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Materials from the 40th Anniversary Conference
Havana, Cuba
10-12 October 2002

The tip of a Soviet R-12 (SS-4) medium-range missile, now a museum piece, points into the Havana sky
The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
A National Security Archive Documents Reader
Edited by Laurence Chang and Peter Kornbluh
Ordering information for this book is available at the W.W. Norton & Co. website. Or by phone:
800-233-4830 (U.S.)
717-346-2029 (Outside U.S.)

Follow this link for a list of US and Soviet veterans of the Cuban Missile Crisis attending the conference.

Images from the crisis, including U-2 and US Navy low-level photos of Soviet MRBM's and nuclear warhead bunkers from 14-23 October 1962.

Listen to audio clips on the Cuban Missile Crisis from the Kennedy White House

Read the press release from 10 October 2002, including images from the early period of the crisis and a list of US and Soviet veterans attending the conference.

Read the press release from 11 October 2002, 5:00 PM, including documents and photographs from the height of the crisis on 27 October 1962.

Read the press release from 12 October 2002, 1:00 PM, including documents from the November crisis.

11 October 2002

1:00 PM EST
For more information, contact:
Thomas S. Blanton or
Peter Kornbluh 202 / 994-7000
  • Missile Crisis Conference connects Bay of Pigs to Soviet missiles in Cuba
  • JFK told Khrushchev's son-in-law in 1962 US "will not meddle" with Cuba, While Joint Chiefs planned pretexts for invasion and RFK ran Mongoose
  • Cuban government declassifies threat estimates on US and defense plans.

Havana, Cuba, 11 October 2002, 1 p.m. - During the first session of the historic 40th anniversary conference on the Cuban missile crisis, participants including Cuban president Fidel Castro and former US secretary of defense Robert McNamara discussed newly declassified documents showing that US president John F. Kennedy, in meetings with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's son-in-law Adzhubei in January 1962, compared the US failure at the Bay of Pigs to the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. JFK also assured Adzhubei that the US "will not meddle" with Cuba, but at the same time, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff were preparing "cover and deception plans" that included planned pretexts for a US invasion of Cuba. The President's brother, attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, simultaneously was leading discussions with the CIA and Pentagon about covert operations (codenamed Operation Mongoose) on the proposition that "a solution to the Cuban problem today carries 'the top priority in the United States government….'"

Documents discussed today include:

In prepared remarks released today, former secretary of defense McNamara posed 13 key questions to the participants, and explained why he came to Havana, "having already attended five previous conferences on the crisis": "I want to learn more… about nuclear danger in October 1962 - about the factors that led to it, about the reasons we escaped the ultimate consequences in the events, about what might have happened but thankfully did not, and about whether, or how, the lessons learned from the missile crisis might assist those of us who are interested in reducing the risk of nuclear catastrophe in the 21st century."

The conference is meeting at the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana, Cuba. Most participants are housed at the Hotel Palco next door. Phone: 011-53-7-337235. Fax: 011-53-7-337236. The conference room itself is closed to the press but the organizers are holding daily press briefings each afternoon summarizing the discussion and releasing key documents addressed that day.

The National Security Archive co-organized with Cuban institutions the highly successful 40th anniversary Bay of Pigs conference last year in Havana; this year, the Archive is also working in partnership with Brown University's Watson Institute. Peter Kornbluh directs the Archive's Cuba project.

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