The Soviet Plan to Destroy Guantanamo Naval Base





Soviet nuclear-tipped cruise missiles were ready to destroy the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo had the U.S. military persuaded President Kennedy to invade Cuba during the missile crisis in 1962, according to a new book by Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs (citing documents and interviews posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive, www.nsarchive.org).

The documents show that U.S. intelligence listed the Soviet weapons as "unidentified artillery" pieces, when they were actually cruise missiles armed with Hiroshima-sized nuclear devices. They were deployed to within 15 miles of the Guantanamo base on the same day -- October 27, 1962 -- that the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended an all-out U.S. invasion of Cuba to destroy the Soviet missile bases. President Kennedy rejected the advice of his military advisers in favor of a diplomatic solution to the crisis that included a secret understanding between his brother and the Soviet ambassador.

The new book, One Minute to Midnight, draws on the National Security Archive's long-standing documentary work on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Dobbs conducted extensive interviews with Soviet combat veterans and discovered previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence documents that explode the myth of successful crisis management and offer new insights into how a U.S. president makes decisions at a time of grave international crisis.

Over the next five weeks, the National Security Archive will publish more of the key primary sources behind One Minute to Midnight. These postings will include such episodes as the storage and handling of Soviet nuclear weapons on Cuba and the "Eyeball to Eyeball" confrontation between U.S. and Soviet ships that never happened.



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