By Robert F. Kennedy (auth.)
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Extra resources for 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis October 1962
He had always been dubious about the air strike, but at the Saturday meeting he strongly advocated what he had only tentatively suggested to me a few days before- namely, that we make it clear to the Soviet Union that if it withdrew its missiles from Cuba we would be willing to withdraw our missiles from Turkey and Italy and give up our naval base at Guantanamo Bay. There was an extremely strong reaction from some of the participants to his suggestion, and several sharp exchanges followed. The President, although he rejected Stevenson's suggestion, pointed out that he had for a long period held reservations about the value of Jupiter missiles in Turkey and Italy and some time ago had asked the State Department to conduct negotiations for their removal; but now, he said, was not the appropriate time to suggest this action, and we could not abandon Guantanamo Bay under threat from the Russians.
He said that the President of the United States had the responsibility for the security of the people of the United States and of the whole free world, that it was his obligation to take the only action which could protect that security, and that that meant destroying the missiles. With some trepidation, I argued that, whatever validity the military and political arguments were for an attack in preference to a blockade, America's traditions and history would not permit such a course of action. Whatever military reasons he and others could marshal, they were nevertheless, in the last analysis, advocating a surprise attack by a very large nation against a very small one.
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.
13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis October 1962 by Robert F. Kennedy (auth.)