The address, which began at 7 p.m. Washington time and was watched by 100 million television viewers, came on the seventh day of what would be known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.
"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."
The President also called for involvement by the United Nations Security Council or the Organization of American States.
JFK concluded his address by saying the goal of the United States was not...
"the victory of might, but vindication of right--not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace & freedom, here in this hemisphere, and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved."
During the address, the Strategic Air Command went to DEFCON-3 or Defense Condition 3...just two steps from nuclear war. Later, the status would go to DEFCON 2 for the first time in history.