Thursday, February 9, 2012
President Kennedy and his military aide Gen. Clifton in the Oval Office examining some military weapons.
President John F. Kennedy carried in his jacket pocket the undelivered speech he was to give at the Dallas Trade Mart, which read in part:
“...America today is stronger than ever before. Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions, our dangers have not diminished, our vigilance cannot be relaxed. But now we have the military, the scientific, and the economic strength to do whatever must be done for the preservation and promotion of freedom. That strength will never be used in pursuit of aggressive ambitions - it will always be used in pursuit of peace. It will never be used to promote provocations - it will always be used to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes. We in this country, in this generation, are - by destiny rather than choice-the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of "peace on earth, good will toward men." That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underline our strength. For as was written long ago: ‘except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’” Psalm 127:1
- JFK’s Undelivered Speech – Dallas Trade Mart, Nov. 22, 1963
Watchman – Gen. Chester Clifton (Aboard AF1)
“Aft of the cockpit Signalman John Trimble was too busy to brood. He had three phone patches going to the communications shack, and he was using Hanson's UHF and VHF sets, yet it wasn't enough. Every official in Washington it seemed, wanted to talk to Air Force One...Several conversations were trivial....Lem Johns was forwarding instructions to the White Hosue Communications Agency, and Bill Moyers was talking to Walter Jenkins and Mac Bundy. (Ted Clifon talked to Bundy, too, asking again whether an international plot was emerging. It was not a discreet inquiry. Trimble's patches were not secure. They could be bugged. Bundy replied crisply that the Pentagon was taking its own steps.) But the bulk of the verbal traffic was about President Kennedy...”
- William Manchester. Death of a President (p. 341)
Footnote 9 - p. 371
9. That Friday Lyndon Johnson did not know that John Kennedy had ordered the taping of all Angel conversations while the plane was in flight. On April 21, 1964, this writer learned that the Love-to-Andrews tape still existed. Since security was not involved, it was first thought that a complete transcript of it would serve as a useful appendix to this book. Presidential consent was withheld, however. On May 5, 1965, the author was permitted to read an edited transcript at the White House. Doubtless the tape will be available to future historians.
Air Force One Radio Transmissions 11/22/63
- ...General Heaton is on, this is Admiral Burkley.
- Yes, Burkley?
- Air Force One.
- I read you Admiral Burkley.
- Hold for a minute, please. General Clifton here…
- Ah....this is General Clifton.
- Yes General Clifton?
- We do NOT want a helicopter for Bethesda Medical Center. We do want an ambulance and a ground return from Andrews to Walter Reed. And we want the regular post mortem that has to be done by law, under guard, performed at Walter Reed. Is that clear? Over.
- That is clear General Clifton. You want an ambulance and a ah...another limousine at Andrews and you want the regular post mortem by law done at Walter Reed.
- That is correct.
LBJ Library Tape Reel 1 Side 2 - Patch 7
- ....Go ahead, Duplex is on one, sir.
- Air Force One, Andrews. Give your party a call.
- Okay, Duplex, Duplex, this is Watchman. Over.
- Go ahead Watchman. Over.
- Duplex, this is Watchman.
- I understand that...ambulance...take Mrs. Kennedy to Bethesda...is this correct? Over.
- Watchman. It has been arranged to helicopter, helicopter the body to Bethesda. Over.
- This is Watchman. Okay if it isn’t dark. What about the First Lady? Over.
- Everybody else aboard, everybody else aboard, it has been arranged to helicopter into the South Grounds.
- Watchman....(are you sure) helicopter operation will work because we have a very heavy casket? Over.
- Ah, according to Witness, yes.
- This is Watchman....don’t take a chance on that. Also have a mortuary type ambulance stand by in case the helicopter doesn’t work.
- That’s affirmative. Over…
- That’s affirmative. I receive.
- Now some other instructions. Listen carefully. We need a ramp, a normal ramp at the front of the aircraft, on the right hand side, just behind the pilot’s cabin in the galley. We are going to take the First Lady off by that route. Over. Do you understand?
- I receive. Affirmative.
- Also, by the right rear, on no, the left rear, the left rear of the aircraft, where we usually dismount, de-bark, we will need a fork lift rather than a ramp because it will be too awkward. We will need a platform to walk out on, and a fork lift to put it on. Is that possible? Over.
- Say again, say again Watchman.
- I say again. The casket is in the rear compartment, and we suggest, because it is so heavy, that we have a fork lift, a fork lift there to remove the casket. But if this is too awkward, we can get along with a normal ramp and several men. Over.
- Affirmative. We will try for the fork lift.
