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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 10, 1962

SOVIET REPORT ON THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS BASED ON INTELLIGENCE MATERIALS

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Summary of intelligence sources reporting that the US had been preparing for an invasion of Cuba and Kennedy only used the installation of missiles as a pretext to carry out aggressive actions. The US carried out the blockade also to warn the Soviet Union against signing a separate peace treaty with the GDR and to strengthen the position of the Democratic Party before the election. According to the report, other capitalist countries agreed that it was only the flexible policy of the USSR that prevented the outbreak of war.
    "Soviet Report on the Cuban Missile Crisis Based on Intelligence Materials," November 10, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, CWIHP archive. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114531
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Top Secret

Copy# 3

CCCPSU

10 November 1962

2861-s to comrade PONOMAREV B.N. (personally)

As agreed, I am sending you a report on the Cuban question written on the basis of intelligence materials.

ATTACHMENT: 18 pages of text.

CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE OF STATE SECURITY

V. SEMICHASTNY

Copy witnessed: [signature]

3 cop[ies] typ[ed]

to comr. Ponomarev B.N. (CC CPSU)

KGB Secretariat

to file# [redacted] PGU

file [redacted]

[Redacted] PGU

[Redacted] from dictation

Ref.# 16/mb/6923 [redacted]

10.XI.62 from comr. [redacted] 26/XI

comr. [redacted] 26.11.62

[signature] 26.11.62

[signature]

Top Secret

The aggressive policy of the KENNEDY administration on the Cuban question and the attitude of the US allies and neutral countries toward it.

Prior to President KENNEDY's announcement of the Cuban blockade, the US policy toward this country consisted of measures directed at creating conditions for liquidating the existing order in Cuba.

With this goal, as evidenced by the intelligence reports, the United States was carrying out measures directed at increasing the economic and political isolation of Cuba and organizing terrorist and subversive activities inside the country, which, in opinion of the Americans, could lead to an economic collapse in Cuba and foment widespread public dissatisfaction with the CASTRO government.

Simultaneously, the Americans took steps to prepare for a possible armed invasion, seeking to secure the Latin American countries' cooperation on this matter. Information in the KGB possession indicates that the US never stopped activities to build and train forces for future intervention, consisting of Cuban counter-revolutionary emigres and mercenaries from other Latin American countries. Such activities were being carried out in Florida, Puerto Rico, and a number of Central American countries.

Information about shipments of Soviet medium range missiles were used by the United States as the main reason for carrying out aggressive actions, announced by KENNEDY on 22 October 1962. In the morning of 22 October, the US announced to the NATO allies that the organization of a naval blockade around Cuba was prompted by the fact that the establishment of missile bases in this country violates the established balance of power. US Ambassador in one of the countries of [redacted], in a conversation with the leader of the government said, justifying the urgency of the blockade, that the US had allegedly had information that atomic weapons were on the way to Cuba. The US, remarked the ambassador, could not tolerate that "the sword, which still in the sheath, would be raised over the head of the United States."

However, apart from receiving the information about the construction of missile bases in Cuba, a number of other factors also influenced the decision to introduce the blockade.

In particular, of considerable importance was the desire of the US to influence the USSR position on the Berlin question. According to the available data, KENNEDY came to believe that the USSR might in the near future embark on signing a [separate] peace treaty with the GDR, with all its implications. Given the emerged situation the US government decided that taking action against Cuba would demonstrate to the Soviet Union the US readiness to resort to force in defense of its positions not only in Cuba, but in Western Berlin as well. By taking aggressive actions, the Americans believed, stated [redacted], that the conflict with the USSR over Cuba presents a lesser danger than a conflict over Western Berlin.

[Redacted] circles pointed out that of a certain (though not primary) factor in the decision to launch the blockade was the desire of KENNEDY and his circle to strengthen the positions of the Democratic party in congressional elections, by pulling the rug from under the feet of rightist Republicans who accuse the administration of indecisiveness.

Besides, the United States decided to take advantage of the discovery of "offensive weapons'' on Cuba and deliver a blow to the prestige of the USSR. Ambassador from one of the countries [redacted] in Washington indicated that the aim of the measures taken by the US against Cuba was to show the whole world, and the Soviet Union in particular, that [the US] is in full control over the Caribbean basin, and to demonstrate in this way its military might.

During the discussion of the plan of action against Cuba inside the American government prior to KENNEDY's speech on 22 October, there were proposals for a direct intervention. [Redacted] stated during a conversation with the representatives of [redacted] that initially, when the information on the presence of "offensive" weapons on Cuba arrived, the plan was to launch a troop landing on Cuba and liquidate the CASTRO regime, but then the decision was made to confine themselves to a naval blockade and to demand a removal of "offensive" weapons from Cuba.

Announcing the blockade of Cuba, the US at the same time continued full speed preparations for a possible intervention. US government officials, in their talks with representatives of the countries [redacted] emphasized that the US would prefer to resolve the question of liquidating "Soviet bases on Cuba" through negotiations, but if negotiations fail, the United States would resort to force. Intelligence materials confirm that the US had concentrated in proximity of Cuba large military forces, ready for invasion.

According to information from [redacted], the Americans intended to intervene if the Soviet Union refused to remove ''offensive" weapons from Cuba and responded to the blockade by taking steps of military character in order to ensure the access of ships to Cuba. In the opinion of [redacted], the American appeal to the UN initially sought to prove the futility of negotiations with the USSR and to justify a direct attack on Cuba.

Within political and diplomatic circles of capitalist countries, there is a widespread conviction that it was only the hard-headed and flexible policy of the USSR from the very beginning of the conflict (preventing a clash between the Soviet ships and the US patrol boats, the agreement with U THANT's proposal) that prevented the danger of war breakout. The tactics of the Soviet government succeeded in making the Americans tied up, to one or the other degree, by possible UN resolutions. In connection with this, the chief supporters if direct aggression against Cuba, CIA Director MCCONE and the chairman of the Atomic Commission SEABORG stated, according to available information, at the meeting of the US National Security Council on 25 October that the US achieved nothing by moving the issue for UN consideration. They insisted on launching an attack against Cuba in the immediate future.

According to information from [redacted], by that time the majority in the US government, including President KENNEDY, came to the conclusion that, considering the situation, the US tactics must be to insure that the US demands would be met in the nearest future without an invasion of Cuba, while not dropping a possibility to carry out such an invasion. In the US government and diplomatic circles discussions began on reaching a possible compromise agreement on the Cuban question, based on a compromise. According to available information, certain American representatives in conversations with [redacted] expressed ideas on the possibility of examining the question of liquidating missile bases on Cuba in exchange for a  promise from the USA not to intervene and, possibly, even in exchange for abandonment [otkazot] of the bases in Turkey (or for a promise to hold talks on this question in the future).

Judging from available materials, in making the decision about provocations in the Caribbean Sea region, the Americans calculated that the USSR would not resort to a nuclear war over Cuba. Representatives of the US mission hammered away at this idea in conversations with [redacted]. [Redacted]. USA allies, especially France, were of the same opinion. [Redacted].

Despite their fears of an atomic world war, the US government was nevertheless prepared to take the risk of using force in order to achieve their goals with regard to Cuba. There was feverish preparation for an invasion or for bombardment of missile bases on Cuba, and at the same time wide publicity for the military mobilization activities was arranged in order to bear pressure on the USSR.

Assessing the message of comr. N. S. KHRUSHCHEV to KENNEDY on 28 October 1962, the embassy of one of [redactedt] countries [redacted] informed its government that the Soviet Union took a completely conciliatory position on the day when the USA was apparently preparing to carry out an invasion of Cuba.

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