The Great Crises: Errata

The Great Crises: Errata

The Cuban Missile Crisis Transcripts


Originally posted Feb. 3, 2006

In an appendix to his book Averting "The Final Failure": John F. Kennedy and the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), Dr. Sheldon Stern disputed some sections of the Miller Center's published transcripts from The Presidential Recordings: John F. Kennedy: The Great Crises (New York: W.W. Norton, 2001). From the 1,797 pages that make up volumes 1-3, Dr. Stern identified in his book 76 instances where he disputed the transcription. All of these instances were in volumes 2 and 3. All were related to the Cuban missile crisis transcripts and all were from sections that had originally appeared in Professors Ernest May and Philip Zelikow's The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997).

As part of the program's ongoing effort to provide transcripts produced through rigorous and transparent processes, Prof. Philip Zelikow, the volume editor with Prof. Ernest May of the Cuban missile crisis tapes in our series, and Prof. David Coleman, deputy director of the PRP who oversees the JFK project, carefully reviewed each of Dr. Stern's suggestions. On the basis of that review, the Program has revised some of its transcriptions, as detailed below.

Nearly half of the disputed sections stem from editorial decisions about whether the sounds on the tape are clear enough to render meaningful text with confidence. When there was any doubt the editors took a cautious approach, as is the PRP's established practice, preferring to render a section as "[unclear]" than insert text in which they were not confident. Likewise, an editorial judgment not to revise a transcription was reached if a) the reviewers disagreed with the suggested revision; b) the reviewers could not reach consensus on how a given section should be transcribed; or c) the reviewers were not confident enough in a given revision to override the existing transcript. In those cases, the reviewers preferred to err on the side of caution.

Some other disputed sections relate to a different kind of editorial judgment. In one instance listed below, for example, the Miller Center's 2001 transcript appeared as "this whole Russian thing someday" while Dr. Stern suggested that the same section should instead be rendered as "this whole Russian thing €¦ahh €¦someday." In another instance, the Miller Center's 2001 transcript appeared as “They've got a very good proposal...” while Dr. Stern suggested that it should be rendered as “They've got a God....they've got a very good proposal...”. Such editorial decisions about how to edit a transcript when speakers pause, correct themselves, and speak in fragments are certainly not new to the field of oral or spoken history; rather, they are fundamental to any effort to translate an audio record into written form. It has been the subject of long-running debate with little prospect of a definitive conclusion. As Donald Ritchie, an established leader in the field of oral and spoken word history, has written:

Some historians and linguists regret the practice of editing out speakers' hesitations, repetitions, and unfinished thoughts, and encourage transcribing practices that will 'convey the cadences of speech as well as its content.' They question why we should expect interviewees to speak in complete sentences, when sentence fragments and exclamations are common and readily understandable in everyday conversation. Linguists especially strive to create transcripts that faithfully reproduce human speech, employing systems that range from phonetics to meticulously defined notations, sometimes even counting the seconds that elapse when the speaker pauses. While such exercises honor the oral nature of interviewing and serve particular scholarly purposes, they can never fully replicate the tones and rhythms of the recorded voice and run the risk of obscuring the substance of the interview by leaving unfinished thoughts that could have been clarified through judicious editing. [Donald A. Ritchie, Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003) p.68.]

The Presidential Recordings Program's transcription process subscribes to the view that cadence, tones, and rhythms of the recorded voice are best conveyed by listening to the tape itself, which remains the original historical document. From its very first published volumes, the PRP established the practice of sharing with the reader all of the audio recordings corresponding to the published transcripts precisely so that readers could listen to the tapes themselves. Since February 2003, that practice has been expanded to include free downloads of the bulk of the other presidential recordings from Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon as they are released by the National Archives and Records Administration. Recognizing that a printed transcript can only ever convey imperfectly the richness of these audio recordings, the PRP encourages readers of the transcripts to listen for themselves to these remarkable historical materials.

The Program's editorial conventions and methods are laid out in detail in the preface of each of the print volumes that has been published thus far. The methodological guidelines have evolved since the Program began in 1998. As they have most recently been spelled out in the General Editors' introduction to The Presidential Recordings: Lyndon B. Johnson: The Kennedy Assassination and the Transfer of Power (New York: W.W. Norton, 2005), they are:

First, the work is done by trained professional historians who are specialists on the period covered by the tapes and on some of the central themes of the meetings and conversations. For those unfamiliar with the history and personalities of the period, transcribing presidential tapes can be a bit like trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle without being able to see the picture on the puzzle box. Each volume has one or two lead editors, who write the daily introductions, conversation introductions, policy descriptions, and footnotes and are responsible for the final versions of the transcripts. The volume editors are listed on the cover. Assisting these editors are associate editors who also draft and critique transcripts and help with the research. The complete list of editors for each reference volume appears on the title page. These historians not only delve into documentary sources but sometimes interview living participants who can help us comprehend the taped discussions. Our voice identifications are based on samples we have compiled and on our research. We list only the names of the participants we can identify.

