In 1963

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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What was extraordinary about JFK’s plan for U.S.-Soviet moon flight

A faithful reader sends along the headline that accompanied JFK’s bold proposal on September 20 1963 for a joint U.S.-Soviet space project.

JFK Joint Moon Plan

While JFK’s proposal has been forgotten in popular memory and sometimes overlooked by historians, it was understood as highly significant at the time. Kennedy was pushing, not just a scientific endeavor, but a peaceful end to the Cold War.

You can read JFK’s speech here.

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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Did Castro figure out the JFK case in just five days?

Under the suggestive title “Castro Figured Out The JFK Case in Five Days”, an English version of his speech at the University of Havana on November 27, 1963, is available from CTKA.

In due course, the Warren Commission was provided with a slightly different version, but its members feared and rejected Castro’s line of argument depicting JFK’s assassination as part of a broader “plan against peace, against Cuba, against the Soviet Union, against humanity, against progressive and even liberal sectors of the United States.”

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Taylor and Joint Chiefs discussed possibility of a plot to overthrow the U.S. government

On question of the Pentagon reaction to JFK’s assassination, a reader writes that the story Gen. Maxwell Taylor took a nap is misleading, at least according to one journalist historian.

Peter writes:

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The U.S. military on November 22: ‘The atmosphere around the Pentagon was so heated that day …’

JCS at JFK funeral

Gens. Maxwell Taylor and Curtis LeMay at the funeral of JFK, November 25, 1963 (Credit Abbie Rowe/JFK Library

In response to my query about Gen. Maxwell Taylor and the events of 1963, reader John writes:

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How did Gen. Maxwell Taylor, JCS chairman, react to the death of JFK?

Gen. Maxwell Taylor

Gen. Maxwell Taylor with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, left, and JFK. (Credit: Robert Knudsen/JFK  Library)


I ask because I don’t know the answer. In a crisis like a presidential assassination, the role of the nation’s top soldier is worth understanding. But I don’t know how Taylor responded Can any help me out here?

I known Taylor testified to the Church Committee but only about the plots to kill Castro.

Taylor was known in CIA traffic as GPPHOTO, perhaps in recognition of his manly photogenic style. Robert Kennedy named one of his sons after him, a measure of the personal affection the Kennedys had for the general.


The day JFK belatedly set the Civil Rights Act in motion

The events of 55 years ago today, as recounted in The New Yorker: Read more

How JFK sought to end the Cold War: with science

A friend passed this History News post with a comment.

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‘We should not all be painted with the same brush’

Sandra writes:

Now reading “The Ghost . . .”.On page 145, Jefferson Morley states, “In Columbus, Mississippi, high school students cheered the death of the liberal president . . . ”

Sandra wants to make an important point about the South and JFK’s assassination. Read more

Tour the White House with Jackie Kennedy

On Feb. 14, 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy took CBS News and a national television audience on a tour of the newly remodeled White House.
Let’s tag along.

Memories of the CIA in Miami

A faithful reader sent a link to a telling new story about the CIA in Miami in the 1960s when the presence of one of the largest CIA stations in the world was an open secret — yet officially unknown.

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4 CIA lies: New JFK files show how assassination investigation was controlled, not ‘botched’

New JFK filesIn May 1964, top CIA officials stonewalled the official investigation of the murder of President John F. Kennedy by concealing or downplaying evidence about the Cuban contacts of the accused assassin, according to newly declassified documents.

The documents, released online last month by the National Archives, show how two CIA spymasters concocted a series of false and misleading statements that served to steer the Warren Commission investigation away from evidence that might point to a conspiracy.

The long-secret records, stamped with the words “Reproduction Prohibited,” shed new light on two key issues related to the death of JFK: 1) the agency’s plots to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro at the time JFK was killed; and 2) the CIA’s pre-assassination knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald, the 24-year-old ex-Marine, who was arrested for killing Kennedy.

The new files show the JFK investigation was not “botched” as Politico and NPR have reported. Rather, the documents show hwo the probe was controlled by two top CIA officials.

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JFK’s last birthday: Gifts, champagne and wandering hands on the presidential yacht 

On May 29, 1963, Kennedy and about two dozen others boarded the 104-foot Sequoia, the presidential yacht, for a dinner party cruise down the Potomac River. It was a family-and-friends-only affair. Aside from a few Secret Service agents, the roster of guests gleamed with a touch of Hollywood — actors David Niven (“Separate Tables” and “The Pink Panther”) and Peter Lawford (a Rat Packer who was married to Patricia Kennedy, the commander in chief’s sister).

Source: JFK’s last birthday: Gifts, champagne and wandering hands on the presidential yacht – The Washington Post

RFK’s secret campaign to become LBJ’s Vice President

By late July, Johnson could no longer risk waiting until the Democratic convention to remove Kennedy from vice presidential consideration. The president called his attorney general on Monday, July 27, and asked him to come to the White House—Tuesday, if he could—to talk over “some other matters.”

Source: Robert Kennedy’s Secret Campaign to Become Lyndon Johnson’s Vice President

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