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Caroline Kennedy: JFK wouldn't have escalated US in Vietnam


Douglas Caddy
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Jim,

What's your opinion on the draft of NSAM 273 that Bundy prepared prior to the assassination? Is there any way to explain that, other than foreknowledge of Dallas by a few key individuals at the top? I'm not sold on the idea of a grand, top-down plot with all these people that knew beforehand. But... I don't know how else to explain this document. Thoughts? Thanks!

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No I don't buy into that. It was just a rough draft of the consensus at the Hawaii meeting. And some of it like the opening sentences are just standard boilerplate.

Much of it would have been altered by Kennedy once he saw it.

Its a little known fact that Bundy was one of the first people to differ with LBJ on his expansion of the war. He even differed with him over the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. It really surprises me how few people have read Gordon Goldstein's fine book, Lessons in Disaster. In which Bundy has nothing but admiration for JFK and nothing but disdain for LBJ.

These are the reasons he left. During the 1968 primary season, he was secretly working with HHH to split him off from Johnson's disastrous policies.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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No I don't buy into that. It was just a rough draft of the consensus at the Hawaii meeting. And some of it like the opening sentences are just standard boilerplate.

Much of it would have been altered by Kennedy once he saw it.

Its a little known fact that Bundy was one of the first people to differ with LBJ on his expansion of the war. He even differed with him over the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. It really surprises me how few people have read Gordon Godstein's fine book, Lessons in Disaster. In which he has nothing but admiration for JFK and nothing but disdain for LBJ.

These are the reasons he left. During the 1968 primary season, he was secretly working with HHH to split him off from Johnson's disastrous policies.

That certainly is a viable explanation. If a reversal of NSAM 263 was the consensus of the meeting in Honolulu, perhaps the idea was to present the draft to Kennedy and make a pitch for it.

I did not know that about Bundy. I must admit, Jim, your book reviews at CTKA and discussions of such on Len's show have had a dual effect on me. I buy more good books (Rakove, Poulgrain, Muehlenbeck, etc.), but I get lazy about reading them all the way through because you've already given us the good stuff. Of course, if I was retired like some people and had all that time...

Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

Edited by Greg Wagner
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