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From the archives: 50th anniversary of Cuban missile crisis

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Oct. 16, 2012 at 4:41 PM   |   Comments

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Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Fifty years ago Friday, the United States ended all exports to Cuba in response to the nationalization of American property on the island. The action touched off one of the tensest moments in the Cold War.

The following stories are UPI's coverage from October 1962.


Photos show missiles in Cuba
WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 1962 (UPI) -- U. S. photographs taken high over Cuba show launching pads in jungle clearings and missiles half hidden by canvas.

A Pentagon spokesman said the pads were pointed toward the United States. Nearby, he said, were trailers carrying 1,000-mile rockets that could reach deep into the heart of America.

The spokesman said the photos also revealed that pads were being constructed for 2,200-mile intermediate missiles capable of hitting an area stretching from Canada to Peru.

He told newsmen that the government did not know positively that there were nuclear warheads in Cuba.

But he said it was "almost inconceivable" that Russia's latest medium and intermediate range missiles, capable of traveling up to 2,200 miles, would be used with anything but nuclear warheads.

The Defense Department classified the pictures as secret and did not release them for publication.

The photographs, enlarged 30 times, were pasted on stage placards beside the spokesman. He pointed at the first of them and said in the drone of a lecturer:

"These are launchers, here and here, aligned to a specific section of the United States. These missiles on trailers are backed up against the launcher, the missile is grasped by the launcher, erected, and the trailer moves away.

"This is a mobile installation," he continued. "It can be put in place in a matter of days."

The spokesman said the photographs were part of "literally thousands of feet" taken by U.S. planes and analyzed by "literally hundreds of photo interpreters."

There also was a picture of a site for assembling Russian IL 28 jet bombers carried in metal cocoons on the decks of Soviet freighters. One bomber was already assembled.

The spokesman produced another picture of a 1,000-mile range ballistic missile in a Moscow parade. He said an expert using calipers compared the two pictures and concluded they were the same model.

Russia calls Cuba blockade a step toward nuclear war
MOSCOW, Oct. 23, 1962 (UPI) -- The Soviet Union accused the United States today of "taking a step along the road of unleashing a thermonuclear war" by its blockade of Cuba.

The Russians called for an immediate meeting of the United Nations Security Council to deal with the situation and warned that "if the aggressors unleash war, the Soviet Union will deliver the mightiest retaliatory blow."

Military leaves were canceled and discharges for service were halted. Officials also summoned a military meeting of the Communist Warsaw Pact nations and said measures were being taken to enchase troop and naval preparedness.

In a government statement handed to U. S. Ambassador Foy Kohler, the Russians accused the United States of direct aggression against Cuba and repeated the claim that Soviet arm shipments to that country were solely for its defense.

The statement, broadcast by Radio Moscow, gave no hint as to whether the Russians would attempt to break the U. S. cordon around Cuba by sending through another shipload of arms.

Although its tone was indignant and harsh, it appeared to designate the UN Security Council as the arena for the first test of the U. S. decision.

It was understood on good authority here that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had let it be known in Western diplomatic circles that he had given "go-through" orders to Soviet ships in the event that the American threw a cordon around Cuba.

It was not clear, however whether this would prevent Soviet ships from stopping to be searched if they were ordered.

Today's statement made no mention of any such order and left the Russians with a much more flexible public stand in the matter.

Most of the Soviet declaration -- the first Russian response to the U. S. quarantine order -- was devoted to sharply-worded criticism of U. S. policy in regard to Cuba.

"At this anxious hour, the Soviet Government regards it as its duty to issue a serious warning to the U. S. Government warning it that by taking the measures announced by President Kennedy it assumes a grave responsibility for the destinies of peace, is recklessly playing with fire."

It claimed that times have changed and the United States can no longer regard itself as the strongest military power.

"The U. S. President declared in his speech that if even a single nuclear bomb falls on U.S. territory, the United States would strike a retaliatory blow," the Russian statement said.

It charged that the U. S. declaration was "permeated with hypocrisy because the Soviet Union has already repeatedly declared that not a single Soviet nuclear bomb would fall either on the United States or on any other country, unless an aggression is committed.

