June 1, 1961 – Kennedy In Paris – Politics At Home
June 1, 1961 – Political news – at home and overseas and the commentaries that went along with them. On the political front; former President Eisenhower was busy firing up the GOP over upcoming mid-term elections. Eisenhower, who claimed Democrats were the ones turning the country into a Socialist State, with endless government programs and creating enormous waste of taxpayer dollars, was stumping for less government and more private initiative. He cautioned fellow Republicans to focus on the mid-terms and not 1964 (the next Presidential race), as the problems were immediate and the solution needed to begin in getting a Congressional majority in Congress in 1962, not 1964.
The First day of June in 1961 was also taken over by news of the Kennedy visit to Paris, en route to the Summit conference with Khruschev in Vienna on June 3rd. Despite the Charm Offensive displayed by the First Lady and her effortless disarming of Charles DeGaulle and practically the entire city of Paris, the visit threw a spotlight on the somewhat tenuous relationship between the U.S. and France in the early 1960s. Notable on this day were the somewhat obvious snubs directed at Kennedy by DeGaulle’s failure to appear at several functions with the President. Kennedy and DeGaulle were engaged in talks on the subject of NATO and France’s role in the organization and what the future had in store. Adressing the NATO Council, Mr. Kennedy made two points; first, that the United States was totally involved in the destiny of Western Europe. Second; that NATO must enlarge its role and concern itself with security in all of the southern half of the world. This included Asia, Africa and Latin America, where the Communists were making serious advances. Since France was the essential heart of NATO, the attitude of the French President was of crucial importance. While DeGaulle supported NATO, he did not view its growth as an alternative to promotion of French national interests and power. So it was a tug-of-war over ideals and goals.
And that’s what was going on this day in world Politics, as presented as a series of Commentaries by NBC Radio News on June 1, 1961.