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JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS: THE SIXTH CONVERSATION IV

March 24, 2012

JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS: THE SIXTH CONVERSATION IV

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 continues 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 brings up the meeting at the White House with Isaiah Berlin when the topic of discussion was Russia.*

Jacqueline Kennedy says:

“Jack loved that & he loved to just listen to Isaiah Berlin.”

Mrs. Kennedy tells Schlesinger to read an article in Show magazine which she thinks “is quite unfair in its judgment of Jack but…starts from the premise that “Melbourne” was his favorite book & says what he really was most like were these great Whig(s)….who had everything…..yet cared.”

Jacqueline Kennedy continues…

“He loved so to hear those (brilliant English) people talk.  You know they knew so much, their educations were incredible.  That’s when he was happiest. So he loved Isaiah Berlin.”*

*Sir Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997) was a British social & political theorist who was described as “one of the finest minds of our time.”  During WWII, he worked for the British Diplomatic Service.


Plaque Marking the Childhood Home of Isaiah Berlin, Photo by Alma Pater, 2009

Arthur Schlesinger asks Mrs. Kennedy “Do you want to say something about the relationship of David (Gore)?”

Mrs. Kennedy responds:

“Yeah.  Jack used to say that David Gore was the brightest man he’d ever met.  And (he) has also the conciliatory sort of side that Jack did.”

Mr. Schlesinger asks if the President saw David Gore often.

Mrs. Kennedy answers:

“We’d see them a lot.  They would stay with us, usually on vacations, or they’d come for a weekend to Camp David, or the country, or the Cape.  And they were always talking on the phone.”

Jacqueline expresses the view that while Gore did not have the drive that her husband did, “he still cares.”**

**David Ormsby-Gore (1918-1985) was British ambassador to the United States.  He is said to have supplied JFK with advice & Cuban cigars.  He resigned as ambassador in 1965 to take his father’s seat in the House of Lords.

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