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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 30, 1962

TELEGRAM FROM DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER KUZNETSOV TO SOVIET FOREIGN MINISTRY (1) ON THE SECOND MEETING WITH U THANT ON OCTOBER 29, 1962

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    Kuznetsov sends the results of a meeting with U Thant, regarding the dismantling of weapons in Cuba.
    "Telegram from Deputy Foreign Minister Kuznetsov to Soviet Foreign Ministry (1) on the second meeting with U Thant on October 29, 1962," October 30, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, 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. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112636
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On 29 October a second meeting with U Thant was held at his initiative.


1. U Thant informed me that the Americans have favorably received our agreement to the inspection of Soviet vessels bound for Cuba by representatives of the International Red Cross.


U Thant also informed us that he had contacted the Red Cross and received a preliminary response that the Red Cross was ready to undertake the inspection of vessels both on the open sea, and in ports of disembarkation. U Thant intends to negotiate with Fidel Castro on carrying out the inspection in ports.


In the Red Cross's preliminary response received by U Thant, it is indicated that all personnel carrying out the inspection of the vessels will consist of Swiss citizens.


2. U Thant explained to Stevenson our position on the inspection of the dismantlings and the removal of the so-called "offensive" weaponry from Cuba. The Americans asked U Thant to clarify how long the dismantling would take. On his own initiative U Thant put this question to us. We told U Thant that we would ask our government, but provisionally the dismantling will be expected to take 2 to 3 weeks. (In provisionally specifying this time frame, we were proceeding from

the relevant points made in Comrade N.S. Khrushchev's message to Kennedy of 27 October.)


We request to be informed about the duration of the dismantling processes in order to give an answer to U Thant.


3. According to U Thant, the Americans are insisting that the monitoring of the dismantling be carried out during the very process of dismantling, and not after its completion, especially if the dismantling is to take a long time. With regard to this it is advantageous to accelerate the dismantlings, in order not to show the installations to the inspectors. The Americans prefer that the inspection be carried out by the UN, and for the composition of the inspection groups they propose two variants: representatives of neutral countries, or representatives of the immediately interested parties--the USA, the USSR, and Cuba. The Americans, however, according to U Thant, have started insisting less strongly lately on UN inspection during the dismantling process. They are said to declare that if it is not possible to reach an agreement about UN inspections, they will carry out the inspections themselves, and that they have the necessary means to do so.
General Rikhye (U Thant's military advisor) who was present at the conversation explained that with inspections by their own forces, the Americans have in mind flights over Cuba by their own planes carrying photographic equipment, and at low altitudes.


U Thant told Stevenson that the UN can carry out dismantling inspections in Cuba only in the event that the Soviet Union and Cuba agree to it. He asked that there be notification of the Soviet government's position on inspection by UN forces during the dismantling process.


It appears to us expedient to insist on our present position, in accordance with which the appointees of the Security Council should carry out inspections not of the process of dismantling, but of the Soviet Union's fulfillment of its promise to dismantle the installations of weapons which the Americans refer to as "offensive." This would mean that the inspectors would be admitted to sites where there are installations when they have not yet been fully dismantled, and the arms not yet removed. In regard to this, it is expedient to speed up the dismantling of the installations and the removal of the arms. If the dismantling is carried out in a short time, then the issue of inspection during the dismantling process will not arise at all.


We request that you consider this.


4. During the talks with U Thant, his aides delivered reports to him on Kennedy's statement concerning the suspension of the "quarantine" of vessels bound for Cuba during the period of U Thant's stay in Cuba on 30 and 31 October. U Thant asked how we felt about this. We said that such a period was too short for even the vessels located near the blockade zone to make it to the ports of disembarkation.


U Thant noted in regard to this that he gave very great significance to the requirement that during his stay in Cuba his people, like Rikhye, be shown at least from a distance that the installations are being dismantled. In this case, U Thant said, on his return from New York he would issue a statement that his people have been convinced of the Soviet Union's fulfillment of its dismantling obligation, and that for this reason the "quarantine" should not be reimposed. U Thant asked whether the Soviet government could agree to this.


We propose that it would be appropriate to show U Thant himself the dismantling of certain installations during his stay in Cuba on 30 and 31 October. In such an event he would take a firmer stance, and it would be more difficult for the Americans to renew their "quarantine" of Cuba.


If this is recognized as expedient, I request urgently to give corresponding instructions to Havana.

30.X.62 V. KUZNETSOV

[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.]