Introduction to The Presidential Recordings of John F. Kennedy, Volume 4

By David Coleman

We are not lulled by the momentary calm of the sea or the somewhat clearer skies above. We know the turbulence that lies below, and the storms that are beyond the horizon this year. But now the winds of change appear to be blowing more strongly than ever, in the world of communism as well as our own. 1

It was the day after the world’s most dangerous crisis—October 29, 1962. Just under two weeks earlier, President John F. Kennedy had been shown photographs of Soviet missile bases in Cuba. The Cold War confrontation sparked by that news, known in the West as the Cuban Missile Crisis, is remembered as the world’s closest brush with global thermonuclear war. For 13 days, President Kennedy and a close circle of advisers had wrestled with the Soviets’ challenge. The Soviets had deployed nuclear missiles in Cuba that could reach much of the continental United States as well as much of Latin America. Once installed on the launch sites that were being built especially for them on the island just 90 miles off the Florida coast, those missiles were within range of most of the continental United States.

Soviet officials had repeatedly denied that they were installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. Sitting on one of Kennedy’s sofas in the Oval Office on October 18, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko had flatly denied that his government had any intention of putting nuclear missiles in Cuba. Kennedy chose not to reveal his hand during that meeting, but he knew Gromyko was lying. Two days earlier, the President had been shown the surveillance photos that proved it. These top secret photos, taken from a U-2 spy plane, amounted to firm evidence that the Soviets were in fact installing medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) in Cuba.

The news did not appear from nowhere. Cuba was very much on Americans’ minds in the months before the crisis. In a September 1962 Gallup poll, 94 percent of respondents said they had heard about “our troubles with Cuba.” During the summer, a rigorous political debate had raged in the United States, fueled by suspicions that the Soviets were installing a sizable military presence in Cuba that posed an offensive threat to the United States. Some critics such as Senator Kenneth Keating (R—New York) had even claimed to have received evidence that the Soviets were installing nuclear missiles there.2

As the political debate intensified over the summer and early fall of 1962, the administration adopted a watchful position. It was clear that the Soviet Union was building Cuba into a formidable regional military power. U.S. intelligence had been watching the buildup closely since 1960 but had not found evidence of weapons that could threaten the United States. On a number of occasions through the summer and early fall, administration officials assured the U.S. public there was no hard evidence of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. If that situation changed, the White House warned on September 4, “the gravest issues would arise.”3 In a press conference nine days later, Kennedy was even blunter. If the administration deemed that the nature of the Soviet military buildup in Cuba changed from defensive to offensive, Kennedy said, “this country will do whatever must be done to protect its own security and that of its allies.”4

Meanwhile, the CIA continued secret surveillance overflights of Cuba, but there were gaps in the scheduling and flight paths of the surveillance program. In the wake of the crisis, critics pointed to these shortcomings in those critical weeks and accused the administration of negligence, and worse.5 Nevertheless, it was a U-2 surveillance flight on October 14 that gathered the first clear evidence of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. The CIA’s photo analysts reported their discovery late on October 15. President Kennedy was shown the photographs early in the morning on October 16.

Once the surveillance photographs provided irrefutable evidence that that Soviet buildup in Cuba had crossed a threshold from defensive to offensive, Kennedy hurriedly gathered his advisers to devise a response. For seven days, meeting in the utmost secrecy, Kennedy and a group of advisers, the core of which had become known as the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (ExComm), had debated among themselves how best to respond. They met in secret and used misdirection to deflect curious reporters. Many of their deliberations were caught on the secret White House taping system Kennedy had had installed earlier in the summer. The resulting recordings constitute an extraordinary historical record of high stakes diplomatic decision making.6

At one point or another during the discussions, many of the participants changed their minds as they heard new information or considered new perspectives. The group’s inclinations were initially toward some kind of military strike to take out the missiles. Shortcomings of such a course became increasingly apparent. Military commanders could not guarantee that their forces could destroy all the missile sites before the Soviets might fire some of their missiles. The CIA was not even sure it had found all the missile sites (it had not). And launching surprise attacks distastefully echoed the Pearl Harbor attacks that had brought the United States into World War II. Despite these issues, some military leaders—notably the Commander of the Strategic Air Command, General Curtis LeMay, and the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral George Anderson—continued to press for a military solution.

