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March 1961- President Kennedy's Schedule - History

March 1961- President Kennedy's Schedule - History



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1The President holds Press Conference,Held a meeting with Congressman Cleveland Bailey, Joint Recording with Mrs Franklin Roosevelt, Meeting with Iranian Representatives, Governor Frank Morrison of Nebraska, Meeting with James Eastland and Senator Thomas Dodd. President drops in on dinner in honor of Ted Reardon2Meeting with Senator Frank Moss and Judge George Latimer, Cabinet Meeting, Lunch at White House with Bipartisan Congressional Group, Meeting with McNamara, Meeting With Chilean Leaders, Met with Lou Harris3The President Dedicated the Nation Wildlife Federation Building, Meeting with Representative of Japan Trade Union, Najeeb Halaby Admin of FAA, Alan Boyd Chairman of Civil Aeronautics Board. Luncheon in honor of Prime Minister of New Zealand, Meeting with LBJ, Rusk McNamara, Nitze, Dulles, Bundy Rostow and CIA reps4Meeting With David Bruce Ambassador to Great Britain, Meeting with Rusk, McCloy, Arthur Dean, Adrain Fisher, Glenn Seaborg, Jerome Wiesner, Paul Nitze, General Lyman Lemnitzer, Meeting with Arthur Goldberg. Dinner at the home of Robert Kennedy5President went to Trinity Church.6Meeting with McNamara, Lemnitzer, Bundy, Kohler, Dean and Nitze, Greeted Science Student Winners. Lunch at the White House with Jean Monnet of France, Philip Graham, McGeorge Bundy and Walt Whitman Rostow. Meeting with Board of Radio Free Europe, Meeting with Congressman Carl Vinson, Meeting with Texas Editors7Breakfast Meeting with Legislative Leaders,Greeted with 4-H Club week , Meeting with Minister of Finance of Pakistan, Meeting with Robert F Kennedy and Abraham Ribicoff, Meeting with Ambassador of Guatemala,8Livingston Merchant, US Ambassador to Canada, Economic Meeting with Dillon, Under Sec Roosa, William Marin. David Bell, Walter Heller, Kermit Gordan and James Tobin, Economic Mission to Bolivia, Governor Bert Combs of Kentucky and Senator John Cooper, Meeting with Robert Weaver, David Bell, Greeted President Kwane Nkrumah of Ghana, The Presidents have a joint Press Conference9Meeting with former President Harry Truman, Meeting with Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, Meeting with Thomas Fineletter- US Representative to NATO, Meeting with Cotton Grower Committee, Security Committee with LBJ, Admiral Felt, Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, Allan Dulles, Paul Nitze and others. Defense Meeting with Bundy, Rostow, Bell and Wiesner. Attended a Dinner honoring the Truman Committee10Met New Ambassador of Tunisia, Meeting Ambassador of Morocco, Meeting Ambassador of Germany. Met HE Jacques Chaban Delmas President French National Assembly. Defense Meetings11President meets with LBJ, Rusk, McNamara, Mann, Berle, Nitze, Bundy,Tarwater, and Dulles12Traveled to Glen Ora, attended church at St John's Parish. Visited farm called Huntlands owned by George Brown friend of LBJ, LBJ gave a pony to Caroline13Arrived in back at White House from Glen Ora, Foreign Policy Meeting with Rusk, Bowles, Ball, Sorenson, Bundy and Rostow. Met with Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt. Meeting with Representatives of NY Stock Exchange. Met with Willy Brandt Mayor of Berlin, Congressman Hale Boggs. Reception for Latin American Diplomats14Breakfast with Legislative Leadership , Meeting with Senators George Smathers. Meeting with Aga Khan. Meeting with Congressman Francis Walter. Meeting with Congressman Wilber Mills. Meeting with Senator Robert Kerr, Meeting with Canadian Ministers. Meetings with Congressman Frank Thompson, Senator Wayne Morse, Congressman Eugene Keogh and William Green15Press Conference, Meeting with Congressman James Roosevelt, Senator Ralph Yarborough, Meeting with Rusk, Dean Acheson, LBJ, Bundy, Rostow, followed by Defense meeting that included McNamara and Dulles. The President briefly attended Congressman Kirwins Pre St Patrick's Day party. Evening dinner in honor of Prince Princess Radaiwell followed by a party.16Attended ceremony to celebrating Unification of Italy. Meeting with Senator Paul Douglas, Congressman Wright Patman. Coffee Hour at the White House with Congressmen, Meeting on the Budge17Meeting with Ambassador of Ireland. Participated in a meeting with members of the Business International Executive Roundtable. Meeting with Senator Gale McGee and his parents, Congressman Howard Smith.18Meeting with Adlai Stevenson, LBJ, John McCloy,Paul Nitze, Bundy, Wiesner and Rostow. Meeting in North Carolina Democratic Group.19Attended Church at Holy Trinity Church.20Congressman Otto Passman, Lunch with Walter Lippman, Meeting with Dr James Killian of MIT. Meeting with Frank Ellis Office of Civil Defense Mobilization, Bell and Bundy. Meeting in evening on Laos with defense officials.21Legislative Leader Breakfast, Meeting with LBJ, Meeting with President Advisor Committee on Labor- Management, Meeting Regarding Foreign Aid, Meeting with Emmanuel Dadet Ambassador of Congo, Meeting with Congressman Kelley. Luncheon Meeting with Professor Dennis Brogan, Mr Max Freedman and Fred Holborn, Meeting with Defense officials on Laos.22Meeting with HE Joseph Ngoua Ambassador of Gabon, Simon Rifkin sworn in as Chairman of President's Railroad Commission, Governor David Lawrence of Penn, meeting with US Ambassador to Turkey, George Kennan Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Meeting with Clifton Wharton Ambassador to Norway. Signing of the Food Grains Bill.23Meeting with Congressman Clement Zablock , Per Jacobson Chairman of IMF, Senator Everett Dirksen, Meeting of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Press Conference, Evening Coffee hour for members of Congress.24William Macomber US Ambassador to Jordan, Signed HR 4806 reemployment Compensation, Mayor of New Orleans and Committee, Eisenhower Exchange Fellows, Lunch with LBJ, McNamara and others, President did tape for NBC.25Meeting with Bundy and General Clifton in the mansion Met with President of the Inter-American Bank,Met with departing Ambassadors. The President Traveled to West Palm Beach.26Attended Church at St Edwards, traveled to Key West Florida and met with British Prime Minister Macmillan. The President returned to Washington in the evening after stopping in West Palm Beach.27Meeting with Thomas Finletter Representative to NATO, Dean Acheson, Bowles and Lohler. Meeting with Sterling Cole Director of IAE, Meeting with Andrei Gromyko Foreign Minister of the USSR, Meeting on Textiles with Congressman.28 Legislative Leaders Breakfast,Meeting with LBJ and Sam Rayburn, Meeting with Special Mission for Bolivia. Meeting with Congressman Adam Clay Powell, Meeting with Senator George Smathers.29National Security Council Meetings, Meeting with Prime Minister of Peru, luncheon in honor of Prime Minister of Sweden, late afternoon meeting of Defense Officials.30Breakfast with Dr Kenneth Galbriath, Traveled to palm Beach Florida, the President Visited with his father and brother-in-law Peter Lawford played 9 holes of golf. In the evening the President watch One-Eyed Jack.31President had lunch at the home of E.T Smith, the President played 9 holes of golf, Attended Good Friday Mass at St Ann's Church.

President Kennedy signs Peace Corps legislation

In an important victory for his Cold War foreign policy, President John F. Kennedy signs legislation establishing the Peace Corps as a permanent government agency. Kennedy believed that the Peace Corps could provide a new and unique weapon in the war against communism.

During the presidential campaign of 1960, Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy promised to reinvigorate U.S. foreign policy. He charged that the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower had become stagnant and unimaginative in dealing with the communist threat, particularly in regards to the so-called Third World nations. Shortly after his inauguration in January 1961, Kennedy made good on his promise for a new and aggressive foreign policy. On March 1, 1961, he issued an executive order establishing the Peace Corps. As described by Kennedy, this new organization would be an 𠇊rmy” of civilian volunteers–teachers, engineers, agricultural scientists, etc.–who would be sent to underdeveloped nations in Latin America, Africa, Asia and elsewhere to assist the people of those regions.

Kennedy hoped that by improving the lives of people in less developed countries, they would become more resistant to the charms of communism and convinced of America’s sincerity and ability to help them. Many in Congress, however, were not convinced. The program carried a fairly hefty price tag. Though the participants were volunteers, they would need basic subsistence and, more important, tools and money to help the people they were sent to assist. Some members of Congress saw it as an expensive public relations ploy, foreign aid (which had never been popular with Congress or the American people) wrapped in a new ribbon. The program, however, actually turned out to have popular appeal. Stories about idealistic young Americans braving privation in foreign lands to help people grow better crops, build schools, or construct wells was good public relations material for the United States. In September 1961, Congress passed legislation establishing the Peace Corps on a permanent basis. A budget of $40 million for the next fiscal year was approved.


President Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps

On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order #10924, establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency within the Department of State. The same day, he sent a message to Congress asking for permanent funding for the agency, which would send trained American men and women to foreign nations to assist in development efforts. The Peace Corps captured the imagination of the U.S. public, and during the week after its creation thousands of letters poured into Washington from young Americans hoping to volunteer.

The immediate precursor of the Peace Corps—the Point Four Youth Corps—was proposed by Representative Henry Reuss of Wisconsin in the late 1950s. Senator Kennedy learned of the Reuss proposal during his 1960 presidential campaign and, sensing growing public enthusiasm for the idea, decided to add it to his platform. In early October 1960, he sent a message to the Young Democrats that called for the establishment of a “Youth Peace Corps,” and on October 14 he first publicly spoke of the Peace Corps idea at an early morning speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The night before, he had engaged Vice President Richard Nixon in the third presidential debate and was surprised to find an estimated 10,000 students waiting up to hear him speak when he arrived at the university at 2 a.m. The assembled students heard the future president issue a challenge: How many of them, he asked, would be willing to serve their country and the cause of freedom by living and working in the developing world for years at a time?

The Peace Corps proposal gained momentum in the final days of Kennedy’s campaign, and on November 8 he was narrowly elected the 35th president of the United States. On January 20, 1961, in his famous inaugural address, he promised aid to the poor of the world. “To those peoples in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery,” he said, “we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right.” He also appealed to Americans to 𠇊sk not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

After March 1, thousands of young Americans answered this call to duty by volunteering for the Peace Corps. The agency, which was headed by Kennedy’s brother-in-law, R. Sargent Shriver, eventually chose some 750 volunteers to serve in 13 nations in 1961. In August, Kennedy hosted a White House ceremony to honor the some of the first Peace Corps volunteers. The 51 Americans who later landed in Accra, Ghana, for two years of service immediately made a favorable impression on their hosts when they gathered on the airport tarmac to sing the Ghanaian national anthem in Twi, the local language.

On September 22, 1961, Kennedy signed congressional legislation creating a permanent Peace Corps that would “promote world peace and friendship” through three goals: (1) to help the peoples of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women (2) to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served and (3) to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

By the end of 1963, 7,000 volunteers were in the field, serving in 44 countries. In 1966, Peace Corps enrollment peaked, with more than 15,000 volunteers in 52 countries. Budget cuts later reduced the number of Peace Corps volunteers, but today more than 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in over 60 countries. Since 1961, more than 240,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 142 nations.