Second, the transcription process is built on the foundation of a team method. No one historian is an expert on all the issues that turn up on the tapes. By having each transcript corrected, edited, and annotated by several scholars, it maximizes the pool of expertise while at the same time minimizing some of the physical and psychological factors that complicate any transcribing effort (e.g., different people often hear slightly different things). By the time a transcript has passed through the process, it has been subjected to possibly hundreds of hours of listening and research by several different scholars.

The process is adaptable according to the degree of difficulty of the original recording, but every transcript has benefited from at least four listeners. The first stage is to generate raw, rough transcripts from the audio recordings. The PRP draws on the talents and enthusiasm of a team of carefully trained undergraduate and graduate student interns to construct a first draft. Using these student drafts as a basis, usually one or two scholars painstakingly produce a primary draft (referred to as an A-version). Two or more scholars then carefully go over the transcript, individually or sometimes two listening at the same time. They edit, correct, annotate, and update the transcript as they go (creating B- and C-versions). The transcript is then returned to the original scholar, who has the responsibility for chasing up any remaining annotation or research issues (creating a D-version). The reference volume editors remain accountable for checking the quality and accuracy of all the work in their set of transcripts, knitting then together with the annotations. We, as the general editors, then review this work, advised regularly by members of the Program's editorial advisory board.

Third, the Program uses the best technology that the project can afford. As of 2005, the Program uses high-quality digital clones of the DATs or CDs made available by the National Archives and Records Administration. Using computer software and studio-quality headphones and amplification equipment, transcribers are able to examine each audio recording in minute detail and enhance the audio signal when necessary. The PRP made great strides in 2001 after the adoption of the CoolEdit software, which had been introduced by David Coleman, a scholar at the Center.

Fourth, we strive to make the transcripts accessible to and readable by anyone interested in history, including students. This requires a considerable amount of subjective editorial work. Since people often do not speak in complete and grammatically correct sentences, the transcriber has to infer and create sentence structure, paragraphs, commas, semicolons, and the like. We often omit verbal debris such as the uhs that dot almost anyone's speech. Listeners unconsciously filter out such debris in interpreting what someone is saying. Judgments must be made. Someone says, for example, “sixteen . . . uh, sixty. . . .” The transcriber has to decide whether this slip conveys any information about what the speaker was trying to say. But the judgment calls are usually no more difficult than those involved in deciding whether to insert punctuation or paragraphing. In the effort to be exhaustive, sometimes there is the temptation to overtranscribe, catching every verbal fragment, however indistinct. Such attempts can add too much intrusive static, making the substance less understandable to readers now than it was to the hearers then. Obviously, what to include and omit, balancing coherence and comprehension against the completeness of the record, also requires subjective judgment. The object is to give the reader or user the truest possible sense of the actual dialogue as the participants themselves understood it.

The tape quality varies and the scholars are occasionally unable to make out a word or a passage. In those instances, the editors have placed “[unclear]” in the text. The transcribers and editors aim for completeness. Rather than guess at an indistinct passage, however, it is their preference to indicate to the reader this lack of certainty. Over time, others using the transcripts and listening to the tapes or with access to better technology may be able to fill in passages marked as “unclear.” Although the Miller Center volumes are intended to be permanent, authoritative reference works, the transcripts will always be subject to some amendment. Like editors of the great series of papers of the Founding Fathers, editors of these volumes will issue periodic updates.

Fifth, the scholars seek to embed the transcripts in the political, international, cultural, and social context of the period. Each reference volume includes explanations and annotations intended to enable readers or users to understand the background and circumstances of a particular conversation or meeting. With rare exceptions, we do not add information that participants would not have known. Nor do we comment on the significance of items of information, except as it might have been recognized by the participants. As with all historical sources, interpretations will have to accumulate over future decades and centuries.

In an effort to minimize the power of suggestion in this review of the 76 disputed transcriptions--always a thorny problem with these hard-to-hear meeting tapes when speakers are often mumbling and speaking over each other--only one reviewer had the transcripts in front of him the first few times through listening to each section. The reviewers used unadulterated sound files--digital copies of the JFK Library's Digital Audio Tape (DAT) masters. And they used the same high quality computer and audio hardware that has become standard for the program since 2001.

Each of Dr. Stern's suggestions is listed below organized by the categories in which they appeared in the appendix to Averting "The Final Failure." The words in bold indicate differences between the MC 2001 and Stern versions. For each instance, we present the original Miller Center transcript as published in the 2001 edition (volume number: page number; each is also a link to a pdf of the published page), Dr. Stern's suggested revisions (page number), and any revisions that were made as a result of the review. We also link to the original audio clip of each file in two formats. The WAV link, which includes the tape number followed by the timecode on the original tape is the highest quality available. They are fully digital copies of the DAT masters held by the Kennedy Library and no filtering or adjustment has been made to the WAV files. The other links are to MP3 versions of the same clips. Although the MP3s have been encoded at a very high bitrate and quality (320 kpbs, mono), they inherently suffer some sound degradation during the compression process and should therefore be treated as lesser sound quality for difficult audio passages such as these; we offer them for listeners' convenience.

