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Monday 20 November 2017

'Monday's a tough day' - tapes reveal JFK's eerie words before killing

US President John F Kennedy's library is releasing 45 hours of privately recorded meetings and phone calls, providing a window into the final months of his life.

The tapes include discussions of conflict in Vietnam, Soviet relations and the race to space, plans for the 1964 Democratic Convention and re-election strategy. There also are moments with his children.

On one recording, made days before Kennedy's assassination, he asks staffers to schedule a meeting in a week. He tells them he's booked for the weekend, with no time to meet an Indonesian general then, either.

"I'm going to be up at the Cape on Friday, but I'll see him Tuesday," JFK tells staffers.

The tapes, released by the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, are the last of more than 260 hours of recordings of meetings and conversations JFK privately made before his assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

In the scheduling discussion three days before his killing, JFK also eerily comments on what would become the day of his funeral.

"Monday?" he asks. "Well that's a tough day."

"It's a hell of a day, Mr President," a staffer replies.







Death

Kennedy kept the recordings a secret from his aides. He made the last one two days before his death. Archivist Maura Porter said he comes across as an intelligent man who had a knack for public relations and was very interested in his public image. But she said the tapes also reveal times when the president became bored or annoyed and moments when he used swear words.

The sound of the president's children, Caroline and John Jr, playing outside the Oval Office is part of a recording on which he introduces them to Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko.

"Hello, hello," Mr Gromyko says as the children come in, telling their father, "They are very popular in our country."

hnews@herald.ie

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