Monday, September 2, 2013


September 2, 2013


Squaw Island, Massachusetts (JFK+50) CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite* conducted an interview with President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago today, September 2, 1963, on the grounds of "Brambletyde"** here on Squaw Island.

A video tape of the interview was broadcast on the new half-hour CBS Evening News program the same day.

President and Mrs. Kennedy had leased the property for the summer.  In the summer of 1962, they had leased the Morton Downey home also on Squaw Island.

*Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) served as news anchor of CBS Evening News from 1962 to 1981.  He was born in St. Joseph, MO and grew up in Houston, TX. He attended the University of Texas and began his career in broadcasting in 1935. 

The President discussed various issues including civil rights, the Election of 1964, unemployment and the Vietnam War.

JFK said that he recognized the political effects of the civil rights issue and remained "hopeful that both parties...will commit themselves to the same objective of equality of opportunity."

As to unemployment, the President said that "we have 2.5 million more people working than when I came to office and yet a million and a half more people have come into the labor market."

The most discussed portion of the interview, however, was JFK's response to this statement from Mr. Cronkite...

"Mr. President, the only hot war we've got running at the moment is of course the one in Viet-Nam, and we have our difficulties there, quite obviously."

The President said...

"I don't think that unless a greater effort is made by the Government to win popular support that the war can be won out there.  In the final analysis, it is their war.  They are the ones who have to win it or lose it.  We can help them, we can give them equipment, we can send our men out there as advisers, but they have to win it, the people of Viet-Nam, against the Communists."

JFK continued....

"We are prepared to continue to assist them, but I don't think that the war can be won unless the people support the effort..."

Mr. Cronkite asked JFK if sending his former Republican adversary, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., to South Vietnam as ambassador was an attempt to "keep this from being a political issue in 1964?"

The interview concluded with JFK's answer...

"No, Ambassador Lodge wanted to go out to Saigon.  If he were as careful as some politicians are...he would not have wanted to go...but he is energetic and...has strong feelings about the United States and, surprisingly as it seems...put this ahead of his political career.  

Sometimes politicians do those things, Walter."

                Walter Cronkite and JFK 
                        At Brambletyde

**"Brambletyde is a rambling, gray-shingled house located on Squaw Island, Massachusetts.  It was owned in 1963 by textile manufacturer Louis Thun and leased to JFK for the summer.  The property is just a half mile from the Kennedy Compound.


"Morton Downey Home and Brambletyde," by Steve Brawley,

"Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963," United States Government Printing Office, Washington, 1964.


Tokyo, Japan (JFK+50) Representatives of the Empire of Japan signed instruments of surrender 68 years ago today, September 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri docked here in Tokyo Bay.

  Japanese Minister M. Shigemitsu
 Signs for the Japanese Government
 Lt.Gen. R.K. Sutherland Witnesses

General Douglas MacArthur stepped before microphones on the deck of "Big Mo" at 0902 hours.  

MacArthur said:

"It is my hope that a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past and the fulfillment of....freedom, tolerance and justice."

              General Douglas MacArthur
               Signs for the United States

          VJ Celebration at Oak Ridge
                    September 2, 1945
                Photo by Ed Westcott
                   American Museum 
                of Science and Energy