"Nuclear weapons created by the Soviet people and in the hands of the people never will be used for the purposes of aggression. But if the aggressors touch off a war, the Soviet Union would strike a most powerful retaliatory blow," the statement said.

The Soviet declaration accused the United States of piracy and of assuming the role of "international gendarme."

"The peoples of all countries must be clearly aware, that undertaking such a gamble, the United States of American is taking a step along the road of unleashing a thermonuclear world war," it charged.

Nowhere in the statement was there any denial of President Kennedy's charges that the arms buildup in Cuba included preparation of sites for intermediate range ballistic missiles capable of striking offensive blows at targets throughout portions of Canada, the United States, Mexico and as far as the Panama Canal.

U.S. blockade of Cuba in effect
WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 1962 (UPI) -- The U. S. quarantine against arms to Cuba went into effect at 10 a.m. today and all signs pointed to a clash within hours between American warships and Soviet vessels headed for the island.

With tension continuing to build in the most critical situation since World War II, President Kennedy met with cabinet officials and his top-level military and intelligence advisers

Twenty-five Russian ships, some believed to be carrying missiles capable of wrecking American cities, moved toward a brisling ring of U. S. warships and planes which were under orders to block by whatever means further aggressive arm deliveries to Fidel Castro.

Soviet officials here and elsewhere gave every indication that the Russian ships would refuse to stop or be searched. In the last alternative this would mean U. S. ships would carry out Kennedy's order to sink any ship that refuses to be diverted.

But this was only one of the tests ahead.

Government sources and congressional leaders reported that plans were "going forward" for a full-scale invasion of Cuba if present U. S. measures prove inadequate to neutralize the island as a threat to the United States.

Russian Lt. Gen. Vladimir A. Dubovik was quoted by the Washington Post as declaring at a Soviet embassy party here last night that "our ships will sail through and if it is decreed that those men must die, then they will obey their orders an stay on course or be sunk."

The President, who authorized the stop-or-be-sunk orders, met with his top aides promptly at 10 a.m. -- the hour the blockade went into effect. The officials sat as an executive committee of the National Security Council.

High Government sources confirmed what congressional leaders learned from their meeting late Monday with the President -- that as a matter of military expediency, invasion plans were going forward.

These sources said, however, that this country hoped that success in the United Nations would make invasion unnecessary.

Chairman Richard B. Russell (D-Ga.) of the Senate Armed Services Committee reportedly told Kennedy Monday that action stronger than a blockade would be necessary to root the already-installed Soviet missiles out of Cuba.

Early today, the U. S. Navy broadcast warnings to merchant ships to stay clear of the Windward Passage, Yucatan Channel and the Florida Straits. The Navy said these heavily traveled sea routes near Cuba may become "dangerous waters."

First test of the blockade could come today, according to Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara. Ships of any nationality attempting to pass into Cuban ports will be stopped and searched for arms ranging from missiles to bombers.

Vessels attempting to run the blockade will be halted by U. S. weapons and sunk if necessary.

Valerian Zorin, Soviet delegate to the United Nations, said "no self-respecting state will permit its shipping to be tampered with." In Havana, Premier Fidel Castro thundered that the U. S. arms quarantine "will very soon have repercussions."

Kennedy also summoned congressional leaders of both parties back to the White House for a 5 p.m. meeting, their second crisis conference since Monday afternoon.

Kennedy's blockade proclamation was issued after the Organization of American States (OAS) approved a U. S. resolution asking endorsement of the blockade. The vote was 19-0 with Uruguay abstaining because it did not receive instructions from its home government.

The proclamation, known technically as "interdiction of the delivery of offensive weapons to Cuba," authorized U. S. naval, military and air power to block arms deliveries to the Castor regime.

Specific arms covered in the blockade order were surface-to-surface missiles, bomber aircraft, bombs, air-to-surface rockets and guided missiles, warheads for any of those missiles, mechanical or electronic equipment to operate such missiles or any other classes of weapons designated by McNamara.

Under the proclamation, "any vessel or craft proceeding to Cuba" will be ordered by American units to "stop, lie to and submit to search." A ship found to be carrying material banned by the order will be directed to another destination of its own choice.

