April 3, 2012
JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS: SEVENTH CONVERSATION IV
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 about Europe, in the sense of European unity & unification–Jean Monnet, for example? Did he mention him that much?
Jacqueline Kennedy answers:
“Well, he always…..thought of Jean Monnet* one of the 1st for the Medal of Freedom…so he thought he was a most wonderful man & that all that he worked & believed in….but (Jack) never really….talked to me….about European unity, but I know he was for it, wasn’t he?”
Mr. Schlesinger responds:
“Yes. I think it was quite characteristic. He was very much for it but he was much less interested than….the State Department about the questions of structure & all this kind of thing. I think he saw it as a historic inevitability.”
“On other European leaders–Fanfani came here a couple of times. In fact, when I saw Fanfani, he reminded me that he first met the President at the Chicago convention in 1956.”
Mrs. Kennedy adds:
“Well, he liked Fanfani.** You know, that was sort of the opening to the left & everything, I suppose–they got on well &–but I mean, he wasn’t just….inspired beyond belief by him.”
*Jean Monnet (1888-1979) was considered the architect of an integrated post-WWII Europe. Upset that there was no proper award for civilian achievement, JFK established the Medal of Freedom in 1963, but did not live to present it to its 1st recipients, including Monnet, in December 1963.
**Amintore Fanfani (1908-1999) was Italian prime minister for most of the JFK years. As leader of the Christian Democratic party, he had attended the 1956 Democratic convention as an observer.