Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Robert F. Kennedy
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"A minor classic in its laconic, spare, compelling evocation by a participant of the shifting moods and maneuvers of the most dangerous moment in human history."―Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
During the thirteen days in October 1962 when the United States confronted the Soviet Union over its installation of missiles in Cuba, few people shared the behind-the-scenes story as it is told here by the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. In this unique account, he describes each of the participants during the sometimes hour-to-hour negotiations, with particular attention to the actions and views of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. In a new foreword, the distinguished historian and Kennedy adviser Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., discusses the book's enduring importance and the significance of new information about the crisis that has come to light, especially from the Soviet Union.
they felt it unwise to press the matter with Turkey. But the President disagreed. He wanted the missiles removed even if it would cause political problems for our government. The State Department representatives discussed it again with the Turks and, finding they still objected, did not pursue the matter. The President believed he was President and that, his wishes having been made clear, they would be followed and the missiles removed. He therefore dismissed the matter from his mind. Now he
steps they suggested. They seemed always to assume that if the Russians and the Cubans would not respond or, if they did, that a war was in our national interest. One of the Joint Chiefs of Staff once said to me he believed in a preventive attack against the Soviet Union. On that fateful Sunday morning when the Russians answered they were withdrawing their missiles, it was suggested by one high military adviser that we attack Monday in any case. Another felt that we had in some way been betrayed.
announcing to the world the Soviet action, demanding Soviet withdrawal of the missiles, ordering a U.S. quarantine of Soviet weapon shipments to Cuba, putting U.S. strategic forces on full alert, and warning the Soviet Union that any missile launched from Cuba would be regarded as a Soviet missile and met with a full retaliatory response (October 22). 4. Khrushchev orders Soviet strategic forces to full alert and threatens to sink U.S. ships if they interfere with Soviet ships en route to Cuba
National Security Council Berlin threat and (1961) creation of formal meeting of (Oct. 20), and decision on blockade See also Executive Committee of the National Security Council NATO, see North Atlantic Treaty Organization Navy blockade rules for deployment of forces in Caribbean (Oct. 25) line of interception for McNamara’s lack of control of report on submarine movements by tracking of submarines by turning of Soviet ships and See also specific ships Neustadt, Richard E.
For a partial listing, see U.S., Department of State, Right to Protect Citizens in Foreign Countries by Landing Force, memorandum of the Solicitor for the Department of State, 3rd rev. ed., 1934. Among the more important were Polk’s occupation of the Mexican border territory, Wilson’s interventions in Mexico and Siberia, and interventions in the Dominican Republic by no fewer than four Presidents. * See Warren F. Kimball, The Most Unsordid Act: Lend-Lease 1939–1941 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins