Kennedy rented a brothel on Chile visit
Published 01/03/2011 | 05:00
TED Kennedy, the late US senator and the youngest of the three brothers who lit up Washington in the 1960s, rented an entire brothel for a night during a South American junket, it has emerged.
The FBI's file on Mr Kennedy states that he "made arrangements" to hire a bordello in Santiago, Chile, while visiting the region in 1961, toward the end of his brother John's first year as US president.
Mr Kennedy, then a 29-year-old district attorney in Massachusetts, also "invited one of the embassy chauffeurs to participate in the night's activities", according to a memo sent to Washington. At the time, he had been married to his first wife, Joan, for three years.
Mr Kennedy's other brother, Robert, was the US Attorney General, making his actions potentially even more embarrassing. Mr Kennedy died of brain cancer in August 2009, aged 77. He had divorced Mrs Kennedy, with whom he had two sons and a daughter, in 1982, and married Victoria Reggie -- who was 22 years his junior -- in 1992.
While he ended his career a distinguished and well-loved elder statesman, Mr Kennedy led a life as a young man tainted by scandal, contributing some of the darker chapters to the Kennedy clan's story.
After a party in July 1969, he drove a car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, in an accident that killed his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne (28). Mr Kennedy, by then a senior Democratic senator, left the scene and only contacted authorities the next morning, after the body had been found. He denied he had been drunk.
The bordello incident came to light after a pro-transparency group sued the FBI, which had blacked out details such as the brothel rental when asked to release the file under freedom of information laws. The file also sheds light on the suspicions held by some in the American establishment that, at a time of grave threat from the USSR, Mr Kennedy and his brothers were "soft" on communism.
It states that Mr Kennedy infuriated US diplomats during his tour in Latin America by insisting on meeting the local "angry young men" of the political left wherever he went.
The US ambassador to Colombia said the first person Mr Kennedy wanted to meet in Bogota was Lauchlin Currie, a former White House aide who was accused of being a Soviet spy and moved to Colombia after his US passport was not renewed in 1954.
While in Mexico, Mr Kennedy also wanted to host local radicals at the US embassy, much to the annoyance of the US ambassador, Thomas Mann.
Douglas Henderson, a US official in Peru, reported that Mr Kennedy had made similar demands in Lima. "Henderson described Kennedy as pompous and a spoiled brat," the memo states. (© Daily Telegraph, London)