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January 9, 1963

Memorandum from Jeffrey C. Kitchen for the Secretary [Dean Rusk], 'Status Report on the Implementation of the Nassau Decision'

At the conclusion of this memorandum, Kitchen noted that President Kennedy approved the “plan of action” on the Jupiters on January 5, 1963. This was a reference to Kennedy’s Palm Beach meeting with Rusk and Finletter. As Kitchen observed, the letters to Andreotti and Sancar went out on January 5, and messages to Ambassadors Hare and Reinhardt were sent a few days later. The instructions to Hare are in the FRUS, and the ones to Reinhard precede this document.

January 8, 1963

Department of State Telegram 1241 to the American Embassy Rome

In this “limited distribution” message, George Ball informed Ambassador Reinhardt of the developing plans to deploy three Polaris boats in the Mediterranean with the missiles on station by April 1. Polaris would supersede the less effective Jupiters. The Ambassador should seek agreement with the Italian Government to take the “necessary steps” to dismantle the two Jupiter squadrons. The Italians “may be quite willing” to move in this direction, Rusk suggested, having already shown they recognized the value of replacing Jupiters with Polaris. Reinhard should advise the Italians that the U.S. government was treating the matter with “great secrecy” and was making a parallel approach to Ankara.
The Italians would not be surprised by this initiative in light of Andreotti-McNamara discussions at the recent NATO meeting, which also covered U.S. interest in modernizing tactical nuclear delivery systems (Sergeant for Corporal missiles). U.S. views would also be repeated to Fanfani when he visited Washington, D.C.

The day before, and probably as a related move, President Kennedy invited Italian Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani for talks in Washington. During mid-December, Fanfani had expressed interest in speaking with Kennedy about the world situation, and a meeting would provide an opportunity for the President to secure a commitment on the Jupiter issue.

January 5, 1963

Letter, Robert S. McNamara, Secretart of Defense, to the Honorable Giulio Andreotti, Minister of Defense

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.'

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.

December 28, 1962

American Embassy Ankara Telegram 708 to the Secretary of State, Washington, DC

In an “eyes only” message, Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Barnes informed Ambassador Hare of his discussions with Turkish foreign ministry officials on the Jupiter issue, conducted while Hare was on his way to Washington. The talks produced a general understanding on linking the missile removal with delivery of F-104 fighter-bombers and deployment of Polaris submarines. Because the Government of Turkey had never announced that the Jupiters had been installed in the first place, the U.S. would need to make the announcement first. Turkish opinion could be prepared through press leaks on the U.S. side that would cite changes in the strategic picture and the need for “new means” to “ensure Western deterrent.”

December 22, 1962

Department of State Telegram 537 to the American Embassy Ankara

Referring to the telegram on McNamara’s meetings with Andreotti and Sancar, Dean Rusk requested that Ambassadors Hare and Reinhardt to return to Washington for consultation as soon as feasible “to assist in developing plans to implement” the gradual withdrawal of the Jupiter missiles. To avoid raising suspicions, Rusk explained that their “return should not be simultaneous but should be arranged so as to permit overlap in Washington.” As the Turkish matter was more complicated, he advised Hare to return before Reinhardt. The “immediate objective will be to formulate best possible tactics to employ in relation to respective governments.” The Ambassadors could “very confidentially inform Foreign Ministers and/or Defense Ministers purpose of return, indicating they will be working on technical and military aspects of proposal in preparation for further consultation with both governments.”

December 14, 1962

Memorandum of Conversation between Robert S. McNamara, Robert S. McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Paul H. Nitze, Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), Ilhami Sancar, Minister of Defense Turkey, 14 December 1962

During his meeting with Turkish defense minister Sancar, McNamara raised the risks posed by, and to, the Jupiter missiles and the need to withdraw those “obsolete” missiles and replace them with Polaris SLBMs. Turkish officials would play a role in targeting the missiles at NATO military headquarters. Worried about the implications of withdrawing the Jupiters, Sancar expressed concern about the impact that removal of the missiles would have on Turkish “confidence” in the U.S., the need to avoid “moral depression” (meaning morale) among “the people or the army” and stressed that the U.S. (“the best of allies”) was leaving Turkey “to a condition of ‘aloneness.’” McNamara did not believe that substituting Polaris for Jupiters would have that impact. Both agreed on the importance of proceeding in secrecy.

When Sancar observed that the late delivery of F-104G’s would adversely affect morale, McNamara said that an earlier date would be possible and suggested the possibility of announcing earlier delivery with the removal of the Jupiters. McNamara added that “time was of the essence.”

The State Department later sent a telegram to the ambassadors in Italy and Turkey reporting on McNamara’s meetings with Andreotti and Sancar.

December 13, 1962

Memorandum of Conversation between Minister of Defense of Italy, Mr. Andreotti, Secretary McNamara and Assistant Secretary Nitze

In a meeting with Italian Defense Minister Guilio Andreotti, McNamara had several matters to raise, but soon brought up the Jupiters and the need to “substitute something more responsive and less vulnerable to sabotage or direct attack.” When Andreotti raised the possibility of a naval deployment, McNamara agreed, suggesting assigning Polaris submarines to SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe), “with an Italian role in the targeting.” Suggesting that the U.S take the initiative on the matter, Andreotti preferred that it be settled before the spring 1963 elections.

December 13, 1962

McGeorge Bundy, 'Last Conversation with the President before NATO Meeting of December 1962'

Kennedy, McNamara and Rusk moved ahead with the Jupiters matter by making plans to bring it up with Italian and Turkish defense ministers at the NATO meeting in Paris in December 1962. The goal would be to persuade them of the obsolescence of the Jupiters, the dangers that they posed during the Cuban crisis and in future crises, and the need for “better arrangements,” such as “a rearrangement of Polaris deployments.”

President Kennedy continued to monitor the Jupiter missiles problem. During a meeting with Rusk a few weeks later, McNamara explained that President Kennedy, who he had seen in Palm Beach on December 27, had asked him what steps were being taken “to remove the Jupiters.” Consistent with that, McNamara favored the “earliest possible date” and asked whether a “deadline” could be set for April 1 to begin the removals.

November 9, 1962

Memorandum from William R. Tyler to the Secretary [Dean Rusk] through U. Alexis Johnson, 'Turkish and Italian IRBM's'

Seymour Weiss would push back against any efforts to remove the Jupiters, but he and others realized that President Kennedy had a “keen interest” in the matter and that Secretary of Defense McNamara had ordered that action be taken (assigning his General Counsel John McNaughton to take the lead). Nevertheless Weiss and Assistant Secretary of State William Tyler presented Secretary of State Rusk with a memorandum making the case against action on the Jupiters or at least postponing their removal until a “later time.” Paralleling arguments made during the crisis by Ambassadors Hare and Reinhardt, Tyler pointed to the “symbolic and psychological importance” of the Jupiter deployments. While Tyler noted parenthetically that the Italians had “given indications of a disposition to work toward the eventual removal of the Jupiters,” the U.S. could not phase them out “without general Alliance agreement,” including Italy and Turkey’s consent, “unless we are prepared to lay ourselves open to the charge of abrogation of specific or implied agreements.” Rusk was in the know on the secret deal, but his reference to a “later time” was consistent with it and signing the memo would have placated Tyler and Weiss.