With the exception of the Daily Express, the national papers did not take up the US cause; they sharply criticized, sometimes with acrimony, the Kennedy moves, all the more so as the President had chosen not to consult with his allies.
The London Press objected to the quarantine, regarding it as a threat to peace and an encroachment on the inalienable freedom of the high seas.
The Daily Telegraph, close to government circles, stressed that the American retaliation greatly complicated things.
The Guardian, then a liberal paper, was very critical, and thought the blockade unjustified and detrimental to the US cause.
Lambasting the blockade, the Daily Mail felt that the President had gone too far; that it was high time the escalation triggered off by the US decision were stopped.
The Financial Times feared a progressive crescendo and Soviet retaliation over Berlin.
The Press clearly advocated negotiations. The Times had strong reservations about the blockade and was very critical of the American lack of consultation, but anticipatorily advocated trading the Cuban Missiles for the Jupiters in Turkey.
As Macmillan insisted that the photos be made public, in order to make the opinion aware of the danger, David Bruce, the US Ambassador to London decided to call a press conference in the afternoon of Tuesday 23 October and convened representatives of the major media. In the meantime, 2,000 supporters of unilateral disarmament gathered outside the US Embassy in London.
In the evening, the BBC and ITV Channels ran late specials and showed photographic evidence supplied by the CIA. The same pictures were on front pages the next morning: the Press and public opinion did an about-turn.
But all commentators favoured British diplomatic mediation, so as to try to bridge the dangerous gap between East and West. The contrast hardened on 25 October, with the Daily Telegraph dwelling on Soviet double-talk and the Daily Mail praising Kennedy's determination.