JFK Library Releases Tape of JFK-Webb Meeting in Sept. 1963

JFK Library Releases Tape of JFK-Webb Meeting in Sept. 1963

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library chose today, the 50th anniversary of JFK’s speech to Congress that initiated the Apollo program, to finally release a 1963 tape of a meeting between the President and then NASA Administrator James Webb.

During the September 18, 1963 meeting, President Kennedy expresses reservations about the Apollo program, especially that if it was not linked to military purposes it would look like a “stunt.” He also asks what part of it would be accomplished while he was President assuming he was reelected (his second term would have ended on January 2, 1969 if he had lived and been reelected). Administrator Webb tells him that the landing on the Moon would not be accomplished by then, though a fly by would be, but something very important to the nation would be achieved during Kennedy’s presidency.

“But I will tell you what will be accomplished while we’re President and it will be one of the most important things that’s been done in this nation. A basic need to use technology for total national power. That’s going to come out of the space program more than any single thing,” says Webb.

Kennedy asks if the same thing could be accomplised less expensively using “instruments.” Webb replies no, adding later: “And I predict you are not going to be sorry, no Sir, that you did this.”

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