President John F. Kennedy, Proclamation 3504 (October 23, 1962), authorizing the naval quarantine of Cuba. This proclamation and a national television address by Kennedy were made in response to the placement of Soviet missiles on the island of Cuba in October 1962. The threat led to the most dangerous Cold War confrontation as the two countries tiptoed toward war. A U.S. spy plane was shot down over Cuba and the prospect of nuclear exchange grew real.
Any vessel or craft which may be proceeding toward Cuba may be intercepted and may be directed to identify itself, its cargo, equipment and stores and its ports of call, to stop, to lie to, to submit to visit and search, or to proceed as directed. Any vessel or craft which fails or refuses to respond to or comply with directions shall be subject to being taken into custody. Any vessel or craft which it is believed is en route to Cuba and may be carrying prohibited materiel or may itself constitute such materiel shall, wherever possible, be directed to proceed to another destination of its own choice and shall be taken into custody if it fails or refuses to obey such directions. All vessels or craft taken into custody shall be sent into a port of the United States for appropriate disposition.
-President John F. Kennedy
After a period of tense negotiations, the thirteen days marking the most dangerous period of the Cuban missile crisis ended on October 28 when Moscow announced that the Soviet Union had accepted a negotiated solution and affirmed that the missiles would be removed in exchange for a non-invasion pledge from the United States. Other secret agreements included the removal of U.S. missiles that had been placed in Turkey, a NATO ally.
Visit the “The World on the Brink” Cuban Missile Crisis resources a the JFL Presidential Library & Museum.