By October 21, Kennedy had decided that the risks of a U.S. surprise attack on the Soviet missile bases in Cuba were too great. He settled on a middle course: The United States would institute a naval blockade of Cuba, dubbed a “quarantine,” to make it more palatable to world opinion and to dodge complications of international law. The move would prevent further Soviet arms shipments from arriving on the island and would allow time for Soviet leaders in Moscow to find a way to back down. As a precaution against them not doing so, the U.S. military continued to build its readiness to pursue a range of military options, from air strikes on specific military sites to an all-out invasion.

At 7:00 P.M. on October 22, Kennedy sat behind his Oval Office desk, looking into a wall of cameras that had been set up. He announced that U.S. surveillance flights had gathered irrefutable proof that the Soviets were installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. Kennedy said the United States would not allow these missiles to stay and that he was ordering an immediate naval quarantine of Cuba to prevent new weapons from arriving. With that startling announcement, the public phase of the crisis began.

On October 23, the White House issued a list of military equipment that would be targeted by the U.S. naval quarantine as prohibited items. Known as the quarantine proclamation, the list would feature prominently in the coming weeks. It specified surface-to-surface missiles, bomber aircraft, bombs, air-to-surface rockets and guided missiles, and warheads for any of these weapons, along with the support equipment needed to operate these weapons.7

Tense days followed. The United States Navy blockaded Cuba. Some Soviet ships bound for Cuba turned back. Others stopped. The massive U.S. military, the most advanced in the world, went on high alert. The Strategic Air Command, under which most of the U.S. nuclear arsenal was commanded, went to DEFCON 2, the highest alert level before missiles were fired in anger; one-eighth of the fleet of the B-52 strategic bombers was put on round-the-clock airborne alert. Nearly 200 combat-ready B-47 strategic bombers were dispersed to nearly 30 military and civilian airfields in the southeastern United States, scattered so as to make them less vulnerable to surprise attack. Leave for Strategic Air Command personnel was canceled. Twenty-four squadrons of the Air Force Reserve were called to active duty. Active duty tours of all regular members of the Navy and Marine Corps were extended for a period of up to one year. Thousands of troops were moved to the southeastern United States. Air defenses in the region were bolstered and put on high alert. U.S. submarines patrolled Caribbean waters, assisting the surface ships manning the quarantine and monitoring Soviet submarines. Air Force and Navy jets flew high-speed, high-risk low-altitude reconnaissance missions over Cuba. In New York, with television cameras rolling, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai Stevenson, faced off in a dramatic verbal showdown with his Soviet counterpart, Valerian Zorin. Pundits and policy wonks tried to quantify the likelihood of global thermonuclear war. The Joint Chiefs of Staff polished their invasion plans. And on October 27, a day that became known as Black Saturday and the most dangerous day of the crisis, a U.S. spy plane was shot down over Cuba, killing the pilot.

But then, with dramatic suddenness, Khrushchev capitulated. A flurry of secret letters between Kennedy and Khrushchev, known as the pen-pal series, had led to an agreement. That formal channel was complemented by even more secret channels from the White House, through key officials at the Soviet embassy in Washington, to Moscow. By public radio, broadcast over Radio Moscow on October 28, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev promised “to dismantle the arms which you described as offensive, and to crate and return them to the Soviet Union.” Shortly after, Soviet commanders in Cuba were ordered to start dismantling. Khrushchev also agreed to facilitate the means of assurance that they would not be reintroduced. Kennedy, in return, agreed to provide assurances that the United States would not invade Cuba. He also agreed to remove medium-range ballistic missiles under NATO command from Turkey, although a precondition of that part of the deal was that it would remain secret. These terms provided the outline of the deal that would bring one of the Cold War’s most dangerous moments to a close.8

Khrushchev’s radio broadcast brought palpable relief. When word arrived, President Kennedy took the afternoon off, flying on Marine One to his new estate in the Virginia countryside to spend an afternoon with his wife and children. Aside from two visits a mile up Pennsylvania Avenue to attend Sunday Mass at St. Stephen’s Church, it was the first time he had left the White House in over a week. Senior administration officials were able to return to their own homes and families overnight rather than catching what little sleep they could on cots set up in their offices.9

