The Cuban Missile Crisis
Revisited on the 40th Anniversity
October marked the 401 anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, in which the United States and the Soviet Union came chillingly close to nuclear war over the placement of Soviet strategic weapons in Cuba.
Continuing their exhaustive, oral history examination of the crisis, George Washington University's National Security Archive and Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies co-sponsored a conference in Havana October 11-13 that brought together U.S., Soviet, and Cuban officials and scholars.
In this special section, Arms Control Today presents some highlights from that conference. Robert S. McNamara, the secretary of defense to President Kennedy, begins the section with commentary on the decisions made in October 1962 and the implications the crisis has for today. He finishes by posing several outstanding questions about Soviet and Cuban intentions during the crisis. Interestingly, some of those questions were answered at the conference in a subsequent conversation McNamara had with two former Soviet officials. Excerpts from that conversation, which illuminates how little forethought had been given to the U. …