Press Conference, 23 March 1961

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About Sound Recording

Sound recording of the President’s News Conference of March 23, 1961 (News Conference 8). President Kennedy begins the press conference with a statement concerning the advances of Communist forces in Laos, emphasizing his administration’s support for the goal of a peaceful, neutral, and independent Laos. Following this statement the President answers questions from the press on a variety of topics including the situation in Laos, foreign aid, and segregation.

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“The Jack Pack” Pt.2: 1961-1990s


The Rat Pack on stage together in a 1960s' performance.

The “Rat Pack” was a nickname for a coterie of Hollywood stars and Las Vegas club entertainers that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. For a time in 1960, this group and some of their friends were dubbed “The Jack Pack” when they helped the Kennedy-for-President campaign.

Through the early 1960s, Sinatra and his Rat Pack reigned supreme in contemporary culture they became the “cool guys” of their generation. They brought record-breaking crowds to the Las Vegas nightclub scene and made millions for Hollywood’s box office through the movies they made.

The Rat Pack’s network of contacts, friends, and business partners ranged across Hollywood, Las Vegas, and beyond, including movie stars such as Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh, Angie Dickinson, and Shirley MacLaine, and also some underworld figures such as Sam Giancana of Chicago.


“Rat Pack” members early 1960s, from left: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.

Part 1 of the story covers Rat Pack history and the group’s involvement with the 1960 Kennedy campaign, up to and including John F. Kennedy’s election in November 1960. Part 2 of the story picks up here as plans for the 1961 Kennedy inauguration festivities are being made. This part of the story will also cover Frank Sinatra’s falling out with JFK and the Kennedy family during the early 1960s, as well as what became of various Rat Pack members and friends and Kennedy family members in the years following the Kennedy election.

Washington Gala


Jan 1961: Frank Sinatra escorting Jackie Kennedy to her box at the National Guard Armory for a pre-inaugural gala staged by Sinatra to help pay off JFK & Democratic Party campaign debt.

Among the performers and notables Sinatra and Lawford would gather for this event were: Harry Belafonte, Milton Berle, Nat King Cole, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Kelly, Frederic March, Ethel Merman, Jimmy Durante, Mahalia Jackson, Bette Davis, Laurence Olivier, Leonard Bernstein, Fredric March, Sidney Poitier, Bill Dana, Kay Thompson, Roger Edens and others.

Sinatra was responsible for personally recruiting many of the stars, some flying in from filming and performing locations abroad. He and Lawford also convinced several Broadway producers to shut down for one night so actors such as Anthony Quinn, Ethel Merman and Laurence Olivier could attend.

One account had it that Sinatra personally bought out the theater tickets for the performances of the Broadway plays in conflict so the those actors could partake in the Kennedy gala.


National Armory in D.C. hosted two inaugural events: the Pre-Inaugural Gala (Jan19th) & Post-Inaugural Ball (Jan 20th).
Sammy Davis, Jr., 1960s.


Gene Kelly performing at JFK gala, January 19, 1961.

Gene Kelly danced Sydney Poteir read poetry, and Pat Suzuki sang. Kelly sang “The Hat Me Dear Old Father Wore” and did an amazing dance routine. Fredric March did a recitation invoking God’s help to “give us zest for new frontiers, and the faith to say unto mountains, whether made of granite or red tape: Remove.”

Bill Dana, famous in that era for portraying a fictional Chicano character known as José Jiménez, did a well-received comic routine with Milton Berle. Nat King Cole sang and so did a young, 34 year-old Harry Belafonte, whose 1956 Calypso album had become the first long-playing album in history to sell over one million copies.


Frank Sinatra & Peter Lawford enjoy a lighter moment at the 1961 gala for President-elect John F. Kennedy.

Todd Purdum, writing a Vanity Fair retrospective on the famous JFK gala 50 years later, summed it up this way: “It was an only-in-America blend of high culture and low comedy, of schmaltz and camp, and it may have marked the moment when popular entertainment became an indispensable part of modern politics.” In fact, Bette Davis said as much during the show in part of skit she did, reading from a script by radio dramatist Norman Corwin: “The world of entertainment—show-biz, if you please—has become the Sixth Estate…”


JFK with Frank Sinatra at the pre-inaugural gala, Jan 19, 1961, the night before JFK’s formal inauguration.

Of Sinatra’s role in the gala Kennedy said, “You can not imagine the work he has done to make this show a success.” Kennedy called Sinatra “a great friend,” and added: “Long before he could sing, he used to poll a Democratic precinct back in New Jersey. That precinct has grown to cover a country, but long after he has ceased to sing, he’s going to be standing up and speaking for the Democratic Party, and I thank him on behalf of all of you tonight.”


1961: Inaugural dancing at the Armory.

JFK’s Late Night

Even though it was nearly 1:30 a.m. when the gala ended, and Jackie Kennedy had long since gone home as she was still recovering from the Cesarean birth of John Jr., JFK went to another party that night given by his father, Joseph Kennedy, at Paul Young’s restaurant in downtown D.C. JFK didn’t get home until 3:30 a.m.

However the next morning, Inauguration Day, Kennedy was up at eight, reviewing his speech and preparing for a full slate of official and ceremonial meetings with outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and then on to Capitol Hill for his swearing in and one of the more memorable inaugural speeches in U.S. history.


President John F. Kennedy delivering his inaugural address at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 20, 1961.

The Sinatra File

Following the inauguration, the ties between Frank Sinatra and the Kennedy’s – especially those involving JFK and the White House – would gradually become strained and eventually would be severed. But this would not occur for another year or so.


FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, center, meeting with JFK and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, January 1961.

But in February 1961, within weeks of JFK’s inauguration, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a pointed memo to the new U.S. Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy. The memo detailed Sinatra’s extensive connections to organized crime figures. Robert Kennedy would later impress upon his brother, the President, that he needed to distance himself from Sinatra.


Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford & Robert Kennedy wait for helicopter en route to a Cedars-Sinai Hospital charity event in Hollywood, July 1961.

Then, in late September 1961, ten months after the election, Joe Kennedy threw a thank-you party for Frank Sinatra at the family’s Hyannis Port, MA compound. At that point, JFK as president was still talking with Sinatra, as Sinatra would approach the president during the Hyannis Port visit to ask for a small favor.

Screenwriters in Hollywood had come to Sinatra about starring in a film, The Manchurian Candidate, based on a 1959 novel by Richard Condon.


Frank Sinatra sought JFK’s help to lobby Arthur Krim to make this film.

Despite Kennedy’s help on the Manchurian Candidate, Sinatra’s access to the President and the White House would soon be ending. Later in the fall of 1961, Sinatra visited the White House as part of a larger group that included Peter Lawford and others. And during that year, press Secretary Pierre Salinger had been questioned by members of the press about Sinatra’s relationship with the president. The inner circle around Kennedy – including Robert Kennedy and the President himself – became less comfortable having Sinatra around the White House. But soon, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI would provide some additional information on Sinatra.

Rat Pack Popularity


Richard Gehman’s 1961 book helped to popularize the term “Rat Pack.”

A writer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania named Richard Gehman published a paperback volume with Belmont Books in New York titled, Sinatra and His Rat Pack. The book sold reasonably well and went into at least three printings according to one source.

In the fall that year, a late night talk show hosted by David Suskind featured a Rat Pack roundtable on one of its shows with a mix of journalists and Hollywood celebrities who debated the Rat Pack’s merits and maladies. Even a New Yorker cartoon appeared with a psychiatrist addressing the concerns of a middle-aged man lying on the treatment couch, with the psychiatrist saying: “What makes you think Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and all that bunch are so happy?”

There were also continued stage and club performances of the Rat Pack as a group, or in various combinations. Work on films with one or more members of the group continued as well, and Sinatra had a film or two of his own. The Devil at Four O’Clock, a volcano disaster film with Sinatra and Spencer Tracey came out in October 1961. Sinatra’s music continued to be popular. Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford would have their notices as well.


President Kennedy points to map of Laos at press conference in March 1961.

Stay At Frank’s?

As JFK’s presidential schedule for early 1962 was being plotted out, it was revealed he would be making a trip west to California in March of 1962. Early on, it was decided Kennedy would have an overnight visit at Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs estate on March 24th, 1962. This planned JFK visit became a big event for Sinatra a very prideful moment – much more than the pre-election partying the two had shared. Sinatra went all-out for the anticipated JFK visit – remodeling the house, adding new cottages, extra rooms, communications gear, and more. . . He even had a helicopter landing pad installed. This was now the President of the United States who was coming to stay overnight. Sinatra had initially built this Palm Springs residence in 1954. It included a main house, a movie theater, guest houses, a barbershop/sauna, two swimming pools, tennis courts, and a personal art studio. But now, he would make improvements.

Sinatra went all-out for the anticipated JFK visit – remodeling the house, adding new cottages, extra rooms, communications gear, and more to accommodate a president and his staff. He even had a concrete heliport landing pad installed. But within days of the planned visit – on March 22nd, two days ahead of the planned arrival at Sinatra’s – Peter Lawford was told by JFK and Bobby Kennedy to inform Sinatra that the President would not be staying at Sinatra’s place. Lawford tried to convince the President and Bobby not to cancel the visit, to no avail. It was then arranged that the President would stay at singer Bing Crosby’s place. Lawford then called Sinatra, fabricating a story about how Sinatra’s place was more open and more vulnerable and that the Secret Service had instead approved Bing Crosby’s “more secure” place, backing up against a mountain. Sinatra was stunned by the news, and tried appealing to Bobby Kennedy with no success. At one point, Sinatra reportedly took a sledge hammer to the heliport he had built to vent his frustration, and he was quite unforgiving of Lawford and others even remotely connected to the cancellation. From that point on, Sinatra and JFK pretty much parted ways.


JFK, J. Edgar Hoover & Robert Kennedy.

“Happy Birthday”


Marilyn Monroe sings “Happy Birthday, Mr. President,” May 19, 1962. Photo, UPI.


Robert F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and John F. Kennedy in rare photo taken at private “after party,” May 19, 1962. Advisor Arthur Schlesinger, with glasses, shown at right. Photo, Cecil Stoughton

Frank Sinatra, not long after the President’s cancelled overnight visit, began a world concert tour in a dozen or more cities to raise money for various children’s charities. On that trip, Sinatra did concerts in China, Israel, Greece, Italy, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Tel Aviv and Japan and raised more than one million dollars for various benefits. He returned to the U.S. in late June 1962.

Marilyn’s Fall


Marilyn Monroe in happier times with Frank Sinatra & club manager Bert Grober, Cal-Neva Resort, 1959. Photo: D. Dondero, Reno Gazette.


Marilyn Monroe, center, at Peter & Pat Lawford’s home in 1960-61, with Peter Lawford left and Frank Sinatra next to Monroe looking at a photograph. May Britt is standing at right.


Patricia Kennedy Lawford, now visible in another photo from that same time, is seen standing at left. Seated woman may have been Shirley MacLaine.

Other accounts of that weekend at the Cal-Neva report that Dean Martin and Monroe’s former husband, baseball great Joe DiMaggio, were also at the resort. DiMaggio had never been happy about some of Marilyn’s Hollywood friends. Still other accounts have Peter Lawford telling Monroe at that point that all communication with JFK and Bobby Kennedy was to be cut off. Monroe reportedly had been upset over some things JFK had said to her in private, and she had also seen Robert Kennedy. Monroe that summer was also working on the film Something’s Got to Give, which was never finished.

