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
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.
“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)