Cuban Missile Crisis: October 24, 1962 – part 2

Speaker: John F Kennedy
Delivered On: 10/24/1962
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 36.2, October 24, 9:55 am: JFK and
talking alone before the next Excomm meeting about the strategic situation
in Cuba and its political implications:

RFK (calling the president “Jack”) mentions that General Lucius Clay has offered
to return to Berlin where he had been the US commander during the 1948 Soviet blockade.
RFK advises that it would be a bad idea to focus attention on Berlin at this time.
JFK agrees and they decide to ask General Taylor to tell Clay to stand by over the
next few days but not to go now. [1:42]

Discussion of the president’s decision to take action in response to the Soviet
missiles in Cuba. RFK says there was no choice, “you would have been impeached”
and JFK responds, “That’s what I think, I would have been impeached.” [3:43] RFK
concludes that the president could not have done less and that his judgment has
now been supported by our allies and almost allthe OAS states.

The brothers talk about the political side of the crisis and Khrushchev’s apparent
willingness to embarrass the president before the upcoming congressional elections.
JFK asks about the views of Soviet Embassy official Georgy Bolshakov, who had been
used in the past in communications between JFK and Khrushchev. RFK reports that
Bolshakov believes the ships will attempt to go through the quarantine and that
“this is a defensive base for the Russians. It’s got nothing to do with the Cubans.”

JFK derides Khrushchev’s “horseshit about the elections, “presumably referring to
earlier assurances by the USSR that there would be no political complications before
November. [5:03]

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