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Archive for the month “October, 2011”

CAROLINE & JOHN JOHN PLAY "TRICK OR TREAT" ON JFK

October 31, 1963


CAROLINE & JOHN JOHN PLAY “TRICK OR TREAT” ON JFK


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Caroline & John F. Kennedy Jr. played “trick or treat” on their Daddy, the President of the United States, this evening in the oval office at the White House.


The President obviously enjoyed the Halloween festivities with his children.

         Caroline & John John  Scare JFK
                        The White House
                         October 31, 1963
                      JFK Library Photo


October 31, 1963


JFK SAYS PRESIDENCY PROVIDES SOME HAPPINESS


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) John F. Kennedy gave his 63rd news conference as President of the United States today at the State Department auditorium.


JFK was asked if he enjoyed being President.  He responded:


“I have given…the definition of happiness by the Greeks.  It is full use of your powers along lines of excellence.  I find….the presidency provides some happiness.”



                   JFK at News Conference
                        JFK Library Photo


The President was also asked if he planned to keep Lyndon B. Johnson on the Democratic ticket as Vice-President in 1964.


JFK responded in the affirmative.


October 31, 1963


JFK SIGNS MENTAL RETARDATION FACILITIES & COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH CENTERS CONSTRUCTION ACT


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy signed the Mental Retardation Facilities & Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act today at the White House.


The legislation provides for research facilities to determine the cause of retardation, establishes diagnostic treatment clinics & permanent community centers for the care of the retarded.


October 31, 1962


FIDEL CASTRO TRIES TO NEGOTIATE WITH U THANT OVER MISSILE INSPECTION


Havana, Cuba (JFK+50) Premier Fidel Castro of Cuba today told visiting UN Secretary-General U Thant that he will not allow UN inspection of the dismantling & removal of Soviet missiles on the island unless the United States agrees to give up the Guantanamo Naval Base & agree to other undisclosed concessions.


October 31, 1962


JFK ADDRESSES FBI NATIONAL ACADEMY


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy addressed the graduating class of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy today at the FBI auditorium.


JFK said in his remarks that Director J. Edgar Hoover is “one of the most distinguished public servants who have occupied positions of high responsibility in the long history of this republic.”



                    J. Edgar Hoover
                     Director, F.B.I.


The President also said the work of the FBI “permits us to meet our responsibilities as a nation.”

October 31, 1946


LADY HARTINGTON ASKS FOR RETURN OF STOLEN KEEPSAKES


London, England (JFK+50) Lady Hartington, Kathleen Agnes “Kick” Cavendish, is running an advertisement in London newspapers today appealing to thieves who broke into her home recently to return a gold pin with the pilot’s wings of the US Navy Air Force given to her by her older brother, Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.


The wings were engraved “To K from J”.


Lady Hartington also asked for the return of a pair of cuff links that were once the property of her late husband.



                        Lady Hartington


October 31, 1961


SOVIET NUCLEAR TEST SENDS SHOCK WAVES AROUND THE GLOBE


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Yesterday’s 50 megaton atomic bomb test by the Soviet Union, the largest in history, has sent shock waves around the globe.


Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, head of a congressional atomic weapons subcommittee, says the test by the USSR will force the United States to resume above-ground nuclear testing.



            Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson


Vatican radio called the decision by the Soviets to test the weapon “insane”.


October 31, 1936


JOE KENNEDY GIVES SPEECH FOR FDR


Boston, Massachusetts (JFK+50) Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. today gave a final campaign speech on behalf of the re-election bid of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


In his address, Mr. Kennedy criticized last-ditch Republican attempts to smear Social Security as “grossly unfair.”



                           FDR on Campaign







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SOVIETS EXPLODE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL ATOMIC BOMB

October 30, 1961


SOVIETS EXPLODE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL ATOMIC BOMB


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The White House announced today the news that the Soviet Union has exploded the most powerful atomic weapon in history.


The 50 megaton atomic bomb was detonated at the Soviet Arctic testing site.


President Kennedy said:


“The Soviet Union has shown its complete disregard for the welfare of mankind.”


The White House also issued this statement:


“The Soviet explosion was a political rather than a military act.  Any such weapon would be primarily a mass killer of people in war & the testing of this device primarily is an incitement to fright & panic in the cold war.”



