July 18, 2012
"JOHNNY, I HARDLY KNEW YE" V
Kenneth O'Donnell writes about JFK's trip to EUROPE in late June 1963.
He tells us that originally the trip was to be only to WEST GERMANY "to strengthen that country's allegiance to....NATO."
Soon Italy, Great Britain & Ireland were added.
O'Donnell argued that there was no (political) reason for the President to include Ireland on the itinerary.
But JFK insisted even when Mac Bundy supported Kenny's view.
"Kenny, let me remind you....I am the President of the United States, not you. When I say I want to go to Ireland, it means that I'm going to Ireland. Make the arrangements."
JFK said later that the visit to Ireland was one of his greatest emotional experiences.
Kenny details JFK's preparation for that phase of the trip to Europe. Dave Powers said:
"(The President) is getting so Irish the next thing we know he'll be speaking with a brogue."
When JFK learned that he could trace his Irish descent from a member of the royal Brian Boru family named Cinneide, which can be translated from the Gaelic as 'Helmet Head,' the President said:
"Let's keep that quiet."