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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 27, 1962

TELEGRAM FROM POLISH EMBASSY IN WASHINGTON (DROZNIAK), 27 OCTOBER 1962

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

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    Drozniak reports on his conversation with American journalist and syndicated columnist Joseph Alsop about the Cuban Missile Crisis.
    "Telegram from Polish Embassy in Washington (Drozniak), 27 October 1962," October 27, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Szyfrogramy from Waszyngton 1962, 6/77 w-86 t-1312, Polish Foreign Ministry Archive (AMSZ), Warsaw. Obtained by James G. Hershberg (George Washington University) and translated by Margaret K. Gnoinska (Troy University). https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115765
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Ciphergram No. 15912

Dispatched from Washington, D.C., on 10.27.1962 at 20:50 and received on 10.28.1962 at 17:10

Came to the Decoding Department on 10.28.1962 at 17:15

To: [Foreign Ministry Director Eugeniusz] MILNIKIEL1, EYES ONLY

From: [Ambassador Edward] DROŻNIAK2

[This information has been compiled based on my] conversation with [an American journalist and syndicated columnist] J.[oseph] Alsop:

The opinion prevails in the White House, the Pentagon, and the CIA that the operation of installing the missile bases in Cuba was carried out in order to change the strategic balance of power to the advantage of the USSR before further steps (either by means of negotiations or an outright military attack) were taken in Berlin. They are not sure whether they [the leaders] in the Soviet Union realized that the missiles could be so quickly discovered and so thoroughly photographed. [President John F.] Kennedy has been prepared for the past several months to act on his own without prior consultations with his allies in case a more serious conflict [erupted]. They think that the current decision made by Kennedy does not leave any doubt in [the minds of the leaders in] the USSR that the United States is prepared to carry out the job by means of an armed engagement, including a nuclear one. Despite the pressures, Kennedy is determined to maintain a moderate attitude and he is determined not to undertake any actions that could clearly be provocative. He has to carry out a quick liquidation of the [missile] bases in Cuba, because he started this process publicly [openly] and he is prepared to do it by using various means.

In case the process of the expansion of the bases continues in Cuba, then the following options are taken into consideration: a total naval and air blockade; an ultimatum issued to Cuba, threatening to bomb the installations of these missiles; and an invasion. The latter possibility is, in his [Alsop’s] opinion, least realistic.

[President Kennedy] will strive, more than ever, to overthrow [Fidel] Castro. Most of all, they [Americans] are counting on a coup d’etat [in Cuba]. Kennedy does not even allow for the possibility of holding a bilateral summit meeting on Cuba. After the [missile] bases in Cuba are liquidated, he is prepared to regulate, among other things, the issue of eliminating the US [military] bases in Turkey and Italy. From the military point of view, these bases are useless to the United States. Similar bases in England are already in the process of being disassembled. The Soviet reaction up until this point has been assessed as one which is moderate [łagodna] and which allows for various possibilities [to reach a] peaceful solution. Kennedy also ensures, and will continue to ensure, that the current situation does not end up in a stalemate.

They do not understand the causes of China’s attack on India,104 but this development of events suits them very well. In case India turns to them for help, they will consider such a request with sympathy, but they will take their time.

Received by the Political Bureau [Politburo], Czesak, Bordzilowski, Korczynski, Wicha, Moczar, Milnikiel, Krajewski, Siedlecki, Polish Embassy in New Delhi.

[1] Eugeniusz Milnikiel (1905 -1969), former Polish ambassador to Great Britain (1953 -1956).

[2] Edward Drożniak (1902 – 1966), Poland’s ambassador to the United States (1961-1966).

[3] Reference here is to the Sino-Indian border clashes when the Chinese forces launched an offensive across the McMahon Line and in Ladakh, a region of Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state of India, on 20 October 1962.