John F. Kennedy: The Promise Revisited

By Paul Harper; Joann P. Krieg | Go to book overview

For all effective purposes, Kennedy combined the promise of change with a record of achievement in Guam and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. It was one of his few accomplishments in realizing the New Frontier, and his endeavors were welcomed in the islands.


NOTES

This chapter is based on recently declassified documents ( 1979-1984) at the John F. Kennedy Library as well as a recently declassified National Security Council report at the National Archives, and heretofore unresearched records at the Micronesian Area Research Center at the University of Guam (MARC). I would like to thank the American Historical Association for its generous assistance in this project.

1.
Several historical works exist on individual western Pacific Islands and their development and security problems. However, there is no specific study concerning the evolution of Washington's policy toward modern Micronesia, particularly during the pivotal Kennedy era. The most successful political/strategic studies of selected islands in the region remain Daniel T. Hughes and Sherwood G. Lingenfelter, Political Development in Micronesia ( Columbus, Ohio: State University Press, 1974), pp. 3-309; James H. Webb Jr. , Micronesia and U.S. Pacific Strategy: A Blueprint for the 1980s ( New York: Praeger, 1974), pp. 61-102; and David Nevin, The American Touch in Micronesia ( New York: W. W. Norton, 1977), pp. 70-96. For Nucker's comments and a brief account of Micronesia in the 1950s, see: E. J. Kahn Jr., A Reporter in Micronesia ( New York: W. W. Norton, 1966), p. 119. Following this episode, Nucker resigned and was replaced by his assistant, M. W. Goding, a Democrat sympathetic to the Kennedy administration.
2.
J. Robert Schaetzel to George Ball, Memorandum on Proposal for a Pacific Community, November 2, 1961, JFK Library, Box 345/NSF.
3.
Separating the Kennedy promises from the Kennedy record has been a favorite topic for a number of writers, such as Henry Fairlie, The Kennedy Promise: The Politics of Expectation ( Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1973), Louise FitzSimons, The Kennedy Doctrine (New York, 1972), or William Leuchtenburg, In the Shadow of FDR: From Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan ( Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1983). More specific studies of Kennedy's foreign policy, particularly stressing the Third World, have drawn distinctions between New Frontier foreign policy promises and have found them wanting. See Richard D. Mahoney, JFK: Ordeal in Africa ( New York, 1983), and Montague Kern, Patricia W. Levering, and Ralph B. Levering, The Kennedy Crises: The Press, the Presidency, and Foreign Policy ( Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1983).
4.
Aspinall to Kennedy, March 20, 1962, JFK Library, Box 940/White House Central Files. "Micronesia is a term which is often misused and misunderstood. Generally, the term is used synonymously with the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands; this is a political description. Geographically, Micronesia includes the Marianas, Carolines, Marshalls, Kiribati ( Gilberts), and Nauru." Dirk Ballendorf, Director, Micronesian Area Research Institute, University of Guam. This chapter uses "Micronesia" in a geographic sense.
5.
The United States and Hawaii and Our Future in Asia," JFK Library, Excerpts from the Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, 1958.

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