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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 08, 1962

DANISH DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE WEEKLY BRIEF (EXCERPTS)

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

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    An intelligence report on the activities concerning the Cuban Missile Crisis, including those of the Soviet Union, Cuba and Eastern Europe states. This weekly report also includes an account of the important events/activities from this particular week. The report also analyzes several photo-reconnaissance missions.
    "Danish Defense Intelligence Service Weekly Brief (Excerpts)," November 08, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Danish State Archive, Copenhagen, Archives of the Danish Defense Intelligence Service. Translated for CWIHP by Henrik Brandt. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115405
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Danish Defense Intelligence Service

Weekly Brief

8 November 1962

[excerpts]

Summary

(for the period 1-7 November 1962)

Foreign policy this week has been marked by the negotiations about the inspection of the dismantling and shipment of the Soviet missiles and bombers on and from Cuba. The negotiations have apparently reached their conclusion at the closing of this period.

Of note this week is Khrushchev’s successive bilateral negotiations with the communist leaders of all the individual Eastern European countries. Especially the attitude of Poland has been interesting.

On the Berlin/Germany issue, it is noteworthy that the word “separate peace” has, at least for the time being, disappeared from official East European vocabulary.

The Soviet Union has during the week conducted 6 nuclear-weapons test explosions, including two in high altitude. The testing will continue until 20 November.

The heightened state of readiness inside the Warsaw Pact, introduced because of the Cuban crisis, has been lifted. The East German army, however, is keeping up a certain level of combat readiness, and the Soviet, Polish, and East German established patrolling in the western part of the Baltic Sea, including regular circumnavigations of Zealand, continues.

Some of the Soviet merchant-ships that were on the way to Cuba, have after a very short stay in Baltic Sea ports continued their journey toward Cuba. It is assumed that sensitive material has been unloaded.

In the reported period an increased Eastern Bloc trawler activity in the waters east of Skagen.

The activity is deemed normal for the time of year.

[…]

POLITICAL

For Official Use

World political activity of the Eastern Bloc: The period covered in the report has been dominated by Cuban-problems. The chronology is as follows:

31 October: U Thant’s negotiations with Castro ends without results, as Cuba stands firm and refuses to allow any inspection on Cuban soil. At the same time Moscow supports Castro’s “5 demands” to the United States (including the abandoning of the Guantanamo base), and “Pravda” present new charges against the United States for “hatching new attack plans against Cuba.” In the Chinese party-organ “Renmin Ribao” [People’s Daily], a fierce attack is aimed at Khrushchev, who is accused of having “bowed to the imperialist aggression.”

1 November: [Anastas] Mikoyan leaves for Cuba via New York, where he negotiates with the United States and representatives of the UN. At the same time the Eastern Bloc once again attacks the “reactionary anti-Cuban propaganda, which tries to sow doubts about the gravity of president Kennedy’s obligations.” The pro-Cuban campaign in China continues, and the Chinese foreign minister Chen Yi gives the Cuban Chargé d’affaires a note with support for “the great leader Fidel Castro.” The United States initiates once again their blockade, which had been lifted during U Thant’s visit in Havana.

2 November: Mikoyan arrives in Cuba after having supported Castro’s demand of an abandonment of the Guantanamo base before his departure from New York. Simultaneously the United States and the Soviet Union agree to use observers from the Red Cross, partly to determine which of the ships on the way to Cuba is carrying offensive weapons, and partly to keep the parties informed about the progress of the dismantlement. Castro once again sharply rejects any form of inspection as a violation of Cuban sovereignty. Kennedy informs in an address to the nation, that the dismantling of the rocket bases is progressing with great speed, but promises that the situation will be watched closely, until an inspection on site has been made. At the same time, the Soviet Union is reminded through a grave warning, that the “dismantling and return” must also include all the IL-28 bomber planes, which are present on Cuba.

3 November: The Red Cross in principle agrees to inspect the ships bound for Cuba. Mikoyan meets Castro twice, but nothing is divulged about these conferences.

4 November: Mikoyan continues his negotiations with Castro, but any practical results are still kept in the dark. The United States continue its inspection flights over Cuba and firmly sticks to its demand for inspections of the sites themselves, whether by the UN or the Red Cross.

5 November: U Thant has a meeting in New York with the Soviet Vice-Foreign minister [Vasily V.] Kuznetsov, who is thought to have provided the [UN] Secretary-General with an overview over the negotiations between Mikoyan and Fidel Castro. Over 1 million Chinese demonstrate in Beijing in support for Castro (and thereby indirectly against Khrushchev).

