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tv   Book TV After Words  CSPAN  October 27, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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exploding. sometimes i'm not easy to pigeonhole. some may criticized by prada of the fact i do work with the other side but find like-minded people who happen to be democrats. >> host: talking with senator rand paul the author of the tea party goes to washington. a new book comes out call the government believes. c-span2. . .
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as bobby kennedy's memoir was called back in 1959 and is hollywood version with kevin costner. what made you decide to focus on the aftermath? >> guest: there are two things i want to talk about what this book, two different tracks that end up dovetailing. first of almost of the books on the cuban missile crisis and on october 28 when khrushchev decided he was going to back down and he had agreed to withdraw the missiles from cuba. so the first question i had was not what? what happened? interestingly and this goes back to what usually happens, we x'ing out what happened in the weeks and months after that from
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cuban sources than we do from the american side because it simply hasn't been a lot of study on american side about what happened. i happen to be lucky enough to be working with the kennedy tapes during that period when kennedy was taping during nap period so i had this remarkable window. i wanted to sort of extend the story of the missile crisis to find out what happened then because on the 13th day when khrushchev capitulated there was tens of thousands of troops in cuba and there were nuclear bombers and givan still tactical or nuclear weapons. >> host: the the americans really didn't know about them to any great extent. >> guest: they would know about them a little bit later but the point being that khrushchev had said that he he would remove the missiles but he had lied before so what happened was there was a deep skepticism among the kennedy and some of his advisers that perhaps this was just a trick because perhaps the crisis, perhaps it was actually going to get worse. that was one thing, i sort of
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wanted to deepen the story of the missile crisis. the second thing is this is a remarkable period in kennedy's presidency. it really is a pivot point when he can turn his presidency around. if you do any polls today on the greatest president since world war ii, kennedy ranks head and shoulders number one in that one of the primary reasons for that is his handling of the cuban missile crisis. i wanted to look at this period where kennedy ticket presidency that wasn't going as well as he had hoped and was able to turn things around and was able to establish a legacy that was a pivoting point up to the beginning of 1963. these two things dovetailed echoes what we understand about the cuban missile crisis that this was a great kennedy victory, this was a paramount for american history i would argue is not inevitable. if you go back to december or january of 1963, it was still touch touching though as to whether or not this was going to go down as a kennedy victory or a kennedy failure.
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kennedy's political opponents were trying to paint it as a kennedy -- so i think this battle is going on but kennedy trying to shape his presidency and define his presidency and shape his legacy. going on at the same time involves how we understand the missile crisis today. >> host: looking backwards of course this would all be under the shadow of kennedy's assassination a year later and i remember one of the first books about the missile crisis, the cover was emblazoned, his finest hour so everyone thinks this was a triumph but as your book makes clear was a very complicated and dicey situation when the crisis seemingly had ended but there were a lot of issues left on the table and your book first deals with the question of trust of the inspection. ronald reagan said trust but verify and the day they agreed
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him move the missiles fidel castro refused to allow any missile dismantling and removal from cuba so what were some of the complications that kennedy had to deal with beginning on october 29 of the whole issue of inspection and dealing with the soviet weapons and forces left over in cuba? >> guest: i think the context, it's important for member on october 182 days after kennedy had been shown photographs of her missiles in cuba, andre mariko came into the office in kennedy -- nuclear missiles in cuba and he said no, they are not doing that. kennedy had the 8 x 10 glossy photo so kennedy has just been lied to directly about the missiles. fast-forward almost two to two weeks and you have got this issue with the soviet premier says we will remove the missiles, trust us we will do it. so the issue is not so much trust and verify that it was
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verify first. there really wasn't a lot of trust in the issue. kennedy himself is talking about how anatoly who was the investor to the united states we can't believe them not because necessarily he was lying but there were wrote concerns that they haven't been told about this. there are concerns about listening to any of the soviet diplomats. and so kennedy and -- have this promise but they really have to follow through and look at how to verify it. how it might be a massive trick and so what they have to do is look at how they can do it and what it involves. american eyes seeing what's happening on the ground. fidel castro said he's not going to allow that. the next best thing is sending