- All right. Next item. Duplex, Duplex. Ah ….The press, according to Mr. Johnson, the press is to have a normal...at Andrews field, and he is going from there by helicopter to the White House. Over.
- Say again, Watchman, say again please.
- Watchman, this is Duplex, say again.
- The press, the normal corral, it will have to be in front of the aircraft, because that is where President Johnson will come off. Okay?
- Watchman this is Duplex. Will you say that again?
- Duplex this is Watchman. I say again. On the right front, a ramp for Mrs. Kennedy, on the left rear, if possible, a fork lift for the casket, and in the right front, near the pilot, a normal ramp….. Over.
- Say again, Watchman, you’re breaking.
- (non-broadcast communications – someone else behind radio operator) I got that, on the left front, I got that, normal ramp for President Johnson…on the left front…press arrangements…all right.
- Did everybody get that clear? Over.
- That is affirmative.
- Hold One, ...Tillerman would like to talk to you.
- Watchman, Watchman, Standby One. Are you there?
- Watchman, Watchman, this is Duplex.
- Duplex, this is Watchman, Over. Go ahead.
- Watchman, should the Secretary of Defense and others be at Andrews on your arrival?
- No, I am about, no negative….Have them call the White House. President Johnson wants to meet with the White House staff...the leadership of Congress, and as many of the Cabinet members as possible at the White House as soon as we get there, approximately eighteen thirty - one, eight, three, zero. Over.
- Will you say again please…
- I got it.
- you got it?
- (unbroadcast communications) President Johnson is supposed to meet as many of the cabinet members at the White House at 1830.
- This is Watchman. Did you get it all? Members of the White House staff. Also the leadership of Congress. Also as many Cabinet members as available at the White House at 1830. Over.
- That is affirmative Watchman. That is affirmative.
- Repeat that to me.
- All the leaders of Congress, as many Cabinet members as possible at the White House at 1830
- The key members of the White House staff. That is Bundy, Sorrensen, ettcetera.
- That is correct.
- Air Force.
- Air Force One. This is Crown.
- This is Warrior to Crown, Crown, are you reading. Over.
- This is Crown, loud and clear.
- Hold on for transmission from Witness. From Witness.
- Roger, Roger, would also like to confirm at this time, would also like to confirm at this time, the request from AF One...
This is Watchman. Over.
- This is Crown. Go ahead.
- Can you put Mister Bundy on?
- You were broken. You were broken, say again.
- Crown, this is Watchman. Please put Mister Bundy on the line. Over.
- Roger, Roger, standby.
- You’re party on this end is on. Go ahead and transmit to him.
- This is Watchman.
- Mac,....second and secretary MacNamare at six thirty at the White House. If Mr. Rusk is in town....Mr. Rusk...we do not, we do not, that’s negative, we do not want the acting secretary. Over.
- Correct. Tell him that the acting cabinet will be at the airport to greet him. He can bring MacNamara and me in his chopper to the White House. Over.
- That is correct. That is all right. We can do that. Take another message. Over.
- Secondly. I talked to Jerry Behn about a White House staff meeting. There will be No, negative, no White House staff meeting tonight, that will be tomorrow.
- I have it. Let me repeat your message. Over.
- First that the President would like to meet with the Secretary and me at the White House on return from Andrews. Second that there will be no other meeting this evening. There will be a White Staff meeting tomorrow. Is that correct? Over.
- No that is not correct. He wants to meet with the leadership about seven-thirty, the leadership at seven-thirty.
- Does he want us to arrange that?
- He wants you to arrange that. Two meetings tonight. MacNamarea and Bundy, and the leadership.
- Does he mean only the Democratic leadership only? Over.
- Bipartisan leadership; and I’ll give you some names. Over.
- Speaker of the House. [John McCormak]
- Carl Albert.
- Carl Albert.
- Hal Boggs.
- Charles Halleck
- Wait a moment. Say that one again.
- Leslie Arends
- Arends. Yea.
- (From) the Senate. Are you listening? Over.
- I have…Will you take from me what I have? Then we can go on.
- I’ll listen to you. Over.
- I have Speaker Carl Albert, Hale Boggs, and Leslie Arends. Over.
- This is Watchman. That is correct, and I will now continue with the Senate. Over.
- And Dirksen
- Hang on, hold it. Wait a moment. I have the first three, over.
- Repeat over.
- This is Watchman. Out.
- Hello, sir? Standby please. (radio operator)
- Watchman, Andrews. We’re still standing by for orders to carry out, sir.
- Crown, this is Angel. Crown, this is Angel. Out.
- Crown, Angel?
- This is Angel.
- Crown, Angel.
- Listen Angel, Would you? I broke down with Mister Bundy. Would you check his Senate list for me? Over
- I have Mansfield, Humphrey, Smathers. Over.
