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JFK's Peace Proposal to the UN General Assembly


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I'm not sure if this topic has been discussed elsewhere in the forum. If so, I haven't been able to find it. Suggestions for reading material about this subject - whether in the forum or elsewhere - would be very welcome.

I was born in the 50s and throughout my adult life have considered myself a supporter of the peace movement. My involvement started in the late 60s. JFK - at that time - was a recent memory.

I considered myself reasonably well informed about historical events (the arrogance of youth). I especially took an interest in matters concerning peace and war - and had frequent discussions with friends and teachers of various kinds on these topics. I was - and remain - someone with generally left-wing views.

Yet I never, until THIS century, knew that in 1961 JFK had presented a proposal for comprehensive worldwide disarmament to the General Assembly of the UN - a proposal so far reaching that, when I read it a few years ago for the first time, I found it quite breath-taking in its audacity and decency.

See Address Before the 18th General Assembly of the United Nations by President John F. Kennedy, September 25th 1961.

The speech needs to be read in conjunction with Freedom From War - The United States Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World published by the US Department of State in the same month.

Taken together, these documents reflect the most visionary yet practical program for world disarmament that I've ever read. The State Department proposal is not a mass of waffle or doublespeak; it's a quite detailed proposal for staged worldwide disarmament. It entails a worldwide inspections regime - and ultimately, the scaling down of national military forces in favor of a global police force under UN control.

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Now, the rights and wrongs of the policy and these documents are, of course, open to debate. I’d be interested to read some debate about them. Some may doubt that the US Government was serious with this proposal at the time. Cynics might claim it was expected to fail.

Yet what particularly interests me is that I knew nothing about it at all until recently - nor does Kennedy’s peace initiative seem to feature in discussions I've encountered about JFK on the Internet.

What about others? Has Kennedy's peace proposal been discussed on this forum? Were other participants aware of the document "Freedom From War" and its inspiring contents?

It seems to me that this aspect of Kennedy's Presidency has been generally overlooked. Instead, there’s been a tendency to focus on events such as the Bay of Pigs or Cuban Missile Crises – occasions when Kennedy was forced to react to crisis – rather than roll out a strategic plan.

Yet this was surely that last (and first?) time a US President put a proposal to the world for 'General and Complete Disarmament'.

In this era, the idea of this happening is almost unimaginable.

How sad the course of history since 1963…

Here’s a brief extract from Kennedy’s Speech to the UN General Assembly:

The program to be presented to this assembly--for general and complete disarmament under effective international control--moves to bridge the gap between those who insist on a gradual approach and those who talk only of the final and total achievement. It would create machinery to keep the peace as it destroys the machinery of war. It would proceed through balanced and safeguarded stages designed to give no state a military advantage over another. It would place the final responsibility for verification and control where it belongs, not with the big powers alone, not with one's adversary or one's self, but in an international organization within the framework of the United Nations. It would assure that indispensable condition of disarmament--true inspection--and apply it in stages proportionate to the stage of disarmament. It would cover delivery systems as well as weapons. It would ultimately halt their production as well as their testing, their transfer as well as their possession. It would achieve under the eyes of an international disarmament organization, a steady reduction in force, both nuclear and conventional, until it has abolished all armies and all weapons except those needed for internal order and a new United Nations Peace Force. And it starts that process now, today, even as the talks begin.

In short, general and complete disarmament must no longer be a slogan, used to resist the first steps. It is no longer to be a goal without means of achieving it, without means of verifying its progress, without means of keeping the peace. It is now a realistic plan, and a test--a test of those only willing to talk and a test of those willing to act.

Such a plan would not bring a world free from conflict and greed-- but it would bring a world free from the terrors of mass destruction. It would not usher in the era of the super state--but it would usher in an era in which no state could annihilate or be annihilated by another.

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Sid

I enjoyed your post and have added the information to my collection of research. I was not aware of that particular speech but have, over the past year or so come to believe that the issue of nuclear disarmament may well be the key to the assassination of JFK.

I invite you to read my posts that deal with the issue.

I believe that John J. McCloy, at one time Kennedy's key advisor on nuclear talks with the Soviets, is a primary suspect in this case because of his disagreements with Kennedy over that issue (I also suggest that the failure of the Paris Summit in May of 1960 was a planned opperation by the same man using Lee Harvey Oswald to provide the Soviets with information to accomplish the downing of Francis Gary Powers in his U-2).

I also suggest that Maxwell Taylor may well have had a similar beef with Kennedy over the disarmament issue. These two men (McCloy and Taylor) who were long term associates and tennis partners, along with their connections to General Edwin Walker and a NSA employee named John Hurt, had the means and the motive to assassinate the President. They also had the ability to orchestrate a cover-up of the opperation.

If you have any questions on my posts feel free to ask.

Jim Root

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I enjoyed your post and have added the information to my collection of research. I was not aware of that particular speech but have, over the past year or so come to believe that the issue of nuclear disarmament may well be the key to the assassination of JFK.

I invite you to read my posts that deal with the issue.

I believe that John J. McCloy, at one time Kennedy's key advisor on nuclear talks with the Soviets, is a primary suspect in this case because of his disagreements with Kennedy over that issue (I also suggest that the failure of the Paris Summit in May of 1960 was a planned opperation by the same man using Lee Harvey Oswald to provide the Soviets with information to accomplish the downing of Francis Gary Powers in his U-2).

I also suggest that Maxwell Taylor may well have had a similar beef with Kennedy over the disarmament issue. These two men (McCloy and Taylor) who were long term associates and tennis partners, along with their connections to General Edwin Walker and a NSA employee named John Hurt, had the means and the motive to assassinate the President. They also had the ability to orchestrate a cover-up of the opperation.

I agree with you Jim. See Assassination, Terrorism and the Arms Trade: The Contracting Out of U.S. Foreign Policy: 1940-2006:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5799

Maxwell Taylor was also in conflict with JFK Vietnam policy. I highly recommend David Kaiser, American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson and the Origins of the Vietnam War, for details of this conflict.

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John

I appreciate your comments.

Please read my post on Sylvanus Thayer. All three men, McCloy, Taylor and Walker speak of or write of this man (Thayer) within a two week period (May 25, 1963 - June 12, 1963).

In the life of Thayer the date November 22 is a key date. Were these three men identifying the date of Kennedy's travel to Dallas? Not only do you have the unusual fact of communication between McCloy and Walker you have the unusual coincidence of the date November 22.

Means, motive and mechanics???

Jim Root

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