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american surveillance planes over. that in itself is a complicated decision because a surveillance plane had been shot down on october 20,207th and fidel castro was threatening to shoot down planes and low-level surveillance planes were coming back with bullet holes encountering antiaircraft fire when flying over cuba. so to kennedy this is a decision do i send american pilots into harm's way and they have to talk about this pretty much every day, this decision about whether or not is required and so the verification in this period is about sending american planes over and that has its risks because what you do if an american plane is shot down? there is a remarkable, we can talk a little bit later about the value of the tapes themselves but there's a remarkable moment on there in the tapes that don't show up in any other documents. it's the day before the midterm election. robert kennedy in a meeting in
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his office with anatoly, the soviet ambassador trying to work out privately about this. ford has just come to kennedy in the oval office that an american surveillance plane has been shot down or may have been shot down over cuba. kennedy has the tape recorded roll and he gets on the phone and talk to bobby kennedy while he is still in the room. kennedy at this point is thinking okay we think the plane has been shot down. now what do we do? and he is going through, do we do airstrikes and these thinking about the political pressure he will be faced with when this comes out so that they are these remarkable moments where you get to hear a president in real time struggling through okay, now what do we do? do we retaliate, do we send our planes out to knock out their arial. as it happened kennedy had to reprieve. is a false alarm and the cubans had scrambled but they had been shot down an american plane.
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to get through those windows and you get this muffled sense of tension over what kennedy is still facing and this is a week after the 13th day. day. you get a sense of how close military action was during this period. >> host: one thing that has become clear through the years kennedy was acutely fearful of escalation and how future generations would look if they had lost control of the situation as it happened in 1940 except now with nuclear weapons and on the 27th. having to shoot down the surface to air missile flight and kennedy refused because he was so afraid of escalation. one consideration the book brings out an interesting way it was and whether not to send planes. it was what kind of planes because they were the high-level planes that were safer unless vulnerable at least by the cubans because the soviets were sort of playing along. they were not shooting surface-to-air missiles but yet
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good-quality. those were bobrick to the cubans. >> guest: i think it's worth explaining why they were controlling two different systems. the soviet surface-to-air system was very sophisticated. a required six months of training for anyone to actually operated so during the process while was operated by soviets the lower level once the standard antiaircraft and you're exactly right was controlled by the cubans so cuban so they at two different leaders telling them essentially two different sets of instructions. the americans consider the soviets much more reasonable -- >> host: that brings up a fascinating issue that has become a focus of some of the new research which is we all remember the october crisis 50 years ago this month. there was a secret soviet cuban crisis in november of 1962 which is by the way the title of the new book, one of several for the anniversary by anastos --
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about how fidel castro was absolutely furious and did the american suspect how bitter they would be because there was an intense argument that -- had for the castro leadership was castro's insistence for the sake of cuban sovereignty and dignity is the word, firing on those american recognizance planes were at this says the soviets were right. we are ready to play along with bringing the crisis to a resolution. to the american suspect how large the divide was becoming? >> guest: the americans did not have detailed information about what's happening in the discussions. they did not have someone on the other side but the cubans were doing a terrible job of hiding how unhappy they were but the soviets and so what you actually get is an intelligence briefing that the president and his advisers would get every day about how annoyed and with the
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latest annoyances with castro with khrushchev and so they certainly had a sense that they didn't know the intimate details. >> host: did that at all helped to build any renewed trust in khrushchev, you know that khrushchev could now be trusted to some extent, that he is his own interest in resolving the crisis? was there this lingering sense of he pulled a fast when i should add it wasn't just a u.s. official in congress and american politics. there were those in the right-wing that were saying this is our chance to get rid of this regime. how do we know that they won't hide missiles in caves or something like that? so how did kennedy few khrushchev once he had agreed to pull the missiles out? did he begin to change his view with him? >> guest: i am not sure. i think it took a while. we were talking about verifying before talking. talking became gradually again once the, once the surveillance
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was shown that the soviets were in fact following through and they were dismantling and they started to realize that yes the soviets in khrushchev in particular was and later on there were actually moments where -- because once we get through -- see the end of the missile crisis is traditionally when the quarantine ends and the nature of that deal is essentially that there are these long-range bombers in cuba, that there are three weeks of negotiations and it's not something we have to get rid of and eventually khrushchev decides okay fine we will get rid of them and he tells the americans bouquet will get rid of them but again it's an issue, he said something that hasn't yet had an opportunity to tell the truth because what he says is yes we will get rid of them within 30 days.
