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JFK: U.S. Will Use “Whatever Means Necessary” to Prevent Cuban Aggression

Sept. 4, 1962 - President Kennedy said today that the U.S. would use “whatever means may be necessary” to prevent aggression by Cuba against any part of the Western Hemisphere. In a statement issued after consultation with Congressional leaders, the President said that the military strength of the Castro regime had been bolstered by recent deliveries of Soviet equipment, including guided missiles. However, there was no evidence of “significant offensive capability” in Cuban hands, President Kennedy said. “Were it to be otherwise, the gravest issues would arise,” he said. “The Castro regime will not be allowed to export its aggressive purposes by force or the threat of force,” he said. The President’s statement thus announced a policy of close surveillance to ensure that Communist influence in the hemisphere would be confined to Cuba. The phrase “whatever means may be necessary” indicated a determination to resist with force any aggressive actions by the Castro forces outside Cuba’s territorial limits.

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