Havana, Cuba, 12 October 2002, 1 p.m. - During
the third session of the historic 40th anniversary conference
on the Cuban missile crisis, participants including Cuban president
Fidel Castro and former US secretary of defense Robert McNamara
discussed newly declassified documents showing that the crisis
did not end after the famous "13 days," but continued
at a high level until late November, in large part because of
Cuban rejection of Soviet concessions. The documents show that
the Soviet nuclear-armed tactical weapons in Cuba stayed there
after the missiles were withdrawn, and may even have been intended
for Cuban custody.
Documents released today included verbatim Soviet records of
the contentious meetings between top Soviet leader Anastas Mikoyan
and top Cuban leaders including Fidel Castro and Che Guevara
during Mikoyan's trip to Cuba in early November; Soviet orders
first preparing the tactical weapons for training the Cubans
and then, on November 20, ordering their withdrawal; and a
prophetic summary of the crisis written by the British ambassador
to Cuba, who predicted that the crisis could ultimately
rebound to the benefit of the Castro regime and the long-term
survival of communism in Cuba.
The conference is meeting at the Palacio de Convenciones
in Havana, Cuba. Most participants are housed at the Hotel Palco
next door. Phone: 011-53-7-337235. Fax: 011-53-7-337236. The
conference room itself is closed to the press but the organizers
are holding daily press briefings each afternoon summarizing
the discussion and releasing key documents addressed that day.
The National Security Archive co-organized with Cuban institutions
the highly successful 40th anniversary Bay of Pigs conference
last year in Havana; this year, the Archive is also working
in partnership with Brown University's Watson Institute. Peter
Kornbluh directs the Archive's Cuba project.
Documents highlighted in today's session include:
USSR, Memorandum of Conversation
between Mikoyan and Cuban Leaders, TOP SECRET, November 5, 1962
USSR, Telegrams from Malinovsky
to Pliyev, TOP SECRET, Early November (circa 5 November) 1962.
USSR, Ciphered Telegram
from Mikoyan to CC CPSU, TOP SECRET, November 6, 1962.
Cuba, Order, TOP SECRET,
Authorizing Anti-Aircraft Fire, November 17, 1962.
Cuba, Order, TOP SECRET, Rescinding
Authorization to Initiate Anti-Aircraft Fire November 18, 1962.
from CC CPSU Presidium to Mikoyan, TOP SECRET, November 22,
Hungary, Embassy, Havana,
Telegram, TOP SECRET, “The Essence of Soviet-Cuban Divergences
of Opinion,” December 1, 1962.
Great Britain, Dispatch,
CONFIDENTIAL, British Ambassador in Cuba to Foreign Office,
“The Cuban Crisis – Chapters I and II,” November 10, 1962 (with
minutes from FO’s American Department as cover).