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he lists the quarantine with a promise. so i think in the weeks following once they realize the soviets heard in fact following through and the soviets are kind of poor lack of a better word the responsible party in this, because frankly they did not view the cubans particularly responsible and so once they realize khrushchev was the one playing they did end up trusting more and they trusted him on his promise. they trusted him on his promise to remove combat troops and he didn't and they and. so the element of trust is actually built again. >> host: later many deemed this could've been a moment with kennedy and khrushchev's move toward a better relationship and ending or and ignore muttering the cold war and yet this was cut off by kennedy's
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assassination of your later and khrushchev in 1964 year after that. is what you're saying that this is not something that happened overnight? this was a gradual process and not an immediate -- of we can start resolving problems? >> guest: i think the trust element has taken a blow with the outbreak of the crisis. the americans and kennedy felt like to quite justifiably and was your exactly right. i think it was a slow process to regain trust that by the summer of 1963 things that sword and taken a big step. kennedy is again calling for -- talking about world peace than it sounds very generic but in the context of the time it resonated very well in khrushchev said it was the best speech by an american president since roosevelt. so you have kind of got this sort of coming together and trying to work through these difficult problems because of the shared experience of how
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close this cam. >> host: you mention the long-range bombers and this brings up another problem of what kennedy and his advisers had to wrestle with immediately after khrushchev's agreement to withdraw missiles. that meant that his advisers could try to negotiate for the soviets to withdraw more than the missiles in the aisle 28 homers became a major point of contention. one thing your book brings out to some extent is it is not entirely clear whether the consideration from the american standpoint was military security or national security, or whether domestic politics, public opinion began to enter into the considerations of kennedy and his advisers. how would you analyze that aspect of the issue of trying to resolve the crisis and a real stick up quite badly between the americans and the soviets but the soviets in the cubans.
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castro was told that the aisle 28 could -- and the soviets were going to take them out too. >> guest: i think this comes down to hell our present and kennedy went about the business of being president and how he made decisions. there was no rule for any particular position for him and there was no particular doctrine that he felt confined to. it wasn't just a matter of deciding that one type of weapon satisfied certain military security requirements or violated them or whatever. it was more looking at the particular issue on its merits. and the way i think about this is contrasting two different things. one of them was the i. al: 28 so there is the discussion on, christians said they will remove the missiles if you describe the weapons so they try to work out what is it that we can live it and what is it that we can't live within cuba
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and of course the american dr. and had different ideas of what defensive weapons were and not getting into all the details there but there's a struggle to prove with the understanding is. the long-range bomber to the americans have about 750-mile range that they were also very old. they were obsolete and not a match for the american defense in the southeast united states. but the problem was, and let's backtrack. kennedy himself did not think that this was a particularly big problem and it comes through on the tapes is the one who is the least worried about the il-28. he is actually on paper a few times saying things like we don't want to get hung up on these. i fell in reasonable trying to get these avenue is trying to put himself in khrushchev's position but he he is actually not particularly thinking itself but his advisers around him are.
