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John Kenneth Galbraith

I WAS IN New York at the offices of Newsweek, in conference with Kay Graham and Arthur Schlesinger about the magazine's treatment of economic affairs. A staff member tiptoed in with word that President Kennedy had been shot; the meeting ended. We flew at once to Washington, where sorrow was diluted by the intense activity that devolved on Kennedy associates. I thought little of the future; intensely of the present. At the base of all feeling was the loss of a greatly admired, greatly loved friend.

I was pressed relentlessly in those days for history, reminiscences. I offered this memory of a precise, candid, amusing, and always wonderful friend. We had breakfast at the White House the day before I joined Catherine Galbraith in New York to go on to New Delhi. The New York Times had an article that morning on the new ambassador to India; Kennedy asked me how I liked it. It was generally favorable and I said it was all right, but I didn't see why they had to call me arrogant. He said, "I don't see why not, everyone else does."

My other astringent memory is of a sentence in a private recounting of the Cuban missile crisis: "You will never know," he told me, "how much bad advice I had."

Economist John Kenneth Galbraith was ambassador to India and an adviser in the Kennedy administration.

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