- This is Watchman. In addition to Mansfield, Humphrey, Smatters, we want Dirksen.
- Kuchel and [Bourke], Hickenlooper [R. Iowa]. Over.
- Dirksen, Kuchel, Hickenlooper. Over.
- That is correct. For about seven thirty. Over.
- Seven thirty at the White House? Over.
- Seven thirty in the Cabinet Room. Over.
- Tell the Vice President the Cabinet Room is under rearrangement, but the Oval Room will be ready. Over.
- The Oval Room it will be, you mean the Fish Room?
- I mean, both the Fish Room, and the President’s Study and we will try to have the Cabinet Room. But that’s a detail, we can work that out. Over.
- This is Watchman. [Gen. Clifton] HE DOES NOT WANT TO GO IN THE MANSION OR IN THE OVAL ROOM OR THE PRESIDENT’S STUDY OR THE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE. (Loud and with emphasis)
- Correct. [Bundy].
- IF THE CABINET ROOM ISN’T READY PUT IT IN THE FISH ROOM. OVER.
- I have you. I understand. Always in the West Wing. Over.
- I have nothing further. Over.
- This is Watchman, now please brief Duplex about the changes, so we don’t confuse it. . Duplex is Jerry Behn. Over.
- Alright I will.
- See you in a little while. Over.
Maj. Gen. Chester V. “Ted” Clifton, Jr.
Maj. Gen. Chester V. "Ted" Clifton Jr., 78
December 29, 1991
Maj. Gen. Chester V. "Ted" Clifton Jr., 78, senior military aide to President John F. Kennedy, died of lung ailments Monday in Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He joined President Kennedy's staff in 1961 and was in almost constant touch with him throughout his presidency. He was in the Dallas motorcade on Nov. 22, 1963, when the president was assassinated. He was aboard Air Force One when Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president and later served Mr. Johnson as a military aide.
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, General Clifton grew up in Tacoma, Wash., and attended the University of Washington. He graduated from West Point in 1936 and later received a master's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin. In World War II, he served in Italy in the Cassino and Anzio campaigns and in the invasion of southern France.
Memories JFK, 1961-1963
Authors: Cecil Stoughton & Chester V Clifton
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Date Published: 1/04/1980
Format: Paperback Book
In 1961 President John F. Kennedy's friend and military aide, General Chester V. (Ted) Clifton, assigned Captain Cecil Stoughton of the Army Signal Corps to the full-time job of keeping a photographic record of President Kennedy's days in the White House. Captain Stoughton had extraordinary opportunities to photograph JFK as president, as father, as husband, in moments of crisis and tension, of joy and relaxation, of stern responsibility and of love.Hugh Sidey, the Time-Life correspondent, himself a friend and close observer of the Kennedys, writes: "It remains a curiosity of these times how many people were touched in a special way by John F. Kennedy. The young people reserve a special joy for him, something they salvaged in a way we barely understand when they were seared by his death while they were still younger. Those of us who lived in the Kennedy years find the memories come back stronger than ever with even the slightest encouragement. The unusual human dimensions of the man propelled him through politics and gave his presidency its flavor and lasting meaning."This book is not a deliberate assessment of his stewardship. It is a collection of memories, a compendium of emotion captured on film in Kennedy's thousand days.
Maj. General Chester V. Clifton:
"One of my favorite stories: the exchange was wonderful. I saw this word, 'Draconian,' and I must say, I wasn't familiar with it. It was in an intelligence report from the CIA. I had very carefully written in the margin, 'cruel, inhuman!' The President grabbed the report and was running through it, and when he came to that he stopped and said, 'Who put this in here?' I said, 'I did.' He said, 'That's the trouble with you military; now if you'd had a classic Harvard education, you would have known what the word meant.' So I said, 'Yes, Sir,' and later on -- oh, four or five days later -- again the same thing: we were up in the bedroom, he was going through the report, and there was some very technical military term, in the atomic energy field -- I think it was 'permissive link.' He said, 'Well, what's this mean?' I told him; he said, 'Right,' and I said, 'Mr. President, if you'd had a classic military education at West Point, you would have known what that word was.' He said, 'Touche,' and grinned. He was willing to give and take with great humor.
Bay of Pigs
At 5:15 one morning last week, President Kennedy's military aide, Brigadier General Chester Clifton, got an urgent telephone call. He told the caller to telephone the President at his weekend home in Middleburg, Va. Shortly afterward, in keeping with instructions he had given, the President was awakened and told that an invasion force of Cuban revolutionaries had landed as planned on the south coast of Cuba. So began John F. Kennedy's darkest and bitterest week as President.
