A Conversation between John F. Kennedy and Douglas MacArthur


Ad Honoris
Jan 2008
The upcoming anniversary of the Kennedy assassination has recently prompted me to spend some time listening to the secret tapes that JFK made of his conversations in the White House. Many of them are fascinating, and one of the best that I listened to was this one, which records part of a two-hour meeting that took place in the Oval Office between President Kennedy and retired General Douglas MacArthur:


MacArthur is (to put it mildly) a controversial figure of history, but even his detractors usually conceded that he was an extraordinary conversationalist. This tape is, to the best of my knowledge, the only recording which exists of him speaking in a non-public situation. In 48 minutes (the tape starts and ends mid-conversation) MacArthur gives JFK his frank opinions about topics ranging from U.S. anti-Communist strategy in Indochina, to his experiences in the First World War, his lasting regrets about the Korean War, the end of European colonialism, the unreliability of the American media, Kennedy's likely political opponents in the 1964 election, and his personal estimation of Dwight Eisenhower.

I found it absolutely riveting, and thought I'd share it here.