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Record of Action of the Third Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council

Washington, October 24, 1962, 10 a.m.

1. Intelligence

The Director of Central Intelligence summarized the intelligence briefing. The President directed that the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of Central Intelligence take immediate action to obtain more "black boxes."

2. Defense Operations

a. The Secretary of Defense presented photographs of dispersal of existing U.S. planes in the southeast U.S., and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that modifications of readiness were being considered to permit improvement of the situation.

b. The Secretary of Defense reported the plans for naval interception, noted the presence of a submarine near the more interesting ships, and warned that radio silence might be imposed. There was discussion of the problem of dealing with such submarines, and it was understood that in the event of intervention by a submarine in the process of interception the submarine might have to be destroyed.

3. In the middle of the meeting there were reports that certain Soviet ships had appeared to have stopped or turned back, and the President directed that there be no interception of any target for at least another hour while clarifying information was sought.

4. Dr. Wiesner presented an initial briefing on the communications situation and the President directed that most urgent action be taken by State, Defense and CIA to improve communications worldwide, but particularly in the Caribbean area. After the meeting, the President, in discussion with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, directed that special responsibilities should be assigned to designated individuals and a plan for this purpose will be presented for approval by State, Defense and White House officers at the next meeting of the Committee.

5. The President directed that State and USIA should give immediate attention to increasing understanding in Europe of the fact that any Berlin crisis would be fundamentally the result of Soviet ambition and pressure, and that inaction by the United States in the face of the challenge in Cuba would have been more and not less dangerous for Berlin.

6. The President directed that a senior representative of USIA should regularly be present at meetings of the Executive Committee.

McGeorge Bundy