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Barry Keane

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No It would not, BK. Late June 11 Kennedy gave the speech that revved up the impulse that led to his death. The June 10 speech and the assassination of Medgar Evers two hours after the june 11 speech bracketed this speech and brought instability at home so that the ideals of socialism was firmly planted with a cause in the US itself. That was the frontline now and that was where the battle was fought.

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No It would not, BK. Late June 11 Kennedy gave the speech that revved up the impulse that led to his death. The June 10 speech and the assassination of Medgar Evers two hours after the june 11 speech bracketed this speech and brought instability at home so that the ideals of socialism was firmly planted with a cause in the US itself. That was the frontline now and that was where the battle was fought.

The title of this TOPIC is American University. The American University Speech was delivered on June 10th not June 11th. Barry was commenting on THAT speech. Bill was correcting the error in the "date" of that speech that Barry erroneously cited. You're off topic...again :D but I agree with you that the June 11th Civil Rights speech is another great one.

Edited by Greg Burnham
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Again? I was expecting something like that from you Greg, or a few others. It's the American University that is incorrect. The rest is spot on. But thank you for something.

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Again? I was expecting something like that from you Greg, or a few others. It's the American University that is incorrect. The rest is spot on. But thank you for something.


How can "American University" possibly be incorrect? It's Barry's topic! The estimation that it was JFK's greatest speech is his opinion and one to which he is entitled!

It's typical for some folks to divert attention away from those who killed Kennedy due to his anti-war / pro-peace position by placing the blame on "red necks" instead. So much ignorance in such little minds.

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You got it all figured out, eh, Greg? Rednecks, hmmm.

What makes you think I think Barry is not entitled to his opinion? Of course he is.

Is this a privilege you yourself extend to all?

''It's typical for some folks to divert attention away from those who killed Kennedy due to his anti-war / pro-peace position by placing the blame on "red necks" instead. So much ignorance in such little minds''.

-Could you provide a citation for the above, please?

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  • 2 months later...

Yes of course I meant June 10th in referring to the American University speech. Mind you the June 11th speech of civil rights was pretty good to.

I have now visited the American University and stood at the site of that magnificent speech, one of the most moving moments of my life.

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American University

June 10, 1963

President Anderson, members of the faculty, board of trustees,

distinguished guests, my old colleague, Senator Bob Byrd, who has earned

his degree through many years of attending night law school, while I am

earning mine in the next 30 minutes, ladies and gentleman:

It is with great pride that I participate in this ceremony of the American

University, sponsored by the Methodist Church, founded by Bishop John

Fletcher Hurst, and first opened by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. This

is a young and growing university, but it has already fulfilled Bishop

Hurst`s enlightened hope for the study of history and public affairs in a

city devoted to the making of history and to the conduct of the public`s

business. By sponsoring this institution of higher learning for all who

wish to learn, whatever their color or their creed, the Methodists of this

area and the Nation deserve the nation`s thanks, and I commend all those

who are today graduating.

Professor Woodrow Wilson once said that every man sent out from a

university should be a man of his nation as well as a man of his time, and

I am confident that the men and women who carry the honor of graduating

from this institution will continue to give from their lives, from their

talents, a high measure of public service and public support.

`There are few earthly things more beautiful than a university,` wrote

John Masefield, in his tribute to English universities - and his words are

equally true today. He did not refer to spires and towers, to campus

greens and ivied walls. He admired the splendid beauty of the university,

he said, because it was `a place where those who hate ignorance may strive

to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see.`

I have, therefore, chosen this time and this place to discuss a topic on

which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived -

yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace. What kind of

peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana

enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the

grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the

kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables

men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their

children - not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women

- not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.

I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense

in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable

nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It

makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten

times the explosive force delivered by all of the allied air forces in the

Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons

produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil

and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.

Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons

acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is

essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle

stockpiles - which can only destroy and never create - is not the only,

much less than most efficient, means of assuring peace.

I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational

men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit

of war - and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we

have no more urgent task.

Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world

disarmament - and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet

Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can

help them to do it. But I also believe that we must reexamine our own

attitude - as individuals and as a Nation - for our attitude is as

essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful

citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by

looking inward - by examining his own attitude toward the possibilities of

peace, toward the Soviet Union, toward the course of the cold war and

toward freedom and peace here at home.

