CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

Special report on the Cuban missile crisis

The Story

When American planes discover evidence that the Soviet Union is building long-range missile bases in Communist Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy reacts. On Oct. 22, 1962, in a statement that CBC reporter Knowlton Nash says goes to the "brink of war," Kennedy accuses the Soviet leadership of lying about the presence of the bases and announces a naval quarantine on all "offensive military equipment" entering Cuba. In this special report from CBC's Newsmagazine, reporters discuss the reaction at the United Nations and in Ottawa and Washington, D.C. 

Medium: Television
Program: Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: Oct. 22, 1962
Host: Bruce Rogers
Reporters: Kingsley Brown, Norman DePoe, Tom Gould, James Minifie, Knowlton Nash
Guest: John F. Kennedy
Duration: 28:02

Did You know?

• In the summer of 1962 the Soviet navy began secretly shipping weapons, including missiles, nuclear warheads and launching pads, under cover of an aid program to Cuba.  

• U.S. forces first took note of the increased Soviet traffic to Cuba in mid-September, and soon became suspicious of the nature of the cargo. Their suspicions were confirmed on Oct. 14, when U-2 planes took photographic evidence of missile sites being built in Cuba.

• In addition to announcing the quarantine, Kennedy demanded that the Soviets remove the weapons from Cuba and dismantle the launch sites.

• Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev acceded to Kennedy's demand in a letter on Oct. 26. Negotiations that followed saw the Soviet Union withdraw its weapons under United Nations supervision in exchange for an American pledge not to invade Cuba.

• In 1987 it was revealed that the U.S. had also secretly agreed to a Soviet demand that the U.S. remove nuclear missiles it had stationed in Turkey. 


Cold War Culture: The Nuclear Fear of the 1950s and 1960s more