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October 31, 1962

Telegram from Polish Embassy in Washington, 31 October 1962

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

Ciphergram No. 16075


Dispatched from Washington, D.C., on 10.31.1962 at 12:00 and received on 01.11.1962 at 0:30

Came to the Decoding Department on 01.11.1962 at 0:40


To: [Foreign Ministry Director Eugeniusz] MILNIKIEL,1 EYES ONLY

From: [Ambassador Edward] DROŻNIAK2


/From A.[rthur] Schlesinger, [President John F.] Kennedy’s adviser./


S., to a large degree, confirms the content of [our previous] cable 825.3 In his opinion, the assessment of the [Soviet] installation of the missiles in Cuba as the attempt to strengthen the [world] position of the USSR before a possible confrontation over Berlin, ended up prevailing within the [US] administration. [Schlesinger said that] despite the criticisms made by the Republicans, claiming that [President] Kennedy should have exploited the opportunity [of the crisis] to topple [the regime of Fidel] Castro and that he should have called for a policy based on a position of strength, among other places in Berlin, President Kennedy is determined to seek peaceful solutions and those based on compromise. [The President] is most interested in concluding a treaty to ban nuclear tests. He is sympathetic to the idea of the projects of [creating] non-nuclear zones in Africa, and possibly in Latin America. [The President] characterized [Nikita S.] Khrushchev’s unpublished letter as very personal and one that expressed [the Soviet leader’s] concern over the possibility of a nuclear war to a much larger degree than in his published text. There was no mention in that letter of the [US military] bases in Turkey. [US Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs W. Averell] Harriman was the first one to see that Khrushchev’s intentions and behavior [exhibited during] the crisis aspired to [bring about] peaceful solutions. They [the Americans] think that right now the disassembling and transport of the missiles back to the USSR will take place very quickly. This is because, [they think,] the Soviet Union will not want to create a precedent [according to which] the international commissions control the “disarmament process.” It [the Soviet Union] will make the effort for [such an international] commission to merely state facts.


[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] The reference here is to Cable No. 16028 (printed above) from the Polish embassy in Washington, D.C., to Warsaw, dated 30 October 1962 based on a conversation with “an important American interlocutor.”


Arthur Schlesinger, advisor to President Kennedy, confirms Drozniak's previous telegram report that " In [Schlesinger's] opinion, the assessment of the Soviet installation of the missiles in Cuba as the attempt to strengthen the [world] position of the USSR before a possible confrontation over Berlin, ended up prevailing within the US administration."

Document Information


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).


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