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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.

More images from the height of the crisis, 24-28 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, 1:00 PM, including documents from the period before the crisis and U-2 and US Navy low-level photos of Soviet MRBM's and nuclear warhead bunkers from 14-23 October 1962.

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

1 October 2002

For more information, contact:
Thomas S. Blanton or
Peter Kornbluh 202 / 994-7000



Cubans to Host 40th Anniverary with U.S. & Russian Officials

Oct. 13th Visit to Nuclear Warhead Bunker at Missile Site

Washington, D.C., 1 October 2002 – The National Security Archive at George Washington University announced today that the senior surviving veterans of the Cuban Missile Crisis will gather in Havana, Cuba, next week to discuss new evidence and lessons learned from the moment when the world came closest to nuclear war 40 years ago.  Leading Cuban historical actors will host participants such as secretary of defense Robert McNamara, JFK speechwriter and counsel Theodore Sorensen, and JFK aide and Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., among others.  From Russia, deputy foreign minister Georgy Kornienko, missile deployment planner Gen. Anatoly Gribkov, KGB officer Nikolai Leonov, and others will participate.

This historic conference will feature four panels: (1) from the Bay of Pigs to the missiles, (2) the missiles and the October crisis, (3) the November crisis and aftermath, (4) lessons from the crisis.  At the center of discussions will be thousands of pages of newly declassified documents – from the Cuban government itself, from the CIA, the Pentagon and the White House, from the Soviet Foreign Ministry and the Politburo, from Warsaw Pact allies’ files, and from governments with embassies in Havana such as Great Britain and Brazil – providing for the first time the Cuban and multi-national perspectives on a crisis previously seen only in superpower terms.  Archive director Thomas Blanton said, “The conference room will echo with words that resonate today, such as ‘intelligence failure,’ ‘pre-emptive strike,’ and ‘weapons of mass destruction.’”

The U.S. delegation arrives in Havana on Thursday, October 10; the invitation-only conference – titled “La Crisis de Octubre: una vision politica 40 anos despues” – will take place all day Friday and Saturday, October 11-12.  On Sunday, October 13, conferees will visit the last surviving structure from the Soviet deployment in 1962, a nuclear warhead bunker at the San Cristobal missile site west of Havana.  On Monday, October 14, participants will depart Havana.  On this day in 1962, a high-altitude U-2 spy plane took the first photographs of the Soviet medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba – at San Cristobal.

 The conference will meet at the Palacio de Convenciones in Havana, Cuba.  Most participants will be 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, except for the opening ceremony at 10 a.m. on October 11; but the organizers will hold daily press briefings each afternoon summarizing the discussion and releasing key documents addressed that day.  The visit to the missile site is open to the media.  Journalists seeking to cover the conference should request press visas from Luis Fernandez at the Cuban Interests Section (Washington, D.C.), phone 202/797-8518.

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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