Monday, April 30, 2012

007, LHO & JFK

007, LHO and JFK - By Wm Kelly 

In early 1954 Ian Fleming sat down at his typewriter in his Jamaican beach house and began “Casino Royale,” a paperback spy thriller novel.

The former assistant to the chief of British Naval Intelligence, dubbed his secret agent 007 - James Bond, who was licensed to kill on behalf of her majesty’s secret service while having the cover job of an import-export agent for Universal Export. 

Writing a book a year, by 1957 he had a few novels under his belt when he wrote what some considered his finest, “From Russia With Love,” about the theft of a Soviet cipher and the defection of a young and beautiful Russian embassy clerk.

A few years later, Lee Harvey Oswald, just out of the US Marine Corps, boarded a tramp steamer in New Orleans and sailed for Europe on the first leg of a journey that would take him behind the Iron Curtain as a “defector” to the Soviet Union. The passport that Oswald turned over to the US Embassy in Moscow when he announced his defection indicated that his profession was “Import-Export” agent. In fact, Oswald did, before enlisting in the US Marines, work at an import and export agency in New Orleans.

As expressed by his brother Robert (Lee – A Portrait of Lee, Coward-McCann, 1967, p. 74), “In November (1955) he (Lee) went to work as a messenger and office boy for a shipping company, Gerald F. Tujague, Inc. He made only $130 a month, but it must have seemed like a lot of money to him, since it was his first full-time job. Mother said he was generous with his money…Feeling prosperous, now that he had a regular income, Lee bought other things, too. Mother said he paid $35 for a coat for her, bought a bow and arrow set – and guy…I remember that gun…Lee really seemed to enjoy his work at Tujague’s for a while. He felt more independent than ever before, and he liked the idea of working for a shipping company. When he first told me about it, he was eager, animated and genuinely enthusiastic. ‘We’re sending an order to Portugal this week,’ he’d tell me. Or, ‘I received a shipment from Hong Kong, just this morning.’ It was a big adventure to him – as if all the company’s ships were his and he could go to any of the places named on the order blanks he carried from one desk to another. It made him feel important, just to be on the fringes of something as exciting as foreign trade.” 

Tujague later came back on the record as a leading member of one of the Free Cuba Committees, and was reportedly on the board of directors of a New Orleans bank that also included John Mecom, who employed George DeMohrenschildt and sent him to Europe, which led to him being debriefed by the CIA. So both Oswald and DeMohrenschildt, although their lives wouldn’t entwine until years later, were both employed by directors of the same bank, an indication they were both working for the same economic interests years earlier.

Was there a reason for Oswald to list his occupation as “import-export agent” on the passport he used to defect to Russia, and was it in any way associated with import-export agency he worked for in New Orleans shortly before enlisting in the Marines?

Or was it some kind of inside joke, tongue in cheek reference to James Bond’s occupation as an import-export agent for Universal Export?

When Oswald was living in New Orleans in the summer of 1963, he took a number of books out of the local New Orleans library.

A Warren Commission memorandum dated June 17, 1964, between commission counselors Wesley J. Liebeler and Richard M. Mosk, included the list of the books that Oswald checked out of the New Orleans Library. First on the list is “Goldfinger,’ and it officialy notes that the author is IAN FLEMING, the book was checked out – 9/19/63 (Sept. 19) and the return date is indicated as 10/3/63 (October 3).

Goldfinger” wasn’t the first 007 novel that Oswald checked out, as the records show that he had previously taken out “Thunderball” on June 24 and “From Russia With Love” on August 22. Another 007 book “Moonraker” was also checked out on the same September 19th date as “Goldfinger,” both of which had the return date of 10/3/63 (Oct. 10).

For assassination investigators the problem with Oswald’s “Goldfinger” is that, according to the records of the New Orleans Library, the book was returned on 10/3/63October 3, 1963, a full week after Oswald, the friendless loner had left New Orleans.

Oswald left New Orleans on September 24, went to Mexico, and was back in Dallas, Texas on October 3rd, at least he was according to the official story, which has yet to explain who returned Oswald’s “Goldfinger” to the library for him.

Besides the Fleming novels, the other books on Oswald’s list – two dozen in all, are mainly non-fiction history, science fiction and biography, and deserve closer attention.

