Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) On October 28, 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis ended after thirteen days during which the world teetered on the edge of nuclear war.
At 9 a.m. Eastern time, Soviet announcer Yuri Levitan spoke these words on Radio Moscow...
"In order to eliminate...the conflict which endangers the cause of peace...the Soviet government...has given a new order to dismantle the weapons (in Cuba)...and to crate and return them to the Soviet Union."
Premier Nikita Khrushchev said, later in the message, that he was assured by President John F. Kennedy's letter of October 27, 1962, that the United States would not invade Cuba.
JFK said to Dave Powers... "I feel like a new man now. Do you realize we had an air strike all arranged? Thank God, it's all over."
While most EXCOM members were pleased with the resolution of the crisis, the Joint Chiefs were not. General Curtis LeMay* called it..."The worst defeat in our history."**
Early on in the crisis, President Kennedy had been told by General Lemay... "You're in a pretty bad fix." The Commander-in-Chief shot back..."Well, you're in there with me. Personally!"
After the meeting, President Kennedy said to Dave Powers...
"These brass hats have one great advantage in their favor. If we listen to them and do what they want...none of us will be alive later to tell them that they were wrong."
"As far as public perceptions in this country were concerned, it was generally viewed that bold, brave John F. Kennedy had faced (the Soviets) down. By the time of his death, (JFK) was still regarded as victor of the missile crisis."
**General Maxwell Taylor told JFK the afternoon before Radio Moscow's broadcast that the Joint Chiefs were calling for massive air strikes by the morning of October 29th "unless there is evidence...that the weapons are being dismantled."
"'Let Us Begin Anew,' An Oral History of the Kennedy Presidency," by Gerald S. and Deborah H. Strober, Harper and Collins Publishers, New York, 1993.
"One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro On the Brink of Nuclear War," by Michael Dobbs, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2008.