Letter From President Kennedy to Chairman Khrushchev
Washington, October 22, 1962.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: A copy of the statement I am making tonight concerning developments in Cuba and the reaction of my Government thereto has been handed to your Ambassador in Washington. In view of the gravity of the developments to which I refer, I want you to know immediately and accurately the position of my Government in this matter.
In our discussions and exchanges on Berlin and other international questions, the one thing that has most concerned me has been the possibility that your Government would not correctly understand the will and determination of the United States in any given situation, since I have not assumed that you or any other sane man would, in this nuclear age, deliberately plunge the world into war which it is crystal clear no country could win and which could only result in catastrophic consequences to the whole world, including the aggressor.
At our meeting in Vienna and subsequently, I expressed our readiness and desire to find, through peaceful negotiation, a solution to any and all problems that divide us. At the same time, I made clear that in view of the objectives of the ideology to which you adhere, the United States could not tolerate any action on your part which in a major way disturbed the existing over-all balance of power in the world. I stated that an attempt to force abandonment of our responsibilities and commitments in Berlin would constitute such an action and that the United States would resist with all the power at its command.
It was in order to avoid any incorrect assessment on the part of your Government with respect to Cuba that I publicly stated that if certain developments in Cuba took place, the United States would do whatever must be done to protect its own security and that of its allies.
Moreover, the Congress adopted a resolution expressing its support of this declared policy. Despite this, the rapid development of long-range missile bases and other offensive weapons systems in Cuba has proceeded. I must tell you that the United States is determined that this threat to the security of this hemisphere be removed. At the same time, I wish to point out that the action we are taking is the minimum necessary to remove the threat to the security of the nations of this hemisphere. The fact of this minimum response should not be taken as a basis, however, for any misjudgment on your part.
I hope that your Government will refrain from any action which would widen or deepen this already grave crisis and that we can agree to resume the path of peaceful negotiations.
Letter From President Kennedy to Chairman Khrushchev Washington, October 22, 1962. - History
A Soviet-chartered freighter is stopped at the quarantine line and searched for contraband military supplies. None are found and the ship is allowed to proceed to Cuba. Photographic evidence shows accelerated construction of the missile sites and the uncrating of Soviet IL-28 bombers at Cuban airfields.
In a private letter, Fidel Castro urges Nikita Khrushchev to initiate a nuclear first strike against the United States in the event of an American invasion of Cuba.
John Scali, ABC News reporter, is approached by Aleksander Fomin of the Soviet embassy staff with a proposal for a solution to the crisis.
Name: William B. Ecker
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska
Address: Punta Gorda, Fla.
Rank: Navy Captain
Commendations: Distinguished Flying Cross
Married: Kit Ecker
Children: Richard and David Ecker
This story was first published on Nov. 12, 2009 in the Charlotte Sun newspaper. Reprinted with permission.
Letter From President Kennedy to Chairman Khrushchev Washington, October 22, 1962. - History
Dear Mr. President : On behalf of the people of the Soviet Union and myself personally I congratulate you and the American people on the occasion of the successful launching of a spaceship with a man on board.
One more step has been taken toward mastering the cosmos and this time Lieutenant Colonel John Glenn , a citizen of the United States of America, has been added to the family of astronauts. The successful launching of spaceships signalizing the conquest of new heights in science and technology inspire legitimate pride for the limitless potentialities of the human mind to serve the welfare of humanity. It is to be hoped that the genius of man, penetrating the depth of the universe, will be able to find ways to lasting peace and ensure the prosperity of all peoples on our planet earth which, in the space age, though it does not seem so large, is still dear to all of its inhabitants.
If our countries pooled their efforts—scientific, technical and material—to master the universe, this would be very beneficial for the advance of science and would be joyfully acclaimed by all peoples who would like to see scientific achievements benefit man and not be used for “cold war” purposes and the arms race.
Please convey cordial congratulations and best wishes to astronaut John Glenn .
Letter from President Johnson
I share the concern expressed in your message of August fifth concerning the incidents in the Gulf of Tonkin.I also fully share your view of the heavy responsibility which we both bear for keeping the peace and for preventing incidents anywhere in the world from starting a chain of dangerous and irreversible developments. It was for this reason that we took only the minimum defensive action in response to the first attack upon the American destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin. I think you can understand that the second deliberate attack—on which there is complete and incontrovertible evidence—could not be allowed to pass without reply. Our action was carefully measured to fit the circumstances, and we have no wish at all to see this matter go further. We have, of course, made appropriate deployments in the area as we are uncertain of the purpose of these flagrant attacks on our ships on the high seas. We do not know, for example, whether they were instigated by Peiping or made by the North Vietnamese in an effort to draw Peiping into the area. I have made it clear, publicly, that we ourselves do not wish an escalation of this situation.
