Cuban Missile Crisis: Selected Documents and Sites


National Security Archive (George Washington University)
Chronology (pdf) from Laurence Chang & Peter Kornbluh (eds.), The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 (New York: The New Press) [1992] 1998.
Chronology (intelligence aspects) (pdf), "Chronology of Specific Events Relating to the Military Buildup in Cuba," compiled for the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), Declassified, Undated. (Covers 2 January 1959 – 4 December 1962).


Dorn Presentation
U Thant: UN Mediator of the Cuban Missile Crisis  (pdf, 13 MB)
(PPT, 34 MB) (YouTube Video, 58 min) 

Dorn Publications
(with R. Pauk)

How a UN Secretary-General averted doomsday (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 2012, full piece; pdf);
50 years ago: The Cuban Missile Crisis and its underappreciated hero (online op-ed)
Unsung Mediator: U Thant and the Cuban Missile Crisis (html) (pdf) (J. Diplomatic History)


Wikipedia on Cuban Missile Crisis
Google Books on "Cuban Missile Crisis" (add additional terms)

UN Primary Sources

Archival documents (some annotations added)

October 25
(10:30 am)
Stevenson to Thant – Suggestions for a proposal (pdf)  
October 25                    Khrushchev to Thant (pdf)
"I agree with your proposal which meets the interests of peace."
October 26 Khrushchev to Thant (pdf)
"We therefore accept your proposal, and have ordered the masters of Soviet vessels bound for Cuba but not yet within the area of the American warships' piratical activities to stay out of the interception area, as you recommend."
October 27 Khrushchev to Thant – copy of cable to Kennedy (pdf)  
October 27 Kennedy to Thant via Stevenson (pdf)
"I would appreciate your urgently ascertaining whether the Soviet Union is willing immediately to cease work on these bases in Cuba and to render the weapons inoperable under United Nations verification so that various solutions can be discussed."
October 28 Thant to Khrushchev via Zorin – planning Cuba visit (pdf)  
October 29 White House on Thant's visit to Cuba (pdf)
"the President has decided voluntarily to suspend the quarantine measures .... until the return of the Acting Secretary-General from Cuba."
October 31 Thant's notes on his Cuba visit (pdf)  
November  5 Anderson body escorted back to US, UN Press Release (pdf)  
November 26 US Declaration – Draft (pdf) (html)  
December  4 Cuban Declaration – Draft (pdf)  

Speeches at UN
* Security Council: Adlai Stevenson, October 25 ("hell freezes over")


US Primary Sources

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), "CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962" (non-searchable). Mary S. McAuliffe, ed. (October 1992), Historical Review Program. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency. 

JFK Library, Cuban Missile Crisis. JFK in History.
Thirteen Days (Interactive Exhibit)

Kennedy, Robert F. (1969). Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-31834-0.

May, Ernest R.; Zelikow, Philip D., eds. (2002) [1997]. The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis (2nd ed.). New York: Norton.

Naftali, Timothy, Ernest May, Philip D. Zelikow, & Ernest R. May (Eds.) The Presidential Recordings: John F. Kennedy: Volumes 1-3, The Great Crises, 2001. ( [contains transcripts of ExComm meetings, Available online (pdf): Volume 2 (1962 Sept.-Oct. 21), Volume 3 (October 22-28)]

National Security Archive. 40th Anniversary website. Featuring Chang, Laurence; Kornbluh, Peter, eds. (1998). The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: A National Security Archive Documents Reader (2nd ed.). New York: New Press.
* Contents; Introduction

State Department, FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES (FRUS), 1961-1963, Volume XI: Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath, Keefer, Edward C.; Sampson, Charles S.; Smith, Louis J., eds. (1996). Washington, D.C: U.S. Government Printing Office.
* Contents and Summary
* List of documents (1–275 of 390) by Yale's
Avalon Project includes full texts.
* List of persons


Other Primary Documents (Soviet)

Woodrow Wilson Centre (Cold War International History Project) (Soviet docs): Cuban Missile Crisis


Audio-Video Materials


General David Shoup (Marine Corps Commandant) seeks air strikes on Cuba, criticizes Pres. Kennedy to Curtis LeMay (Air Force Chief of Staff)

Kennedy, John F.
* Public Address on Soviet Buildup in Cuba, October 22 (17:37) (JFK Library)
* Dismantling of Missiles in Cuba, November 2 (1:51). (JFK Library)


University of Virginia, Presidential Recordings Program, Cuban Missile Crisis 1962: October 19 (LeMay-Kennedy), 26 (Kennedy-Macmillan), and 27 (missile in Turkey). Clear recordings with transcription.

White House meetings
National Security Archive (original recordings, poor quality)
* October 16, 11:50 A.M.., 12:15 P.M., 12:45 P.M., 1:00 P.M.; October 18, 12:00 P.M.,October 23, 7:15 P.M.; October 27, 5:00 P.M., 10:00 P.M.
Transcripts of ExComm meetings from Presidential Recordings (, Available in full  online (pdf): Volume 2 (1962 Sept.-Oct. 21), Voume 3 (October 22-28).


Video – Archival footage

"Crisis Eases – Wary U.S. Awaits Missile Removal" – Universal Studios, 29 October 1962

Kennedy Addresses the Nation (on threat; announces quarantine) – 22 October 1962 (excerpt), (full on Youtube)

UN Security Council debate, October 25 – Zorin in Russian without subtitles / Stevenson "Hell freezes over" ("came here today to discuss Mr. U Thant's proposals," 2:10 min); shorter extract ("hell freezes over"); beginning of Stevenson speech


Video – YouTube documentaries and clips

"Cuban Missile Crisis Unclassified" – History Channel, 2005 (15 min; 44:23 min)

"Cuban Missile Crisis: On Verge of WW3" – Russian TV (RT), 2011 (features Soviet veterans of the crisis, 25 minutes)

"Cuban Missile Crisis: A Day That Shook The World" – BBC (2:45)

"The Cuban Missile Crisis: at the Brink" – Public Broadcasting System (PBS), 1992, Part 1, continues to Part 4 (with interviews of the major actors).

"Defcon 2: Cuban Missile Crisis" – The Discovery Channel, 2003 (Six parts) – (CMC part 5 of 6 -, includes Stevenson at UN: "Do you deny" from 0:50 to 1:45 min)

"The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara" – Pictures, 2003  (1:46:00), wikipedia

"The Man Who Saved the World" (story of Vasili Arkhipov in the Soviet nuclear-armed submarine B-59), aired on the US Public Broadcasting System (PBS), 24 October 2012,

"Missiles of October" – made-for-television docudrama, 1974.

"Nuclear Sharks – Cuban Missile Crisis: Secret Submarines" – Cinenova (46:15) (includes Khrushchev - U Thant in slow motion video, 28:37-28:40)

"Thirteen Days" – 2009 movie, in full; trailer