August 1962

After the Lawford’s returned home from their weekend visit with Sinatra, Peter Lawford called Monroe on August 4, 1962, concerned about her health. He found that she was still not well, sounding quite depressed. He later tried calling her again but couldn’t get through. He then thought about going directly to her home. However, he was advised, that as the President’s brother-in-law, he should not go there.

On August 5, 1962, Monroe was found dead in her Brentwood home. She was 36 years old. Her death was ruled to be “acute barbiturate poisoning” by Los Angeles coroner Dr. Thomas Noguchi and listed as a “probable suicide”.


Scene from “The Manchurian Candidate,” in which Frank Sinatra, as Korean War veteran Bennett Marco, attempts to help a fellow veteran who's been brainwashed.

By October 16th, a day the New York Yankees would beat the San Francisco Giants in game seven of the 1962 World Series, Kennedy was shown new U-2 photos revealing fully-equipped missile bases capable of attacking the U.S. with nuclear warheads. Plans were drawn up for a possible U.S. invasion of Cuba. A massive mobilization of military hardware began, and more than 150,000 active duty troops from the Marines, Army and Air Force were either positioned in Florida or put on high alert, while additional reservists were ordered to report for duty.


Cuban “missile crisis” headlines, Oct 1962.

The President also stated that any nuclear missile launched from Cuba would be regarded as an attack on the United States by the Soviets and he demanded the missiles be removed from Cuba.

The “missile crisis,” as it came to be called, was the closest the world ever came to nuclear war in the 1960s. In the end, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev turned his ships around. The Soviets agreed to dismantle the weapon sites and, in exchange, the U.S. agreed not to invade Cuba and remove its missiles from Turkey.


April 1963: Frank Sinatra hosts the Academy Awards ceremony, shown here escorting actress Donna Reed.

Sinatra also recorded a new LP in April 1963, titled Sinatra’s Sinatra. This was an album of Sinatra songs from the 1940s and 1950s, updated with new versions for Sinatra’s own label, Reprise. The album did quite well, reaching No. 9 on the Billboard and U.K. album charts. The film Come Blow Your Horn, in which Sinatra starred, was also a major box office success that summer, garnering him a Golden Globe acting nomination.

President Kennedy that spring, among other things, visited Hollywood briefly for a Democratic Party fundraiser. This affair, however, was a limited VIP gathering of about one hundred of Hollywood’s biggest stars, among them: Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, Burt Lancaster, Charlton Heston, Gene Kelly, Dean Martin, Rock Hudson, Jack Webb and others. “Instead of offering a formal speech the president table-hopped, impressing his guests with a wide-ranging knowledge of movies in general and their careers in specific,” explains Alan Schroeder of Northeastern University who has written on the presidency and Hollywood. Kennedy was a life-long fan of Hollywood, and remained intrigued about its inner working and even its gossip.


June 1963: JFK delivering his famous speech in West Berlin.


August 1963: Martin Luther King on the Mall in Washington, DC, “I have a dream.”

Elsewhere, however, Frank Sinatra had his problems. In Las Vegas, Nevada, the state’s Gaming Control Board recommended in September 1963, that Sinatra’s casino gambling license be revoked for allowing Chicago crime boss Sam Giancana to visit Sinatra’s part-owned Cal-Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe. The Gaming Control Board had a published “List of Excluded Persons” who were not allowed in casinos even as customers, and Giancana was on that list. Sinatra never understood the stigma of his friendship with Giancana and others like him, as he had been friends of theirs since the 1940s. Still, Sinatra had to give up his casino license and sell his interests in the Cal-Neva and the Sands. ( Later, however, Sinatra would have his Las Vegas bona fides restored in 1981 when he applied for license as an entertainment consultant at Caesars Palace, listing President Ronald Reagan as a character reference and having Gregory Peck testify on his behalf. The Gaming Commission voted their approval, 4-1 ).


Nov 22, 1963: JFK, Jackie, and Texas Governor John Connolly in Dallas moments before shots were fired.

Jack Kennedy, in November 1963, was scheduled to visit Texas to make a series of political speeches across the state. On November 21, 1963, Kennedy flew to Texas making three visits that day in San Antonio, Houston, and Forth Worth. The next day, as his car drove slowly past cheering crowds in Dallas, shots rang out. Kennedy was mortally wounded and died a short time later.

Within hours of the shooting, police arrested 24 year-old Lee Harvey Oswald as the prime suspect. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson – with a shaken Jackie Kennedy beside him aboard Air Force One – was sworn in as President. The nation went into deep shock and weeks of mourning.

An Era’s End


New York Times front page, November 23, 1963.


Washington Post front page, Nov 23, 1963.

For the Rat Pack, Kennedy’s death also marked the end of an era. Rat Pack hijinks-type entertainment would gradually fade from the scene. By 1964, with the arrival of the Beatles, the music had changed as well. Yet Frank Sinatra, for one, would hold his own.

In 1965, Sinatra turned 50, but he still had years of hit music ahead of him. In that year alone, he recorded the retrospective album, September of My Years and starred in the Emmy-winning television special Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music. In early 1966 he scored a recording hit with the blockbuster single, “Strangers in the Night,” a song that would later win three Grammy awards.


Frank Sinatra shown in a room at his home that includes framed photos and other memorabilia from his Kennedy-era years. Date unknown.

Sinatra Politics II

In the 1968 national elections, during the Democratic presidential primaries, a number of Hollywood celebrities became engaged in those contests, generally hoping to change national policy as the Vietnam War divided the country. Paul Newman and others were backing Democratic candidates such as Senator Eugene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy, or Hubert Humphrey, then Vice President to incumbent Lyndon Johnson who had decided not to run for re-election in a shocking announcement. McCarthy appeared to have the early momentum, then Bobby Kennedy jumped in and was headed for victory before his tragic assassination in June 1968. However, Kennedy had done quite well with Hollywood supporters. But one entertainer noticeably absent from the Kennedy bandwagon was Frank Sinatra.


Frank Sinatra backed Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 election.

Shift to Republicans


Jan. 1971: Frank Sinatra with California Governor Ronald Reagan, Vikki Carr, Nancy Reagan, Dean Martin, Jack Benny (obscured), John Wayne & Jimmy Stewart.


Frank Sinatra’s April 1973 performance at the Nixon White House on Red Cab Records, 2010.

“The older you get the more conservative you get,” he explained to his daughter Tina, who at the time was working for the Democratic candidate George McGovern. Sinatra’s old Rat Pack pal, Sammy Davis, Jr., also supported Nixon in 1972.

In April 1973, a time when Sinatra’s “comeback album” Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back had appeared, he was invited by President Richard Nixon to perform at the White House, the first president to do so. Following a state dinner for Italian Prime Minister Guiulio Andreotti, Sinatra performed a number of his songs for more than 200 guests in the East Room of the White House.

During Nixon’s presidency, Sinatra visited the White House several times. He also supported Nixon’s moves to recognize the People’s Republic of China.


Frank Sinatra, left, campaignng with Ronald & Nancy Reagan, 1984.

For Ronald Reagan

By 1979, when Ronald Regan ran for president, Sinatra campaigned for him, saying at one point he worked harder for Regan than he had since 1960 when he backed Jack Kennedy. And as Sinatra had done for Kennedy 20 years earlier, in January 1981, he now also produced Reagan’s Inaugural Gala, lining up a slate of performers that included Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Charlton Heston. “I don’t view the inaugural as political,” he said when asked about producing Reagan’s show. “If Walter Mondale had won, and if he had asked me to do [his gala], I’d have been there.” Sinatra also campaigned for Regan in 1984. In fact, during October and early November of that election season, Sinatra went to Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Hartford, Westchester, New York, Washington, D.C., Sacramento, and San Diego doing Republican receptions and/or fundraisers on behalf of Reagan.


May 23, 1985, Sinatra received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan. Cabinet member Jeane Kirkpatrick is seen in the background.


Flashback: Frank Sinatra, January 1961, at Carnegie Hall benefit concert for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with Sy Oliver (left) conducting. Dean Martin and Sammy Davis also participated.

On July 4, 1991, Sinatra, at the age of 75, wrote an opinion piece that ran in the Los Angeles Times and summed up one of his life’s major social concerns – race relations:

“[W]hy do I still hear race- and color-haters spewing their poisons?… Why do I still flinch at innuendos of venom and inequality? Why do innocent children still grow up to be despised? Why do haters’ jokes still get big laughs when passed in whispers from scum to scum? …Why do so many among us continue in words and deeds to ignore, insult and challenge the unforgettable words of Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence’s promise to every man, woman and child — the self-evident truth that all men are created equal?”

Sinatra passed away in 1998, ten years before the election of Barack Obama. Yet, had he been around at the time, he might well have returned to the Democrats and supported Obama.

Rat Pack Postscript
1960s-2008


1965: Rat Packers D. Martin, S. Davis & F. Sinatra with Johnny Carson subbing for J. Bishop in St. Louis.

As individual performers, however, the Rat Packers of the 1960s pretty much went their separate ways in later years. And for the most part, each fared moderately well, at least initially.


Feb 7, 1960: Peter Lawford & Sammy Davis, Jr. on stage at Four Chaplin’s Benefit, Las Vegas Convention Center. Photo, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

But things began unraveling for him after his divorce from Patricia Kennedy in February 1966. They had four children together.

Lawford, who liked the ladies and partying, married three more times after Pat Kennedy, each time to a woman half his age.

Lawford died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve 1984 of cardiac arrest complicated by kidney and liver failure after years of drug and alcohol abuse.


Best of Sammy Davis collection on 20th Century Masters CD, 2002.

Sammy Davis had continued success in Las Vegas through the 1960s, as well as in film and on stage. During his career, Davis appeared in 39 movies, four Broadway plays, and released some 47 albums and 38 singles. His 1962 song, “What Kind of Fool Am I,” was Grammy-nominated for both song of the year and best male solo performance. In the Broadway musical Golden Boy of 1964 he received a Tony nomination for best actor. He would also host his own TV show on NBC in 1966 and had top music hits, such as “I’ve Gotta Be Me” in 1968-69 and “Candy Man” in 1972. Davis also had film and TV roles through the 1970s and 1980s. After reuniting with Sinatra and Dean Martin in 1987, Davis toured with them and Liza Minnelli internationally. Davis, who suffered from throat cancer, succumbed to the disease in May 1990. He was 64 years old. At his death, Davis was in debt to the IRS and his estate was the subject of legal battles. On May 18, 1990, two days after Davis’ death, the neon lights of the Las Vegas strip were darkened in tribute to him.


DVD cover for collection of Dean Martin’s TV shows, 1965-1974.


Joey Bishop, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin during a Rat Pack stage act in the 1960s.
Frank Sinatra on the cover of Newsweek, September 6, 1965.
Frank Sinatra on 2008 U.S. postage stamp.

Sinatra flirted with retirement briefly in the early 1970s, but by 1973 had a gold-selling album and a television special. He also returned to live performing Las Vegas and elsewhere. Still recording in his later years, he recorded Duets in 1993, an album of old standards he made with other prominent artists which became a best seller. Sinatra died May 14,1998, he was 82 years old. Included among the many honors he received over the years were: Kennedy Center Honors in 1983, the earlier-mentioned Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, and a Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. Sinatra was also the recipient of eleven Grammy Awards during his career, including the Grammy Trustees Award, the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The U.S. Postal Service issued a 42-cent stamp in his honor in May 2008.