October 30, 1962


U THANT GETS NOWHERE WITH CASTRO


Havana, Cuba (JFK+50) A United Nations delegation, headed by Secretary-General U Thant, had discussions with Premier Fidel Castro today concerning the UN observation of the dismantling & removal of Soviet missiles in Cuba.


Castro stated his government’s position but was unwilling to make any agreement concerning a UN role in the process.*


*On November 1, 1962, Castro announces he will not allow the UN to inspect.



    Castro & Khrushchev at the Kremlin


October 30, 1953


IKE GIVES O.K. FOR NSC PAPER #16212


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President Dwight D. Eisenhower today gave his approval of NSC Paper #16212 which makes clear the maintenance of the nuclear armaments of the United States as well as their expansion to meet the challenges of the cold war.


The Eisenhower administration sees the expansion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal as both sensible as well as being a cost-effective approach to military defense.



           President Dwight D. Eisenhower


October 30, 1938


CBS RADIO DRAMA SPOOKS THE NATION


New York City (JFK+50) Thousands of listeners on this Halloween eve tuned in to the “CBS Radio Mercury Theater”, but instead of entertainment they believed that they were listening to an actual news broadcast of the landing of an invading army from the planet Mars.


The title of the radio play, “War of the Worlds”, is based on the novel by H.G. Welles.


Orson Welles is the director of the play.



                             Orson Welles
             Photo by Carl Van Vechten
      Library of Congress Photo (1937)


Adding to their confusion, apparently many of the listeners tuned in after the program had begun.


During the drama, a Martian “machine” landed near Grover’s Mill, New Jersey (no such place in the real world), where the “on the scene” reporter gave this graphic description:


“Something’s wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake.  I can see the thing’s body now.  It’s large as a bear.  It glistens like wet leather.  I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it….”


Reports are that some listeners were so terrified, they jumped in their cars & fled in panic.



      “Martian Landing Site” Marker
                         Van Ness Park
 West Windsor Township, New Jersey

WALL STREET LAYS AN EGG

Black Tuesday
October 29, 1929



         Outside NYSE on Black Tuesday


WALL STREET LAYS AN EGG


New York City (JFK+50) It’s official.  The New York Stock Exchange has crashed.


More than 16 million shares of stock were sold off today representing the worst stock market crash in United States history.


Combined with yesterday’s losses, the NYSE has lost a total of $30,000,000,000 in just 2 days.


The crash today follows a decade of wild speculation by hundred of thousands of Americans in stocks.  


Moreover, a large percentage of the sale of these stocks was “on margin” or bought with a small down payment.  The remaining balance then would be paid over time with interest.


*The Crash of 1929 was followed by a 12 year “Great Depression” which did not end until after FDR’s New Deal programs & mobilization for WWII.


October 29, 1901


McKINLEY’S ASSASSIN ELECTROCUTED


Auburn Prison, New York (JFK+50) Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President William McKinley, was executed today at Auburn Prison in New York.


Czolgosz, who shot McKinley in Buffalo on September 6, was an immigrant from Poland & grew up in Detroit.



                        Leon Czolgosz


President McKinley died from complications of bullet wounds 8 days later.


At his trial, Czolgosz refused to speak to his own lawyers.


He was convicted on September 24. 


Although Czolgosz refused to make a statement in court, his last words before execution today were that he thought McKinley to be an “enemy of the working people.”


Czolgosz was buried on the prison grounds.


October 29, 1618


SIR WALTER RALEIGH BEHEADED IN LONDON


London, England (JFK+50) Adventurer & colonizer of the New World, Sir Walter Raleigh, was beheaded here in London today.


The execution came as a result of a sentence brought against Raleigh 15 years ago for conspiring against King James I.


His death sentence, however, was commuted & Raleigh was freed to lead an expedition to the New World.


When the expedition failed & he returned to England, Raleigh’s sentence was reinstated.



          Execution of Sir Walter Raleigh


October 29, 1962


INDIA SET TO USE US WEAPONS ON CHINA


New Delhi, India (JFK+50) The government of India today, involved in a war with Red China, asked the United States to supply them with ammunition & weapons.


The United States has agreed with the request.


India has also asked for help from Canada, France & Great Britain.



                      Nehru & Gandhi (1946)


October 29, 1956


ISRAELI FORCES INVADE EGYPT

The forces of Israel invaded Egypt today.


The invasion follows the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egyptian president Abdel Nasser.


