Comment on the Following Extract: Extract from the Kennedy Tapes, ‘Off-the-Record Meeting on Cuba, October 16, 1962, 6:30 P.M. - 7:55 P.M.’

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October 1962 was one of the most dangerous times for the world in recent history. The text being examined in the essay is that of an extract from the Kennedy Tape transcripts. These were a set of secret tape recordings that President J.F Kennedy had made during his time in the white house. The only people aware of these recordings at the time were J.F Kennedy himself, his private secretary, the two guards who manned the machine and perhaps his brother, Robert Kennedy. The conversation that was recorded in this instance was obviously meant as a private meeting between an official groups of important officials including military leaders, experts on Latin America, representatives of the CIA, cabinet ministers and personal friends whose opinions were valued. Apart from JFK, they were unaware that this conversation was being taped and therefore this document itself was not meant for public hearing. This gives to historians a rare insight to the personal conversations and decision making processes that occurred within the walls of the white house. It shows the wariness of the President himself to make a decision concerning the Cuban missile crisis, the changing responses and attitudes to attacking Cuba and the importance of the perception from the American people.

The meeting itself was as a result of the early morning revelation made by McGeorge Bundy, JFKs national security assistant. He had, on the morning of October 16th 1962, brought the president high altitude photographs taken from U-2 planes flying over Cuba. They showed Soviet soldiers hurriedly and secretly selling up nuclear-armed missiles. JFK had been aware of weaponry being sent to Cuba by the Soviet but had chosen not to protest, but warned that if Soviets ever introduced offensive weapons then “the gravest issues would arrive”. Unfortunately, on the 16th October, it seemed like this time had come and so JFK assembled the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (Excomm) to come to an...
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