Other stories at this website that deal with and/or touch upon the life of Frank Sinatra include: “The Sinatra Riots, 1942-1944,” “Ava Gardner, 1940s-1950s,” and “Mia’s Metamorphases, 1966-2010.” Other Kennedy family stories include: “Kennedy History–12 Stories: 1954-2013,” “JFK’s 1960 Campaign,” and “JFK, Pitchman?, 2009.” Beyond these, see also the various category pages, archive, or the Home Page for additional story choices.

Thanks for visiting — and if you like what you find here, please make a donation to help support the research and writing at this website. Thank you. —Jack Doyle

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Date Posted: 21 August 2011
Last Update: 29 May 2017
Comments to: [email protected]

Article Citation:
Jack Doyle, “The Jack Pack, Pt. 2: 1961-2008,”
PopHistoryDig.com, August 21, 2011.

Sources, Links & Additional Information


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Nat King Cole and Tony Curtis preparing for show at JFK inauguration. Photo, Phil Stern.


January 1961: Frank Sinatra rehearsing for JFK Inaugural Gala. Photo, Phil Stern.


Jan. 19, 1961: Jackie Kennedy stepping out into the snowfall en route to Inaugural Gala with JFK behind her.


Jan 20, 1961: Ted Kennedy & family patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy, on JFK Inauguration Day. (Paul Schutzer).


Jan 20, 1961: Frank Sinatra, JFK & Peter Lawford at one of the inaugural balls. Photo, Phil Stern.


1961: President Kennedy walking with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara at Hyannis Port, MA.


July 8, 1961: Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford and U.S. Attorney General, Robert Kennedy attending benefit dinner for Cedars-Sinai Hospital at Beverly Hilton, L.A.


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JFK birthday cake being carried into hall as Monroe & Lawford leave stage. Photo, Life/Bill Ray.


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“The Jack Pack” Pt.2: 1961-1990s


The Rat Pack on stage together in a 1960s' performance.

The “Rat Pack” was a nickname for a coterie of Hollywood stars and Las Vegas club entertainers that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford. For a time in 1960, this group and some of their friends were dubbed “The Jack Pack” when they helped the Kennedy-for-President campaign.

Through the early 1960s, Sinatra and his Rat Pack reigned supreme in contemporary culture they became the “cool guys” of their generation. They brought record-breaking crowds to the Las Vegas nightclub scene and made millions for Hollywood’s box office through the movies they made.

The Rat Pack’s network of contacts, friends, and business partners ranged across Hollywood, Las Vegas, and beyond, including movie stars such as Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh, Angie Dickinson, and Shirley MacLaine, and also some underworld figures such as Sam Giancana of Chicago.


“Rat Pack” members early 1960s, from left: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop.

Part 1 of the story covers Rat Pack history and the group’s involvement with the 1960 Kennedy campaign, up to and including John F. Kennedy’s election in November 1960. Part 2 of the story picks up here as plans for the 1961 Kennedy inauguration festivities are being made. This part of the story will also cover Frank Sinatra’s falling out with JFK and the Kennedy family during the early 1960s, as well as what became of various Rat Pack members and friends and Kennedy family members in the years following the Kennedy election.

Washington Gala


Jan 1961: Frank Sinatra escorting Jackie Kennedy to her box at the National Guard Armory for a pre-inaugural gala staged by Sinatra to help pay off JFK & Democratic Party campaign debt.

Among the performers and notables Sinatra and Lawford would gather for this event were: Harry Belafonte, Milton Berle, Nat King Cole, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Kelly, Frederic March, Ethel Merman, Jimmy Durante, Mahalia Jackson, Bette Davis, Laurence Olivier, Leonard Bernstein, Fredric March, Sidney Poitier, Bill Dana, Kay Thompson, Roger Edens and others.

Sinatra was responsible for personally recruiting many of the stars, some flying in from filming and performing locations abroad. He and Lawford also convinced several Broadway producers to shut down for one night so actors such as Anthony Quinn, Ethel Merman and Laurence Olivier could attend.

One account had it that Sinatra personally bought out the theater tickets for the performances of the Broadway plays in conflict so the those actors could partake in the Kennedy gala.


National Armory in D.C. hosted two inaugural events: the Pre-Inaugural Gala (Jan19th) & Post-Inaugural Ball (Jan 20th).
Sammy Davis, Jr., 1960s.


Gene Kelly performing at JFK gala, January 19, 1961.

Gene Kelly danced Sydney Poteir read poetry, and Pat Suzuki sang. Kelly sang “The Hat Me Dear Old Father Wore” and did an amazing dance routine. Fredric March did a recitation invoking God’s help to “give us zest for new frontiers, and the faith to say unto mountains, whether made of granite or red tape: Remove.”

Bill Dana, famous in that era for portraying a fictional Chicano character known as José Jiménez, did a well-received comic routine with Milton Berle. Nat King Cole sang and so did a young, 34 year-old Harry Belafonte, whose 1956 Calypso album had become the first long-playing album in history to sell over one million copies.


Frank Sinatra & Peter Lawford enjoy a lighter moment at the 1961 gala for President-elect John F. Kennedy.

Todd Purdum, writing a Vanity Fair retrospective on the famous JFK gala 50 years later, summed it up this way: “It was an only-in-America blend of high culture and low comedy, of schmaltz and camp, and it may have marked the moment when popular entertainment became an indispensable part of modern politics.” In fact, Bette Davis said as much during the show in part of skit she did, reading from a script by radio dramatist Norman Corwin: “The world of entertainment—show-biz, if you please—has become the Sixth Estate…”


JFK with Frank Sinatra at the pre-inaugural gala, Jan 19, 1961, the night before JFK’s formal inauguration.

Of Sinatra’s role in the gala Kennedy said, “You can not imagine the work he has done to make this show a success.” Kennedy called Sinatra “a great friend,” and added: “Long before he could sing, he used to poll a Democratic precinct back in New Jersey. That precinct has grown to cover a country, but long after he has ceased to sing, he’s going to be standing up and speaking for the Democratic Party, and I thank him on behalf of all of you tonight.”


1961: Inaugural dancing at the Armory.

JFK’s Late Night

Even though it was nearly 1:30 a.m. when the gala ended, and Jackie Kennedy had long since gone home as she was still recovering from the Cesarean birth of John Jr., JFK went to another party that night given by his father, Joseph Kennedy, at Paul Young’s restaurant in downtown D.C. JFK didn’t get home until 3:30 a.m.

However the next morning, Inauguration Day, Kennedy was up at eight, reviewing his speech and preparing for a full slate of official and ceremonial meetings with outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and then on to Capitol Hill for his swearing in and one of the more memorable inaugural speeches in U.S. history.


President John F. Kennedy delivering his inaugural address at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 20, 1961.

The Sinatra File

Following the inauguration, the ties between Frank Sinatra and the Kennedy’s – especially those involving JFK and the White House – would gradually become strained and eventually would be severed. But this would not occur for another year or so.


FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, center, meeting with JFK and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, January 1961.

But in February 1961, within weeks of JFK’s inauguration, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a pointed memo to the new U.S. Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy. The memo detailed Sinatra’s extensive connections to organized crime figures. Robert Kennedy would later impress upon his brother, the President, that he needed to distance himself from Sinatra.


Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford & Robert Kennedy wait for helicopter en route to a Cedars-Sinai Hospital charity event in Hollywood, July 1961.

Then, in late September 1961, ten months after the election, Joe Kennedy threw a thank-you party for Frank Sinatra at the family’s Hyannis Port, MA compound. At that point, JFK as president was still talking with Sinatra, as Sinatra would approach the president during the Hyannis Port visit to ask for a small favor.

Screenwriters in Hollywood had come to Sinatra about starring in a film, The Manchurian Candidate, based on a 1959 novel by Richard Condon.


Frank Sinatra sought JFK’s help to lobby Arthur Krim to make this film.

Despite Kennedy’s help on the Manchurian Candidate, Sinatra’s access to the President and the White House would soon be ending. Later in the fall of 1961, Sinatra visited the White House as part of a larger group that included Peter Lawford and others. And during that year, press Secretary Pierre Salinger had been questioned by members of the press about Sinatra’s relationship with the president. The inner circle around Kennedy – including Robert Kennedy and the President himself – became less comfortable having Sinatra around the White House. But soon, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI would provide some additional information on Sinatra.

Rat Pack Popularity


Richard Gehman’s 1961 book helped to popularize the term “Rat Pack.”

A writer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania named Richard Gehman published a paperback volume with Belmont Books in New York titled, Sinatra and His Rat Pack. The book sold reasonably well and went into at least three printings according to one source.

In the fall that year, a late night talk show hosted by David Suskind featured a Rat Pack roundtable on one of its shows with a mix of journalists and Hollywood celebrities who debated the Rat Pack’s merits and maladies. Even a New Yorker cartoon appeared with a psychiatrist addressing the concerns of a middle-aged man lying on the treatment couch, with the psychiatrist saying: “What makes you think Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and all that bunch are so happy?”

There were also continued stage and club performances of the Rat Pack as a group, or in various combinations. Work on films with one or more members of the group continued as well, and Sinatra had a film or two of his own. The Devil at Four O’Clock, a volcano disaster film with Sinatra and Spencer Tracey came out in October 1961. Sinatra’s music continued to be popular. Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford would have their notices as well.


President Kennedy points to map of Laos at press conference in March 1961.

Stay At Frank’s?

As JFK’s presidential schedule for early 1962 was being plotted out, it was revealed he would be making a trip west to California in March of 1962. Early on, it was decided Kennedy would have an overnight visit at Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs estate on March 24th, 1962. This planned JFK visit became a big event for Sinatra a very prideful moment – much more than the pre-election partying the two had shared. Sinatra went all-out for the anticipated JFK visit – remodeling the house, adding new cottages, extra rooms, communications gear, and more. . . He even had a helicopter landing pad installed. This was now the President of the United States who was coming to stay overnight. Sinatra had initially built this Palm Springs residence in 1954. It included a main house, a movie theater, guest houses, a barbershop/sauna, two swimming pools, tennis courts, and a personal art studio. But now, he would make improvements.

Sinatra went all-out for the anticipated JFK visit – remodeling the house, adding new cottages, extra rooms, communications gear, and more to accommodate a president and his staff. He even had a concrete heliport landing pad installed. But within days of the planned visit – on March 22nd, two days ahead of the planned arrival at Sinatra’s – Peter Lawford was told by JFK and Bobby Kennedy to inform Sinatra that the President would not be staying at Sinatra’s place. Lawford tried to convince the President and Bobby not to cancel the visit, to no avail. It was then arranged that the President would stay at singer Bing Crosby’s place. Lawford then called Sinatra, fabricating a story about how Sinatra’s place was more open and more vulnerable and that the Secret Service had instead approved Bing Crosby’s “more secure” place, backing up against a mountain. Sinatra was stunned by the news, and tried appealing to Bobby Kennedy with no success. At one point, Sinatra reportedly took a sledge hammer to the heliport he had built to vent his frustration, and he was quite unforgiving of Lawford and others even remotely connected to the cancellation. From that point on, Sinatra and JFK pretty much parted ways.


