Tapes which highlight the communications between the Johnsons and Kennedy’s mother, Rose Kennedy, the day President John F Kennedy was assassinated, were made public yesterday.
The tapes reveal the interactions between the White House and Air Force One in the aftermath of JFK’s assassination on November 22, 1963.
The Daily Mail reports that tapes included emotional exchanges between Rose Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson, JFK’s vice president, who was sworn in as President on Air Force One, and his wife, known as Lady Bird. Rose Kennedy was at the Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts when she received the call just 30 minutes after LBJ’s flight took off from Dallas’ Love Field Airport.
“I wish to God there was something that I could do and I wanted to tell you that we were grieving with you,” Johnson told Rose Kennedy, just after he was sworn in.
'Thanks a mill- thank you very much, thank you very much. I know, I know you loved Jack, and he loved you,' said Rose Kennedy in reply.
Exchanges between Lady Bird, Johnson’s wife, and Rose Kennedy were also recorded on the tapes, which is run by a switchboard operator at the White House.
“Mrs Kennedy, we feel like we just had-” Lady Bird Johnson said.
“Yes, alright,” Kennedy interjected.
“We are glad that the nation had your son as long as it did,” Mrs Johnson continued.
“Yes, well thank you, Lady Bird. Thank you very much, goodbye!” Mrs Kennedy said quickly.
The tapes were part of a collection found in the belongings of General Chester ‘Ted’ Clifton, Jr after he passed away. Clifton’s family sold the tapes to a historical documents dealer in Pennsylvania, who then provided a copy for the National Archives.
Why Clifton held on to the tapes is still not apparent.