6 November: [US UN Ambassador Adlai E.] Stevenson negotiates for 5 hours with Kuznetsov and hands him a written note (no. 2) with the demand to withdraw all IL-28 bombers. After the conference, Stevenson declares that the talks have not produced any concrete results. Based on aerial reconnaissance, the United States announces that 20 IL-28 [bombers] are still operational, and that there is evidence that more are being assembled. A couple of hours later it is announced that Soviet technicians have stopped assembling the remaining IL-28s. Cuba agrees to let the Red Cross do the inspections of ships en route to Cuba for the duration of one month. U Thant negotiates the technicalities of the inspection with the Red Cross. Mikoyan continues the negotiations with Castro. Nothing leaks out. The Chinese make declarations which strongly support Castro.

7 November (until 12:00 hours Danish time): U Thant informs the United States and the Soviet Union about the negotiations with the Red Cross.

The issues which still remain unsolved are the following: 1) the control on Cuba itself, 2) the dismantling and return of the IL-28 planes, 3) control [i.e., inspection—ed.] of the ships, which leave Cuba, 4) Castro’s “5 points” and 5) the duration of the control. How these issues are to be solved can not be seen at the moment; there are signs, however, that Moscow—presumably with the promise of increased financial aid and/or the threats of cutting it—will make the attempt to “persuade” Castro to give in. It is complicated, however, by strong support by the Chinese, which can probably increase Castro’s resistance to the wishes of the Soviet Union.

Khrushchev’s position of power: Both the information about the Soviet Union’s rocket-bases on Cuba and Khrushchev’s rapid decision to have them removed apparently came as a surprise for most of the leaders of the people’s-democracies, who presumably had not been consulted. This procedure must have produced tension between Moscow and the capitals of the people’s-democracies (especially Warsaw), making it necessary for Khrushchev to explain the situation for his—somewhat disoriented—allies. This can be seen by the fact that all the leaders of the people’s-democracies in the period of 29 October to 5 November, one by one, have been to Moscow and negotiated with Khrushchev. By this unusual form of East Bloc-consultation, Khrushchev has probably tried to avoid any “group formations” that a combined East-conference might have produced. Most of the people’s-democracies leaders seem to have accepted his policy. This was expressed among other places in [Polish leader Wladyslaw] Gomulka’s article in “Pravda” on 5th [November] and in the statements the other leading Communists gave during the Cuban crisis. However, the statements from East Germany and Czechoslovakia showed some reticence.

The cleansing [purge—ed.] in Bulgaria can be seen as the underlining of Khrushchev’s position as leader in the Eastern Bloc, since the ousted party-leaders all belonged to the Stalinist (pro-China) wing of the party. In Hungary this wing was already removed from the party a couple of weeks ago. Stalinist elements can therefore only be found in the parties of Czechoslovakia and East Germany; these countries’ somewhat “lukewarm” attitudes toward Khrushchev’s Cuba-policy seem to reflect the influence of the Stalinists. However, the coming congresses in both countries could—as was the case in Bulgaria—lead to in-depth reorganization of the party-leadership in favor of the Khrushchev wing. Also Yugoslavia has given absolute support during the crisis period, whereas China, North Vietnam, and North Korea (but not Outer Mongolia) have taken a decidedly anti-Khrushchev attitude.

Inside the Soviet Union itself, Khrushchev has apparently won great popularity in the wider population with his swift decision to let the rocket-bases be dismantled (“he has saved the peace”), which can maybe counter potential opposition from the dogmatist-group’s side. That such a wing probably exists can be seen in an article in “Pravda” from 4 [November], signed by Marshal [Kliment] Voroshilov. In it he (who has himself been accused of Stalinism) supports Khrushchev by emphasizing, among other things, his view that nuclear war would lead to total destruction, as opposed to the dogmatist and Chinese view, that only “the corrupted capitalist” countries could be [destroyed] in a war with nuclear weapons, whereas the “socialist countries” would survive. The article can be a sign that Khrushchev with the help of Voroshilov, whose name resounds well in military circles, will seek support among officers and old Bolsheviks against potential, China-supported, opponents.

Poland: Gomulka travelled to Moscow on the 3rd [of November] and back again [to Warsaw] on the 4th. As far as it known, he was contrary to the other leaders alone and he left an article in “Pravda”, which strongly supports Khrushchev’s policies, especially on the Cuban issue. It also contains sharp attacks against the United States.

