< Return to October 27

Summary Record of the Ninth Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council

Washington, October 27, 1962, 9 p.m.

Secretary McNamara recommended, and the President approved, the call up of twenty-four air reserve squadrons, involving 14,000 personnel and 300 troop carriers. The call up of the air reserve squadrons is necessary to the invasion plan and will also serve to keep the pressure on the Russians. He said mobilization of private U.S. shipping should be initiated tomorrow in order to have sufficient ships available for an invasion.

The President said that if our reconnaissance planes are fired on tomorrow, and if we know the results of U Thant's talks with the Russians, then we should take out the SAM sites in Cuba by air action.

With respect to the Soviet tanker Graznyy approaching the quarantine zone, the Attorney General recommended that we take no action against it.

The President agreed that if the tanker crosses the barrier, we should let it through, but thereafter no Bloc ships would be allowed to cross into the zone.

The President directed that Ambassador Stevenson in New York be asked to tell U Thant of the location of the Soviet tanker and ask him to remind the Russians of their statement that their ships would not enter Cuban waters. A decision on whether to intercept the tanker could be taken tomorrow.

Secretary Rusk agreed, adding that the actions we had taken already had created sufficient pressure on the Russians for today.

The President said that tomorrow we could consider increasing the pressure by adding POL to the list of prohibited goods and by publicly announcing the mobilization of U.S. shipping.

The President read aloud the message from General Norstad concerning the tactics to be followed in a meeting of the North Atlantic Council. The message included a list of questions to be answered and ended with a recommendation to reject Khrushchev's offer to trade European missiles for U.S. missiles in Turkey.

There followed consideration of a draft cable to Ambassador Finletter in Paris instructing him as to how the NATO meeting should be handled. (A copy of this message is attached.)

Secretary Rusk recommended that we not state our preferred position first but present the various alternatives to the NATO members and oblige them to state their preference. We would make clear that we must stand unified with the NATO countries.

The President agreed that our posture should be that of consulting the NATO countries--not pushing for only one course of action.

The Attorney General recommended that we should not take our final position for a few more hours. In the NATO meeting we would do no more than recite the facts and express our objective of trying to keep the situation limited to the Western Hemisphere. We would report the following day to NATO and hold off one more day a decision on accepting the Turkish/Cuban missile trade offer of the Russians. The President agreed to delete from the message the section on our preferred course of action. The NATO meeting tomorrow is to be a briefing and a request for their views. Ambassador Finletter is not to bring up the question of the possible withdrawal of the Jupiters from Turkey.

The President did not approve a draft message to Khrushchev dealing with the shooting down of a U.S. plane.

The President agreed that Ambassador Hare would not raise with the Turks the question of withdrawing the Jupiters, but that the State Department would inform Ambassador Hare, for his information, of what we are considering.

Personal letters to de Gaulle and Adenauer were given to the President for signature.

The President asked the group to meet the following morning at 11:00 o'clock.

Low-level reconnaissance missions were authorized. If these planes were attacked, the attacking planes would be fired upon.

Bromley Smith