Important 1961 JFK Signed Letter - Was This the Letter that Killed Kennedy (PSA)
This rare, and important letter dates to an early involvement of the U.S. in Southeast Asian politics. At a time when Russian and Chinese communism and western capitalism were forming proxy battle lines around the world, Indonesia figured large on the scale. As one of the largest and most populist countries in the world, rich with natural resources, as well as its militarily strategic location, the predominantly Muslim country was feather in the ever expanding battle between world philosophies. When JFK was elected, Indonesia, and its charismatic President Sukarno, was leaning heavily towards communism and had a strong suspicion of the west. However, Kennedy saw an opportunity to influence that relationship through economic cooperation and humanitarian assistance. Sukarno visited the United States in 1961 and struck up a good relationship with the new President. Later in life, he would beam about John and brother Bobby to his long-time confidante, Cindy Adams. This letter, regarding a cooperative agreement between US and British Oil interests and the Indonesian Government, speaks to a new sense of cooperation between the US and Indonesia. Sukarno had been nationalizing western companies until this period and showed a clear anti-west bent. It was well known that JFK nemesis Allen Dulles had soured on Sukarno and was interested in seeing him removed from power. Some theorize that Dulles had financial interests in Indonesia based on relations with the Rockefeller family and their mining interests in the Southeast Asian nation and the "Copper Mountain" project. Because of Kennedy's growing relationship with Sukarno (who was probably more nationalist than communist) he would have needed one or both to disappear from the scene. Could this have led to the assassination of the 35th President at the the command of the former head of the CIA (that is a central question of author Greg Pougrain's 2015 book, "The incubus of Intervention: Conflicting Indonesian Strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles")? Just 5 months after the agreement, and only two days after accepting an invitation from President Sukarno to visit Indonesia, President Kennedy would be assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald (?). And a few years later Sukarno would be ousted by the Dulles-backed Suharto. This matted and framed letter on White House stationery (33.5x18.5") is addressed to Wilson W. Wyatt, former Lt. Governor of Kentucky, who had met with Sukarno to broker a deal for JFK between US oil interests and the Indonesian government. In it Kennedy writes, "Two weeks ago I asked you to undertake a most delicate and urgent mission of good offices to President Sukarno and other officials of the Government of Indonesia and American Oil companies operating in that country. You accepted promptly and the result has been an outstanding success." The letter goes on to note Wyatt's "...important service in the national interest." Flanking the signed letter are official copies of two additional letters. One is an excerpt of a letter from Prime Minister MacMillan (U.K.) to John F. Kennedy dated June 4, 1963, and stating, "I have been very glad to hear the news from Tokyo that the American and British Oil companies have been able to reach a satisfactory agreement with the Indonesian Government..." The letter goes on to compliment the work of Lt. Governor Wyatt. The second letter is a copy of a letter from June 2, 1963, from Sukarno to JFK. The copy of the letter's text is on White House stationery and reads, "Dear President Kennedy, I thank you very much for your letter of 25th May, 1963, which had been handed over by your personal representative, Mr. Wilson Wyatt. In addition to the letter, during the talks with Mr. Wyatt, I am confident about the useful role the United States can play in supporting the economic rehabilitation which we are now giving the highest priority." The signed letter and two copied letters are officially matted with the text "INDONESIAN OIL NEGOTATIONS 1963: Statements by President Kennedy, Prime Minister McMillan and President Sukarno." The framing and wording clearly indicates that this piece was meant as a personal display which most likely hung in the Lt. Governor's office in Kentucky and was a source of great pride. In fact, the negotiations are featured in Wyatt's book, Whistle Stops. Lot comes with PSA Letter of Authenticity.