By Robert F. Kennedy (auth.)
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Under the direction of George Ball, Alex Johnson, and Ed Martin, a detailed hour-to-hour program was arranged, to inform our allies, prepare for the meeting of the Organization of American States, inform the ambassadors stationed in Washington, and prepare for them and others, in written form, the legal justification on which our action was predicated. More and more government officials were brought into the discussions, and fmally word began to seep through to the Press that a serious crisis was imminent.
Perhaps that course of action would tum out to be inevitable. 'But let's not start with that course,' if by chance that kind of confrontation with Cuba, and of necessity with the Soviet Union, could be avoided. Those who argued for the military strike instead of a blockade pointed out that a blockade would not in fact remove the missiles and would not even stop the work from going ahead on the missile sites themselves. The missiles were already in Cuba, and all we would be doing with a blockade would be 'closing the door after the horse had left the bam'.
He instructed our group to come forward with recommendations for one course or possibly several alternative courses of action. It was during the afternoon and evening of that first day, Tuesday, that we began to discuss the idea of a quarantine or blockade. Secretary McNamara, by Wednesday, became the blockade's strongest advocate. He argued that it was limited pressure, which could be increased as the circumstances warranted. Further, it was dramatic and forceful pressure, which would be understood yet, most importantly, still leave us in control of events.
13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis October 1962 by Robert F. Kennedy (auth.)