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JFK In Paris - May 31, 1961

(JFK meets DeGaulle, while Jackie charms Paris) "President Kennedy began his first day in Paris by saying at Orly Airport 'I come not merely becaus

(JFK meets DeGaulle, while Jackie charms Paris)

"President Kennedy began his first day in Paris by saying at Orly Airport 'I come not merely because of the past, but because of future associations in defense of the West'. He ended his day by telling an Elysee Palace dinner 'American forces will remain in Europe as long as they are required. Ready to meet any threat with whatever response is needed'. All this was aimed at the question uppermost in President DeGaulle's mind - resisting Soviet pressures on Berlin with the utmost Western strength. Privately, President Kennedy has given this assurance to DeGaulle. For this reason, he's very welcome here." - Sandor Vanocur, NBC News

As the first European visit of President Obama comes to an end, I was thinking of an earlier Presidential visit, during his first year in office. John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy arrived in Paris on the first leg of a European visit which included several conferences and a much anticipated meeting with Nikita Khruschev in Vienna. Europe was intrigued by the new President and, then as now, was charmed by the new first Lady. The only difference was, Kennedy was about to face two of the biggest challenges of his Presidency: Cuba and Berlin, all direct results of the Cold War. Today the world is different. But the challenges are just as severe.

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