In 1963

About those Kennedy Kards

The now poignant Kennedy Kards deck was published in early 1963 when the public infatuation with JFK had been revitalized by his statesmanship in the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962.

JFK was the Jack of Hearts, First Lady Jackie the Queen of Hearts, and Bobby Kennedy, the King of Diamonds.

“Long live the King, Queen and Jack,” proclaimed an informational card that came with the deck.

Within the year, the Jack of Clubs, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, would be president. Read more

Fidel Castro: ‘Concerning the Facts and Consequences of the Tragic Death of President John F. Kennedy’

What Cuban leader Fidel Castro said  on November 23, 1963 about JFK’s assassination: Read more

‘Concerning the Facts and Consequences of the Tragic Death of President John F. Kennedy’

What Fidel Castro said about JFK’s  assassination on November 23, 1963. He was judicious. Read more

‘Jim [Angleton] would prefer to wait out the Commission …’

“Jim would prefer to wait out the Commission on the matter covered by paragraph 2 …”

CIA’s Raymond Rocca, writing to Richard Helms regarding counterintelligence chief James Angleton’s desire to stonewall the Warren Commission on certain CIA materials passed to the Secret Service.
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‘Concerning the Facts and Consequences of the Tragic Death of President John F. Kennedy’

What Fidel Castro said on November 23, 1963: Read more

Roger Hilsman on JFK’s Vietnam plans

“At the end, Ngu Dinh Diem was talking to nobody but his brother Nu. Read more

Former president Truman called for abolition of CIA

Truman's complaint

Truman’s complaint

“For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment,” wrote former president Harry Truman in the Washington Post on December 22, 1963. It was exactly one month after the assassination of President Kennedy.

“It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas,” Truman wrote.

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June 11, 1963: Kennedy emerges on civil rights

President Kennedy’s growth as a leader in June 1963 is a key to understanding his life and death.

As Arms Control Today documented last year, JFK’s June 10 speech at American University would influence the arms control vision all of the U.S. presidents who followed him. And as this New York Times column notes, his often-overlooked nationally televised address on June 11, 1963, signaled his evolution as a civil rights leader.

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June 10, 1963: A profile in courage with lethal consequences

President Kennedy’s speech to the graduating class of American University in Washington DC 51 years ago today represented the high point of his efforts to wind down the Cold War. His vigorous style and clear mind never had a more important goal — or more powerful enemies.

April 10, 1963: Oswald tries to shoot General. Walker

Ron Capshaw, a writer in Midlothian, Virginia, argued here two years ago that Lee Oswald had fired a rifle shot at former U.S. Army General Edwin Walker on April 10, 1963. Walker, cashiered for proselytizing troops with his right-wing, white supremacist politics, was a harsh critic of JFK.

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That awkward moment

… when you are told you have been charged with killing the president of the United States of America.

Putting aside ‘American exceptionalism,’ JFK proposed cooperation in space

In response to my question on Wednesday, a reader sent this video.  (H/T David)

Did JFK propose a joint U.S.-Soviet flight to the moon?

JFK speaks to the UN on Sept. 20, 1963. (UN photo credit, Teddy Chen.)


Yes. It happened on September 20, 1963, according to It is one of the lesser known but more important events in the last months of President Kennedy’s life and presidency.

In the fall of 1963, JFK was on a political roll. His approval ratings had climbed. He had overcome the grumbling of the Pentagon and all but secured Senate ratification of the popular Limited Test Ban Treaty, banning nuclear explosions in space. Then he went to New York to say something daring.

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Andrew Cohen’s new book highlights two key JFK speeches

A new book, Two Days in June, calls attention to the JFK’s supremely important and still relevant speech at American University on June 10, 1963, in which he asked Americans to rethink ‘peace.’

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Like Obama, JFK wanted to make peace with Cuba

Fifty one years before President Obama normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba, President John F. Kennedy was thinking of doing the same. To start the negotiations, Obama sent one of his aides, Ben Rhodes, to talk to the Cuban government.

Likewise in the fall of 1963, JFK authorized a U.S.diplomat, Bill Attwood, to make contact with Cuban representatives to discuss the outlines of an agreement between the two countries.

In a new document collection, Cuba – United States Secret Diplomacy Documents (1961-1977), published by Paperless Archives, you can follow how JFK’s pursuit of peace with Cuba, right up to the moment he was assassinated.

After JFK was dead, LBJ had no interest and the initiative died. It would take a half century before JFK’s goal was achieved.

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