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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 25, 1962


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    Zorin transmits the events of the 24 October meeting relaying the speeches of British, French, Romanian, Chilean, Ghanaian, etc delegates. Zorin argues that delegates from Venezuela and Chile supported the American draft resolution under the US pressure. The United Arab Republic and Ghana stressed the US actions against Cuba violated the principle of maritime freedom and posed a threat to security. UN Acting Secretary-General U Thant proposed the interested parties meet and discuss the situation within several weeks. Zorin also relays that a number of neutral Afro-Asian countries are working on a new draft resolution.
    "Telegram from Soviet delegate to the United Nations V. A. Zorin to USSR Foreign Ministry on UN Security Council Meeting of 24 October 1962," October 25, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of Foreign Policy, Russian Federation (AVP RF), Moscow; copy obtained by NHK (Japanese Television), provided to CWIHP, and on file at National Security Archive, Washington, D.C.; translation by John Henriksen, Harvard University
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Telegram from Soviet delegate to the United Nations V. A. Zorin to USSR Foreign Ministry, 25 October 1962, on UN Security Council Meeting of 24 October 1962

25 October 1962

On 24 October speeches were delivered in the Security Council by the delegates from Venezuela, England, Rumania, Ireland, France, Chile, the United Arab Republic, Ghana, and also by U Thant.

Comrade [Deputy Foreign Minister Mircea] Malitza, the delegate from Rumania, fully supported the Soviet Union's formulation of the issue of the USA violation of the UN Charter and the USA threat to peace, and supports with equal conviction the Security Council draft resolution introduced by the Soviet Union.

The speech of the English delegate, [Sir Patrick] Dean, supported the false accusations of the Soviet Union's alleged installation in Cuba of offensive nuclear missile weaponry, the accusations by means of which the USA is trying to justify its aggressions against Cuba (we are teletyping the full text of the speech). Dean asserted that the only way to restore peace and trust is to remove from Cuban territory the "offensive missiles." It is revealing that Dean tried as hard as he could to get around the question of the naval blockade imposed by the USA on Cuba.

Declaring England's support for the American draft resolution, Dean at the same time expressed his thoughts on the necessity of negotiations between the interested parties.

The French delegate [Roger] Seydoux also supported the American draft resolution, representing it as allegedly furthering the interests of a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Like Dean, he reiterated the false assertions by the USA of the allegedly offensive nature of the armaments supplied by the Soviet Union to Cuba (we are teletyping the full text).
In the speeches by the delegates from Venezuela and Chile, support was given to the justification of the resolution, approved under pressure from the USA, of the Organization of American States, which is opposed to Cuba. They asserted, following USA crib-notes, that the Soviet arms in Cuba upset the balance of power in the Western hemisphere, and constitute a threat to the security of the nations of this area. The delegates from Venezuela and Chile declared their support for the American draft resolution.

The delegate from Ireland, [Minister for External Affairs Frank] Aiken, recognizing the right of the Cuban nation to decide its own fate and to take measures to guarantee its defense capabilities, expressed regret at the same time concerning the fact that the weaponry installed in Cuba represents huge nuclear forces that threaten the neighboring countries. Aiken appealed for a peaceful settlement by means of negotiations. He declined to express his position with regard to both the American and the Soviet draft resolutions.

The delegates from the United Arab Republic, [Mahmoud] Riad, and from Ghana, [Alex] Quaison-Sackey, pointed out that they are approaching the issue at hand in light of the principles established by the UN Charter and by the Bandung and Belgrade conferences of nonaligned nations (we are teletyping the full texts of these speeches). Proceeding from these principles, the delegates from the United Arab Republic and Ghana defended the right of Cuba to choose its own political regime, and to carry out the necessary defense measures for safeguarding its political freedom and territorial integrity.

In the speeches of both delegates, doubt was expressed about the reliability and well-groundedness of the American assertions about the allegedly offensive character of the weaponry installed in it. Quaison-Sackey recalled with regard to this the fabrication by USA intelligence of false information that has already been used in the past for justifying aggressive actions against Cuba.

The delegates from the United Arab Republic and Ghana declared that they cannot justify the USA actions aimed at establishing a blockade of Cuba. They both emphasized that these actions by the USA constitute a violation of the principle of maritime freedom, and pose a serious threat to peace and general security. In their speeches, they noted the fact that the USA took its unilateral actions behind the back of the Security Council.

