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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 28, 1962


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    According to Protocol 63, Khrushchev probably assumed that Kennedy’s patience was at an end and the Cuban Missile Crisis might either be resolved or spin out of control, and the Kremlin again considered how it might respond to a US attack. If anyone suggested a preemptive strike, or even a retaliatory strike, against a target outside of the Caribbean, Malin did not note it for the official record.
    "Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Presidium Protocol 63," October 28, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI, F. 3, Op. 16, D. 947, L. 45-46ob. Translated and edited by Mark Kramer, with assistance from Timothy Naftali.
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Present: Brezhnev, Kozlov, Kosygin, Mikoyan, Suslov, Khrushchev, Shvernik, Grishin, Demichev, Ilichev, Ponomarev, Shelepin, Gromyko, Malinovsky, Grechko, Zakharov, S. Ivanov, Malin.

On further steps concerning Cuba.

Cde. Khrushchev

1. If an attack is provoked, we have issued an order to inflict a retaliatory strike.

2. We agree to dismantle the missile installations.

I. On the letter to US President Kennedy

Cde. Khrushchev is dictating the text of the letter.

V. On the letter to F. Castro

The text of the letter is being dictated by Cde. Khrushchev.

On the telegram to Cde. Pavlov[1]

Cde. Khrushchev is dictating the text of the telegram.

II. On the letter to U Thant

Protocol No. 63 (continuation) Session of 28 October 1962

Present: Kozlov, Kosygin, Mikoyan, Polyansky, Suslov, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Grishin, Demichev, Ilichev, Ponomarev, Shelepin

III. Cde. Dobrynin’s message from Washington about the discussion with R. Kennedy and the telegram of the KGB station chief No. __from[2]

Send the informational report and letter to F. Castro.

About the instructions to Alekseev.

Instructions to Zorin

We can show U Thant that we are dismantling the missile installations.

IX. On the instructions to Cde. Pavlov

Instructions to Pavlov to show to U Thant

About the ships.

Reach out to the Red Cross (so that Red Cross representatives look) during the [ships’] voyage and on a neutral vessel.

Letter to Castro so that he will give his consent to letting in Red Cross representatives [to Cuba’s ports].[3]

Compose an informational letter to Kennedy.

[1] Translator’s Note: Here, once again, “Pavlov” is the pseudonym used for Ambassador Alekseev. The same is true of the heading of section IX below.

[2] Translator’s Note: The Soviet ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Fedorovich Dobrynin (1919-2010), had met with US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (the brother of the president) on the evening of 27 October US east coast time. Kennedy indicated that after all Soviet missile installations in Cuba were dismantled, the United States would agree to eliminate US Jupiter nuclear missile bases in Turkey, provided that the Soviet leaders kept this offer strictly secret and unwritten. (A few days later, Robert Kennedy rejected a communication from Khrushchev that mentioned the arrangement.) The explicit tradeoff was glossed over in Robert Kennedy’s posthumously published, fanciful account Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: W. W. Norton, 1969), and it was not acknowledged by any of President Kennedy’s other advisers until many years later.

[3] Translator’s Note: The three words in brackets were crossed out in the notes. The question of whether international inspectors should be allowed in to Cuba to verify the dismantling of missile installations became a major point of contention between Moscow and Havana — Fidel Castro vehemently rejected the idea beginning with his “Five Points” statement on 28 October 1962 — and stoked bilateral friction for years afterward.