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Profile: John F. Kennedy


Positions that John F. Kennedy has held:

  • President of the United States (1961-1963)




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John F. Kennedy actively participated in the following events:


October 25, 1961      Guyana

       Guyana President Cheddi Jagan pays a visit to the White House, seeking financial aid and offering assurances that Guyana will not host a Soviet base. President Kennedy tells Jagan that the US is not concerned with his left-leaning politics. Kennedy says: “National independence. This is the basic thing. As long as you do that, we don't care whether you are socialist, capitalist, pragmatist or whatever. We regard ourselves as pragmatists.” Also in attendance at the meeting are the President's special assistant Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and George Ball, the Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs at the State Department. [New York Times, 10/30/1994; Ishmael, n.d. Sources: Cheddi Jagan] Following Jagan's departure, US President John F. Kennedy will meet in secret with his top national security officers and issue a direct order to remove Dr. Jagan from power. [New York Times, 10/30/1994; CJ Research Center, 1999 Sources: Unnamed US Government officials familiar with the secret papers.] Sources will note that “Though many Presidents have ordered the CIA to undermine foreign leaders, they say, the Jagan papers are a rare smoking gun: a clear written record, without veiled words or plausible denials, of a President's command to depose a Prime Minister.” [New York Times, 10/30/1994]
People and organizations involved: George Ball, John F. Kennedy, Cheddi Jagan, Arthur M. Schlesinger

1963      Guatemala

       Concerned about an upcoming election in which former president Juan Jos? Arevalo would be allowed to run and thus possibly be elected, US President John F. Kennedy supports another military coup. This ends any hopes for a democratic Guatemala. [Rabe, 1999]
People and organizations involved: John F. Kennedy, Juan Jos? Arevalo

June 30, 1963, 10 am      Guyana

       US and British officials meet and discuss the Guyana government of the left-leaning Cheddi Jagan. A memorandum of the meeting states: “The President [Kennedy] said he agreed with the analysis of all the difficulties, but that these still paled in comparison with the prospect of the establishment of a Communist regime in Latin America. Mr. Sandys said he thought the best solution was that of a Burnham-D'Aguiar government to which the UK would grant independence.” [Sources: Paper Prepared in the Department of State]
People and organizations involved: McGeorge Bundy, David Kirkpatrick Este Bruce, Harold Macmillan, David Ormsby Gore, Quintin McGarel Hogg, Lord Hailsham, Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, David Dean Rusk, John F. Kennedy, William R Tyler, Harold Anthony Cacciae, Philip de Zulueta, Lord Hood, Duncan Sandys, Peter Thorneycroft

October 23, 1963      Guyana

       The British, at the behest of the Kennedy administration, postpones Guyana's independence and modifies the country's electoral system so that the Guyanese would have to vote for parties instead of individual candidates. [New York Times, 10/30/1994; CJ Research Center, 1999; Workers World, 4/3/1997]
People and organizations involved: John F. Kennedy

November 1963      Vietnam

       The policies of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem create concern in Washington when Diem's government intensifies its repression of the Buddhists and clamps down on the press. Also worrisome to his US backers are rumors that he is considering unification with the North. [Ahmed, 9/24/2001; Herring 1986; National Security Archives, 11/5/2003] When the Kennedy administration learns that a group of South Vietnamese generals are planning a [second] coup attempt, the decision is made to provide them with support. [National Security Archives, 11/5/2003 Sources: Memorandum of Conference with the President, November 1, 1963, 10:00 AM, Memorandum of Conference with the President, October 29, 1963, 4:20 PM, Department of State, "Check-List of Possible U.S. Actions in Case of Coup," October 25, 1963, Memorandum of Conversation, "Vietnam," August 28, 1963, Noon] “President Kennedy and his advisers, both individually and collectively, had a considerable role in the coup overall, by giving initial support to Saigon military officers uncertain what the US response might be, by withdrawing US aid from Diem himself, and by publicly pressuring the Saigon government in a way that made clear to South Vietnamese that Diem was isolated from his American ally. In addition, at several of his meetings Kennedy had CIA briefings and led discussions based on the estimated balance between pro- and anti-coup forces in Saigon that leave no doubt the United States had a detailed interest in the outcome of a coup against Ngo Dinh Diem. The CIA also provided $42,000 in immediate support money to the plotters the morning of the coup, carried by Lucien Conein, an act prefigured in administration planning.” [National Security Archives, 11/5/2003]
People and organizations involved: Ngo Dinh Diem, John F. Kennedy

'Passive' participant in the following events:

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