Dictabelt 10B.3

John Kennedy, Larry O'Brien

[The taping begins while the conversation is already in progress.]

President Kennedy: . . . Boston, which gives them a pretty good little issue.

Lawrence O'Brien: Yeah.

President Kennedy: Can't we do something about that?

O'Brien: Yeah, well, actually, this whole damn thing is up in the air now. Guys like [Senator Edmund S.] Muskie [D-Maine] and others, guys--by the time I put together all the inquiries we've had today I think it'll probably cover the whole waterfront, and we'll just have to review this entire operation. And I'm going to--

President Kennedy: They didn't clear this at at all, did they?

O'Brien: No. No. Well, they--it seems a rather--very frankly, it was just a stupid operation all the way. I've got Mahaffey[?] on the other line, incidentally--

President Kennedy: Yeah.

O'Brien: --who has just come from the governor1 --

President Kennedy: Yeah.

O'Brien: --and, of course, he said the governor--it's the old story that he never said that it would get you in '64, and reporters have called him all--from all over the country, and he has denied he has said that.

President Kennedy: Yeah. That's fine.

O'Brien: That he still insists that Arkansas fliers participated in the invasion, however.

President Kennedy: Yeah. Well, you tell him what they did is they participated in the training down there in Nicaragua--

O'Brien: Yeah.

President Kennedy: --and Guatemala, but they didn't fly in combat.

O'Brien: Yeah. That's what I had told him initially. That's what he told the governor, and the governor said, "Well, hell"--he wasn't quarrelling. He said--the governor's going to call me later tonight, but he said, hell, "I'm not--I don't want to get into any--"

President Kennedy: Well, why don't you just tell him that what we want to do is just put the goddamn thing to rest.

O'Brien: Right.

President Kennedy: So whatever they can do down there to just shut it all up, is fine with us. But the guards issued some statement about--he can just say that they've--he can try to cover his tracks and we'll try to end it.

O'Brien: Yeah. All right.

President Kennedy: OK.

O'Brien: Fine.

President Kennedy: And then we ought to get this thing straightened out. I don't want it around that we're taking business out of Scranton out to--which is depressed--up to--so I think we ought to put out a statement saying that we're holding up--or the Secretary of the Treasury [C. Douglas Dillon] ought to put it out in the morning--we're holding up all these transfers.2

O'Brien: All right.

President Kennedy: Because I just think it's stupid.

O'Brien: Yeah. OK.

President Kennedy: Right. Bye now.

  • 1. O'Brien is referring to Arkansas Governor Orval E. Faubus who had criticized the Kennedy administration for the role of 12 Arkansas Air National Guard troops in the botched Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961.
  • 2. Kennedy was referring to a recently announced plan to close and consolidate some offices of the Internal Revenue Service. Part of the plan included closures of offices in the economically depressed city of Scranton, Pennsylvania.