Cuban Missle Crisis
Memorandum for the Files


Washington, October 20, 1962.

Following the White House meeting with the President on the afternoon of October 20th, I spoke privately to the Attorney General. The Attorney General was to meet alone with the President, presumably to discuss policy matters.

I told the AG I was very worried about some of the wording in the second draft of the speech of the President as prepared by Sorensen (1) and I was most particularly worried about the approach of Governor Stevenson. I reasoned, as I had repeatedly in meetings over the last 3 or 4 days, that we must not lose sight of the very important objectives of removing the Castro Communist government from Cuba and establishing a climate which would permit the Cuban people to establish a government of their own choice. In my talk with the AG I pointed out that Stevenson's proposal would not only cause the removal of the Guantanamo Base, which was most undesirable, but it would also place a crown of jewels on the head of Castro and we nor anyone else could do much about it after such a position had been established publicly.

About 9:00 o'clock in the evening (time uncertain) the AG called me at my home and said he had discussed my views with the President who concurred and he felt I could rest assured that the situation that worried me would not develop further. I then mentioned to the AG that numbered paragraph 2 of the speech did not give the President latitude for military action which may be necessary without suffering the indictment of committing a "surprise attack" and that I had suggested some different wording to Sorensen.

The AG then asked I call the President to arrange for a briefing of General Eisenhower.

I immediately talked with the President by telephone and arranged to see Eisenhower on Sunday morning and possibly take him to the White House for a direct meeting with the President. Details to be worked out upon Eisenhower's arrival.

I then expressed my concern at the wording of paragraph 2 of the speech. The President concurred; said he had made up his mind to pursue the course which I had recommended and he agreed with the views I expressed in the afternoon meeting.(2) He said that he would be careful to preserve the widest possible latitude for subsequent military action at any time after the commencement of the blockade.

I then mentioned the Castro problem to the President. He seemed alert to the situation.

John A. McCone(3)

1 Not further identified. Back

2 See Document 34. Back

3 Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature. Back

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI/McCone Files, Job 80-B01285A, Meetings with the President. Top Secret; Eyes Only; No Distribution. Drafted by McCone.

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.