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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 25, 1962

TELEGRAM FROM SOVIET DELEGATE TO THE UNITED NATIONS V. A. ZORIN TO USSR FOREIGN MINISTRY

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    Preparation for an upcoming meeting with acting UN Secretary U Thant, a meeting with the Soviet Union that will take place between U Thant’s meetings with the US and Cuba. Zorin says they will transmit Khrushchev’s message during the meeting that the Soviet agrees with U Thant’s proposal of holding a negotiation for a peaceful settlement in the Caribbean region. He also says the Soviet should expect the US would not agree to the suspension of “quarantine” activity only after the removal of “offensive weaponry” from Cuba. Soviet, however, would insist the negotiation to be based on U Thant’s proposal of suspending arms stockpiling in Cuba, which is supported by neutral countries.
    "Telegram from Soviet delegate to the United Nations V. A. Zorin to USSR Foreign Ministry," 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. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110989
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25 October 1962

We have been informed that U Thant has declared his intention to meet successively with the Americans, us, and the Cubans on 26 October. He has proposed meeting with us at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time; before that he is meeting with Stevenson, and after us with Garcia-Inchaustegui. We will agree to this first meeting with U Thant.


In our talks with U Thant we will transmit Comrade N. S. Khrushchev's response to the former's message, and Khrushchev's response to Kennedy and Russell as well.


We understand Comrade N.S. Khrushchev's response to U Thant to be saying that the Soviet Union agrees with U Thant's proposal in its goal of holding preliminary negotiations-- allowing the interested parties to meet for a peaceful settlement of the crisis and for a normalization of the situation in the Caribbean area. This includes, on the part of the Soviet Union, the voluntary suspension for 2 to 3 weeks of arms stockpiling in Cuba, and, on the part of the USA, the voluntary suspension for the same period of its "quarantine" activity, including the inspection of ships bound for Cuba.


To judge from Kennedy's response, the USA is attempting to put forth as the basis of its negotiations its demand for the removal of "offensive weaponry" from Cuba.


For this reason we should expect that the Americans will not agree to the suspension of "quarantine" activity unless this demand of theirs is met.


We of course firmly reject any attempts by the USA to impose stipulations either on us or on Cuba. In this matter we will proceed from the condition that negotiations can only be conducted on the basis of U Thant's proposal, that is on the basis of the point about suspending arms stockpiling in Cuba, a proposal which the neutral countries support.


The possibility cannot be ruled out that U Thant, under American influence, is attempting to put forth as a primary measure the proposals made by him in his second message to Comrade N.S. Khrushchev, especially the one stipulating that Soviet vessels bound for Cuba keep away from the interception area for a certain period of time, and that the USA for the duration of that same period avoid immediate encounters between their ships and Soviet vessels. In this event we will declare that U Thant's proposal, which is the basis on which all the interested parties have agreed to conduct negotiations, goes above and beyond the "primary measures" that he put forth in his second message.


Since the forthcoming meeting with U Thant is a preliminary one and raises the issue of further negotiations, including a conclusive normalization of the whole situation in the Caribbean region, we ask to be briefed on your decision as to the level, form, and direction of further negotiations.


If there are supplementary instructions for the first meeting with U Thant, we ask you to take into consideration the meeting time proposed by U Thant.

25.X.62 V. ZORIN