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

By Robert F. Kennedy (auth.)

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For the group that advocated immediate military action, it was an outline of the areas to be attacked, a defense of our position in the United 48 Nations, suggestions as to how to obtain support from Latin American countries, and a proposed communication to Khrushchev to convince him of the inadvisability of moving militarily against us in the Caribbean, Berlin, or elsewhere in the world. During all these deliberations we all spoke as equals. There was no rank, and, in fact, we did not even have a chairman.

Gromyko assured him this would never be done, that the United States should not be con45 cerned. After touching briefly on some other matters, he said good-by. I came by shortly after Gromyko left the White House. The President ofthe United States, it can be said, was displeased with the spokesman of the Soviet Union.... By Thursday night, there was a maJOnty opinion in our group for a blockade. Our committee went from the State Department to the White House around 9:15 that night. In order to avoid suspicion that would have ensued from the presence of a long line of limousines, we all went in my car - John McCone, Maxwell Taylor, the driver, and myself all crowded together in the front seat, and six others sitting in back.

And so we argued, and so we disagreed - all dedicated, intelligent men, disagreeing and fighting about the future of their country, and of mankind. Meanwhile, time was slowly running out. 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.

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