President Kennedy Delivers First Speech on the Nuclear Buildup in Cuba

It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

— John F. Kennedy

The tensions were at their height from October 8, 1962, known as "Black Saturday". On October 14, United States reconnaissance observed missile bases being built in Cuba. The crisis ended two weeks later on October 28, 1962, when the President John F. Kennedy and the United Nations Secretary-General U Thant reached an agreement with the Soviets to dismantle the missiles in exchange for a no-invasion agreement. In his negotiations with the Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, Robert Kennedy informally proposed that the Jupiter missiles in Turkey would be removed "within a short time after this crisis was over". The last missiles were taken down by April 24, 1963 and were flown out of Turkey soon after.

At 7 p.m. on October 22, President Kennedy delivered a televised radio address announcing the discovery of the missiles. As part of the context of the speech a directive went out to all US forces worldwide placing them on DEFCON 4. The world wide US Forces DEFCON 4 status was returned to DEFCON 5 on November 20, 1962.