JFK, J. Edgar Hoover & Robert Kennedy.

“Happy Birthday”


Marilyn Monroe sings “Happy Birthday, Mr. President,” May 19, 1962. Photo, UPI.


Robert F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and John F. Kennedy in rare photo taken at private “after party,” May 19, 1962. Advisor Arthur Schlesinger, with glasses, shown at right. Photo, Cecil Stoughton

Frank Sinatra, not long after the President’s cancelled overnight visit, began a world concert tour in a dozen or more cities to raise money for various children’s charities. On that trip, Sinatra did concerts in China, Israel, Greece, Italy, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Tel Aviv and Japan and raised more than one million dollars for various benefits. He returned to the U.S. in late June 1962.

Marilyn’s Fall


Marilyn Monroe in happier times with Frank Sinatra & club manager Bert Grober, Cal-Neva Resort, 1959. Photo: D. Dondero, Reno Gazette.


Marilyn Monroe, center, at Peter & Pat Lawford’s home in 1960-61, with Peter Lawford left and Frank Sinatra next to Monroe looking at a photograph. May Britt is standing at right.


Patricia Kennedy Lawford, now visible in another photo from that same time, is seen standing at left. Seated woman may have been Shirley MacLaine.

Other accounts of that weekend at the Cal-Neva report that Dean Martin and Monroe’s former husband, baseball great Joe DiMaggio, were also at the resort. DiMaggio had never been happy about some of Marilyn’s Hollywood friends. Still other accounts have Peter Lawford telling Monroe at that point that all communication with JFK and Bobby Kennedy was to be cut off. Monroe reportedly had been upset over some things JFK had said to her in private, and she had also seen Robert Kennedy. Monroe that summer was also working on the film Something’s Got to Give, which was never finished.

August 1962

After the Lawford’s returned home from their weekend visit with Sinatra, Peter Lawford called Monroe on August 4, 1962, concerned about her health. He found that she was still not well, sounding quite depressed. He later tried calling her again but couldn’t get through. He then thought about going directly to her home. However, he was advised, that as the President’s brother-in-law, he should not go there.

On August 5, 1962, Monroe was found dead in her Brentwood home. She was 36 years old. Her death was ruled to be “acute barbiturate poisoning” by Los Angeles coroner Dr. Thomas Noguchi and listed as a “probable suicide”.


Scene from “The Manchurian Candidate,” in which Frank Sinatra, as Korean War veteran Bennett Marco, attempts to help a fellow veteran who's been brainwashed.

By October 16th, a day the New York Yankees would beat the San Francisco Giants in game seven of the 1962 World Series, Kennedy was shown new U-2 photos revealing fully-equipped missile bases capable of attacking the U.S. with nuclear warheads. Plans were drawn up for a possible U.S. invasion of Cuba. A massive mobilization of military hardware began, and more than 150,000 active duty troops from the Marines, Army and Air Force were either positioned in Florida or put on high alert, while additional reservists were ordered to report for duty.


Cuban “missile crisis” headlines, Oct 1962.

The President also stated that any nuclear missile launched from Cuba would be regarded as an attack on the United States by the Soviets and he demanded the missiles be removed from Cuba.

The “missile crisis,” as it came to be called, was the closest the world ever came to nuclear war in the 1960s. In the end, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev turned his ships around. The Soviets agreed to dismantle the weapon sites and, in exchange, the U.S. agreed not to invade Cuba and remove its missiles from Turkey.


April 1963: Frank Sinatra hosts the Academy Awards ceremony, shown here escorting actress Donna Reed.

Sinatra also recorded a new LP in April 1963, titled Sinatra’s Sinatra. This was an album of Sinatra songs from the 1940s and 1950s, updated with new versions for Sinatra’s own label, Reprise. The album did quite well, reaching No. 9 on the Billboard and U.K. album charts. The film Come Blow Your Horn, in which Sinatra starred, was also a major box office success that summer, garnering him a Golden Globe acting nomination.

President Kennedy that spring, among other things, visited Hollywood briefly for a Democratic Party fundraiser. This affair, however, was a limited VIP gathering of about one hundred of Hollywood’s biggest stars, among them: Marlon Brando, Cary Grant, Burt Lancaster, Charlton Heston, Gene Kelly, Dean Martin, Rock Hudson, Jack Webb and others. “Instead of offering a formal speech the president table-hopped, impressing his guests with a wide-ranging knowledge of movies in general and their careers in specific,” explains Alan Schroeder of Northeastern University who has written on the presidency and Hollywood. Kennedy was a life-long fan of Hollywood, and remained intrigued about its inner working and even its gossip.


June 1963: JFK delivering his famous speech in West Berlin.


August 1963: Martin Luther King on the Mall in Washington, DC, “I have a dream.”

Elsewhere, however, Frank Sinatra had his problems. In Las Vegas, Nevada, the state’s Gaming Control Board recommended in September 1963, that Sinatra’s casino gambling license be revoked for allowing Chicago crime boss Sam Giancana to visit Sinatra’s part-owned Cal-Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe. The Gaming Control Board had a published “List of Excluded Persons” who were not allowed in casinos even as customers, and Giancana was on that list. Sinatra never understood the stigma of his friendship with Giancana and others like him, as he had been friends of theirs since the 1940s. Still, Sinatra had to give up his casino license and sell his interests in the Cal-Neva and the Sands. ( Later, however, Sinatra would have his Las Vegas bona fides restored in 1981 when he applied for license as an entertainment consultant at Caesars Palace, listing President Ronald Reagan as a character reference and having Gregory Peck testify on his behalf. The Gaming Commission voted their approval, 4-1 ).


Nov 22, 1963: JFK, Jackie, and Texas Governor John Connolly in Dallas moments before shots were fired.

Jack Kennedy, in November 1963, was scheduled to visit Texas to make a series of political speeches across the state. On November 21, 1963, Kennedy flew to Texas making three visits that day in San Antonio, Houston, and Forth Worth. The next day, as his car drove slowly past cheering crowds in Dallas, shots rang out. Kennedy was mortally wounded and died a short time later.

Within hours of the shooting, police arrested 24 year-old Lee Harvey Oswald as the prime suspect. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson – with a shaken Jackie Kennedy beside him aboard Air Force One – was sworn in as President. The nation went into deep shock and weeks of mourning.

An Era’s End


New York Times front page, November 23, 1963.


Washington Post front page, Nov 23, 1963.

For the Rat Pack, Kennedy’s death also marked the end of an era. Rat Pack hijinks-type entertainment would gradually fade from the scene. By 1964, with the arrival of the Beatles, the music had changed as well. Yet Frank Sinatra, for one, would hold his own.

In 1965, Sinatra turned 50, but he still had years of hit music ahead of him. In that year alone, he recorded the retrospective album, September of My Years and starred in the Emmy-winning television special Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music. In early 1966 he scored a recording hit with the blockbuster single, “Strangers in the Night,” a song that would later win three Grammy awards.


Frank Sinatra shown in a room at his home that includes framed photos and other memorabilia from his Kennedy-era years. Date unknown.

Sinatra Politics II

In the 1968 national elections, during the Democratic presidential primaries, a number of Hollywood celebrities became engaged in those contests, generally hoping to change national policy as the Vietnam War divided the country. Paul Newman and others were backing Democratic candidates such as Senator Eugene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy, or Hubert Humphrey, then Vice President to incumbent Lyndon Johnson who had decided not to run for re-election in a shocking announcement. McCarthy appeared to have the early momentum, then Bobby Kennedy jumped in and was headed for victory before his tragic assassination in June 1968. However, Kennedy had done quite well with Hollywood supporters. But one entertainer noticeably absent from the Kennedy bandwagon was Frank Sinatra.


Frank Sinatra backed Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 election.

Shift to Republicans


Jan. 1971: Frank Sinatra with California Governor Ronald Reagan, Vikki Carr, Nancy Reagan, Dean Martin, Jack Benny (obscured), John Wayne & Jimmy Stewart.


Frank Sinatra’s April 1973 performance at the Nixon White House on Red Cab Records, 2010.

“The older you get the more conservative you get,” he explained to his daughter Tina, who at the time was working for the Democratic candidate George McGovern. Sinatra’s old Rat Pack pal, Sammy Davis, Jr., also supported Nixon in 1972.

In April 1973, a time when Sinatra’s “comeback album” Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back had appeared, he was invited by President Richard Nixon to perform at the White House, the first president to do so. Following a state dinner for Italian Prime Minister Guiulio Andreotti, Sinatra performed a number of his songs for more than 200 guests in the East Room of the White House.

During Nixon’s presidency, Sinatra visited the White House several times. He also supported Nixon’s moves to recognize the People’s Republic of China.


Frank Sinatra, left, campaignng with Ronald & Nancy Reagan, 1984.

For Ronald Reagan

By 1979, when Ronald Regan ran for president, Sinatra campaigned for him, saying at one point he worked harder for Regan than he had since 1960 when he backed Jack Kennedy. And as Sinatra had done for Kennedy 20 years earlier, in January 1981, he now also produced Reagan’s Inaugural Gala, lining up a slate of performers that included Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Charlton Heston. “I don’t view the inaugural as political,” he said when asked about producing Reagan’s show. “If Walter Mondale had won, and if he had asked me to do [his gala], I’d have been there.” Sinatra also campaigned for Regan in 1984. In fact, during October and early November of that election season, Sinatra went to Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Hartford, Westchester, New York, Washington, D.C., Sacramento, and San Diego doing Republican receptions and/or fundraisers on behalf of Reagan.


May 23, 1985, Sinatra received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan. Cabinet member Jeane Kirkpatrick is seen in the background.


Flashback: Frank Sinatra, January 1961, at Carnegie Hall benefit concert for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, with Sy Oliver (left) conducting. Dean Martin and Sammy Davis also participated.

On July 4, 1991, Sinatra, at the age of 75, wrote an opinion piece that ran in the Los Angeles Times and summed up one of his life’s major social concerns – race relations:

“[W]hy do I still hear race- and color-haters spewing their poisons?… Why do I still flinch at innuendos of venom and inequality? Why do innocent children still grow up to be despised? Why do haters’ jokes still get big laughs when passed in whispers from scum to scum? …Why do so many among us continue in words and deeds to ignore, insult and challenge the unforgettable words of Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence’s promise to every man, woman and child — the self-evident truth that all men are created equal?”

Sinatra passed away in 1998, ten years before the election of Barack Obama. Yet, had he been around at the time, he might well have returned to the Democrats and supported Obama.

Rat Pack Postscript
1960s-2008


1965: Rat Packers D. Martin, S. Davis & F. Sinatra with Johnny Carson subbing for J. Bishop in St. Louis.

As individual performers, however, the Rat Packers of the 1960s pretty much went their separate ways in later years. And for the most part, each fared moderately well, at least initially.


Feb 7, 1960: Peter Lawford & Sammy Davis, Jr. on stage at Four Chaplin’s Benefit, Las Vegas Convention Center. Photo, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

But things began unraveling for him after his divorce from Patricia Kennedy in February 1966. They had four children together.

Lawford, who liked the ladies and partying, married three more times after Pat Kennedy, each time to a woman half his age.

Lawford died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve 1984 of cardiac arrest complicated by kidney and liver failure after years of drug and alcohol abuse.


Best of Sammy Davis collection on 20th Century Masters CD, 2002.