It seems it was very important for Gomulka to make as clear as possible [a statement] to underline Poland’s stand on the issue of the time, first and foremost to the Soviet Union, but also to the opposition at home. Competent sources say that that the Polish government had not been notified about the Soviet rocket-bases on Cuba. When the situation had been solved, the government acted very cautious and with restraint. The American notes were not rejected, no restrictions were put on the American diplomatic corps, and no demonstrations [took place] in front of the American embassy. On the contrary, the relations between the representatives of the government and the staff of the American embassy remained on a friendly note during the Cuban crisis. The press and the propaganda apparatus limited itself to only demand for a peaceful solution to the crisis. The usual reliable sources tell about open demonstrations against the Soviet rocket-bases on Cuba, and in several businesses there were even notes of sympathy toward the United States; one case saw students openly express their opinions. Inside the Party, the open and secret expression of sympathy has aroused serious concerns. It was therefore greeted with great relief, when the news of Khrushchev’s decision to back off was received, also because a continuation of the crisis would have caused trouble because of the overwhelming amount of hoarding among the population.

[…]

ARMY

A. WARSAW PACT.

1. Readiness.

SISC no 222 M/C

Confidential

The combat readiness, which was observed inside the Warsaw Pact during the height of the Cuban Crisis, has been gradually stepped down for all forces; only the East German army is retaining a certain level of readiness.

[…]

E. CUBA.

Confidential

1. The prelude to the crisis.

During the first half of the year the United States received several reports about heavy military construction activity on CUBA, including digging, construction of bunkers, roads and the extension of runways on airfields. At the same time, a close watch was kept on the supply of weapons and personnel from the SOVIET UNION and other Eastern Bloc countries.

But it was not until in September 1962 that reports about major fortification works both above and below ground in isolated areas, where only Soviet personnel was allowed, suggested, that something special was going on. Soon afterwards reports were coming in about the unloading in Cuban ports of electronics, cargo-containers for specialized fuel (presumably for rocket fuel), “towers” or ramps, which looked like missile launch-ramps, and large containers (presumably containing missile-parts), and in one instance an observer saw several parts of a missile during transportation. At the same time, information was received about large truck convoys to the aforementioned closed-off areas. Only Soviet personnel were occupied with the unloading and transportation, which was shrouded in secrecy and often protected by jeeps with civilian Soviet personnel armed with rifles. There was also news about Soviet camps with up to 500-600 men in each. One particular camp was reportedly housing 6000-7000 men.

It is probably because of these reports that the United States decided to start its photo-reconnaissance of CUBA.

2. The photo-reconnaissance missions.

Soon the picture became more clear. They were building missile bases for medium range missiles, and both the missiles and the launching equipment had arrived to CUBA and was in the process of being deployed. The reconnaissance flights also revealed, that the many Soviet technicians which had been reported about earlier, were in fact for the most part regular Soviet troops. It is thus believed, that two Soviet regiments - one infantry regiment and one armored regiment - have been confirmed to be present on CUBA.

Marked on the following map are the bases for medium range missiles that were revealed by reconnaissance flights. It is made up of 40 launch-ramps spread out on 4 bases, which are:

SAN CHRISTOBAL (west-Cuba)

SAGUALA GRANDE (central-Cuba)

GUAN AJAY(near Havana)

REMEDIOS (Island off Santa Clara)

3. The dismantling of the missile-bases

The missile equipment is now being dismantled by Soviet personnel, but there has still not been reached any agreement on a control [i.e., inspection - ed.] of this dismantlement and the shipping of the equipment. It is estimated that at least 6 special ships are needed for the transportation for the missile equipment alone.

It should be noted, that a large amount of the materiel can be hidden in large, subterranean tunnels and sites that are known to have been constructed during the last year on CUBA in connection with the establishment of the bases.

[…]

3. The following Soviet merchant-ships have during the period covered by this report sailed into the BALTIC SEA after having been en-route to CUBA:

1 November POLTAVA

passed out from the BLACK SEA 14 October

3 November YURIY GAGARIN

passed out from the BLACK SEA 11 October

3 November KIMOVSK

passed out from the BALTIC SEA 13 October

Furthermore has the following ships passed out, probably en-route to CUBA, after a short stay in the BALTIC SEA:

3 November BOLSHEVIK SUKHANOV passed into the BALTIC SEA 29 October

5 November POLTAVA

passed into the BALTIC SEA 1 November