First: Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us

think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is dangerous,

defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable - that

mankind is doomed - that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.

We need not accept this view. Our problems are manmade - therefore, they

can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of

human destiny is beyond human beings. Man`s reason and spirit have often

solved the seemingly unsolvable - and we believe they can do it again.

I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of universal peace

and good will of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny

the values of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and

incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal.

Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace - based

not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in

human institutions - on a series of concrete actions and effective

agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single,

simple key to this peace - no grand magic formula to be adopted by one or

two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of

many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge

of each new generation. For peace is a process - a way of solving


With such a peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests,

as there are with families and nations. World peace, like community peace,

does not require that each man love his neighbor - it requires only that

they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a

just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between

nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. However fixed our

likes and dislikes may see, the tide of time and events will often bring

surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors.

So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be

inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more

manageable and less remote, we can help all peoples to see it, to draw

hope from it, and to move irresistibly toward it.

Second: Let us reexamine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is

discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their

propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative

Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly

baseless and incredible claims - such as the allegation that `American

imperialist circles are preparing to unlease different types of wars . . .

that there is a very real threat of a preventive war being unleashed by

American imperialists against the Soviet Union . . . (and that) the

political aims of the American imperialists are to enslave economically

and politically the European and other capitalist countries . . . (and) to

achieve world domination . . . by means of aggressive wars.`

Truly, as it was written long ago: `The wicked flee when no man pursueth.`

Yet it is sad to read these Soviet statements - to realize the extent of

the gulf between us. But it is also a warning - a warning to the American

people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a

distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as

inevitable, accommodation as impossible, and communication as nothing more

than an exchange of threats.

No government or social system is so evil that its people must be

considered as lacking in virtue. As Americans, we find communism

profoundly repugnant as a negation of personal freedom and dignity. But we

can still hail the Russian people for their many achivements - in science

and space, in economic and industrial growth, in culture and in acts of


Among the many traits the peoples of our two countries have in common,

none is stronger than our mutual abhorrence of war. Almost unique, among

the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other. And no

nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Soviet Union

suffered in the course of the Second World War. At least 20 million lost

their lives. Countless millions of homes and farms were burned or sacked.

A third of the nation`s territory, including nearly two thirds of its

industrial base, was turned into a wasteland - a loss equivalent to the

devastation of this country east of Chicago.

Today, should total war ever break out again - no matter how - our two

countries would become the primary targets. It is an ironic but accurate

fact that the two strongest powers are the two in the most danger of

devastation. All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed

in the first 24 hours. And even in the cold war, which brings burdens and

dangers to so many countries, including this Nation`s closest allies - our

two countries bear the heaviest burdens. For we are both devoting massive

sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combating

ignorance, poverty, and disease. We are both caught up in a vicious and

dangerous cycle in which suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the

other, and new weapons beget counterweapons.

In short, both the United States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and

its allies, have a mutually deep interest in a just and genuine peace and

in halting the arms race. Agreements to this end are in the interests of

the Soviet Union as well as ours - and even the most hostile nations can

be relied upon to accept and keep those treaty obligations, and only those

treaty obligations, which are in their own interest.

So, let us not be blind to our differences - but let us also direct

attention to our common interests and to the means by which those

differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at

least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final

analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small

planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children`s future.

And we are all mortal.

Third: Let us reexamine our attitude toward the cold war, remembering that

we are not engaged in a debate, seeking to pile up debating points. We are

not here distributing blame or pointing the finger of judgment. We must

deal with the world as it is, and not as it might have been had the

history of the last 18 years been different.

We must, therefore, persevere in the search for peace in the hope that

constructive changes within the Communist bloc might bring within reach

solutions which now seem beyond us. We must conduct our affairs in such a

way that it becomes in the Communists` interest to agree on a genuine

peace. Above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers

must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of

either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of

course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our

policy - or of a collective death-wish for the world.

To secure these ends, America`s weapons are nonprovocative, carefully

controlled, designed to deter, and capable of selective use. Our military

forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self-restraint. Our

diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely

rhetorical hostility.

For we can seek a relaxation of tensions without relaxing our guard. And,

for our part, we do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute.

