STATEMENT BY SOVIET UNION THAT A U.S. ATTACK ON CUBA WOULD MEAN NUCLEAR WAR, September 11, 1962
The Soviet Government has stated more than once that, carrying through a policy of peaceful coexistence with all countries irrespective of their socio-political order, it has exerted and does exert all efforts to safeguard peace for all the peoples of the world, to secure agreement on general and complete disarmament under strict international control.
The Government of the U.S.S.R. deems it necessary to draw the attention of the governments of all countries and world opinion to the provocations the United States Government is now staging, provocations which might plunge the world into the disaster if a universal world war with the use of thermonuclear weapons.
Bellicose-minded reactionary elements of the United States have long since been conducting in the United States Congress and in the American press an unbridled propaganda campaign against the Cuban Republic, calling for an attack on Cuba, an attack on Soviet ships carrying the necessary commodities and food to the Cuban people, in one word, calling for war.
At first the Soviet Union did not pay special importance to this propaganda against peace, against humanity and humaneness, believing that this propaganda was conducted by irresponsible persons who do not represent or represent but do not heed the interests of the people and that all this provocative clamor was raised in the United States in connection with the preparation for the Congressional elections when the rival bourgeois parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, as usual in imperialist states, vie with each other in who can hurl more infamies against the peace forces. Unfortunately, there still are many people in the United States who were fooled by this vile propaganda. The United States monopoly capital owning the entire press of the country, radio and broadcasting, all means of influencing the minds of the peoples, keep the American people as captives of ignorance and take advantage of this in order to condition public opinion of the country in a direction that suits them. During the many years of coexistence with the United States we have already become accustomed to such kind of devil’s Sabbath and therefore did not attach special importance to it.
Now, however, one cannot ignore this, because the President of the United States asked Congress to permit the call-up of 150,000 reservists to the armed forces of the United States. Motivating his request, the President said that the United States must have the possibility of rapidly and effectively reacting in case of need to a danger that might arise in any part of the free world, and that he was taking such a step in connection with the strengthening of the armed forces of Cuba, which, they say, aggravates tension and all but creates a threat to other countries.
Such a step by the United States Government cannot be assessed otherwise than a screen for aggressive plans and intentions of the United States itself and will inevitably lead to aggravating the international atmosphere. It is said that this step is allegedly designed to ease tension. But it has never been thought that a fire can be put out by kerosene or petrol. Each thoughtful person understands that such steps do not lead to the relaxation of tension, but on the contrary are a means of aggravating tension to the limit and creating such a situation when the disaster of a world thermonuclear war can be sparked off by some accident. Hence, this is a provocation against the peace, this is done in the interests of war, in the interests of aggression.
The United States leaders seek to explain this step by the aggravation of tension. But, compared with the situation a year or even two ago, no special change can be observed. Hence, such a step is not designed to ease tension, but on the contrary, this is done to aggravate tension in the international situation.
What then has now taken place which alarmed and impelled the United States Government to take such aggressive actions? Members of the United States Congress and the press are calling a spade a spade thus giving away the real inside story behind such United States steps.
The American imperialists have been alarmed by the failure of the United States-staged economic blockade of revolutionary Cuba. They would like to strangle the Cuban people, to make them their satellite to wipe out the achievements of the revolution, accomplished by the heroic people of Cuba. To attain these ends they refused to purchase Cuban sugar, refused to sell to her their goods including even medicine and food; they did not even stop at seeking to strangle children and old folk and adults by the raw-boned hand of starvation. And all this they call humaneness!
The Soviet Union, like the other Socialist countries, stretched out a hand of assistance to the Cuban people because we understand full well Cuba’s situation. After the October Revolution, when the young Soviet state was in capitalist encirclement and the peoples of our country lived through tremendous difficulties caused by postwar destruction, the United States, instead of rendering assistance, staged armed intervention against the Soviet Republic. United States troops were landed in Murmansk, Archangel and in the Far East. British troops were landed at Archangel and occupied Baku. French troops were landed at Odessa and Japanese in the Primorye (Maritime) Territory. The imperialist powers set up counter-revolutionary armies under the leadership of Kolchak, Yudenich, Denikin, Vrangel, mobilized and armed the entire counter-revolutionary mob, this scum. The peoples of the Soviet Union firmly resolved to establish at home their own order which would accord with their aspirations, exerted many efforts and sacrificed many lives to smash internal counterrevolution and expel the foreign invaders from the country.