Sammy Davis had continued success in Las Vegas through the 1960s, as well as in film and on stage. During his career, Davis appeared in 39 movies, four Broadway plays, and released some 47 albums and 38 singles. His 1962 song, “What Kind of Fool Am I,” was Grammy-nominated for both song of the year and best male solo performance. In the Broadway musical Golden Boy of 1964 he received a Tony nomination for best actor. He would also host his own TV show on NBC in 1966 and had top music hits, such as “I’ve Gotta Be Me” in 1968-69 and “Candy Man” in 1972. Davis also had film and TV roles through the 1970s and 1980s. After reuniting with Sinatra and Dean Martin in 1987, Davis toured with them and Liza Minnelli internationally. Davis, who suffered from throat cancer, succumbed to the disease in May 1990. He was 64 years old. At his death, Davis was in debt to the IRS and his estate was the subject of legal battles. On May 18, 1990, two days after Davis’ death, the neon lights of the Las Vegas strip were darkened in tribute to him.


DVD cover for collection of Dean Martin’s TV shows, 1965-1974.


Joey Bishop, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin during a Rat Pack stage act in the 1960s.
Frank Sinatra on the cover of Newsweek, September 6, 1965.
Frank Sinatra on 2008 U.S. postage stamp.

Sinatra flirted with retirement briefly in the early 1970s, but by 1973 had a gold-selling album and a television special. He also returned to live performing Las Vegas and elsewhere. Still recording in his later years, he recorded Duets in 1993, an album of old standards he made with other prominent artists which became a best seller. Sinatra died May 14,1998, he was 82 years old. Included among the many honors he received over the years were: Kennedy Center Honors in 1983, the earlier-mentioned Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985, and a Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. Sinatra was also the recipient of eleven Grammy Awards during his career, including the Grammy Trustees Award, the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The U.S. Postal Service issued a 42-cent stamp in his honor in May 2008.

Other stories at this website that deal with and/or touch upon the life of Frank Sinatra include: “The Sinatra Riots, 1942-1944,” “Ava Gardner, 1940s-1950s,” and “Mia’s Metamorphases, 1966-2010.” Other Kennedy family stories include: “Kennedy History–12 Stories: 1954-2013,” “JFK’s 1960 Campaign,” and “JFK, Pitchman?, 2009.” Beyond these, see also the various category pages, archive, or the Home Page for additional story choices.

Thanks for visiting — and if you like what you find here, please make a donation to help support the research and writing at this website. Thank you. —Jack Doyle

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Date Posted: 21 August 2011
Last Update: 29 May 2017
Comments to: [email protected]

Article Citation:
Jack Doyle, “The Jack Pack, Pt. 2: 1961-2008,”
PopHistoryDig.com, August 21, 2011.

Sources, Links & Additional Information


Jan 1961: Peter Lawford & Frank Sinatra at airport en route to work on JFK inaugural show. Photo, Phil Stern.


Nat King Cole and Tony Curtis preparing for show at JFK inauguration. Photo, Phil Stern.


January 1961: Frank Sinatra rehearsing for JFK Inaugural Gala. Photo, Phil Stern.


Jan. 19, 1961: Jackie Kennedy stepping out into the snowfall en route to Inaugural Gala with JFK behind her.


Jan 20, 1961: Ted Kennedy & family patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy, on JFK Inauguration Day. (Paul Schutzer).


Jan 20, 1961: Frank Sinatra, JFK & Peter Lawford at one of the inaugural balls. Photo, Phil Stern.


1961: President Kennedy walking with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara at Hyannis Port, MA.


July 8, 1961: Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford and U.S. Attorney General, Robert Kennedy attending benefit dinner for Cedars-Sinai Hospital at Beverly Hilton, L.A.


May 19, 1962: Peter Lawford introducing Marilyn Monroe at JFK’s birthday gala in New York city.


JFK birthday cake being carried into hall as Monroe & Lawford leave stage. Photo, Life/Bill Ray.


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John F. Kennedy came into office with a goal of improving the health of the nation as part of his New Frontier policy program. As President-elect, he wrote an article for Sports Illustrated, December 26, 1960, called "The Soft American" which warned that Americans were becoming unfit in a changing world where automation and increased leisure time replaced the benefits of exercise and hard work.

“A single look at the packed parking lot of the average high school will tell us what has happened to the traditional hike to school that helped to build young bodies. The television set, the movies and the myriad conveniences and distractions of modern life all lure our young people away from the strenuous physical activity that is the basis of fitness in youth and in later life,” wrote Kennedy.

President Kennedy addressed the issue of physical fitness frequently in his public pronouncements, and assigned new projects to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, an organization established by Kennedy's predecessor Eisenhower on July 16, 1956.

The idea of a 50-mile, twenty hour march developed from Kennedy's discovery in late 1962 of an executive order from Theodore Roosevelt, which challenged U.S. Marine officers to finish 50 miles (80 km) in twenty hours. Kennedy passed the document on to his own Marine commandant, General David M. Shoup, and suggested that Shoup bring it up to him as his own discovery, with the proposal that modern day Marines should duplicate this feat. The President went on to say that:

Should your report to me indicate that the strength and stamina of the modern Marine is at least equivalent to that of his antecedents, I will then ask Mr. Salinger to look into the matter personally and give me a report on the fitness of the White House Staff.

In his conversations with his press secretary, Pierre Salinger, Kennedy left no doubt that "look[ing] into the matter personally" would involve Salinger walking fifty miles himself. A well-padded individual with a sense of humor about himself, Salinger turned his efforts to avoid the march into an open joke, finally releasing a statement on February 12, 1963, in which he publicly declined the honor. As justification, Salinger pointed to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's completion of the march as proof of the fitness of the administration. The President's brother had undertaken the march on an impulse, and although clad in leather oxford shoes, had slogged the distance through snow and slush.

But the real impact of the fifty mile march was with the public at large, which took it as a personal request and a challenge from their President. Furthermore, responsibility for the President's challenge was presumed to lie with the President's Council. This put the council in a tricky position. To disavow the marches would undermine its declared purposes. On the other hand, the council wanted no part of having the marches thrust on it as a program by an overenthusiastic public. As a compromise, the council sent out a cautious press release recommending a moderate, gradual program of walking for exercise. For the more persistent, the council prepared a background letter explaining the origin of the march, again suggesting a sensible walking regimen, and stating emphatically that government agencies were not sponsoring or rewarding hikes.

However the Amos Alonzo Stagg Foundation did present Bronze medals [1] to those who completed the 50-mile (80 km) hike in less than 12 hours during the initial 30 days of the challenge.

The Kennedy-Mars Sittard is the oldest Kennedy March of the Netherlands.

History Edit

The Kennedy march became a fad in the UK shortly after American people took up Kennedy's challenge. After Dutch television showed images of the Kennedy march craze, some Dutch people decided to make an attempt at finishing the 80 kilometers within 20 hours.

In the city of Sittard, situated in the most southern province of the Netherlands, four young people decided to walk the march during their Easter holidays. April 20, 1963, they began their route with 7 friends, beginning and ending in Sittard and covering pieces of Germany and Belgium. One girl took a bus in the German town of Heinsberg, but the other 3 girls and 7 boys persisted and finished in 19 hours' time. They decided immediately to try to do the march one year after and thus a tradition was born.

Statistics Edit

The number of participants grew over the years, with a peak in 1989 when 7090 people enrolled. Having 3062 participants in 2009, the Kennedy March of Sittard is still the biggest long-distance hike (that is, a hike of more than 59 kilometers) of the Netherlands. Due to the risk of spreading foot-and-mouth disease, the march was cancelled in 2001, so including 2019 the march has been organised 56 times.

Organisation Edit

The Kennedy March of Sittard has been, and still is, organised largely by members of the Van der Loo family, one of whom was in the four men who initiated the idea in 1963.


Cost of Living 1961

1961 The cold war continued to worsen with the USSR exploding some very large bombs during testing and then masterminding the building of the Berlin Wall separating East from West Berlin, America sent a battle group to Germany and Americans and Russians Glared at each other across the border, due to this uncertainty many Americans built backyard fallout shelters in case of nuclear war. To make matters worse the Americans financed anti-Castro Cubans for an invasion at the bay of pigs which was an unmitigated disaster. The Soviets put the first man in space on April 12 Yuri Gagarin followed by the US in May with Alan Shepard. Popular music included Chubby Checker's "Pony Time" and "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by the Shirelles, and top movies included "West Side Story" and "The Parent Trap."


News Conference 7, March 15, 1961

THE PRESIDENT: I have several brief announcements to make. First, The Secretaries of the military departments have been instructed by the Deputy Secretary of Defense to take steps to provide a greater percentage of defense contracts for small business.

Specifically the military departments have been asked to set a goal increasing individually in fiscal year 1962, small business participation by 10 per cent, over the year for fiscal 1960. Contracts for small business in fiscal year 1960 amounted to $3,440,000,000, or 16 per cent. We are going to try to increase that by at least 10 per cent.

In addition, we are going to provide as increase for small business business participation in research and development contracts. During that year this category of contracting accounted for only 180 million dollars, or 3.4 per cent of the total.

In addition, we are asking the Department of Defense to examine how additional contracts can be steered into distressed areas. At the present time, we are not doing as much of that as I hope we can in the future.

Secondly, I am sending to Congress a request for funds to resume detailed planning of our largest remaining dam site in the Upper Columbia, the Libby Dam in Montana. It will be the first step in the development of the Columbia River Basin, in coordination with Canada, on an international basis.

Yesterday the Foreign Relations Committee reported out unanimously the treaty that will make this dam possible. The Libby Dam will provide the power that we desperately need in the Northwest United States. It will help control the floods that are devastating northern Idaho, and it will prevent the projected power shortage for that area. The beginning of this project will give impetus to a new period of cooperation with Canada.

Next, I want to announce that the Export-Import Bank is authorizing a 25 million dollar credit in favor of the government of Israel, to purchase agricultural machinery in the United States, to help consolidate Israel's agricultural settlements, and electrical power equipment, and construction items for the expansion of Israeli seaports. This decision, I think, will help speed the development of Israel’s economy.

And then lastly, I want to announce that we will hold a President’s Conference on Heart Disease and Cancer, which will be held at the White House, beginning April 22. The Department of HEW will then invite a number of distinguished medical leaders throughout the country to participate in this program.

QUESTION: Mr. President, will you tell us, please, if you have any plans to appear personally at the United Nations General Assembly currently in session, and if so when you might go up?

THE PRESIDENT: I have no plans to, and I do not expect to appear at the Assembly.

QUESTION: Mr. President, could you give us your views, sir, about the possibility of reaching some accord with the Soviet Union on general disarmament as well as nuclear test bans, and would you be willing to meet with Mr. Khrushchev face to face if you felt this was necessary to reach a truly genuine agreement?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, as you know, this matter is now being discussed, at least the procedural matters leading up to what we hope will be progress in the area of general disarmament. It is now being discussed at the United Nations, and Ambassador Stevenson has been discussing with the State Department the American position.

Now that Mr. Dean has left to resume the discussions in Geneva, Mr. McCloy is working full time on developing an American position on disarmament. We have indicated before, that we may not have completed our analysis until this summer, and we have suggested that we will be prepared to resume either the Ten Nations Conference or some other similar structure, conference structure, in -- we first suggested September, and now we have suggested August at the latest. So we are going to concentrate our attention on disarmament now. We hope progress can be made, and I will consider what usefully could be done to advance progress.

