Thursday, February 22, 1951
February 22, 1951
JFK testified before the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committee. His analysis and comment was requested on the subject of how best to arm and defend Europe against the threat of Soviet influence and control.
Kennedy was fresh from a five week tour of the Europe and, at the time, his comments were judged to be reasoned and balanced. He argued that he did not feel a military campaign against Western Europe was imminent. He counseled that the Soviets would
“….not take the risk of starting a war, when the best they could get was a stalemate, during which they would be subject to atomic bombing. Why should they throw everything into the game, why should they take risks that they don’t have to – especially when things are going so well in the Far East? In addition, Stalin is an old man, and old men are traditionally cautious.”
During the testimony, Georgia Senator Walter George asked Jack to comment on a speech his father had given the year before advocating withdrawal of American forces from Europe and allowing the Communists to have free rein on the Continent. In contrast to his Joe Kennedy’s position, Jack argued helping Europe to resist Communist takeover would be a bulwark and aid for the United States in the nascent Cold War.
Joe Kennedy apparently did not take huge offense to this contradiction as he paid for the printing and distribution of ten thousand copies of JFK’s testimony.