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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 30, 1962

TELEGRAM FROM SOVIET DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER KUZNETSOV AND AMBASSADOR TO THE UN ZORIN TO USSR FOREIGN MINSTRY (1)

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    Thoughts and opinions from Kuznetsov and Zorin regarding Cuba: namely the possibility of US invasion, U Thant’s intention to talk with Castro, a UN proposal to the US for a framework to end the blockade and the make-up of a UN presence in Cuba.
    "Telegram from Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Kuznetsov and Ambassador to the UN Zorin to USSR Foreign Minstry (1)," October 30, 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/112634
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We are communicating several thoughts on the situation that has arisen around the Cuban issue, and on our possible position and tactics in the course of future negotiations with U Thant and the Americans.


First. From talks with U Thant, conversations at the UN, and information from the American press, we have received the impression that the strategy of the USA government is at present directed towards the carrying out of our decision to dismantle military sites in Cuba, rejecting at the same time the necessity of giving clear and firm guarantees of Cuban security, restricted in this regard by the statements issued earlier by Kennedy in his messages to Comrade N.S. Khrushchev of 27 and 28 October, or in the last resort by the Security Council's approval of those statements.


In this regard it is significant that the Americans, as is evident from available information, want the future role of the Security Council and especially of U Thant to come down basically to organizing and carrying out inspections on the dismantling of our missile installations in Cuba.


As far as guarantees of Cuban security are concerned, the Americans understand that a clear and concrete resolution of the Security Council could in this respect tie their hands and keep them from proceeding with their aggressive policy toward Cuba, which it seems they do not intend to renounce. On 29 October a UPI press bulletin said that Rusk "had assured the Latin American envoys that any Soviet-American agreement would pursue the goal of the removal of missiles from Cuba, and in no way would exclude the possibility of new collective measures against Castro."


In light of this, there is reason to expect that Kennedy's statement about the USA government's readiness to "give assurances that there will be no invasion of Cuba" will be interpreted by the Americans in the narrow sense, as saying that the USA and the Latin American countries will not attack Cuba with their own armed forces. At the same time they are trying to keep their hands free not only in relation to the economic blockade of Cuba and subversive operations against it, but also in their support, perhaps somewhat more disguised than earlier, for the preparation by counterrevolutionary Cuban emigres of military activities against Cuba.


Second. As far as U Thant's line is concerned, he intends, as he told us, to exchange views with Fidel Castro primarily on the issue of the verification of the dismantling of Soviet military sites, and also to ascertain that this dismantling is actually going on. On his return he intends to present a report to the Security Council precisely on these issues, after which the Council will face the practical issue of creating a monitoring apparatus.


It is true that U Thant, taking into account how we put before him the issue of guarantees for Cuba, is preparing at the same time to put before Castro the issue of the so-called "UN presence" in Cuba as a guarantee of its security and a guarantee against any Cuban actions against the other Latin-American countries. In the event of the Cuban government's consenting to this sort of "UN presence" in Cuba, U Thant intends to pose the same question about a "UN presence" on the territory of the USA and certain Latin-American countries. It is however evident that the Americans will try to arrange the Security Council affair in such a way as to give priority to the issue of the mechanism for inspections on the war-site dismantling, and not to the issue of guarantees for Cuba. Moreover, U Thant's plans with regard to the guarantees for Cuba are not yet fully clear.


Third. It appears to us that in these conditions it would be expedient, in the interests of safeguarding guarantees for Cuban security, to try to bring together into one knot the main issues that must be resolved for a peaceful settlement of the Cuban crisis, most importantly the issues of control on the dismantling inspections and of guarantees for Cuba, and to reach a simultaneous settlement of these issues through the Security Council. We intend to suggest that such a resolution be given the form of a joint declaration made in the Security Council by the governments of the USSR and the USA (or by these two separately) concerning a peaceful settlement of the Cuban crisis, the Cuban government's input on this issue, and the Council's resolution approving all these declarations and entrusting the acting Secretary General of the UN, under the supervision of the Security Council, to carry out the necessary measures according to the procedures of the UN apparatus.


We will propose in the framework of these declarations to stipulate, as a guarantee of Cuban security, the final end to all blockade activity against Cuba, and the duties of the USA in the capacity proposed by Comrade N.S. Khrushchev's message to Kennedy of 27 October, and taking into account Fidel Castro's statement of 28 October.


