Castro pressed on. So then the weapons are here? And no assurances were given regarding their withdrawal? Mikoyan replies, Not about the weapons.
Castro says, Therefore then the weapons are here.
Later in the notes, Castro returns to the tactical weapons, asking, Doesnt the Soviet Union transfer nuclear weapons to other countries? Mikoyan replies that there is a law prohibiting the transfer of any nuclear weapons, including the tactical ones, to anybody. We never transferred it to anyone, and we did not intent to transfer it.
Castro insists. Would it be possible to leave the tactical nuclear weapons in Cuba in Soviet hands, without transferring them to the Cubans? Mikoyan says no, because the 42,000 Soviet troops in Cuba were technically only advisers.
Minutes latter Castro again returned the tactical nuclear weapons. So you have a law that prohibits transfer of tactical nuclear weapons to other countries? It is a pity. And when are you going to repeal that law? he is quoted as saying in the notes.
Mikoyan dodges the question. We will see, he says.
Sergo Mikoyan, who accompanied his father during the first few days of the Cuba mission, wrote in the book that its not clear whether such a law really existed. Perhaps it was a secret policy of the Soviet leadership, perhaps a convenient lie.
The younger Mikoyan argues that the old men who ruled the Kremlin in the early 1960s essentially saw in Cuba a young and virile socialist revolution that needed Moscows support.
The romantic Khrushchev sent nuclear weapons to defend Havana from U.S. attacks and did not fully realize the risks, he noted. Moscows military was more pragmatic, and the Cuba deployment doubled the number of Soviet missiles that could hit U.S. territory.
But by the time Mikoyan wound up his mission to Havana, the book noted, Moscow viewed Cuban leaders as hotheads who were preparing their country to die in the fire of a nuclear confrontation with the United States in the name of world socialism.
Published jointly by the Woodrow Wilson Press and Stanford University Press, the book is based partly on Sergo Mikoyans Russian-language book Anatomy of the Cuban Missile Crisis, published in 2006.
Anastas Mikoyans wife of 43 years, Ashkhen Lazaranova, died during the first days of his three-week mission to Havana, but he stayed on the Caribbean island until he had completed his tasks and left on Nov. 26.
A few days later, Mikoyan met with presidential advisor John J. McCloy, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson and Charles W. Yost, Stevensons deputy, to discuss the details of the agreement ending the Missile Crisis. A summary of that conversation notes that Mikoyan was clearly influenced by commitments to Castro to make a strong case on Castros behalf; he also seems to be motivated by the burden that Cuba represents to the USSR.
Mikoyan died in 1978 at age of 82 of natural causes.
Sergo Mikoyan, who served as personal secretary to his father, was one of Moscows top Latin America specialists and served as editor of the journal Latin America, published by the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
The U.S. government knew in 1962 of the deployment of the Luna missiles and suspected they carried nuclear warheads, but would not learn the full details of the tactical weapons until a conference in Havana in 1992, on the 30th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, attended by U.S., Soviet and Cuban delegations.
Thats when Soviet General Anatoly Gribkov, army chief of operations during the missile crisis, revealed that Moscow had deployed nine nuclear tipped Luna in Cuba to be used against any U.S. invasion force.
The United States had no idea the warheads had made it to the island missiles without warheads arent so dangerous, said Philip Brenner, an American University professor who attended the conference.
Former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who also attended the meeting, was so taken aback, said Brenner, that he had to hold on to a table to steady himself after he learned that.
But Gribkov, like Khrushchev, was not telling the full truth. In fact, there were 80 nuclear tipped FKR-1 cruise missiles, 12 nuclear warheads of the Lunas, also known as FROG missiles, and six nuclear bombs for the IL-28s.
Sergo Mikoyan wrote that all the tactical warheads left Cuba Dec. 1, 1962,on the cargo ship Arkhangelsk and arrived Dec. 20 in the Soviet port of Severomorsk.
Miami Herald staff writer Mimi Whitefield contributed to this story.