Our position with respect to South Vietnam has been made clear on many occasions. I repeat that we seek no military base or special position in this area and that our sole purpose is to enable the nations there to maintain their independence without outside intervention. Our complete withdrawal from Laos following the agreement of 1962, about which I have already communicated with you, is convincing evidence of the sincerity of our purpose. Anything you can do to restrain either the North Vietnamese or Peiping from further reckless action in this area will be most helpful to peace. My country will always be prompt and firm in its positive reply to acts of aggression, and our power is equal to any such test. But the mission of that power is peace.
. Letter From President Johnson to Chairman Khrushchev.” U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State, n.d. Web. 1 May 2017.
Johnson’s reply to Chairmen Khrushchev’s letter which is shown in Archive 11 is dominating. President Johnson starts his letter in return by responding to the emotional statement that Khrushchev made about both leader take responsibility for keeping and maintaining peace anywhere in the world. He mentions that the USS Maddox chose to take the least defensive action against the attack. Subsequently, he suggests that “…the second deliberate attack—on which there is complete and incontrovertible evidence—could not be allowed to pass without reply.” Johnson states that there is an absolute testimony to the second attack in the Gulf of Tonkin and that it was necessary to take action. Johnson adds that he is uncertain why the attacks occurred and that the U.S. had made it clear the relationship they have with South Vietnam. This was in response to Khrushchev’s demand that the U.S. leave South Vietnam alone and deny any help.
Johnson’s core message back to Khrushchev was that the U.S. did not want any escalation of the situation. Johnson apparently wanted a peaceful confrontation with North Vietnam as the idea of leaving South Vietnam to its independence. The President states to Khrushchev that “Anything you can do to restrain either the North Vietnamese or Peiping from the further reckless action in this area will be most helpful to peace.” Johnson’s bold statement gets more interesting when he ends his letter by saying, “My country will always be prompt and firm in its positive reply to acts of aggression, and our power is equal to any such test.” In summary, Johnson is saying to Khrushchev that if the North Vietnamese so not stop, then there is no other option other than the U.S. taking military aggression.
One the same day that this letter was sent, the Joint Resolution signed by Congress was passed. This would allow Johnson and his administration to take any action necessary regarding stopping further aggression from the North Vietnamese. Johnson has stated in multiple documents used for this Archive that peace is his mission. The two-letter sent to on another is significate to the story of the Gulf of Tonkin. It underlines Johnson’s ideas even when someone like Khrushchev try’s to convince him. Johnson’s stance is regulated by the political development that Kennedy left as Johnson took office. He was stuck between pulling out and getting hatred from advisors and citizens or go full into the war and still get hatred from peacemakers. This letter shows his stance as he never mentions that he will take action toward communist, but never explained that he wanted to pull out of the Gulf.
Senator Kerry and the Disabilities Treaty
Editor's Note: As a precursor to what I hope to write about tomorrow, please find fifteen minutes to watch then incredibly moving speech by Senator John Kerry on the floor of the Senate yesterday urging the passage of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The treaty, requiring two-thirds of the United States Senate in favor, failed 61-38.
Document B: Letter from President Kennedy to Chairman Khrushchev 4. In this letter Kennedy restates Khrushchev’s proposals. Does Kennedy include everything Khrushchev proposed? If not, why might have he left something out? 5. What is the tone of this letter? Provide a quote to support your claim. 6. Do you think Kennedy has the upper hand? Why or why not?
Tension between the United States and Russia, formerly known as the Union of Soviet Socialists States were on the rise. From the rocket race, to the missiles race, the tensions between the two countries kept escalating. In the wake of the events, one of the potentially dangerous events was the Cuban missile crisis. Russia thought to build a missile base in Cuba. This would present a great danger to the US. In the letter, Kennedy is tentative in his approach. He exercises restraint. In fact, in one of the lines he says, ". I recognize Mr. Chairman, that it was not I who issued the first challenge in this case. " The president distances himself from the provocations that had been sent his his predecessors.
During the cold war, there was a point of time of tensions of nuclear war, which is the Cuban missile crisis. Khrushchev tried to transfer nuclear weapons to Cuba. This caused Kennedy to try to negotiate because they knew the consequences of the two superpowers colliding would be very dangerous. Khrushchev wasn't willing to because the US had nuclear bombs in Turkey where they were in range to attack Russia so, Khrushchev only thought having weapons in Cuba was fair. So, both nations had weapons pointing against each other so, neither had the upper hand.