The delegates of the United Arab Republic and Ghana have appealed to the parties involved--the USA, the USSR, and Cuba--to resolve the conflict through peaceful negotiations, and have jointly introduced a draft resolution (transmitted by teletype).

The last to speak at today's meeting was the acting Secretary General of the UN, U Thant, who read the text of messages he sent today to Comrade N.S. Khrushchev and to Kennedy. In these messages, U Thant proposed that for a period of two to three weeks "all arms provisioning in Cuba be voluntarily suspended, and that all quarantine activity be suspended by the opposing party." U Thant expressed his support for the proposal that the interested parties meet during this period and discuss the situation. He, U Thant, is willing to provide all necessary services for this purpose, and is at the disposal of the parties involved.

Having learned in the afternoon of the content of the message to the USSR and the USA prepared by U Thant, we told him that we considered it incorrect and wrong-headed of the acting Secretary General to place on the same level a party on one hand that has taken provocative actions and imposed a naval blockade, and on the other hand parties that have been engaging in normal shipping activity and taking lawful measures for safeguarding their countries' defense. We emphasized that the acting Secretary General's most urgent obligation is to exert necessary pressure on the government of the USA to make them lift the illegal blockade of the Cuban coast, and end their acts of piracy that violate maritime freedom.

Nevertheless, U Thant did not change the content of his messages. The text of U Thant's message to Comrade N.S. Khrushchev has been teletyped to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Throughout the entire day, delegations from the neutral countries of Asia and Africa worked on a draft resolution for the Security Council. We have repeatedly met with the delegates from the United Arab Republic, Ghana, and other countries, explaining to them the necessity of including in the Council resolution a clear demand that the USA lift its naval blockade and cease its other provocative actions against Cuba.

The draft resolution introduced by the delegates from the United Arab Republic and Ghana (the text of which has been teletyped) nevertheless does not mention this directly. The draft resolution proposes that the acting General Secretary reach an agreement without delay with the immediately interested parties regarding the steps that must urgently be taken to remove the present threat to peace and to normalize the Caribbean situation, and it appeals to the interested parties to "refrain during this period from any actions which could directly or indirectly aggravate the present situation."
Although the formulation of this last point is vague, the interpretation offered in the United Arab Republic and Ghanaian delegates' speeches, and the whole tenor of their speeches, nevertheless clearly indicate that the gist of that formulation is a demand for the revocation of the measures announced by Kennedy. Despite the shortcomings of the draft, it must be noted that, if approved, it would significantly limit the USA's capacity to carry out the blockade and its other aggressions against Cuba.

We are also taking into account that, if the matter is transferred to the Assembly, it will be difficult to count on the approval of a better resolution, since at present a majority of the Afro-Asian group supports the draft put forth by the United Arab Republic and Ghana.

Proceeding from this point, and bearing in mind the Cuban government's views, we believe that it is possible, when the United Arab Republic and Ghanaian draft resolution is voted on, that we, after issuing a statement of its shortcomings and weaknesses, might abstain from voting on it if it can be passed without our votes (that is, without the votes of the delegates from the USSR and Romania), and vote in favor of it if it fails to win the necessary number of votes without our support.

We do not rule out the possibility that Ghana and the United Arab Republic may alter their draft resolution, reducing it to an appeal to the interested parties to conduct immediate negotiations towards a settlement of the Caribbean crisis that threatens the general peace. In voting on such a resolution we will, having voiced our views on its shortcomings, take a similar position: in other words, we will abstain from voting if the resolution can be approved without our votes, and we will vote in favor of it if it would not pass without the votes of the USSR and Romania.

In the event that none of the resolutions is approved by the Council, then obviously an extraordinary special session of the Assembly will have to be convened, which we will not object to.

We will act as outlined above unless we receive other instructions.

The Council meeting will be held on 25 October at 4:00 p.m. local time, when the vote on the resolution will also take place.

It would be valuable if for this occasion we had the text of the official response to U Thant's message to N. S. Khrushchev, if such a response has been made by that time.

According to available information, the USA will respond to U Thant's message in the next few hours.

25.X.62 V. ZORIN