IN MOSCOW, Khrushchev had gone to his dacha late on Saturday night to try to get some rest. Kennedy's letter was brought to him there the next morning. He immediately called all the members of the Presidium to the dacha to consider a reply. He argued that 'an immediate positive answer be given Kennedy as long as the United States guaranteed that neither it nor its allies would attack Cuba'.
The Presidium agreed and since every minute was precious, it was decided to transmit the response in a broadcast over Radio Moscow. The announcer began reading the letter before Khrushchev and Rodion Malinovsky, the Defence Minister, had finished writing it.
The crucial sentence read: 'The Soviet government, in addition to earlier instructions on the discontinuance of further work on the construction sites, has given a new order to dismantle the arms which you describe as offensive, and to crate and return them to the Soviet Union.'
Kennedy got the news just as he was leaving for Mass. 'Thank God, it's all over,' he said. General Surikov was more lyrical. 'I came out of the bunker to a golden autumn afternoon and I wept unashamedly as I experienced joy such as I had not known since I survived the Great Patriotic War.'
In Cuba, the Soviet forces began to ship the missiles and their warheads back to the Soviet Union. General Gribkov remembers: 'We told the Americans in advance how many missiles would be on what ships. On the open sea, US warships and helicopters approached our freighters so that they could see and count the missiles. For our military it was a public slap in the face.'