For Kennedy and his advisers, however, the relief was tempered by a deep wariness. Some officials warned that it might be some kind of trick or hoax, simply a ploy to buy time to have the missiles readied for firing. As Arthur Schlesinger Jr. put it to President Kennedy, the risk of war might have subsided over the previous 48 hours, but “our troubles are not at an end.”10 Or, as one unidentified source put it to a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter, “This is only the fifth inning of the ball game.”11 Administration officials carefully conveyed that wariness in public. The White House emphasized that even with the agreement, the President was not letting down his guard and was focused on potential pitfalls that might lie ahead, particularly in West Berlin.12

Even as the two sides stepped back from the brink, the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered their forces to keep mobilizing. It was a slow and cumbersome process. On November 4, the Strategic Air Command reached its peak striking power. If the President ordered retaliatory strikes against the Soviet Union on this day, 1,749 nuclear bombers and 182 ballistic nuclear missiles were ready.13 It was not until November 16 that the Joint Chiefs reported that U.S. military forces were finally ready to implement the full range of military action against Cuba if the President gave the order. On October 28, over 14,000 Air Force reservists were ordered to report for duty at 9:00 A.M. on October 30 to start a 12-month deployment.14 And even as the crisis appeared to ease, the Strategic Air Command kept its forces on maximum alert.15

As Kennedy met with his advisers on October 29, 14 days after he was first shown the U-2 photographs of Soviet missile installations in Cuba, the situation on the ground in Cuba had changed little from before Khrushchev’s radio broadcast. Important issues remained unresolved. The practical reality continued to be of concern, even potentially dangerous. Khrushchev’s promise was a crucial step, but for Kennedy and his advisers, the details mattered. The most pressing issue they would face in coming weeks was verifying that Khrushchev was following through on his pledge to remove the missiles from Cuba and not engaging in deception that would allow time for Soviet military technicians to bring the nuclear forces in Cuba to full combat readiness. Soviet diplomats had deceived before; it was entirely possible they might be doing so again. And there was also the important matter of the other military equipment in Cuba that might pose a threat to the United States.

On October 29, 42 MRBM missiles were still in Cuba (U.S. intelligence had spotted only 33 of them). There were still about 42,000 troops (U.S. intelligence had estimated the number to be between 17,000 and 22,000). Forty-two long-range bombers capable of carrying nuclear bombs to the U.S. mainland were in various stages of assembly. And there was an assortment of hundreds of short-range tactical missiles, including some capable of being fitted with nuclear warheads. Whether there were any nuclear warheads in Cuba was something that the U.S. intelligence community conceded was unknowable.

There was also deep uncertainty about what exactly Khrushchev had agreed to. When the Soviet Premier referred to “the arms which you described as offensive,” did he include the IL-28 long-range bombers, as U.S. officials hoped? Did he include the thousands of Soviet combat troops? Or did he mean just the missiles? Some senior U.S. officials were suspicious of Khrushchev’s careful phrasing, fearing that the Soviet leader might be using semantics to mask an intent to deceive. Washington hoped that Khrushchev meant all of the weapons systems listed in Kennedy’s quarantine proclamation of October 23, a list that specified “surface-to-surface missiles; bomber aircraft; bombs, air-to-surface rockets and guided missiles; warheads for any of the above weapons; mechanical or electronic equipment to support or operate the above items; and any other classes of materiel hereafter designated by the Secretary of Defense for the purpose of effectuating this Proclamation.”16 But it was not clear that Khrushchev understood his pledge that broadly; several members of the ExComm would come to express concerns that the Soviet leader might understand his obligation to apply only to the long-range missiles and not the other nuclear-capable weapons systems that had been part of the Soviet military buildup in Cuba. This uncertainty deeply infused the ExComm discussions and the negotiations in New York in coming weeks.

U.S. officials were particularly concerned about the Ilyushin IL-28 bombers that, though old and slow even by the standards of the day, were capable of delivering nuclear bombs to the southeastern corner of the United States. The problem of the IL-28s was second only to the long-range missiles in importance to U.S. officials in the weeks after Khrushchev’s retreat. Agreement on the Il-28 bombers became central to an agreement brokered on November 20 on the lifting of the U.S. naval quarantine of Cuba.