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robinette macnamara is one of the most vocal about this and he says look we have to get these out. even if they are not a military threat in a clinical sense, the american public these are not going to be allowed to stay because we can't -- and george buckley argued for getting rid of them so kennedy is eventually dissuaded that even if you're not looking at clinical military assessments of what is and is the threat we have to get rid of these. then you look at some of the other weapon systems because i wasn't just about the long-range missiles. there was a lot of other military the carbon in cuba. the troops are really the issue here. the americans thought there was something around about seven or 8000 troops. the assessments vary and they change through the crisis. this half they realized was
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17,000 troops and in fact they never really understood how many would dare put on the 23rd of october, so the day after kennedy's speech to the nation, they started low-level surveillance planes and they started getting much more detail about what was on the ground in cuba and they discovered there were in fact these combat troops in cuba which was the first time they been discovered. these combat troops have sophisticated personnel carrier weapons and sophisticated canons but they also had nuclear-capable rockets called frogs in the west and -- to the soviets and so what they are trying to decide in the weeks after the 13 days is okay the first priority is getting rid of the il-28 but then we also have to figure out that we want to insist on getting these other weapons and other troops out? do we need to go to the map to force khrushchev to pull poll pull these out that the decision here is actually quite different and it drags on.
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it's a lower priority and one of the recent reasons it's a low priority is these weapons in these troops cannot reach american soil. they are threat to guantánamo. david shubin is the marine corps commandant has this wonderful line about well these weapons can deal bloody hell with guantánamo. >> host: and of course the u.s. naval base at guantánamo. >> guest: exactly right which is on the island of cuba of course but they couldn't reach the united states itself so these were not considered as urgent a threat so what actually happens is they are dropped off the top tier and by the end of november, after the november 20 deal, by november 29 kennedy is saying actually look khrushchev the city will probably remove these in due course was the phrase he used. but he really has no intention to do it and they don't really have any leverage and the only leverage we can offer is we will
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formalize a militarization guarantee that i really don't want to pay that price. that's too high a price so essentially maybe we will just have to live with it. so what happened, the soviets of their own volition, their own arguments with the cuban said that deciding to pull out the tactical mcleer weapons. the americans did not force that and the americans also did not force them to pull a combat troops although they kept you'd raising it and kennedy is still talking about it in the weeks before his assassination but they ended up staying or at least a group of them ended up staying a year and half later when jimmy carter is heading the soviets or gate in october of 1979. >> host: they have been forgotten about. >> guest: .dates back to this position in 1962 that we are not going to make these a top-tier priority and the troops lined up -- >> host: the question of the mindset of kennedy in assessing these weapons as offensive and even some of these forces. there were some i said to
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kennedy and around the table that you know these could be a threat to the hemisphere. the cuban subversion could aid cubans the version. the big fear was not so much the cuba was such a threat but a pic that beach spreading to brazil which might become a second cuba. kennedy and his advisers, the tapes he studied so carefully in the aftermath and i should mention that of course david is going to be publishing and it's been editing volumes of these and we will come back to that. never expected khrushchev's public rationale for deploying these weapons which was to deter an american invasion. with american forces, not human -- cuban émigre's so they are is but the worst-case analysis into why all these materials were there. is it fair to say that few never shifted even though some of them
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were unaware of the covert american operations against castro and intended to overthrow castro? >> guest: let me get the first part of your question too because i think it's interesting. there is an aspect which is come through and watch alexander for sanko and -- brought out is that we have been talking about the frogs and the luminous. they were short-range that'll fill weapons but they still have a nuclear warhead. the soviets had sent some around 98 or so to cuba. the original plan the soviets had was to hand at least some of these over to the cubans themselves which would have instantly made cuba and nuclear power so when you're talking about kennedy subversion there was an aspect that they did not understand. cuba might in fact get a nuclear weapon and this is something we have only learned more recently so of castro's inclined to share
