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World on the Brink: Cold War Crisis Hinges on Soviet Missiles in Cuba

Oct. 22, 1962 - This is the official interpretation of President Kennedy’s speech tonight, and orders to American forces bear the interpretation out. On the highest authority, it can be said that these orders include the following:

- Ships carrying to Cuba weapons capable of striking the continental U.S. must either turn back or submit to search and seizure or fight. If they try to run the blockade, a warning shot will be fired across their bows. If they still do not submit, they will be attacked.

- This applies not only to ships but to any planes suspected of carrying additional offensive weapons to Cuba. There is no evidence that there are nuclear warheads in Cuba, but long-range aircraft suspected of carrying these or any other offensive weapons will be intercepted. Instructions have been issued to do everything possible to check all Communist-bloc planes en route to Cuba via Newfoundland or Africa.

- Not only must new offensive weapons be stopped, under President Kennedy’s orders, but those already in Cuba must be dismantled, or the U.S. will take whatever additional action is necessary, beginning with a much more rigorous blockade of such things as Cuba’s essential oil supplies, to force compliance.

- If this leads to Soviet retaliations, such as a counter-blockade of Berlin, the U.S. is prepared to risk a major war to defend its present position in the former German capital. Accordingly, American forces, not only in Berlin and West Germany but all over the world, have been placed on emergency alert. This new policy has been defined in a private communication from President Kennedy to Premier Khrushchev.


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