"During the Cuba missile crisis in 1962, President Kennedy came under pressure to act militarily. But a group of American scientists urged negotiations. Through British colleagues in Pugwash, a message was conveyed to the Russians offering to withdraw American missiles near the Turkish-Soviet border if the Russians removed their missiles from Cuba. Nothing was said about this at the time. However, shortly after the Soviets pulled back from Cuba, the US removed its missiles from the sensitive spots in Turkey." (Elon Salmon, "Against the Bomb," Financial Times, 11/12 February 1989.)
Rotblat, who was Secretary General at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, did not make such direct claims. For example, in his 1972 history, Scientists in the Quest for Peace, he wrote:
[T]he Secretary-General called an emergency meeting of influential scientists from the United States and the Soviet Union to discuss means of solving the crisis. For several days he was in almost continuous telephone communication with Washington and Moscow. Such a meeting could obviously not be held without the approval of the highest authorities in the countries concerned, but this approval was very quickly obtained, and an agreement was reached to hold the meeting in London within a few days; however, the resolution of the crisis made the meeting unnecessary. While it is impossible to say how useful this meeting would have been if it had been held, the very fact that in a time of crisis it was possible to plan at very short notice, for a meeting of eminent scientists, with top level approval for it, shows the importance of the channel of communication provided by Pugwash."
These two versions are not necessarily incompatible and clearly need further study in the archives of the two countries.
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