Monday, May 13, 2019

The Oval Office Tapes

BK NOTES: The most significant evidence that Christopher Fulton inherited are the six cassette tapes Robert White made from the Oval Office dictabelt recordings that he inherited from Mrs. Lincoln, President Kennedy's secretary. 

Here's a short excerpt from the tapes that Fulton publishes in his book. 

From The Inheritance – Christopher Fulton (TrineDay, 2018 - (p. 79)

“He (Robert White) took a moment to find one box in particular, from which he unpacked a series of old dictabelts. ‘President Kennedy made these recordings in the Oval Office,’ he said. ‘There are meetings, phone conversations, and dictations of his memoirs made in ’62 and ’63. Mrs. Lincoln set them aside, so I inherited them. I haven’t listened to them yet, but I’ve made one copy of them on cassettes. Some of the belts stretched and broke when I copied them. I don’t think I can get all of the information off them a second time.’ With that he handed me six cassette….’they are the only copies in existence.’”

(p. 86) “I was eager to sit down and listen to the dictabelt recordings Robert had given me. He told me that they hadn’t been listened to in thirty years, and even then, only Evelyn Lincoln and Robert Kennedy had been privy to their content. This verbal history of the slain president had remained silent since RFK’s assassination.”

“I prepared myself; this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a fly on the wall in the Oval Office in the early sixties. It would surely be the closest I would ever get to traveling back in time. I felt a deep sense of honor as I pressed the button and began the playback.”

“Kennedy’s voice was much lower and slower than I anticipated, but it carried his unmistakable lilt. I used the fine adjustment on the tape player to speed up the rotation. All of a sudden, there it was – as if he was sitting in the room with me – President  Kennedy’s voice rang out full and clear.”

“I listened as JFK talked to John McCone, the Director of the CIA, in early November 1963. McCone said, ‘…There was a history during the administration of President Eisenhower when the Agency did play footsie with the opposition groups.’”

“’Was that a true story….the CIA did do it?’ President Kennedy asked.

“’Sure’ McCone said. ‘They supplied money, and they were involved in a plot against…..’”

“JFK cut him off. ‘Christ, they did it in Indonesia, they did it in Laos, they did it in Cambodia.’”

“I could tell he was agitated.”

“McCone continued, ‘We are playing for it with our own people, in our own press and in our own Congress. The Agency in those days wasn’t responsible to the State Department; the State Department didn’t know about it. Every time I go to Capitol Hill I get this thrown in my face:  ‘Are you in control?’ I told them I am, well I am, but it’s hard to live with the past…..We have to buckle our belts and really take the ambassador’s advice: get out gracefully on our aid program……Our public position at the moment….is the categorical denials we have anything to do with the opposition there, their plots, or the assassination of Diem, and Nhu…..’”

“JFK spoke again, ‘Yeah, are we going to say we are going to get out?’”

“’Mr. President, I think we are past the stage of being able to turn it around.’”

“’Well, it seems to me we’re going to have to have a public, and probably a Hill position on what we’re going to do about withdrawing our aid. Ok?’” 

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