Unfortunately, Susan Rice’s statement regarding the Kennedy Khrushchev meeting, “Thank God he did because if he hadn’t we would have not been able to resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis” is completely false. In fact historians agree that this meeting fueled the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The Weekly Standand, in detailing the Kennedy Khrushchev meeting, quotes NYT columnist James Reston who interviewed President Kennedy right after his meeting with Khrushchev,
“Reston reported that Kennedy said just enough for Reston to conclude that Khrushchev “had studied the events of the Bay of Pigs” and that he had “decided that he was dealing with an inexperienced young leader who could be intimidated and blackmailed.” Kennedy said to Reston that Khrushchev had “just beat [the] hell out of me” and that he had presented Kennedy with a terrible problem: “If he thinks I’m inexperienced and have no guts, until we remove those ideas we won’t get anywhere with him. So we have to act.”
Kennedy responded to the meeting with a congressional request for a dramatic increase in defense spending, and a significant increase in the size of the military. Khrushchev responded to Kennedy’s actions with above ground nuclear testing and erecting the Berlin Wall. The tensions between the US and Soviet Union dramatically increased due to the Kennedy Khrushchev meeting; the Cuban Missile Crisis followed.
Susan Rice’s statement is simply false. There is no historical record of the Kennedy Khrushchev meeting being at all helpful in resolving the Cuban Missile Crisis and actually the exact opposite true that an inexperienced leader was bullied into an arms race.