The Cuban Missile Crisis was a 13-day confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union in 1962, initiated by the discovery of ballistic missile deployment in Cuba. The confrontation began after Khrushchev fulfilled Cuba’s request to place nuclear missiles on the island to deter a future invasion, in response to the presence of US Jupiter ballistic missiles strategically placed in Italy and Turkey. The face-off is arguable the closest the two superpowers came to World War 3 and on day 12 – October 27 – Khrushchev sent a defiant letter to President John F Kennedy, where he made his own demands for removal of weapons.
Now, Express.co.uk can reveal how much anguish this move caused the west, who feared they may be close to all-out nuclear war.
In a letter obtained from the Foreign Office to David Ormsby-Gore – the British ambassador in Washington – Macmillan unleashes fury towards Khrushchev, who has apparently tried to play JFK.
The Prime Minister’s message reads: “I have had reports of [National Security Advisor McGeorge] Bundy’s talks through our direct line.
“The trial of wills is now approaching a climax. Khrushchev’s first message, happily not published to the world, seemed to go a long way to meet you.
“His second message, widely broadcasted and artfully contrived, adding Turkey proposal was a recovery on his part.
“It has made a considerable impact, we must now wait to see what Khrushchev does.
“I shall expect to hear from you how things are developing.
“I agree that use of any initiative by me is all a matter of timing.”
The document then goes on to reveal that MacMillan will now write his own letter in an attempt to reason with the Soviet Premier.
When all offensive missiles and light bombers had been withdrawn from Cuba, the blockade was formally ended on November 21, 1962.
The negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union pointed out the necessity of a quick, clear, and direct communication line between Washington and Moscow.
As a result, the Moscow-Washington hotline was established.
A series of agreements reduced US-Soviet tensions for several years until both parties began to build their nuclear arsenal even further.