Belfast Telegraph

JFK made ominous legacy prediction

Secret interviews with President John F Kennedy's wife claim he ominously warned his assassination would protect his legacy about a year before his death.

Riding high after successfully averting nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK made the chilling assessment about his reputation privately to wife Jackie.

The astonishing revelation was made by eminent Kennedy historian Professor Robert Dallek after examining the pages of Jacqueline Kennedy's Oral History - conversations the former First Lady had with historian Arthur M Schlesinger Jnr in 1964.

"(JFK) said to Mrs Kennedy after his success in the Cuban Missile Crisis: 'If anyone's going to kill me, it should happen now,'" Professor Dallek said in an interview with the Press Association.

JFK was shot on November 22, 1963 as his open-top motorcade travelled through Dallas, Texas. He was both the youngest US president, and the youngest to die.

Mrs Kennedy gave a series of seven undisclosed interviews in the early part of 1964 during which she talked about JFK's early campaigns to the Cuban Missile Crisis, including an evolving sense of herself and her role as First Lady; family and married life in the White House; and the president's plans for a second term.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy administration, Mrs Kennedy's family is making available both the interview transcripts and the six-and-a-half hours of audio recordings of those interviews.

Prof Dallek, author of Mr Kennedy's biography An Unfinished Life, is in Dublin to mark the 50th anniversary of JFK's inauguration and deliver the John F Kennedy Memorial Lecture for the University College Dublin Clinton Institute.

Artefacts of Mr Kennedy's historic visit to Ireland in 1963 will also be shown to Taoiseach Enda Kenny by Prof Dallek after being brought from Queens University to Dublin.

These include a hand-written poem about the River Shannon, which Mr Kennedy scribbled on the back of a diary schedule after hearing it recited by Sinead de Valera - wife of then Irish President Eamon de Valera - and a copy of the speech Mr Kennedy delivered to the Dail on June 28 1963 - just five months before he was shot dead.

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