Early reports indicate the Israeli attack has stalled.


The United Nations passed a resolution calling for a cease fire.*


*Israeli forces were joined by British & French forces.  President Eisenhower pressed the government of Israel to withdraw which they did late in 1956.



       Moshe Dayan, Chief of Staff
       Avraham Yoffe, Commander
                   Sharm el Sheikh







RADIO MOSCOW SAYS MISSILES IN CUBA WILL BE DISMANTLED

Sunday, October 28, 1962


RADIO MOSCOW SAYS MISSILES IN CUBA WILL BE DISMANTLED


Moscow, USSR (JFK+50) Radio Moscow announced at 9 a.m. Washington time that the Soviet government has ordered their nuclear missiles in Cuba to be dismantled, crated & returned to the USSR.


The announcement comes on the 13th day of the Cuban Missile Crisis in which a nuclear holocaust seemed imminent. 


The announcement was made by Radio Moscow’s Yuri Levitan who said:


“This is Moscow speaking.  The Soviet government…has given a new order to dismantle the weapons…described as offensive & to crate & return them to the Soviet Union.”



The decision made by Premier Nikita Khrushchev was presented earlier to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.  


Khrushchev told them that there is a…


” danger of war & nuclear catastrophe, with the possibility of destruction of the human race.  To save the world, we must retreat.”


The Soviet leader added, however, that the promise of the United States not to invade Cuba represents a victory for Soviet diplomacy.*


*The US promise to remove US missiles in Turkey was to be kept “extremely confidential.”


Upon hearing the news of the Soviet decision, JFK said to Dave Powers:


“Do you realize that we had an air strike all arranged for Tuesday?  Thank God it’s all over.”


Later JFK & Powers attended mass at the Church of St. Stephen 8 blocks from the White House.**


**According to Michael Dobbs, the Joint Chiefs were “dismayed” by the turn of events & General LeMay said:  “It’s the greatest defeat in our history.  We should invade today.”


“Afterword” by Michael Dobbs


Michael Dobbs writes in his “Afterward” of “One Minute to Midnight” (2008), that Kennedy & Khrushchev were “rational, intelligent, decent men (who) had a sneaking sympathy for each other.”


In support of this statement, Dobbs quotes Jackie Kennedy’s letter to Nikita Khrushchev after JFK’s death:


“You & he were adversaries, but you were allied in a determination that the world should not be blown up.  The danger which troubled my husband was that war might be started not so much by the big men as the little men.  While big men know the need for self control & restraint, little men are sometimes moved more by fear & pride.”


JFK+50 highly recommends this most recent book on the Cuban Missile Crisis by Michael Dobbs.  


It has been used as the primary source of information for our posts over the past several days.  


We are in complete agreement with Dobbs when he says:


“The real good fortune is that men as sane & level-headed as John Fitzgerald Kennedy & Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev occupied the White House & the Kremlin in October 1962.”**


**Source: “One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev & Castro On The Brink Of Nuclear War”, by Michael Dobbs, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2008.





JFK’S AMERICAN UNIVERSITY SPEECH


On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy announced that deliberations would begin in Moscow on  a “comprehensive test ban treaty”.


JFK went on to speak on the topic of world peace.  He said that total war “makes no sense” &…..


“We all inhabit this small planet.  We all breathe the same air.  We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”*


*As mentioned before on JFK+50, JFK considered passage of the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963 his greatest accomplishment as President.



JFK Speaks at American University
               Washington, D.C.
                   June 10, 1963
       Photo by Cecil Stoughton


October 28, 1886


STATUE OF LIBERTY UNVEILED IN NEW YORK 


Liberty Island, New York (JFK+50) President Grover Cleveland presided today over the dedication ceremonies of the gift of the French people to the people of the United States, the Statue of Liberty.



           Statue of Liberty Unveiled
            by Edward Moran (1886)
      Museum of the City of New York


Senator William M. Evarts, chairman of the Statue of Liberty New York Committee , opened the ceremony with an address that coincided with the unveiling of the Statue by the lowering of the French flag which covered it.


Then President Cleveland said:


“(The Statue of Liberty’s) stream of light shall pierce the darkness of ignorance & man’s oppression until Liberty enlightens the world.”


The statue’s young French sculptor, Frederic Bartholdi, was present at the ceremonies.