The blockade units, Task Force 136, went on station around Cuba under command of Vice Adm. Alfred Ward. Ward also commands the U. S. Second Fleet. Task Force 136 is made up of major naval units, including submarines, plus aircraft based on the East and Gulf coasts.

Ward's operation was under over-all jurisdiction of Adm. Robert L. Dennison, U. S. Atlantic fleet commander based in Norfolk, Va.

Cuba blockade stands, U. S. says
UNITED NATIONS, N.Y., Oct. 25, 1962 (UPI) -- The United States stood firm today on its demand that the Soviet nuclear missile build-up in Cuba must be eliminated before it will end its blockade of Fidel Castro's island.

The U. S. position was reported to have been made clear to Acting Secretary General Thant before he sent identical messages last night to President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev calling for a voluntary suspension of Russian arms shipments to Cuba, and a voluntary suspension of the U.S. quarantine.

Replies from Kennedy and Khrushchev were expected to by made public by the time the Security Council resumes its blockade debate late today.

Kennedy was understood to have quickly turned down Thant's appeal in its present form because it provided no guarantees against continuation of Cuba's military build-up.

Khrushchev also was putting out feelers for a summit meeting. He said late yesterday that Russia would take no rash action at this time.

With Soviet vessels steaming toward U.S. naval ships on the blockade line, Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Valerian A. Zorin, as this month's Security Council president, agreed late last night to adjournment until 4 p.m. unless "circumstances require and events develop to compel the council to take urgent steps" before then.

Thant read to the council his appeal to Kennedy and Khrushchev.

"I cannot help expressing the view that some of the measures proposed or taken, which the council is called upon to approve, are very unusual, and I might say even extraordinary, except in wartime," he said.

Each hour that passed brought fresh reports of support from America's allies. Britain, France, Canada, West Germany, Japan and the bulk of Latin America expressed gratification that the United States had acted to stop the Soviet military build-up in Cuba.

Western diplomats in Moscow expected the Soviet policy to take more definite shape with the return of Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko from the United States via East Germany.

Gromyko got back to Moscow last night and presumably huddled with Khrushchev immediately since he had talked to President Kennedy only last Thursday.

Khrushchev put out his summit proposal in a letter to the 80-year-old British philosopher and ban-the-bomb campaigner, Bertrand Russell.

He told Russell that while the Soviet Union would not be provoked into reckless action, the United States might force things and the situation could get beyond the Kremlin's control and precipitate a nuclear war.

He salted this liberally with shrewd propaganda, referring to American "hatred of the Cuban people" and the fact that the United States is in an election campaign.

Then he mentioned a summit meeting:

"The question of war and peace is so vital that we should consider useful a top-level meeting in order to discuss all the problems which have arisen, to do everything to remove the danger of unleashing a thermonuclear war."

This was discussed by American officials in Washington but there was no immediate reaction. It was understood that a direct letter from Khrushchev to Kennedy last Tuesday did not mention a summit meeting.

In London today, Lord Russell cabled Kennedy urging him to make a "conciliatory reply...and avoid a clash with Russian ships long enough to make a meeting and negotiations possible."

Ship allowed into Cuba after search shows trucks
WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 1962 (UPI) -- Two U. S. Navy destroyers halted a Lebanese ship sailing under Soviet charter to Cuba today, boarded it and searched it and then allowed it to pass through the blockade.

The vessel, the 7,268-ton freighter Marucla, was allowed to continue its passage to Cuba because no prohibited materials were found in its cargo, the Defense Department announced. The cargo consisted of 12 trucks lashed on deck.

It was the first boarding incident since President Kennedy's quarantine of arm shipments went into action. The freighter was ordered to halt early this morning by the two destroyers on duty about 180 miles northeast of Nassau in the Bahamas.

The boarding party was from the destroyers Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., named for President Kennedy's brother who was killed during the war while on a volunteer mission over in Europe, and the Pierce.

In their message to Washington, the destroyer crews reported that the Marucla cooperated in the search which lasted for nearly three hours.

