EXPERTS: 1962 CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS GREW OUT OF FALSE ASSUMPTIONS
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (OCT. 13) AP - The Cuban missile crisis was fueled by false
assumptions on both sides, including the Soviet conviction that the Americans
were preparing to invade Cuba, said Soviet and U.S. insiders Tuesday.
A Soviet expert said that Nikita S. Khrushchev, the Kremlin leader at the time
of the 13-day nuclear standoff that began Oct. 16, 1962, believed a full U.S.
invasion was imminent after the abortive 1961 Bay of Pigs attack on Cuba.
Sergei Mikoyan, appearing at a U.S.-Soviet Conference on the Cuban Missile
Crisis, said Khrushchev had nuclear missiles installed on the island partially
as a counterweight to the threat he believed came from President John F.
''We in Moscow were convinced that such an invasion would follow, this time
with all the American might,'' said Mikoyan, whose father, Anastas, was an aide
to Khruschev at the time.
Mikoyan and Fedor Burlatsky, a former speechwriter for Krushchev, spoke with
reporters outside the conference, which was sponsored by Harvard University's
John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Burlatsky said the Kremlin never contemplated launching a pre-emptive nuclear
strike even during the most tense hours of the crisis, ''but we worried very
much about the American bases near our border.''
Representing the United States at the conference, which ends Tuesday, were
three of the top officials in the Kennedy administration: former Defense
Secretary Robert S. McNamara; McGeorge Bundy, the special assistant for
national security; and Theodore Sorensen, Kennedy's counsel and speechwriter.
McNamara said that in retrospect it is clear that ''it's not possible to
predict the actions of the two military powers in this nuclear age. It is not
possible to manage crises in the nuclear age ... with a high degree of
SOVIETS DENY REPORTED CONFLICT WITH CUBA DURING 1962 CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (OCT. 14) UPI - Soviet advisers attending a 25th anniversary
conference on the Cuban missile crisis deny a report of an armed clash between
Soviet and Cuban forces during the 1962 confrontation with the United States.
Sergei Mikoyan, a magazine editor and son of Nikita Khrushchev's top deputy,
said Tuesday he doubted a Washington Post report that a key Soviet missile base
in Cuba was apparently attacked by Cuban troops at the height of the crisis.
Three Soviet soldiers may have died in the attack, which occurred just hours
before an American U2 spy plane crashed near the base, the Post said.
Mikoyan confirmed the spy plane was shot down, but said it was ''a very grave
mistake'' by a low-level commander acting without authorization. He said it is
still unclear whether the commander was Cuban or Russian.
The Post story, by journalist Seymour Hersh, cited newly available decoded
communications intercepts and concluded they reveal the missile crisis was far
more perilous than was known at the time.
But Soviet leaders at the time were never informed of a conflict with the
Cubans, said Mikoyan, who traveled to Cuba at the end of the 1962 crisis with
his father, Anastas Mikoyan, first deputy premier to Khrushchev, then the
''We feel we can exclude any possibility of an armed clash,'' Mikoyan said at
the conclusion of the three-day conference at Harvard University's John F.
Kennedy School of Government.
''If there was a clash, it could be anti-revolutionary forces in Cuba, but we
still have some doubts about that story. Neither my father nor his colleagues
... knew anything about fighting,'' said Mikoyan, now editor of the Magazine