            The New Colossus


“Here at our sea-washed sunset gates
  shall stand a mighty woman with a torch
  whose flame is the imprisoned lightning
  & her name Mother of Exiles.”


                                 Emma Lazarus (1883)



                       Emma Lazarus
                 by T. Johnson (1872)
          New York Historical society 

SOVIET MISSILES IN CUBA "FULLY OPERATIONAL"

Black Saturday


October 27, 1962


SOVIET MISSILES IN CUBA “FULLY OPERATIONAL”


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The White House Situation Room, located in the basement of the West Wing, was informed this morning that 5 of 6 Soviet medium-range nuclear missile sites on the island of Cuba are “fully operational.”


This information was made available to the White House by the CIA.


Given this information, most of the Southeastern United States is now within range of 20 one megaton nuclear warheads.



                       Range of Soviet
    Medium Range Ballistic Missiles
                            CIA Map


The United States is in preparation for launching a massive air strike on Cuba to take out the missiles.


The air strike would be followed by an invasion 7 days later.


The prospective invasion of Cuba would be launched to overthrow the communist government on the island & prevent future threats to the security of the Western Hemisphere.


Reports indicate that more than 150,000 United States forces have been mobilized.


October 27, 1962


JOINT CHIEFS CALL FOR MASSIVE AIR STRIKES


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) At a meeting in the cabinet room at the White House this afternoon, General Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, advised President John F. Kennedy to authorize massive air strikes on Cuba by Monday morning.


The General qualified the advice of the Joint Chiefs by adding: 


“unless there in irrefutable evidence that offensive weapons are being dismantled.”



              General Taylor Sworn-In As
      Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
      by Attorney General Robert Kennedy
                          October 1, 1962
                Photo by Cecil Stoughton
                      White House Photo


The White House has issued no statement indicating whether or not the President is planning such an authorization.


October 27, 1962


MAJOR ANDERSON SHOT DOWN BY SOVIET MISSILE OVER CUBA


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The White House reports this evening that a U-2 reconnaissance aircraft flying over Cuba & piloted by Major Rudolph “Rudy” Anderson has been shot down by a Soviet SAM (surface-to-air missile) this morning at 11:19 Eastern time.


The Major was on a mission to photograph Soviet missile sites in Cuba.


The first reports indicated Anderson’s U-2 was 30 to 45 minutes late in arriving back to base.  Later reports, however, confirmed that Anderson had been shot down & his body was recovered in the wreckage.


Major Anderson was 35 years old.*



                              U2 Wreckage 
                             Museo del Aire
                             Havana, Cuba
                         Photo by Vansara




*This was on the 12th day of the 13 day crisis.  Bob Kennedy, in his book “13 Days” later wrote: 


“The noose was tightening on all of us, on Americans, on mankind &….the bridges to escape were crumbling.”


“The President….was more disturbed by the death of Major Anderson, at that time,  than he was worried about Khrushchev.  He asked the Defense Department to find out if Anderson had a wife & family.”  


“JFK later received a call informing him that Major Anderson was married with 2 sons, ages 3 & 5.”  


“The President turned to Dave Powers with a stricken look on his face & said:  ‘He had a boy about the same age as John (Jr.)'”**


**Source:  “Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye” by Kenneth O’Donnell & David Powers (1970)


October 27, 1962


SOVIETS FIRE MISSILES AT U-2 TO PREVENT PHOTOS OF LAUNCH POSITIONS FROM REACHING US GOVERNMENT


Banes, Cuba (JFK+50) Major Ivan Gerchenov gave the order, at 11:19 this morning, to fire surface-to-air missiles at a U2 airplane flying over Cuba.


The U2, piloted by US Air Force Major Rudolph Anderson, was hit, broke apart & fell to the ground.*


*The U2 was actually a CIA aircraft but bore USAF insignia.  


The body of the pilot was recovered.


Major Gerchenov, unable to get a response from higher authorities, decided to order the air strike because he believed the U2 had photographed his “Forward Launch Positions” just 15 miles from Guantanamo Naval Base.**


**Anderson had completed his mission & was returning to base by flying along the northern coast of Cuba when he was shot down.

              USAF Lockheed U2 Aircraft*


*The U2 flies at an altitude of 72,000 feet, twice the altitude of commercial airliners.


Major Rudolph (Rudy) Anderson



             USAF Major Rudolph Anderson


Major Rudolph Anderson was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina on September 15, 1927.