We do not need to jam foreign broadcasts out of fear our faith will be

eroded. We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people -

but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any

people on earth.

Meanwhile, we seek to strengthen the United Nations, to help solve its

financial problems, to make it a more effective instrument for peace, to

develop it into a genuine world security system - a system capable of

resolving disputes on the basis of law, of insuring the security of the

large and the small, and of creating conditions under which arms can

finally be abolished.

At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-Communist world,

where many nations, all of them our friends, are divided over issues which

weaken Western unity, which invite Communist intervention or which

threaten to erupt into war. Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo,

in the Middle East, and in the Indian subcontinent, have been persistent

and patient despite criticism from both sides. We have also tried to set

an example for others - by seeking to adjust small but significant

differences with our own closest neighbors in Mexico and Canada.

Speaking of other nations, I wish to make one point clear. We are bound to

many nations by alliances. Those alliances exist because our concern and

theirs substantially overlap. Our commitment to defend Western Europe and

West Berlin, for example, stands undiminished because of the identity of

our vital interests. The United States will make no deal with the Soviet

Union at the expense of other nations and other peoples, not merely

because they are our partners, but also because their interests and ours


Our interests converge, however, not only in defending the frontiers of

freedom, but in pursuing the paths of peace. It is our hope - and the

purpose of allied policies - to convince the Soviet Union that she, too,

should let each nation choose its own future, so long as that choice does

not interfere with the choices of others. The Communist drive to impose

their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of

world tension today. For there can be no doubt that, if all nations could

refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, the peace

would be much more assured.

This will require a new effort to achieve world law - a new context for

world discussions. It will require increased understanding between the

Soviets and ourselves. And increased understanding will require increased

contact and communication. One step in this direction is the proposed

arrangement for a direct line between Moscow and Washington, to avoid on

each side the dangerous delays, misunderstandings, and misreadings of the

other`s actions which might occur at a time of crisis.

We have also been talking in Geneva about other first-step measures of

arms control, designed to limit the intensity of the arms race and to

reduce the risks of accidental war. Our primary long-range interest in

Geneva, however, is general and complete disarmament - designed to take

place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the

new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms. The pursuit

of disarmament has been an effort of this Government since the 1920`s. It

has been urgently sought by the past three administrations. And however

dim the prospects may be today, we intend to continue this effort - to

continue it in order that all countries, including our own, can better

grasp what the problems and possibilities of disarmament are.

The one major area of these negotiations where the end is in sight, yet

where a fresh start is badly needed, is in a treaty to outlaw nuclear

tests. The conclusion of such a treaty, so near and yet so far, would

check the spiraling arms race in one of its most dangerous areas. It would

place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one

of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963, the further spread of

nuclear arms. It would increase our security - it would decrease the

prospects of war. Surely this goal is sufficiently important to require

our steady pursuit, yielding neither to the temptation to give up the

whole effort nor the temptation to give up our insistence on vital and

responsible safeguards.

I am taking this opportunity, therefore, to announce two important

decisions in this regard.

First: Chairman Khrushchev, Prime Minister Macmillan, and I have agreed

that high-level discussions will shortly begin in Moscow looking toward

early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty. Our hopes must be

tempered with the caution of history - but with our hopes go the hopes of

all mankind.

Second: To make clear our good faith and solemn convictions on the matter,

I now declare that the United States does not propose to conduct nuclear

tests in the atmosphere so long as other states do not do so. We will not

be the first to resume. Such a declaration is no substitute for a formal

binding treaty, but I hope it will help us achieve one. Nor would such a

treaty be a substitute for disarmament, but I hope it will help us achieve


Finally, my fellow Americans, let us examine our attitude toward peace and

freedom here at home. The quality and spirit of our own society must

justify and support our efforts abroad. We must show it in the dedication

of our own lives - as many of you who are graduating today will have a

unique opportunity to do, by serving without pay in the Peace Corps abroad

or in the proposed National Service Corps here at home.

But wherever we are, we must all, in our daily lives, live up to the

age-old faith that peace and freedom walk together. In too many of our

cities today, the peace is not secure because freedom is incomplete.

