Tuesday, October 16, 1962
October 16, 1962
While eating his breakfast in his bedroom in the White House, JFK was shown U2 spy plane photos by McGeorge Bundy showing a clear indication of existing missile sites in Cuba.
JFK ordered Bundy to organize a meeting for 11:45 a.m that morning in the White House cabinet room. This gathering was the first of what would become known as Ex-Comm, short for the Executive Committee of the National Security Council.
The attendees included, among others, George Ball (State Department), Charles E. “Chip” Bohlen (current ambassador to France and former ambassador to the Soviet Union), John McCloy (arms negotiator), Robert A. Lovett (President Truman’s Defense Secretary), Dean Acheson (former Secretary of State), Roswell Gilpatric (Deputy Defense Secretary), and John A. McCone (CIA Director).
The group was briefed on the latest developments and was told that a missile site at San Cristobal would be operational within 14 days. JFK ordered additional U2 flights over the missile site to monitor progress. In addition, he ordered Dean Rusk to query America’s allies in Europe and South America to gauge support for the United States. Robert McNamara was ordered to assess military capabilities and readiness. Lastly, Kennedy warned everyone to keep the meeting and discussion secret.