April 1, 2012
JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS: SEVENTH CONVERSATION II
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 says:
“The next big thing was de Gaulle’s veto of British entrance into the Common Market. The President was rather fascinated by de Gaulle, wasn’t he? As a historical phenomenon?”
Jacqueline Kennedy replies:
“Of course he was always interested in him, but really it was more Churchill. And I think probably because I read….de Gaulle’s memoirs & because he used a sentence from one of them when he announced for the presidency–‘I’ve always had a certain image of America’–that’s taken from the opening line of de Gaulle’s–“I’ve always had a certain image of France.’ Just that.”
Mrs. Kennedy goes on to say that JFK used to talk to her about de Gaulle realistically….”(as a) man (that) was just consumed…with grudges.”
She says that her husband “just seemed to have such distaste for someone who was so spiteful.”
Jackie Kennedy says:
“(Jack) gave so much & that spiteful man gave so little.”
Mrs. Kennedy concludes her comments on Charles de Gaulle by saying that she felt her husband believed the French president’s ego was his “horrible failure” & that “I don’t think he did think much of him.”*
*Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970) led Free French Forces during WWII & then founded the Fifth French Republic in 1958. He served as President from 1959 to 1969.
As the President of France, he supported French autonomy. In 1959, he said:
“It is Europe….that will decide the destiny of the world.”