Skip to main content

Jfk’s Management

June 2024
1min read

There is surprising naivete in Richard Reeves’s suggestion in the September issue (“‘The Lines of Control Have Been Cut,’”) that if Kennedy had only kept Eisenhower’s elaborate national-security bureaucracy, the republic would have been spared the Bay of Pigs.

Eisenhower’s system was largely for show. The control of CIA covert action, as Robert Lovett and David Bruce concluded in a top-secret report to Eisenhower’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities, “can, at best, be described as pro forma ” The idiotic Cuban adventure passed unscathed through the much vaunted Eisenhower staff structure, the Operations Coordinating Board and all, and Eisenhower’s recommendation to Kennedy on the day before the inauguration was full speed ahead. Richard Reeves’s condemnation of Kennedy’s management style is exactly what critics used to say about FDR—and about as well merited.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.