President Kennedy’s speech to the graduating class of American University in Washington DC on June 10, 1963, represented the beginning of his “strategy for peace” to wind down the Cold War. His bold proposal for a joint U.S.-Soviet moon flight was part of this strategy.
Kennedy’s vigorous style and clear mind never had a more important goal — or more powerful enemies.
“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.
On November 5, 1963, President Kennedy was exploring the idea. You can hear JFK talking about it with aides on this White House tape recording. (The substantive conversation starts at :25 in the recording.)
Fifty fifty years ago, a man named Lee Harvey Oswald came to the attention of a group of senior CIA officers in Langley, Virginia. Oswald had recently visited the Cuban consulate and Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. A CIA wiretap captured a man identifying himself as “Oswald.”
Insider: Fidel Castro, Nikolai Leonov, and Nikita Khrushchev
Nikolai S. Leonov has an interesting perspective on the story of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Leonov joined the KGB in 1958 and retired in 1991 with the rank of Lieutenant General. In the spring of 1963, his fluency in Spanish gained him the job as the Russian interpreter for Cuba president Fidel Castro during his first visit to the USSR in the spring of 1963, In the photo above he is the man standing between and behind Castro and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Read more
On this day 55 years ago, a strange American visitor appeared at the Soviet and Cuban consulates in Mexico City. His name would soon be world famous: Lee Harvey Oswald. Within 24 hours, a joint US-Mexico intelligence gathering operation received wiretap reports on his unusual actions.
When it was released in 1964, the movie’s chilling message about the fragility of American democracy and the danger of far-Right paranoia was underscored by a real-life backstory that was just as disturbing. Frankenheimer made Seven Days in May at the personal urging of President John F. Kennedy, who’d clashed with an Army general with extremist views early in his administration, and apparently feared such a cabal really was possible. Sadly, JFK did not live to see the film he helped bring to the screen