Papers released from Robert Kennedy’s personal files have revealed the speech his brother, President John F Kennedy, had prepared to announce a full scale invasion of Cuba that would have undoubtedly led to World War III.
JFK’s planned speech begins with the words “My fellow Americans, with a heavy heart, and in necessary fulfilment of my oath of office, I have ordered - and the United States Air Force has now carried out - military operations with conventional weapons only, to remove a major nuclear weapons build-up from the soil of Cuba.”
He planned to order the invasion and deliver the speech if Soviet ships carrying nuclear missiles arrived in Cuba during the 13 tense days of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. This week marks the 50th anniversary of the crisis.
Writing in the Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University professor and Cuban Missile Crisis expert Graham Allison said the invasion would have almost certainly led to the outbreak World War III, and the potential loss of hundreds of millions of lives.
Robert Kennedy goes on to detail a plan by Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara to bomb Cuba with 500 sorties and then invade the island with 90,000 troops if the Soviets broke a blockade and brought nuclear weapons onto it.
‘If we go in, we go in hard’, RFK wrote.
Elsewhere in the documents, details of a 1964 mafia-assisted plot to assassinate Fidel Castro are outlined.
The mafia and a band of so-called 'patriotic Cuban exiles' agreed to assassinate Castro for a payment of $100,000, $20,000 for his brother Raul and $20,000 for revolutionary Che Guevara. $2,000 expenses were also agreed.