Members of the Nassau Decisions Steering Group worked up the texts of letters from Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to the Italian and Turkish Defense Ministers, which President Kennedy approved when he met with Dean Rusk and Thomas Finletter in Palm Beach on January 5, 1963. The State Department sent the letters later to Ankara and Rome later that day.
McNamara’s letters expand on the points about the need to replace Jupiters with Polaris missiles that he made to Andreotti and Sancar when he met them in Paris. To both, McNamara wrote that the Polaris force would be “on station” by April 1 as the replacement for the Jupiters. Writing to Andreotti, he also mentioned substituting “obsolete” Corporal with Sergeant missiles. In his message to Sancar, McNamara informed him that he is exploring the possibility of accelerated delivery of the F-104s and that “emergency actions” could make it possible to deliver the first squadron during April 1963.
January 3, 1963
Steering Group on Implementing the Nassau Decisions, 'Minutes of 2nd Meeting Held January 3, 1963, at 5:00 P.M.'
This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)
The Nassau Steering Group devoted its January 3, 1963, session to Jupiter removal diplomacy. Ambassadors Finletter, Hare and Reinhardt were present as well as McGeorge Bundy and Defense Department General Counsel John McNaughton. While the papers on the Jupiter that the committee prepared remain classified, the discussion summarized here covered some of the key issues. One was to avoid the word “withdrawal” when discussing the Jupiters and to use the word “replace” instead, as in replace Jupiters with Polaris SLBMs. Moreover, because of concern about leaks, there would be no reference to an April 1, 1963, deadline in communications with the Italians and Turks. As April 1 would be six months after the Cuban crisis, State Department official Seymour Weiss wanted to “go to the mat” to keep any dates out of the official discussions because he worried that too much specificity would raise suspicions of a “deal” or would sound like an “ultimatum.” Nevertheless, an April 1 date would be used for the timing of the stationing of Polaris submarines in the Mediterranean and some U.S. interlocuters would see it as a deadline.
The Steering Group also addressed the problems raised by the early deployment to Turkey of F-104Gs; making the fighter-bombers available by May 1963 would require the rerouting of planes that had already been assigned to the Republic of China (Taiwan), Denmark, Norway, and Greece. There would be a delay in deploying nuclear bombs for the F-104s until they were outfitted with Permissive Action Links (PALs), as required by President Kennedy, which was not likely to occur until later in the year.
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