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weapons or share resources with revolutionaries and rotten america there was this aspect that hang on, he actually came close to having these types of weapons so things could have gone completely out of control. the americans did not know this. kennedy buffett at the off the soviets handing nuclear weapons to the cubans was not possible. he did not think you would do that so we had no idea that was the plan. so that aspect of the subversion i think actually was much more dangerous than i think they have unthought the one thought at the time because they didn't realize the aspect of the cubans might in fact have technical nuclear weapons. >> host: going back to the il-28 that they actually did have nuclear payload that they could deliver. >> guest: their military assumptions that -- >> host: this dynamic that is come out in some of the research on the soviet cuban tension in november which is that in order to sort of rescue, salvage the soviet cuban alliance, knowing
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that castro was so furious at moscow for withdrawing the missiles the soviets were eager to reassure him that the commitment to saving cuba, to protecting them and therefore the soviets were desperate to keep as much of. other than the nuclear weapons it turns out under cuban control and essentially leave a tripwire that the americans could not invade cuba with impunity and that would risk soviet involvement. did the americans understand this alliance was in jeopardy? >> guest: while i think this comes back to the second part of your previous question, that whited khrushchev do this and the than half a century later the stories are still arguing about why khrushchev did it. khrushchev, he said a few different things about why he did it but he settled on this idea to -- cuba. but if you go back back to the period period and time in a look at what kennedy was thinking, this was not really what he
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thought he was up to perk up kennedy was looking at a much more global game. he did not think that first of all the why would you send long-range nuclear missiles to protect cuba at the time? kennedy is trying to think through why is christian of doing this? defending cuba doesn't, because kennedy and paul knows well he's not planning a full invasion anyway. their other covert things going on against castro but a full invasion is not probably what he's going to do. so he doesn't immediately jump to the defensive cuba. what he does jump to is a much more global view and he looks halfway around the world to where he feels most vulnerable which is with boeing. he thinks khrushchev has been trying to -- and of course it dates back to stalin trying to push the west up and so this is a festering cold war flashpoint. kennedy feels very vulnerable
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there and so kennedy thinks perhaps this is about khrushchev trying to leverage something in some way to solve the west problem. he wasn't without some evidence. khrushchev had actually been giving him some evidence that this might've happened through the summer. khrushchev kept talking to american visitors and west german visitors who visited moscow in christian kept ringing up that we are going to bring this up at the united nations after the midterm election and so he'd been broadcasting this to the summer. kennedy have been reading about this in reading and reading these reports so they condition going into this process to believe that khrushchev was going to force the issue and that is the issue that kennedy keeps coming back to cuba so if if u.s. kennedy what is khrushchev up to here, kennedy himself was talking about this, kennedy would say west berlin. he was not saying the defense of
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cuba so the defense of cuba angle really doesn't come through a lot from the americans. they are not really thinking it through because it doesn't make sense and it doesn't sound like the way from an american suspected in 1962, cuba would do some sort of essential trita warsaw pact like treaty or send lots of conventional weapons which is what they were doing as well but not send long-range missiles from the united states. >> host: it's funny khrushchev always had the tactical battlefield weapons. i think kennedy would have had a much harder time thinking that these were offensive weapons. >> guest: exactly right. the flipside of that though is that kind of deterrent angle only works if you announce it. and of course if you don't tell the world -- so at the point where the crisis
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broke everything about this was still secret. who knows what khrushchev what have done and whether he would have gone to the united nations and said look, we have to pay the company here but deterrence only works when the other person knows about it and at that point the americans had not been told about the missiles and not been told about the short-range or long-range ones. is that they had a global aspect that kennedy decided was behind three shows decision and revealed he had supreme superiority and it was presumed that this was a way for khrushchev to recoup that. let's move to another subject you deal with interestingly in the book. of course kennedy is concerned about domestic clinical ramifications and certainly there were those even and the joint chiefs of staff who warned that if kennedy did not ask
