That Time JFK Asked His Mom Not to Contact Khrushchev Again

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On this day of honoring our mothers, presidential historian Michael Beschloss has shared a pair of unique letters between the late President John F. Kennedy and his mother, Rose.


The letters were written and sent in early November 1962, immediately after the Cuban Missile Crisis that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

In the first letter, JFK asks his mom on White House stationary to please “be sure to let me know in the future any contacts you have with heads of state, etc. concerning requests for pictures, signatures, etc.”

Apparently, Rose Kennedy had contacted Nikita Khrushchev seeking photographs of the Soviet premier without notifying her son. The president was concerned such behavior might lead to mixed signals, given the Cold War geopolitical context at the time.

In a typed response a week later, Rose Kennedy, who died in 1995 at the age of 104, apologized and promised to alert JFK before seeking “Castro’s autograph.”



Weekend Editor, Splinter