As a statesman and politician, the late Adlai Stevenson ’22 may be remembered more for his losses (in the presidential elections of 1952 and 1956) than his victories. But 50 years ago today, speaking as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Stevenson presented remarks and photographic evidence that arguably spurred the negotiations that ended the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the very least, Stevenson’s confrontation with Soviet representative Valerian Zorin — in which he asked his counterpart whether the Soviet Union denied placing missiles in Cuba and said he was prepared to wait “until hell freezes over” for an answer — survives as one of the most memorable exchanges in the U.N.’s history.
Video: An excerpt from Stevenson’s Oct. 25, 1962, U.N. speech.