Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character

By Fawn M. Brodie | Go to book overview

XXVII

The Assassination Track

Senator Matthias. Let me draw an example from history.
When Thomas Becket was proving to be an annoyance, as
Castro, the King said, who will rid me of this man. He
didn't say to somebody to go out and murder him. He said
who will rid me of this man, and let it go at that....

Mr. Helms. That is a warming reference to the problem. *

— CHURCH COMMITTEE HEARINGS, U. S. SENATE, 1975 1

IN 1964 RICHARD NIXON DESCRIBED Fidel Castro as "the most momentous figure in John F. Kennedy's life." It was Castro, he said, who was a major factor in his winning the presidential election; it was Castro "who brought him to the lowest point of his career at the Bay of Pigs; it was Castro who supplied the opportunity for Kennedy's greatest act of leadership as President, during the blockade." And finally, Castro—"hero in the warped mind of Lee Harvey Oswald"—was "an indirect cause of the tragic snuffing out of John Kennedy's life...." 2

If this arresting scenario be true, then it must follow that Castro was almost as momentous a figure in his own life. Even if it be in part inaccurate, the fact that Nixon in 1964 believed it to be true is conceivably of much consequence in his inner life. For having become convinced that there was a line, however indirect, linking Castro to Oswald's killing of John F. Kennedy, then he could not escape the inevitable corollary, that his own active role in the acceleration of Castro's hatred of the United States involved himself.

A personal feeling of guilt for the death of an assassinated

____________________
*
The reference to Henry II, concerning Thomas à Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, was made by Sen. Charles Mathias, Jr., of Maryland. Richard Helms, former director of the CIA, made the reply. Henry II is supposed to have said, "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?"

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Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Richard Nixon - The Shaping of His Character *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • I - Man of Paradox *
  • II - The Oil in the Lemon Grove *
  • III - The Punishing Father *
  • IV - The Saintly Mother *
  • V - The Unsmiling Child *
  • VI - Splitting and Entitlement *
  • VII - Death and Two Brothers *
  • VIII - Presidential Fever *
  • IX - The Monastic Years *
  • X - The First Law Case: Failure *
  • XI - A Problem with Touching *
  • XII - Fighting Quaker *
  • XIII - The Dragon Slayer *
  • XIV - The First Informer *
  • XV - The Impact of Whittaker Chambers *
  • XVI - The Destruction of Alger Hiss *
  • XVII - On Women and Power: Pat and the Pink Lady *
  • XVIII - Nixon Among the Giants *
  • XIX - Checkers *
  • XX - Mccarthy *
  • XXI - Stevenson and Nixon *
  • XXII - Prelude to Vietnam *
  • XXIII - Hidden Problems: the Early Surfacing *
  • XXIV - Death Wishes *
  • XXV - On the Throwing of Rocks *
  • XXVI - Khrushchev *
  • XXVII - The Assassination Track *
  • XXVIII - Nixon and Kennedy *
  • XXIX - A Problem with Donald *
  • XXX - The Drubbing *
  • XXXI - The Private Man *
  • XXXII - The New York Years *
  • XXXIII - A Series of Accidents *
  • XXXIV - The Nixon Character *
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography *
  • Interviews *
  • Index *
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