23 October 1962 / Enciphered cable from Havana from Alekseyev on mobilizing the national militia in Cuba
Copy No. 12
[Translator’s note: Distribution for this cable is as follows: Brezhnev, Voronov, Kirilenko, Kozlov, Kuusinen, Mikoyan, Podgornyy, Polyanskiy, Suslov, Khrushchev, Khrushchev [sic], Shvernik, Grishin, Rashidov, Mazurov, Mzhavanadze, Shcherbitskiy, Ponomarev, Gromyko, Malinovskiy, Kuznetsov]
From: Havana No. 48369 Time: 11:50 Date: 23/X/1962
S P E C I A L
Raul Castro has reported that in response to Kennedy’s threat, the Cuban Government has made the decision to mobilize all national militia units.
In all, 350,000 individuals will be mobilized.
A full mobilization of this amount will take 72 hours.
Military forces (105,000 individuals) have been brought to combat readiness and are occupying initial positions.
Mass worker organizations are directing all of their activities at assisting the military and substituting for workers in factories.
Mobilization is a new heavy burden for the Cuban economy, since maintaining the military comes at a cost to the country of about one million pesos daily, which does not include losses from the decrease in production because of significant numbers of workers joining the military.
Tomorrow at noon, Fidel Castro will appear on radio and television with an appeal to the Cuban people.
Commenting on Kennedy’s speech, Raul Castro said that there can be no doubt that it was directed at American voters and those Latin American countries that still maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Castro believes that, when faced with this level of pressure, then some – if not all – of these countries will break off relations with Cuba.
The Cuban government, Castro says, is firm in its resolve and certain of the fighting spirit and unity of its people in rebuffing the enemy.
Cuban leaders are anticipating the response from the Soviet Union to Kennedy’s speech and are anchoring their hopes on the intelligence of our decisions.
Castro said that the USSR, which is surrounded by American bases, has deep-seated arguments for a response to Kennedy and is able to enter into talks with him. As concerns UN observers, whose aspects to Cuba are what the US is pressing for, as a sovereign nation, we will never allow them onto our soil.
In Cuba’s leadership circles and among the military commanders, just as among the masses, utter composure and conviction will prevail.
In order to prevent provocations, the forces have been given the order to open fire on enemy aircraft and vessels only if they are first to initiate the attack.
Per Castro’s report, the Americans have halted allowing Cuban workers access to Guantanamo base.
All American civilian airplanes are prohibited from overflying Cuban territory or approaching its coast.
In addition, radio intercept has been obtained which forbids American vessels from communicating with bases over open channels.
We will promptly inform you of any new information.