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strongly, this would be appeasement. the issue of managing public opinion is something that you bring out not only during the crisis when the -- was meeting before kennedy speech and there were efforts by kids to contact publishers to get them to hold off on rebbie leaving the aspect that there was the management angle in the aftermath and is something you go into more deeply. talk a little bit about that. >> guest: the states back to the summer of 1962 and kennedy is concerned about the information turning up on that front pages and their times. their national intelligence estimates which are high-level intelligence estimates that are actually fairly widely distributed. several hundred people get them but they are very highly classified at the same time. in the summer of 1962, kennedy is trying to crack down. is trying to think of the way to stop the leaks from happening
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and he entertained several ideas. the fbi has investigated it but he also brings in a group of advisers who are not very widely known. they are called the precedence intelligence advisory board. this is a group who does not have its own power. it's not like the cia or the defense intelligence agency. as you get from the name is they advise the president. the president has complete control over who is on this board. now he asks is group to look into this and to come up with a recommendation. they came back and said what do you need to do to get the cia to do this? the fbi, they can try to do their leak investigations but the agents him have the necessary security. they're not particularly schooled in the background issues so what you need to do is to get the cia to do this. what they recommended was to have a cia spy on the american
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generals which was directly against the national security act that forms the cia and the cia is supposed to operate externally not internally. kennedy authorizes the program ended in something called progress -- project luxembourg. he was one of the items in the national security archives got in 2006, 2007. the program in the summer of 1962 was when kennedy started to crack down drastic weight. during the cuban missile crisis, the white house had intense control of the information and you would expect that. it was a moment of crisis. you don't want to broadcast what is happening to your enemies. after the missile crisis, the administration continue continued to control the information. that has two effects. one of them as they have a very specific story coming out.
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so if the press is clamoring at this point can me think about the reporter or journalist or editor at this point, you just have this massive close call with nuclear annihilation in the want to find out what happens. reporters are clamoring to the white house and the pentagon and state department trying to find out what happened that kennedy said we are not going to open the top on this. we have to carefully controlled information that gets out there. so that control story is hitting the press but it also annoys the press because the press doesn't want to beef given that information does want to consider itself as propaganda -- see you end up with this massive backlash from reporters and it drags on for months. it is parked in particular by the assistant secretary of offense. he actually became quite -- because he was a chief the chief spokesman for the pentagon. you get him on record and
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perhaps you was too tired, don't nobody told a reporter yes of course the government uses information as a weapon in times of crisis which everyone knew but no one actually wanted to say it. and so the pentagon spokesman had gone on record and the sparked massive outcry from the press about news management and the kennedys administration is manipulating the news. >> host: this is an enduring subject of interest in press briefs in foreign affairs. we need to take a quick break now and we will come back in just a couple of moments. plesco we were talking about kennedy and his relations with
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the press. one of the fascinating things about your book is, it can surprise those looking back at this period. they'd think of lyndon johnson's paranoia and angry views of the press during the escalation of vietnam and the press turned against him and his angry relations with the press secretary had to do with it and richard nixon and how that led him down the slippery slope to watergate. has he gotten a free ride because he was buddy buddy with some reporters and he reporter -- was a reporter younger in his life and had great relations with some of the press. >> guest: there is a general perception that kennedy's press was quite -- and it was in the beginning. but, as you point out, kennedy knew this world very well. he had been a reporter and efs nation without the media world worked not just about how reporters did their job at how
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newspaper stayed in business and everything else. he had very close friends who were reporters and editors who he would invite to dinner and invite to the white house for dinner and things like this so he knew this world very very well. at the beginning of this presidency he did have close press coverage frankly but it was around about the summer of 1962 when things are starting to get more difficult for him and you start seeing some stories in the press around that time about the honeymoon is over essentially. this often happens with the new president. kennedy had come in and i should point out too that this is not the press. this is also being reflected in his pulse of the time because when he came into office he had very high polls but he also had very high number so there were lots of people that have not yet formed an opinion.