We welcome suggestions and corrections for any transcript that we have posted and/or published. We are currently working on later transcripts in our Kennedy and Johnson series (one reason the current update took so long to appear). No transcript--whether our published transcripts or Dr. Stern's suggestions--should be viewed as definitive. With time, better technology, fresher ears, perhaps, even authoritative transcripts will evolve at the margins. Our transcripts are being used more and more by scholars and in classrooms and we welcome suggestions as to how we can improve them. So, please send those suggestions and we will do our utmost to review them. In any case, we intend to post updates online when we discover new things in already published transcripts. And, finally, we particularly want to thank Dr. Stern for his suggestions.

"Remarks Transcribed as '[Unclear]'"
MC (2001): 2:404 Rusk: “decide that this is the time to eliminate the Cuban problem by action [unclear] the island.”
Stern: 431 Rusk: “decide that this is the time to eliminate the Cuban problem by actually moving into the island.”
PRP Revision (2006): Rusk: “decide that this is the time to eliminate the Cuban problem by actually moving into the island."
Sound File: WAV:  028/01557  
MC (2001): 2:443 Martin: “you've got to move immediately, or you're going to have a [unclear] in this country.”
Stern: 431 Martin: “you've got to move immediately, or the . . . you're going to have a ton of instability in this country.”
PRP Revision (2006): None.
Sound File: WAV:  028a/00829  
MC (2001): 2:443 Thompson: “I think Khrushchev will deny that these are Soviet bases. [Unclear.]”
Stern: 431 Thompson: “I think Khrushchev will deny that these are Soviet bases. But naturally, we take exception to that.
PRP Revision (2006): None. [Note: It could be "But I can't imagine accepting that" but it's too unclear to render with confidence.]
Sound File: WAV:  030/09008  
MC (2001): 3:50 JFK: “appearing to be an irresolute ally. [Unclear.]”
Stern: 431 JFK: “appearing to be an irresolute ally--so it's time we chose where we begin on the road.
PRP Revision (2006): None. [Note: Seems to begin with "So at the time" but rest is unclear.]
Sound File: WAV:  033.1/02034  
MC (2001): 3:109 Lundahl: “They could have been [unclear] to another locale.”
Stern: 431 Lundahl: “They could have been moved quickly to another locale.”
PRP Revision (2006): Lundahl: “They could have been moved quickly to another locale.”
Sound File: WAV:  034.1/01119  
MC (2001): 3:126 JFK: “Well, we'll be in touch if we're not going to get it. [Unclear.]“
Stern: 431 JFK: “Well, we'll be in touch if we're not gonna get it. We just gotta tell the OAS to get to it.
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: "Well, we'll be in touch if we're not going to get it. We just got to tell the OAS [unclear].
Sound File: WAV:  034.1a/00456  
MC (2001): 3:159 JFK: “Is this more challenging that if we [unclear]?”
Stern: 431 JFK: “Is this more challenging than it needs to be?
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: “Is this more challenging than it needs to be?”
Sound File: WAV:  035.2/01837  
MC (2001): 3:171 JFK: “What is it that we ought to do with the population of the affected areas, in case some bombs go off? I just don't see [unclearhow you can [unclear] effectively.”
Stern: 431 JFK: “What is it we oughta do with the population of the affected areas in case the bombs go off? I just don't see in your statement how you addressed yourself to that question effectively.”
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: “What is it that we ought to do with the population of the affected areas, in case some bombs go off? [Unclear] if you can address yourself to that question.
Sound File:
---
MC (2001): 3:188 Rusk: "Moscow, in spite of their threatened resistance to U.S. [unclear], has [unclear].”
Stern: 431 Rusk: "Moscow, in spite of their threatened resistance to U.S. efforts to stop Soviet ships.
PRP Revision (2006): Rusk: "Moscow, in spite of their threatened resistance to U.S. efforts to stop Soviet ships.”
Sound File: WAV:  036.3/01143  
MC (2001): 3:188 McNamara: “Mr. President, first [unclear] yesterday about our own [unclear].”
Stern: 432 McNamara: “Mr. President, first a question you raised yesterday about our own desire for security.”
PRP Revision (2006): McNamara: "Mr. President, first a question you raised yesterday about our own [unclear] security."
Sound File: WAV:  036.3/01249  
MC (2001): 3:211 Mansfield: “...particularly when you saw this [unclear].
Stern: 432 Mansfield (speaking to Senator Richard Russell): “Dick, I don't know whether you saw this or not.
PRP Revision (2006): Mansfield (to Senator Richard Russell): “Dick, I don't know whether you saw this or not.”
Sound File: WAV:  037.1/01537  
MC (2001): 3:212 Rusk: [Unclearsaid to me, but....”
Stern: 432 Rusk: “The two of you are very generous in attributing all of that to me, but...”
PRP Revision (2006): Rusk: “The two of you are very generous in attributing all of that to me, but...”
Sound File: WAV:  037.1/01830  
MC (2001): 3:223 JFK: “What, that he would [unclear] on invasion?”
Stern: 432 JFK: “That what, that he'd look with equanimity upon invasion?”
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: “That what, that he'd look with equanimity upon invasion?”
Sound File: WAV:  037.1/04915  
MC (2001): 3:240 JFK: [Unclearexplain to me this whole Russian thing someday.”
Stern: 432 JFK: “It's all gray to me, this whole Russian thing...ahh...someday.”
PRP Revision (2006): None.
Sound File: WAV:  037.4/01756  
MC (2001): 3:244 JFK: “All right, it's obvious [unclear] and that's a restraining factor. We wouldn't turn it around.”