Although of Lebanese registry, the Marucla was chartered by the Russians and was sailing for the Soviet Baltic port of Riga, Latvia.

The first ship to be intercepted by the blockading task force was a Russian tanker. It was allowed to pass through the quarantine ring yesterday because its cargo was petroleum which was not embargoed.

The meeting between the two destroyers and the freighter took place about 180 miles northeast of Nassau.

At 7:29 a.m. the Pentagon said, the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. lowered a whale boat. The boarding team was led by Lt. Cmdr. Dwight G. Osborne, of East Patterson, N. J., and Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth C. Reynolds, Coronado, Calif. Osborne is executive officer of the Pierce and Reynolds is the executive officer of the Kennedy.

The skippers of the two U. S. destroyers are Cmdr. James W. Foust, Greensburg, Pa., on the Pierce, and Cmdr. Nicholas Nikhalevsky, of Staten Island, N. Y. on the Kennedy.

From beginning to end, the operation involving the Marucla took more than 12 hours. About 10 last night, first contact was made when the Pierce spotted her moving through the Atlantic waters. Two hours later, the Kennedy moved into the area.

The two destroyers trailed the Marucla through the night, with orders to board at "first light."

"Further action" on Cuba weighed

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 1962 (UPI) -- The State Department said today that "further action" of an unspecified nature is being considered to deal with the Soviet missile buildup in Cuba.

State Department press officer Lincoln White did not elaborate. He told reporters construction of the missile facilities was still going on and reminded them that President Kennedy had said "further action" would come if it continued.

White issued his statement after Kennedy held strategy meetings with key Administration leaders.

Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, who had been scheduled to meet this morning with United Nation Secretary General Thant, unexpectedly showed up for the strategy talks.

Others present included Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Ambassador Lewellyn Thompson, an expert on Soviet affairs, and U. S. disarmament chief William Foster.

It also was learned that:

Kennedy has canceled his Nov. 12-14 visit to Brazil because of the gravity of the situation.

Key congressional leaders have been placed on an eight-hour alert to be ready for a presidential conference not later than Monday.

U.S. representatives Charles W. Yost and Francis T. Plimpton substituted for Stevenson for the talks with the UN secretary general.

Stevenson was to return to the UN late today after Thant also had held meetings with Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Valerian A. Zorin and Cuban Ambassador Mario Garcia-Inchaustegui in an effort to avert war.

Indications mounted that direct action might be taken to eliminate Cuban missile bases. A heavy build-up of troops in Florida continued.

Cong. Hale Boggs (D-La.) said after a White House briefing that the U. S. would destroy the bases if they were not voluntarily removed.

In replies to an appeal by the UN secretary general, Kennedy emphasized that the blockade could not be lifted until the missiles and their bases had been removed. But he agreed to have Stevenson participate in talks.

Kennedy rejects Turkey deal, demands removal of Cuba missiles

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 1962 (UPI) -- President Kennedy today rejected Soviet Premier Khrushchev's proposal to trade the Russian missile base in Cuba for the NATO missile base in Turkey.

Instead, President Kennedy again demanded that Cuban rocket sites be dismantled under international inspection.

The President's response was contained in a White House statement after the Khrushchev offer was broadcast by Radio Moscow.

In his answer to Khrushchev, Kennedy said:

"The first imperative must be to deal with that immediate threat, under which no sensible negotiations can proceed," the White House said.

"It is therefore the position of the United States that as an urgent preliminary to consideration of any proposals, work on the Cuban bases must stop; offensive weapons must be rendered inoperable and further shipment of offensive weapons to Cuba must cease -- all under effective international verification."

The White House statement did not refer to Turkey by name. But Khrushchev had said the United States should withdraw its rockets from that country if the Soviets withdrew from Cuba.

The U. S. statement contained this comment:

"As to proposals concerning the security of nations outside this hemisphere, the United States and its allies have long taken the lead in seeking properly inspected arms limitations on both sides. These efforts can continue as soon as the present Soviet-created threat is ended."

Khrushchev had made his offer subject to these conditions:

The Soviet Union would pledge I the Security Council of the United Nations that it would never attack Turkey from Russian territory if the United States would make a similar pledge never to attack Cuba from its territory.