It is the responsibility of the executive branch at all levels of

government - local, State, and National - to provide and protect that

freedom for all of our citizens by all means within their authority. It is

the responsibility of the legislative branch at all levels, wherever that

authority is not now adequate, to make it adequate. And it is the

responsibility of all citizens in all sections of this country to respect

the rights of all others and to respect the law of the land.

All this is not unrelated to world peace. `When a man`s ways please the

Lord,` the Scriptures tell us, `he maketh even his enemies to be at peace

with him.` And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter of

human rights - the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation

- the right to breathe air as nature provided it - the right of future

generations to a healthy existence?

While we proceed to safeguard our national interests, let us also

safeguard human interests. And the elimination of war and arms is clearly

in the interest of both. No treaty, however much it may be to the

advantage of all, however tightly it may be worded, can provide absolute

security against the risks of deception and evasion. But it can - if it is

sufficiently effective in its enforcement and if it is sufficiently in the

interests of its signers - offer far more security and far fewer risks

than an unabated, uncontrolled, unpredictable arms race.

The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not

want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has

already had enough - more than enough - of war and hate and oppression. We

shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it.

But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are

safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or

hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we labor on - not toward

a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.


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Of course I too believe that the Amemerican University speech was a turning point in US Foreign Policy and that this change in position may well have led to the death of John F. Kennedy. I tend to feel that this speech led to the negotiation of and passage of the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and may well have led to the assassination. For myself these pieces of information are relevent to this position:


Two days befor the attempted assassination of Edwin Walker this "Memorandum by Director of Central Intelligence McCone/1/" (was sent)

Washington, April 8, 1963.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI, ER Subject Files, White Papers-Nuclear Test Ban 3/1/63-1/2/64. Secret. Circulated to McCloy.

With respect to the test ban treaty, I have not gone over the last draft./2/ However, it is my understanding that the present negotiating position provides for seven on-site inspections, seven black boxes within the USSR, and an inspection area of 500 square kilometers, and that the treaty deals with all the other issues which have been developed through the years. Some consideration is being given to reducing the seven on-site inspections to six, or even to five. There is also a difference of opinion as to the value of the black boxes.

/2/Reference is to a March 23 draft comprehensive test ban treaty. (Washington National Records Center, RG 383, ACDA/CRSC Files: FRC 77 A 59, Basic Policy, Pol 3-3, Proposals to President)

One would have to make a penetrating study of the results of the Vela experiments to make a final judgment as to the adequacy of the verification provisions of the treaty. However, Mr. Foster, at a recent Executive Committee meeting,/3/ stated that the threshold is on the order of one kiloton in granite, two kilotons in tuff, and 10 to 20 kilotons (and possibly 30 kilotons) in alluvium. He added that this was the threshold for a single test. Based on a theory of probabilities, he further concluded that a series of tests which included a meaningful number of underground shots in a single location would, with a small number of inspections, undoubtedly be detected and identified as nuclear rather than natural.

/3/Not identified; the test ban was not discussed in the Executive Committee of the National Security Council during 1963.

On the basis of these threshold figures, I have expressed the view to Mr. Foster and to the President/4/ that the degree of verification is not sufficient, as it cannot prove adherence to a suspension of testing in an important area of yields. Of greater importance, however, is the fact that under present political circumstances a test ban between the U.S., USSR, and UK would not, in the final analysis, answer the "proliferation" problem because the Soviets cannot handle the Chinese Communists and we and the British cannot handle the French.

/4/In a memorandum for the record, April 4, McCone wrote he had told the President that day that former President Eisenhower had expressed opposition to the present draft treaty "because of inadequate verification, the threshold, etc.," and that he, McCone, agreed with this position and also opposed it because "the Russians could no longer handle the Chinese situation and we and the British could no longer handle the de Gaulle situation, and hence the proliferation problem. The President seemed to agree, and restated that he did not think we were going to get a treaty anyway." (Central Intelligence Agency, Meetings with President, 4/1/63-6/30/63) McCone's memorandum of April 4 of a meeting held with Eisenhower on March 30 is ibid.

As for the advantages to the United States of further testing, doing so would yield a continuing improvement in our technology through the further development of small weapons, improvement of weight/yield ratios and increased knowledge of weapons effects. With respect to the first two of these items, improvements are important. Our failure to pursue them while the Soviets do so (clandestinely) would probably deprive us of our superior nuclear position. However, this would not necessarily affect the military balance as the improvements are expected to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, although important information would be provided. With respect to effects of testing, more study would be necessary before I would have an opinion.

