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Saturday, October 20, 1962



Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara* said today that CIA analysts estimate that the USSR has deployed “six thousand to eight thousand” troops to Cuba.

The Secretary said this estimate was based on the number of Soviet ships sent to Cuba.**

*Robert S. “Bob” McNamara (1916-2009) was born in San Francisco, California & graduated from UC Berkeley in 1937 & Harvard Business School in 1939.  He served in the US Army in WWII & became president of Ford Motor Company in 1960.  He served as Defense Secretary from 1961 to 1968.

**According to Michael Dobbs by Oct 20 there were actually more than 40,000 Soviet troops in Cuba. Dobbs says that the inaccurate report was based on the number of Soviet ships estimated to have arrived in Cuba.


JFK & McNamara, Cabinet Room, The White House, June 19, 1962, Photo by Cecil Stoughton, NARA/JFK Library Image



This afternoon President Kennedy,who was scheduled to be campaigning in the Midwest, was called back to Washington by the Attorney General who told him that he was needed to break a deadlock among his advisers.***

***Press Secretary Pierre Salinger announced JFK was returning to the White House because “(he)…has a cold…”

The deadlock appears to be between a decision to launch an air strike on Cuba or set up a naval blockade.

The air strike was proposed by National Security assistant to the President, McGeorge Bundy & is being supported by John McCone, CIA director & Douglas Dillon, Secretary of Treasury.

The blockade proposal is being advocated by McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Adlai Stevenson, UN Secretary & JFK speechwriter Ted Sorensen.****

****When JFK entered the Oval Sitting Room on the 2nd floor of the mansion where his advisers had gathered, he said:

“Gentlemen, today we’re going to earn our pay. You should all hope that your plan isn’t the one that will be accepted.”


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