Cuba and the Cold War | From Castro's rise to power to the missile crisis
CHANNEL | Home Service
FIRST BROADCAST | 20 November 1962
DURATION | 3 minutes 47 seconds
In this press conference at the White House, Kennedy outlines the conditions for lifting the naval blockade. US inspections confirm that all known missile sites have been dismantled and the missiles loaded onto departing Soviet ships. In particular, Kennedy reassures listeners that nuclear weapons have been removed. However, further inspections are required to be carried out by the UN. Until then, Kennedy stresses the importance of continual US inspection before the naval blockade is lifted. Significantly, he also states that the USA will not tolerate Cuba being used as a vehicle for Soviet aggression again.
Before the missile crisis, in a speech in Indianapolis on 12 April 1959, John F. Kennedy was quoted as saying 'When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.' A Harvard-educated Democrat, Kennedy served with the US Navy from 1941 until 1945 and was awarded a Purple Heart medal. He then worked as a correspondent for the International News Service in 1945. He was a member of the House of Representatives (1947-1953) and later a Senator for Massachusetts (1953-1960). He became President of the USA on 20 January 1961. He received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, posthumously, in 1963.
Photo credit: US National Archives and Records Administration
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