Thursday, October 25, 1962
STEVENSON WAITS FOR ANSWER “UNTIL HELL FREEZES OVER”
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.
*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.”
Sources: Michael Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight, 2008.
James M. Lindsay, TWE Remembers, 10/25/2012.