The Soviet Union, in spite of tremendous difficulties, not only held out in the struggle for its independence but also demonstrated to the whole world the superiority of the people’s Socialist order in which all means of production belong to the people, when everything is being done for the sake of the people. The whole world knows that the Soviet Union is the first Socialist country, which made a tremendous progress in the advance of the economy, science and culture, the first, that blazed a trail into outer space and successfully continues the exploration of outer space. The peaceful constructive labor of the Soviet people is yielding rich fruit. The flight of two Soviet spacemen side by side for three-four days and the simultaneous landing of their space ships indeed overwhelmed the minds of all honest people who rejoice in progress, rejoice in the successes of the Soviet Union, in the exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes. This has been a striking manifestation of the peace-loving policy of the Soviet Union, al whose efforts are aimed at safeguarding peace and the progress of mankind.
The United States now wants to repeat against little heroic Cuba what they undertook at one time against our country. But one can say confidently that such plans are doomed to failure.
The Soviet Union could not fail to take account of the situation it which Cuba had found itself as a result of imperialist provocations am threats, and it went fraternally to the Cuban people’s assistance. This is being done by the other Socialist countries, too, and also by other peace-loving states which maintain trade relations with Cuba. Soviet ships carry to Cuba the goods she needs and return with commodities she has in abundance, particularly sugar, which the United States—previously the main importer— has refused to buy in the hope of undermining the economy of the Cuban Republic. This is why the Soviet Union and other Socialist countries are buying this sugar—to support the economy of the Cuban state.
If one is honest and proceeds from the understanding of the nee of living in peace, declared by the United States President himself, i.e to safeguard peaceful coexistence between states irrespective of the socio-political order, what could have alarmed the American leader what is the reason for this devil’s Sabbath raised in Congress and in the American press around Cuba?
To this one can say: Gentlemen, you are evidently so frightened that you are afraid of your own shadow and you do not believe in if strength of your ideas and your capitalist order. You have been much frightened by the October Socialist Revolution and the success of the Soviet Union, achieved and developed on the basis of this revolution, that it seems to you some hordes are supposedly moving to Cuba when potatoes or oil, tractors, harvesters combines and other farming and industrial machinery are carried to Cuba to maintain the Cuban economy.
We can say to these people that these are our ships, and that what we carry in them is no business of theirs. It is the internal affair of the sides engaged in this commercial transaction. We can say, quoting the popular saying: “Don’t butt your noses where you oughtn’t.”
But we do not hide from the world public that we really are supplying Cuba with industrial equipment and goods which are helping to strengthen her economy and raise the well-being of the Cuban people.
At the request of the Cuban Government, we also send Soviet agronomists, machine-operators, tractor-drivers and livestock experts to Cuba to share their experience and knowledge with their Cuban friends in order to help them raise the country’s economy. We also send rank-and-file state and collective farm workers to Cuba, and accept thousands of Cubans to the Soviet Union to exchange experience and teach them the more progressive methods of agriculture, to help them master the Soviet farm machinery which is being supplied to Cuba.
It will be recalled that a certain amount of armaments is also being shipped from the Soviet Union to Cuba at the request of the Cuban Government in connection with the threats by aggressive imperialist circles. The Cuban statesmen also requested the Soviet Government to send to Cuba Soviet military specialists, technicians who would train the Cubans in handling up-to-date weapons, because up-to-date weapons now call for high skill and much knowledge. It is but natural that Cuba does not yet have such specialists. That is why we considered this request. It must, however, be said that the number of soviet military specialists sent to Cuba can in no way be compared to the number of workers in agriculture and industry sent there. The armaments and military equipment sent to Cuba are designed exclusively for defensive purposes and the President of the United States and the American military just as the military of any country know what means of defense are. How can these means threaten the United States?
