(Image Source: JFK's Presidential Library)

 

BY SCOTT MACDONALD

 

ANCHOR LAUREN ZIMA

 

More than 48 years after his assassination, the public now has new clips of the voice of President John F. Kennedy captured on recordings made in the months leading up to his death.

 

On Tuesday, his presidential library in Boston declassified and released the last 45 hours of recordings which have been classified until recently.  There are no history-rewriting bombshells, but these tapes reveal the daily tensions and goings-on of JFK’s Oval Office, which was quite busy during the last three months of his life.

 

During those months Kennedy squeezed in visits with dignitaries from around the globe in between meetings and public appearances. CBS News points out an interesting moment that landed on tape while Kennedy was scheduling one such visit with an Indonesian general.

 

“...at one point, he makes a haunting reference to the day on which his funeral will be held."
 

KENNEDY: “I will see him. When is he here?”

AIDE: “Monday and Tuesday.”

KENNEDY: “Well, that’s a tough day.”

AIDE: “It’s a hell of a day, Mr. President.”

 

That Monday in question was indeed a tough day but not for the reasons Kennedy expected. Iconic images from his funeral that day showed his children standing solemnly as their father’s casket was carried by. But, as the tapes show, the kids were a bright part of life in the White House before the assassination. USA Today has more.

 

The sound of the president's children, Caroline and John Jr., playing outside the Oval Office is part of a recording on which he introduces them to Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.

"Hello, hello," Gromyko says as the children come in, telling their father, "They are very popular in our country.”

 

During that same meeting with the Soviet Minister, this recording from the JFK Presidential Library website demonstrates Kennedy’s efforts to improve US-Soviet relations.

 

KENNEDY: “...we’ve been pulling and hauling around the United States for the last three months in a couple, several directions. And we think, for us, we’ve made some progress in our relations with the Soviet Union.”

 

The president’s desk served as the center of planning and debate on important issues between JFK, his advisers, and other top world leaders. Vietnam comes into play on the tapes, which reveal how he fretted over the state of democracy there. The Daily Beast reports.

 

“During a meeting in September 1963, Kennedy vented his frustration with conflicting reports about the civil war in Vietnam.”

KENNEDY: “On the one hand, you get the military saying the war is going better, and on the other hand you get the political (opinion) with its deterioration is affecting the military … What is the reason for the difference—I’d like to have an explanation what the reason is for the difference.”

 

As Maura Porter, an archivist for the JFK Presidential Library, explained to WBUR Radio in Boston, this new sound bite exposes Kennedy’s disapproval with the intelligence coming out of Vietnam.

 

“It’s historically frustrating to know that the president was trying to come up with answers and that he wasn’t being given the pieces from his advisers. So I think a lot of historians will find it not surprising, but very interesting to hear all of this play out in the president’s own voice.”

 

New JFK Tapes Show Private Side of Oval Office

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Jan 25, 2012

New JFK Tapes Show Private Side of Oval Office

(Image Source: JFK's Presidential Library)

 

BY SCOTT MACDONALD

 

ANCHOR LAUREN ZIMA

 

More than 48 years after his assassination, the public now has new clips of the voice of President John F. Kennedy captured on recordings made in the months leading up to his death.

 

On Tuesday, his presidential library in Boston declassified and released the last 45 hours of recordings which have been classified until recently.  There are no history-rewriting bombshells, but these tapes reveal the daily tensions and goings-on of JFK’s Oval Office, which was quite busy during the last three months of his life.

 

During those months Kennedy squeezed in visits with dignitaries from around the globe in between meetings and public appearances. CBS News points out an interesting moment that landed on tape while Kennedy was scheduling one such visit with an Indonesian general.

 

“...at one point, he makes a haunting reference to the day on which his funeral will be held."
 

KENNEDY: “I will see him. When is he here?”

AIDE: “Monday and Tuesday.”

KENNEDY: “Well, that’s a tough day.”

AIDE: “It’s a hell of a day, Mr. President.”

 

That Monday in question was indeed a tough day but not for the reasons Kennedy expected. Iconic images from his funeral that day showed his children standing solemnly as their father’s casket was carried by. But, as the tapes show, the kids were a bright part of life in the White House before the assassination. USA Today has more.

 

The sound of the president's children, Caroline and John Jr., playing outside the Oval Office is part of a recording on which he introduces them to Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.

"Hello, hello," Gromyko says as the children come in, telling their father, "They are very popular in our country.”

 

During that same meeting with the Soviet Minister, this recording from the JFK Presidential Library website demonstrates Kennedy’s efforts to improve US-Soviet relations.

 

KENNEDY: “...we’ve been pulling and hauling around the United States for the last three months in a couple, several directions. And we think, for us, we’ve made some progress in our relations with the Soviet Union.”

 

The president’s desk served as the center of planning and debate on important issues between JFK, his advisers, and other top world leaders. Vietnam comes into play on the tapes, which reveal how he fretted over the state of democracy there. The Daily Beast reports.

 

“During a meeting in September 1963, Kennedy vented his frustration with conflicting reports about the civil war in Vietnam.”

KENNEDY: “On the one hand, you get the military saying the war is going better, and on the other hand you get the political (opinion) with its deterioration is affecting the military … What is the reason for the difference—I’d like to have an explanation what the reason is for the difference.”

 

As Maura Porter, an archivist for the JFK Presidential Library, explained to WBUR Radio in Boston, this new sound bite exposes Kennedy’s disapproval with the intelligence coming out of Vietnam.

 

“It’s historically frustrating to know that the president was trying to come up with answers and that he wasn’t being given the pieces from his advisers. So I think a lot of historians will find it not surprising, but very interesting to hear all of this play out in the president’s own voice.”

 

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