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Cuban Missile Crisis: October 23, 1962 - part 3

Speaker: John F Kennedy
Delivered On: 10/23/1962
Place: Washington, D.C.
Subject: Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962. United States -- Foreign relations -- Soviet Union.
Audio/Video Available:

Description: See resource for October 18, 1962 for brief description of the Cuban Missile crisis and previous clips in this series for timeline events up to this date.
Summary of conversations:

Tape 35.2, October 23, 6:00pm: Further analysis ofthe wording ofthe proclamation and the implementation of the quarantine, plus a review of world reaction to the president's speechand the latest low-level photo reconnaissance:

General agreement that if and when a ship has to be stopped and searched, it should be one we are reasonably sure is carrying offensive weapons and can be boarded outside the 500 mile range of Soviet MIGs in Cuba. [14:58]

Review of the wording of the quarantine proclamation to be issued by the president JFK notes that [t]he title states that our purpose is "to stop the introduction of Sino-Soviet offensive weapons into Cuba" He suggests dropping the words "Sino-Soviet" because it could "hit them harder to name them in a way which may not be desirable. It is more challenging than it needs to be."[17:35]. JFK's view was adopted and the final tide reads: "Interdiction of the delivery of offensive weapons to Cuba." No one questions the Cold War assumption that monolithic communism is responsible for the missiles in Cuba and the term "Sino-Soviet powers" does appear in the text

JFK predicts a real fight including shooting in order to board and search a Soviet ship. Says we might have to shoot the rudder or even sink a ship-very dangerous and uncertain situation. [28:20] He suggests the Soviets might have hundreds of marines on board but Bundy says crews on these ships are small and a big fight unlikely. [29:00]

Laughter results when JFK talks about stopping and disabling a ship, towing it to a US port and finding it carried baby food. [29:25] McNamara says any ship to be towed would be seached first. [Source: JFK Library release notes prepared by Sheldon M. Stern]