The US National Archives has released long-lost recordings of the conversations that took place on the Air Force One flight back to Washington on the day of John F Kennedy’s assassination.
The tapes were discovered and donated by the Raab Collection, a rare documents dealer based in Philadelphia.
"This is a particularly exciting find," said Nathan Raab, vice-president of the Raab Collection, in a release.According to UPI, the tapes - which contain more than 40 minutes of previously unheard footage - provide new insight into the grief and confusion that prevailed at the highest levels of the US government in the hours after Kennedy’s shooting in Dallas, Texas, on Friday 22 November 1963.
Lyndon Johnson, who had just been sworn in as president, can be heard – barely audible through the crackle – consoling the dead president’s mother.
“I wish to God there was something that I could do,” says Mr. Johnson. “And I wanted to tell you that we are grieving with you.”Rose Kennedy can be heard responding:
“Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I know you loved Jack. And he loved you.”The recordings also include references to new code names and incidents, including a private conversation between Jerry Behn, the head of the Secret Service, and an unidentified individual about the disposition of the president's body.
Although the recordings shed light on many unknowns following the JFK assassination, experts say they still don't answer all the questions raised by conspiracy theorists, especially about LeMay, a major Kennedy adversary whose name was conspicuously missing from an edited version of the original tape.
“People have always wanted to know where was Curtis LeMay on the day Kennedy was shot and there have been mixed messages about it,” Kennedy historian Douglas Brinkley told CNN.Despite the unanswered questions that remain, Brinkley agrees the discovery of the lost tapes will add a valuable new chapter to the story of president Kennedy's death.
"We're heading into the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination and these tapes will be being footnoted and quoted and all books in the future. This is a very serious find."
To listen to a digitized version of the post JFK assassination Air Force One recordings, check out the clip below:
via ABC News