to impose on the Soviet Union and Cuba additional obligations which would basically mean that, besides the sorts of weaponry agreed upon by the correspondence between Comrade N. S. Khrushchev and President Kennedy, Cuba would be deprived of the right to possess any other sorts of weaponry that the USA might call "offensive." The acceptance of such obligations would discriminate against Cuba, since in that case it would be singled out from among the other countries of Latin America that do not bear such obligations. This cannot be acceptable.

Another matter concerns the talk of concluding the agreement through the UN, for example by way of the approval of an appropriate UN resolution stipulating that the territory of all Latin American countries be declared a zone that is free from nuclear arms. Of course the design behind this is to put Cuba on equal footing with the other countries of Latin America; and also the USA, as far as Guantanamo and its other bases in Latin America are concerned, would take onto its shoulders the obligation not to allow any provisioning of nuclear weapons onto the territories of any Latin American country. This would establish an equitable basis for an agreement, and would be acceptable.

With such a formulation of this issue, there would be no discrimination with regard to any participants in the agreement, in this case with regard to Cuba; that is, the issue would be resolved differently than as proposed in the draft resolution put before the UN General Assembly by Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile.

If the Americans continue to insist that there be simultaneous guarantees by them for non-aggression against Cuba, referred to in Kennedy's messages of 27 and 28 October, and guarantees by us no longer to bring "offensive" weaponry into Cuba, you must proceed from the point that we are willing to make a guarantee not to bring into Cuba the sort of weapons that we agreed to remove from Cuba following the agreement reached by correspondence between the heads of our two governments. In accordance with this, Article 8 of the draft Protocol may be supplemented with the following paragraph:

"At the same time the Soviet government states that it will not bring such weaponry onto the territory of the Republic of Cuba."

This formulation, which refers to "such weaponry," does not give the Americans the chance to broadly and arbitrarily interpret the term "offensive" weaponry to include other sorts of weaponry (including nuclear arms) that the Americans might classify as offensive.

You must submit the position laid out above to the approval of the UN delegate from Cuba. In this we are proceeding from the assumption that out point of view will be acceptable for Cuba, since it derives from the position jointly held by the Soviet Union and Cuba on this matter.

Telegraph upon completion.

A.G.

[Source: AVP RF, Moscow; copy obtained by NHK, provided to CWIHP, and on file at National Security Archive, Washington, D.C.; translation by John Henriksen, Harvard University.]