The last secretly taped White House recordings of John F. Kennedy’s time in office have been released.
You may have thought you had heard nearly all that went on in the Oval office at the time but the material provides a unique insight into the last three months of his administration.
Presidential library experts say Kennedy can be heard stumping experts with his questions in areas that were not necessarily his forte.
In one exchange he wonders aloud how top advisors have completely different assessments of what was happening in South Vietnam as a result of their fact-finding mission.
The JFK Presidential Library and Museum said the conversations were intentionally recorded by the president, often captured in the Oval Office or Cabinet Room, but were kept secret from even Kennedy’s top aides.
During another exchange with the Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, Kennedy’s children can be heard playing in the background. At one point JFK junior even says hello on the phone after his father tells the boy that Gromyko’s boss sent him puppies.
The recording give historians a view of the president’s voice, the ebb and flow of a conversation which cannot be captured in official meeting minutes.
The tapes also include discussions about the 1964 campaign and a conversation on his schedule for the coming week just days before Kennedy was assassinated.
The last meeting taped was on November 20 1963, where Kennedy can be heard commenting on a briefing book he would need to take with him to Texas, on what proved be a fatal trip. He left for Dallas the next day.