Tuesday, October 29, 2013



Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Last year, on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, historian David G. Coleman* gave a lecture sponsored by the United States Defense Department on his book "The Fourteenth Day:  JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis," published by W.W. Norton and Company in October 2012.

In an article on the lecture by John Valceanu of the Armed Forces Press Service, Dr. Coleman is quoted as saying...

"The president and the United States still faced a slew of challenges on the 14th day and in the following weeks."

The end of the crisis had come on the 13th day, October 28, 1962, when the Soviet Union announced that they would remove their nuclear missiles and sites from Cuba.

But the following day, Coleman said..."the outcome was far from certain."

Among the challenges President John F. Kennedy faced on the 14th day and beyond, Coleman continued was...

"how to deal with all the other Soviet assets" on the island.

The University of Virginia professor provided the following list of those assets...

42 mid-range ballistic missiles
42,000 Soviet troops
98 tactical nuclear weapons
42 IL-28 jet bombers
24 SA-2 surface-to-air missiles sites
500 surface-to-air missiles
Torpedo boats, nuclear subs and MiG-21 jet fighters

Having done extensive research listening to the "secret" White House recordings made on the 14th day and beyond, Mr. Coleman argues...

"The administration (was) uncertain how to deal with" 

the situation in Cuba after the Missile Crisis itself had ended.

Dr. Coleman said that the President had to be certain that the Soviets were in the process of removing the missiles as they had promised.  

To do that, JFK ...

"had to make daily decisions about sending out surveillance planes and try to determine what (his) response would be if they were...shot down."

The quarantine or blockade of Cuba was to end on November 20, 1962 but even after that date, the President was concerned about the removal of the Soviet IL-28 jet bombers.

Mr. Valceanu wrote that Dr. Coleman used "snippets" of the White House recordings in the course of his lecture.

*David G. Coleman, associate professor at the Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia, received his PhD from the University of Queensland in 2000.

He is currently chair of the Presidential Recordings Program at the Miller Center of Public Affairs.  He specializes in foreign relations since 1945, nuclear history and 20th century U.S. political history.

Dr. Coleman is working on a history of the Berlin crisis and a study of U.S. Vietnam policy from 1962-1964 using newly declassified White House recordings.


"Historian Analyzes Immediate Aftermath of Cuban Missile Crisis," by John Valceanu, American Forces Press Service, United States Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., October 25, 2012.