Kennedy White House

Kennedy White House: Laos - January 1961 - Writing on the wall -harbinger of things to come - you name it.

Laos - January 1961 - Writing on the wall -harbinger of things to come - you name it.
Kennedy White House – January 1961 – Laos: Writing on the wall, harbinger of things to come – you name it.

News And Comment for January 24, 1961 – NBC Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

Four days after his Inaugural and six days before his first State of The Union, President Kennedy was already presented with a full plate of crises, this January 24th in 1961.

On January 21st, Kennedy’s cabinet was sworn in by Chief Justice Earl Warren. He met with former President Harry Truman and he attended a meeting at the Democratic National Committee. Later that week he met with the poet Robert Frost, and he established a three-member Government Ethics Committee. He also met with several defense, foreign policy, and intelligence advisers, including Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy, CIA Director Allen Dulles, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Lyman Lemnitzer. He also met with Democratic legislative leaders, and discussed plans for what would become the Food for Peace program and named George McGovern as the program’s first director.

On January 25th, Kennedy held his first regular live televised press conference in the State Department Auditorium. He announced the release of two surviving USAF crewman who had been held prisoner by the Soviet Union after being captured when their RB-47 Stratojet was shot down on July 1, 1960.

On January 30, Kennedy delivered his first State of the Union address to a Joint session of the United States Congress. Two days later on February 1, he held his second presidential news conference. He announces the creation of five pilot food stamp distribution projects. He met with his economic and budget advisers and held his first meeting of the National Security Council. The next day he met with NATO Supreme Allied Commander Lauris Norstad, Joint Chiefs Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer, and with his cabinet.

Moscow’s gesture at returning captured U.S. flyers, coupled with increased tensions in Laos, the situation in Cuba- the unsettling financial situation brewing, the situation in the Congo – all of these presented enough challenges to occupy the Kennedy White House for a good long time. But then there were domestic issues to deal with. Strikes within the Defense establishment were cause for concern on Capitol Hill, our own economic woes weren’t going away anytime soon.

And all of that on the first official meeting of President Kennedy’s cabinet, who had been sworn in only two days earlier.

A full plate indeed – and a plate only destined to become overflowing in the weeks and days ahead.

And that was The New Frontier as reported and analyzed by NBC Radio reporters on January 24, 1961.

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