Last of secret Kennedy tapes released

Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:13pm EST
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By Lauren Keiper

BOSTON (Reuters) - The final 45 hours of White House recordings secretly taped during John F. Kennedy's time in office were released on Tuesday, offering researchers unique perspective into the last three months of his administration.

The recordings are part of a collection of more than 248 hours of taped meetings and 12 hours of phone conversations that have been reviewed and released by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum since 1993.

"The president's intelligence really comes across," said Maura Porter, declassification archivist with the presidential library who worked on the tapes for a decade.

Kennedy can be heard stumping experts with his questions in areas that were not necessarily his forte, she said.

The recorded conversations were made deliberately by the president, often captured in the Oval Office or Cabinet Room, but were kept secret from even Kennedy's top aides, the library said in a statement.

The latest batch to be released by the library span meetings during the last three months of Kennedy's presidency.

Conversations with top officials briefing Kennedy on Vietnam were among the most memorable, Porter said.

After hearing vastly different viewpoints from top advisers who had gone on a fact-finding mission to South Vietnam, Kennedy can be heard commenting: "You both went to the same country?"   Continued...

<p>President John F. Kennedy in an undated photograph. REUTERS/JFK Presidential Library and Museum</p>