Cuban Missile Crisis: October 27, 1962 & October 28, 1962

Speaker: John F Kennedy
Delivered On: 10/27/1962
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.
Tape 42.0, October 27, 4:00 (continuation of Tape 41A); resumes at 9:00:

Ambassador Thompson suggests that “These boys are beginning to give way. Let’s push
harder. I think they’ll change their minds when we take significant forceful action
– stopping a ship or taking out a SAM site.” (6:21)

When Dillon discusses the choice between taking out one SAM site or all of them,
LBJ says: “You warhawks ought to get together,” (and laughs). (7:30)

Thompson concludes that the USSR “has put up the price …and escalated” and US
willingness to discuss the Turkey-Cuba missile trade is “a further sign of weakness.”

LBJ adds: Khrushchev is saying, “I’m going to dismantle the foreign policy of the
US for the last 15 years in order to let you get these missiles out of Cuba. And
we say, we’re glad and we appreciate it and we want to discuss it with you.” (15:55)

[JFK returns to the meeting]

Thompson restates his opposition to the Turkish trade. (20:47) Kennedy reiterates
the McNamara proposal – tell the Turks that they would be safer if the US missiles
are eliminated before an attack on Cuba and replaced by Polaris missiles. (22:35)

JFK states: “We can’t very well invade Cuba with all its toil…when we could have
gotten them out by making a deal on the same missiles in Turkey. If that’s part
of the record then I fear we won’t have a very good war.” (27:30)

The meeting resumes later in the evening with further discussion of surveillance
flights over Cuba. McNamara declares “I think the point is that if our planes are
fired on tomorrow, we ought to fire back” (41:16)

JFK disagrees: “I think we ought to wait till tomorrow afternoon” to see if U Thant
makes any progress. “If tomorrow they fire at us…we ought to put a statement out…if
we don’t get some satisfaction from the Russians or U Thant or Cuba tomorrow night,
figure that Monday we’re going to do something about the SAM sites.” (41:42)

The discussion returns to the ships approaching the quarantine line. JFK states
that “if they’re firing tomorrow” at US surveillance planes then we should inform
U Thant that if this ship is not called back “the confrontation must take place.”

THE REMAINDER OF TAPE 42.O] Further discussion of NATO and the Turkish trade proposaL
JFK states that “if we take action… which we may well have to take the way its
escalating, if they [USSR] hit Turkey and they hit Berlin…if they [NATO] want
to get off, now’s the time to speak up.” (1:00:20)

RFK also urges putting off military action for 24 hours; “One day -I can ‘t believe
it’s going to make that much difference. … I think you’ve got to give them a chance.”
(1:02:50) If they decide “to hold fast…then on Tuesday we go in.” (1:04:00)

McNamara insists that we need “to have two things ready, a government for Cuba…and
plans for how to respond to the Soviet Union in Europe, because sure as hell they’re
going to do something there.” (1:18:45)

As the meeting breaks up, an unidentified speaker jests, “Suppose we make Bobby
mayor of Havana.” (1:19:30)

Sunday, October 28: In a speech aired on Radio Moscow, Khrushchev announces the
dismantling of Soviet missiles in Cuba and does not insist on his demands concerning
the removal of U.S. missiles from Turkey. The crisis is over.

The CIA’s early morning intelligence update concludes that Soviet technicians have
completed the work necessary to make all the MRBM sites fully operational. Radio
Moscow announces that the Soviet Union has accepted the proposed solution and releases
the text of a Khrushchev letter confirming the details. JFK suspends U-2 air surveillance
over Cuba and orders that no military action be taken against ships approaching
the quarantine line. Several members of the Joint Chiefs warn of possible Soviet
deception and urge the president to reconsider air strikes against the missile sites.
Fidel Castro, furious over the fact that he was not consulted before Khrushchev’s
decision, refuses to allow UN inspection of the dismantling of the missile bases.

Scroll to Top