AMERICA BRACES FOR JFK'S SPEECH ON MISSILE CRISIS
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-five years ago, October 21, 1962, President John F. Kennedy, spent a Sunday in discussions with his advisers and in preparation to speak to the nation about his response to the Soviet Union placing nuclear missile sites in Cuba.
"The sudden appearance of Marines (in Miami, Florida) spark wide speculation as to their ultimate objective in this Cuba-conscious city just 90 miles from Havana."
The President, who first attended morning mass at St. Stephen's Church*, reaffirmed the decision to order a naval blockade of Cuba. The Executive Committee of the National Security Council, or EXCOM, reviewed a draft of the speech prepared by Theodore Sorensen for delivery by President Kennedy on Monday night.
Because members of EXCOM agreed that any comparison with the Soviet blockade of Berlin of 1948 should be avoided, the term blockade was replaced with "quarantine."
One of the factors perhaps influencing JFK to stay with his decision was the report by General Walter Sweeney, Jr., head of USAF Tactical Air Command, that a U.S. airstrike on the missiles would take out only a maximum of 90% leaving some operational.
*Saint Stephens Martyr Catholic Church, located at 2436 Pennsylvania Avenue, was founded in 1867. The current building was first used on June 11 1961 & was a favorite place of worship for President & Mrs. Kennedy. They sat in the 7th pew from the back on the right side.
Presidential assistant Ralph A. Dungan borrowed 4 wooden candle stands & 2 wooden prayer desks from SSMCC for use in the East Room when JFK's casket was placed there.
"TWE Remembers: JFK Prepares to Tell the Nation About Soviet Missiles in Cuba (Cuban Missile Crisis, Day 6)," by James M. Lindsay, www.blogs.cfr.org/