Transcript

The Prime Minister said … In retrospect it was evident that the President had played his hand with great skill … President Kennedy had steered a difficult course between being driven into a premature use of force and appearing to waver in his determination. While reluctant to authorise an invasion of Cuba, he had shown great firmness in continuing to make preparations for it.

The Foreign Secretary said that if the United States had attacked Cuba there could be little doubt that the Soviet Government would have reacted in Berlin. There would then have been a real and immediate risk of nuclear war. In the public presentation of recent events it would be important to avoid engendering over optimism …

A particular danger here was that the sense of relief engendered by the solution of the Cuban Crisis might lead to demands for the elimination of nuclear weapons as the first stage of any disarmament plan. The West could not accept this, since it would leave a clear field to the massive conventional superiority of the Communist powers: at all stages of any disarmament plan nuclear and conventional disarmament would have to be considered together. An agreement on missile bases would also present difficulty, since all the Russian bases of any importance were on their own soil. In short it would be necessary to point out realistically that the chances of international agreement on major issues had not been improved, but might have become worse because the West had more reason to be suspicious of Communist professions of good faith.