If the Americans insist, we will consider the possibility of approving the explicit mention in the declaration of the Soviet government's obligation to dismantle the Soviet military sites in Cuba which the Americans call offensive, and of the Soviet government's approval of the inspection system that has been worked out.


The Americans will obviously demand a declaration from the Cuban government that contains an expression of consent to the elaborated guarantees of security and of the inspection system, as well as a formulation of Cuba's non-attack obligations with regard to its neighbors, in accordance with the goals of the UN Charter. We will consult with the Cuban delegation on this issue.


As far as the inspection system on the dismantling is concerned, we propose that our primary position should be to agree to the implementation of the inspections after the completion of the dismantling process. If the Americans insist on carrying out inspections during the dismantling process, it might be possible to agree to this as long as we had guarantees for a monitoring procedure that would of course keep hidden from the inspectors anything we did not want to reveal. The monitoring process should take only a short time to be carried out-- only a period necessary for ascertaining that the dismantling has been completed.


With regard to the composition of the inspection apparatus, there are now several variants being advanced in UN circles.
According to facts released by the UN secretariat, U Thant wants to create a monitoring apparatus composed of representatives from a selection of neutral countries belonging to the UN--Sweden, Ethiopia, the United Arab Republic, Mexico, Brazil, [and] Yugoslavia, and also Switzerland. There is also an idea about delegating the monitoring process to eight neutral countries represented in the Committee on Disarmament (India, Burma, the United Arab Republic, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mexico, Brazil, Sweden), possibly, with the goal of setting a precedent for resolving questions involving inspections on full and general disarmament. The Americans, U Thant has informed us, are putting forth a variant in which the monitoring groups consist of representatives from the USA, the USSR, and Cuba.


We propose that it would be appropriate to stipulate that the monitoring groups include representatives from countries like Indonesia, Ceylon, the United Arab Republic, and Ghana. In the course of negotiations it would be possible to agree on a variant in which the groups are composed of representatives from eight neutral countries belonging to the 18th Committee on Disarmament.


Furthermore a question arises about future UN measures on strengthening peace in the Caribbean region after the completion of the inspections of dismantling, and also on the inspection (by International Red Cross forces) of Soviet vessels bound for Cuba.


In our opinion, it would be possible to agree to the presence in Havana (or in several Cuban commercial ports) of small groups of UN representatives (of the same composition as the groups verifying military-site dismantling) with the right to carry out selective inspections on the vessels of various countries arriving in Cuba, with the purpose of determining whether or not they are carrying so-called "offensive" sorts of armaments. [One could] make this conditional upon the requirement that the same groups of UN representatives be placed in the USA and the Latin-American countries neighboring Cuba with the right to make periodic inspections of certain regions of these countries with the purpose of determining whether preparations are being made for the invasion of Cuba, either by these countries themselves or by Cuban emigres.


It would be possible to propose that this system of observation operate for the duration, for example, of one year, after which the Security Council would again examine the issue of whether a continuation of the observation is needed.
Fourth. Taking into account President Kennedy's desire, communicated through Robert Kennedy in his conversation with Comrade Dobrynin on 27 October (your #1255), we will not raise the issue of the American bases in Turkey in our negotiations with U Thant and the Americans in New York. At the same time it seems to us possible and expedient to reach an agreement with the USA that in the joint Soviet-American declaration in the Security Council, there be a record of both sides' intention to enter in the near future negotiations for normalizing relations between the NATO countries and the countries of the Warsaw Pact, as has already been outlined in the correspondence between Comrade N.S. Khrushchev and President Kennedy. In doing so it might be possible to include in such a declaration a reference both to Comrade N.S. Khrushchev's message of 28 October and Kennedy's messages of 27 and 28 October, as well as to Comrade N.S. Khrushchev's message of 27 October, in which the question about Turkey is raised.


Fifth. Until now, in our official documents and during negotiations here in New York, our weaponry now being dismantled in Cuba has been referred to as "weaponry considered offensive by the Americans." In the course of future negotiations, and especially during the preparation of the texts of the Security Council documents, we will have to oppose our own concrete formulation to the American formulation "offensive weaponry." It might be possible in our opinion to use, say, the formula "means for conveying nuclear arms at an operational distance a certain number of kilometers."
All the issues laid out here will be the subject of discussions immediately after U Thant's return from Cuba, i.e., after 1 November.


We request your examination.

30.X.62 V. KUZNETSOV
V. ZORIN

[Source: 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.]