.CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
...Scope of Anticipatory Self-Defense
..§10.2 (Article 51 Force in Self-Defense)

In 1959, communist-inspired revolutionaries seized power in Cuba. Their leader, Fidel Castro, pledged to spread that revolution to the other republics of Central America. The revised Cuban Constitution thus states: "When no other recourse is possible, all citizens have the right to struggle through all means, including armed struggle, against anyone who tries to overthrow the political, social and economic order established in this Constitution." It further "advocates the unity of all Third World countries in the face of the neocolonialist and imperialist policy which seeks to limit and subordinate the sovereignty of our peoples, and worsen the economic conditions of exploitation and oppression of the underdeveloped nations...." (Cuban Const., Art. 3 & 12d).

In 1962, the US discovered that the Soviet Union was sending large missiles to Cuba–only ninety miles from Key West, Florida. The Organization of American States expelled Cuba in 1962 (a unique expulsion). The OAS rationale was that the introduction of foreign armaments was ?incompatible with the principles and objectives of the inter-American system.? US President Kennedy advised the American people that the "Soviets have provided the Cuban Government with a number of anti-aircraft missiles." In October, he ordered a US naval "quarantine" of Cuba, thus avoiding the more aggressive (but appropriate) term blockade. Kennedy described the US action as "defensive" and taken in anticipation of an armed attack from Cuba. He also announced his willingness to go to war with the Soviet Union if it did not halt its missile shipments to Cuba.

The following materials describe US President Kennedy's position that, in this provocative scenario, the US could legitimately use force to counter Soviet missiles being stationed only ninety miles from US shores. The other two excerpts are the OAS position in support of Kennedy's statement of the need for force, followed by Kennedy's warning to Cuba and the Soviet Union about the clear US intention to take aggressive measures to blockade Cuba, thus preventing a further Soviet missile buildup:

........The Soviet Threat to the Americas
........Address by President John F. Kennedy
..47 US Department of State Bulletin 715 (1962)

Neither the United States of America nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nation?s security to constitute maximum peril. Nuclear weapons are so destructive and ballistic missiles are so swift that any substantially increased possibility of their use or any sudden change in their deployment may well be regarded as a definite threat to peace.

For many years both the Soviet Union and the United States, recognizing this fact, have deployed strategic nuclear weapons with great care, never upsetting the precarious status quo which insured that these weapons would not be used in the absence of some vital challenge. Our own strategic missiles have never been transferred to the territory of any other nation under a cloak of secrecy and deception; and our history, unlike that of the Soviets since the end of World War II, demonstrates that we have no desire to dominate or conquer any other nation or impose our system upon its people. Nevertheless, American citizens have become adjusted to living daily on the bull?s eye of Soviet missiles located inside the USSR or in [its] submarines.

In that sense missiles in Cuba add to an already clear and present danger?although it should be noted the nations of Latin America have never previously been subjected to a potential nuclear threat. . . .

Acting, therefore, in the defense of our own security and of the entire Western Hemisphere, and under the authority entrusted to me by the Constitution as endorsed by the resolution of the Congress, I have directed that the following initial steps be taken immediately:

.....First: To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation or port will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back. This quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers. . . .
.....Second: I have directed the continued and increased close surveillance of Cuba and its military buildup. The Foreign Ministers of the OAS in their communiqué of October 3 rejected secrecy on such matters in this hemisphere. Should these offensive military preparations continue, increasing the threat to the hemisphere, further action will be justified. I have directed the Armed Forces to prepare for any eventualities; and I trust that, in the interest of both the Cuban people and the Soviet technicians at the sites, the hazards to all concerned of continuing this threat will be recognized.
.....Third: 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 by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.
..................................................................................... . . .
.....Fifth: We are calling tonight for an immediate meeting of the Organ of Consultation, under the Organization of American States, to consider this threat to hemisphere security and to invoke articles 6 and 8 of the Rio Treaty in support of all necessary action. . . .
.....Sixth: Under the Charter of the United Nations, we are asking tonight that an emergency meeting of the Security Council be convoked without delay to take action against this latest Soviet threat to world peace. Our resolution will call for the prompt dismantling and withdrawal of all offensive weapons in Cuba, under the supervision of U.N. observers, before the quarantine can be lifted.
.....Seventh and finally: I call upon Chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate this clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace and to stable relations between our two nations. . . .

This nation is prepared to present its case against the Soviet threat to peace, and our own proposals for a peaceful world, at any time and in any forum?in the OAS, in the United Nations, or in any other meeting that could be useful--without limiting our freedom of action.

..Resolution of Council of the Organization of American States
Meeting as the Provisional Organ of Consultation of October 23, 1962
.................47 US Department of State Bulletin 722 (1962)

Whereas,

The Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance of 1947 (Rio Treaty) recognizes the obligation of the American Republics to "provide for effective reciprocal assistance to meet armed attacks against any American state and in order to deal with threats of aggression against any of them" . . .

The Council of the Organization of American States, Meeting as the Provisional Organ of Consultation, Resolves:

.....1. To call for the immediate dismantling and withdrawal from Cuba of all missiles and other weapons with any offensive capability;
.....2. To recommend that the member states, in accordance with Articles 6 and 8 of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, take all measures, individually and collectively, including the use of armed force, which they may deem necessary to ensure that the Government of Cuba cannot continue to receive from the Sino-Soviet powers military material and related supplies which may threaten the peace and security of the Continent and to prevent the missiles in Cuba with offensive capability from ever becoming an active threat to the peace and security of the Continent. . . .

............................United States Proclamation:
.....Interdiction of the Delivery of Offensive Weapons to Cuba
................47 US Department of State Bulletin 717 (1962)

[T]he United States is determined to prevent by whatever means may be necessary, including the use of arms, the Marxist-Leninist regime in Cuba from extending, by force or the threat of force, its aggressive or subversive activities to any part of this hemisphere, and to prevent in Cuba the creation or use of an externally supported military capability endangering the security of the United States; and

Whereas the Organ of Consultation of the American Republics meeting in Washington on October 23, 1962, recommended that the Member States, in accordance with Articles 6 and 8 of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, take all measures, individually and collectively, including the use of armed force, which they may deem necessary to ensure that the Government of Cuba cannot continue to receive from the Sino?Soviet powers military material and related supplies which may threaten the peace and security of the Continent and to prevent the missiles in Cuba with offensive capability from ever becoming an active threat to the peace and security of the Continent:

Now, therefore, I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America, acting under and by virtue of the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution and statutes of the United States, in accordance with the aforementioned resolutions of the United States Congress and of the Organ of Consultation of the American Republics, and to defend the security of the United States, do hereby proclaim that the forces under my command are ordered, beginning at 2:00 p.m. Greenwich time October 24, 1962, to interdict, subject to the instructions herein contained, the delivery of offensive weapons and associated matériel to Cuba.

For the purposes of this Proclamation, the following are declared to be prohibited matériel:

Surface-to-surface missiles; bomber aircraft; bombs, air-to-surface rockets and guided missiles; warheads for any of the above weapons; mechanical or electronic equipment to support or operate the above items; and any other classes of matériel hereafter designated by the Secretary of Defense for the purpose of effectuating this Proclamation.

To enforce this order, the Secretary of Defense shall take appropriate measures to prevent the delivery of prohibited matériel to Cuba, employing the land, sea and air forces of the United States in cooperation with any forces that may be made available by other American States. . . .

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..Last rev: 10/24/01
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