“I asked him [RFK], perhaps tactlessly, about Oswald. He said that there could be no serious doubt that he was guilty, but there was still argument whether he did it by himself or as part of a larger plot, whether organized by Castro or by gangsters. He said that the FBI thought he had done it by himself, but that McCone thought there were two people involved in the shooting.”
— Arthur Schlesinger writing about a conversation with Robert Kennedy on Dec. 5, 1963, quoted in Schlesinger’s Journals: 1952-2000, p. 214.
On our third podcast (now downloadable!) featuring analysis and discussion of topics relevant to the study of President Kennedy’s assassination including: the 48th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s assassination, Jeff Morley’s new ebook, CIA & JFK, and his next book on James Jesus Angleton (2017). We also delved into Dan Hardway’s remarkable declaration and his recent articles at aarclibrary.org and 2017JFK.org.
“Perhaps there was only one assassin, but he did not act alone …. Dallas was the ideal location for such a crime.”
— William Walton, a friend of the Kennedys’, speaking on behalf of Robert and Jacqueline Kennedy. Walton delivered his message in Moscow to Georgi Bolshakov, who had been a backchannel to the Soviet leadership and was asked to repeat it to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. This incident occurred a week after the assassination.
Defenders of the semi-official theory of JFK’s assassination sometimes suggest that anyone who disagrees is deluded or dishonest. Dale Myers and Gus Russo have dubbed the benighted souls “the conspirati,” a term intended to convey disdain for those allegedly emotionally needy or intellectually incompetent people who doubt the claim that one man killed JFK for no reason.
The problem with this trope, alas, is the facts. There were plenty of astute observers of American power in 1963 who rejected the official theory of a “lone nut” and concluded President Kennedy had been killed by his enemies.
Here are six six U.S. government insiders in 1963 who suspected a JFK was killed by a conspiracy.
Only a few weeks later, Attorney General Robert Kennedy secretly recruited Donovan to undertake an even more dramatic mission, equally worthy of a Hollywood spy thriller: negotiating with Fidel Castro for the freedom of more than 1100 imprisoned members of the CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion force;
Phil Shenon writes: “I noticed the recent post on John McCone and wonder if it isn’t worth pointing out — given the recent fierce debate on the site and the criticism of my Politico piece — that Arthur Schlesinger’s quotation is strong evidence to support the idea that Bobby Kennedy DID have suspicions about Castro and Cuba, at least early on?”
Your Dallek quote had only one statement from JFK himself: “How could I have been so stupid as to let them proceed?” Not “Dulles betrayed me” — that’s an interpretation, just as it’s an interpretation (opinion) that it was JFK’s “decorum” that led him to praise Dulles highly and refer to him as a friend. IOW, JFK didn’t mean what he said about Dulles, in your view.
Personally I like direct quotes, not interpretations. Arthur Schlesinger’s book on RFK says this:
“Allen Dulles handled himself awfully well, with a great deal of dignity,” Robert Kennedy said of the period after the Bay of Pigs, “and never tried to shift the blame. The President was very fond of him, as I was.”
— Robert Kennedy and His Times, p. 459
Editor’s note – A new comment of the week will be featured each Wednesday.
In response to Phil Shenon’s article on the CIA’s JFK cover-up in Politico magazine, David Talbot disputed the claim that Robert Kennedy was responsible for Allen Dulles being on the Warren Commission.
The headline of the Washington Decoded review, Who Needs Soviet Propaganda? gives fair warning to the faint-hearted reader that a polemical bog lies ahead. Beyond this billboard, you will find a review enshrouded with disdain, intent on score-settling, and (per the headline) determined to wage Cold War. This is ancient turf haunted by huffy men, Proceed with caution.
Reviewer David Barrett is perturbed that David Talbot’s new book, “The Devil’s Chessboard,” portrays CIA director Allen Dulles as a freewheeling power broker, devil-may-care administrator, ruthless philanderer, occasional liar, and amoral covert operator whose actions destroyed lives and democracies. Read more