JFK+50: Volume 5, No. 1752JFK SIGNS CUBA QUARANTINE PROCLAMATION
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) At 7 p.m. (EDT) fifty-three years ago tonight, October 23, 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed Proclamation 3504 at his desk in the Oval Office authorizing a naval quarantine of Cuba to take effect at 10 a.m. (EDT) October 24, 1962.The blockade was announced by the President last night to more than 100 million Americans watching on national television.
JFK waited to sign the proclamation until the Organization of American States approved a resolution to "individually or collectively impose the quarantine of Cuba." The resolution was passed earlier in the day by a vote of 19-0.
Meanwhile, at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Ambassador Adlai Stevenson made the case for a naval blockade. Stevenson called Cuba "an accomplice in the communist enterprise of world domination."
Later, the White House received a letter from Nikita Khrushchev in which he did not admit the presence of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba or offer any concessions to the United States.
JFK TO THE CIA: ARE THESE MISSILES ARMED WITH NUCLEAR WARHEADS?
In October 1962, at the same time JFK was considering a course of action in the Missile Crisis, the Central Intelligence Agency could not tell him for certain that the Soviet missiles were armed with nuclear warheads. This is important, because the President's military advisers were favoring an armed invasion of Cuba by American forces.
Michael Dobbs writes:
"A week after the discovery of the Soviet missiles, CIA analysts were still unable to answer the president's most urgent question: where are the nuclear warheads?"
"The Soviet nuclear arsenal...far exceeded the worst nightmares of anyone in Washington.
It included....(not only) the ballistic missiles...but (also) an array of smaller weapons that could wipe out an invading army..."
Mr. Dobbs also lists the nuclear warheads that were in Cuba:
36 one megaton for medium range R-12 missiles
*note: 1 megaton - 1 million tons of TNT, 1 kilaton - 1000 tons of TNT