Recently released FBI files have uncovered a link between the famously anti-communist President John F. Kennedy and a “communist sympathizer.”
The “sympathizer” was his brother, Sen. Edward Kennedy, who died in 2009.
The files on Ted Kennedy reveal positions in stark contrast to those of his brother. JFK fought communist expansion, whether it was defending South Vietnam from what he called communist aggression or working to contain Fidel Castro’s Cuba from fomenting communist revolution in Latin America.
“In Latin America, communist agents seeking to exploit that region’s peaceful revolution of hope have established a base on Cuba, only 90 miles from our shores. Our objection with Cuba is not over the people’s drive for a better life,” John F. Kennedy said in his first State of the Union Address in 1961. “Our objection is to their domination by foreign and domestic tyrannies.
“Communist domination in this hemisphere can never be negotiated.”
The younger Kennedy, however, is shown to have had a fascination with the far left. At the same time John F. Kennedy was fighting communists, his brother sought to dine with them.
Among the allegations from the documents is a claim muckraking journalist Drew Pearson had planned to publish a story suggesting Ted Kennedy was denied the right to attend school at Ft. Hollabird, Md., in 1954 while he was in the Army because “an adverse FBI report linked him to a group of ‘pinkos’ (i.e., communist sympathizers).”
Kennedy’s influential father, Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., then threatened Pearson with a libel lawsuit if he printed the column, the documents show.
“This suggests Ted had some sort of a security clearance problem,” author and columnist Paul Kengor said.
Declassified FBI documents also show that Ted Kennedy met with people described as “leftists” and “communist sympathizers” within months of his brother’s inauguration in 1961.
A cable, dated July 20, 1961, indicates Ted Kennedy was curious about why the leftists in Latin America thought the way they did and set about meeting with them.
“Approximately eight Mexicans to be present,” the cable said of those slated to meet with Ted Kennedy at the U.S. embassy in Mexico City. “Embassy discouraged invitation to … collaborator in publication of anti-U.S., pro-communist magazine ‘Politica’ and well-known as communist sympathizer. Included in group are … [members] known as communist sympathizer and … reported leftist intellectual.”
The papers also show Kennedy made a similar request while he was staying in Peru.
This episode appears nowhere in any of Kennedy’s authorized biographies.
“He even dined with Lauchlin Currie, the infamous FDR adviser, who at that time was in Latin America,” Kengor said. “The file raises some serious questions.”
Currie was implicated by the Venona decrypts in numerous Soviet spy rings and fled to Bogata, Colombia, following World War II. The documents show “the first person [in Colombia] [Ted Kennedy] wanted to meet was Lauchlin Currie.”
Communist-turned-conservative activist Ron Radosh told WND Ted Kennedy likely met the suspected Soviet spy at the suggestion of Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who served as President Kennedy’s White House point man on Latin American affairs.
“Arthur once told me he knew these people and couldn’t believe they were Soviet agents. It would make sense that this leading Kennedyite was the one who told Teddy to look up Currie. Right?” Radosh said.
Kengor also found revelations in the documents that Kennedy rented a brothel in Santiago, Chile, during this trip particularly disturbing because it occurred between the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 and the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
“July 1961 is one week before the Berlin Wall goes up, and it doesn’t help the president of the United States to have his brother reportedly heading down to Latin America to rent a brothel,” Kengor said.
Kengor similarly was appalled by a March 2, 1967, report suggesting that Kennedy and his brother, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, had planned to parade 100 Vietnamese children who had been horribly maimed in American napalm bombings through the streets of America. The aim would have been to “embarrass” Lyndon Johnson, according to the file.
Kennedy also later worked with the KGB in an attempt to subvert both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and portray both as being to blame for heightened tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, according to Soviet records.
And KGB documents from the Mitrokhin archive, brought to the West in 1992 by KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin, describe a March 5, 1980, meeting Sen. John Tunney, D-Calif., Kennedy’s longtime friend, had on the senator’s behalf with the KGB in Moscow.
Kennedy had Tunney praise Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev’s “peace-loving ideas” and commitment to détente in the wake of the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. At the same time, he sought to negatively portray the Carter administration as distorting Brezhnev’s ideas.
The senator was challenging Carter for the Democratic presidential nomination at the same time he was working with the Soviets behind the scenes to subvert his opponent.
Tunney also served as an intermediary with the Soviets in 1983 when Kennedy sought to offer his assistance to then-Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, who previously had served as head of the KGB, to help undermine Ronald Reagan.
According to a KGB document written by Andropov’s successor as head of the KGB, Viktor Chebrikov, Kennedy sought Soviet assistance in building opposition to Reagan’s policies. Kennedy hoped to have Andropov manipulate the American media to sway the American people to the Soviets’ side.
The document specifically suggests that Kennedy wanted to have the board of directors at ABC, Barbara Walters or Walter Cronkite come to Moscow to interview the Soviet leader to show how the Reagan administration had distorted the Soviet position in the arms race.
“All … of these things should be looked into by people who have more access to the Kennedys or who knew Ted Kennedy,” Kengor said. “They all should at least be investigated … but they are afraid to investigate it because they are afraid to find the truth that they don’t like.”
No one could be reached who would provide a comment from the Kennedy family.