"Well, let me say something to you, Mr. Ambassador -- we do have the evidence. We have it, and it is clear and it is incontrovertible. And let me say something else -- those weapons must be taken out of Cuba." (Adlai Stevenson, October 25, 1962.)
One of the most memorable moments to ever take place at the United Nations happened on October 25, 1962, when the world was on the brink of nuclear war. Adlai Stevenson, American ambassador to the U.N., had been kept out of the loop when the Americans invaded the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. Now it was time to question the Soviets about possible missiles in Cuba. This time, Stevenson was front and centre. After asking Soviet representative Valerian Zorin if such missiles did exist, he got nothing more than a blank stare. The American's response was: "I'm prepared to wait until Hell freezes over [for an answer]." In the meantime, he pulled out enlarged photographs taken by a U-2 spy plane which showed incontrovertible evidence that these missiles did exist. A hush went over the leaders sitting at the giant circular table. Ambassador Stevenson offered the Soviets a deal: if the U.S.S.R. would withdraw all missiles from Cuba, the Americans would withdraw their missiles from Turkey. The Soviets agreed and the world breathed a sigh of relief. Stevenson got his footnote in history.