With only around thirty more hours until the Soviet missiles in Cuba were fully operational, President Kennedy, EX-COMM, and the JCS were very eager to meet the demands of the Soviets and to protect the national security of the United States. While President Kennedy was responding to one of Khrushchev’s personal letters in order to ease the conflict, according to writer John Simkin, stakes were raised to an all-time high in the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the president received word that a U-2 plane, containing Major. Rudolf Anderson, had been shot down over Cuba (“Cuban Missile Crisis,” par. 21). Because of the Soviets actions in shooting down the lone U-2, President Kennedy was extremely angry and felt the absolute need to punish the Cubans and Soviets; however, he did not extract revenge, but instead he sent his personal letter to Khrushchev urging him to schedule an appointment with him the following day in Washington D.C. President Kennedy also informed the press about the talks with the Soviets because he wanted all Americans to be on high alert and to retreat to fallout shelters as soon as possible. In order to address the situation at hand, President Kennedy scheduled an immediate meeting with both the JCS and EX-COMM, and he made it clear that if any other planes were to be shot down, he would unquestionably launch nuclear missiles at the Cubans and the Soviets. In this meeting, according to professors Jerry Goldman and Giel Stein of Northwestern University, Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara noted that if the Soviets continued to shoot down American planes, “We need to have two things ready, a government for Cuba…and plans for how to respond to the Soviet Union in Europe” (“The Cuban Missile Crisis, par. 149). Implying that the United States would invade Cuba, McNamara, President Kennedy, EX-COMM, and the JCS felt that an invasion of Cuba would be the only way to end the conflict, but there was still hope in the meeting between President Kennedy and Khrushchev that would become the deciding factor of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Blog Date: May 8, 2011Historical Date: October 27, 1962