March 20, 2012
JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS, FIFTH CONVERSATION VIII
Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 concludes our report on the fifth conversation from “Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy,” published by Hyperion.
The fifth conversation was recorded on March 24, 1964.
Arthur Schlesinger asks “Do you remember much about the trip to Canada?”
Jacqueline Kennedy says:
“Oh, yes that was our first (trip). I remember everything about it. I remember Vanier, the Governor General…the most marvelous looking old man….”*
*Georges P. Vanier, born in Montreal, became the 1st French Canadian governor general of Canada. He served from 1959 until his death in 1967. In 1999, he placed 1st on a list of the 100 most influential Canadians of all time.
“I rode from the airport to Ottawa with Madame Vanier. She would be telling me how to wave & always calling me ‘dear.’
She was very protective.
The crowds were terribly enthusiastic….you could tell they meant it.”
Mr. Schlesinger asks if Mrs. Kennedy had met de Gaulle before.
“I had just met de Gaulle. Jack was campaigning in…Oregon…& I just met him at a reception at the French embassy & guess I talked to him for about 10 minutes.”
Mr. Schlesinger asks ‘Was he easy to talk to?’
“I suppose he wasn’t–I just—I told him how much Jack admired him & made up some completely–But I thought he was easy to talk to when we were in France.”
About the state visit to France, Mrs. Kennedy says:
“I’d ask (de Gaulle) things of history…..then he leaned across the table to Jack at lunch & said in French, ‘Mrs. Kennedy knows more French history than most Frenchwomen.'”
She goes on…
“De Gaulle has a very–a sort of courtly, rather nice way with women. I mean, I know he was interested in me & everything & impressed by Jack.”
Mr. Schlesinger asks what Madame de Gaulle was like.
Mrs. Kennedy replies:
“She just looked so long-suffering, poor woman, so tired. You know, they have more state visits than anyone.”
Returning to her discussion about President De Gaulle, Mrs. Kennedy says that JFK asked him about his relationship with Churchill & FDR.
Jacqueline says that De Gaulle replied….
“With Churchill….I was always in disagreement but we always reached an accord. With Roosevelt I was never in disagreement & we never reached an accord.”