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Thursday, October 25, 1962



New York City (JFK+50) With the missile crisis into its 10th day, the temperature shot up from hot to a boil at the United Nations today when US ambassador Adlai Stevenson posed this question to Soviet ambassador Valerian Zorin:

“Do you…deny that the USSR has placed…medium & intermediate range missiles in Cuba?

Yes or no….

Don’t wait for the translation (into Russian)….yes or no?”

Zorin*, obviously taken aback by the tone of Stevenson’s question, responded:

“I am not in an American courtroom, sir, continue your statement.  You will receive your answer in due course.”

Without batting an eye, Adlai Stevenson shot back:

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

But Stevenson had the evidence to present to Zorin & the UN Security Council.  Enlarged U2 photographs showing the nuclear missile sites in Cuba were shown.


UN Security Council, October 25, 1962, PD-USGOV photo


*Michael Dobbs writes that Zorin was “tired…ill” & uninformed by Moscow.  Zorin took the standard Soviet diplomatic stance of denial.

**JFK, watching on television, said following Stevenson’s statement, “Terrific. I never knew Adlai had it in him.”


Adlai Stevenson, June 23, 1961, Library of Congress photo


Sources:  Michael Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight, 2008.

James M. Lindsay, TWE Remembers, 10/25/2012.


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