And even if Khrushchev did understand “offensive weapons” as broadly as U.S. officials did, recent experiences—most recently when Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko flatly denied to Kennedy in an Oval Office meeting on October 18 that the Soviet military buildup posed an offensive threat to the United States—had ensured that many in Washington were disinclined to take the Soviets at their word. The Joint Chiefs of Staff urged skeptical vigilance: “There should be no relaxation of alert procedures,” they instructed their global commands after Khrushchev’s October 28 message was received in Washington, because “the JCS are of the opinion that this may be an insincere proposal to gain time.” And, for the moment, the U.S. naval blockade of Cuba remained in force, providing Washington with both a powerful incentive and a powerful lever to coax Soviet agreement.17

Khrushchev had given a verbal assurance that the missiles were being removed, but for U.S. officials, his word alone would not be sufficient. The Soviets had lied about such things before; it was possible, some U.S. officials and politicians worried, that they might be lying again, that they might be simply buying time for the missiles to be readied for firing. The only way for U.S. officials to be sure was to gather their own evidence and verify for themselves.

The U.S. government’s preferred option was to have trained U.S. weapons inspectors on the ground in Cuba with complete freedom of movement. But implementing such an inspection regime required Cuban cooperation. Fidel Castro made clear that Cuba would never agree to such a plan.

In the short term, the only option that met the administration’s minimum requirements was to continue U.S. aerial surveillance. But sending U.S. reconnaissance planes over Cuba was dangerous. Castro continued to warn—and would continue to do so for weeks—that Cuban antiaircraft defenses would shoot down any planes that entered its airspace uninvited. It was not an idle threat. On October 27, the Defense Department had publicly confirmed that a plane had gone missing over Cuba. U.S. intelligence analysts concluded—correctly—that the advanced surface-to-air missile system that brought the plane down was under Soviet command, not Cuban, even as Soviet negotiators and Cuban public statements continued to claim they were actually under Cuban control. The Defense Department also revealed that other surveillance flights were being fired upon, these by more traditional antiaircraft batteries that were known to be under Cuban control.18 For Kennedy, it meant that the decision on whether to send U.S. reconnaissance planes over Cuba also meant deciding whether to send U.S. pilots into harm’s way.

In the longer term, other options were floated, including having United Nations or International Committee of the Red Cross personnel act as weapons inspectors or creating a Latin American nuclear-free zone. None of these ever came to fruition. Public radio broadcasts, letters, and secret back-channel meetings were clearly not going to be sufficient channels in which to engage in the kind of complex negotiations needed to bring the crisis to a conclusion.

The United Nations, and especially its acting secretary-general, U Thant, had played a limited yet important moderating role during the peak of the crisis. A Burmese national, U Thant was seen by both sides as a nonpartisan and effective intermediary. Involving him and his organization to facilitate and, if necessary, mediate the negotiations in the aftermath seemed obvious. It also meant that the main site for the negotiations shifted to New York. For its part, the United Nations recognized the need for a “fool proof standstill” and that U.S. negotiators must not be “tricked while talking,” as they felt they had been in negotiations on verifying a ban on nuclear testing.19

To lead the negotiations with the U.S. government and United Nations, the Soviets sent Vasily Kuznetsov, the deputy foreign minister of the Soviet Union. A seasoned negotiator and known in diplomatic circles as a moderate, his role was ostensibly to assist Soviet Ambassador to the United Nations Valerian Zorin. But with Zorin’s reputation and credibility having been tarnished in his bruising, televised confrontation with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson on October 25, Kuznetsov assumed the leadership role as chief negotiator and spokesperson for the Soviet government in the New York negotiations. He arrived in New York on the evening of October 28. For his part, U Thant welcomed Kuznetsov’s involvement, telling Khrushchev that he considered Kuznetsov “an old and valued friend.”20

It was not immediately clear what kind of negotiating posture Kuznetsov might take. U.S. officials were waiting to see his demeanor and negotiating posture in order to gauge the tone of Soviet negotiations, and they were relieved when Kuznetsov showed himself from the first meetings to be cordial and forthcoming. But Kuznetsov also indicated that his mission was not limited to just Cuba; he hoped to engage broader issues of U.S.-Soviet relations. For U.S. officials, that meant deciding whether engaging Kuznetsov on other important topics such West Berlin or nuclear disarmament would distract from the matter at hand with Cuba.21