The word dream is defined as “to have an ambition” in answering this question and thinking of what were the dreams of president Kennedy and Johnson I define their dreams and begin to evaluate the events from 1960 to 1968 and whether the presidents achieved their dream or was it “shattered”.
Letter From President Kennedy to Chairman Khrushchev Washington, October 22, 1962. - History
The January 16 meeting of the Committee of Principals was cancelled, and Foster and others instead worked on a paper that attempted to incorporate the President’s general thoughts. ( Seaborg , Journal , Vol. 7, p. 228) Regarding this paper, see footnote 3, Document 4.
Butch Fisher , Spurgeon Keeny and I have been working on the possible set of “new proposals” for the United States in Geneva, and from our point of view the following are desirable and practicable, subject to your advice. We have broken them down into two major fields—A. Nuclear Containment, and B. Immediate Reductions or Limitations of Arms (formerly called separable first stage).
The organizing principle of these proposals is that each separate numbered item should be something which we are prepared to negotiate on its own terms. The posture we seek to present is that of a nation which believes that the way to begin is to begin. We are offering a dozen or more ways to begin and are ready to start whenever others will meet us half [Page 4] way. While many of these proposals are not altogether new, the approach has some novelty and appears to us to match the President’s temper and his general purpose.
1. Non-dissemination. This is a familiar field and we would follow the general guidelines in the ACDA paper. 2 2. Non-reception of nuclear weapons. This is a partial element of non-dissemination and one which is worth encouragement, although probably not front-page leadership by the United States. 3. Non-dissemination to individual nations of strategic nuclear delivery systems. This is a separable element which might be accomplished by unilateral or bilateral agreement. This could be accomplished by the reciprocal destruction of B-47/Badger bombers so that they would not be available for possible dissemination to other countries. We also believe the United States could easily make a self-denying statement that its obsolete bombers, for example, will not be sold to those who might seek a nuclear capability of their own. 4. Reciprocal inspection of large peaceful nuclear reactors both here and abroad. 5. An agreed nuclear production cut-off with minimum inspection. 6. An offer to allow inspection to confirm our own projected close down of plutonium production reactors. 7. Improved proposals for the transfer of nuclear materials to peaceful purposes. These transfers need not be in the same amounts and will be under improved IAEA supervision. 8. Basic principles for nuclear-free zones. 9. Assertion of the possibility of nuclear-limited zones (such as a possible nuclear freeze in Europe). 10. Reassertion of the comprehensive test ban (in a low key with emphasis on seismic study if the subject is posed). 3
B. Immediate Reductions or Limitations of Arms
11. An agreed reduction across the board. 12. An agreed reduction in strategic forces. 13. An agreed reduction in tactical forces. 14. A separate agreement on nondeployment of AICBM s (comparable to the nuclear weapons in space agreement). 15. An agreed freeze on the production of strategic delivery systems. 4 16. An agreed across-the-board stoppage of arms production. 5
All of these separable measures are designed to be consistent with existing approaches to inspection with the possible exceptions of the reduction in strategic weapons and AICBM non-deployment, where our own means of surveillance may be satisfactory.
- —A general reaffirmation of our basic position.
- —An assertion of our great interest in a plan for control posts, coupled with a statement that this is a matter which so closely engages the interest of some of our major allies that we will not make specific proposals until we have consulted further with them.
- —A reaffirmation and resume of the proposed agreements on preventing the use of force set forth in the President’s letter to Khrushchev , of which I attach the latest draft. 6
Butch Fisher still wants to say something about budgets and will reluctantly settle for whatever small bone you wish to throw in his direction. He points out that this is a field of real promise and that in the fitness of things it should not be wholly neglected in a Presidential declaration at Geneva.
We recognize that not all of this may be negotiable in your terms in the few days that remain, but my own belief is that we ought to be able to get enough agreement on most of them to have them put forward as examples of the sort of things for which the Johnson Administration is ready, while detailed work proceeds, on specific ways and means.
Letter to President Kennedy from Helen Keller (May 17, 1961)
Eustance Seligman, Chairman, Board of Trustees
Jansen Noyes, Jr., President
George F. Meyer, Vice President
Richard H. Migel, Secretary
J.P. Morgan, II, Treasurer
M. Robert Barnett, Executive Director
Helen A. Keller, L.H.D., L.L.D., Counselor, National and International Relations
Hon. John F. Kennedy, Honorary President
American Foundation for the Blind, Inc.