No, gentlemen, it is not this that alarms you. You yourselves realize the absurdity of your claims that there is some threat to the United States emerging on the part of Cuba. You have invented this threat yourselves, and you now want to persuade others of its existence. It is the revolutionary spirit that you fear, and not the military equipment received by the Cubans for their own defense. And why should this alarm you if the statement by the President of the United States that the United States is not preparing an aggression against Cuba, is not contemplating an attack against her, accords with the intentions of the American Government? If this is an honest statement, and the Government of the United States abides by it in its policy, then the means of defense which Cuba is getting will not be used because the need to use them will arise only in the event of aggression against Cuba.
The Government of the Soviet Union also authorized Tass to state that there is no need for the Soviet Union to shift its weapons for the repulsion of aggression, for a retaliatory blow, to any other country, instance Cuba. Our nuclear weapons are so powerful in their explosive force and the Soviet Union has so powerful rockets to carry these nuclear warheads, that there is no need to search for sites for them beyond the boundaries of the Soviet Union. We have said and we do repeat that if war is unleashed, if the aggressor makes an attack on one state or another and this state asks for assistance, the Soviet Union has the possibility from its own territory to render assistance to any peace-loving state and not only to Cuba. And let no one doubt that the Soviet Union will render such assistance just as it was ready in 1956 to render military assistance to Egypt at the time of the Anglo-French-Israeli aggression in the Suez Canal region.
We do not say this to frighten someone. Intimidation is alien to the foreign policy of the Soviet State. Threats and blackmail are an integral part of the imperialist states. The Soviet Union stands for peace and wants no war.
The Soviet Government calls the attention of the world public and the governments of all countries which stand on positions of peaceful coexistence to the fact that even now, when the United States of America is preparing an act of aggression and is increasing its armed forces for this purpose by calling up 150,000 reservists, into the army, when the President of the United States is asking Congress for permission to do this, the U.S.S.R. Minister of Defense, Marshal [Rodion Y.] Malinovsky, has ordered the discharge into reserve of the service men who have completed their term. Trained soldiers are being released from the armed forces of the U.S.S.R. and recruits are being called up to replenish the units. This alone is a clear enough indication of our peaceful intentions. No Government would take such a measure if it contemplated any action of a military nature. One must realize what it means when trained soldiers are being released from the army and recruits called up who must yet be trained — and this is not so easy to do considering the complex equipment of the army which requires a great amount of knowledge not only from the commander but also from every private. In taking this step we realize measures in our day-by-day life which confirm that the Soviet Union is following a policy of insuring peace and friendship with all peoples.
The Soviet Union will not take any similar retaliatory actions to the call-up of 150,000 reservists in the United States, the more so that this cannot be of any serious military importance, given up-to-date means of nuclear rocket warfare. If in the past the yardsticks for armies of the belligerents were mainly the number of soldiers, sabers and bayonets, in our time the might of these armies is determined by a different yardstick — nuclear rocket weapons.
But at a moment when the United States is taking measures to mobilize its armed forces and is preparing for aggression against Cuba and other peace-loving states, the Soviet Government would like to draw attention to the fact that one cannot now attack Cuba and expect that the aggressor will be free from punishment for this attack. If this attack is made, this will be the beginning of the unleashing of war.
How are the preparations for aggression against Cuba being motivated? By saying that Soviet merchant ships carry cargoes to Cuba, and the United States considers them to be military cargoes. But this is a purely internal matter of the states which send these cargoes and those which buy and receive them.
The whole world knows that the United States of America has ringed the Soviet Union and other Socialist countries with bases. What have they stationed there— tractors? Are they perhaps growing rice, wheat, potatoes, or some other farm crops there? No, they have brought armaments there in their ships, and these armaments, stationed along the frontiers of the Soviet Union—in Turkey, Iran, Greece, Italy, Britain, Holland, Pakistan and other countries belonging to the military blocs of NATO, CENTO and SEATO—are said to be there lawfully, by right. They consider this their right! But to others the United States does not permit this even for defense, and even measures are nevertheless taken to strengthen the defenses of or that country the United States raises an outcry and declares t an attack, if you please, is being prepared against them. What conceit! The United States apparently believes that in the present conditions one can proceed to aggression with impunity.
