From NEWSWEEK - Issue of October 13, 2003

Book Review: "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings"

Oh, how Richard Nixon would have loved to have gotten his hands on Joseph Kennedy's letters before the 1960 election. The letters, quietly released by the JFK library in November 2000 and explored in this week's "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings", (Basic Books), detail the Kennedys' hidden and intimate ties with the Vatican.
In an election where JFK repeatedly campaigned on a strict separation of church and state, the letters from the former president's father—specifically his correspondence with the Vatican's top administrator, Count Enrico Galeazzi—are startling.

In one, Joseph offers to act as a liaison between the Vatican and the CIA if John is elected. "I think that if there is anything you want me to do," he writes in a 1958 letter to Galeazzi, "you could let me know and I will contact [then CIA Director Allen Dulles]."

Author Thomas Maier notes that while JFK was well aware of the relationship with Galeazzi, it is uncertain whether he knew of this promise. But, Maier notes, the Vatican connection was not far removed from the future president—"Joe was the motor in the car of JFK's campaign." And what is certain, he says, is that had the letters been leaked, John would not have won the election. —Elise Soukup

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