(and thereby saved the world) | None | LACAN.COM BLOG

A Letter Which Did Not Reach its Destination
(and thereby saved the world)


Kennedy's stroke of genius which was crucial for the resolution of the Cuban missile crisis, was to pretend that a key letter did NOT arrive at its destination, to act as if this letter didn't exist - a stratagem which, of course, only worked because the sender (Khrushchev) participated in it. On Friday, October 26 1962, a letter from Khrushchev to Kennedy confirms the offer previously made through intermediaries: the missiles will be removed if the US issues a pledge not to invade Cuba. On Saturday, October 27, before a US answer, another, harsher and more demanding, letter from Khrushchev arrives, adding the removal of missiles from Turkey as a condition, and signalling a possible political coup in the Soviet Union. At 8:05 PM the same day, Kennedy sends a response to Khrushchev, informing him that he is accepting his October 26 proposal, i.e., acting as if the October 27 letter doesn't exist. On Sunday, October 28, Kennedy receives a letter from Khrushchev in which he agrees to the deal... The lesson of this is that in such moments of crisis where the fate of everything hangs in the air, saving the appearances, politeness, the awareness of "playing a game," matters more than ever.

go to article