(BOSTON) — A trove of documents housed in a secure vault at the John F. Kennedy Library has long been described as Robert F. Kennedy’s private papers and been kept from public view by the Kennedy family. But many of the documents have little to do with personal matters and instead detail once-secret military and intelligence activities he helped manage as attorney general, according to an unpublished index of the collection obtained by the Boston Globe.
Scholars and government officials believe the 62 boxes of files covering Kennedy’s three years as attorney general during his brother’s administration could provide insights into critical Cold War decisions on issues ranging from the Cuban missile crisis to Vietnam.
Yet the Kennedy family, led by Robert’s widow, Ethel, has rarely permitted even limited access to the papers. Their expansive control of the RFK archive, which extends to dozens of Pentagon, State Department, and CIA documents, stems from a controversial agreement reached with the National Archives following Robert Kennedy’s assassination in 1968.