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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 26, 1962

TELEGRAM FROM EAST GERMAN AMBASSADOR, MOSCOW, TO EAST GERMAN SECRETARY OF STATE (FIRST DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER) OTTO WINZER

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

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    The East German Ambassador in Moscow, Rudolf Dölling, writes to the East German Secretary of State (First Deputy Foreign Minister), Otto Winzer, about several diplomatic meetings that have been held concerning US-Cuban relations and tensions. One of these meetings is between several Eastern European countries: East Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, USSR, Romania and Czechoslovakia.
    "Telegram from East German Ambassador, Moscow, to East German Secretary of State (First Deputy Foreign Minister) Otto Winzer," October 26, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, DY 30/J IV 2/2/853, Die Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (SAPMO), Berlin; obtained by Hans-Hermann Hertle, translated for CWIHP by Regina Schmidt-Ott. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115390
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Telegram nr.172/62 Comrade [Rudolf] Dölling, Moscow to Secretary of State Winzer 26.10.1962

On October 26th, comrade [Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily] Kuznetzov asked the ambassadors of the People’s Republic of Poland, CSSR [Czechoslovakia], People’s Republic of Bulgaria, Romanian People’s Republic, and GDR to attend a meeting. He informed them about the situation and the measures taken in the last 24 hours regarding the aggressive acts committed by the US. Emphasized that U Thant’s letter and Khrushchev’s response had been made public in the press, [and] Kennedy responded, published in TASS. The US insists on a halt to arms-delivery and removal of existing missiles. Resolutions of US, SU, and Cuba dealt with session of Security Council. The neutral States, Ghana, and United Arab Republic [UAR; Egypt], submitted their well-known resolution, missing fundamental issues. Security Council: no vote on the resolutions, meeting adjourned with regard to talks U Thant is having at the moment. Today, U Thant is having individual talks with [Soviet UN Ambassador Valerian] Zorin, [US UN Ambassador Adlai E.] Stevenson and the Cuban representative. After receipt of Khrushchev’s letter U Thant has again resumed talks with Khrushchev. Draws again attention to dangerous situation, concerned about potential clash of ships, hopes to avoid it. Submits proposal suggesting that SU instruct its ships to avoid the ring-blockade [“Rayon des Auffangens”] of US ships to allow for the possibility of a peaceful settlement. The Soviet Government will give such an instruction to captains of Soviet ships. U Thant has handed a similar letter to Kennedy proposing not to engage Soviet ships in order to avoid conflict and play for time. This is to allow for discussions to settle the problem according to UNO-regulations. Zorin received orders to accept U Thant’s proposal: Comrade Khrushchev appreciates U Thant’s efforts, is ready to do everything in his power to liquidate the crisis, and to come to a peaceful settlement. Captains were ordered to avoid the American ring-blockade for a certain time.

The Soviet Government deems development of situation unfavorable for the US, as it is under pressure of neutral States. Nevertheless [it] will emphasize that danger of open conflict has not been warded off nor the possibility of further provocative acts by the US. The Soviet Government instructed its captains accordingly to fully explore the possibilities of a peaceful settlement.

Comrade Kuznetsov asks the ambassadors to inform their governments. The Ambassador of the CSSR asks whether such directives applied to all ships notwithstanding their freight. Comrade Kuznetsov replied in the affirmative. Emphasized that the ring-blockade of American warships was to be avoided for a certain time as clashes were possible. Comrade Kuznetsov did not comment on the remark that the US was preparing an armed invasion of Cuba. He, however, stressed that talks between U Thant, [Valerian] Zorin, [Adlai] Stevenson, and the Cuban representative were ongoing.

Robert Kennedy had met with [Soviet Ambassador to the United States Anatoly F.] Dobrynin yesterday. Comrade Kuznetsov then asked whether there were any news from our ships, told us that according to the latest information the GDR-ship “Völkerfreundschaft” was within the ring-blockade. On October 25th at 5 pm, it is being escorted by an American war-ship en route to Cuba. CSSR-Ambassador says that three of their ships are concerned, two en route to Cuba, one in Havana. Polish Ambassador indicates one ship involved. Both ambassadors informed Kuznetsov about the orders the ships had received from governments. I was unable to give information as I had not received any. As Kuznetsov has asked for information I think it of utmost importance that I am informed about the position of GDR-ships and the orders they received.

Dölling [signed]