Soon after he took office in January, Kennedy was faced with making a command decision on Cuba.... http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,,897719,00.html
...Early on the morning of August 13, thousands of frightened East Germans were fleeing across the flimsy boundary into free West Berlin. At 2 a.m. there were sirens, then the rumble of tanks on the East Berlin cobblestones. East German troops carrying rolls of barbed wire, concrete pillars, stone blocks, picks, and shovels leapt out of their trucks. Four hours later, millions of Berliners lived in a huge communist pen which over the next decade would be broadened and built into an automated armed fortress of steel and concrete —a fortress which stood as a monstrous rebuke to freedom.
The wall would become the greatest public relations disaster of our age, with endless pictures of desperate men and women, rushing the barrier and being shot down, and then left to die on the concrete no man's land. Kennedy and other Presidents would use it as a stage to unmask the what Ronald Reagan called "the evil empire."
This wall was no symbol
When it happened we were all caught off guard — including Kennedy. He was on board his yacht, the Marlin, pushing off from the family dock in Hyannis Port, Massachussets, preparing for a well-deserved cruise with family and friends and a couple of bowls of fish chowder, his favorite dish. A military duty officer rushed down to the beach with the first flash. He walked into the surf in full uniform to deliver the grim news to Brig. Gen. Chester Clifton, the Presidents military aide who signaled the Marlin back to port. He handed the dispatch to Kennedy who read it in silence. "You go ahead," Kennedy told the family as he got into a golf cart with Clifton to ride back to his house.
Kennedy remained silent for several minutes. Then he blurted, "Why in hell didn't we know about it?" Clifton responded that out of more than 40 contingency plans he had read for Berlin he could not recall a single one that dealt with the possible construction of a barrier... http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,171352,00.html
Jim Root: Senior Military Aid to Kennedy Chester Clifton, as I understand it, kept the Kennedy calender and was responsible for getting Kennedy to and from his daily appointments, he may have had a major imput on the motorcade route decission. This man was assigned by General Maxwell Taylor to this position and Clifton was in the motorcade at the time of the assassination. I might also point out that upon graduation from West Point, Chester Clifton's first commanding officier was Edwin Walker. http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5737
ITEM for sale - From the Estate of General Chester V. Clifton
Note to Brig. Gen. Chester V. Clifton from Allen Dulles Re: Sukarno & JFK
ITEM for sale From the Estate of Gen. Chester V. Clifton, Jr.:
President Kennedy’s first “efficiency report” to the Secretary of the Army for his Military Aide, Brigadier General Chester V. Clifton, Jr., concluding “I do not want this assignment as my Military Aide to interfere in any way with his early promotion which, based on my observation, he merits…” – in July, Clifton was promoted to Major General!
Title John F. Kennedy
Size 7" x 9.75"
Date June 16, 1961
Place Washington, D.C.
Typed Letter Signed “John Kennedy” as President, two pages, 7” x 9.75”, separate sheets. The White House, Washington, June 16, 1961. To Secretary of the Army Elvis J. Stahr, Jr. On pale green stationery. Staple holes at upper edge, slightly reduced in size at top of both sheets. Fine condition.
In full, “This letter covers the efficiency report period, January 20, 1961 to May 31, 1961, for Brigadier General C.V. Clifton, assigned as Military Aide to the President. You and the Army can be proud of your representative who demonstrates his integrity, his imaginative resourcefulness, and his innate intellectual courage whenever he is called upon. General Clifton attends to his assigned tasks of representing the United States Army -- and you -- in an outstanding manner.
“His additional duties as Defense Liaison Officer are carried out with a most sensitive appreciation of the needs and viewpoints of the Secretary of Defense and of all the services. He performs all of these duties with courtesy, consideration for others, and most cooperatively with the other members of my staff. His mature judgment, basic knowledge and professional talents are contributed on every occasion to achieve the end results that I desire.
“I realize that General Clifton has been in the rank of Brigadier General for more than four years, and would normally be under consideration for promotion to Major General. I have previously stated that I do not want this assignment as my Military Aide to interfere in any way with his early promotion which, based on my observation, he merits, and in that higher rank, I would intend to retain him on my staff.”
Five weeks later, on July 24, 1961, Brigadier General Chester V. Clifton, Jr. (1913-1991) was nominated by President Kennedy to be a Major General. President-elect Kennedy had appointed Clifton Military Aide on January 19th, a day before his inauguration. Clifton was the officer responsible for the President’s daily morning intelligence briefings on world events. Major General Clifton was in the motorcade in Dallas on November 22, 1963, when JFK was assassinated and made arrangements with the White House to deal with military and national security affairs after the assassination. He remained as Military Aide to President Johnson until 1965, when he retired from the Army, after 33 years of service.