Transcript for Oct. 22, 1962: President Kennedy announces the existence of Russian missiles in Cuba in televised address
Good evening my fellow citizens. This government as promised. As maintained the closest surveillance. Of the Soviet military build up on the island of Cuba. Within the past week. Unmistakable evidence has established the fact. That a series of offensive missile site. Is now in preparation. On that imprisoned island. The purpose of these bases. Can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability. Against the Western Hemisphere. On receiving the fairest preliminary hot information. Of this maker. Last Tuesday morning at 9 AM. I directed that our surveillance be stepped up. And having now confirmed. And completed our valuation of the evidence. An odd decision on a course of action. This government feels obliged to report this new crisis to you in fullest detail. The characteristic of these new missile sites. Indicate two distinct types of installations. Several of them include medium range ballistic missiles. Capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. For a distance of more than 1000 nautical miles additional sites not yet completed. Appear to be designed for in immediate range ballistic missiles. Capable of traveling more than twice as Bob. And that's capable of striking. Most of the major cities in the Western Hemisphere. This area can transformation of Cuba. Into an important strategic base. By the presence of these lodge long range and clearly offensive weapons. Of sudden mass destruction. Constitutes an explicit threat to the peace and security. Of all the Americans I call upon chairman crew shop. The hall and eliminates. This plan this time reckless and provocative threat to world peace. And a stable relations between our two nations. I call upon him further to abandon this course of world domination. And a joy and historic effort. To end the perilous arms race. And a transformed the history of man. He has an opportunity now to move the world back from the abyss of destruction. I returning to is government own words. That it had no need to station missiles outside its own territory. And withdrawing these weapons from Cuba. By refraining from any action which will widen or deep in the present crisis. And then by participating in a search of peaceful and permanent solution. And I have no doubt that most Cubans today. Look forward to the time when they will be truly free. Free from foreign domination. Reid accused their own leaders. Free to select their own system. Free to own their own land. Free to speak and write and worship. Without via a degradation. And then show cube will be welcome back to the society of free nations. And the association to this hemisphere. My fellow citizens. Let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out. No end can foresee precisely. What course it would take. Or what course or casualties will be incurred. Many months of sacrifice. And self discipline lie ahead. Months in which both are patients. And are well we'll be tested. Months in which many threats and denunciations. We'll keep us aware of our dangers. But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.