Equal rights and equal opportunities must be recognized for all tries of the world. This is not only in conformity with the recognized standards of the international law which have already taken shape. This should be strictly adhered to in practical life and activity And what happens in fact? The United States, for instance, is now mobilizing allegedly because our merchant ships are proceeding to Cuba. At the same time United States ships, not merchant ships, it is not a question of merchant ships, but warships, the entire Sixth Fleet of the United States are in the Mediterranean. How many kilometers, what distance is this from the United States? The Seventh United States Fleet is in the Taiwan Strait. By how many thousands of kilometers is this fleet separated from the shores of the United States? It is even said in the United States that they have the right to be there.
What are the aims of the presence of these fleets in the Mediterranean and in the Taiwan Strait? They are not peaceful aims. That much is certain. They are aggressive military aims. And can it conduce to normal relations when United States warships cruise off shores of other states while American admirals and generals, as if competing with each other, prattle in the press and radio from time to time about the Sixth and Seventh Fleets being designed for attack, for destroying the Socialist countries?
So long as this madness continues, this policy will not contribute the strengthening of peace but will, on the contrary, always be a source which might at any moment produce a military conflict with all attendant consequences.
A vile campaign against the Soviet Union is now being conducted in the United States. It is shouted from the housetops that since a merchant fleet is plying between the U.S.S.R. and Cuba, carrying freight, this gives the United States the right to attack Cuba and the Soviet Union. But what purpose serves the stay of United States warships in Turkish ports, and by what right is their stay there regarded as lawful and normal? What do they want—to obtain for themselves some exclusion from the general rules? What is declared a violation of standards for one, is regarded as normal for others.
We warn that given present conditions the Socialist camp has no fewer forces and opportunities than the United States and its allies in war blocs. This must be taken into consideration. One must be guided by this in politics so that it does not prejudice one side or the other. Only under these conditions can one avoid a military conflict, safeguard peace. Resort to provocations, guided by the absurd expectation to frighten the other side, this means irresponsible playing with the destinies of the world. Such a policy can but lead to dismal results.
It should be remembered that the times have gone forever when the United States had the monopoly of nuclear weapons. Today the Soviet Union has these weapons in sufficient quantities and of a higher quality. It should be known therefore that he who starts a war, he who sows the winds, will reap a hurricane. In digging an abyss for its opponents an aggressor will inevitably fall into it himself. Only a madman can think now that a war started by him will be a calamity only for the people against which it is unleashed. No, already Hitler’s experience should have taught something to those who contemplate aggression in our days. Hitler, who started war together with Mussolini, himself perished in it, and brought disaster to all the peoples of the world. A war now would be a hundredfold more terrible, and it would bring calamities to both the peoples against which the United States is preparing aggression now, and to the people of the United States itself, and probably bigger, not lesser calamities than this will be even truer of those states, allies of the United States, who border on the Soviet Union, and also of its other Allies in Europe and Asia.
But those quarters that determine the policy of the United States do not take this into consideration, they set up military bases on territories of the United States allies, build up nuclear weapons stores there, install rockets, for instance, in Turkey, Italy and Japan. It is not difficult to understand what destiny they are preparing for these their allies in case of war. For all this is done to attack the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic and other Socialist states. This is well understood by the people in those very countries where United States military bases are being established, for instance, in Japan whose people are resolutely protesting against these bases.
In the light of the latest events, in the light of the request of the United States President to Congress for the permission to call up 150,000 reservists, the Soviet Government also assesses differently the flight of the American U-2 reconnaissance plane over Soviet territory in the region of Sakhalin on August 30 this year. Reports have appeared to the effect that U-2 planes are being based in Britain, Japan, Turkey, the Federal Republic of Germany and are making flights from American bases in those countries. These flights are explained by alleging that they have peaceful purposes—they take samples of air, study cloud movements. But today it is still clearly visible what samples they are taking and for what purposes these flights are undertaken.
That is why the Soviet Government appeals to the peoples urging them to raise a voice of denouncing aggressive schemes, not to allow the American aggressors to unleash war, to safeguard world peace.
