Sunday, December 21, 2014



Hamilton, Bermuda (JFK+50) Fifty-three years ago today, President John F. Kennedy met with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan* at Government House here in Hamilton.  JFK arrived at Kindley AFB at 12:58 p.m. local time where he was greeted by Governor Sir Julian Gascoigne.

The combined bands of the Bermuda Rifles and Bermuda Militia played the national anthems while a 25 mph wind played havoc with JFK's thick chesnut hair.

President Kennedy addressed a small crowd at the base.  He said...

"I want to express great pleasure at having the visit you on your territory which has been the scene of most important meetings beneficial to both countries."

The meeting, officially known as The Big Two Summit, concerned East-West relations, nuclear weapons, Berlin and the Congo.  JFK was accompanied at the meeting by Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy and US Ambassador to Great Britain David Bruce.  The PM was advised by British Ambassador to the United States David Ormsby-Gore and nuclear weapon specialist Sir William Penney.

In the aftermath of the Berlin Crisis in the Summer of 1961, the President, Prime Minister and their respective advisers agreed to "maintain the effectiveness of the deterrent" by renewal of testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere. 

The President and Prime Minister talked for five hours per session only breaking for tea. According to the London Sunday Times, this was "one of the most important (meetings) since the end of the Second World War."


"Historical Photos:  President Kennedy in Bermuda,"

JFK and MacMillan
Bermuda (1961)
JFK Library Photo

*Harold Macmillan (1894-1986) was born in Chelsea, London to a British publisher and American born mother.  His great grandfather was founder of Macmillan Publishing Company.  HM served in WWI and fought at the Battle of the Somme.  

HM was Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1957 to 1963 and developed a special relationship with JFK whose sister, Kick, had married the nephew of his wife, Lady Dorothy Macmillan.  Mr. Macmillan described his relationship with President Eisenhower as son to father, while that with JFK was father to son.