Stern: 432 JFK: “All right, because obviously if that had contained a missile they woulda turned it around.”
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: "All right, because obviously [unclear] or they would have turned it around."
Sound File: WAV:  037.4/02707  
MC (2001): 3:246 JFK: “Quite obviously the most [unclear].
Stern: 432 JFK: “Quite obviously they don't want us to grab anything.
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: “Quite obviously they don't want us to grab anything.”
Sound File: WAV:  037.4/02953  
MC (2001): 3:260 JFK: “...there's no way they can [unclear] with American ships to prevent these weapons coming in, in addition to [unclear].
Stern: 432 JFK: “...there's no way they can accept with American ships preventing weapons coming in. In addition, the Cubans aren't gonna take this too well.
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: I think we've got a lot of it. We're not going to get any place with this thing because they can't guarantee . . . there's no way they can accept with American ships--prevent these weapons coming in. In addition, the Cubans aren't going to take this too well.
Sound File: WAV:  038.1/02506  
MC (2001): 3:265 JFK: “Well, we first stop a Soviet ship someplace and have [unclearwhat they're going to do.”
Stern: 432 JFK: “Well, we first stop a Soviet ship, uh... uh... someplace, and have this out on what they're gonna do.”
PRP Revision (2006): None.
Sound File: WAV:  038.1/03336  
MC (2001): 3:268 JFK: “I think the only arguments for not taking it [unclear]. I don't think it makes a hell of a lot of difference....”
Stern: 432 JFK: “I think the only argument's for not taking it. I think we could grab us one of these things anytime. I don't think it makes a hell of a lot of difference....”
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: I think the only argument's for not taking it. I think we could grab us one of these things sometime. I don't think it makes a hell of a lot of difference..."
Sound File: WAV:  038.1/04013  
MC (2001): 3:279 Thompson: “On the other hand, he is backing away and that [unclear].”
Stern: 432 Thompson: “On the other hand, he is backing away and that tips the balance.”
PRP Revision (2006): None.
Sound File: WAV:  038.2/05851  
MC (2001): 3:294 JFK: “‘We can just [unclear] your bombers everyplace.'”
Stern: 433 JFK: “‘We can destroy all your bombers everyplace.'”
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: "They might say, "Well, just withdraw all your bombers everyplace."
Sound File: WAV:  039.1/01234  
MC (2001): 3:320 JFK: “I'd like to have us take a look now at whether that can even be [unclear].
Stern: 433 JFK: “I'd like to have us take a look now at whether that can even be an option.”
PRP Revision (2006): None.
Sound File: WAV:  039.1/06913  
MC (2001): 3:368 Dillon: “[Unclear] just cannot accept a Turkey-Cuba trade at this point.”
Stern: 433 Dillon: “The United States cannot accept a... a Turkey-Cuba trade at this point.”
PRP Revision (2006): None.
Sound File: WAV:  040/05445  
MC (2001): 3:370 Dillon: “[Unclear]. It puts it right back on them.”
Stern: 433 Dillon: “Reverse the risks. While we're fooling around it puts it right back on them."
PRP Revision (2006): None.
Sound File: WAV:  040/06114  
MC (2001): 3:377 McNamara: “...our action in the interim, in [unclear] has got to really keep the pressure on them, in this [unclear] situation.”
Stern: 433 McNamara: “...our action in the interim. So my point is we oughta really keep the pressure on them in this type of situation.”
PRP Revision (2006): McNamara: "...our action in the interim. So my point is we ought to really keep the pressure on them, in this [unclear] situation."
Sound File: WAV:  040/06840  
MC (2001): 3:393 Bundy: “And the bases [unclearthat are already there.”
Stern: 433 RFK: “And the bases dismantled that are already there.”
PRP Revision (2006): Bundy: "And the bases and the missiles that are already there."
Sound File: WAV:  041/01147  
MC (2001): 3:427 JFK: “I don't think he's going to get [unclear] to this.”
Stern: 433 JFK: “I don't think he's gonna get enough for this.”
PRP Revision (2006): None.
Sound File: WAV:  041/09106  
MC (2001): 3:432 JFK: “It seems to me....I don't believe [unclear] general.”
Stern: 433 JFK: “It seems to m...why don't we make that more general?”
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: “It seems to me...why don't we make that more general?”
Sound File: WAV:  041.a/00438  
MC (2001): 3:443 JFK: “Most of the NATO members aren't going to be very happy about it because the [unclear] problem is [going to be] Berlin is suddenly [unclear].”
Stern: 433 JFK: “Most of the NATO members aren't going to be very happy about it because it's inevitable, I think it's Berlin that's gonna be....”
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: "Most of the NATO members aren't going to be very happy about it because the inevitable problem is Berlin is [unclear]."
Sound File: WAV:  041.a/02445  
MC (2001): 3:491 Taylor: “I went back to them [unclear] and talked this over with the Chiefs.”
Stern: 433 Taylor: “I went back this morning and talked this over with the Chiefs.”
PRP Revision (2006): Taylor: "I went back [unclear] and talked this over with the Chiefs."
Sound File: WAV:  042/03848
MC (2001): 3:504 Rusk: “I think Finletter ought to have [unclear] of the house some ideas about...”
Stern: 433 Rusk: “I think Finletter ought to have, or has, some ideas about....”
PRP Revision (2006): Rusk: "I think Finletter ought to have [unclear] ideas about..."
Sound File: WAV:  042/06537  
Back to Top ^
 