There is a great danger of engaging in a treaty, living under it for a number of years, and permitting our laboratories to go downhill (which they undoubtedly would do) while the Soviets covertly pursue developments in their laboratories. The Soviets could then abrogate the treaty for some reason they claim provocative, and confront us with a situation under which they had made a significant forward step in their technology. This, as will be recalled, was exactly what they did in 1961. I do not see how we can avoid this risk if we engage in a treaty unless the treaty is subscribed to by all world powers and contains substantial penalties for such abrogation.

The Plowshare problem must be considered. Meaningful Plowshare experiments involve our most advanced weapons technology and, if the inspection arrangements outlined in the treaty are undertaken, it would mean exposing to the Soviets our most advanced weapons technology. This might mean abandoning Plowshare and therefore one must consider whether Plowshare is important to our national interest.

Intelligence will make some contribution to the verification of a test ban. Some indicators which have been meaningful in the past are now lost to us, some useful indicators are still available but they, too, could be lost. Aerial surveillance might help in some circumstances, and clandestine penetrations might also help. Soviet fear of the latter might also serve as a deterrent. No useful figure can be placed on the contribution of intelligence.

It seems to me that there has been an overemphasis on the importance of the test ban treaty and the whole issue of testing for many years, and most particularly, during the last two or three years. The issue at first centered around fallout. The most responsible scientific judgment seems to indicate that the effects of fallout were vastly overemphasized by the test ban advocates. I feel the whole issue should be brought into proper perspective and question whether much is to be gained by an agreement to stop testing so long as the United States, Soviet Union, and the British continue the production of fissionable material, nuclear weapons, and delivery systems at a high rate, and in addition, the French and the Chinese Communists pursue an independent and uncontrolled program, and rumor has it that the Israelis are now doing likewise. Hence, stopping testing does not slow down the arms race, does not remove the dangers of a nuclear holocaust, and does not end the proliferation problem.

One important consideration is that if we reach an agreement with the Soviets, we have "broken through" in our effort to negotiate with the USSR on an issue of disarmament, and this might lead to other more meaningful agreements. This consideration is important and we could sacrifice a great deal to accomplish such a "break through". However, this consideration is of value only if the test suspension agreement provides reasonable means of verification and reasonable guarantee for conformance with all treaty terms, including some protection against unilateral revocation or abrogation of the treaty. If, however, we are reckless on the question of verification, then the "break through" will be a decided disservice to the United States' security interests because it will establish a precedent for further steps in disarmament without adequate means of verification.

I have not personally studied the most recent developments in detection and identification techniques and cannot render a judgment on the proposed treaty. However, Mr. Foster's disclosure of the threshold set forth in the second paragraph of this memorandum represents a drastic departure from US policy so often stated, i.e. we will only agree to a suspension of tests which can, in the opinion of responsible and informed people, be verified with reasonable assurance.


Maxwell Taylor would have a problem with this treaty as well:

Document 56: Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Glenn Seaborg, Journal Entry for 9 July 1963

Source: Journals of Glenn T. Seaborg, Volume 6, July 1, 1963-November 22, 1963 (Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, 1989)

Early in the evening of 9 July, Kennedy met with the NSC to discuss the Harriman mission. Still unsure whether a limited three environments test ban treaty was negotiable, the participants briefly discussed an agreement that permitted a quota of underground tests. Nevertheless, if an atmospheric test ban was feasible, Rusk wanted Harriman to be able to conclude an agreement "on the spot." Bundy wondered whether the French should be consulted, which raised the question of whether it would be possible to induce Paris to sign a limited test ban treaty. Maxwell Taylor's comments questioning the advantages of an atmospheric test ban raised the continuing problem with the Chiefs, but Kennedy declared that the issue was settled: "such a ban is to the advantage of the U.S." Nevertheless, Taylor vainly pushed away on the issue.


On June 12th John J. McCloy would address a letter to Edwin Walker.


Although asked by President Kennedy to negotiate this treaty with the Soviets, John J. McCloy refused.


