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April 5, 2012


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

The seventh conversation was recorded on June 3, 1964.

Arthur Schlesinger asks:

“Did the President talk much about Africa?  The Congo?”

Jacqueline Kennedy answers:

“Yes.  (Jack said) ‘it’s those far-out places in Africa that are….the exciting places for a diplomat to be, & where you can do the most.'”

Mrs. Kennedy goes on to talk about Ed Guillion* who, she says, “was the only person in the State Department who would sort of talk to Jack.”

Jacqueline Kennedy says that Mr. Guillion’s appointment as ambassador of the Congo “just showed what (Jack) thought of him.  He really thought he was exceptional.”

Mr. Schlesinger then asks about the year 1963 & Vietnam.

Mrs. Kennedy responds:

“Yes….it was trouble for so long (but) when the coup came, Jack was just sick.  I know he’d done something to try to stop it (but) when Diem was murdered, Jack was….just wounded.”

*Edmund Asbury Guillion, a career diplomat, was born in Lexington, Kentucky & graduated from Princeton in 1935 & National War College in 1949.

Guillion led young congressman John F. Kennedy through South Vietnam on his 1st visit.  He was troubled by the use of defoliants by the U.S. in South Vietnam because of its adverse impact on international public opinion.

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