cuban missile crisis .info - Cuba Nuclear Crisis October 27

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October 27

October 27, 1962: The Soviet ship Grozny crosses the quarantine line, but stops after U.S. Navy ships fire star shells across her bow.
October 27, 1962: The Soviet ship Grozny crosses the quarantine line, but stops after U.S. Navy ships fire star shells across her bow.

10:00 (continuation of Tape 41.0); resumes at 4:00:
General Taylor reports that the JCS wants an air strike no later than Monday morning unless there is irrefutable evidence that the missiles are being dismantled. (14:08) RFK responds, "Gosh, I'm surprised!" resulting in a great deal of laughter. (14:36)
McNamara recommends more surveillance flights Monday morning with proper cover. If attacked, he insists, "we must attack back." (18:45)

News arrives that a U-2 has been shot down and the pilot killed. "This is much of an escalation by them, isn't it?," JFK concludes. How can we put more U-2 pilots over Cuba, he asks, unless "we take out all the SAM sites." (30:09) Kennedy seems ready for a reprisal strike without any prior warning. (33:30) (See October 27 summary.]

JFK reopens the discussion of trading the missiles in Turkey. McNamara insists that the case should be made that this is not so much a trade as a way of preventing a Soviet military attack on a NATO member nation. (52:58)

McNamara says that if reconnaissance flights are fired upon tomorrow that means air strikes and "almost certainly an invasion." (59:03)
[Apparently JFK is no longer in the room at this point in the discussion.]

Vice President Lyndon Johnson responds: "If you're willing to give up your missiles in Turkey - why don't you...make the trade there and save all the invasion, lives and everything else?" (1:02:10)

George Ball also argues for making the trade openly with the USSR to avoid "enormous casualties and a great, great risk of escalation." (1:03:35)
McNamara: "Max [General Maxwell Taylor] is going back to work out the surveillance plan for tomorrow with the Chiefs as to how much cover we need and so on. We're just going to get shot up sure as hell. There's no question about it. We're going to have to go in and shoot." (1:07:15)

October 27, 1962: Cuban anti-aircraft gunners open fire on low-level reconnaissance planes over San Cristobal site no. 1 (a Soviet SA-2 missile shoots down Maj. Rudolf Anderson’s U-2 on this day).
October 27, 1962: Cuban anti-aircraft gunners open fire on low-level reconnaissance planes over San Cristobal site no. 1 (a Soviet SA-2 missile shoots down Maj. Rudolf Anderson’s U-2 on this day).

McCone responds: "I'd take these Turkish things out right now" but also tell Khrushchev firmly that if they fire at our planes again "in we come." (1:08:22)
McNamara denounces Khrushchev's Oct 26 letter: "Hell, that's no offer. There's not a damned thing in it that's an offer. You read that message carefully. He didn't propose to take the missiles out....It's twelve pages of fluff." (1:09:30)

LBJ questions the value of the surveillance flights: "I've been afraid of these damned flyers ever since they mentioned them...some crazy Russian captain...might just pull a trigger. Looks like we 're playing Fourth of July over there. I'm scared of that and I don't see what you get for that photograph. ... Psychologically you scare them. Well hell, its like the fellow always telling me in Congress, 'Go on and put the monkey on his back.' Every time I tried to put a monkey on somebody's else's back, I got one. If you're going to try to psychologically scare them...you're liable to get your bottom shot at." (1:33:00)

Ambassador Thompson suggests that "These boys are beginning to give way. Let's push harder. I think they'll change their minds when we take significant forceful action - stopping a ship or taking out a SAM site." (6:21)

When Dillon discusses the choice between taking out one SAM site or all of them, LBJ says: "You warhawks ought to get together," (and laughs). (7:30)
Thompson concludes that the USSR "has put up the price ...and escalated" and US willingness to discuss the Turkey-cuban missile trade is "a further sign of weakness." (15:16)

LBJ adds: Khrushchev is saying, "I'm going to dismantle the foreign policy of the US for the last 15 years in order to let you get these missiles out of Cuba. And we say, we're glad and we appreciate it and we want to discuss it with you." (15:55)
[JFK returns to the meeting]

Thompson restates his opposition to the Turkish trade. (20:47) Kennedy reiterates the McNamara proposal - tell the Turks that they would be safer if the US missiles are eliminated before an attack on Cuba and replaced by Polaris missiles. (22:35)

JFK states: "We can't very well invade Cuba with all its toil...when we could have gotten them out by making a deal on the same missiles in Turkey. If that's part of the record then I fear we won't have a very good war." (27:30)

The meeting resumes later in the evening with further discussion of surveillance flights over Cuba. McNamara declares "I think the point is that if our planes are fired on tomorrow, we ought to fire back" (41:16)

JFK disagrees: "I think we ought to wait till tomorrow afternoon" to see if U Thant makes any progress. "If tomorrow they fire at us...we ought to put a statement out...if we don't get some satisfaction from the Russians or U Thant or Cuba tomorrow night, figure that Monday we're going to do something about the SAM sites." (41:42)

The discussion returns to the ships approaching the quarantine line. JFK states that "if they're firing tomorrow" at US surveillance planes then we should inform U Thant that if this ship is not called back "the confrontation must take place." (47:42)

[NOTE: THE TAPE ENDS PREMATURELY. WE ARE LOCATING A REPLACEMENT COPY TO COMPLETE THE REMAINDER OF TAPE 42.O] Further discussion of NATO and the Turkish trade proposaL JFK states that "if we take action... which we may well have to take the way its escalating, if they [USSR] hit Turkey and they hit Berlin...if they [NATO] want to get off, now's the time to speak up." (1:00:20)

RFK also urges putting off military action for 24 hours; "One day -I can 't believe it's going to make that much difference. ... I think you've got to give them a chance." (1:02:50) If they decide "to hold fast...then on Tuesday we go in." (1:04:00)

McNamara insists that we need "to have two things ready, a government for Cuba...and plans for how to respond to the Soviet Union in Europe, because sure as hell they're going to do something there." (1:18:45)

As the meeting breaks up, an unidentified speaker jests, "Suppose we make Bobby mayor of Havana." (1:19:30)

 

 

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