Goddamn Tom Keating

September 10, 1962

That goddamn Tom Keating is at it again. Doesn’t he ever give this Cuba business a rest? Does he really think he can get the Republican nomination for president in 1964 just because he says he wants to go to war over Cuba? Today the New York Times quoted the blowhard as saying he is against “horse-trading” over Soviet weapons in Cuba. When I asked Mac Bundy what Keating was talking about, he said that Keating has been saying to anyone who will listen that the Soviets are putting nuclear missiles in Cuba, and that once they are operational, Khrushchev will offer to trade his missiles in Cuba for our presence in West Berlin.

I don’t know where Keating gets his information, or whether he just fabricates a lot of this stuff. But I have been worried about exactly the sort of “horse-trade” Keating is apparently yakking about. What I worry about is that Khrushchev may actually be trying to do what Keating says he is doing. But there is no way in hell I could “horse-trade” anything for West Berlin, even if I wanted to, which I don’t. If I came out in favor of giving West Berlin to the communists I’d be impeached within hours, and a lot of the angry Senators would be members of my own party. I hope I conveyed this to Khrushchev when we met in Vienna last year. But maybe he didn’t take me seriously. I hope to hell kicking us out of Berlin is not what he thinks he is up to, because it isn’t going to happen.

More bad news just came in. A U-2 was just shot down over China. When Mac gave me the news, we agreed that the U-2s monitoring the situation in Cuba should be routed more restrictively, so they don’t spend so much time over the island, where they might be vulnerable to the missiles the Soviets have moved into place to … to … that is the question, isn’t it? What in the hell are the surface-to-air missiles protecting, if not strategic nuclear missiles? And how the hell are we going to find them, before they are operational, if the U-2s can’t get close enough to pick up what is going on? On the other hand, if a U-2 was shot down over Cuba, the Russians and Cubans would have a field day over our violation of Cuban airspace, etc., etc.

Where is Dave Powers? I’m going to tell Dave to meet me at the pool in half an hour, so he can tell me some Irish jokes while I swim to try to make this back pain relent. I could use a good laugh right now.