John F. Kennedy on Homeland Security
Danger that security needs will expand to censorship
John F. Kennedy said, "There is little value in insuring the survival or our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need
for increased security will be seized upon but those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship in concealment."
Source: 63 Documents, by Gov. Jesse Ventura, p. 2
, Apr 4, 2011
Bay of Pigs intended to liberate Cuba; ended as fiasco
[In 1961] the liberation of Cuba by a small bank of freedom fighters would surely be another chapter in the Kennedy success story. Kennedy was assured that Castro would be toppled quickly, with no risk of American involvement, & little risk of failure.
American participation, the pilots in the first raids were to pretend to be defectors from Castro's air force. On the morning of April 15, the US attacked three Cuban air bases. The White House denied any knowledge of the events.
The invaders lost 114 men; Castro captured 1,189 along with a large cache of American weapons. As the full extent of American involvement in the debacle started to appear, his 3-month-old administration appeared to be in ruins.
Source: A Question of Character, by Thomas Reeves, p.258-272
, Dec 10, 1997
Increase military spending to fight domino effect in SE Asia
Jack gained attention [in the Senate] for his foreign policy views. He repeatedly condemned the Eisenhower administration for its dependence upon "massive retaliation" and sought increases in military spending. He took a special interest in French
Indochina, & tried unsuccessfully to tie American aid with eventual independence of Vietnam. Even before Eisenhower mentioned the "domino" principle, Kennedy linked the existence of a non-Communist regime in Vietnam to the security of all Southeast Asia.
Source: A Question of Character, by Thomas Reeves, p.120
, Dec 10, 1997
1963: Test Ban Treaty: no nukes in space nor oceans
In 1963 a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty [proposed] prohibiting testing in outer space, the atmosphere, and the oceans. The Soviets were persuaded that the
United States wanted to inspect in order to spy; many on our side were convinced that without adequate inspection the Soviets would cheat.
It took only twelve days to agree to a limited test-ban treaty.
Article One pledged the parties not to carry out nuclear explosions in the prohibited environments and to refrain from abetting such explosions by others.
Underground testing was permitted to continue.
Kennedy warmly and eloquently endorsed the agreement calling the treaty "an important first step--a step towards peace--as step towards reason--a step away from war."
Source: A Question of Character, by Thomas Reeves, p.401
, Dec 10, 1997
Defense spending should not be limited by budget amount
As President-elect, he gave his first basic policy change: "Under no circumstances should we allow a predetermined arbitrary financial limit to establish either strategy or force levels." Our strategy was to be determined by the objectives of our foreign
policy. Our force levels were to be determined by the necessities of our safety and commitments. "Like any other investment," he said of defense spending in 1960, "it will be a gamble with our money. But the alternative is to gamble with our lives."
Source: "Kennedy" by Ted Sorensen, p. 603
, Jan 1, 1965
Increased defense spending, but also increased efficiency
Defense spending rose some $8 billion under Kennedy, constituting most of his Budget increase, but it was spent on more solid and dependable deterrents from which [inefficient] systems might otherwise have taken money. [Defense Secretary] McNamara and
Kennedy formed a single Defense Intelligence Agency, which produced one confidential daily report instead of the previous eleven. They formed a single
Defense Supply Agency, which tightened up procurement practices on everything from different belt buckles to missiles, noted that Army helicopters could use the one million too many small rockets in Air Force stockpiles
(savings $41 million), and avoided duplications. They undertook a reorganization of the National Guard and they shut down, sold or cut back nearly three hundred inefficient installations. "The defense establishment," said Kennedy, "must be lean and fit."
Source: "Kennedy" by Ted Sorensen, p. 417-418
, Jan 1, 1965
Page last updated: Apr 28, 2013