Monday, October 19, 2015


JFK+50:  Volume 5, No. 1748


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-three years ago today, the fourth day of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Air Force General Curtis LeMay* said to his Commander-in-Chief, President John F. Kennedy,..."You're in a pretty bad fix."

General LeMay, who was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was making reference to the fact that Soviet missile sites had been discovered by US photographic surveillance in Cuba just 90 miles off the coast of Florida.

JFK would have to select from a number of response proposals by the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, or EXCOMM.  These responses included a complete air strike, a surgical or partial air strike and a naval quarantine or blockade of Cuba.

With the possibility that Soviet nuclear missiles could potentially hit directly any one of the 48 continental states, it would be safe to say that it wasn't just the President who found himself "in a pretty bad fix."**

*Curtis E. LeMay (1906-1990) was born in Columbus, Ohio & graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in civil engineering.

He designed & implemented a systematic bombing campaign on Japan in WWII & after the war led the Berlin Airlift & reorganized the Strategic Air Command.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff he opposed the idea of a naval blockade, favoring instead a military strike.

In 1968, he ran on the American Independent Party ticket with George Wallace.

**The recordings of the meeting released by the JFK Library, in JFK+50's opinion, reflect a much lesser degree of hostility in the remark than we had previously thought from the transcript alone and the scene produced in the movie "13 Days".

JFK's voice seems not at all sarcastic or confrontational when he responds to LeMay's remark by saying...
"Well, you're in there with me. Personally!"

Some chuckles can be heard following JFK's remark on the recording.  
After JFK left the meeting, however, he told Dave Powers..."These brass hats have one great advantage in their favor.  If we listen to them and do what they want...none of us will be alive later to tell them that they were wrong."

General Curtis E. LeMay
 USAF Photo