NEW YORK — In an unintentionally ominous prediction, John F. Kennedy said ahead of a trip to Dallas, where he would be assassinated, that he was expecting a “tough day,” secret recordings reveal.
The John F Kennedy Presidential Library on Tuesday released 45 hours of recordings that Kennedy made of his White House meetings, covering everything from US-Soviet relations to his reelection plans.
In one conversation with staff, he discusses scheduling for his upcoming November 22, 1963, trip to Dallas, Texas — the day he was shot dead while riding in a motorcade alongside his wife.
“Monday?” Kennedy says. “Well, that’s a tough day.”
“It’s a hell of a day, Mr President,” an aide replies.
Other recordings illustrate JFK’s policies just as the United States was sliding into an ever-deepening military quagmire in Vietnam and competing with the Soviet Union in space.
Kennedy told his ambassador to Moscow, Foy Kohler, that he wanted to dampen down the space race. “I would like to have an agreement on when we both try to go to the Moon. Then we wouldn’t have this intensive race,” he said. “I don’t know whether they are going to the moon.”
Talking with advisors who had made fact-finding missions to Vietnam, Kennedy expressed frustration that one, a general, was so optimistic, while another, a diplomat, indicated that the situation was far less stable.
“You both went to the same country?” Kennedy asked.