Russia would remove from Cuba the weapons President Kennedy considers "offensive." In turn, the United States must recall from Turkey weapons called "offensive" by Khrushchev.

Dismantling of bases would be confirmed by an inspecting team from United Nations.

Khrushchev also stated that the weapons which the United States finds objectionable in Cuba are under Soviet control.

"Therefore any accidental use of them to the detriment of the U. S. A. is excluded," he said.

Defense and diplomatic observers supported the President.

A Defense Department spokesman said "there is no slightest indication" that the Russians have yet slowed construction of missile bases in Cuba. He said his information was current and factual and based on present observation of the construction activity in Cuba.

Khrushchev's proposal strikes at the heart of the NATO defense concept, a diplomatic official said. He said it would be impossible to see how the U. S. could agree to a straight trade. Kennedy has stated that NATO bases and the secret arming of Cuba are separate issues.

While the present exchange appears to have introduced an element of time in negotiations, the key to Kennedy's Monday policy declaration remains unaltered.
This is: "...Should these offensive military preparations continue, thus increasing the threat to the hemisphere, further action will be justified."


Khrushchev's proposal was broadcast over Radio Moscow shortly after Turkey's Foreign Minister Feridun Cemal Erkin said in Istanbul that it was "out of the question" for the United States to abandon its Turkish military bases.

Khrushchev told Kennedy, "we agree to remove from Cuba the means which you consider aggressive. Your representatives will then remove analogous means from Turkey. Let us settle on a term for this, and then UN representatives could control this.

"Let us make in the Security Council a statement that the USSR will respect the sovereignty of Turkey and not allow its territory to be used for aggression against Turkey. A similar statement in the framework of the Security Council will be made by the U. S. A. regarding Cuba."

Khrushchev said if Kennedy agreed with his proposal, the Soviet Union would send delegates to the United Nations with the necessary instructions.

He said such a step would mean the beginning of the elimination of bases and would be a step on the road to banning atomic weapons.

On the atom testing question, he said, "our stand and your stand are very near."

Khrushchev also said he thought Kennedy's order to U. S. ships to avoid, for the moment, confrontations with Soviet vessels bound for Cuba was a "reasonable" step.

He said he thought it was a good thing that the President had agreed to talks on the Cuba crisis with the participation of Acting Secretary General Thant.

Kuznetsov, Thant begin talks on missile removal

UNITED NATIONS, N.Y., Oct. 29, 1962 (UPI) -- Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Vassily V. Kuznetsov, dispatched by the Kremlin to take over the Russian end of UN negotiations on the Cuban crisis, held his first conference with acting Secretary General Thant today.

Kuznetsov was accompanied by Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Valerian A. Zorin, who denied the existence of Russian missile bases in Cuba almost to the moment Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev agreed to dismantle and remove them.

Plunging into a final round of discussions before his planned departure for talks with Cuban Premier Fidel Castro in Havana tomorrow, Thant also scheduled an appointment with Ambassador Mario Garcia-Inchaustegui of Cuba.

He was expected to see U. S. Ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson before the day is out, but no firm appointment had been scheduled.

Stevenson was expected to be joined soon by the full three-man coordination committed appointed today by President Kennedy to handle developments involved in "the conclusion of the Cuban crisis."

John J. McCloy, who heads the group, has been here for a week as a special assistant to Stevenson. Undersecretary of State George W. Ball and deputy Defense Secretary Roswell Gilpatric, the other members of coordination group, were due in New York today.

Thant announced late yesterday that he planned to leave tomorrow to accept Castro's invitation for talks on the Cuban crisis.

The Havana talks are expected to center on the dispatch of a UN observer corps to oversee the dismantling of the war bases and their shipment back to Russia.

A U. S. spokesman said best information was that dismantling of the bases had not begun despite Russia's agreement.

Stevenson, in his second meeting of the day with Thant, last night delivered a new message from President Kennedy. It was in reply to a message Thant sent Kennedy earlier yesterday. Its content was not disclosed.

Western governments relieved but puzzled by Soviet shift

The Western world reacted with cautious relief and some puzzlement today at Russia's announced decision to pull its missiles out of Cuba.