A graduate of Clemson University, he served in Korea.


Major Anderson & his wife, Jane, had two sons, Trip & Jim, & a daughter, Robyn, who was born after the Major’s death.


They made their home in Greenville, South Carolina.


Major Anderson, at the time of his death, had logged 3000 hours of flying time including 1000 hours on the U-2.


Anderson died as a result of shrapnel from the exploding Soviet missile puncturing his pressure suit & causing it to decompress at high altitude.


He died near Banes, Cuba on October 27, 1962.


Major Anderson is buried in Greenville’s Woodlawn Memorial Park.


President Kennedy awarded Major Anderson,  posthumously, with the 1st “Air Force Cross”.  


Anderson also received the Distinguished Service Medal, the Purple Heart & the Cheney Award.


Major Anderson was the only combat casualty of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

US NAVY STOPS 1ST SHIP AT QUARANTINE LINE

October 26, 1962


US NAVY STOPS 1ST SHIP AT QUARANTINE LINE


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The White House announced today that at 7:50 this morning the 1st ship was stopped & searched by the United States Navy at the “Quarantine Line” east of Cuba.


A boarding party from the USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (named after JFK’s older brother) inspected the cargo of the Marucla, a Lebanese freighter under charter to the USSR.


The inspection, according to the White House, turned up no offensive weapons & so the Marucla was allowed to proceed towards Havana, Cuba.



              USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
                        US Navy Photo


October 26, 1962


JFK RECEIVES LETTER FROM KHRUSHCHEV


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) According to White House sources, President John F. Kennedy received a letter from Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union this evening in which he proposes an idea on how to end the Cuban Missile Crisis.


Khrushchev began by restating that Soviet missiles in Cuba are for defensive purposes only.


Then, the Chairman proposes, in the letter,  that if the United States will recall its fleet & make a promise not to invade Cuba, “the necessity for the presence of our military specialists would disappear.”*


*At the Pentagon, General Curtis LeMay was not impressed. He told his colleagues that Khrushchev’s letter was a lot of “b.s.” & that the Soviet Premier must believe “we are a bunch of dumb s___s, if we swallow that syrup!”**

**Source: Michael Dobbs, “One Minute To Midnight” (2008).


                    General Curtis LeMay

October 26, 2001

PRESIDENT BUSH SIGNS USA PATRIOT ACT

Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President George W. Bush signed into law today the “Uniting & Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (&) Obstruct Terrorism” Act of 2001.

The USA PATRIOT ACT was passed by Congress in response to the 9-11 terrorists attacks on New York & Washington, D.C.

The act reduces restraints on law enforcement agencies to search records as well as restraints on foreign intelligence gathering.*

*President Obama signed a 4 year extension of 3 key provisions of the Patriot Act.


President GW Bush, Obama & Clinton
                  Photo by Pete Souza
           White House Photo (2010)

October 26, 1881

GUNFIGHT AT OK CORRAL IN TOMBSTONE

Tombstone, Arizona Territory (JFK+50) This morning, the City Marshall, V. W. Earp arrested a cowboy named Ike Clanton for disorderly conduct & he was fined $25 & disarmed in the Justices’ Court.

Clanton left, swearing vengeance on the Sheriff & Marshall Earp & his brother Morgan who tried to induce Clanton to leave the town, but he refused to be pacified.

At 3 o’clock P.M., the Earp brothers & J.J. Halliday met 4 cowboys, namely the 2 Clanton brothers & 2 McLowery brothers, when a lively fire commenced from the cowboys against the 3 citizens.  About 30 shots were fired rapidly.*

When the smoke cleared, Frank & Tom McLaury & Billy Clanton lay dead while Morgan & Virgil Earp, along with Doc Holliday, were wounded.  Wyatt Earp was unharmed.

*This part of the news article is from a newspaper of the time.


           “Gunfight at the OK Corral”
                     A Reenactment
     Photo by James G. Howes (2008)

October 26, 1825

ERIE CANAL OPENED BY GOVERNOR CLINTON


            View of Eastbound Lockport
                      on the Erie Canal
              by W.H. Bartlett (1839)

Buffalo, New York (JFK+50) The Erie Canal was officially opened today here in Buffalo by New York Governor DeWitt Clinton.

Governor Clinton was the master of ceremonies & boarded the canal boat Seneca Chief bound for New York City.