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as his presidency continued a lot of those people who started out with not much of an opinion started forming more of a negative opinion and so he had started sort of souring on both the polls and the american public at also on the press so by the summer of 1962 the press relationship is getting more and this crisis, this cuban missile crisis ends up being sort of the spark for a much more confrontational relationship with the press because as we were talking about before, there is a massive press backlash about kennedy's policies and some the things the white house was doing for instance is that before this moment there was basically open season on any white house staffer to essentially talk to reporters. there wasn't a whole lot of oversight of what was happening. on october 31 i believe it was,
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kennedy and the xcom in an xcom meeting is complaining about another press press leak so he says, this is that we are going to clamp down. i'm not going to talk to the press. their only couple of people here allowed to talk to the press about this so the white house press secretary does something fairly unusual. he goes immediately from that meaning and he writes out a memo or types out a memo saying, you understand that you will not be talking to the press and if you do you have to submit in writing a report of who you spoke to when you spoke to them and what you spoke about. this is the white house press press secretary. he takes this mike rather than duplicating it and circulating it is usually due with a memo he walked round around the office and got each person on the staff to sign it so there is only one copy. they agree to do this and after that, each member of the white house staff as they spoke to reporter they actually had to
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document what the conversation was and who it was within with and when it was. so this has the effect of essentially killing press policy. the pentagon is doing something similar and they are making their people more account about -- accountable about who they had talked to. this again has two effects. one of them is that it's clamping down on the flow of information and that is good for the white house because they can control things better but it's not necessarily good for the american public and not good or reporters. the odd thing about this though is actually the interesting thing for a historian because what you end up happening is all of these memos about who was talked into what reporters so if you are trying to work out the sources that reporters were using for particular stories you can go back to the mouse and find out when they talk to them and who told them certain things and this is actually very nature sting in the wake of the crisis in the number of articles that came out. some of them more warning about what happened in the xcom and some were more critical and one
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that was critical not so much the xcom but adlai stevens was written by joel stewart. charles bartlett. >> host: saturday evening post. >> guest: what happened during the 13 day. charles bartlett was a close friend of kennedy and he actually i believe was responsible for introducing jack and jackie so this article came out in one of the items in there was that adlai stevenson had an soft and there was implication that he was willing to appease the soviets and adlai -- >> host: in munich. >> guest: exactly in munich. adlai stevenson was definitely one of the advisers but it was a fairly unfair accusation in the sense that he was not alone in recommending a lot of this so this article comes out which is obscuring adlai stevenson who until that moment had actually
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had a wonderful presentation in the united nations but the implication comes out then that kennedy has authorized that he is the source of the charles butler article. what you can do now in going back to the salinger thing is we can go back and look at who charlie bartlett talked to in the white house and when he talked to them and we can look at these memos. >> host: people honestly abided by this. >> guest: they generally did. p.s. ps salinger is telling everyone -- they have to do it for a while. those initial days they were writing those memos he could go in and work out who charlie bartlett talked to and where the source might offend and you get interesting information. we haven't quite got the smoking gun but you can actually see this coming from the military advisers in advisers in the white house that kennedy himself
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had told charlie partly to talk to wheeler in the pentagon and so you end up with this sort of oddly compelling and very useful source that you wouldn't have otherwise gotten but at the time, back to the story, the press responded very negatively to this clamp down on press coverage. >> host: kennedy was certainly one of those presidents who could be a chief leader himself and bradley would later publish a book and it's clear that while there was this negative backlash which you document in the press, there were some select reporters who could be spoonfed to put the administration the best light and in that same article you mentioned the quote -- [inaudible] which would create the niche of kennedy has a cool calculating poker player who had outplayed khrushchev. despite this backlash do you think kennedy was fairly successful and creating the
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first draft of history in terms of the public impression of how the press was handled? >> guest: they were two things going on. one of them is the press is responding negatively and the other is the white house could control the message so they didn't stop the message. canady knew better than to completely cut off stories to the press but what they did was control it and give information to particular reporters. they really were trying to control the story. there's no question about that if you go back and that is part of the problem. they were giving bits of information and getting bits of the story out there and trying to clamp down on anything negative. >> host: looking back retrospectively what they were doing was taken for granted. >> guest: after watergate and the pentagon papers and after vietnam, we are much more senegal about white house press
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relations but this is 1962, 1963. it was much more naïve than that since. >> host: what was the related aspect of this news management campaign continuing bid to be on the midterm congressional. talk about this political aspect and its aftermath because in the concert to the kennedy presidency this this is really a crucial moment that he was going to be able to improve his record, his legislative record. tell me about how domestic politics fit into kennedy's handling of the crisis and the aftermath? >> guest: kennedy was shown photos of the missile sites on october 16. on october 16 kennedy's presidency had not been going especially well and that was especially true with the cuba issue. go back to the previous year. >> handling of the bay of pigs although he got a big bump in the polls it was not a great moment in his presidency to say the least. ..