Of course if Lee Harvey Oswald was the real assassin of the President of the United States, these books would have been given a through going over and psychoanalysts would have given their interpretation of the assassin’s state of mind at the time, but since Oswald was a patsy, and framed for the crimes, just as he claimed, there has been no real attempt to even try to understand the psychological makeup of the patsy. If he had been the actual triggerman and assassin, then it would be a different story.

In any case, Oswald is one of the most thoroughly analyzed patsies in history, so we know a lot about him, much more than we know about the actual assassins. One of the things we know is that he read a lot, and we know what he read from the library records.

Oswald would probably be amused if he knew that Ian Fleming, the author of the 007 novels, was the European editor of the North American Newspaper Alliance (NANA), who reported on his defection to the Soviet Untion.

A correspondent for NANA, Priscialla Johnson, was one of the first reporters to interview Oswald and write a newspaper article about him and his defection, and thus Fleming was her ultimate editor. Oswald mentions this news article and the others like it in a letter he wrote to then Secretary of the Navy John Connally, a man he is later accused of shooting.

Of course Oswald should not have known that Fleming, the author of the 007 novels he was reading, was the editor of one of the newspaper articles he complained about as misrepresenting his true position and situation. Nonetheless, the accused assassin obviously took an interest in and read the fictional accounts of secret agent double-oh-seven, a genre of books that were also on the reading list attributed to President Kennedy. 

In fact, it has been popularly alleged that both President Kennedy and Oswald, his alleged assassin, both read 007 novels on the night before Kennedy was assassinated, although I find this hard to substantiate. 

Kennedy is certainly credited with helping to popularize Fleming’s books and the 007 myth.

Kennedy had been familiar with James Bond and Ian Fleming since he had asked his friend and neighbor Oatsie Leiter to recommend some books to read while he was laid up in bed ill over some malady or other. Oatsie suggested he read a light-hearted 007 spy thriller written by her friend Ian Fleming.

Kennedy immediately caught the “inside joke” of 007’s CIA sidekick being named Felix Leiter, obviously a not-so hidden reference to their mutual friend Oatsie Leiter, the grand daughter of a civil war general and governor of Alabama. She had served in the OSS during the war and married Chicago millionaire John Leiter, whose family owned the land where they built the CIA headquarters. As mutual neighbors in both Newport and Georgetown, the Kennedys and Leiters were old blue blood money that mirrored Fleming’s and is reflected in the power circles that 007 infested.

The President’s wife, as well-read as her husband, and later a book editor and publisher, also took notice of Ian Fleming’s novels. Thought she may not have gotten the joke, she recommended Fleming’s books to CIA director Alan Dulles. Dulles also enjoyed Fleming’s stories and tried to cultivate a similar genre of CIA themed literature that would do for the agency what Fleming’s books did for the British spy agencies. Both E. Howard Hunt and David Attle Phillips wrote a number of fictional pulp paperback novels that were similar to Fleming’s 007 stories in style and content.

It was Ian Fleming however, who created Secret Agent James Bond – 007 – who would become the world’s most famous spy after the books were converted to film.

But before Kennedy endorsed the books and the before the films came along, Fleming’s novels were something of a literary oddity. When the head of British MI5 visited Washington and was escorted about town by Dick Helms of the CIA, Helms asked him about this British writer Ian Fleming. The MI5 director said he didn’t know, but the very next day the newspapers revealed that British Prime Minister Anthony Eden had spent a week at Fleming’s Jamaican home “Goldeneye,” which led Helms to conclude that he had been lied to since the head of British counter-intelligence had to know where the Prime Minster was living.

Fleming’s book got an unexpected plug when one of them was included among the books the President was reading.

Hugh Sidey, in Life Magazine (March 17, 1961) wrote an article titled The President’s Voracious Reading Habits which listed From Russia With Love as one of his 10 favorite books. A list of the President’s favorite books was also sent out to various libraries during National Library Week.

Among the particular favorites of President Kennedy was Fleming’s “From Russia with Love”:

Lord Melbourne by David Cecil
Montrose by John Buchan
Marlborough by Sir Winston Churchill
John Quincy Adams by Samuel Flagg Bemis
The Emergence of Lincoln by Allan Nevins
The Price of Union by Herbert Agar
John C. Calhoun by Margaret L. Coit
Talleyrand by Duff Cooper
Byron in Italy by Peter Quennell
The Red and the Black by M. de Stendhal
From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming
Pilgrim's Way by John Buchan
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Writing and Speeches of Daniel Webster
Andre Malraux
The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
Henry Clay by Carl Schurz 

While Dave Powers added a few titles to the list, Kennedy’s secretary Mrs. Lincoln later acknowledged she added “From Russia With Love” to the list of otherwise dull and academic books to give it a human touch with a book she knew Kennedy had read that ordinary people could identify with.

