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Eavesdropping on JFK & Ike: Hear Their Cuban Missile Crisis Phone Call

This week marks two significant anniversaries in the realm of American rhetoric and politics  — the 50th anniversaries of President Eisenhower’s farewell address and President Kennedy’s inaugural — and On Point is looking at both. (Hear our show on Eisenhower; and catch our show on JFK.)

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has just put online a number of documents, to mark the anniversary. One of the new items made available is a phone call between Eisenhower and Kennedy, who was grappling with the Cuban missile crisis and seeking advice from his predecessor. Note the uneasy laughter from both at the end of the call, which we excerpt here:

President John Kennedy and former President Dwight Eisenhower at Camp David in Maryland, April 22, 1961, where the two met to discuss Cuba. (AP Photo)

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  • Zeno

    The audio clip is surprisingly caviler and matter of fact. Interesting.

  • http://www.onpointradio.org/about-on-point/sam-gale-rosen Sam Gale Rosen

    On a lighter note, here is a recording of Lyndon Johnson ordering pants (NOTE – President Johnson uses language that might be considered NSFW): http://whitehousetapes.net/clips/1964_0809_lbj_haggar/

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Kennedy was saying the USSR wanted a base on Cuba in exchange for America’s base in Berlin. I thought I heard that. I know we eventually had a big military installation in West Berlin, and I’m confused about the timing of the Wall going up. If Khruschchev put up the Berlin Wall in response to Eisenhower correctly telling Kennedy in this phone call “I don’t believe so” (in that Texas drawl), in response to, basically, Kennedy asking Eisenhower: if we call their bluff, do you think they will bomb us…
    Berlin was the hot potato being played with, apparently being our “outpost” near the USSR. And Cuba was the USSR’s outpost near the USA.
    However, NATO was right next to the USSR in many places, so…
    As to LBJ, I thought only females of the species can take ten minutes ordering a pair of pants. LOL. I’d say he was lonely for his dog that day.

  • http://akhil.com Evan

    This phone convorsation helped me a lot in the documentary i am doing mor my sschool. thank you very much for this.

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