13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis October 1962 by Robert F. Kennedy (auth.)

By Robert F. Kennedy (auth.)

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Sample text

At 2:30 we walked up to the Oval Room. The meeting went on until ten minutes after five. Convened as a formal meeting of the National Security Council, it was a larger group of people who met, some of whom had not participated in the deliberations up to that time. Bob McNamara presented the arguments for the blockade; others presented the arguments for the military attack. The discussion, for the most part, was able so and organized, although, like all meetings of this kind, certain statements were made as accepted truisms, which I, at least, thought were of questionable validity.

The President, although he rejected Stevenson's suggestion, pointed out that he had for a long period held reservations about the value of Jupiter missiles in Turkey and Italy and some time ago had asked the State Department to conduct negotiations for their removal; but now, he said, was not the appropriate time to suggest this action, and we could not abandon Guantanamo Bay under threat from the Russians. Stevenson has since been criticized publicly for 52 the position he took at this meeting.

38 An examination of photography taken on Wednesday, October 17, showed several other installations, with at least sixteen and possibly thirty-two missiles of over I,ooo-mile range. Our military experts advised that these missiles could be in operation within a week. The next day, Thursday, estimates by our Intelligence Community placed in Cuba missiles with an atomic-warhead potential of about one-half the current ICBM capacity of the entire Soviet Union. The photography having indicated that the missiles were being directed at certain American cities, the estimate was that within a few minutes of their being fired So million Americans would be dead.

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