While “Casino Royale” was the first 007 novel, the story had been adapted to an American television show, so the first 007 major motion picture was “Dr. No,” which Oswald could have seen and probably did. Kennedy also requested a private screening of the James Bond movie at the White House.

Whether he saw the first film or not, we do know he read the books, including “Goldfinger,” which was checked out on September 19, 1963, a few days before he was to suddenly leave New Orleans, travel to Mexico City to visit the Cuban and Soviet embassies, and then relocate to Dallas, where he was to work in a position that would allow him to assassinate the President of the United States, or so they would have us believe.

If Oswald was the assassin of the President, despite the fact that no motive can be or has been attributed to him, then an assessment of his reading habits would be in order since they would naturally help indicate what he was thinking and what motivated him. 

And so Lee Harvey Oswald read through “Goldfinger,” probably very quickly as he was a voracious reader and Ian Fleming’s novels would be very light reading compared to the more heavy science fiction, biographies and world affairs that he was also reading at the time.

Any cursory review of the books Oswald read should begin with “Goldfinger,” which opens with a quote above the table of contents that reads: “Goldfinger said, ‘Mr. Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time it’s enemy action.’” 

The other books on the list – two dozen in all, are mostly non-fiction history, science fiction and biography. 

The Warren Commission memo with the list of Oswald’s library books also reported: “Marina Oswald in discussing Oswald’s reading habits, said that he read generally histories or biographies and she recalled specifically that he read biographies of Hitler, Kennedy and Khrushchev. She is not clear, however, whether he read those books in New Orleans or Dallas. She did recall that he read a book by Eric Maria Remarque, ‘Time to Live and Time to Die,’ and that he read a book about Powers, the U-2 Pilot. Other than that, she cannot specifically recall what books he checked out of the Dallas library. Marina in her testimony has mentioned that Oswald read books of the ‘Historical Nature,’ and that he read books by Marx and a two-volume history of the United States. Some of Oswald’s associates in Texas mentioned that he read books by Marx and Lenin, etc. Katherine Ford also mentioned that Oswald read some books about how to be a spy.”

Oswald did take an literary interest in the subject of espionage, as another book he checked out was, “Five Spy Novels.” 

US Army Reserve Col. Jose Rivera, who was affiliated with a top secret MK/ULTRA program at Fort Detrich, had foreknowledge of the assassination, the death of JFK’s son Patrick that summer, and knew Oswald’s New Orleans phone number before Oswald himself knew where he was going to live. Rivera was quoted as saying, “We will have him read about the assasssins of history, and indeed, Oswald did read, Hermann B. Deutsch’s “The Huey Long Murder Case.”

Oswald also read “Portrait of a President,” about the man he is accused of killing, as well as Kennedy’s own “Profiles in Courage,” which earned the Pulitzer Prize.

Although “From Russia with Love” is the only book that is cross referenced among the books ready by both Kennedy and Oswald, their interests are very similar, primarily history and biography, while Kennedy leaned more towards the classics and Oswald drifted into Science Fiction.

The books on Oswald’s list include:

The Berlin Wall
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Soviet Potentials
What We Must Know About Communism
Russia Under Khrushchev
Portrait of A Revolutionary: Mae Tse-Tung
This is My Philosophy
The Bridge Over the River Kwai
Hornblower and The Hotspur
The Hittites
The Blue Nile

I am not the only one to notice the similarities and literary coincidences as one internet essay notes:

            “ Meanwhile, the James Bond novels were having a huge impact on another young man, Lee Harvey Oswald. He too was a fan of the novel From Russia With Love, a story of political defection that oddly mirrors Oswald’s own defection to the Soviet Union. In the story, James Bond wisps the young Russian Tatiana Romonvav across the iron curtain with promises of decadent western luxuries.While in Russia, Lee Oswald similarly swept young Marina Prusakova off of her feet and brought her to America [also board a train] with promises of a better life. But when things started going badly, Tatiana and Marina realized that perhaps they were in for more than they had bargained for. If JFK represents all the most charming aspects of James Bond, then perhaps Lee Oswald is a reflection of his dark side.”