The Government of the U.S.S.R. appeals to the Soviet people urging them to continue working as successfully as they are working now. The Government of the Soviet Union will do its utmost to safeguard peace and peaceful coexistence with all countries. But this does not always depend on us. The Soviet Union did not want the second World War, but Hitler imposed it upon us and we were forced to wage war. That is why we must do everything to be prepared, to see to it that our armed forces—the strategic rocket forces and the ground forces, the anti-aircraft defense, the navy and especially the submarine fleet of the Soviet Union—be able to cope with their tasks. If the aggressors unleash war our armed forces must be ready to strike a crushing retaliatory blow at the aggressor.
The Soviet Government will not follow the way of the United States which is calling up 150,000 reservists. If we repeated this action of the United States we would do what apparently is wanted by certain American circles—we would help them inflame the situation. But neither can we disregard the aggressive preparations of the United States. The Soviet Government considers it its duty in this situation to display vigilance and to instruct the Minister of Defense of the Soviet Union, the command of the Soviet Army, to take all measures to raise our armed forces to peak military preparedness.
But these are exclusively precautionary measures. We shall do everything on our part so that peace is not disturbed.
The Soviet Government appeals to the government of the United States urging it to display common sense, not to lose self-control and to soberly assess what its actions might lead to if it unleashes war.
Instead of aggravating the atmosphere by such actions as the mobilization of reservists, which is tantamount to the threat of starting war, it would be more sensible if the Government of the United States, displaying wisdom, would offer a kind gesture—would establish diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba. The desirability of which has been recently declared by the Cuban Government. If the American Government displayed this wisdom, the peoples would assess this properly as a realistic contribution of the United States to the relaxation of international tension, the strengthening of world peace.
If normal diplomatic and trade relations were established between the United States of America and Cuba, there would be no need for Cuba to strengthen her defenses, her armed forces. For then nobody would menace Cuba with war or other aggressive actions, and the situation would become normal.
Thus stand matters now, such is the situation at the present moment.
The Soviet Government has declared more than once and declares now: We are stretching out a hand of friendship to the people and Government of the United States. We would like to pool our efforts with the Governments of the United States and other countries to solve all ripe international problems, to safeguard peace on earth. To do so one must agree, above all, on the first step which might be a solution of the problem of ending nuclear weapons tests. We are ready to reach agreement on general and complete disarmament under strict international control.
The Soviet Government expresses the hope that the Government of the United States will at last draw sober conclusions concerning the need for a peace treaty with Germany. There have been many negotiations on this question, but no progress has thus far been made. A pause has now been reached in the talks on a German peace treaty. But the issue remains as sharp as ever before, and is felt even more acutely now in view of the provocations by revanchists in West Berlin against the German Democratic Republic. It is said that it is difficult for the United States to negotiate on the German peace treaty now as elections to the American Congress are due in November. Well, the Soviet Government is prepared to reckon with this. But one cannot link the solution of the question of a German peace treaty all the time to elections in this or that country. Elections are held often —now here, now there, and further delay in settling the question of a German peace treaty can only produce fresh difficulties and fresh dangers. The Soviet Government, as before, stands for the earliest conclusion of a German peace treaty and the adjustment of the situation in West Berlin on its basis.
This task must be accomplished and it will be accomplished. The sovereignty of the German Democratic Republic must be protected and it will be protected. The vestiges of World War II in Europe, including the occupation regime in West Berlin, must be liquidated and they will be liquidated. This accords not only with the interests of the Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic, it accords with the vital interests of all states, all peoples.
The Soviet Union is stretching out a hand of friendship to all peoples of the world, in order to achieve by common effort the establishment of an enduring, inviolable peace on our planet. As regards questions of the internal, socio-political order of states, they must be settled by each people independently, without any outside intervention. Peace can be safeguarded only if one respects the inalienable right of each people to independence, if one strictly observes the principle of non-intervention by some states in the domestic affairs of other states. That is precisely the meaning of peaceful coexistence, underlying the peaceable policy of the Soviet state.
Source: The New York Times, September 12, 1962, p. 16