"Missing Words, Phrases, Sentences, or Speakers"
MC (2001): 3:51 Taylor: “Mr. President, I should call attention to the fact we're starting moves now which are overt, and will be seen and reported on and commented on. So that movement of armor, for example, to the East Coast.”
Stern: 433 Taylor:“Mr. President, I should call attention to the fact we're starting moves now which are very... are overt, and will be seen and reported on and commented on.”
Bundy: “Precautionary, every one of them!
Taylor: “So that... movements of armor, for example, to the East Coast.”
PRP Revision (2006):
Taylor: “Mr. President, I should call attention to the fact we're starting moves now which are overt, and will be seen and reported on and commented on.”

Unidentified: “Precautionary, every one of them!”

Taylor: “So that--movements of armor, for example, to the East Coast.”
Sound File: WAV:  033.1/02208  
MC (2001): 3:130 Rusk: “you just might want to. . . .”
Stern: 434
Rusk: “you might want to just hear this.
PRP Revision (2006):
Rusk: “you might want to just hear this.”
Unidentified: "Here, this is helpful."
Sound File: WAV:  034.1a/01312  
MC (2001): 3:166 Rusk: “It's a good reason to send this letter to Mr. Khrushchev and tell him to turn them around.”
Stern: 434
Rusk: “It's a good reason to send this letter to Mr. Khrushchev, tell him to turn ‘em around--not to challenge it.
PRP Revision (2006):
Rusk: “It's a good reason to send this letter to Mr. Khrushchev, tell him to turn them around €“ not to challenge it.”
Sound File:
----
MC (2001): 3:187 Lundahl: "use camouflage detection and a lot of other things.”
Stern: 434
Lundahl: “use camouflage detection film and a lot of other things.”
PRP Revision (2006):
Lundahl: “use camouflage detection film and a lot of other things.”
Sound File: WAV:  036.3/00853  
MC (2001): 3:191 McNamara: “There is a submarine very close, we believe, to each of them.”
Stern: 434
McNamara: “There is a submarine very close, we believe, to each of them.”
JFK: “Two submarines.”
PRP Revision (2006):
McNamara: “There is a submarine very close, we believe, to each of them.”
JFK: “Two submarines.”
Sound File: WAV:  036.3/01759  
MC (2001): 3:191 Rusk: [reports a possible remark by a Cuban U.N. diplomat] “if we would hold off on the blockade for a day or so until the Security Council votes.”
Stern: 434
Rusk: “if we would hold off on the blockade for a day or so....”
McCone interjects, “Oh, come on!”
Rusk continues, “or until the Security Council votes.”
PRP Revision (2006):
None. [Note: It is possible that McCone murmurs this aside, but it is not clear enough to be sure. It does not break into Rusks's statement.]
Sound File: WAV:  036.3/03140  
MC (2001): 3:191 JFK: “They've committed their prestige much more heavily-”
Stern: 434
JFK: “They've committed their prestige much more heavily--now much more than I have in Berlin.
PRP Revision (2006):
JFK: "They've committed their prestige much more heavily--much more, as I have in Berlin."
Sound File: WAV:  037.1/05113  
MC (2001): 3:240 Bundy: “Maybe their minds...”
Stern: 434
Bundy: “Maybe their minds are clearer.
PRP Revision (2006):
Bundy: “Maybe their minds are clearer.”
Sound File: WAV:  037.4/01814  
MC (2001): 3:326
JFK: “Could one bullet do that? Would it blow or is it just...”
Lundahl: “Assuming red nitric acid, sir, very heavily lined trucks....”
Stern: 435
JFK: “Can one bullet do much to that?”
McCone: “Well, if a fella went across there with bullet punctures, it would. It invariably wreaks hell with it.”
JFK: “Would it blow or is it just...?”
Lundahl: “It would be fuming red nitric acid, sir, very heavily lined trucks....”
PRP Revision (2006):
JFK: "Can one bullet do much to that?"
McCone: "[Unclear] raise hell with it."
JFK: "Would it blow or is it just . . . ?"
Lundahl: "It would be fuming red nitric acid, sir, very heavily lined trucks..."
Sound File: WAV:  040/00551  
MC (2001): 3:371