According to Robert A. Caplen in “Shaken& Stirred - The Feminism of James Bond” (Xlibris 2010) “Kennedy was reportedly reading a Bond novel the night before he was assassinated. In fact, reports surfaced that Lee Harvey Oswald was also reading a Fleming novel the night before Kennedy’s assassination.”

In addition to “From Russia with Love” being on their reading lists, and both reported to have read Fleming novels on their last Thursday night on earth, Fidel Castro was another mutual obsession with both Kennedy and Oswald. 

In this more detailed internet analysis of Oswald and Fleming’s novels it is noted:

 “And yet, the tragic assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy on in Dallas Texas on November 22nd 1963, is oddly paralleled in the life and times of James Bond 007. In the novel and film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, James Bond’s marriage to Contessa Teresa Vicenzo ended in the same way as Jacqueline Kennedy’s marriage to Jack. Just as Jack Kennedy was gunned down by a hail of assassins bullets in his car, so too was Teresa Bond. Just as Jack Kennedy’s lifeless body fell into Jackie’s lap, so too did Teresa. They say that once the Presidential limousine reached the hospital, Jackie Kennedy refused to let go of her husband’s body, even as other’s entreated her to do so. And when all hope was lost for Contessa Teresa Bond, James Bond too refused to let go. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was published in April of 1963, mere months before the assassination.”

“In life, JFK was as physical manifestation of the James Bond lifestyle. The luxury, the charm, the wit, as well as the arrogance and bravado. In death, John Kennedy transcended his status as a historical figure and became a timeless cultural icon of the 1960s, rivaled in prominence by perhaps only James Bond himself. In the turbulent political atmosphere of the 1960s, people turned to the gleeful escapism of James Bond to pull them through the harsh realities of an increasingly complex world. Jack Kennedy did. And now the world needs James Bond again. His enemies are invigorated and reborn. But so too, are his allies. Through tragedy, James Bond lost his naiveté. But so too has the nation, and indeed the world. A world that needs heroes like James Bond now more than ever. But 007 is up to the challenge, for he is a man who lives by the credo: “Ask not, what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

“His rages, his wrath. The irony inherent in any substantive comparison of JFK and 007 is inescapable. For while James Bond is a timeless figure, JFK was a figure taken before his time. And while James Bond is unkillable, the same cannot be said of Jack Kennedy.”

Just like 007, there was always someone trying to take out JFK. His most dangerous enemy might have been Russian Premiere Nikita Kruschev, but his closest foe, and most personal nemesis was communist supervillian Fidel Castro, AKA “The Beard”. The plan was to whack the Beard before he could get to Kennedy. When asked what kind of man should spearhead the operation to whack Castro, JFK said ‘We need James Bond.’”

“The man selected to wack the beard was William Harvey….(America’s James Bond)”

Indeed, in a more mainstream publication Vincent Canby made a similar observation when he wrote: “Whether accurately or not, the first films made from the Bond novels came to characterize a number of aspects of the Kennedy Administration with its reputation for glamour, wit and sophistication, and its real-life dram and melodrama. Indeed, the President himself could be seen as a kind of Bond figure, and the 1962 Cuban missile crisis as a real-life Bond situation.”

Most significant is the time when Kennedy met Fleming and invited him to dinner, about which there has been many misrepresentations, as that recounted here:

“The summer before his election, Jack Kennedy invited Ian Fleming over to his estate and asked the novelist how M and 007 would take out Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro. Fleming suggested three plans. When JFK became president, the CIA acted on all three of these proposals. So the leader of the free world and the head of its largest intelligence agency were conducting foreign policy based on James Bond novels. Ian Fleming was not only writing the greatest literary character in history. He was literally writing history.”

In an interview with his friend William Polmer Ian Fleming recounted:

“Well, it was rather interesting. About a year before Mr. Kennedy became President, I was staying in Washington with a friend of mine and she was driving me through, it was a Sunday morning, and she was driving me through Washington down to Georgetown and there were two people walking along the street and she said, ‘Oh, there are my friends Jack and Jackie,’ and they were indeed very close friends of hers, and she stopped and they talked. And she said, ‘Do you know Ian Fleming?’ And Jack Kennedy said, ‘Not the Ian Fleming?’ Of course that was a very exciting thing for him to say and it turned out that they were both great fans of my books, as indeed is Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General, and they invited me to dinner that night with my friend, and we had great fun discussing the books and from then on I’ve always sent copies of them direct and personally to him before they’re published over here.”

“I think that was an historic encounter,” Plomer noted.

