JFK+50: Volume 5, No. 1926JFK TAKES FULL PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE BAY OF PIGS
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-five years ago today, April 21, 1961, President John F. Kennedy took "full personal responsibility" for the failure of the invasion at the Bay of Pigs. The President told reporters at his morning news conference..."I am the responsible officer of this government."
The President, however, according to James Reston of the New York Times, privately blamed the Central Intelligence Agency. JFK "could not understand how men like (Allen) Dulles and (Richard) Bissell, so intelligent and so experienced, could have been so wrong."
The President wanted answers. He appointed an investigative committee to be led by General Maxwell Taylor. The press wanted answers as well, but JFK did not even entertain any questions on the topic of Cuba. He began his news conference by saying...
"I don't think any useful national purpose would be served by my going further into the Cuban question this morning."
Most reporters complied with JFK's wishes although one had a question about Castro and NBC's Sander Vanocur asked why it would "not be useful" to discuss the Bay of Pigs. The President respectfully answered...
"We have to make a judgment as to how much we can usefully say that would aid the interests of the United States."
"Brilliant Disaster: JFK, Castro and America's Doomed Invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs," by Jim Rasenberger, Scribner, New York, 2011.
"The American Presidency Project, Presidential News Conferences: John F. Kennedy, April 21, 1961, www.presidency.ucsb.edu/
Bay of Pigs Memorial