CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A Russian adviser attending a 25th anniversary conference on the Cuban missile crisis said Soviet military officials installing weapons in Cuba did not follow orders to camouflage the site from U.S. reconnaisance flights, it was reported Wednesday.
Fedor Burlatsky, a speech writer for then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, made the revelation at a private session at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government symposium, the Boston Globe said.
The disclosure from Burlatsky was attributed to a participant in the three-day conference, which ended Tuesday, who revealed information from closed sessions on the condition he remain anonymous.
Several historical accounts of the crisis indicate Khruschev planned to announce the existence of the missiles in November 1962 at a session of the United Nations, at which point U.S. pressure to remove them might have been less effective, the Globe said.
The existence of the missiles was discovered by U.S. officials in October of 1962 though clear photographs of the installations taken by U.S. reconnaisance planes.
That led President John F. Kennedy to demand the Soviets remove their missiles and their deployment and launch facilities.
The crisis was resolved when Khrushchev agreed to withdraw Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba andthe United States agreed to remove Jupiter missiles within five months from Turkey and Italy and pledge not to invade Cuba.
Another bit of information learned from the closed meetings, the Globe said, was that Khruschev agreed to withdraw the missiles from Cuba at the end of the crisis without telling Fidel Castro, who was extremely upset when finally informed of the Soviet leader's decision.
At the Harvard conference, U.S. and Soviet advisers involved in the Cuban incident focused on analyzing the crisis, its resolution, risks and 'the look and feel of nuclear danger,' and lessons of the event that Kennedy said left the superpowers' chance of war 'somewhere between one out of three and even.'
Participants included McGeorge Bundy, national security adviser to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson; Robert McNamara, secretary of defense under JFK and LBJ, and Theodore Sorensen, special counsel to Kennedy.