October 23, 1962
Damn, damn, damn, damn! We came so close to sneaking the missiles by the Americans. It looks as if we have to move to plan B. Unfortunately, we don’t have a plan B. Maybe Kennedy is as weak and immature as some of my advisers think he is. Maybe Kennedy is bluffing and will cave in if we keep the pressure on. Maybe he will not challenge our ships when they crash through his so-called “quarantine” line.
October 18, 1962
This is really getting nerve wracking. Day by day, hour-by-hour, our weapons systems in Cuba come ever closer to being operational. So far, so good. Or so my people tell me. The people at our embassy in Washington say they have no evidence that Kennedy knows about the missiles yet. On the other hand, the U.S. press is full of reports and speculation that there are Soviet missiles in Cuba. This is getting bizarre. The American press seems to have figured this out, but the vaunted CIA is still clueless about our deployment. Maybe the CIA is as dense as our KGB.
October 16, 1962
We are close, so close to being able to spring my big surprise on Kennedy—assuming he doesn’t know about the missiles in Cuba. Victory will be sweet. I will go to Havana next month and join Fidel on the podium—the old revolutionary and the young revolutionary, together, united in our resistance to American arrogance and domination. Control yourself, Nikita Sergei’ich. Control yourself. Anyway, if he finds out, we will go to Plan B. I wish we had a Plan B. But of course, Plan A will work. It better. NK
October 13, 1962
Who is this Keating guy? My briefers keep telling me that this guy Keating, this Senator from New York, is giving speech after speech warning that we have nuclear missile sites going up in Cuba. Well, of course we do! But how the hell does a Senator from New York know this? He must have some connections to American spies or Cuban exile spies.
October 10, 1962
The American press is full jabbering by threatening hot bloods. They want Kennedy to attack Cuba, invade Cuba, occupy Cuba, change the regime in Cuba, and kill Fidel and his associates. What a bunch of crazies! Some of them actually think that if Kennedy caves in to the pressure and goes to war with Cuba—we Soviets will just stand aside, recognizing that Cuba is in the U.S. “sphere of influence,” and that the U.S., as we have known since a year ago, has a lot more nuclear weapons than we have.
September 17, 1962
So far, so good. Kennedy just said again yesterday that he sees no need for an invasion of Cuba “at this time.” He says that no offensive weapons have been detected arriving in Cuba. Ha ha. Long may it be so! My people in Cuba tell me that we are about one month away from making the missiles operational. When they are operational, I’ll fly directly to Cuba. I have already begun working on my speech. It will be one of my best. It will mark the arrival of the USSR as the other superpower—plain and simple.
September 14, 1962
Our new ambassador in Havana, Aleksander Alekseev, tells us that the mercenary bands—the exile terrorists supported by the CIA—remind him of the Tsarist bands who left Russia after our revolution. The hoi polloi of Russian exiles wound up in—where else?—Paris. They took their money and ran. Some are still living it up in places like Paris. All of them cherish dreams of returning to rule the country again, setting up some Tsar, and taking power away from the people and the Communist Party. Fat chance!
September 11, 1962
Here I am, in Pitsunda, on the lovely Black Sea, with all its possibilities: mushroom hunting, badminton (I love badminton—my opponents always underestimate how quickly I can move), and just watching the waves roll into the shore. I love these little summer moments. When I am down here, it is almost as if I am retired, as they say in the capitalist world. We revolutionaries never retire. We keep our commitment to our way even into old age. At least I intend to do so.
September 10, 1962
I cannot understand why my son Sergei is so nervous about our operation in Cuba. When I got home this evening, he besieged me with questions about it: do I think Kennedy will find out about it; what will happen if the Americans challenge some of our cargo ships taking their “cargoes” to Cuba; and so on and on. I could see that he was nervous, so I sat down with him for a few minutes, even though I had a lot of work to do before getting my tea and lemon and heading to bed.
September 9, 1962
I was talking today to my son Sergei, who had asked me about what is going on with the Cuban operation. I don’t tell Sergei everything, but he is a good confidante, very smart, and a good check on some of my more impulsive tendencies. Of course, I do as I see fit, but it helps to have someone to talk to I can totally trust. God knows, he will never be a politician. He is too naïve, too trusting, too ignorant of the ways of the political world.