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Digital Archive International History Declassified


  • September 12, 1962

    Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 12 September 1962

    A letter from Gideon Boissevain, the Dutch Ambassador to Cuba reporting to Amsterdam. The letter primarily concerns the press coverage in Cuba of the rising crisis. Particular attention is paid to the Soviet guarantees of Cuban security and the American responses to the discovered missiles. In Cuba there is fear of an invasion by the United States making use of foreign legionnaires, despite Kennedy's claims there is no plan for an attack on Cuba.

  • September 21, 1962

    Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 21 September 1962

    In this letter to Amsterdam, Dutch Ambassador to Cuba Boissevain remarks on how the American blockade of Cuba can effect Dutch trade in the Caribbean. He compares the situation to the one faced Japan and the Yellow Sea in the early 20th Century: Japanese control of the sea north of Shanghai strangled international shipping, and the British Navy was unable (or unwilling) to keep the Japanese in check. Boissevain decries the blockade of Cuba as foolhardy and says Washington risks losing the support of NATO over this.

  • October 23, 1962

    Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 23 October 1962

    The letter discusses a speech made by Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Cuban Minister of Industry, in which he addressed the Young Communists' Union. He emphasized the need to improve the solidarity among the communists and the necessity of work (trabajo is mentioned in the speech six times) to improve the country. Boissevain notes that while the Young Communists were motivated to harvest coffee berries, almost all of them are on guard duty.

  • October 24, 1962

    Cable from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 24 October 1962

    The cable reports on Castro's speech, which does not offer much in news. The President of Brazil Goulart has instructed Ambassador to Cuba to investigate on the "offensive weapons."

  • October 24, 1962

    Cable from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 24 October 1962

    A short cable from the Dutch Embassy, reporting that a general mobilization order has been made by Castro, who will make a speech later in the day. The Havana airport is on lockdown.

  • October 24, 1962

    Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 24 October 1962

    In this letter to the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Boissevain speaks about Cuban attempts to move native members of the diplomatic staff and housekeeping staff to provide information concerning their employers. A report is given about the French embassy. The gardener for the Dutch Embassy is reported to have been visited by government officials and was subject to beatings when he refused to give information about his Dutch employers.

  • October 25, 1962

    Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 25 October 1962

    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.

  • October 29, 1962

    Cable from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 29 October 1962

    Boissevain writes after the conclusion of the crisis the Cuban response to the Tripartite Agreement. Fidel Castro proclaimed that no guarantee would be sufficient until all of the following had ceased: the naval and economic blockade, American aid to anti government forces and espionage, piracy from the United States and Puerto Rico, American military flights over Cuba, and dismantling the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay.

  • October 29, 1962

    Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 29 October 1962

    Boissevain speaks on the domestic situation in Cuba immediately after the end of the Missile Crisis. There are many counterrevolutionary groups who worry that current UN supervision of dismantling of the Soviet missile sites will preclude a U.S.-led invasion of Cuba, and perhaps might be the prelude to a normalizing of relations between Cuba and the United States. Raul Castro gives a speech saying the dismantling of the Soviet missile sites is a run-up to new Cuban demands, especially toward the evacuation of the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo. Raul goes on to address his brother Fidel, with assurances unity from the people, and obedience to any orders he issues. This raises the fear of what future demands Fidel may raise in the aftermath of this crisis.

  • October 31, 1962

    Cable from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 31 October 1962

    Boissevain writes about a conversation between Cuban Foreign Minister Raul Roa and Brazilian Ambassador Luis Bastian Pinto. The conversation revolves around Castro's Five Points, and Roa claims they are not aimed at the United States but rather the Soviet Union whose concession to remove the missiles greatly disturbed Castro. The Brazilian Ambassador though the Cubans asked too much, while Roa said these points are negotiable.

  • November 01, 1962

    Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 1 November 1962

    Boissevain reports on the aftermath of the crisis and its effects on Cuba, especially in Havana. Rather than the majority being in support of government actions while a minority supported the opposition, there is a public outcry from the masses about the Soviet handling of the crisis. Fidel Castro's response is a speech to the people explaining the Soviet reasons for their actions, while the Soviet Union voices its support for Castro's Five Points and sends Anastas Mikoyan to Havana as a "troubleshooter."