Although Fleming discretely avoided her name, the mutual friend was Marion ‘Oatsie’ Leiter Charles who lived at Dougal House, 3259 R Street NW, Georgetown, not far from Kennedy’s home.

Apparently Mrs. Leiter had been invited to the Kennedy home for dinner that night, and they drove over to Kennedy’s Georgetown home to inquire whether Fleming could accompany her to dinner, but Kennedy and his wife had stepped out for a stroll. So when they came upon the couple walking down the street they stopped and Mrs. Leiter introduced Fleming, who Kennedy recognized by saying, “James Bond?”

As for joining them for dinner, “By all means,” Kennedy said. 

Just as Fleming had taken the name James Bond from the American ornithologist and author of the book Birds of the West Indies, he had also appropriated the surname for 007’s CIA sidekick Felix Leiter from John Leiter, Kennedy and Fleming’s mutual friend and Kennedy’s Georgetown neighbor, and James Bond would be a popular subject at the dinner table that night.

Other guests reported to be there include painter and longtime Kennedy friend William Walton, as well as journalist and CIA asset Joseph Alsop. The CIA itself was represented by John Bross, who had served with distinction in Cold War Germany.

In recounting the dinner that night Fleming’s official biographer John Pearson wrote:

“During the dinner the talk largely concerned itself with the more arcane aspects of American politics and Fleming was attentive but subdued. But with coffee and the entrance of Castro into the conversation he intervened in his most engaging style. Cuba was already high on the headache list of Washington politicians, and another of those what’s to-be-done conversations got underway. Fleming laughed ironically and began to develop the theme that the United States was making altogether too much fuss about Castro – they were building him into a world figure, inflating him instead of deflating him. It would be perfectly simple to apply one or two ideas which would take all the steam out of the Cuban.”

“Kennedy studied the handsome Englishman, rather as puzzled admirals used to study him in the days of Room 39. Was he an oddball or something more? What ideas had mister Fleming in mind?”

What would James Bond do about Castro? Fleming sarcastically replied, “Ridicule, chiefly,” and as Pearson related, “…with immense seriousness and confidence he developed a spoof proposal for giving Castro the James Bond treatment…” 

According to another account, “Fleming … in their conversation,….told Kennedy that he had a way to get rid of Fidel Castro, the Communist leader of Cuba. This piqued Kennedy's interest, since Castro had been a thorn in the side of Kennedy. Fleming said that Castro's beard was the key. Without the beard, Castro would look like anyone else. It was his trademark. So, Fleming said that the U.S. should announce that they found that beards attract radioactivity. Any person wearing a beard could become radioactive himself as well as sterile! Castro would immediately shave off his beard and would soon fall from power, when the people saw him as an ordinary person. Kennedy had a good laugh about this bizarre suggestion.”

The next morning, CIA director Allen Dulles received a full briefing of the previous night's dinner conversation, ostensibly from Bross, the CIA man. 

Bill Koenig visited the Lilly Library at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where the Fleming papers are kept. He reported: “The Fleming-related material is hardly the oldest or rarest of what's here. But for a fan of 007, it is a treasure trove. Not only are most of Fleming's original Bond manuscripts here but a huge collection of people writing to Fleming and receiving correspondence from him. The letters are, indeed, of a different time, when people took the time to type out a letter and drop it in the mail, not just bang out a few lines of e-mail and forget it. The library has two collections of note. The first is comprised of fifteen Fleming manuscripts, purchased from Fleming's widow in 1970. (The library also acquired rare books collected by Fleming in his lifetime.) The other is a collection of letters gathered by Leonard Russell, the late literary editor of The Sunday Times of London and by John Pearson, Fleming's biographer. Other letters show Fleming's relationship with more casual acquaintances - except his casual friendships were with CIA directors or U.S. attorneys general.”

In a 1962 letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Fleming wrote that “I am delighted to take this opportunity to thank Kennedys everywhere for the electric effect their commendation has had on my sales in America.”

Allen Dulles, the former CIA chief wrote to Fleming on April 24, 1963, saying,  "I have received and finished reading your latest ‘On Her Majesty's Secret Service.’ I hope you have not really destroyed my old friend and colleague James Bond, but I fear his bride has gone." More than a year later, in June 1964, Dulles wrote again. "I see that ‘From Russia With Love’ is now a movie and although I rarely see them I plan to take this one in."

In “Goldfinger,” Fleming wrote:


Chapter One


JAMES BOND, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.

