|The Miami News, Oct. 23, 1962.|
|U.S. Army hospital tents and ambulances set up at the Opa Locka airport, |
in November, 1962. (AP Photo)
on the Cuban Missile Crisis.
in a televised address on Oct. 22, 1962.
U.N. Security Council, October 25, 1962.
|President Kennedy talking with aides, including Defense Secretary |
Robert McNamara during the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 29, 1962.
Oct. 17 - American military units begin moving to bases in the Southeastern U.S. as intelligence photos from another U-2 flight show additional sites; and 16 to 32 missiles. President Kennedy attends a brief service at St. Matthew's Cathedral in observance of the National Day of Prayer. After, he has lunch with Crown Prince Hasan of Libya, and then makes a political visit to Connecticut in support of Democratic congressional candidates.
Oct. 18 - President Kennedy is visited by Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, who asserts that Soviet aid to Cuba is purely defensive and does not represent a threat to the United States. Kennedy, without revealing what he knows of the existence of the missiles, reads to Gromyko his public warning of September 4 that the "gravest consequences" would follow if significant Soviet offensive weapons were introduced into Cuba.
Oct. 19 - President Kennedy leaves for a scheduled campaign trip to Ohio and Illinois. In Washington, his advisers continue the debate over the necessary and appropriate course of action.
Oct. 20 - President Kennedy returns suddenly to Washington and after five hours of discussion with top advisers decides on the quarantine. Plans for deploying naval units are drawn and work is begun on a speech to notify the American people.
Oct. 21 - After attending Mass at St. Stephen's Church with Mrs. Kennedy, the President meets with General Walter Sweeney of the Tactical Air Command who tells him that an air strike could not guarantee 100% destruction of the missiles.
Oct. 22 - President Kennedy phones former Presidents Hoover, Truman and Eisenhower to brief them on the situation. Meetings to coordinate all actions continue. Kennedy formally establishes the Executive Committee of the National Security Council and instructs it to meet daily during the crisis. Kennedy briefs the cabinet and congressional leaders on the situation. Kennedy also informs British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan of the situation by telephone.
President Kennedy writes to Nikita Khrushchev, Premier of the Soviet Union, prior to addressing the American public on live television: ... I have not assumed that you or any other sane man would In this nuclear age, deliberately plunge the world into war which it is crystal clear no country could win and which could only result in catastrophic consequences to the whole world, including the aggressor.
At 7:00 p.m. Kennedy speaks on television, revealing the evidence of Soviet missiles in Cuba and calling for their removal. He also announces the establishment of a naval quarantine around the island until the Soviet Union agrees to dismantle the missile sites and to make certain that no additional missiles are shipped to Cuba. Approximately one hour before the speech, Secretary of State Dean Rusk formally notifies Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin of the contents of the President's speech.
Oct. 23 - Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Edwin Martin seeks a resolution of support from the Organization of American States. Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson lays the matter before the U.N. Security Council. The ships of the naval quarantine fleet move into place around Cuba. Soviet submarines threaten the quarantine by moving into the Caribbean area. Soviet freighters bound for Cuba with military supplies stop dead in the water, but the oil tanker Bucharest continues towards Cuba. In the evening Robert Kennedy meets with Ambassador Dobrynin at the Soviet Embassy.
Oct. 24 - Chairman Khrushchev replies indignantly to President Kennedy's October 23 letter stating in part: "You, Mr. President, are not declaring a quarantine, but rather are setting forth an ultimatum and threatening that if we do not give in to your demands you will use force. Consider what you are saying! And you want to persuade me to agree to this! What would it mean to agree to these demands? It would mean guiding oneself in one's relations with other countries not by reason, but by submitting to arbitrariness. You are no longer appealing to reason, but wish to intimidate us."
Oct. 25 - Knowing that some missiles in Cuba were now operational, the president personally drafts a letter to Premier Khrushchev, again urging him to change the course of events. Meanwhile, Soviet freighters turn and head back to Europe. The Bucharest, carrying only petroleum products, is allowed through the quarantine line. U.N. Secretary General U Thant calls for a cooling off period, which is rejected by Kennedy because it would leave the missiles in place.
Much public debate between the United States and the Soviet Union took place in the halls of the United Nations. During the debate in the Security Council, the normally courteous U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson aggresivrely confronted his Soviet U.N. counterpart Valerian Zorin with photographic evidence of the missiles in Cuba.
Oct. 26 - A Soviet-chartered freighter is stopped at the quarantine line and searched for contraband military supplies. None are found and the ship is allowed to proceed to Cuba. Photographic evidence shows accelerated construction of the missile sites and the uncrating of Soviet IL-28 bombers at Cuban airfields.
In a private letter, Fidel Castro urges Nikita Khrushchev to initiate a nuclear first strike against the United States in the event of an American invasion of Cuba.
John Scali, ABC News reporter, is approached by Aleksander Fomin of the Soviet embassy staff with a proposal for a solution to the crisis.
Later, a long, rambling letter from Khrushchev to Kennedy makes a similar offer: removal of the missiles in exchange for lifting the quarantine and a pledge that the U.S. will not invade Cuba.
Oct. 27 - A second letter from Moscow demanding tougher terms, including the removal of obsolete Jupiter missiles from Turkey, is received in Washington. Over Cuba, An American U-2 plane is shot down by a Soviet-supplied surface-to-air missile and the pilot, Major Rudolph Anderson, is killed. President Kennedy writes a letter to the widow of USAF Major Rudolf Anderson, Jr., offering condolences, and informing her that President Kennedy is awarding him the Distinguished Service Medal, posthumously.
At a tense meeting of the Executive Committee, President Kennedy resists pressure for immediate military action against the SAM sites. At several points in the discussion, Kennedy insists that removal of the American missiles in Turkey will have to be part of an overall negotiated settlement. The Committee ultimately decides to ignore the Saturday letter from Moscow and respond favorably to the more conciliatory Friday message. Air Force troop carrier squadrons are ordered to active duty in case an invasion is required.
Later that night, Robert Kennedy meets secretly with Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. They reach a basic understanding: the Soviet Union will withdraw the missiles from Cuba under United Nations supervision in exchange for an American pledge not to invade Cuba. In an additional secret understanding, the United States agrees to eventually remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey.
Oct. 28 - The thirteen days marking the most dangerous period of the Cuban missile crisis end. Radio Moscow announces that the Soviet Union has accepted the proposed solution and releases the text of a Khrushchev letter affirming that the missiles will be removed in exchange for a non-invasion pledge from the United States.