Tapes made by former First Lady Jackie Kennedy just months after JFK’s assassination allege that Lyndon B Johnson and a group of Texas tycoons planned the assassination of John F Kennedy, her husband. The tapes were meant to remain secret until a half century after Jackie Kennedy’s death, but now her daughter Caroline has agreed for their release.
The then vice president Johnson took up the office of President after JFK’s assassination. In the private tapes, which she ordered not to be released until 50 years after her death, Jackie Kennedy dismisses the idea of Lee Harvey Oswald as a lone gunman and says that Texan businessmen plotted with the fellow Texan and former state governor and senator Johnson to have John F. Kennedy killed.
The tapes were recorded with eminent historian Arthur Schlesinger Jnr. within months of the assassination on November 22, 1963, and locked in a vault at the Kennedy Library in Boston.
The then Mrs Kennedy, who later married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, had ordered that they should not be released until 50 years after her death, for fear her revelations might make her family targets for revenge.
She died from cancer 17 years ago (aged 64) and now her daughter, Caroline Kennedy (53), has agreed to release the recordings early. She is understood to have released the tapes to ABC in return for their cancelling of the mini-series about the family. They will air a program featuring the tapes and it is understood British broadcasters are in talks to show it there too.
Other revelations expected in the tapes concern Jackie Kennedy’s affairs with Hollywood actor William Holt and Fiat founder Gianni Agnelli in retaliation for JFK’s numerous infidelities including, apparently, an affair with a 19-year-old White House intern, with claims his wife even found the girl’s panties in their bedroom.
However, touchingly, the tapes also reveal that Jackie Kennedy believed, in the weeks before President Kennedy’s assassination, that the couple’s relationship was improving. They were apparently planning to have more children.
Caroline Kennedy agreed to the early release of the tapes in exchange for ABC dropping its multimillion dollar drama series about the family. “The Kennedys”, starring Tom Cruise’s wife Katie Holmes as Jackie, critically charted the family’s political and personal life since the 1930s. The series was eventually broadcast on an independent cable channel, and on BBC2 in the UK, against Caroline’s wishes.
Producers of the new show are keen to play down the accusations that Lyndon B. Johnson is implicated in a JFK assassination plot. They point out instead how the tapes provide a fascinating insight into one the USA’s most well known and best loved First Ladies.