There was immediate talk of hopes of negotiating settlements of other East-West cold war problems such as a nuclear test ban and disarmament. But through the speculation ran a strain of suspicion about Soviet motives.

Communist bloc news agencies portrayed the move as a positive act toward peace rather than any retreat from military confrontation.

The Soviet, Polish and Bulgarian news agencies all depicted the Soviet Union and Premier Nikita Khrushchev as champions of reducing tensions.

The first Western government reactions came from London, Paris and Rome.

In Rome, an authoritative diplomatic source said U. S. firmness paid off "more than all of us expected." Prime Minister Harold Macmillan wrote Khrushchev that once the Cuban situation is "normalized, the way would be open for us all to work toward more general arrangements regarding armaments."

A French Foreign Office spokesman said it was "beautiful, perhaps too beautiful."
Italian Prime Minister Amintore Fanfani hailed the "positive" developments.

European newspapers used such phrases as "profound thankfulness...deep relief...a victory for peace...thanks and gratitude."
"The world may breathe more easily," said the Times of London.

But the London Daily Sketch asked: "What is Mr. K up to now?"

Philadelphia Archbishop John J. Krol, an ex-Cleveland prelate at the Vatican, said two words that seemed to sum up the feeling of rescue from Armageddon:

"Thank God."

West Berliners were elated but tempered this with a caution born of long experience.

"We ought to remind ourselves of that old German saying, 'after victory, strap your helmet tighter'," said Berliner Kurt Hirschmann.

Thant lands in Cuba; U. S. lifts blockade

HAVANA, Oct. 30, 1962 (UPI) -- Acting United Nations Secretary General Thant arrived here today to arrange for UN observation of the dismantling and removal of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.

Thant said before boarding a chartered Varig Airlines jet in New York that he looked forward "to a fruitful exchange of ideas with Cuban Premier (Fidel) Castro...with a view to achieving a speedy and peaceful settlement of the problem.

The United States, at Thant's request, suspended "for the period of his two-day visit" enforcement of the blockade and aerial reconnaissance.

Eighteen aides accompanied Thant on his Cuban mission. They included Brig. Indar Jit Rikhye of India, his military adviser; Lt. Gen. Dag Inge Siternspetz of Sweden and UN undersecretaries Omar Loutfi of the United Arab Republic and Hernane Tavares De Sa of Brazil.

Before he left New York, Thant contacted several countries, including Sweden, Switzerland and Mexico, to prepare a UN observer force in Cuba.

Despite Castro's angry demands, he appeared to have little choice but to agree with any plane approved by Russia. The Kremlin seemed unimpressed by Castro's insistence that the United States should give up its Guantanamo Bay naval base.

Three American planes made surveillance flights over Cuba yesterday in an effort to determine whether launching pad construction work had stopped and missiles dismantled as Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev promised President Kennedy Sunday.

In Washington, Kennedy met this morning with his National Security Council executive committee. Expert interpretation of the aerial photographs made yesterday was believed presented at that time.

Assistant Defense Secretary Arthur Sylvester said the temporary halt to surveillance flights was ordered even though the U. S. lacks conclusive evidence work on the missile bases has been stopped.

Sylvester declined comment on reports that two Soviet submarines were tracked near the blockade area for three days until they were forced to surface presumably because they ran out of air. The reports said destroyers watched them for signs of hostile intent but there was none.

As the blockade was suspended, Defense Department officials pointed out that no Soviet ships were approaching the quarantine line.

Thant would up arrangements for his quick trip to Cuba with a full round of diplomatic conferences yesterday.

Thant saw Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily V. Kuznetsov for a 35-minute conference early last night, their second of the day. After their earlier discussion, a UN spokesman said Kuznetsov was full of constructive suggestions for settling the Cuban crisis.

Thant spent an hour and 35 minutes with U. S. Ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson and John J. McCloy, a chairman of diplomatic task force appointed by President Kennedy yesterday to handle developments involved in "the conclusion of the Cuban crisis."

