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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 25, 1962

LETTER FROM DUTCH EMBASSY, HAVANA (BOISSEVAIN), 25 OCTOBER 1962

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

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    Boissevain relates the Cuban response to the crisis. In a speech, Castro does not deny the placement of nuclear weapons, and claims this kind of denial has been heard more from Khrushchev. The impression is one of building missile silos which look like "ground-to-ground" launch sites from the air. The Cuban government is satisfied with the developments from the UN Security Council regarding the issue, as evidenced by the Havana airport being reopened for international flights.
    "Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 25 October 1962," October 25, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, National Archive, The Hague, Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2.05.118, inv. 15487. Obtained for CWIHP by Rimko van der Maar and translated for CWIHP by Bastiaan Bouwman. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115543
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115543

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Received: 8 November 1962

No. 2355/553.

Havana, 25 October 1962.

C U B A:

Politics.

As I have noted in previous reports, in the speeches of Cuban government persons often what is not said is of greater importance than what is.

In his T.V. address Fidel Castro did not deny that weapons of the kind that the C.I.A. has suddenly discovered in Cuba, would have arrived and been installed here. This denial has in fact been heard from Khrushchev these days. The impression these statements to and fro give is that they are probably building installations in Cuba which from the air look like the batteries of dangerous long-range “ground to ground” missiles which could possibly be fitted with nuclear warheads. The US however also knows that their full equipment will take some more time and therefore intends to prevent the supply of any necessary parts and materiel.

Apparently the Cuban government considers the recent development in the [United Nations] Security Council satisfactory because the Rancho Boyeros airport near Havana has been reopened to approved flights, to which the local representative of the K.L.M. [Royal Dutch Airlines] responded by proposing to his superior in Curaçao to make both flights on next Monday, 29 October go through.

In the current distressful situation, in which a heavy burden has been laid on the Cuban people, there has been one “note gaie”: the elephants, lions, tigers, and bears of the Soviet Russian circus are expected or have already arrived. In diplomatic circles the question is being considered whether these are defensive or offensive weapons. I have remarked that the smell of some of these animals is certainly highly “offensive”…..

The Ambassador,

G.W. Boissevain.