Nitze: “It's an entirely separate situation. It's not a threat. This is a diversionary tactic.”
Stern: 435
Nitze: “It's an entirely separate situation. It's not a threat.”
Taylor : “You see this as a diversionary tactic.”
PRP Revision (2006):
Nitze: It's an entirely separate situation. It's not a threat.
Unidentified: This is a diversionary tactic.
Sound File: WAV:  040/06508  
MC (2001): 3:376
McNamara: “We had one deal in the letter; now we've got a different deal. And why shouldn't we say....”
Stern: 435
McNamara: “We had one deal in the letter; now we've got a different deal.
Taylor: “And in public....”
McNamara: “And in...yeah. And why shouldn't we say....”
PRP Revision (2006):
McNamara: We had one deal in the letter; now we've got a different deal.
Taylor: And in public.
McNamara: And in . . . yeah. And why shouldn't we say...."
Sound File: WAV:  040/06743  
MC (2001): 3:380
JFK: “They've got a very good proposal, which is the reason they've made it public-”
Stern: 435
JFK: “They've got a God... they've got a very good proposal, which is the reason they've made it public--with an announcement...
PRP Revision (2006):
JFK: "They've got a very good proposal, which is the reason they've made it public with an announcement [unclear]."
Sound File: WAV:  040/07705  
MC (2001): 3:415
Dillon: “they'd say: ‘Don't trade.But they'd also say: ‘Don't do anything in Cuba.'”
Stern: 435
Dillon: “they'd say, 'Don't trade,but they'd also say, ‘Don't do anything in Cuba'--which may well be right.
PRP Revision (2006):
None.
Sound File: WAV:  041/06705  
MC (2001): 3:435
Bundy: “You've got to give him something to get him back on this track.”
Stern: 435
Bundy: “You've gotta give him something to get him back on this track.”
Rusk: “On this track, yeah.”
PRP Revision (2006):
None.
Sound File: WAV:  041.a/01021  
MC (2001): 3:441
JFK: "or do we want to just use this as a reason for doing a lot of other shooting at the SAMs?"
Stern: 435
JFK: "or do we wanna just use this as a reason for doing a lot of other...?"
McNamara: "Shooting up the SAMs."
PRP Revision (2006):
JFK: "or do we want to just use this as a reason for doing a lot of other [unclear]?"
McNamara: "Shooting up the SAMs."
Sound File: WAV:  041.a/02033  
MC (2001): 3:452
JFK: “Gentleman, come up and sit here now. Gentleman.”
Stern: 435
JFK: “George, come up and sit here now, you're another civilian.”
Taylor : “Come on into General Taylor's lap.”
PRP Revision (2006):
JFK: "George, come up and sit here now, you're another civilian.
Unclear aside about General Taylor.
Sound File: WAV:  041.a/04904  
MC (2001): 3:454
JFK: “But they're going to say is we're seeking the trade with the Russians, aren't they?”
Stern: 436
JFK: “But they... they're gonna say is that we're definitely seeking a trade with the Russians, aren't they? But what do I... that's alright isn't it?
PRP Revision (2006):
JFK: But they're going to say this is because we're seeking a trade with the Russians, aren't they?
Unclear interjection.
Sound File: WAV:  041.a/05220  
MC (2001): 3:456
JFK: “I think we ought to get moving on it. I think we have until tomorrow afternoon.”
Stern: 436
JFK: “I think we oughta get moving on it. The fact is, time's running out. I think we have tomorrow afternoon.”
PRP Revision (2006):
JFK: "I think we ought to get moving on it.
Unidentified: The fact-
President Kennedy: I think we have it tomorrow afternoon.
Sound File: WAV:  041.a/05634  
MC (2001): 3:462
McNamara: “It's 12 pages of fluff.”
Stern: 436
McNamara: “It's 12 pages of....”
Dillon: “fluff”
McNamara: “of fluff.”
PRP Revision (2006):
McNamara: "It's 12 pages of--
Unidentified: Fluff.
McNamara: --of fluff.
Sound File: WAV:  041.a/07030  
MC (2001): 3:501
McNamara: “before we--open the door to NATO.”
Stern: 436
McNamara: “before we--open a door to NATO--to make up our own minds.
PRP Revision (2006):
McNamara: "before we open a door to NATO, to make up our own minds.
Sound File: WAV:  042/06042  
 
