President Kennedy’s assassination saga began with the Bay of Pigs invasion, organized under President Eisenhower’s last year in office. The 1,200 Cuban exiles would disembark on Cuban shores and, once control was established, a government in arms would be proclaimed, with a civilian one in Miami.
The unexpected new President Kennedy (it was Richard Nixon who was supposed to win) assured the country that not a single American would be involved, yet the CIA was certain that Kennedy would go forward with a full invasion.
Thurston Clarke, in his extraordinary book JFK’s Last Hundred Days, tells us that U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay “was furious with Kennedy for refusing to provide air support for the Cuban rebels and accused Kennedy of cowardice.” Kennedy told Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer that he could not imagine a set of events “that would justify and make it desirable to use American forces of overt military action against Castro’s Cuba.”
LeMay also mentioned the possibility of a coup and commented that the military would almost feel that it was their patriotic obligation to stand ready to preserve the integrity of the nation, and told him to bomb the Soviet missile sites in Cuba, and that he did not see any other solution but military intervention “right now.”
He also condemned a blockade as being almost as bad as the appeasement at Munich, and bluntly said, “I think a blockade and political talks would be considered by a lot of our friends as a pretty weak respond to this crisis. ... In other words you are in a pretty bad fix at the present time.”
“What are you saying?” Kennedy asked, forcing LeMay to repeat: “You are in a pretty bad fix.”
“You are in this with me” Kennedy replied and, after a pause, added, “personally.”
Clarke is certain that Kennedy repeatedly and categorically refused to send U.S. combat units to Vietnam and, if re-elected, would bring the troops back.
Kennedy’s speech at American University on June 10, 1963, focused on nuclear proliferation and test-ban treaties, and Clarke commented that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev “could have plagiarized Kennedy, and he believed that agreements like test ban treaties might reduce Cold War tensions.” Clark added that they both became united toward that goal.
In JFK’s Last Hundred Days are suggestions of a military coup in November 1963. The records of Kennedy’s assassination will be released in 2017.
When Lyndon Johnson became president, he was advised to send more troops to Vietnam, thus destroying his own legacy.