March 30, 2012
JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS: SIXTH CONVERSATION X
Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 concludes our report on the sixth conversation from “Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy,” published by Hyperion.
The sixth conversation was recorded on June 3, 1964.
Arthur Schlesinger says:
“One thing that mystified people….was the way George Smathers survived. (JFK) would get very mad about Smathers, about (his votes against) Medicare, foreign aid.,,,:*
Jacqueline Kennedy responds:
“And I used to get so mad at that–& hurt (but Jack) had such charity. And it was really a friend of one side of Jack (who) didn’t want to stick it to someone who’d once been a friend.”
Mrs. Kennedy also refers to Edward Stockdale, a friend of Senator Smathers.**
Schlesinger interjects “Kenny (O’Donnell) hated Smathers.”
Mrs. Kennedy says:
“Yeah, & I didn’t like Smathers.”
Arthur Schlesinger asks if the President ever mentioned Hale Boggs.***
Mrs. Kennedy says:
“Well, I know he liked Hale Boggs very much, yes. (He) had been our friend before the White House. He always loved Hale Boggs.”
Jacqueline Kennedy concludes the sixth conversation by commenting on the wives who went away (for safety reasons) during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
“My God, I don’t think that shows you love your husband very much.”
*George Smathers (1913-2007) was a Democratic Senator from Florida 1951 to 1969. He earned his law degree from the University of Florida where he was president of the student body & captain of the basketball team.
He was an officer in the USMC during WWII. As a senator, he opposed civil rights legislation & signed the Southern Manifesto in opposition to the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954.
In 1965, however, Smathers was one of only 4 Southern Democratic senators to vote for LBJ’s Voting Rights Act.
**Edward Grant Stockdale (1915-1963) was a real estate speculator & aide to Senator Smathers who was JFK’s 1st ambassador to Ireland. He died on December 2, 1963 in a fall from a Miami office tower. Senator Smathers said he had been despondent over JFK’s assassination (he did not leave a suicide note).
***Hale Boggs (1914-1972) was a Democratic congressman from Louisiana & House majority leader.