NEW YORK - Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy portrayed as horrible woman Mrs. Indira Gandhi with whom she interacted during her trip to India in 1962 when she was being groomed to become prime minister.
Mrs. Gandhi is a real prune bitter, kind of pushy, horrible woman, Mrs. Kennedy said, according to a book of newly released interviews with President John F. Kennedys widow.
In interviews recorded 47 years ago, the newly-widowed Jacqueline recalling her 1962 trip to Pakistan with her sister, Lee Radziwill, says she was so appalled by what she considered to be the gaucherie of the newly appointed United States ambassador to Pakistan, Walter McConaughy, that before even completing her descent from the Khyber Pass, she wrote a letter to her husband alerting him to what a hopeless ambassador McConaughy was for Pakistan, and all the reasons and all the things I thought the ambassador should be.
She even named possible replacements.And Jack was so impressed by that letter, she tells Arthur Schlesinger, the historian and Kennedy aide, that he showed it to Dean Rusk, the secretary of state (whom Mrs. Kennedy disparages as apathetic and indecisive). According to her account, the president said to Rusk, This is the kind of letter I should be getting from the inspectors of embassies.
Even so, McConaughy, a career diplomat, remained ambassador to Pakistan until 1966. The book, Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, includes a series of interviews the former first lady gave to Schlesinger shortly after her husband was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963. Over seven sessions, she recalled conversations on topics ranging from her husbands reading habits to the botched Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba.
The book will be published by New York-based Hyperion Books on Sept. 14, but some American papers, including The New York Times, have already published extracts from it.
At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Mrs. Kennedy begged her husband not to send her to safety in the event of a nuclear attack, according to the book. When the First Lady discovered that the Soviets were installing missiles in Cuba targeting U.S. cities in October 1962, Mrs Kennedy pleaded with her husband to remain by his side.
In interviews recorded 47 years ago, the newly-widowed former first lady describes how she would lie down next to JFK when he took a nap and go for walks with him as America stared down the barrel of a nuclear war.
She said she told him: 'If anything happens, were all going to stay right here with you.
'I just want to be with you, and I want to die with you, and the children do, too - than live without you.
She delivers tart commentary on former presidents, heads of state, her husbands aides, powerful women, women reporters, even her mother-in-law.
Charles de Gaulle, the French president, is 'that egomaniac. Martin Luther King jnr is 'a phony whom electronic eavesdropping had found arranging encounters with women.
She quotes her husband saying of Lyndon Johnson, his vice-president: 'Oh, God, can you ever imagine what would happen to the country if Lyndon was president?
Of Madame Nhu, sister-in-law of the South Vietnam president, and Clare Boothe Luce, a former member of Congress, she tells Schlesinger, in a stage whisper: 'I wouldnt be surprised if they were lesbians.
Any shortcomings on her husbands part are not mentioned. There is no talk of his extramarital affairs or secret struggle with Addisons disease, though she speaks in detail about the 1954 back surgery that almost killed him.
In many of her accounts of her marriage, the grieving widow appears to bear little resemblance to the woman who married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis four years later.
She humorously recounts a visit from Indonesian president Sukarno to the Kennedys private sitting room. The briefing papers she had read in preparation had mentioned that Sukarno had been flattered by Mao Zedongs decision to publish his art collection. To impress president Sukarno, a volume was positioned prominently on the table and the visitor was invited to sit between the Kennedys and admire the paintings.
Every one was of a woman 'naked to the waist with a hibiscus in her hair, Mrs Kennedy tells Schlesinger. She says she could not believe what she was seeing - 'He had a sort of lecherous look and 'left a bad taste in your mouth.