Although President Kennedy sent a stern warning to Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, on attacking the Soviet Union if they used nuclear weapons, Khrushchev seemed to ignore this and stilled intended on shipping missile parts to Cuba. Khrushchev even sent a personal letter to President Kennedy reaffirming him that the missiles in Cuba were only for self defense in case of an attack. Also wanting to obtain more coverage of what was occurring on Cuban grounds, President Kennedy sent more U-2 spy planes to investigate, and he met with EX-COMM to discuss the actions that would be taken if a spy plane were to be attacked by Cuban ground forces. During his important meeting with EX-COMM about the possibility of a U-2 plane being shot down in Cuban skies, President Kennedy, from an article named A Chronology of Events by George Washington University, explicitly stated, “If such an event occurs and evidence of hostile Cuban action has been established, the EX-COMM decides that the SAM [Surface-to-Air Missile turret] responsible for the downing will be attacked and destroyed. Continued harassment of U-2 flights, it is agreed, would probably result in attacks on all SAM sites in Cuba” (“A Chronology of Events,” par. 60). Seeking to protect his soldiers, President Kennedy also formally established the quarantine by signing Proclamation 3504 at seven o’clock pm, and the enforcement of the quarantine was moved to ten o’clock am the following morning. By this point in the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy was certainly not joking around, and his worse fears would soon come true with his decision to quarantine Cuba.
Blog Date: May 6, 2011
Historical Date: October 23, 1962