QUESTION: Mr. President, in addition to the 700-odd million dollars in highway money that you have instructed the Commerce Department to make available to the States ahead of time, Governor Rockefeller has asked whether it would be possible for the States to get an advance on the money for highways for fiscal 1962. Have you any ideas on the subject?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. I received a letter from Governor Rockefeller, and we are considering what action can be taken. The Congress has taken a very clear position on pay-as-you-go, and we have to consider what funds can be made available between now and next July, and we have to consider what action the Congress is going to take on our request for additional funds in order to keep the program going.

So that all this is now being considered and an answer will be given to Governor Rockefeller after we have made a judgment as to what funds will be available, which depends in part upon what our response will be from the Congress

QUESTION: Mr. President, you have stressed the Constitutional issues in the school-aid fight. Regardless of the Constitutional question, do you think it is wise public policy to make Federal loans to parochial and private schools below the college level?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have stated my views in the previous White House conferences, and what I hope would be the procedure followed by the Congress, which continues to be my view. When we see proposals, and what form they take, because as the previous press conference developed, loans take many different forms, and I indicated some fall within one category and some within another, and this Administration will be glad to cooperate with the Congress in considering the matter.

But I am hopeful that, as I have said before, that the view taken by the Administration of the desirability of passing the public school matter first -- I am hopeful that that will be the decision which the Congress will adopt. But this is a matter that they are considering and we will consider with them.

QUESTION: Mr. President, Cardinal Spellman in a statement this week indicated that tax exemptions for the parents who pay tuitions for their children to go to private schools might be one possible approach. Do you think, sir, that this would be a Constitutional way of perhaps compromising the issue?

THE PRESIDENT: I think that all of this matter should be examined carefully by the Congress. The Senator from Oregon, Mr. Morse, has asked the Secretary of HEW to send up a brief on all the various kinds of assistance which are given to non-public schools and colleges, which the Secretary is preparing to do.

The Committees, then, of the House and Senate, and the House of Representatives, can consider what kind of program they wish to put forward, and at that time we can consider what the Constitutional problems might be. But it is very difficult, as new proposals are made, for me, or for anyone else, to be giving Constitutional opinions on each of them, as they come up, without seeing the definite language. That obviously is not my function.

I would be glad to have the departments of the government participate in considering these matters with the Congress. But my view on the procedures, which I hope the Congress will follow, are well known. I am hopeful we can get the program which we sent to the Hill out of the way. Then the Congress will have to consider what it wants to do in this other area. And the Administration will be delighted to cooperate. But I could not possibly, unless I saw exactly what kind of language, give even a private opinion as to its Constitutionality.

QUESTION: Mr. President, are you able at this time to tell us something of Ambassador Thompson's report on his meeting with Premier Khrushchev?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I have no statement on it at the present time.

QUESTION: Mr. President, Prince Souvanna Phouma, a representative of the Laotian rebels, said after a visit to the rebel area, that Moscow had provided twenty times as many weapons to the pro-Communist side as we have provided to the Royal Laotian government. Can you tell us whether we are considering a step-up in such shipments as part of a new look at this?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we have been watching Laos with the closest attention, as I have frequently said, and as the Secretary has said. It is our hope that from all of these negotiations will come a genuinely independent and neutral Laos, which is the master of its own fate. The purpose of these discussions among the various people who participate in them at Pnom Penh, is to make this possible.

However, recent attacks by rebel forces indicate that a small minority, backed by personnel and supplies from outside, is seeking to prevent the establishment of a neutral and independent country. We are determined to support the government and the people of Laos in resisting this attempt.

QUESTION: Mr. President, labor unions want a shorter work week to cope with the automation and unemployment. Your Secretary of Labor is against that. Are you for it, and if so, would you prefer a shorter work day or a four day week? I don’t mean yourself, personally.

THE PRESIDENT: I prefer it for myself. But I will say that I am opposed to a shorter work week. I am hopeful that we can have employment high five days a week, and 40 hours, which is traditional in this country, which is necessary if we are going to continue economic growth, and maintain our commitments at home and abroad. So that I would be opposed to any arbitrary reduction of the work week, and I am unhappy when I see the work week reduced artificially, in the sense that the pressures of a declining economy reduce it, so that we get averages of 38.5 hours a week, instead of the 40 hours a week. In any case, to answer to your question, I would be opposed to a reduction in the work week.

QUESTION: Mr. President, your Latin American statement the other day was quite sweeping in calling for political and social reforms in those countries. Have you had any indications, before or since, of how much acceptance there is in Latin American countries to this kind of reform?

THE PRESIDENT: I think it would be premature to make a judgment as to what the response will be in Latin America. I am hopeful it will be favorable. I am hopeful that we can begin discussions throughout the Hemisphere which will lead to the kind of internal and external planning which will provide for a steady rate of economic growth throughout the Hemisphere, which will be a cooperative effort. So that as of today, I couldn’t tell you what the response wall be. I am hopeful it will be favorable, and I am hopeful that it will result in a joint effort of the kind that we saw in Western Europe in the late Forties.

QUESTION: Mr. President, recent public opinion polls and other reports indicate a high degree of public acceptance of your acts since you have become President, and of your program, at the same time that certain basics of the New Frontier legislative program are in considerable trouble in Congress.

How do you go about translating public approval into Congressional support?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that's a matter, of course, on which every Member of Congress must reach his judgment. I think that the people are interested in a higher minimum wage, they are interested in improving our schools, they are interested in medical care for the aged, they are interested, I believe, in fiscal responsibility, and the development of the highway program.

Now, the problem, of course, is that there are -- and they are interested in an agricultural program which provides some more adequate return for the farmer.

Now, I recognize that there are important and powerful and well organized interest groups in this country which oppose all of these programs, and that they are extremely active, and that they have been successful in developing mail campaigns of one kind or another, which tend to give an impression that there is widespread opposition to increasing, for example, the minimum wage.

Now Mr. Gallup's poll the other day showed that over 75 percent of the people were in favor of the increasing minimum wage. I think that increase in the minimum wage is highly desirable. I don't think that anyone should be expected to work for 80 and 85 cents an hour in some of these jobs. We have seen them and particularly in retail stores, a business which makes over a million dollars a year.

I think the more orderly way to finance medical care for the aged is through the social security system. I am hopeful that when these matters are brought to the floor of the House and Senate, that a majority of the Members will support them. I think that a majority of the people support them.

I know, however, that we face very vigorous opponents who are well organized, and who bring a good deal of pressure to bear on this Administration, and on the Congress. But we are going to continue to work for these programs, and I am very hopeful that before the year is out they will have passed.

The Members of the Committees in the House anal Senate, I think, have done very well. And I am hopeful that an opportunity will be given to each Congressman to vote on these basic programs, this year, and then the people can make a judgment as to what -- how their interest are being represented. But I am confident that we are going to get a favorable response.

QUESTION: Mr. President, sir, what do you think of the Air Force and other branches of government organizing these side-bar corporations and using taxpayers' money to circumvent the Civil Service and pay large salaries to get scientists and others? Isn't this sort of incongruous with the call for volunteers for your Peace Corps.

THE PRESIDENT: I am not -- I have been interested in -- in fact, I think a Subcommittee of the Congress has been looking into this matter. One of the problems, of course, is that valuable technicians are required to make a substantial economic sacrifice when they come with the government. And therefore the Services, faced with this problem of where these men who are essential can secure much greater pay outside the government than inside, have had to resort to the devices to which you refer, and we are looking at the matter.

But I would not want to give an opinion today which would deny the Services these valuable scientists. On the other hand, we want to make sure that the way the matter is being conducted is in the public interest. So we will have to say, Miss McClendon, that it requires a further examination because it is not an easy matter to solve.

And I don’t know anyone who has come to work with the government that I am familiar with that has not taken -- has not made a financial sacrifice in doing so. But most of them have been willing to meet that sacrifice. We are going to examine the particular problem that you have suggested.

QUESTION: Mr. President, your election in November was widely hailed as, among other things, a victory over religious prejudice. Do you think, as some speculation has already indicated in print, that the seemingly inflexible stand on the part of some spokesmen for the Catholic heirarchy on the school legislation may provoke more religious prejudice?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I am hopeful it will not. I stated that it is a fact in recent years, when education bills have been sent to the Congress, that we have not had this public major encounter. I don't know why that was, but now we do have it. But everyone is entitled to express their views. The Catholic, Protestant and Jewish clergy are entitled to state their views. I think it is quite appropriate that they should not change their views merely because of the religion of the occupant of the White House. I think that would be unfortunate. I think they ought to state what they think. They ought to express their views, they are entitled to do that -- then I will express mine, the Congress will express its.

I am very hopeful that though there may be a difference of opinion on this matter of Federal aid to education I am hopeful that when the smoke is cleared that there will continue to be harmony among the various religious groups of the country. And I am going to do everything that I can to make sure that that harmony exists, because it reaches far beyond the question of education and goes in a very difficult time in the life of our country to an important ingredient of our national strength. So that I am confident that the people who are involved outside the government, the Members of Congress and the Administration, will attempt to conduct the discussion on this sensitive issue in such a way as to maintain the strength of the country and not to divide it.

QUESTION: Mr. President, there has been some speculation that in order to finance some of your aggressive programs you may possibly seek a national sales tax, or even possibly a penny a bottle tax on soft drinks. Could you comment on that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I have no such plan.

QUESTION: Mr. President, there has been a controversy in recent days between the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and the Chairman of your Council of Economic Advisers, as to what constitutes a reasonable expectable level of unemployment. What is your view on this matter?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, there has been -- I am not so sure that the controversy is as significant as perhaps it has been reported in the paper. Mr. Martin has made the point that a good deal of structural unemployment exists and I think we have to say that in coal, steel, and perhaps some in aviation, it does exist, structural unemployment, and will continue to be a problem even if you had a substantial economic rocovery. It would be far less if you had a substantial economic recovery. I do not see that there is a basic clash between these two views. But I think that they are both important and both ought to be considered.

In other words, I do not think that regardless of whether the unemployment we now have is structural or not, and some of it is structural and some of it is not, I do not believe we should accept the present rate of unemployment as a percentage that we should live with. In other words, we have to reduce that percentage. I hope that we can reduce it down to 4 percent, but we are going to have to reduce it. But I do agree with Mr. Martin, that even as we attempt to overcome unemployment in this country, we are faced with a very serious and important structural unemployment which results from technological change, which the Canadians have also, and which even in good times would cause us serious concern.

In other words, even in Eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, Southern Illinois, and Pennsylvania, even in 1959 and in 1957, you still had serious pockets of unemployment which were concentrated, even though the over-all national figure was rather limited.

It is my understanding that the Joint Committee on the Economic Report may call back Mr. Martin and Mr. Heller to discuss this further. I think that would be useful. It is a very important national problem, but I don't think from my conversations with both of them that there is a serious disagreement between them.

QUESTION: Mr. President, in connection with the farm bill now in conference in Congress, the principal fight seems to be over the section which would allow the Secretary of Agriculture to sell grain into the market to hold the market price down. Do you feel that this enforcement feature is an absolute requirement in connection with the bill?

