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JULY 9, 2012


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue our report of Chapter 11 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy.  It is published by Little, Brown & Company.

The title of Chapter 11 is The Showdown with Khrushchev.

Kenny writes that he asked JFK if, after meeting Nikita Khrushchev,  he found him much different from what he had expected.

JFK responded:

“Not at all.  Maybe a little more unreasonable.  I expected him to be smart & tough.  He would have to be….to work his way to the top….”*

*This was actually the 2nd meeting between JFK & NK.  They had met previously in 1959 at a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

During the 1st meeting, Kenny says that Khrushchev “began to get rough & blustery.”

Despite that fact, Kenny goes on to say that JFK “gave as good….than he received” & later in his memoirs Khrushchev was impressed with JFK’s reasoning & firmness at Vienna.

But the Premier was disturbed when JFK referred to the danger of a Russian miscalculation that might set of a war.

JFK’s use of the word miscalculation caused Khrushchev, in Kennedy’s words, “to go berserk.”

Khrushchev responded:

“Miscalculation!  All I ever hear from your people…..is that damned word, miscalculation!  You ought to take that word & bury it in cold storage & never use it again. I’m sick of it!”

JFK told Kenny later…

“I’m trying to remind myself, the next time I’m talking to Khrushchev, don’t mention ‘miscalculation.'”


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