«Good evening my fellow citizens. This Government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet Military buildup on the island of Cuba. Within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island. The purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere.»
This is the way President Kennedy started his address in the evening of October 22, 1967, when he told the American people that the Soviet Union was building up missile bases in Cuba. The discovery had been made on October 14th, but it was decided not to disclose the news to the public opinion and be able to examine the different available options without being subject to public pressure. On October 22nd, it was then also revealed that it had been decided to impose a quarantine on Cuba to impede any arrival of ships carrying military equipment. Moreover, the President used his speech to tell the Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, Nikita Krushev, to stop his «threats to world peace», to invite him to take part in a «search for peaceful and permanent solutions» and to point out that any possible attack would have generated a retaliatory response by the United States; then, he added that the worst decision, for America, would have been to do nothing, implying that the possible use of nuclear weapons was not excluded in advance.
The entire world spent the following six days of the crisis in a state of anxiety, out of fear of the outbreak of a nuclear war. Finally, on October 28th, the crisis was solved thanks to a diplomatic compromise that envisaged the removal of the Soviet plants from Cuba in exchange for the American commitment not to ever try to invade the communist island and the promise to remove U.S. missiles from Turkey.