By Robert F. Kennedy (auth.)
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Extra info for 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis October 1962
Sorensen, Presidential Counsel U. Alexis Johnson, Deputy Under Secretary of State McGeorge Bundy, the President's adviser on national security Anatoly F. Dobrynin, Russian Ambassador to the United States Andrei Gromyko, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, meets President Kennedy in the White House, October 18. This was before the President was prepared to admit to the Russians his knowledge of the missile bases the shipment of arms to Cuba The Organization of American States approves a resolution supportin
Finally, we agreed on a procedure by which we felt we could give some intelligent recommendations to the President. We knew that time was running out and that delay was not possible. We split into groups to write up our respective recommendations, beginning with an outline of the President's speech to the nation and the whole course of action thereafter, trying to anticipate all possible contingencies and setting forth recommendations as to how to react to them. In the early afternoon we exchanged papers, each group dissected and criticized the other, and then the papers were returned to the original group to develop further answers.
The next morning, at our meeting at the State Department, there were sharp disagreements again. The strain and the hours without sleep were beginning to take their toll. However, even many years later, those human weaknesses - impatience, fits of anger - are understandable. Each one of us was being asked to make a recommendation which would affect the future of all mankind, a recommendation which, if wrong and if accepted, could mean the destruction of the human race. That kind of pressure does strange things to a human being, even to brilliant, self-confident, mature, experienced men.