To do in Cuba what Kennedy can do in Germany

September 7, 1962

Washington, DC (Associated Press). September 7 1962

President Kennedy, acting in the face of a communist buildup in Cuba and other international tension, sought authority today to order 150,000 reservists to active duty.

White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger said Kennedy was asking the new authority to order reservists to duty “because of the critical nature of the international situation.” Salinger said he was referring to the “general international situation.” Asked if the move was inspired by the Soviet-backed buildup of armed strength in Castro’s Cuba, he said newsmen would have to draw their own conclusions.

Goddamned Kennedy! Maybe he has found out about the nuclear means going to Cuba. This is terrible, if it is the real reason behind his call-up of those military people. They will be needed, he thinks, for an invasion of Cuba. If they do discover the big strategic missiles before they are operational—well, then, Kennedy would be a fool not to destroy them, because he wouldn’t have to fear retaliation against the U.S. from Cuba. Hah, maybe not from Cuba, but from everywhere else. There are many places where we can swat Uncle Sam’s ass, many places! Beginning with Berlin. We have three million soldiers around Berlin, Kennedy has, what, maybe 10 or 12 thousand. Let him try something in Cuba and we’ll whack him in Berlin!

Actually that is not a good idea. I have to get hold of myself. If we attack in Berlin, then Kennedy will order his forces to use tactical nuclear weapons, and where will that lead? To total disaster, that’s where. So, no. Stay calm. But how can I stay calm when the Americans are preparing to go to war against Cuba?

Wait, sure, the answer is obvious. We need to be able to do in Cuba what Kennedy can do in Germany—which is to threaten the enemy with tactical nuclear weapons. The “little ones” for fighting wars. I need to know how fast we can get tactical nuclear means to Cuba—by plane, or maybe by submarine. No, that’s ridiculous, because how will we get the warheads to Cuba? By boat. It’s too dangerous to ship them any other way. Well, anyway, I need to get the war-fighting nuclear means to Cuba very fast. That way, if Kennedy finds out before the big ones are operational, we’ll just inform him that, hah, imperialist, we have weapons all ready to incinerate your soldiers if they try to invade Cuba. Then I will ask Kennedy if he wants to talk things over, leader to leader, as equals.

I have just signed the order to ship the tactical nukes ASAP. With luck, Kennedy won’t find out in time to threaten us with an invasion. Maybe I’ll get lucky. Maybe the world will get lucky.