Tag Archives: Inga Arvad

January 8, 1944 (Saturday)

JFK was in Hollywood, California the day after his return from fighting in the South Pacific. He had traveled there to visit his former love Inga Arvad, perhaps hoping to rekindle their previous four month romance in Washington, D.C when JFK was working for Naval Intelligence.

Inga Arvad Danish beauty JFK girlfriend Nazi spy

Danish beauty Inga Arvad in the late 1930s

Inga’s looks had only improved in the intervening years and she was a beauty of spectacular renown and a journalist who had earned professional acceptance.

When JFK reappeared in her life, she was romantically involved with Dr. William Cahan, a Naval physician in Hollywood assisting with the production of the film Winged Victory.

Perhaps curious to see what would happen, Arvad introduced her two suitors in her Hollywood apartment. Kennedy, no doubt exhausted from the war and his two week journey home, talked football with his rival, and then left quietly. The Kennedy-Arvad romance was never rekindled.

[3, p. 637-8]

March 6, 1942

JFK, who the week before had flown to Washington, D.C. to end his romance with Inga Arvad, called her. The phone call was recorded and is summarized by one biographer as follows:

“Surprised to hear from me?” Kennedy asked.
“A little maybe.” Arvad responded.
“It’s about time.” said Jack.
“Kathleen says every day that you will call me.”

After Arvad tells JFK about her apartment being burglarized that week Kennedy goes on,

“Why didn’t you come?”
“What a question. Don’t you remember that we talked it over on Sunday?” Arvad responded
“I know it.”
“Oh, you don’t think it is going to stay?”
“Life’s too short.”
“Oh, Kennedy!”

Jack continued to plead for Arvad to visit, but she ultimately refused. The conversation then continued on with Jack asking her if she was planning on going ahead with her divorce. Inga mentioned the ugly rumors circulating around her and accuses his father of being the source of some of them. Jack acknowledged that he had spoken with his father on Feburary 22 and that Joe, Sr. had received the FBI report suggesting that Arvad might be a foreign agent of some sort.

Arvad and Kennedy then discussed the FBI recording their conversation and Inga’s somewhat fantastic plan of stopping the bugging by making an appointment with J. Edgar Hoover and demanding it.

The conversation ended with the following exchange when it was clear that Arvad was going on with her life without Kennedy in it,

“I just wanted to be sure that this is what you want to do. From what you said, I didn’t have anything to do with you getting the divorce.”

Arvad responded,

“You pushed the last stone under my foot, but that doesn’t hold you responsible for anything. Meeting you two and a half months ago was the chief thing that made up my mind. As far as I am concerned, you don’t exist any more. That’s how I felt and hour ago. I still love you as much as always and always will. But you don’t figure in my plans whatsoever.


February 28, 1942

JFK leaves Charleston, South Carolina and flies to Washington, D. C., in the afternoon where he spends one night with Inga Arvad and with the urging of his father, breaks off his romance. The FBI had removed the listening devices from her apartment on a tip that Arvad now realized she was being bugged so this conversation between the two lovers was unrecorded. However, her phone remained tapped and her next day conversation to her husband indicated that she was “quitting her acquaintence with Jack Kennedy.”


February 22, 1942

JFK attends confession in Charleston, South Carolina, where his girlfriend Inga Arvad is visiting for the third time since he was transferred out of Washington, D.C.


February 20, 1942

Inga Arvad flew to Charleston, South Carolina where she was met by JFK at the airport. Kennedy had arranged for her stay at the Francis Marion hotel under the assumed name of Barbara Smith, where he was hoping (erroneously) his conversation would not be bugged. Kennedy stayed that night with Arvad.


February 19, 1942

JFK, stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, placed a telephone call to Inga Arvad. The call was recorded by the FBI. Arvad, sensing that Jack was nervous and unsure about going on with their relationship, apparently confronted him about his intentions. The conversation was paraphrased in the FBI report as follows:

“…[JFK] had talked to Big Joe the previous night and Big Joe told him what he should do. Kennedy stated there were a lot of things he had to straighten out for her, but he couldn’t do so over the phone.”


February 6, 1942

JFK is stationed in Charleston, South Carolina where he is joined this Friday by his girlfriend Inga Arvad. She had traveled to there from Washington, D.C., and checked into the Fort Sumter Hotel using the name of Barbara White.

He arrived at the hotel at five thirty five and spent the night in her room, leaving the room only to grab a quick supper.

The FBI had Arvad under surveillance and the times and activities of Kennedy and Arvad were being observed and recorded by the Charleston field office. A bug had also been placed in her room and their conversations were recorded.

[3, 453-4]

January 15, 1942

JFK reported for duty at Headquarters, Sixth Naval District Charleston.

Kennedy correctly surmised that he was transferred from his post in Washington, D.C. in part because of his infatuation with Scandinavian beauty Inga Arvad, with whom he had an intense (but short) romance. Arvad was under surveillance by the FBI as a potential security risk.

Inga Arvad (photo courtesy whosdatedwho.com)

Betty Coxe, a family friend, commented on their relationship,

I always felt she had an enormous effect on him and I never knew why or how or what went on between them. Well, I knew that he was going down to her apartment to sleep there while he was still in Washington, but she was different from the others. He liked, kind of Dallas cowgirl types – and this was a very different relationship! There was no question that she had a hold on him.



January 12, 1942

Gossip columnist Walter Winchell pens his often-referenced “outing” of the romantic liasion between JFK and Inga Arvad,

Walter Winchell

“One of ex-ambassador Kennedy’s eligible sons is the target of a Washington gal columnist’s affections. So much so she has consulted a barrister about divorcing her exploring groom. Pa Kennedy no like.”


November 27, 1941

JFK is featured in a two page interview in the Washington Times-Herald that was conducted by Inga Arvad, who very quickly after meeting Kennedy became his lover. The interview is excerpted by one biographer as follows:

An old Scandanavian proverb says that the apple doesn’t fall are from the tree. No better American proof can be found than John F. Kennedy. If former Ambassador Joe Kennedy has a brilliant mind (not even his political enemies will deny the fact), charm galore, and a certain way of walking into the hearts of people with wooden shoes on, then son No. 2 has inherited more than his due.


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