Bobby Kennedy - THE ACTUAL DEAL

What Dobrynin did not know was the United States had a different plan to protect Turkey from a Soviet attack. President Kennedy intended to replace Jupiter missiles with nuclear Polaris submarines. Aboard those submarines were nuclear Polaris missiles. The proposal Bobby Kennedy made was not a trade after all.

The Attorney General described his version of the Turkey missile discussion in a top secret memo for Dean Rusk:

He then asked me about Khrushchev's other proposal dealing with the removal of the missiles from Turkey. I replied that there could be no quid pro quo - no deal of this kind could be made...I said it was completely impossible for NATO to take such a step under the present threatening position of the Soviet Union. If some time elapsed - and per your instructions, I mentioned four or five months - I said I was sure that these matters could be resolved satisfactorily.

Bobby stressed he was not proposing a deal:

Per your instructions I repeated that there could be no deal of any kind and that any steps toward easing tensions in other parts of the world largely depended on the Soviet Union and Mr. Khrushchev taking action in Cuba and taking it immediately.

Urging Dobrynin to get a prompt response from the Kremlin, Kennedy concludes his memo:

I repeated to him that this matter could not wait and that he had better contact Mr. Khrushchev and have a commitment from him by the next day to withdraw the missile bases under United Nations supervision for otherwise, I said, there would be drastic consequences.

Khrushchev responded the next morning. Bobby - who hadn't seen much of his family during the two-week crisis - was at a horse show with his daughters when the Soviet leader announced, by radio, that the crisis was over. To those few who knew, it was clear that Bobby Kennedy and Anatoly Dobrynin had brokered a deal.

The Soviet leader made no public mention of missiles in Turkey. The terms of President Kennedy's October 27th letter would be implemented: Ballistic missiles in Cuba would be dismantled and returned to the USSR in exchange for an American promise not to invade the island.

Both countries had stepped back from the edge of nuclear war. It would be decades before the rest of the world found out how dangerously close they'd actually come.

While President Kennedy lived, he continued to rely on his brother. After JFK's shocking death, Bobby's resulting depression caused him to rethink his career and his political philosophy.

Awesome Stories Silver Membership Required
Registration for an Awesome Stories account is quick and free.
Awesome Stories Silver Membership Required
Registration for an Awesome Stories account is quick and free.