McCloy and the other two members of the task force, Undersecretary of State George W. Ball and Deputy Defense Secretary Roswell L. Gilpatric, were engaged in intensive consultations in New York, aimed at ending the Cuban crisis quickly with effective inspection of the war bases' removal.

U.S. insists Soviets remove bombers from Cuba too
By MERRIMAN SMITH

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 1962 (UPI) -- Russian jet bombers as well as rockets must get out of Cuba, the Defense Department announced today as the United States resumed its naval blockade and alerted aerial reconnaissance squadrons.

A Defense Department spokesman said President Kennedy is listing Russian Ilyushin-28 bombers, capable of carrying a nuclear payload, as "offensive weapons."

The disclosure came following a Pentagon estimate that Russia had based 20 IL-28 jet bombers with ranges of 750 miles on Cuban soil to
back up at least 30 medium range ballistic missiles.

The issue of the bombers was raised today during a Pentagon briefing at which it was pointed out that Soviet Premier Khrushchev did not specifically refer to bombers in his promise to remove offensive weapons from Cuba.

Also, announcements during UN Secretary General Thant's two-day visit to Cuba had referred only to missile bases.

It was because of Thant's visit -- aimed at obtaining Premier Fidel Castro's agreement to a UN-supervised removal of the missile sites -- that the United States had suspended the blockade for 48 hours.

Kennedy met for 45 minutes with the executive committee of the National Security Council.

U. S. officials said it was evident that Thant did not get very far in his talk toward setting up arrangements for UN verification of the missile removal.

The question of whether aerial flights over Cuba had resumed was not answered by the Defense Department. The spokesman also declined to say if the blockade force had intercepted Cuba-bound vessels since the quarantine had been reinstituted.

Despite Castro's apparent unwillingness to allow inspection of the missile sites, there were no indications of a breach in the agreement between the U. S. and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to take them away.

Thant said he had reliable information that the Russians will have completed dismantling their long-range missiles in Cuba by tomorrow.

Soviet First Deputy Premier Anastas Mikoyan was en route to Cuba on a trouble-shooting mission, with a stop-over in New York. Mikoyan's Havana mission may be to boost Castro who will address his nation tonight.

Kennedy called off a news conference scheduled for late today because of the clouded Cuban situation. The White House said it would be rescheduled after this week when the situation was "clarified."

Defense Department officials said U. S. ships kept a close watch on the Cuban shipping lanes during the two-day suspension. They said "nothing has been left uncovered" in the deployment of warships.

Regardless of Castro's attitude toward UN observers, there appeared to be nothing he could do about removal of the missiles. Mikoyan's trip to Havana was seen in Moscow as an attempt by Khrushchev to tighten his coordination with Castro and bolster Soviet prestige on the island.

Thant said the Cuban government will ship home the body of Air Force Maj. Rudolf Anderson Jr., 35, for "humanitarian reasons." Anderson was reported missing on a reconnaissance flight over Cuba Saturday.

The Pentagon said it was "the first word that the department has had that Maj. Anderson was shot down over Cuba." The department had originally reported him missing, and said reconnaissance planes had been fired on over Cuba.

U.S. says photos show dismantling of missile bases on Cuba
By MERRIMAN SMITH
WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 1962 (UPI) -- The United States said today that air photos taken over Cuba show that the Russians are dismantling their missile bases there, despite Premier Fidel Castro's objections to allowing on-the-spot verification.

The announcement was made shortly before Soviet Deputy Premier Anastas Mikoyan said in New York that Russia backed Castro's demand that the U. S. give up its base at Guantanamo Bay. He made the statement just before flying to Havana for talks with Castro.

The Defense Department said that "preliminary analysis of the aerial photographs collected in reconnaissance missions over Cuba yesterday provide clear evidence that work is proceeding on the dismantling of the missiles."

This would be in keeping with the pledge made last weekend by Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev that he would remove the long-range missile bases from Cuban soil.

President Kennedy viewed the pictures early today. Later he spent more than an hour discussing their significance and other aspects of the Cuban situation with the executive committee of his National Security Council. The group comprises his top policy advisers.

