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The Last of the Secret Kennedy Tapes

The last 45 hours of JFK's secret tapes include a foreshadowing of the President's own funeral.


The final hours of President John F. Kennedy's secret tapes were released by the JFK Presidential Library on Tuesday, MSNBC reported.

The tapes are private recordings JFK made durring his presidency, and include discussions of the conflict in Vietnam, Soviet relations and the race to space, plans for the 1964 Democratic Convention and the President's re-election strategy. There also are moments with his children, as well as an eerie foreshadowing of his own assassination.

While arranging his schedule, Kennedy remarked that November 25, which would become the day of his funeral, was shaping up to be a "tough day" after his return from Texas and Cape Cod.

"It's a hell of a day, Mr. President," a staffer agreed.

Kennedy kept his recordings a secret from his top aides, MSNBC reported. The last recording was made two days before his death.

The JFK Library and Museum officials started reviewing tapes without classified material and releasing recordings to the public in 1983, The Boston Globe reported. Officials worked with government agencies when it came to national security issues, Kennedy library archivist Maura Porter told the Globe.

The Library and Museum has put out about 40 recordings since it finished going though the tapes in 1993. Porter said officials cut about 5 to 10 minutes of this last group of recordings due to family discussions and about 30 minutes because of national security concerns.

The tapes are downloadable on the Library's website.

"Kennedy did not tape as systematically as Johnson or Nixon. But what he did tape was often very important discussions," David Coleman, the professor who chairs the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia, told the Globe. "...What you have is an unusually rich collection of decisions being made in real time."

The University of Virginia has already has published three volumes of Kennedy transcripts and is working on another two volumes from recordings that previously went public.