The Soviet government’s chief troubleshooter, First Deputy Chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers Anastas Mikoyan, was dispatched from Moscow to Havana to smooth things over with an irate Fidel Castro. The Cuban leader was furious that Khrushchev had made a deal with Kennedy without consulting him, railing against what he saw as a betrayal by Cuba’s ally and talking in an apocalyptic tone. Mikoyan remained in Cuba, despite the death of his wife in Moscow early in the trip, from November 2 to November 26. He stopped in New York briefly en route to Havana to meet with U.S. and U.N. officials, and stopped in Washington on the way back to meet with President Kennedy.22

On the U.S. side were two senior officials: Adlai Stevenson and John J. McCloy. Unlike the situation on the Soviet side, it was not a matter of adding seniority. As a former presidential candidate in 1952 and 1956, Stevenson’s credentials were well established, and he had performed superbly in recent days in his capacity as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The complication was that he was known as a liberal’s liberal. As they entered into what were sure to be blunt and difficult negotiations, President Kennedy anticipated that congressional hawks would charge that Stevenson was being too soft on the Soviets.

To head off such charges, Kennedy brought in McCloy, a decision he had made before Stevenson’s dramatic and impressive performance at the United Nations on October 25. A former assistant secretary of war, U.S. high commissioner for Germany, and president of the World Bank, McCloy was known as blunt and direct, but also well respected on both sides of the aisle as a seasoned negotiator. Significantly, McCloy was also a Republican; his presence would add experience and depth, but it would also add an air of bipartisanship and preempt attacks from the right that Stevenson might be too willing to make concessions. As Kennedy put it to McCloy in recruiting him for the task, “I think we need somebody up there to sort of sustain Adlai and stiffen him.” Kennedy had had the opportunity on several occasions over the summer to see McCloy at work as the U.S. government’s senior negotiator on disarmament, and he was impressed with what he saw. So when Robert Lovett suggested McCloy to help with the settlement negotiations, Kennedy agreed.23

Although neither he nor any of his delegates participated directly in the negotiations in New York, Fidel Castro’s presence loomed large, especially for the Soviets. He remained defiant, making it clear that he was unhappy with Khrushchev’s capitulation and that he would vigorously protect Cuban sovereignty. During a radio broadcast on Havana Radio on October 28, he added his own requirements to any U.S.-Soviet deal on a U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba. They came to be known as Castro’s “Five Points”: the lifting of U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba; the lifting of the U.S. naval blockade of Cuba; the cessation of all subversive activities directed toward undermining the Cuban government; the cessation of reconnaissance flights over Cuba; and for the United States to withdraw from the Guantánamo naval base. In the coming weeks, U Thant and Mikoyan went to Havana to talk directly with the Cubans. Those discussions played an important role in shaping the settlement.24

While Cuba remained the most urgent problem facing the White House, it was clear that not everything in the world had stood still during the crisis. Other issues that had been pushed back in recent weeks by the fast pace of the Cuban crisis started to find their way back onto the agenda.

In South Asia, the world’s two most populous countries, China and India, were coming to blows over a disputed border. Thousands had died in the military conflict already. The conflict in the Congo had become a violent mess, as the resource-rich Katanga province moved toward secession. U.S. defense officials were bracing for a difficult talk with the British, where they would surprise their British allies with news that they were going to leave them in the lurch on an important joint missile program.

At home, a new government budget would soon be needed, a process with profound policy implications for everything ranging from tax policy to the space race to the nation’s defense posture. Bureaucracy needed to be streamlined. Press leaks had to be plugged.

And an election loomed. The presidential election was still two years away, but nine days after the end of the crisis, U.S. voters would go to the polls for midterm elections. Although only House and some gubernatorial and Senate seats were being decided, it was widely viewed as the voters’ first opportunity to pass electoral judgment on Kennedy’s presidency, and there was good evidence to suggest that the verdict would not be kind. Aside from a brief, counterintuitive spike in the wake of the aborted Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, Kennedy’s public approval ratings had maintained a steady downward slide. Combined with historical trends in midterm elections and strong signs of a deepening voter apathy, the smart money was on Democratic losses. Moreover, before Kennedy’s October 22 speech, conventional wisdom held that foreign policy—and especially Cuba—was among Kennedy’s greatest vulnerabilities. It was a topic Republicans had decided to target in the weeks and months leading up to the election.