A Defense Department spokesman said the photos taken yesterday show such evidence of dismantling as the removal of missile erectors and associated launch equipment; the breaking up of cable conduits between control points and launching pads; plowed and bulldozed areas at the missile sites and concrete pads apparently broken up by air hammers.

Asked whether the blockade is still in effect, the spokesman said "the ships are on station."

There was speculation here and at the United Nations that Castro might be seeking a face-saving way out of the impasse he has created over verification.

It was expected that talks between Castro and Mikoyan today in Havana will play a vital role in what the U. S. will do next.

Castro remained firm in objecting to any United Nations inspection but the possibility arose that the International Red Cross might be acceptable.

U. S. officials emphasized they would settle for nothing less than a ground inspection. They pointed out that Soviet missiles could be hidden and later put into operational status in a few days.

A high Administration official indicated that key decisions would be made within a matter of hours depending on outcome of Castro's talks with Mikoyan.


He called policy meeting last night "one of the most hectic periods since President Kennedy addressed the nation on the Cuban crisis a week ago."

There were reports that Russia might let the U. S. Navy or Red Cross check its ships carrying the missiles home. This would take place outside of Cuba's territorial limits.

In a radio and television speech last night, Castro denounced the U. S. and said he would not yield in international inspection. He said that included Red Cross inspection.

Mikoyan's visit may convince him to change his mind, it was reported.

Possible involvement of the International Red Cross had not been made public before. But U. S. officials confirmed that it had been among Khrushchev's proposals, possibly brought by Vasily Kuznetsov, the deputy Soviet foreign minister who was sent to the United Nations earlier this week.

Khrushchev suggested the Red Cross as a verifying body if the United Nations inspection was not acceptable. This apparently was relayed in a private communication to President Kennedy.

Mikoyan had dinner in New York last night with U. S. Ambassador Adlai E. Stevenson and John J. McCloy, chief of Kennedy's Cuban crisis diplomatic task force.

Earlier, Mikoyan talked with acting UN Secretary General Thant, just back from two days of unsuccessful efforts to win agreement from Castro on a UN inspection agreement.

Despite Castro's oratorical thunder, there was no relaxation in the U. S. position of having to be entirely certain that Soviet weapons of offense were out of Cuba. These would include new Russia jet bombers as well as missiles.

Castro in his speech conceded Russia's right to remove her weapons, but he said the United States could not insist on international inspection of the dismantling of the bases "imposed by force."

He admitted "misunderstandings" with the Soviet Union but praised Russia's role in building up Cuban defenses and said "differences" between the two countries would be settled in private by both governments acting as equals.

Castro also told the Cuban people for the first time that the missile bases belong to Russia and are operated by Russian personnel.

He said Cuba will not have to pay for Russian arms it has received because "the Soviet Union decided several months ago to cancel the debt on all arms shipped to us."

Russia ends arms alert as U. S. halts blockade
By ROBERT J. KORENGOLD

MOSCOW, Nov. 21, 1962 (UPI) -- The Soviet Union today canceled the military preparedness measures it took last month at the height of the Cuban crisis. It said President Kennedy's lifting of the Cuban blockade made the relaxation possible.

The orders to the Soviet Union armed forces and satellite powers disclosed for the first time that intercontinental ballistic missiles had been in a state of combat readiness and indicated that some submarines had been sent to battle stations.

The announcement came shortly after Radio Moscow told the Soviet people of the President's decision to end the blockade. But the broadcast did not mention the fact that U. S. aerial surveillance of the island will continue.

Later, Radio Moscow broke its silence on the Chinese Communist cease-fire in the Indian border war. It broadcast a four-minute summary of the Chinese decision, without comment.

Radio Moscow said military relaxation was ordered "in connection with the possibility that has appeared for liquidating the aftermath of the dangerous crisis that has taken place in the Caribbean Sea."

Pravda did not carry the President's announcement, but it did print Cuban Premier Fidel Castro's message to acting UN Secretary-General Thant offering to give up his Soviet bombers.

The announcement rescinding the military measures disclosed for the first time that several preparedness steps had been taken during the crisis without having been made public.

When the Russians took their military readiness steps a month ago, they warned that the American blockade of Cuba would "unleash a thermonuclear world war."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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