Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) At 7 p.m. Eastern time on October 22, 1962,
President John F. Kennedy, speaking to a national television audience of more than 100 million people, announced a naval blockade would be set up to stop any future shipments of Soviet nuclear missiles and related materials to Cuba. JFK said...
"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 (our) policy to regard any missile 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 upon the Soviet Union."
During the President's speech, the Strategic Air Command went to DEFCON-3 or Defense Condition 3...just 2 steps from nuclear war. Later, the status would go to DEFCON 2 for the 1st time in history.
Soviet Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Dobrynin, did not know about the missiles in Cuba until he was called to the State Department just an hour before JFK's speech. When Fidel Castro learned of JFK's decision on the Soviet missiles installed on his island, he told his confidants...
"We shouldn't worry about the Yankees. They're the ones who should be worried about us."
"'Let Us Begin Anew': An Oral History of the Kennedy Presidency," by Gerald S. and Deborah H. Strober, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 1993.
"One Minute To Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War," by Michael Dobbs, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2008.