December 12, 2009

Chapter 51: When Irish Eyes Aren’t Smiling

Days after the Kennedy assassination, former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Grant Stockdale flies to Washington and talks with Robert Kennedy and Edward Kennedy. On his return to Miami, Stockdale tells several of his friends that “the world was closing in” and commits suicide in Miami. His friend, Senator George Smathers, who had an office in the same building and who had arranged for Pawley to meet President Kennedy in 1961, claims Stockdale was depressed. Another individual in the DuPont Building from which Stockdale jumped was an accountant whose son was “arrested by Cuban authorities in 1961 in a boat loaded with guns.” The “son had recently been associated with Frank Fiorini [aka Frank Sturgis], an American adventurer and self-professed leader of a group of anti-Castro individuals.” Pawley later writes that “while he was praised for fortitude, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, young John Kennedy may well go down in history as the worst President we ever had.”