These extracts come from a speech broadcast by President Kennedy live on
prime time US television on October 22nd 1962.
For some time before the announcement, Kennedy had to pretend to have a
cold. This explained why he cancelled several meetings. The real reason, of
course, was that he was deciding what to do about Cuba.
He first found out about the missiles on October 14th. At that point he
created a special committee of advisers called Excomm to advise him.
Excomm was divided between those who wanted to use force (Hawks) and those
who preferred negotiation (Doves).
Kennedy made it clear that he was in charge of events by opting for the
blockade. This made it clear to the American people and Khrushchev that he
was taking firm action. On the other hand, the blockade was much less likely
to spark off a war than bombing the missile sites or invading Cuba.