15 West 16th Street, New York 11, N.Y.
Telephone: Watkins 4-0420
Cable Address: Foundation, New York
[End of Letterhead]
It was wonderful of you to send me the message I received while I was in Washington as the guest of the Lions of the area, and I thank you cordially. I was never more proud, and humble too, as I listened to your friendly message, and with pleasure I thank you for your generous interest in the blind, not only of America but also of the world. I was privileged indeed to meet you at the White House especially after reading of your thrilling experiences years ago.
Please give my love to your darling family and, believe me, with my most earnest wishes for the success of your leadership during the Presidency, I am (sic)
The Cuban Missile Crisis
Written by Meghan Kraft and Emily Livingston
“Nuclear catastrophe was hanging by a thread … and we weren’t counting days or hours, but minutes.” -Soviet General and Army Chief of Operations, Anatoly Gribkov
According to history books and personal opinion, the Cuban Missile Crisis was an event in the Cold War that almost led to the first nuclear war in the history of the world. The United States and
Soviet Union had reached a state of high tensions after the Second World War, and this period in time is known as the Cold War. The name is derived from the fact that there were no actual battles staged or physical fighting, as it was a war of threats and empty promises. However, as we delve deeper into the history of the Cold War, the event of the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the war to its peak. Nuclear weapon threats helped usher in this period of fear.,
By 1962, during the presidency of John F. Kennedy, the Soviet Union was much farther behind the United States in the arms race. The weapons that they had would only hit Europe, while the missiles of the United States could hit all of theSoviet Union. This was not the only set back, as their missile count was considerably less than that of the U.S. The insecurity of theSoviet Union was a large reason for the Cuban Missile Crisis. Then, in the late April of 1962, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev came up with the idea of setting up a missile base in Cuba, which would put theU.S. in the uncomfortable role of “target.” Fidel Castro was the terrible dictator of Cuba at this point, and he agreed to this proposal, as ever since the failed attempt at the Bay of Pigs he had been tirelessly working to find a way to protect his country. This idea from theSoviet Union seemed to be a “win, win” situation, and the leaders came to an agreement. The construction of the missile base commenced in the summer of 1962.
The news of the new missile installations did not reach the diplomats in Washington, D.C. until October 15, 1962. An American plane took a couple of reconnaissance photographs , which revealed the manufacturing of new missiles in Cuba.
The president was informed early the next morning, and thus began the next fourteen days of terror and tension. The EX-COMM. was a group of Kennedy’s most trusted officials, and the member count was twelve. The president leaned heavily on them throughout the stressful two weeks to come. Even with this small counsel by his side, Kennedy still waited a week before he officially told the public of their findings. On October 22, 1962, President John F. Kennedy announced the naval quarantine ofCuba, and the missile crisis for the public began. He is also noted to have said that any missile launched at the U.S. will be thought of as an attack, and that he had sent messages toCuba demanding the removal of all the offending weapons. Days of thick tension followed, but October 27 is written as the worst day of the crisis. Kennedy had ordered the flight of an American plane over Cuba every two hours, and one of the U-2 planes was shot down. Not only did this occur, but also the United States received a passionate letter from Nikita Khrushchev that said that if the United States removed missiles from Turkey, that they would react by removing the weapons from Cuba. However, this contradicted a letter that had been previously received by the United States government. In the first letter, the Soviet Union stated that they would remove the weapons if the U.S. did not attack Cuba. This annoyance caused the president and his group to take into consideration the effect this could have on the public and the government. Though Robert Kennedy, The attorney general at the time thought to ignore the second letter, president JFK decided to give it a little time. Tensions eased a bit the next day, October 28, when Nikita thought to dismantle all of the new installations and return all of the missiles to the Soviet Union, under a trust pact that the U.S. would not invade Cuba. Though no other large decisions were made, there was an agreement of what the Soviet Union would remove from Cuba, and also on what conditions the United States would not invade Cuba. After fourteen days of terror, the Cuban Missile Crisis was over.
The main result of this event was the burning fear it left in the people. Never again does anyone want to find themselves on the brink of nuclear war, and the United States and the disbanded Soviet Union, now Russia are on much friendlier terms then in the 60’s, and nuclear war is nowhere near in the future.
Howard Gow, Catherine. The Cuban Missile Crisis. San Diego, CA : Lucent Books, Inc., 1997
Byrne, Paul J. The Cuban Missile Crisis-To the Brink of War. Minneapolis , MS: Compass Point Books, 2006