THE WHITE HOUSE | For Immediate Release:
Under the steady and methodical leadership of President Kennedy (Marion), the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (ExComm) decided on a detailed program to stop and remove nuclear missiles from Cuba while maintaining peaceful relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba. After a surgical exploration of different arguments early on, ExComm members eventually engaged in a lively, evidenced-based discussion of various American responses to Soviet violation of the long-standing Monroe Doctrine.
National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy (Austin and Josiah) flew in from Tennessee to deliver a cogent overview of the crisis and served as an effective "Devil's Advocate" throughout the tense meeting. General Maxwell Taylor (Chase and Will) was an effective, if ultimately unsuccessful, advocate for a swift military response using American air power. Secretary of State Dean Rusk (Mac and Robert) consistently reminded the president of the necessity and importance of keeping American allies in the loop, as well as advocating strong UN involvement to help legitimize any American actions.
The director of Central Intelligence, John McCone (CJ and Wit), demonstrated maturity of mind by changing from a hawkish position in favor of air strikes to eventually supporting the quarantine after being confronted with persuasive arguments for the more measured responses from Defense Secretary Robert McNamara (Alexandria and Thomas Henry) and Attorney General Robert Kennedy (Mary Virginia and Grace). Both McNamara and Bobby Kennedy advocated for back channel negotiations with Soviet Primer, Nikita Khrushchev. President Kennedy was very open to engaging with the Soviet leader. When to begin negotiations was the biggest sticking point for the ExComm members, but the consensus ended up being to enact the quarantine of Cuba along with negotiations to demonstrate the strength and agency of the United States during this crisis.
The final consensus resulted in the institution of a quarantine of Cuba to stop new missiles from being placed in Cuba, the opening of dialogue with the Soviets to propose 1) the removal of outdated Jupiter missiles in Turkey and 2) a pledge to not invade Cuba in return for removal of the nuclear missiles from the island. Air strikes were reserved as a last resort if the American offer was rejected or the Soviets did not live up to their end of the bargain.
Once again, the ExComm members thank Gen. Egleston and Lt. Col. Foerster for use of the boardroom to conduct these important and secret discussions.