It was part of his profession to kill people. He had never liked doing it and when he had to kill he did it as well as he knew how and forgot about it. As a secret agent who held the rare double-O prefix – the license to kill in the Secret Service – it was his duty to be as cool about death as a surgeon. If it happened, it happened. Regret was unprofessional – worse, it was death-watch beetle in the soul.

And yet there had been something curiously impressive about the death of the Mexicn. It wasn’t that he hadn’t deserved to die. He was an evil man, a man they call in Mexico a capungo. A capungo is a bandit who will kill for as little as forty pesos…What an extraordinary difference there was between a body full of person and a body that was empty! Now there is someone, now there is no more…

….The operator’s voice came softly to him, ‘Ocean Station Charlie. This is Speedbird 510. G-ALGY calling C for Charlie, G-ALAGY calling Charlie. G_ALGY….’

A sharp voice broke in. An ‘G-ALAGY give your position. G=ALGY give your positon. This is Grander Control. Emergency. G-ALGY….’

London came over faintly. An excited voice began chattering. Now voices were coming at them from all directions. Bond could imagine the fix being quickly coordinated at all flying control stations, the busy men under the arcs working on the big plot, telephones being lifted, urgent voices talking to each other across the world. The strong signal of Gander Control smothered all other transmission. ‘We’ve located G-ALGY. We’ve got them at about 50 N by 70 E. All stations stop transmitting. Priority. I repeat, we have a fix on G-ALGY.’

Suddenly the quite voice of C for Charlie came in. ‘This is Ocean Station Charlie calling Speedbird 510. Charlie calling G-ALGY. Can you hear me? Come in Speedbird 510.’

Bond slipped the small gun into his pocket and took the offered microphone. He pressed the transmitter switch and talked quietly into it, watching the crew over the oblong of plastic.

‘C for Charlie this is G-ALGY Spedbird hi-jacked last evening at Idlewild. I have killed the man responsible and partly disabled the plane by depressurizing the cabin. I have the crew at gunpoint. Not enough fuel to make Goose so propose to ditch as close to you as possible. Please put out line of flares.’

A new voice, a voice of authority, perhaps the captain’s, came over the aid. ‘Speedbird this is C for Charlie. Your message heard and understood. Identify the speaker. I repeat identify the speaker over.’

Bond said and smiled at the sensation his words would cause, ‘Speedbird to C for Charlie. This is British Secret Service agent Number 007, I repeat Number 007. Whitehall Radio will confim. I repeat check with Whitehall Radio, over.’

There was a stunned pause. Voices from round the world tried to break in. Some control, presumably Gander, cleared them off the air. C for Charlie came back, ‘Speedbird this is C for Charlie alias Angel Gabriel speaking okay I’ll check with Whitehall and Wilco the flares but London and Gander want more details.’”

The internet analysis of James Bond and President Kennedy concludes:

“These days, everyone in America knows who James Bond is. The character and his franchise are pervasive and vastly influential in all spheres of popular culture, from movies, to video games, comics, novels, toys, and TV. At first, James Bond wasn’t particularly popular in the United States. That was until President Kennedy listed From Russia with Love as one of his favorite books. After that ringing endorsement, Ian Fleming’s James Bond books started flying off of the shelves. Though JFK and 007 shared a similar style, wit, charm, and taste for the good life, the connection between the two icons goes far deeper than cosmetic comparisons. We often think of James Bond stories as being influenced by world events, but what is startling to realize is that in many ways, the opposite is true, and that the James Bond novels changed the course of history. After finishing the novel From Russian with Love, JFK passed it on to Allen Dulles, head of the Central Intelligence Agency, America’s M.”

“The early 1960s. The pinnacle of male style, when men treated each activity, accouterment and debutant with sophistication and taste. But the two ambassadors of swinging sixties charm were also two of the Cold War’s coldest warriors. Both were boarding school boys turned navy officers, men who rose in rank to the heights of government service. They were the sort of men all others envied, and all women pined for. They were men of legendary libidos, womanizers worthy of even Don Juan’s envy. Both travelled the world, wooing and winning the world’s most gorgeous women in the lap of luxury, while also facing down some of the most nefarious villains of our times.”

“Their way with women was matched only by their way with words, wit, and whimsy. With a wink and smile these two men pulled the world from the brink of Nuclear Annihilation time and time again. These two men, are of course Secret Agent James Bond, and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Two men who need only be known by three characters, JFK & 007.”

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