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1961

John F. Kennedy becomes the nation’s first Roman Catholic president. Lyndon Johnson is vice president and an active partner, attending Cabinet, National Security Council, and special White House meetings. He chairs other councils and committee and represents JFK on goodwill missions throughout the world, explaining the administration’s foreign-aid policy.

On July 4th, the President replies to a congratulatory note sent to him on July 3 from Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev on the 185th anniversary of the Fourth of July, stating the U.S. is still dedicated to the “revolutionary principles of individual liberty and national freedom.”

Excerpts from Eisenhower’s Farewell Speech – [… ]We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle – with liberty the stake. […] [T]hreats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. Of these, I mention two only. […] A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction. Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations. […]

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. […]

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war – as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years – I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight. [End Eisenhower’s farewell address]

Kennedy speaks to Congress– President Kennedy, faced with the prospect of America losing its technology edge over the Soviets, addresses a special joint-session of Congress. In his speech, he asks that the U.S. “commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

Nikita Khrushchev meets with U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Vienna. He is not satisfied in regard to the Berlin situation and agrees with Ulbricht to close the border to Berlin.

After Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is arrested for trying to integrate restaurants in Florida, President Kennedy states that segregation is morally wrong & that it is “time to act.”

20 May 1961 – The Bay of Pigs – The CIA sends 1,500 Cuban exiles to invade Castro’s Cuba. But “Operation Mongoose” fails, due to poor planning, security and backing. The planners had imagined that the invasion would spark a popular uprising against Castro – which never happens. A promised American air strike also never occurs. This is the CIA’s first public setback, causing President Kennedy to fire CIA Director Allen Dulles.

Dominican Republic – The CIA assassinates Rafael Trujillo, a murderous dictator Washington has supported since 1930. Trujillo’s business interests have grown so large (about 60 percent of the economy) that they have begun competing with American business interests.

Ecuador – The CIA-backed military forces the democratically elected President Jose Velasco to resign. Vice President Carlos Arosemana replaces him; the CIA fills the now vacant vice presidency with its own man.

Congo (Zaire) – The CIA assassinates the democratically elected Patrice Lumumba. However, public support for Lumumba’s politics runs so high that the CIA cannot clearly install his opponents in power. Four years of political turmoil follow.

United States. Betty and Barney Hill. Driving to their home in New Hampshire, Betty and Barney Hill notice a bright light in the sky. Radar reports at the nearby Pease Air Force Base also record something in the air at that time. The Hills examined the light through binoculars, and saw a structured object with flashing lights. Barney walks across a field for a closer look, and sees beings looking back at him. Frightened, he and Betty drive home, arriving two hours later then expected. They cannot account for the missing time (a common phenomenon among abductees) until they undergo regression hypnosis. The couple described being stopped by the UFO and taken aboard the saucer for medical examination. Due to the impressive documentation and the confirming radar trace from Pease Air Force Base, the Hill case is one of the most famous on record.

Roscoe Hillenkoetter
“Acting with the majority of the NICAP Board of Governors, I urge immediate Congressional action to reduce the dangers from secrecy about Unidentified Flying Objects.”
-Roscoe Hillenkoetter, NICAP Board Member and former CIA Director, in a open letter to Congress, August 1961.
“The Air Force cannot do any more under the circumstances. It has been a difficult assignment for them, and I believe we should not continue to criticize their investigations. I am resigning as a member of the NICAP Board of Governors.”
-Roscoe Hillenkoetter, in a letter to Donald Keyhole, February, 1962.

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