  • November 02, 1962

    Cable from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 2 November 1962

    Boissevain writes a cable detailing a meeting between Fidel Castro and UN Secretary General U Thant. Cuba refused any inspection of missile silos, if the Americans did not uphold their pledge to not threaten Cuba with invasion. The Five Points were mentioned as preconditions for peace and Castro pledged Cuba was ready and willing to work towards peace. It appears Castro was aware of Soviet considerations for "global politics" as the reason behind the Soviet withdrawal of missiles.

  • November 02, 1962

    Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 2 November 1962

    The letter begins with Boissevain criticizing Castro's speech, claiming he could have written it before it was ever delivered. The speech concerned Castro's meeting with UN Secretary General U Thant, and the contents of the speech were such that the Cuban people were kept at boiling point. Boissevain claims this is a necessity to make the people accept the sacrifices demanded of them and forget the hardships they face. Castro's exclamations that "we are above all Marxist-Leninists" raised applause, but Soviet support has died down. Boissevain suspects Anastas Mikoyan will have a hard time reasoning with Castro after the disappointment in the eyes of Cuba.

  • November 07, 1962

    Cable from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 7 November 1962

    The cable focuses on a report from the German embassy that in several places in Cuba, Soviet weapons are hidden under cement. There is still no progress on the dialogue between Fidel Castro and Anastas Mikoyan.

  • November 19, 1962

    Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 19 November 1962

    Boissevain reports to Amsterdam the current domestic situation in Cuba, with attention being paid to Havana. In his words, Cuba is "on a war footing," and describes the various posters with propagandistic slogans urging the people to stand strong against a possible American invasion.

  • November 20, 1962

    Cable from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain)

    The cable concerns the farewell dinner of Anastas Mikoyan, where Fidel Castro is notably absent, supposedly because he was seen drunk elsewhere. Mikoyan finally made Castro concede to UN Secretary General U Thant's last precondition to remove the IL-28 Soviet bombers from Cuba. Boissevain also reports on an air raid on a Cuban cargo ship, which was undamaged after receiving 11 bombs.

  • November 21, 1962

    Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 21 November 1962

    Boissevain writes how nationalistic fervor is at the fever pitch in Cuba. He comments on widespread use of slogans and propaganda posters everywhere in Havana and the effects they have on the average Cuban. Despite the end of the military blockade against Cuba, tensions still run high between Castro and Kennedy. The island is now "completely isolated" resulting in severe shipping delays from Europe, if any arrive at all.

  • November 26, 1962

    Cable from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 26 November 1962

    The short cable concerns a farewell speech given by Anastas Mikoyan, which was, in the words of Boissevain, a "pep talk" to Castro. The speech failed to gain any further concessions from Fidel Castro beyond what Mikoyan could initially get Castro to agree to.

  • November 26, 1962

    Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 26 November 1962

    Boissevain explains the previous disjointed cable sent to Amsterdam on 26 November. Anastas Mikoyan gave a farewell speech which contained old communist platitudes and admiration for the Cuban people. He makes references to Fidel Castro several times, but ironically Castro is not with Mikoyan, instead retreating to Havana University. The leader revealed a manifesto entitled "Cuba's Answer to Kennedy," which contained: a reiteration of Castro's Five Points, the demand of a UN investigation into U.S.-led attacks on Cuban military bases, the Cuban right to defend itself, and a statement regarding lack of faith in Kennedy's promises of nonaggression. In Boissevain's mind this will serve to only aggravate both the Soviet Union and the United States, and, in his words, "an anxious time begins."

  • November 28, 1962

    Letter from Dutch Embassy, Havana (Boissevain), 28 November 1962

    Boissevain writes to the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs on the status of the Soviet missiles in Cuba. There are reports of hidden missiles within Cuba, buried in underground fortifications by the Soviets. He attaches confidential information that details the locations and means of concealment of these missiles.