1962 Memo Recommending Presidential Action

1962 Memo Recommending Presidential Action

To the Chair, Robert Kennedy

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The United States is at present faced with the threat of nuclear attack by the Soviet Union, which has installed missiles on the nation-island of Cuba, a Communist country. Cuba, being on friendly terms with the Soviet Union following the Bay of Pigs incident, entered into agreements of partnership for certain economic exchanges in support in Cuba’s declining economy (Powaski, Ronald, 1998, p. 132). The relationship between the two countries has advanced, and Cuba, which did not previously declare itself to be a Communist country, has, since establishing a relationship and economic partnership with the Soviet Union, now declares itself a Communist country (the Washington Times, 2005, p. A21). As such, Cuba acts in synergy with the Soviet Union, and, now, October 16, 1962, Cuba is facilitating the Soviet Union’s strategy for world domination through its nuclear strength by allowing the Soviet Union to install long-range missile offensive capability on the island of Cuba (Kennedy, Robert F., 1969, p. 13).

The capability of the long-range offensive missile being installed on the island of Cuba was at first determined to be about a thousand miles; but has been updated by American intelligence to support an ability of a greater distance, posing a threat to every major American city, except Seattle (Self, David, 2000, motion picture). This is a threat that cannot be tolerated by the United States, or the western hemisphere countries (Self, David, 2000, motion picture). The installation of Soviet missile capability on the island of Cuba is an offensive, not defensive strategy, and is, therefore, perceived to be the Soviet Union’s and Cuba’s joint intent of hostility through force towards the United States and other nations of the Americas and Canada.

The Soviet Union has maintained a position of denial, stating through its ambassador, Dobrynin, that the Soviet Chairman Nakita S. Khruschev offered assurances to the Kennedy administration that there were not, and would not be, Soviet missiles installed on the island of Cuba (Kennedy, Robert F., 1969, p. 25). These assurances, in light of U-2 photography of the missiles on the island of Cuba, prove the assurances made by the Soviet Chairman Khruschev to be false and deliberately misleading. The deception, and that it is an ongoing deception, about a situation that the Chairman adamantly denies, gives rise to the problem of whether or not the Soviet Chairman is himself being deceived by members of the higher echelons within the Soviet government (Self, David, 2000, motion-picture). This requires the United States to maintain, for now, an air of secrecy as to the events and information in case a greater plot is unfolding on the world political stage (Self, David, 2000, motion-picture). However, the urgency and expediency with which the United States must act to address the issue cannot be emphasized enough, since U-2 photography has indicated that the original number of missiles reported has, since October 16, 1962, increased in number and is clearly indicative of a Soviet buildup of missiles which have as their main target the United States of America (Self, David, 2000, motion-picture).

The Options for Consideration

The first option for consideration is negotiation with the governments of the Soviet Union and Cuba. The United States could offer to dismantle and remove its own missile capabilities in Turkey, and to abandon its American Marine base at Guantanamo Bay, on the island of Cuba (Self, David, 2000, motion picture). However, the recommendation is not to abandon the base at Guantanamo Bay, because it is essential to the security of the United States. The missiles in Turkey are outdated, and the United States has been faced with the burden of dismantling those missiles for some years now (Self, David, 2000, motion picture). The problem is that we leave an ally and a strategic U.S. military base of operations in Turkey, feeling vulnerable as a result of dismantling the missiles without replacing them (Self, David, 2000, motion picture). This option would require a caveat, because the American public would take issue with surrendering superiority that is represented by our presence and military strength in Turkey, to the Soviets in what would be perceived as an arm twist concession (Self, David, 2000, motion picture).

In negotiating with the Soviet Union and Cuba, the United States will be forced to reconsider its own nuclear armament policies, and to make concessions in areas of our own policy where we had previously taken a firm stance in opposition to the Soviet Union and Cuba. From the perspective of foreign relations, this is not necessarily a negative action; from a political perspective on the home front it could spell public opposition and reaction.

