Day 7 - Cuban Missile Crisis
October 22, 1962. President Kennedy phones former Presidents Hoover, Truman and Eisenhower to brief them on the situation. Meetings to coordinate all actions continue. Kennedy formally establishes the Executive Committee of the National Security Council and instructs it to meet daily during the crisis. Kennedy briefs the cabinet and congressional leaders on the situation. Kennedy also informs British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan of the situation by telephone.
President Kennedy writes to Nikita Khrushchev, Premier of the Soviet Union, prior to addressing the American public on live television: … I have not assumed that you or any other sane man would In this nuclear age, deliberately plunge the world into war which it is crystal clear no country could win and which could only result in catastrophic consequences to the whole world, including the aggressor.
At 7:00 p.m. Kennedy speaks on television, revealing the evidence of Soviet missiles in Cuba and calling for their removal. He also announces the establishment of a naval quarantine around the island until the Soviet Union agrees to dismantle the missile sites and to make certain that no additional missiles are shipped to Cuba. Approximately one hour before the speech, Secretary of State Dean Rusk formally notifies Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin of the contents of the President’s speech.
Day 6 - Cuban Missile Crisis
October 21, 1962. Soviet freighters turn and head back to Europe. The Bucharest, carrying only petroleum products, is allowed through the quarantine line. U.N. Secretary General U Thant calls for a cooling off period, which is rejected by Kennedy because it would leave the missiles in place.
Pictured, the day book of Evelyn Lincoln, the president’s personal secretary, shows JFK’s frenetic schedule of meetings, phone calls and conversations.
Day 5 - Cuban Missile Crisis
October 20, 1962
President Kennedy, in Chicago campaigning for congressional candidates, decides to return to the White House as the crisis reaches a new urgency. After five hours of discussion with top advisors, a quarantine is decided upon.
To avoid public suspicion the president consults his physician and together they fabricate the diagnosis of a cold, allowing JFK to return to Washington without arousing panic.
Plans for deploying naval units are drawn and work begins on a speech to notify the American people.
Day 3 - Cuban Missile Crisis
President Kennedy meets with Soviet Ambassador Andrei Gromyko in the Oval Office. The President does not reveal that he is now aware of the missile build-up. Internally, the President and his advisers weigh two options: blockade or invasion. October 18, 1962
For thirteen days in October 1962 the world was on the brink of nuclear war - The Cuban Missile Crisis
Day 2, October 17
American military units begin moving to bases in the Southeastern U.S. as intelligence photos from another U-2 flight show additional sites; and 16 to 32 missiles. To avoid arousing public concern, the president maintains his official schedule, meeting periodically with advisors to discuss the status of events in Cuba and possible strategies.
President Kennedy attends a brief service at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in observance of the National Day of Prayer. After, he has lunch with Crown Prince Hasan of Libya, and then makes a political visit to Connecticut in support of Democratic congressional candidates.
Above: Map of the western hemisphere showing the full range of the nuclear missiles under construction in Cuba, used during the secret meetings on the Cuban crisis.
Below: Photo secretly taken by a U2 spy plane of a nuclear missile launch site in Cuba.
-from the JFK Library
The Cuban Missile Crisis - Day 1
The thirteen days marking the most dangerous period of the Cuban missile crisis begin. President Kennedy and principal foreign policy and national defense officials are briefed on the U-2 findings. Discussions begin on how to respond to the challenge. Two principal courses are offered: an air strike and invasion, or a naval quarantine with the threat of further military action. To avoid arousing public concern, the president maintained his official schedule, meeting periodically with advisors to discuss the status of events in Cuba and possible strategies.
-from the JFK Library
In 1961, JFK established a Presidential Commission to examine and report on the status of American women. The Commission, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt published its report on American women in October 1963.
Pictured: JFK and Eleanor Roosevelt meet in the Oval Office.
-from the Kennedy Library