Saturday 25 November 2017

John F Kennedy predicted the Monday of his funeral would be 'tough day'

President John F Kennedy. Photo: Getty Images
President John F Kennedy. Photo: Getty Images
KN-C23643 12SEP1962President John F. Kennedy Address at Rice University in Houston on the Nation's Space Effort. Please credit "Robert Knudsen, White House/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston"
Clint Hill leaps on to the limousine carrying the mortally wounded President John F Kennedy as it races to hospital seconds after he was shot on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.

Rosa Prince

SECRET recordings made by President John F Kennedy reveal that, in the days before his assassination, he predicted the following Monday would be a "tough day". It was the date of his funeral.

Mr Kennedy was in the habit of recording meetings in the Oval Office at the White House without the knowledge of visitors or staff.

The newly released 45 hours of tape recordings, issued by the John F Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, cover the final months of his life.

In the last of the 40 releases issued by the library since 1993, Mr Kennedy is heard discussing the war in Vietnam, his desire to improve the economic circumstances of young voters, relations with the Soviets, and the space race.

He also expresses an interest in using the latest technology -- colour film -- at the forthcoming Democratic conference.

There are intimate moments with his family, along with dialogue in which the president is heard sounding bored, becoming annoyed and swearing.

At one point, Mr Kennedy's young children, John Jr and Caroline, are heard playing outside the Oval Office before he introduces them to Andrei Gromyko, the Soviet foreign minister.

"Hello, hello," Mr Gromyko says as the children come in.

The president reminds the children that Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader, had given them a dog.

Maura Porter, archivist at the Kennedy Library, who oversaw the release of the tapes, said: "He would go from being a president to being a father."

In one unnerving exchange, on November 19 1963, Mr Kennedy is heard in a diary meeting with an aide discussing whether he is free to see an Indonesian general the following week.

"I will see him -- when is he here, Monday? Well that's a tough day," he says.

"It's a hell of a day, Mr President," the staffer replies. Mr Kennedy was buried six days later on Monday, November 25.

It is not clear why the president made the hundreds of hours of recordings, or kept them secret from even senior staff.

Ms Porter said the president may have intended to use them when writing a future memoir. (© The Daily Telegraph, London)

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