Friday, August 30, 2013


August 30, 2013


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) A "hot line" between the Pentagon and the Kremlin, was activated 50 years ago today, August 30, 1963, making John F. Kennedy the first United States president to have access to the new technology.

Earlier in June, the hot line agreement had been signed by representatives of the United States and the Soviet Union.

The White House issued a statement saying the hotline would "help reduce the risk of war occurring by accident or miscalculation."

The first test message sent over the wires from Washington was: 

"The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog's back 1234567890."

                       Kennedy Hotline

The New York Times reported that the hot line was...

"a direct outgrowth of the serious delays that developed in diplomatic communications between the 2 capitals during the Cuban Missile Crisis."

The hot line had the capability of reducing the time to initiate direct communication between the President of the United States and the Premier of the Soviet Union from hours to minutes.

Despite the improvement, however, the process was not exactly what has been depicted in some Hollywood movies.  

If JFK or presidents who followed wanted to place a call on the hotline, they first had to call the Pentagon and have operators there type in his message on the teletype machine* that was included in the system.

The President's message would then be encrypted, fed to a transmitter and sent to the Kremlin. 

*The hot line system included 4 American made teletype machines located at the Kremlin and 4 East German made teletype machines located at the Pentagon.

Nikita Khrushchev or one of premiers who followed would then receive the message and a reply would be sent following a similar procedure back to the Pentagon.

While JFK was the first president to have access to the hot line, it was actually LBJ who became the first president to use it in 1967 when he was considering sending Air Force jets to the Middle East.

President Richard M. Nixon used the hotline twice, in 1971 and 1973  and President Ronald Reagan also used it.

Even though the Cold War ended many years ago, the Hot Line is still in place and operational today.


"August 30, 1963/Communications 'Hot Line' Connects Soviet and U.S. Heads of State,"  The Learning Network,


Cape Canaveral, Florida (JFK+50) Lt. Col. Guion S. Bluford of the United States Air Force became the 1st African-American to be launched into outer space 30 years ago today, August 30, 1983.

Lt. Col Bluford, a mission specialist, was launched with his fellow astronauts aboard the space shuttle Challenger from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 2:32 a.m.

Bluford earned a PhD in the philosophy of Aeronautical Engineering from the US Air Force Institute of Technology.

              Lt. Col. Guion S. Bluford
                          NASA Photo

                     Childhood's End
                        by Rick Ryan