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Outside of Ex Comm, though, Robert Kennedy made clear in a discussion with JFK that his preference was now for the quarantine.
For the past year he had been accustomed to thinking in terms of destabilizing the Castro government in preparation for a U. Another factor contributing to RFK’s hawkishness was his emotional state: he felt angry, as he had at the time of the Bay of Pigs disaster, consumed by a desire for revenge against what he perceived to be the humiliation inflicted upon his brother. Those sons of bitches Russians.” The fact that earlier in the fall Moscow had offered assurances to Washington that no missiles were being sent to Cuba could only have magnified Bobby Kennedy’s sense that his brother had been stabbed in the back.
There is evidence of the fury felt by Robert Kennedy on October 16: having inspected the photographs of the Soviet missile sites, he erupted: “Oh shit! By the following day, October 17, the attorney general, having reflected no doubt on the dangers of the situation, no longer spoke of invasion.
On the other hand, he did not yet appear to be the leading champion of the blockade.
In he explained how he had responded to former Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s insistence that the president should initiate military action by making a heartfelt plea for moderation and for the blockade. Thompson, not Robert Kennedy, in challenging Acheson by making the case for a blockade.
Often it was Mc Namara, not Robert Kennedy, who was the dominant figure in this Ex Comm discussion.
And in this same meeting it was not Bobby Kennedy but Llewellyn Thompson who came across as the leading advocate of the quarantine, and who drew JFK into a deeper consideration of the merits of that approach.
In the two Ex Comm meetings that took place on October 16 between JFK and his advisers, Robert Kennedy was surprisingly quiet.
His most famous comment came when he passed on to the president a note which read: “I now know how Tojo felt when he was planning Pearl Harbor.” This has often been taken as an ironic comment, lampooning those belligerent advisers who were calling for an air strike on or an invasion of Cuba.
This panegyrical view is rooted in the brief history of the October 1962 crisis provided by Robert Kennedy himself in his posthumous memoir, , a work which we now know was put together with the assistance of his friend and JFK’s speechwriter, Theodore Sorensen. attack on Cuba with the Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor, the attorney general was able to discredit the hawks in Ex Comm, ensuring that his brother opted for the safer, more prudent approach of a naval blockade.
In summary, Robert Kennedy claimed that in Ex Comm, the group established by the president at the start of the crisis to furnish him with advice, he had unwaveringly led those officials who supported the idea of blockading Cuba against those more reckless advisers who favored some form of military action against the island. Moreover, on October 27, when the crisis was at its most intense, it was Robert Kennedy who cleverly devised the plan that ended the superpower confrontation: he advised JFK to write to Nikita S. This, coupled with a pledge conveyed in person by Robert Kennedy to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin that the Jupiter missiles would be removed anon but that this must remain a secret component of the settlement, resulted in Khrushchev backing down.