Few had dared play politics during the tense days of the crisis. Even the administration’s most vocal critics had rallied around the flag. “It is important that at a time like this America speaks with one voice to the world,” California gubernatorial candidate Richard Nixon said in commending Kennedy’s choice of a naval quarantine of the island (something Nixon had proposed back in September). “What President Kennedy had to have in mind,” Nixon said, “was that the missiles in Cuba might fall into the control of Castro, a hot-blooded maniac compared to Khrushchev, and Khrushchev is one of the coldest men I ever met—ice water in his veins.”25 Even Senator Kenneth Keating (R-New York), who had been leading the chorus of accusations against the administration on the Cuba issue over the summer, had pledged his support: “[The President] will have the 100 percent backing of every American regardless of party.”26

But the end of the crisis meant that the national consensus would evaporate quickly. Not everyone agreed with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s admiring assessment that Kennedy had saved the West from “a kind of super Munich.”27 For Kennedy and his administration to successfully avoid political peril in the weeks and months ahead, they would have to respond to searching questions about why the missiles had not been discovered sooner, whether the White House had exploited the crisis for political gain, whether the administration’s “news management” policies were legitimate responses to national security threats, and charges that the administration was being duped by the Kremlin. With an election just days away, the public debate about such questions was peppered with strong partisan rhetoric on both sides.

If the “Cuba effect” on the election at home was difficult to forecast, predicting how it might affect international developments was even harder. Behind the scenes, some officials had already quietly started reflecting on lessons learned, anticipating the effects of the crisis, and identifying new opportunities. It seemed highly likely that the prestige of the United States, and especially that of President Kennedy, had grown markedly. The episode had given Washington an opportunity to demonstrate resolve, an attribute that had long assumed outsized significance in the Cold War.

It was clear that, as Time magazine put it, “The cold war will never be the same again.”28 The two sides had had a close call, and they knew it. But much less clear was whether Washington and Moscow had learned the same lessons from the crisis. U.S. officials hoped that the Soviets might henceforth rein in their more provocative tendencies. But it was also possible that the outcome of the crisis might rather provoke the evermercurial Khrushchev to take even more desperate gambles. It was more than concern about unseemliness, therefore, that motivated Kennedy to forbid his advisers and staff from public gloating. Soviet humility could auger well for peace, but Soviet humiliation could all too easily invite new danger. It also seemed possible that the outcome of the crisis might open new opportunities to settle some of the Cold War’s thorniest issues, especially the Berlin problem and banning nuclear testing. It was a debate that would intensify in coming weeks, but for the moment, opinion remained divided.29

For now, though, the most pressing issue in front of Kennedy remained bringing the Cuba crisis to a peaceful conclusion. And as President Kennedy and his advisers grappled with these and other important issues in the weeks and months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, he kept his secret White House tapes rolling, continuing his most prolific period of taping.


