October 18, 1962 — Day Three of the Cuban Missile Crisis
President Kennedy meets with Soviet Ambassador Andrei Gromyko in the Oval Office. The memorandum of the meeting notes the Ambassador’s desire to be open with the United States:
“Mr. Gromyko said he knew that the President appreciated frankness. Mr. Khrushchev’s conversation with the President at Vienna had been frank and therefore, with the President’s permission, he himself wished to be frank, too.”
Despite this promise of openness, Gromyko did not speak about the Soviet missiles in Cuba, unaware that President Kennedy already knew of their existence, but had also chosen not to discuss them.
The National Archives’ latest exhibit: “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis” covers the 13 days when the world teetered on the brink of thermonuclear war.
Olympic track and field gold medalist Wilma Rudolph was invited to the White House after her victories in the 1960 Olympics. In this photograph, she is in the Oval Office with President John F. Kennedy.
At the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Rudolph became “the fastest woman in the world” and the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympics. She won the 100- and 200-meter races and anchored the U.S. team to victory in the 4 x 100-meter relay.
The first integrated events in Rudolph’s hometown of Clarksville, Tennessee, were the parade and banquet given in honor of her victories.
Rudolph died of cancer in 1994 at age 55. You can read more about her life and career here.
Also in the photo are Rudolph’s mother Blanche Rudolph, Robert Logan (standing), Vice President Johnson, and Edward Temple, the coach of the 1960 women’s Olympic track team.
Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill on June 22, 1944. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the G.I. Bill of Rights, offers educational assistance to veterans.
You can visit This week in Roosevelt History for more milestones and photos from the Roosevelt Presidential Library.
First telephone installed in the Oval Office
Some White House history for your day:
- President Herbert Hoover had the first telephone installed in the Oval Office on March 29, 1929.
- The Oval Office used by President Hoover is not the current Oval Office.
- FDR moved the President’s official office to its current location to make it wheelchair accessible.
- Rutherford B. Hayes had the first telephone installed in the White House in 1879.
Shown here, the original Oval Office telephone. It now resides in West Branch, Iowa at the Hoover Library.
President John F. Kennedy with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. White House, Oval Office Doorway., 03/28/1963
A Boy Scout salute to you-
The Boy Scouts of America were incorporated on this day, February 8, 1910.
Many Scouts have visited the Oval Office in the past century, including this delegation of Eagle Scouts. The youth group is presenting a report on their accomplishments to President Harry Truman. 2/6/51.
Were the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts part of your childhood?
Presley responded that he did his thing by “just singing.”
Elvis Presley arrives unannounced at the gate of the White House. He is there to see President Nixon and he is ready to sign up as a federal agent to combat drugs. It’s December 21, 1970.
What happens next? A Nixon Aide took these notes:
“The meeting opened with pictures taken of the President and Elvis Presley.
Presley immediately began showing the President his law enforcement paraphernalia including badges from police departments in California, Colorado and Tennessee…
The President mentioned that he thought Presley could reach young people, and that it was important for Presley to retain his credibility. Presley responded that he did his thing by ‘just singing.’ He said that he could not get to the kids if he made a speech on the stage, that he had to reach them in his own way. The President nodded in agreement…
Presley indicated to the President in an very emotional manner that he was ‘on your side.’” Read More
No video was taken of the President meeting The King, but here’s a sequence put together from the White House contact sheets.
From the Nixon Library - Elvis in the Oval Office
Be sure to follow Our Presidents today for photos and stories from the life of former First Lady Betty Ford:
April 8, 1918 - July 8, 2011
To honor the remarkable and inspiring life of Betty Ford, Our Presidents will be sharing photos and stories about the former First Lady. Here, President and Mrs. Ford hug each other in the Oval Office. December 6, 1974.
From the Ford Presidential Library and Museum.