JUNE 27, 2012
THE SHOWDOWN WITH KHRUSHCHEV II
Kenneth O'Donnell tells us that while JFK was determined to avoid nuclear war, he "was equally determined not to back away from a threat of such a war if there was no other means of stopping the Soviets from dominating the Western world."
JFK came into office believing his 1st duty was to convince Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev that the United States would risk nuclear war in order to defend our position of world leadership.
Early on the agenda, however, was a visit to Europe which would include a summit meeting in VIENNA with Mr. Khrushchev.
One difficulty presented itself when the Soviets objected to JFK's airport arrival & motorcade to the U.S. Embassy. They felt this would upstage the Chairman's coming to Vienna on a train with no scheduled parade.
Kenny writes that the European trip would be a "painful physical ordeal" for JFK because he had dislocated the muscles at the base of his spine while planting a tree during his earlier visit to Ottawa.
During the visit to France before going to Vienna, JFK would climb into a bathtub plated with gold in his apartment at the Quai d'Orsay to relieve his aching back.
Kenny says JFK was impressed by the bathtub & said:
"God, we ought to have a tub like this in the White House."