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Special Cuba Briefing by the Department of Defense



At 5PM on February 6, 1963, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and Defense Intelligence Agency official Thomas Hughes began a 2-hour, detailed briefing on the situation in Cuba. The unusual presentation was a response to persistent press and political speculation that the administration was not being transparent in their assessment of a continuing threat from Soviet armaments on the island. Adlai Stevenson’s speech a few months earlier to the United Nations had been designed to prove to the American public and the world that there were in fact Soviet missiles on Cuba. McNamara’s February 6 briefing was designed to prove that they had gone from the island.

McNamara had proposed the event during the previous day’s ExComm meeting. The briefing was by far the most detailed display of the intelligence that had been shown in public at that time about the Cuban buildup and the withdrawal of Soviet missiles and planes.

Note: The video above was edited by the Department of Defense from the original 2 hours to a little under 30 minutes.

Audio Recording of the Special Cuba Briefing

This audio recording of the Special Briefing captures the entire two-hour briefing, including the question and answer period.

Official Transcript of the Special Cuba Briefing

This transcript was prepared at the time, probably by the Department of Defense public affairs office. It covers the entire two-hour briefing, including the question and answer period.

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