Listening In At The End Of JFK's Life

By WGBH News

Jan. 24, 2012


Kennedy secretly recorded over 260 hours of conversation during his time in the Oval Office. (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum)

BOSTON — On Tuesday, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum released the final 45 hours of White House recordings from the end of the president's life. The tapes, which have been digitized and can be downloaded in full, cover topics including the war in Vietnam, relations with the Soviet Union ... and Kennedy's never-to-be-realized re-election campaign. WGBH News' Jordan Weinstein talked to JFK Library declassification archivist Maura Porter about the historical significance.

A few excerpts from the recordings:

On Nov. 12, 1963, the president meets with a team of political advisors for several hours to discuss details of the 1964 convention and the issues that might define the upcoming campaign.


Undersecretary of state George Ball tells Kennedy, "We don't want to be bogged down in Southeast Asia forever."


In the final seconds of taping, on Nov. 20, Kennedy talks about his plans for after he returns from Dallas.

>> Hear more recordings.

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