The biggest dunce

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. We have a saying down in the Ukraine: “the bosses are the last to know, and the big bosses never know.” Being the biggest big boss, I suppose I should take that personally. But how can I deny its wisdom?

Sometimes I think that if you took all the brainpower of all the people in the KGB, it would all fit into one of those thimbles my mother used when she made our socks. We have another expression: “the bigger the dog, the dumber the dog!” Big dogs don’t have to be as smart as small ones. Wait a minute. Isn’t that more or less what Fidel has been telling us—what all the Cubans have been telling us? They say: listen to us, Moscow. Listen to little Cuba. We know the big bad gringos—“gringos” is what they call them, and sometimes “Yankees,” though I don’t understand either term. They say that we must go public with the deployment. But I think we are going to get our equipment operational before the CIA dunces figure this out. And when we do, maybe we will give the Cubans a little spanking. Father Nikita knows a few things, after all. I haven’t gotten this far without knowing how the game is played.

On the other hand, my dunces in the KGB are telling me that the American dunces in the CIA haven’t discovered anything yet. And their dunces are telling Kennedy, apparently, that we have no missiles in Cuba. Someday, when this is all over, if we don’t have a war—a big if—then we should get Kennedy’s CIA dunces and our KGB dunces together to discuss who, in October 1962, was the biggest dunce.

I hate this waiting.