Work on the “Big Ditch”, as it has been called, began in August 1823.*

*After arriving in New York City on September 4, 1825, Governor Clinton emptied a barrel of Lake Erie water in the Atlantic Ocean thus consummating “the marriage of the waters”.




“I’ve got an old mule, her name is Sal
 15 miles on the Erie Canal
 Shes a good old worker
 and a good old pal
 15 miles on the Erie Canal.”


15 Miles On The Erie Canal 
by Thomas S. Allen (1905)



STEVENSON TRUMPS ZORIN ON SOVIET MISSILES IN CUBA

October 25, 1962


STEVENSON TRUMPS ZORIN ON SOVIET MISSILES IN CUBA



UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson
              October 25, 1962


New York City (JFK+50) United States ambassador to the United Nations Adlai E. Stevenson questioned Soviet ambassador Valerian Zorin today on his repeated denial that the USSR has placed nuclear missile sites in Cuba.


Mr. Stevenson, seated 4 chairs from Zorin, began his remarks by asking “one simple question”:


“Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the USSR has placed, & is placing, medium & intermediate range missiles & sites in Cuba?”


Zorin was waiting to hear the translation of Stevenson’s question in the Russian language in his earpiece.


The normally patient Stevenson, however, was in no mood for delay.  He said:


“Yes or no—don’t wait for the translation–yes or no?”


Zorin, taken aback by Stevenson’s tactic, replied:


“I am not in an American courtroom, sir, & I do not wish to answer a question put to me in the manner in which a prosecutor does.”



     UN Ambassador Valerian Zorin


Stevenson, not to be denied, answered:


“You are in the courtroom of world opinion right now, & you can answer yes or no. You have denied that they exist, & I want to know if I have understood you correctly.”


Zorin said:


“Continue with your statement. You will receive your answer in due course. Do not worry.”


To which Stevenson replied:


“I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over, if that’s your decision.”*


Stevenson then produced, for Zorin & all the world to see, the photographic evidence of Soviet missile sites in Cuba.



      Photos of Soviet Missiles in Cuba
       Displayed at the United Nations
                     October 25, 1962


*President Kennedy, concerned about Stevenson’s ability to “stand-up” to Zorin, was watching the confrontation on TV. 


When it was over, JFK turned to his aides & said: “Terrific. I never knew Adlai had it in him.”**


**Source: “One Minute To Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev & Castro On The Brink of Nuclear War” by Michael Dobbs, Alfred Knopf, New York, 2008.


Adlai Ewing Stevenson II


Adlai E. Stevenson II was born in Los Angeles, California in 1900 but grew up in Bloomington, Illinois where his Great Grandfather, Jesse Fell, founded the local newspaper & was an early supporter of Abraham Lincoln.


Stevenson’s Grandfather, Adlai E. Stevenson, served as Vice-President of the United States in Grover Cleveland’s 2nd term.


Stevenson attended Princeton University & received a law degree from Northwestern.


He was elected Governor of Illinois in 1948 & served from 1949 to 1953.


In 1952 & again in 1956, Stevenson was the Democratic nominee for President of the United States but lost both times to the ever popular Dwight D. Eisenhower.


In 1956, Senator John F. Kennedy gave the nominating speech for Stevenson at the Democratic National Convention.



On July 15, 1960, Stevenson introduced JFK as the Democratic nominee who, in turn, said: “I am grateful that I can rely…on one of the most articulate statesmen of our time, Adlai Stevenson.”


From 1960 to 1965, Stevenson served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations.


Upon his death on July 14, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson said:


“He was an American & he served America well.  But what he saw, & what he spoke, & what he worked for is the shared desire of all humanity.”


JFK+50s Favorite Adlai Stevenson Quotes



“A wise man does not try to hurry history.  Many wars have been avoided by patience & many have been precipitated by reckless haste.”


“If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us.  The free mind is not a barking dog to be tethered on a 10 foot chain.”


“In matters of national security, emotion is no substitute for intelligence, nor rigidity for prudence.”


“Every age needs men who will redeem the time by living with a vision of the things that are to be.”



          Adlai & President Kennedy
                       Enjoy Sailing













EXCOMM MEETS IN MIDST OF MISSILE CRISIS

October 24, 1962


EXCOMM MEETS IN MIDST OF MISSILE CRISIS


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The Executive Committee of the National Security Council, or EXCOMM, met this morning at 10 in the Cabinet Room at the White House.



