SKYBOLT CRISIS AND THE NASSAU SUMMIT
Hamilton, Bermuda (JFK+50) Fifty-five years ago today, December 21, 1961, President John F. Kennedy met with British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan* at Government House here in Hamilton.
The meeting, officially known as The Big Two Summit, came in the midst of the Skybolt Crisis in the United Kingdom. The United States had cancelled the Skybolt nuclear deterrent program which was to have provided Polaris missiles to the UK in return for lease of a submarine base near Glasgow.
The major issue for the British was concern about their own independent nuclear deterrent force. After the meeting, which concluded on December 22, 1961, President Kennedy called on Richard Neustadt** to prepare a report on the matter. It was drafted on November 15, 1963 and later published under the title "Report to JFK: The Skybolt Crisis in Perspective."
Jacqueline Kennedy, who had a copy of the report with her in Dallas, recalled that after reading the report, her husband said to her...
"If you want to know what my life is like, read this!"
*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.
**Richard Elliott Neustadt (1919-2003) was born in Philadelphia & graduated from the University of California. PEN earned his PhD at Harvard in 1951. He served as a special assistant under President Truman & later founded the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard where he also taught.
"Report to JFK: The Skybolt Crisis in Perspective," Cornell University Press, www.cornellpress.com/
"Report to JFK: The Skybolt Crisis in Perspective," Project Muse, www.muse.jhu.edu/