Negotiations would give the United States an opportunity to formalize relations with Cuba, and to begin a new dialogue acknowledging the Castro regime. While the United States has, by way of its own action of an economic embargo and by our participation in the Bay of Pigs, alienated the Castro government; this is a position that should be reconsidered and it is the recommendation here to work to establish a new relationship with Cuba and its leadership. At present, Cuba is susceptible to the influence of the Soviet Union, even embracing Communism as its own political philosophy (Powaski, Ronald, 1998, p. 132). The United States has an opportunity here to change the direction of its relationship with Cuba and the Cuban government. This is a recommendation that could only serve the United States well, since it is the position of this Security Council that Cuba would be susceptible to the influences of whatever country supports the dictatorship of Fidel Castro. This council posits the belief that Fidel Castro is first, and foremost, a dictator, and that his direction is one of sustaining himself in that regard and that his political philosophies are adapted to his own role as a dictator. It would be in the best interest of the United States from a long-term perspective to normalize relations with the Castro government, to end its economic sanctions against Cuba, and to engage in an aggressive economic, political and social exchange with the Castro government in order that Castro adopts a quasi-capitalist philosophy that is more compatible with the western hemisphere, and less that of the Soviet Union.

There also is the matter of Cuba’s natural resources, which could be an economic quid pro quo for the United States at this point in time. The island is rich in natural resources such as nickel, and it known that Cuba has within its territorial waters oil resources that could be explored and developed by U.S. companies in the interest of the United States (the Washington Times, 2005, p. A21). Should the United States fail to normalize relations with Cuba and once the question of Soviet dismantling of missiles is resolved; it can be expected that anti-American world governments will seek to exploit Cuba’s natural resources and benefit from that exploitation (the Washington Times, 2005, p. A21).

A second option that must be presented, and recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff; is an air strike (Self, David, 2000, motion picture). An air strike would successfully eliminate the threat that is presently aimed at the United States by the presence of nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba (Self, David, 2000, motion picture). In order to achieve the maximum success by way of an air strike, the element of surprise is essential, as is the need to execute the strike prior to the readiness of the Soviet missiles (Self, David, 2000, motion picture). The air strike must be followed with a full-scale invasion of the island with a goal of ousting the Castro regime (Self, David, 2000, motion picture).

A third option is a blockade, which, because it is an act of aggression and considered an act of war, will be referred to as a “quarantine (Self, David, 2000, motion picture).” A blockade of Soviet Union vessels carrying the equipment and supplies needed to ready the Soviet missiles staged on the island of Cuba, would be an aggressive warning to the Soviet Union that the United States will not tolerate a Soviet missile base in the western hemisphere, since that presence is a direct threat to the United States (Self, David, 2000, motion picture). A blockade (quarantine) would force the Soviet Union, who has maintained its denial of both its intent to establish a missile base on the island of Cuba, and that such missiles are actually there; to acknowledge its deception (Self, David, 2000, motion picture). The admittance should be made in the presence of the world representatives in the United Nations (Self, David, 2000, motion picture).

Summary Recommendation

In summary, the recommendation of this council is that the president use a combination of the alternatives presented in this document; (1) negotiation, to re-establish stability on the world front, which is at risk at the present time (Kennedy, R.F., 1969). Negotiation could serve the United States well on the long-term political and economic fronts, and give the United States the opportunity to be a greater influence on the Castro regime than those countries which would seek to use the dictatorship against the United States. (2) Blockade (Kennedy, R.F., 1969), which would prevent the Soviet Union from carrying out its mission of establishing a Soviet missile base on the island of Cuba, and will send the message to the Soviet Union that they are attempting to cross the line where the United States can maintain a hands-off policy (Powell, Samantha, 2003, pp. 6-7). and, should the first two fail, (3) an air strike and invasion of the island wherein the United States will seize control of the island and work towards making it either a U.S. territory, or we will work to install a democratic government (Kennedy, R.F., 1969).

These are the recommendations of this council.


Donald, R.(dir) (2000), Thirteen Days (motion picture), Beacon Communications, USA.

Kennedy, R.F., (1969) Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, New York.

A www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=78888201

Powaski, R.E. (1998). The Cold War the United States and the Soviet Union, 1917-1991. New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved September 24, 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=78888344

Power, S., (2003) a Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, Harper Collins, New York, New York.

The Future of Cuban – American Relations;. U.S. At Arm’s Length, but Others Reach Out. (2005, April 26). The Washington Times, p. A21. Retrieved September 24, 2 2007, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5009369867

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