Resources: Days of decision

Meeting Cuban Missile Crisis 1962

Clockwise, starting with the position in the back left: Dean Rusk-Secretary of State, John F. Kennedy-President of the United States of America, C. Douglas Dillon-Secretary of Treasury, Robert McNamara-Secretary of Defense, McGeorge Bundy-National Scurity Advisor.


Source A
An American naval officer
“We were prepared to immediatley start landing troops. We felt it was the real thing and we were scared to death.“


Source B
On 26 October Khrushchev sent a letter to Kennedy. It suggested that the missiles could be withdrawn if the USA made a promise not to invade Cuba.
"If the assurances were given that the president of the United States would not participate in an attack on Cuba (…), then the question of the removal of the missile sites would be an entirely different question. This is my proposal. No more weapons to Cuba and those within Cuba withdrawn or destroyed, and you (…) also agree not to invade Cuba."


Source C
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara
“An air strike would not destroy all the missiles and launchers in Cuba, and, at best, we could knock out two-thirds of these missiles. Those missiles not destroyed could be fired from mobile launchers not destroyed....“


Source D
President Robert F. Kennedy
“I think we should first institute the blockade. In the event that the Soviets continued to build up the missile capability in Cuba, then we should inform the Russians that we will destroy the missiles, the launchers, and the missile sites. I favor a short wait during which time the Russians can react to the blockade. If the Russians do not halt the development of the missile capability, then we can proceed to make an air strike.(...)“


Source E
General Maxwell Taylor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
“A decision now to impose a blockade is a decision to abandon the possibility of an air strike. A strike will be feasible for only a few more days; after that the missiles will be operational. Thus it is now or never for an air strike. I favor a strike.(...)“


geändert: Montag, 2. Dezember 2013, 09:30