Leaders & Controversies

Transcript: Source3

Statement by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on the character of President Kennedy, 22 November 1963
(Catalogue ref: PREM 11/4582)


When the news came, the whole world was stunned. It seemed impossible, incredible. Even now that the full sorrow of this terrible event is inescapable, it is still too soon to weigh up the consequences or foresee the future.

At this moment, one can only think of the sense of personal loss which will be felt by millions of men and women of every race, colour and creed all over the world.

For Jack Kennedy meant to so many people in every country understanding, hope and faith in the future.

For the people of the United States and for the President’s bereaved family every Briton feels the deepest sympathy.

Everyone who worked with him or for him had not only a high regard for his great quality but a genuine affection for him.

For three years he and I worked together in complete harmony and understanding. When things were rough, he was resolute. If there was a success, he showed a generous and boyish delight which was irresistibly attractive. In every situation, however complicated, he was always fair.

Jack Kennedy was a great President of the United States of America. But he was more than that. He was a great world inspiration. For to him the peace and progress of the world was not just a phrase but a living and burning faith.

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