“MISTRANSCRIPTIONS WHICH ALTER THE HISTORICAL RECORD”
MC (2001): 2:523
Rusk: “I think the American people will willingly undertake great danger and, if necessary, great suffering, if they have a deep feeling that we've done everything that was reasonably possible to determine whether this trip was necessary.”
Stern: 436
Rusk: “I think the American people will willingly undertake great danger and, if necessary, great sacrifice, if they have a deep feeling that we've done everything that was reasonably possible to determine whether this risk was necessary.”
PRP Revision (2006):
None.
Sound File: WAV:  030/06231  
MC (2001): 2:598
Wheeler: “If we smear Castro, Khrushchev smears Willy Brandt [in Berlin].”
Stern: 436
Wheeler: “If we sneer at Castro, Khrushchev sneers at Willy Brandt.”
PRP Revision (2006):
None. [Either version could be correct. "Smear" seems a bit more plausible in context. At the time of the recording, "smear" was a colloquial synonym for "smash."]
Sound File: WAV:  031.2/04912  
MC (2001): 2:598
JFK: “If we go into Cuba we have to all realize that we are taking a chance that these missiles, which are ready to fire, won't be fired. So that's a gamble we should take.
Stern: 436
JFK: “If we go into Cuba we have to all realize that we are taking a chance that these missiles, which are ready to fire, won't be fired. So that's... is that really a gamble we should take?”
PRP Revision (2006):
JFK: “If we go into Cuba we have to all realize that we are taking a chance that these missiles, which are ready to fire, won't be fired. So that's . . . if that's really a gamble we should take.”
Sound File: WAV:  033.2/05027  
MC (2001): 3:207
JFK: “Well, I think that the argument will be that the Russians led us into a trap.”
Stern: 436
JFK: “Well I think that they're gonna... the irony will be that the Russians led us into a trap.”
PRP Revision (2006):
None.
Sound File: WAV:  037.1/00141  
MC (2001): 3:215
McCone: “The next real target we had was when we saw....”
Stern: 437
McCone: “The next real hard information we had was when we saw....”
PRP Revision (2006):
McCone: "The next real hard information we had was when we saw....".
Sound File: WAV:  037.1/02552  
MC (2001): 3:252
Unidentified: “Have you ever seen missile fuel?”
McNamara: “No. [unclear mentions of “nitric acid.”]”
Stern: 437
Ball: “Kerosene missile fuel?”
McNamara: “No, fuming nitric acid.”
PRP Revision (2006):
Unidentified: "Kerosene missile fuel?"
McNamara: "No, fuming nitric acid."
Sound File: WAV:  038.1/00912  
MC (2001): 3:292
McNamara: “I don't believe we have announced it.”
Stern: 437
McNamara: “Oh, I don't believe we should announce it.
PRP Revision (2006):
None.
Sound File: WAV:  039.1/00830  
MC (2001): 3:299
Bundy: “Donny, there are some special restrictions on some of these pictures. But I think the President's good decision is that everything is waived, and you get the one you like best.”
Stern: 437
Bundy: “But Donny, there are some special restrictions on some of these pictures that I think the President sees. If everything is waived, you get the one you like best.”
PRP Revision (2006):
Bundy: “Donny, there are some special restrictions on some of these pictures. But I think the President's decision is that everything is waived, and you get the one you like best.”
Sound File: WAV:  039.1/02234  
MC (2001): 3:299
McCone: “It's very evil stuff they've got there.”
Stern: 437
McCone: “It's very lethal stuff they've got there.”
PRP Revision (2006):
McCone: “It's very lethal stuff they've got there.”
Sound File: WAV:  040/01152  
MC (2001): 3:361
Nitze: “Hare says that this is absolutely anathema....”
Stern: 437
Nitze: “The Turks... the Turks say this is absolutely anathema....”
PRP Revision (2006):
Nitze: “The Turks say this is absolutely anathema....”
Sound File:
040/03953  
MC (2001): 3:376
Rusk: “And most important, what if Moscow decides this is too much of a setback for them?”
Stern: 437
Rusk: “I suppose the boys... the boys in Moscow decided this was too much of a setback for ‘em.”
PRP Revision (2006):
Rusk: “I suppose the boys in Moscow decided this was too much of a setback for them.”
Sound File: WAV:  040/06743  
MC (2001): 3:380
JFK: “In other words, we couldn't destroy the missiles anyway, could we? They belong to the Turks. All we can destroy is the warheads.”
Stern: 437
JFK: “In other words, we couldn't withdraw the missiles anyway, could we? They belong to the Turks. All we could withdraw is the warheads?”
PRP Revision (2006):
JFK: “In other words, we couldn't withdraw the missiles anyway, could we? They belong to the Turks. All we could withdraw is the warheads?”
Sound File: WAV:  040/07518  
MC (2001): 3:382
Bundy: “I myself would send back word by phone....”
Stern: 437
Bundy: “I myself would send back word by [Aleksandr] Fomin....”
PRP Revision (2006):
Bundy: “I myself would send back word by [Aleksandr] Fomin.”
Sound File: WAV:  040/08057  
MC (2001): 3:405
Thompson: “That means we have to take this other line. If he starts this wobbly....”
Stern: 437
Thompson: “which means we have to take a tough line €“ because this wobbling I think....”