[1] “Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union,” 14 January 1963, in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office [hereafter GPO], 1964), doc. 12.
[2] Gallup Poll, “Question: Have You Heard or Read About Our Troubles with Cuba?,” 9/20–9/25/1962. The poll question did not further specify what was meant by “our troubles.”
[3] The Presidential Recordings, John F. Kennedy: The Great Crises, vol. 2, September-October 21, 1962, ed. Timothy Naftali and Philip Zelikow (New York: Norton, 2001), p. 80.
[4] “The President’s News Conference,” 13 September 1962, in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1962 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1963), doc. 378.
[5] David M. Barrett and Max Holland, Blind Over Cuba: The Photo Gap and the Missile Crisis (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2012).
[6] Naftali and Zelikow, John F. Kennedy: The Great Crises, vol. 2; and The Presidential Recordings, John F. Kennedy: The Great Crises, vol. 3, October 22–28, 1962, ed. Philip Zelikow and Ernest May (New York: Norton, 2001).
[7] “Proclamation 3504—Interdiction of the Delivery of Offensive Weapons to Cuba,” 23 October 1962, in Public Papers, Kennedy, 1962, doc. 486.
[8] On the 13 days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, see Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali, “One Hell of a Gamble”: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958–1964 (New York: Norton, 1997); Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, 2nd ed. (New York: Longman, 1999); Michael Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008).
[9] Carroll Kilpatrick, “Kennedy Makes Visit to Middleburg Estate,” Washington Post, 29 October 1962.
[10] Memorandum, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. to President Kennedy, “Post Mortem on Cuba,” 29 October 1962, in “WH Memo, October 29, 1962” folder, Box 36, National Security Files, John F. Kennedy Library.
[11] Jerome S. Cahill, “Reds Averted Cuba Invasion and Something Bigger, Too,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 29 October 1962.
[12] Carroll Kilpatrick,” Kennedy Makes Visit to Middleburg Estate,” Washington Post, 29 October 1962.
[13] Bernard C. Nalty, “The Air Force Role in Five Crises, 1958–1965,” June 1968, USAF Historical Division Liaison Office, National Security Archive: The Nuclear Vault.
[14] “Pentagon Lists Air Units Called,” New York Times, 29 October 1962; Albert Sehlstedt Jr., “Reservists Called Back,” Baltimore Sun, 29 October 1962; Mark S. Watson, “U.S. Military Still Alert,” Baltimore Sun, 29 October 1962.
[15] “SAC Keeps Planes on Maximum Alert While Crisis Eases,” New York Times, 3 November 1962.
[16] “Proclamation 3504—Interdiction of the Delivery of Offensive Weapons to Cuba,” 23 October 1962, in Public Papers, Kennedy, 1962, doc. 486.
[17] Telegram, JCS to CINCLANT and others, 28 October 1962, U. S. Department of State, in Foreign Relations of the United States (hereafter FRUS), 1961–1963: Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath, ed. Edward C. Keefer, Charles S. Sampson, and Louis J. Smith (Washington, DC: GPO, 1996), 11 (supplement): doc. 447.
[18] Jack Raymond, “Airmen Called Up,” New York Times, 28 October 1962.
[19] “[Unintelligible] Briefing at 5:30 pm,” circa 28 October 1962, in Series 291, Box 6, File 20, Accession 74/19, United Nations Archive.
[20] “U Thant to Chairman Khrushchev,” 28 October 1962, in Series 291, Box 6, File 24, Accession 74/19, United Nations Archive.
[21] Memorandum, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to President Kennedy, “What to Do About Kuznetsov?”, 31 October 1962, in “White House Memoranda, 10/31/62” folder, Box 36, National Security Files, John F. Kennedy Library.
[22] Fursenko and Naftali, “One Hell of a Gamble,” pp. 290–315; Sergo Mikoyan, The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis: Castro, Mikoyan, Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Missiles of November, ed. Svetlana Savranskaya (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012).
[23] “Conversation with John McCloy,” 9:18–9:20 A.M., 22 October 1962, in John F. Kennedy: The Great Crises, vol. 3, ed. Zelikow and May, p. 9; Letter, Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to John McCloy, 23 October 1962, in Cuban Missile Crisis Series, Folder 23, Box 1, John McCloy Papers, Amherst College.
[24] Memorandum, CIA, “The Crisis: USSR/Cuba,” 29 October 1962, in “Cuba: Subjects, CIA Memoranda, 10/29/62–10/30/62” folder, Box 46, National Security Files, John F. Kennedy Library; Mikoyan, The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis.
[25] Carl Greenberg, “Nixon Asks Full Public Support for Kennedy,” Los Angeles Times, 28 October 1962; and “Nixon Endorses Kennedy Actions,” New York Times, 28 October 1962. The actual wording of Nixon’s statement differs in these articles, but the meaning is the same. For Nixon’s earlier call for a naval quarantine of Cuba, see Bill Becker, “Cuba Quarantine is Urged by Nixon,” New York Times, 19 September 1962.
[26] Quoted in “The Backdown,” Time 80, no. 18 (2 November 1962): 16.
[27] Quoted in Louis R. Rukeyser, “Macmillan Hails Kennedy on Cuba,” Baltimore Sun, 31 October 1962.
[28] “Cold War: After Cuba,” Time, 2 November 1962.
[29] Memorandum, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. to President Kennedy, “Post Mortem on Cuba,” 29 October 1962, in “WH Memo, October 29, 1962” folder, Box 36, National Security Files, John F. Kennedy Library; “Memorandum from the Chairman of the Planning Subcommittee of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (Rostow) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security (Bundy),” 29 October 1962, in FRUS, 1961–1963, 11: doc. 109; Raymond Garthoff, “Significance of the Soviet Backdown for Future US Policy,” 29 October 1962, in “State Department Memoranda, October 29, 1962” folder, Box 36, National Security Files, John F. Kennedy Library; Telegram, Foreign Office to Washington, 29 October 1962, in CAB 21/4854, The National Archives (United Kingdom).