The thought of Jsckie Kennedy at the time of the funeral of her assassinated husband are also of interest.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- On the day she buried her husband, Jacqueline Kennedy clung to the hands of a Soviet diplomat and urged Moscow to continue working with Washington in an effort to achieve peace, according to newly released Soviet documents.

The documents show a delicate diplomatic dance between the two super powers during the days immediately following the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy 36 years ago. They also reveal that personal letters were exchanged between the U.S. president's widow and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin turned the documents over to U.S. President Bill Clinton during their June meeting in Germany. Copies of the documents, and translations by the U.S. State Department, were released Thursday by the National Archives.

Particularly poignant were descriptions of a White House reception following Kennedy's burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Soviet diplomat A.I. Mikoyan, who was first deputy chairman of the council of ministers, met Mrs. Kennedy at the reception to express his nation's condolences.

Diplomat's perspective

In a dispatch about the reception to Soviet leaders, Mikoyan wrote: "It struck us that Jacqueline Kennedy, who exchanged only two or three words with the persons introduced to her, looked very calm and even appeared to be smiling.

"However, when we were presented to her, and when we conveyed our heartfelt condolences to her on behalf of Nina Petrovna, N.S. Khrushchev, and Rada and Alyosha Adzhubey ... Jacqueline Kennedy said, with great emotion and nearly sobbing: 'I am sure that Chairman Khrushchev and my husband could have been successful in the search for peace, and that they were really striving for that. Now you must continue this endeavor and bring it to completion.'

"She said all this with inspiration and deep emotion," Mikoyan wrote. "During the entire conversation she clasped my hands with her two hands, trying to convey as convincingly as possible her feelings and thoughts ... Her fortitude is most impressive."

New widow wrote of self-control

A week later, Jacqueline Kennedy wrote a handwritten letter to Khrushchev, the Soviet documents show. Soviet Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin wrote in a telegram to Soviet officials that, "The envelope was slightly glued in one spot. The entire letter was not typed, but written from beginning to end in the handwriting of Jacqueline Kennedy, which is considered here to be a sign of particular respect for the addressee."

In the letter, Mrs. Kennedy thanked Khrushchev for sending Mikoyan to the funeral. But she said that it had been "such a horrible day for me that I do not know if my words were received as I wanted them to be."

So the new widow said she was writing to explain how important her husband had felt Khrushchev was to the peace effort --- and how she hoped those efforts continued.

"The danger troubling my husband was that war could be started not so much by major figures as by minor ones," Mrs. Kennedy wrote. "Whereas major figures understand the need for self-control and restraint, minor ones are sometimes moved rather by fear and pride. If only in the future major figures could still force minor ones to sit down at the negotiating table before they begin to fight!"

Dobrynin concluded his report by suggesting that Khrushchev and his wife reply to Mrs. Kennedy with a personal letter. The ambassador also suggested Mrs. Khrushchev invite Mrs. Kennedy and her children to an unofficial summer vacation on the Black Sea.

Dobrynin said that would "make a very good impression on American public opinion and on U.S. government circles as well. Moreover, it would also be useful to maintain contacts with the Kennedy family."

Final thoughts:

It would seem as if Mrs. Kennedy's phrases, "The danger troubling my husband..." and, "If only in the future major figures COULD STILL FORCE MINOR ONES(emphisis mine) to sit down at the nefotiating table before they begin to fight!" are supportive of the belief that immediately following the assassination she may have thought certain government officials could have been involved in the assassination.

And John J.McCloy refused to sit at the negotiating table when the Limited Test Ban Treaty was finalized.

Jim Root

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In the past I have been asked for a "cite" on McCloy's refusal to negotiate the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963......thought I should add one here:

According to Carl Kaysen, deputy special assistant to the president for national security affairs 1961-63, when speaking to President Kennedy, "The President said,'Lets ask McCloy' and McCloy was asked and he didn't want to do it."

(taken from, The National Security Council Project, Oral History Roundtables, Arms Control and the National Security Council, March 23, 2000, pgs 17 & 18)

In the McCloy papers at Amherst you find a lack of communication dealing with disarmament talks starting from June to August 1963.

My recolection is, from previous research, that McCloy was upset with Kennedy because he felt that a comprehensive treaty could have been negotiated following the Cuban Missile Crisis had Kennedy been more decisive. McCloy was not willing to negotiate for less.

Jim Root

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