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March 5, 2012


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 begins our report on the fourth conversation from “Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy,” published by Hyperion.

The fourth conversation was recorded on Monday, March 23, 1964.

Jacqueline Kennedy begins this conversation with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. on the topic of the birth of JFK, Jr.

She says:

John F. Kennedy, Jr. was born “November 25–it was Thanksgiving Day.  (Jack) stayed at our house in Georgetown all the time, sort of forming his cabinet &…marching over to the hospital about 3 times a day.”*

*A footnote in the book explains that the plan was actually for JFK Jr. to be born in New York in mid-December, but because Jackie went into premature labor, the baby was born at Georgetown University Hospital.

Georgetown Street Sign, Washington, D.C. Photo by John White (2011)

Mr. Schlesinger asks:

“How did (Dean) Rusk (JFK’s appointee for Secretary of State) strike you?

Mrs. Kennedy responds:

“He was very quiet (but) I was really quite weak (when Rusk met with JFK at the N Street home)…really in bed most of the time.  I thought (Rusk) was…..a rather compassionate man (but) terribly scared to make a decision.”

She continues:

“It used to drive Jack crazy in the White House.  So he really turned out not to be so satisfactory.”**

**Dean Rusk (1909-1994) was born in Cherokee County, Georgia & educated in the Atlanta public schools.  He was a graduate of Davidson College (NC) & earned his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He was also a Rhodes Scholar.

Rusk served as Truman’s assistant secretary of state for the Far East & later was president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Dean Rusk, appointed by JFK on December 12, 1960, is the 2nd longest serving Secretary of State in U.S. history, 2nd only to Cordell Hull.

In his autobiography, Rusk wrote that he did not have a good relationship with President Kennedy. 

There was speculation that JFK might replace him in a 2nd term.

JFK, Dean Rusk & Bob McNamara, White House Cabinet Room, October 1962, JFK Library Photo



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