Search in

Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 01, 1962


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

  • Citation

    get citation

    Protocol 39 gives some evidence that Khrushchev was thinking about more than just Cuba. Khrushchev discussed the importance of getting the US to stop flying over the ships heading to Cuba. After discussing the timetable for sending the missiles to Cuba, Khrushchev led his colleagues in a re-examination of the Soviet Union’s policy on West Berlin. Berlin had not been a topic of discussion for months.
    "Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Presidium Protocol No. 39 ," July 01, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI, F. 3, Op. 16, D. 947, Ll. 16-16ob. Translated and edited by Mark Kramer, with assistance from Timothy Naftali.
  • share document


English HTML


Present: Brezhnev, Voronov, Kirilenko, Kosygin, Mikoyan, Suslov, Khrushchev, Demichev, Ilichev, Ponomarev, Shelepin, Grishin, Gromyko, Malin.

On the negotiations with R. Castro

Cde. Khrushchev

Entrust Cdes. Khrushchev, Malinovsky, and Gromyko with pursuing the negotiations.

II. Concerning Berlin

Cdes.Khrushchev, Mikoyan,

Gromyko, Kosygin, Brezhnev,

Suslov, Ponomarev

Continue (to prepare proposals):

Western countries reduce their troops by half in W. Berlin.

The remaining half — stay under the UN flag for six years.

Within two years troops of the Western powers are to be replaced by UN troops, and the UN troops are to remain in W. Berlin for four years.

A second variant: Either we ourselves or the neutrals raise the question of Germany before the UN.

The debates would be in our favor.

But this is the path of creating tensions.

Under the first variant — the question about access is not linked to an international control organ.

An international organ is unacceptable.

I. Regarding the speech by McNamara.[1]

Take a gamble.

They are not equal, but they were saying that the forces are equal.

Strikes not against cities — this is aggressiveness.

What is the goal when they put this forward? How many bombs are needed?

Inure the population to the idea that there will be a nuclear war.

Cde. Gromyko will prepare for the trip to Geneva.

III. Concerning Cuba

The schedule of transfers up to 1 November 1962.[2]

Regarding the flights buzzing our ships — say that this impedes shipping.

On the draft treaty with Cuba.

Cde. Gromyko reads it.

The draft is adopted.[3]

[1] Translator’s Note: This section is referring to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara’s commencement address at the University of Michigan on 9 June 1962. In that speech, McNamara declared that “basic military strategy in a possible general nuclear war should be approached in much the same way that more conventional military operations have been regarded in the past. That is to say, principal military objectives, in the event of a nuclear war stemming from a major attack on the Alliance, should be the destruction of the enemy’s forces, not of his civilian population.” By taking such an approach, McNamara argued, “we are giving a possible opponent the strongest imaginable incentive to refrain from striking our own cities.” Much of the speech was intended to stress the need for NATO’s nuclear deterrent to be based predominantly on US nuclear forces rather than on multiple small forces akin to the ones already developed by Britain and France, but the targeting priorities laid out in the speech proved controversial in Moscow.

[2] Translator’s Note: This is referring to the sea-bound transfers of weapons and logistical supplies to Cuba in support of the planned missile deployments. The schedules were frequently updated and revised.

[3] Translator’s Note: A draft “Treaty between the Republic of Cuba and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Stationing of the Soviet Armed Forces on the Territory of the Republic of Cuba” was initialed in Moscow in early July 1962 by Cuban Defense Minister Raul Castro and Soviet Defense Minister Malinovsky. The document underwent further minor revisions over the next several weeks, and a revised version was presented to Fidel Castro on 13 August 1962. Castro proposed some small changes, which were incorporated into the final version. See Anatoly Gribkov, Im Dienste der Sowjetunion: Erinnerungen eines Armeegenerals (Berlin: edition Q, 1992), esp. chs. 2-4.