                      EXCOMM Meeting
                   Cuban Missile Crisis
                         October 1962
             Photo by Cecil Stoughton
                   JFK Library Photo


On Monday, President John F. Kennedy announced the United States would set up a quarantine or blockade of the island of Cuba & would turn back “any ships…. found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons.”


The meeting began with CIA Director John McCone reporting that 22 Soviet ships were heading for the “Quarantine Line” 500 miles to the East of Cuba.


Later in the meeting, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara reported that 2 Soviet ships, Kimovsk & Yuri Gagarin, were approaching the “Quarantine Line” with a Soviet submarine stationed in between.


McCone, getting more up-to-date information, said that 6 Soviet ships, in Cuban waters, “have either stopped or reversed direction.”



                        John McCone
                  CIA Director (1962)


At this dramatic point in the crisis, Secretary of State Dean Rusk said:


“We stood eyeball to eyeball & the other fellow just blinked.”*



                              Dean Rusk
                      Secretary of State
             LBJ Library Photo (1968)


*According to Michael Dobbs, in “One Minute to Midnight” (2008), evidence now available in the National Archives & JFK Library indicates that the Soviet “turnaround” was actually done on Tuesday morning, October 23, 1962, or 24 hours before the EXCOMM meeting of the 24th.


Dobbs states that historians  “failed to use these records to plot the actual positions of Soviet ships on the morning of Wednesday, October 24, 1962.”


JFK+50 Comment:  


I do not think this new information changes the fact that the Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world ever came to nuclear war or that President Kennedy, along with his advisers, as well as Premier Khrushchev & his advisers, made decisions of historic proportions that prevented a nuclear war.



October 24, 1962


GENERAL POWER ORDERS FORCES TO DEFCON-2


Omaha, Nebraska (JFK+50) General Thomas Power of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), headquartered here in Omaha, ordered his forces to DEFCON-2 this morning, one step from “imminent nuclear war”.


The order came in the midst of the “Cuban Missile Crisis” with reports of Soviet submarines off the East Coast of the United States.


DEFCON-2 is the highest military alert level ordered in United States history.


General Power reportedly also broadcast an alert message on non-scrambled, open radio channels.



            General Thomas Power
           Strategic Air Command


                  CHART OF DEFCON RATINGS


DEFCON 5 Lowest military readiness
DEFCON 4 Increased intelligence watch 
DEFCON 3 Medium military readiness*
DEFCON 2 War readiness
DEFCON 1 Nuclear war imminent


*On 9-11-2011, US forces were ordered to DEFCON 3


October 24, 1962


JFK WARNS “DON’T CELEBRATE….EARLY”


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President Kennedy dined at the White House tonight with the Attorney General, Robert F. (Bobby) Kennedy & his wife, Ethel, along with journalist Charles Bartlett.


With the day’s events seemingly going JFK’s way, Mr. Bartlett proposed a toast to celebrate the turning around of Soviet ships from the “Quarantine Line”.


The President replied: “You don’t want to celebrate in this game this early.”


During the dinner, National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy kept the President informed on the crisis.


At one point JFK said: “We still have 20 chances out of a hundred to be at war with Russia.”*


*Later after the dinner guests had left the White House, JFK phoned Mr. Bartlett & said: “You’ll be interested to know that I got a cable from our friend (Khrushchev).  He said those (Soviet) ships are coming through.”



                 The Yuri Gagarin


October 24, 1963


JFK SIGNS MILLS-RIBICOFF ACT ON MENTAL RETARDATION


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President Kennedy signed “HR 7544” this morning at the White House.


The Mills-Ribicoff Act is designed to reduce the number of mentally retarded babies born in the United States each year.


The measure will provide prenatal care for needy women & thus reduce the number of children born mentally retarded.


JFK said:


“We can say with some assurance, that, although children may be the victims of fate, they will not be the victims of our neglect.”



                  JFK in the Oval Office













OAS APPROVES JFK BLOCKADE PROCLAMATION

October 23, 1962


OAS APPROVES JFK BLOCKADE PROCLAMATION


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The Organ of Consultation of the Organization of American States approved today “Proclamation #3504” signed by President John F. Kennedy which states that Cuba will be under naval & air quarantine as of 2 p.m. (GMT) tomorrow.