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>> once he capitulates it breaks immediately. that is nine or 10 days after the election. after asking good questions why didn't we find about these earlier?
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was the administration negligent about sending surveillance? why didn't we know about this? some go further. is the kennedy administration covering up? so they suddenly break with this intense period of political attacks. four months. there are some good questions. why didn't they find out about these earlier? >> host: tate 2012 and is comparable to libya. with any avenue of attack.
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and president once a good press. but in controlling the message to not let his critics define him. what would have happened if republicans turned this into a kennedy failure? as a great moment in america's cold war battle. white house this is another bay of p.i.g.s.? or any of those aspects. the implication for kennedy at the tide is enormous.
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if he is further weakened by a a perceived failure he will have more difficulty through the election by fending off the attacks possibly the political capital to do the american in universities speech. maybe not having the political capital. by a day she would want to control the message and the attacks going on during this period. >> i have to challenge you. with the domestic political and all it is clear jfk had
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an interest not giving in to nuclear blackmail. but one example is the refusal of public trade some critics said they did not want to risk looking week. and to what extent are they concerned robert -- robert mcnamara captured? this is a domestic political problem. so what is it contributing to jfk can -- decision-making? the way you frame did to
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today influence policy? absolutely. i would form a distinction about partisan political consideration that this tries to help his reelection and attack republicans. you do not get to be president without considerations of everything you do. this is to you are how this is perceived in the american public. he is constantly thinking about that. how will this play out in the public? i would call that the political awareness.
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but carefully eight draw the partisan politics i do not believe in that we like to talk about that is a political decision. we mean that superficially. but in a much deeper way he was aware of the political ramifications. he was careful to brief the white eisenhower. he called him up on the telephone sending the cia director who was very tight his briefing congressional leaders.
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and to give them privileged information. they are very careful to be bipartisan. >> host: when but tape-recorded in the of the transcripts demerged that jfk and the advisers are not so fearful they sought a public trade but also nato had betrayed and allied interest. the net result is the same it was kept secret. >> if you tried to negotiate to trade missiles, you naturally want yourself to be in the strongest position. you don't do that by volunteering information or that invite a tax. it is natural.
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part of this kennedy had a close knit group the boston mafia and the bollenbach they were very less leading into democratic politics. but in the cabinet he surrounded himself with a remarkably centrist range of people. robert mcnamara was a registered republican the secretary of the treasury and he made sure his advisers were very centrist. to see the left-leaning partisan people. >> host: rehab a couple minutes left. but to arrive at the
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university of virginia public affairs. talk about the value of these tapes. because they are so wonderful thing we can focus too much and there might be a danger. >> we have been working on these tapes at the white house since 1998. we had a whole team of people, colleagues, students , scholars, trying to work through this remarkable resource. they have to be used with care. i tried to be very careful. it is hired to write a book with a list of transcripts.
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we do that as part of the work. one-two embed them in a much broader story. bayous allot of other material not just the tapes. i try to balance the out. of the tapes themselves offer you cannot do another place is. historians have to rely on this period. the written documents are recollection with oral history. the written documents but not good for others. but they have to be written by someone. but two people can be in the same room remembering things
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differently. the tapes give us the and rehearsed and script did you. i tried to filter those with the source. >> host: thank you very much i urge people to read the book and look at the context and the tape recordings as they come out. thank you.
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