Friday, October 19, 1962
GENERAL LEMAY TELLS JFK ‘YOU’RE IN A BAD FIX’
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) In a meeting in the White House Cabinet Room this morning, President Kennedy was told by Air Force General Curtis Lemay*: “You’re in a pretty bad fix.”
General LeMay, who is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was making reference to the fact that Soviet missile sites have been discovered in Cuba just 90 miles off the coast of Florida.
JFK will select from a number of response proposals by the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, or EXCOMM.
*Curtis E. LeMay (1906-1990) was born in Columbus, Ohio & graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in civil engineering.
He designed & implemented a systematic bombing campaign on Japan in WWII & after the war led the Berlin Airlift & reorganized the Strategic Air Command.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff he opposed the idea of a naval blockade, favoring instead a military strike.
In 1968, he ran on the American Independent Party ticket with George Wallace.
U2 photographs revealed on October 14 that a number of Soviet nuclear missiles sites were in Cuba.
During the meeting this morning, it was also learned that another cluster of sites are under construction in the center of the island.
These sites, when completed, have been determined to be for intercontinental ballistic missiles with a range up to 2800 miles.
Among the choice of responses for the President’s consideration are:
a complete air strike, a surgical or partial air strike & a naval quarantine or blockade of Cuba.
With the possibility that Soviet nuclear missiles could potentially hit directly any one of the 48 continental states, it seems that ALL Americans are “in a pretty bad fix.”**
**The recordings of the meeting recently released by the JFK Library, in JFK+50’s opinion, reflect a much lesser degree of hostility in the remark than we had previously thought from the transcript alone & the scene produced in the movie “13 Days”.
JFK’s voice seems, at least to us, not at all sarcastic or confrontational when he responds to LeMay’s remark by saying:
“Well, you’re in there with me. Personally!”
Some chuckles can be heard following JFK’s remark on the recording.
After JFK left the meeting, he told Dave Powers:
“These brass hats have one great advantage in their favor. If we listen to them & do what they want…none of us will be alive later to tell them that they were wrong.”