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Cuban Missile Crisis


Lee Forman
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I'm presently reading about the Cuban Missile Crisis - bought a few books on the topic. Didn't see the topic listed in the index, although many consider it to be the straw that broke the camel's back, with regards to motives for assassination.

Kennedy's October 22nd address here:

http://www.jfklibrary.org/jfkl/cmc/j102262.htm

I'm trying to incorporate some of this event in something I am working in. So far, the best info I have found on a public reaction comes in the form of a single paragraph in The Week the World Stood Still, by Sheldon M. Stern, on page 91 - 92.

The American Public responded to JFKs speech with some signs of panic. Food and emergency supplies disappeared from supermarkets and hardware stores. Long lines were reported at gasoline stations, and there was a run on tires. People across America stood in silent, worried clumps around newsstands, anxiously reading the latest headlines. At the Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass, and at the Mount Hernon School to the west, students received phone calls from their parents urging them to come home to be with their families - just in case. Some 10 million Americans also left the nation's cities hoping to find safety 'far away from nuclear targets.

Stern does an excellent job at providing his interpretation of events, and transcribing and condensing the many secret tapes created by Kennedy in the White House. Kennedy's motives for surreptitiously recording his sessions can only be guessed at - but the author feels that this was Kennedy's angry reaction to individuals who claimed not to have backed the BOP program -- after-the-fact -- and his desire for a record.

It's curious - since the author apparently confirms that at a minimum, one ship transported nuclear warheads, which made it to the island just prior to the enactment of the blockade. Also interesting that Czech scientists would be employed by the USSR.

On October 25th, in the midst of the crisis and the blockade cruch, McCone raises the topic of Castro's grocery list of items required for the exchange of the BOP prisoners. It's almost comical.

Some individuals believe that the final concessions made by Kennedy iced the cake. Is it possible that Castro retained some of the nuclear devices - as cited here previously on the Forum, despite the terms worked out with Khrushchev? This seems to make a great deal of logical sense - particularly given the time, energy and effort that had gone into this type of planning up until that point - and Castro's ongoing rule. It would appear that we will finally be seeing an end to El Commandante - here 48 years later. I look forward to new developments - this is an historical moment.

The author of this book seems to place some of the blame for the Cuban Missile Crisis on folks that participated in the large number of black ops, MK related programs, BOP, etc., which led to the Soviets lending a hand for Cuba to defend itself, as opposed to seeking leverage in the Western Hemisphere in the nuke balance, an upper hand in Berlin, or a reduction of nukes in Turkey and Italy. Kennedy, as per the tapes, if baffled as to the Soviet's motive.

Artwork by Bill Sienkiewicz.

post-675-1170197257_thumb.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finished Cuban Missile Crisis, by Don Munton & David Welch.

As with the Week the World Stood still - the idea that all of the missiles may not have been removed comes up multiple times - no satisfactory conclusion. Seems that the final word is still out on this one - although proper inspections never took place, as per the Ts & Cs of the agreement, in which case, the US commitment 'not to invade' could be said to have been legally moot all this time.

Of the few pieces I have found of interest [and by the way, if you have not yet watched 13 Days - don't bother -- if you care about historical accuracy anyway], page 43:

On August 31, Senator Kenneth Keating (R-NY) charged the Kennedy administration with willful neglignece on Cuba. This was the first of 25 public statements Keating would make over a two-month period alleging that the White House was asleep at the wheel. Citing unnamed sources, Keating claimed that the Soviets had deployed more than 1,000 troops in Cuba, and he also claimed that they were building missile bases. Though he refused to identify his sources....1

Note 1: It now appears that Keating's source was Clara Booth Luce...Luce was parroting sources in the Cuban exile community.

The authors of this book have it hand's down that a subcommitte of the Excomm group gathered and created the secret terms of negotiations for the Turkey and Italy missiles, as per the terms of the 'second' Public letter. The secret was allegedly maintained for decades. Makes you wonder who bought in on the terms of the public agreement - if this is truly the case, and how 'secret' it really remained.

What I found of the most interest was the SAM that shot down the U2 on the morning of October 28th. It appears to have been a mystery to both Kennedy and Khruschev - and both were hard pressed to interpret what it could/should mean - given the nature of the negotiations and situation. Pliyev was given strict instructions not to fire. McNamara had only informed Excomm 2 days earlier that the Soviets would not fire. Kennedy had made it very clear what would happen if a SAM fired - there would be instant and immediate retaliation. As per the authors of this book - that was the straw that broke Khruschev's back - pushing him to quickly negotiate - but this may have been occidental. Who fired the SAM?

Powers was knocked down May 1st, 1960 by a SAM missile. One would assume that the SAM sites in Cuba were jointly manned by Soviets and Cubans. If not, then the Cubans were simply fast learners? No big deal to knock down a special plane flying at 70,000 feet? There is the coincidence that was happening at this moment of intel being received by the Excomm group of the other U2 that happened to have accidentally flown into Soviet airspace - was this supposed to have been a diversion for the U2 flight over Cuba? So while low level recon planes were being fired on by the Cuban army, Castro himself gave the order to go ahead with the SAM U2 shot? Seems highly suspect. Perhpas poor Major Rudolph Anderson was a victim of something more convoluted.

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The assumption that the JCS sat back and allowed Kennedy to run the show is of course, nullified by a number of interesting details. For example as per The Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Nation went to DECON 2 , one site in Montana had to be jury rigged to comply, in which case, the nuke could have been fired autonomously.

Wikipedia

It should be further noted that SAC's move to DEFCON 2 during the Cuban Missile Crisis was precipitated by Generals Thomas S. Power and Curtis LeMay, and it was done without consulting the executive branch.

LeMay, who is lamentably represented as a total boob in "Thirteen Days" made some remarks during the recorded sessions that could be said were tantamount to bordering on treasonous.

Khruschev is said to have resolved the crisis in order to 'help' Kennedy. Did Khruschev have any additional intel on who fired the SAM that knocked out the U2? Why would Khruschev have used these words? Any Soviet historians care to chime in?

The assumption in my previous post, if it wasn't clear, was that the hit on the U2 may have been a covert US sponsored event, in order to precipitate an immediate military response. The resolution which immediately followed, negotiated between Kennedy and Khruschev, could not have been tolerable to folks like LeMay.

- lee

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