THE PRESIDENT: I am hopeful that the conference will reach a decision which gives the Secretary powers in this area, if not the specific language of Title III, at least language which will protect, provide protection for the bill. If we don't -- if the Secretary lacks power, this bill isn't going to be successful, and a good many people from the urban areas who voted for the program with Title III in it in the House of Representatives have a right, it seems to me, to expect that the Secretary will be given sufficient powers to protect the program from non-compliers who, if they are -- who may use the program, if Title III is out, for speculative and exploitive purposes.

So that I consider it most important that Title III remain in, or otherwise some alternate language, which will give the Secretary substantial powers provided in Title III -- should be provided by the Congress. Otherwise, we are not going to have any relief. And I am sorry to see the important agricultural leaders opposing giving us the protection which is required.

You cannot have the Federal government supporting agriculture in important ways, unless there is some control over production and if there is some limitation, some provision for cross-compliance. Otherwise, the program will continue to cost a lot of money, the farmers' income will continue to drop, and we will have a gradual deterioration of agriculture in this country. The program we suggested and sent to the Hill, in my opinion, was well balanced, and I am hopeful that a well balanced program will come out of the considerations of the House and Senate.

QUESTION: Mr. President, this has to do with the labor-management conference which is scheduled for March 21. The past history of such conferences has shown a high percentage of failures, except at times of national crisis. Do you feel the present state of urgency is great enough to anticipate some success, and how do you plan to go about communicating that sense of urgency?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think it is. One reason alone, I think, makes it extremely important, and that is the problem of our being able to be competitive abroad. There are some indications that last year's favorable balance of trade, which protected to some degree our gold supply, that we may not have as successful a year abroad. And I would think both manufacturers and labor unions, and certainly the public, would want to see American industry remain competitive. If we are not able to be competitive with a very strong and thriving industrial economy in Western Europe, we are going to find ourselves in serious trouble. There are also serious domestic matters, automation, technological change, unemployment, wage-price spiral. I am extremely concerned about all these matters. I am sure they are. They live with them. And I am hopeful that we can encourage a public interest philosophy among all the groups which will provide progress. We have not been successful in the past, but I don't -- these are the only things we can do. We lack any other powers.

QUESTION: Sir, may I ask whether you plan to have the first meeting of the labor-management conference at the White House?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Yes.

QUESTION: Have you sent Ambassador Dean back to Geneva with authority to lower our demand for inspection sites within the Soviet Union, to bring it closer to the Soviet figure?

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Dean goes back to Geneva with the hope, the Administration's hope, that it will be possible for the United States, the British and the Russians to come to an agreement on nuclear – for a nuclear test ban, which would provide adequate security to all the countries involved.

QUESTION: Mr. President, is it a fair inference from your answer to Mr. Knebel's earlier question that the Constitutional issue aside for the moment, you do not have a personal opinion as to whether it would be wise public policy to expend Federal funds on elementary and secondary non-public schools?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, my previous discussions have rested on the Constitutional question.

QUESTION: And you don't wish to speak on the other question?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I would have to see what kind of loans they were, Mr. Roberts. As I said before, in 1958 I did vote for loans for education, science and technology. I voted for that program. I voted against, as a Senator, across-the-board loans.

So that I have looked over, recently, the number of programs which the Federal government has in these areas, impacted areas, aid to particular kinds of colleges. We sent up a program providing for actual grants to medical schools for private colleges, which could be sectarian. So that there is a whole spectrum of programs, some of which raise Constitutional questions and some which do not.

So that it is difficult to give an across-the-board answer. Across-the-board loans, I have indicated the Constitutional question which it raises. There may be other programs which do not raise a Constitutional question, which may be socially desirable, and there may be other programs which do not raise a Constitutional question which may be socially undesirable.

All I could say is that because of the complexity of the issue, it would be better to consider this as a separate matter, and when we have an actual bill before us, this Administration could give its views on both the Constitutional and the socially desirable elements of the program.

QUESTION: Mr. President, a study was made recently by the Michigan Law School that recommended that the regulatory responsibilities for atomic industry be under an agency other than that which is responsible for its development. The study indicates there is a dangerous paradox in allowing both regulation and development responsibilities to remain within the Atomic Energy Commission.

What are your views on this? This has come up during your time in Congress, too, this question of separating health and regulation from --

THE PRESIDENT: Health and regulation?

QUESTION: -- from development of the industry, itself.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, there has been some separation of the health with the Public Health having responsibilities in this area, and I think that the Members of the Atomic Energy Commission agree that there should be some external check on their research and development programs, and I think there is a fair balance today.

It was a matter which was discussed when I was at the Atomic Energy Commission.

QUESTION: Mr. President, sir, before your Inaugural you expressed the hope that you would be able to use former President Eisenhower in some capacity in your Administration. Are you still of that opinion, sir, and do you have any plans in that regard?

THE PRESIDENT: I have no plans at the present time.

I have not been -- I have not discussed the matter with the President, and if we do have an area where he could be helpful and -- where he felt he could be helpful, then I would discuss it with him. At the present time, I think he is still continuing his vacation, to which he is very much entitled.

QUESTION:Mr. President, Adrian, Michigan, is deeply concerned over what disposition the government will make of the surplus Air Force metal extrusion plan there. Twice, when GSA has received bids, a firm which reputedly would dismantle the plant has been high binder, while the firm which ultimately might employ as many as 2,500 has been second highest.

Appeals for retention of the plant as a local industry have been directed to you. Would you comment on what you have done, or plea to do?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I have talked to Mr. Moore about it. I have expressed my hope that an arrangement could be worked out to transfer the plant so that employment can be permitted.

One of the problems, of course, is that it would require the transfer of the plant at a price which -- at least what is now being examined is, whether the transfer of the plant could be made at a price which would be justified. But I quite agree that if it is possible to use this plant for employment, it should be done.

I am hopeful, and I am glad that you reminded me of the matter. And I am hopeful that we could perhaps get a decision out of Mr. Moore’s agency this week, and I will press for that.


A Brief History of Affirmative Action

This section is not meant to be a comprehensive overview of affirmative action law, cases, or policies. It is, however, a brief review of some of the laws and regulations that have impacted UCI policy, practice, and discussion on affirmative action in recent years.

Executive Order 10925

On March 6, 1961 President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925, which included a provision that government contractors "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." The intent of this executive order was to affirm the government's commitment to equal opportunity for all qualified persons, and to take positive action to strengthen efforts to realize true equal opportunity for all. This executive order was superseded by Executive Order 11246 in 1965.

Executive Order 11246

On September 24, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246, prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin by those organizations receiving federal contracts and subcontracts. In 1967, President Johnson amended the order to include sex on the list of attributes. Executive Order 11246 also requires federal contractors to take affirmative action to promote the full realization of equal opportunity for women and minorities. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), under the Department of Labor, monitors this requirement for all federal contractors, including all UC campuses, and has developed regulations to which these contractors must adhere. For federal contractors employing more than 50 people and having federal contracts totaling more than $50,000, compliance with these regulations includes disseminating and enforcing a nondiscrimination policy, establishing a written affirmative action plan and placement goals for women and minorities, and implementing action-oriented programs for accomplishing these goals. In addition, an official of the organization must be assigned responsibility for implementation of equal employment opportunity and the affirmative action program.

An excerpt from the executive order follows (Part II, Subpart B, Sec. 202(1)):

The contractor will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Such action shall include, but not be limited to the following: employment, upgrading, demotion, or transfer recruitment or recruitment advertising layoff or termination rates of pay or other forms of compensation and selection for training, including apprenticeship.

SP-1 and SP-2

On July 20, 1995 the Board of Regents of the University of California adopted Regents Resolutions SP-1 and SP-2. In effect, SP-1 required that race, religion, sex, color, ethnicity, and national origin not be considered in the admissions decision process. SP-2 focused on University employment and contracts, eliminating consideration of the same attributes in hiring and contracting decisions. Both resolutions stipulated that nothing contained within these sections should be interpreted to prohibit any action strictly necessary to maintain or establish eligibility to receive federal or state funding. To that end, the requirements set forth under Executive Order 11246 still applied to UC campuses. The relevant sections are as follows:

Effective January 1, 1997, the University of California shall not use race, religion, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin as criteria for admission to the University or to any program of study.

Effective January 1, 1996, the University of California shall not use race, religion, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin as criteria in its employment and contracting practices.

SP-1, Section 6 (and SP-2, Section 3):

Nothing in Section 2 (Section 1 of SP-2) shall prohibit any action which is strictly necessary to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal or state program, where ineligibility would result in a loss of federal or state funds to the University.

Proposition 209

During the November 5, 1996 election, California voters voted 54% to 46% to amend the California Constitution through an initiative commonly known as Proposition 209, or the California Civil Rights Initiative. The proposition has been incorporated into the California Constitution under Article 1, Section 31. Although the constitutionality of the initiative was legally challenged, the U.S. Supreme Court denied further appeal and let stand the new California law on November 3, 1997. The proposition includes the following sections:

(a) The State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting action which must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, where ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the State.

(f) For the purpose of this section, "State" shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the State itself, any city, county, city and county, public university system, including the University of California, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of or within the State.

On May 16, 2001 the Board of Regents of the University of California unanimously approved Regents Resolution RE-28. This resolution rescinded SP-1 and SP-2 and at the same time acknowledged the University would be governed by Article 1, Section 31 of the California Constitution (Proposition 209). The section of the resolution referring to the above statements is as follows:

Now, therefore, be it resolved that SP-1 and SP-2 are rescinded by this resolution, and:

A. That the University has complied with and will be governed by Article 1, Section 31 of the California Constitution by treating all students equally in the admissions process without regard to their race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin, and by treating employees and contractors similarly.

Students and state lawmakers had urged the repeal, arguing that the ban on "affirmative action" had caused the university to be perceived as inhospitable to minority students. Proponents of the repeal cited a sharp drop in the number of in-state black and Hispanic first-year students and the hiring rates of women and underrepresented minority faculty members.

This repeal reaffirms the University's commitment to a student body and workforce representative of California's diverse population. "This sends a clear and unequivocal message that people of all backgrounds are welcome at the University of California," said Regent Judith L. Hopkinson, who introduced RE-28.

The University of California remains governed, however, by both Proposition 209, which bans the use of preferences, and by federal law that bans employment discrimination by federal contractors. Although the repeal will have little immediate, practical impact on the University, RE-28 includes a commitment to K-12 outreach programs that aim to improve the educational preparation of California's elementary and secondary school students to pursue a college education.

Current Status

SP-1, SP-2, and Proposition 209 reiterated the intent that no preferential treatment be given to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. Executive Orders 10925 and 11246 referred to taking affirmative action to ensure nondiscrimination based on these same characteristics. The question facing the University is how the institution will pursue equal opportunity for all qualified applicants, students and employees, and meet its obligations as a federal contractor. As the debate continues regarding what is permissible and what is ethically responsible, the University continues to fulfill its affirmative action obligations within the parameters of the law.

The University must publish its nondiscrimination policy, develop a written affirmative action plan, and take affirmative action to ensure discrimination is not practiced based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The University must also monitor its activities to ensure compliance with federal and state law and University nondiscrimination policies.

T he Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity (OEOD) is responsible for maintaining, updating, and ensuring compliance with the University non-discrimination and affirmative action policy regarding academic and staff employment. OEOD also prepares and distributes an annual Affirmative Action Plan, and compiles data for affirmative action and organizational analysis. For more information about the University's nondiscrimination or affirmative action policies, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity at (949) 824-5594 or [email protected]

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