PRP Revision (2006):
Thompson: "That means we have to take a tough line. If he starts this wobbling...."
Sound File: WAV:  041/04419  
MC (2001): 3:426
JFK: “He's now moved on to the Turkish thing; so we're just going to get a letter back saying: ‘Well, we'll be glad to settle Cuba when we've settled Turkey.'”
Stern: 437
JFK: “He's now moved on to the Turkish thing. So we're just gonna] get a letter back saying, ‘Well, he'd be glad to settle Turkey when we settle.... settle Cuba when we settle Turkey.'”
PRP Revision (2006):
JFK: “He's now moved on to the Turkish thing; so we're just going to get a letter back saying: ‘Well, he'd be glad to settle Cuba when we've settled Turkey.'”
Sound File: WAV:  041/08846  
MC (2001): 3:437
JFK: “But anyway, we can try this thing. But he's going to come back, I'm certain.”
Stern: 438
JFK: “But anyway, we can try this thing, but he's gonna come back on Turkey.”
PRP Revision (2006):
JFK: “But anyway, we can try this thing, but he's going to come back on Turkey.”
Sound File: WAV:  041.a/01333  
MC (2001): 3:439
McNamara: “We have intense ground fire against our air.”
Taylor: “I wouldn't worry. I wouldn't pay any attention.”
Stern: 438
McNamara: “We have intense ground fire against our... our...
Taylor: “I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say ‘intense' here.
PRP Revision (2006):
McNamara: "We have intense ground fire against our--
Taylor: "I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say "intense."
Sound File: WAV:  041.a/01759  
MC (2001): 3:470
Thompson: “I think they've been put up by the Lippmann piece. It occurs to me that we really aren't prepared to talk Turkey for Cuba.”
Stern: 438
Thompson: “I think they've been put off by the Lippmann piece--  encouraged to think that we really are prepared to swap Turkey for Cuba.”
PRP Revision (2006): Thompson: "I think they're been put off by the Lippmann piece, encouraged to think that we really are prepared to swap Turkey for Cuba."
Sound File: WAV:  042/00330  
MC (2001): 3:475
Thompson: “One is to prepare for an attack on Cuba, and the other is to get a peaceful solution along the lines which we have proposed.”
Stern: 438
Thompson: “One is to prepare for an attack on Cuba, and the other is to get a peaceful solution along the lines which he proposed.”
PRP Revision (2006): None.
Sound File: WAV:  042/01330  
MC (2001): 3:482
JFK: “We'll see about what we do about our plane.”
Stern: 438
JFK: “We'll see about what we do about this trade.”
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: “We'll see about what we do about this freighter.”
Sound File: WAV:  042/02930  
MC (2001): 3:492-493
McNamara: “I would say only that we ought to keep some kind of pressure on tonight and tomorrow night that indicates we're firm. Now if we call off these air strikes tonight, I think that settles that--”
JFK: “I [unclear] want to do that, I think--
Stern: 438
McNamara: “I would say only that we ought to keep some kind of pressure on tonight and tomorrow night that indicates we're firm. Now if we call up these air squadrons tonight, I think that settles that.”
JFK: “That's right. We're gonna do that, aren't we?”
PRP Revision (2006):
McNamara: “I would say only that we ought to keep some kind of pressure on tonight and tomorrow night that indicates we're firm. Now if we call up these air squadrons tonight, I think that settles that--”
JFK: “We're going to do that, aren't we?”
Sound File: WAV:  042/04310  
MC (2001): 3:497
Rusk: “We need just to see whether they are building up the pressures on Khrushchev with an impact that we can live with.”
Stern: 438
Rusk: “We need to see whether we're building up the pressures on Khrushchev to get back to a pact we can live with.”
PRP Revision (2006): Rusk: “We need to see whether we're building up the pressures on Khrushchev to get back to a pact we can live with.”
Sound File: WAV:  042/05044  
MC (2001): 3:505
JFK: “I think that he knows about the plane. He's announced it.”
Stern: 438
JFK: “I think that he knows about the plane. We've announced it.”
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: “I think that he knows about the plane. We've announced it.”
Sound File: WAV:  042/06824  
MC (2001): 3:508
JFK: “They say they shot down our U-2. They say they shot it down.”
Stern: 438
JFK: “We'll do that by tomorrow morning or when they say they've shot down our U-2. If they say they shot it down €¦then that raises €¦”
PRP Revision (2006): JFK: “[Unclear] say they shot down our U-2. If they say they shot it down, then that raises the--.”
Sound File: WAV:  042/07423  
MC (2001): 3:510
McNamara: “Yeah, I would suggest to have an eye for an eye.”
Unidentified: “Yeah. That's right. It isn't too serious.”
Stern: 438
McNamara: “I would suggest a half an eye for an eye.”
Dillon: “That's right.”
McNamara: “If it isn't too serious an attack.”
PRP Revision (2006):
McNamara: “Yeah, I would a half an eye for an eye.”
Dillon: “Yeah. That's right.
McNamara: If it isn't too serious an attack [unclear].”
Sound File: WAV:  042/07913