JFK’s proclamation was approved by a vote of 19 to 0.


The proclamation, in part, reads:


“In carrying out this order, force shall not be used except in case of failure or refusal to comply with directions, or with regulations or directives of the Secretary of Defense.”*


*At 9:30 p.m. Eastern time, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy was meeting privately with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. 


RFK said: “I don’t know how this is going to end, but we intend to stop your ships.”  


Dobrynin responded: “That would be an act of war.”


Source: “One Minute to Mid-Night: Kennedy, Khrushchev & Castro On The Brink Of Nuclear War”, by Michael Dobbs, Published by Alfred Knopf, 2008.







              Pan American Union Building
                         OAS Headquarters
                           Washington, D.C
               Photo by John Collier (1943)


October 23, 1962


CASTRO DEFIANT IN FACE OF US BLOCKADE


Havana, Cuba (JFK+50) Cuban Premier Fidel Castro, speaking on Cuban television today, expressed defiance of President Kennedy’s proclamation to set up a naval blockade of his island.


Castro said:


“We will acquire the arms we deem necessary for our defense & we don’t have to give an accounting to anyone.  We will never be aggressors, but we will never be victims, either.”


The Cuban dictator added:


“We are not sovereign by grace of the Yankees, but in our own right.”



                          Fidel Castro Coin
           Banco Nacional de Cuba (1993)


October 23, 1961


SOVIETS EXPLODE MOST POWERFUL BOMB EVER


Moscow, USSR (JFK+50) The Soviet Union set off 2 nuclear weapons today at its Arctic testing station, one of which is the most powerful atomic weapon ever detonated.


Shock waves from the blast were detected in both Sweden & Japan.


The 2nd bomb was set off underwater, the 1st such test by the USSR.


The White House has made no comment on the test.


Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev said:


“It could have been bigger, but then it might have broken all the windows in Moscow 4000 miles away.”



 Soviet Arctic Nuclear Testing Site


October 23, 1955


JFK SAYS POLAND STILL UNDER RUSSIA’S THUMB


Boston, Massachusetts (JFK+50) Senator John F. Kennedy, speaking today at a meeting of the Polish-Americans Citizens Club of South Boston, said that Poland is still under the “iron control” of the USSR.


JFK said:


“When the Polish people are free to talk with visitors, when they can freely visit Western countries, when the Voice of America is no longer jammed, when free elections are held & a free press permitted, then it will be possible to say there has been a genuine change in the policy of the Communists.”


After the speech, Senator Kennedy was presented with a citation for his efforts in assisting the people of Poland.



              Polish Museum of America
                        Chicago, Illinois
       Photo by Antonio Vernon (2007)

JFK ANNOUNCES BLOCKADE OF CUBA

October 21, 1962


SOVIET FREIGHTERS TURN BACK


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) With the Cuban Missile Crisis heating up with each passing day, reports today indicate Soviet freighters bound for Cuba have turned back for Europe.


The Bucharest, reportedly carrying only petroleum products, was allowed to continue on its journey.


United Nations Secretary-General U Thant, in the meantime, has called for a 
“cooling off” period in the crisis.



                 Secretary-General U Thant
                            United Nations
                     Photo by R. Okamoto
                 LBJ Library Photo (1968)


President Kennedy, however, declined to support this idea because it would allow the nuclear missiles in Cuba to remain in place.



      U2 Photo of Missile Sites in Cuba
                    CIA Photo (1962)


October 22, 1962


JFK ANNOUNCES BLOCKADE OF CUBA



JFK Signs Quarantine Proclamation
                  October 23, 1962


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy tonight, speaking live on the national television networks, announced his decision in response to the placement of nuclear missile sites in Cuba by the USSR.


JFK said that he has ordered a naval “quarantine” or blockade of Cuba.


JFK said:


“This secret, swift & extraordinary buildup off Communist missiles…is… deliberately provocative & cannot be accepted…”


The President continued:


“To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated.  All ships…bound for Cuba…will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back.”


“It shall be the policy of this Nation to regard any nuclear missiles launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere, as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response on the Soviet Union.”*


*Shortly before JFK’s scheduled address, the Joint Chiefs of Staff set the military alert at DEFCON 3.



                     US Navy Patrol
          Flies Over Soviet Freighter
                Cuban Missile Crisis 
              US Navy Photo (1962)

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