Nikita Khrushchev Reference Archive
(Sub Archive of Soviet Government Documents)

Khrushchev to Kennedy:
In Response to U.S. threats of war over Cuban armaments

Written: Moscow, October 23, 1962, 5 p.m.
Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, USSR, Khrushchev Correspondence. Secret; Eyes Only; Niact; Elite. Passed to the White House at 11:05 a.m. October 23. A Department of State translation of this message is in Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, along with the Russian-language text. Also printed in Department of State Bulletin, November 19, 1973, pp. 636-637. Note: The official U.S. translation was extremely poor and made Khrushchev's speech very disconnected and nonsensical, basic words like "the", "of," etc. have been added to make the text read as it should.
Markup: Brian Baggins
Online Version: Khrushchev Reference Archive ( 2000


1042. Policy. Embtel 1041.[Dated October 23. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.3722/10-2362) ] Embassy translation follows of Khrushchev's letter of October 23 to President. Kuznetsov informed me letter would not be published "for time being."

Mr. President.

I have just received your letter, and have also acquainted myself with text of your speech of October 22 regarding Cuba.[Document 60 and footnote 1 thereto]

I should say frankly that the measures outlined in your statement represent a serious threat to peace and security of nations. The United States has openly taken a path of gross violations of the Charter of the United Nations, a path violating the international norms of free navigation on the high seas, a path of aggressive actions both against Cuba and against the Soviet Union.

The statement of the United States Government cannot be evaluated in any other way than as naked interference in the domestic affairs of the Cuban Republic, the Soviet Union, and other states. The Charter of United Nations and international norms do not give the right to any state whatsoever to establish, in international waters, control over vessels bound for the shores of the Cuban Republic.

It is self-evident that we also cannot recognize the right of United States to establish control over armaments essential to the Republic of Cuba for the strengthening of its defensive capacity.

We confirm that armaments now en route to Cuba, regardless of the classification to which they belong, are intended exclusively for defensive purposes, in order to secure the Cuban Republic from attack by an aggressor.

I hope that the Government of the United States will show prudence and renounce the actions pursued by you, which could lead to catastrophic consequences for peace throughout world.

The viewpoint of the Soviet Government with regard to your statement of October 22 is set forth in the statement of the Soviet Government, which is being conveyed to you through your Ambassador in Moscow.[For text of this statement, see The New York Times, October 14, 1962.]

N. Khrushchev.