After attending nine o'clock am Mass at his local Catholic Parish, President Kennedy returned to the White House and met with Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara and Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, and the president gave his final approval on the quarantine of Cuba. President Kennedy then met with the Commander of the Tactical Air Command, TAC, General Walter C. Sweeney and they discussed an airstrike attack on Cuba, even though President Kennedy had already decided on the quarantine. However, according to a decommissioned file, named A Chronology of Events by George Washington University, General Sweeney made it known to the president that he could “only guarantee that ninety percent of the Soviet missiles would be destroyed” (“A Chronology of Events,” par. 39). Though President Kennedy still believed that the quarantine was the greatest option, he still told General Sweeney to be on high alert in case the Soviets attacked American warships during the Cuban quarantine. As the commander in chief, President Kennedy told General Sweeney that he would personally call him if he wanted to attack Soviet ships, and he did not want anyone to tell him otherwise. Still very timid about his decision on whether to use multiple airstrikes, Kenny O’Connell, the Special Assistant to the President, explained to President Kennedy that the JCS was eager to go to war, and by calming the president, only quarantine was likely to occur.
Actual Blog Date: May 5, 2011
Historical Date: October 21, 1962