Summary of “The Soviet Arms Buildup in Cuba” – Humanities Essay
The statement originally read by John F Kennedy, delivered from the president’s office begins with Kennedy addressing his fellow citizens in an informative, yet personal tone. Foremost, he explains that the United States has “maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet military buildup on the island of Cuba”. Kennedy is absolutely positive, and assures his listeners that they have hard evidence of active missile sites established in Cuba. The missile sites are of two kinds of set ups. The first are medium range ballistic missiles, capable of striking the United States, among other nations.
The second type of set up are intermediate range ballistic missiles. They can travel twice as far are a much greater threat. Kennedy then makes the statement that Russia is using Cuba as an important “strategic base”. “..and clearly offensive weapons of sudden mass destruction-constitutes an explicit threat to the peace and security of all Americas..”. Kennedy now tries establishing a personal connection with his listeners, feeding them information in such a way so that they are more inclined to agree with his decisions.
The missile installations also defy the Rio Pact of 1947, something that Kennedy uses in his address to make the Soviet Union seem all the more menacing. He explains that in order to establish these missile installations Russia had to have been planning them for several months. Just a month before the Soviet government made a statement that defies their proven actions, leading the United States government to feel strong concern as the Soviet threat. “Neither the United States of American nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on part of any nation, large or small”.
Kennedy acknowledges the fact that the US and Russia have been developing advanced weapons for years now, but the US has never deceived any nation as to the status and location of the weapons. He later refers to the missiles in Cuba as communist missiles, adding edge to the feeling of threat already established. Kennedy then explains that if any aggressive conduct in part of a nation goes unchallenged in any fashion that it can only lead to war. “Our unswerving objective, therefore, must be to prevent the use of these missiles against this or any other country, and to secure their withdrawal or elimination from the Western Hemisphere”. This leads into Kennedy’s plans of action. He has created seven initial steps to be taken on part of the United States. The first, to halt offensive buildup by issuing a quarantine of shipment of military equipment to Cuba.
The second, continue to issue tight surveillance of military activity in Cuba. Third, declare policy that any missile fired from Cuba is to be assumed a direct attack upon the United States or any other nation in part of the Soviet Union. Fourth, reinforce the United States Guantanamo base. Fifth, call for an immediate meeting of the Organization of American States. Sixth, Call for an immediate meeting of the Security counsil as a response to the threat of world peace. Seventh and final, Kennedy calls upon Chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate the threat to world peace by withdrawing the weapons from Cuba. Kennedy reinforces the idea that the United States does not wish for war, that it will do all in its power to maintain world peace.
Kennedy then turns and addresses the Cuban captives, acknowledging their desire to live free in a land free from oppression and threat of war. His sympathies lie with them. He ends the address with one final reassuring statement that the goal of the United States in its future actions is to ensure the peace and security of its citizens.