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By Robert F. Kennedy

"A minor vintage in its laconic, spare, compelling evocation by way of a player of the transferring moods and maneuvers of the main risky second in human history."―Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

During the 13 days in October 1962 while the USA faced the Soviet Union over its set up of missiles in Cuba, few humans shared the behind-the-scenes tale because it is instructed right here by way of the overdue Senator Robert F. Kennedy. during this certain account, he describes all of the members through the occasionally hour-to-hour negotiations, with specific realization to the activities and perspectives of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. In a brand new foreword, the celebrated historian and Kennedy adviser Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., discusses the book's enduring significance and the importance of latest information regarding the hindrance that has come to mild, in particular from the Soviet Union. 


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Former Secretary of nation Dean Acheson started attending our conferences, and he used to be strongly in prefer of an air assault. i used to be a superb admirer of his. In 1961, President Kennedy requested him to arrange a record for the nationwide safety Council recommending a plan of action to house the Russian probability to Berlin. hearing his presentation then, I had idea to myself that I had by no means heard somebody so lucid and convincing and may by no means desire to be at the different part of a controversy with him. Now he made his arguments that an air assault and invasion represented our purely replacement within the comparable transparent and fabulous manner. He stated that the President of the U.S. had the accountability for the safety of the folk of the us and of the full loose global, that it used to be his legal responsibility to take the one motion that may defend that safeguard, and that that intended destroying the missiles. With a few trepidation, I argued that, no matter what validity the army and political arguments have been for an assault rather than a blockade, America’s traditions and heritage wouldn't allow any such plan of action. no matter what army purposes he and others may marshal, they have been however, within the final research, advocating a shock assault by way of a really huge country opposed to a truly small one. This, I acknowledged, couldn't be undertaken through the U. S. if we have been to keep up our ethical place at domestic and worldwide. Our fight opposed to Communism through the global was once excess of actual survival—it had as its essence our background and our beliefs, and those we must never ruin. We spent extra time in this ethical query in the course of the first 5 days than on the other unmarried topic. At a number of occasions, it was once proposed that we ship a letter to Khrushchev twenty-four hours earlier than the bombardment was once to start, that we ship a letter to Castro, that leaflets and pamphlets directory the ambitions be dropped over Cuba ahead of the attack—all those principles and extra have been deserted for army or different purposes. We struggled and fought with each other and with our consciences, for it used to be a question that deeply stricken us all. in the middle of most of these discussions, Andrei Gromyko got here to work out the President. It was once an appointment made lengthy ahead of the missiles have been exposed, and the President felt it'd be awkward to cancel it. He debated even if he should still confront the Soviet international Minister with our wisdom of the missiles’ presence and eventually determined that, as he had no longer but decided a last plan of action and the disclosure of our wisdom may possibly provide the Russians the initiative, he could easily hearken to Gromyko. They met past due Wednesday afternoon within the President’s place of work within the White residence. Gromyko all started the dialog by way of announcing the USA may still cease threatening Cuba. All Cuba sought after used to be peaceable coexistence, he acknowledged; she used to be now not attracted to exporting her approach to different Latin American nations. Cuba, just like the Soviet Union, sought after basically peace. leading Khrushchev had advised him, Gromyko stated, to inform President Kennedy that the one suggestions being offered Cuba was once for agriculture and land improvement, so the folks may feed themselves, plus a small quantity of shielding hands.

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