By Robert F. Kennedy (auth.)
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Additional resources for 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis October 1962
We heard later, in a post mortem study, that reports had come from agents within Cuba indicating the presence of missiles in September 1962. Most of the reports were false; some were the result of confusion by untrained observers between surface-to-air missiles and surface-tosurface missiles. Several reports, however, turned out to be accurate - one from a former employee at the Hilton Hotel, in Havana, who believed a missile installation was being constructed near San Cristobal, and another from someone who overheard Premier Fidel Castro's pilot talking in a boastful and intoxicated way one evening about the nuclear missiles that were going to be furnished Cuba by Russia.
Dean Rusk - who, as Secretary of State, might have assumed that position - had other duties during this period of time and frequendy could not attend our meetings. As a result, with the encouragement of McNamara, Bundy, and Ball, the conversations were completely uninhibited and unrestricted. Everyone had an equal opportunity to express himself and to be heard direcdy. It was a tremendously advantageous procedure that does not frequendy occur within the executive branch of the government, where rank is often so important.
For the group that advocated the blockade, it was an outline of the legal basis for our action, an agenda for a meeting of the Organization of American States, recommendations for the role of the United Nations, the military procedures for stopping ships, and, finally, the circumstances under which military force might be used. For the group that advocated immediate military action, it was an outline of the areas to be attacked, a defense of our position in the United 48 Nations, suggestions as to how to obtain support from Latin American countries, and a proposed communication to Khrushchev to convince him of the inadvisability of moving militarily against us in the Caribbean, Berlin, or elsewhere in the world.