Letters and Messages

From Fidel Castro to Nikita Khrushchev (October 28, 1962)

October 28, 1962

Mr. Nikita Khrushchev
Premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Esteemed Comrade Khrushchev:  
I have just received your letter .
The position of our government in regards to your statement can be found in the text of the statement announced today, one that you surely are aware of.
I should clarify one point regrding the anti-aicraft measures we have adopted.  You said: Yesterday, you downed one of these, even though you had not done so when they were flying over your territory ".

Previously, there had been isolated violations with no particular military purpose and they did not present any real danger.

Now this is no longer the case.  Here was the danger of a surprise attack on certain military sites.  We decided that we could not remain passive due to the danger of a surprise attack.  With our radar alarms silenced the potential attackers could fly over our sites with impunity and totally destroy them.  We did not think we should permit this, given the costs and the efforts we have invested and because an attack would have seriously weakened our military morale and capacity.  Due to that, Cuban forces mobilized fifty anti-aircraft batteries, our entire reserve, on October 24th, in order to support the positions of the Soviet forces.  Should we wish to avoid the risk of a surprise attack,  military personnel must have orders to fire.  The Soviet Forces High Command can give you more details about what happened with the downed plane.

In the past, violations of our airspace were de facto and clandestine.  Yesterday, the American government attempted to make official the privilege of violating our air space at any time, day or night.  That is something we cannot accept because it would mean we would be renouncing our sovereign prerogatives. Howere, we agreed to avoid an incident at this time which could seriously undermine negotiations.  We shall instruct the Cuban battery to not fire while negotiations are underway, without reversing the decision we announced yesterday about defending our airspace.  We must think of the danger of possible incidents under these present conditions of high tension.  

I would also like to inform you that we are opposed in principle to inspections on our territory.

We value the enormous efforts you have made to keep the peace and we totally agree with the necessity of fighting for that goal.  If we achieve it in a fair, solid and permanent manner it will constitute an enormous service to mankind.  


Fidel Castro