Nikita Khrushchev, Premier of the Soviet Union, sent a letter to President John F. Kennedy offering a resolution to the crisis.
Mr. Khrushchev proposed to make an announcement that Soviet ships headed for Cuba would not carry any armaments while the United States would declare American military forces would not invade the island.
Mr. Khrushchev wrote...
"Everyone needs peace. Both capitalists and...communists. War is our enemy and a calamity for all. We are of sound mind and understand...that if we attack you, you will respond...
Let us normalize relations. We are ready to enter...negotiations (as) the preservation of world peace should be our joint concern."
Premier Khrushchev, in his letter to JFK of October 26, 1962, went on to write that if the United States agreed to his proposal...
"Soviet weapons in Cuba would no longer be necessary."*
Secretary of State Dean Rusk recalled later...
"The...message...seemed to be Khrushchev personally; it was emotional, distraught. We were concerned because we thought the old man was losing his cool. But...there was...a sentence or two that seemed to offer a possibility of a peaceful settlement."
*Also on Oct 26, 1962, Fidel Castro sent a letter to Khrushchev in which he predicted that an invasion of Cuba was "imminent within the next 24 or 72 hours."
Fidel added: "The morale of the Cuban people is extremely high."
FIRST SOVIET SHIP STOPPED AT BLOCKADE
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) The first Soviet ship bound for Cuba to be stopped and searched by the U.S. Navy, 51 years ago today, October 26, 1962, was Marucla, a Lebanese freighter chartered by the USSR.
Although having declared only a cargo of paper, sulfur and spare truck parts, the USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., a destroyer named for JFK's brother who was killed in World War II, stopped and searched the Soviet leased vessel which was manned primarily by a Greek crew.
White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger issued a statement saying the Soviets...
"are rapidly continuing their construction of missile support and launch facilities."
Michael Dobbs writes that JFK said on October 25...
"We've got to prove sooner or later that the blockade works"
and added that the selection of the Marucla as the 1st ship to stop was because it was almost certain not to contain missiles.
"The stage was set for...'the worst day' of the crisis known as 'Black Saturday.' Events were about to accelerate dramatically. The world was hurtling toward a nuclear conflict."
"'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," Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2008.
USAF Photo (1962)