Audio recordings: interviews, stories and history

From the archives: Ambassador Leonard Meeker on the Cuban Missile Crisis

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We are reposting the lecture that Ambassador Leonard Meeker presented at the Ocracoke Library on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ambassador Meeker, a long time-resident of Ocracoke, was a key player in achieving its peaceful, nonviolent resolution.

To  learn more about the extraordinary life of  Ambassador Meeker, here is his obituary.

This lecture took place on Oct. 23, 2012, at the Ocracoke library.

Leonard Meeker photo UN

Ambassador Leonard C. Meeker

The Cuban Missile Crisis was  a 13-day confrontation in October 1962 between the United States and the Soviet Union over Soviet ballistic missiles deployed in Cuba.  Leonard C. Meeker, in his capacity as deputy legal adviser to the State Department, drafted a top-secret memo (now declassified) titled “On Legal Aspects of Declaring a Blockade of Cuba.” He presented his views in what he characterized as a “tense meeting” on Oct. 19, 1962, attended by the Kennedy administration’s top officials — including Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, Robert Kennedy, McGeorge Bundy, C. Douglas Dillon, Paul Nitze, Theodore Sorensen and Dean Acheson.
This lecture is his recollections of that time.

To listen: