THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes
Lot 195
THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS
'I keep thinking of what Jack used to say – "that every man can make a difference & that every man should try"' The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two ministerial red-leather despatch boxes
Sold for £100,000 (US$ 131,425) inc. premium

Lot Details
THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others, with photographs, ephemera and two red despatch boxes
THE KENNEDY-HARLECH PAPERS
'I keep thinking of what Jack used to say – "that every man can make a difference & that every man should try"' The archive comprising letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, from John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States of America, his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis), his brothers Robert and Edward, members of his administration and members of the British government, including Harold Macmillan, Foreign Office officials and others; together with White House passes, ephemera relating to Kennedy's 1963 visit to Britain and to his funeral, despatch boxes, the Ambassador's passport and other material, as follows:

(i) KENNEDY (JOHN F.)
Two autograph letters signed ("John Kennedy"), to Sir David Ormsby Gore, British Ambassador at Washington, the envelope of one marked "Personal", thanking him for his advice ("...I appreciate as you know, in all these critical matters your judgement – which I have found to be uniformly good and true. The P.M was excellent this week – I do not like these stories which have as their object a disparagement of the real value of our alliance. I am sure Your government knows better..."), the other confessing to a hideous faux-pas of his own ("...Tell them not to worry in London – I once called Sukarno 'the George Washington of his country'...") and saying how glad he was to see him the other night; plus a pencil note on a serrated sheet torn from a White House notepad; one autograph envelope ("Honorable David Ormsby Gore/ The British Embassy"), marked by an official "By Hand", 3 pages, one refolded, 4to, The White House, Washington, October 30th and undated

(ii) KENNEDY (JACQUELINE)
Series of eighteen autograph letters and one typed letter signed to Sir David Ormsby Gore, afterwards Lord Harlech, written during and after his period as British Ambassador at Washington, the series comprising:

(a) three autograph and one typed letter signed, written from the White House while First Lady, in which she looks forward to receiving the film of Nureyev and Fonteyn dancing [see Mountbatten's letter below] ("...Please make Nureyev come to Washington – I will die if I never see them dance together..."), promises him a home movie, laughs at his suggestion they send the Indian Ambassador a Peter Sellers record ("...Jack is furious at you..."), and in a 8-page "Incoherent letter as written on Martini" discusses in detail their forthcoming holiday at the America's Cup races and passes on Jack's suggestions as to the best way he can deal with the Australian Ambassador ("...Amb Beale is obviously trying to get rid of you – it seems that is the ideal time for you & Sissie to come to us -- & stay as long as you can – Jack has his vacation then for 10 days -- & we would love to have you both for as long as you can stay..."), 13 pages, one on a lettercard, small folio, 8vo and 18mo, The White House, variously dated 9 March and 27 September, without year, April 1962 (postmark on forwarding envelope) and 8 May 1963

(b) Two autograph letters, written in the aftermath of the assassination, both on black-edged stationery, asking him to send on the famous 'Camelot' letter to Harold Macmillan ("...I left it open for you to read if you like – Now that I read it the morning after it is much too emotional to send to the poor man – but I just cant write it again so I hope it is all right...") [for Macmillan's equally emotional reply, see below], the other enclosing a letter for Prince Philip, 3 pages, the second on a lettercard, 8vo, the Macmillan letter 1 February 1964

(c) Fourteen further autograph letters signed, the majority written during her widowhood and before her remarriage to Aristotle Onassis, among principal subjects covered (often over the course of several letters) being: a retrospective of her life with JFK ("...The terrible thing I know about me is that I lived through all these historic years ever since 1953 when we married – but I just remember what was happening to Jack & me & whether a child was lost or born – and not what was happening in the world..."); the death of Harlech's wife Sissie ("...Your last letter was such a cri de coeur of loneliness – I would do anything to take that anguish from you – It doesnt seem that we can ever help the people we would wish to help... Sometimes I think I must sound to you like Bobby did to me a couple of winters ago – when he had gotten better & I hadn't yet... You want to patch the wounds & match the loose pairs – but you cant because your life wont turn out that way – You cry so against it – but I suppose it is like a dammed tiny stream, slowly making a new course..."); their visit together to Cambodia (although finding it "so unnerving" she agrees with him that she would happily have walked there for the picnic at the Bayon, Angkor Wat, and the privilege of spending hours talking to the archaeologist Bernard Philippe Groslier, while confessing that she has not written to thank their host Prince Sihanouk "as I have to get strength up for my subjunctives", adding: "Now poor man, with Bob McNamara going they will probably bomb him – what is this world that just yesterday lay before us like a land of dreams..."); press interest on their supposed romance (at one point ducking out of an invitation to see Marlowe's Doctor Faustus featuring Burton and Taylor: "if we were there – with Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor – cant you just see all the movie magazine sort of thing that would start..."); her admiration for Harold Macmillan (who she describes as being the noblest person she has ever known although "it will take a 1000 years for people to know all he was", and suggesting they collaborate on a memoir about him: "You can do facts & dates & I will do the purple passages in between..."); her fondness for the ballet ("...Fonteyn & Nureyev dance Swan Lake & I promised Caroline I'd take her as she'll never see them dance that again – & you could come with us..."); his patronage of the Kennedy Scholars ("...I will pray that all the Kennedy scholars get put in jail for their Vietnam letters – and that you will be held as hostage until they repudiate themselves..."); the America's Cup ("...As I write this, looking out the window I see all the ships going past – out to sea to watch the first of this years America's Cup races – and I think of so many things – and it makes me feel such comfort to be writing to you now -- with so much love dear David..."); her care of his daughter Alice ("...I saw everything through her eyes – I never really thought about what materialists were before... She's been to the ballet with us twice... we went backstage & saw Rudolf & Margot..."); her support for Robert Kennedy's campaign ("...I know I wont be coming to Europe this summer – I want more from this hemisphere until the convention is over for Bobby – Just being quiet -- & not on Sam Spiegel's yacht is about all I can do to help him now -- & I want him to win so much – for all the poor world and for their country as much as for him..."); her marriage to Onassis (she assures him that she could not marry Onassis were he the man David thinks he is and declares that when she first met him thirteen years ago she was struck by an underlying sadness and knows that, being lonely himself, Onassis will protect her from loneliness: "You and I have shared so many lives and deaths and hopes and pain – we will share them forever and be forever bound together by them... If ever I can find some healing and some comfort – it has to be with someone who is not a part of all my world of past and pain – I can find that now – if the world will let us..."); her attempts to break into the film market with Harlech's assistance (her aim being to make a film on Roman Africa, for which she discusses possible subjects and the research that will be required, while acknowledging the fact that television will buy anything with which she is affiliated which she thinks "so disgusting"); and the love that continues to bind them ("... We have known so much & shared & lost so much together – Even if it isn't the way you wish now – I hope that bond of love and pain will never be cut... You are like my beloved beloved brother – and mentor – and the only original spirit I know – as you were to Jack..."); together with an autograph spoof menu written while guests on the yacht Radiant II; nearly all with envelopes, often with return-address on flap, stamp of one cut off, in all nearly 60 pages, three on lettercards, two on yellow lawyer-pad papers, but mostly on customised stationery, some minor creasing, etc., but overall in excellent condition, folio, 4to, 8vo and oblong 16mo, The White House, 1040 5th Avenue, Hyannis Port, Hammersmith Farm, Waterford and the Steam Yacht Christina, 1962-1968 where dated

(d) Retained draft by Lord Harlech of his letter to Jacqueline, written after her marriage to Aristotle Onassis, headed "J.K. 3. Feb. 68": "All the pathetic plans I had brought with me for visits to Cyrenaica, holidays near one another and a whole variety of solutions to our marriage problem, including one for a secret marriage this summer – plans which I saw us eagerly discussing, calmly and with complete frankness as we did at the Cape and in Cambodia for the next wonderful ten days – all had become irrelevant trash to be thrown away within a few hours of my landing in New York. As for your photograph I weep when I look at it. Why do such agonizing things have to happen? Where was the need for it? I have tried for hours and hours to understand your explanation and I suppose I do in a wa y, without agreeing with it; but what I find unbearable and in a way, dearest Jackie, untrue is that you could come to such a categorical conclusion...", 2 pages, folio, 3 February 1968

(iii) KENNEDY FAMILY AND ADMINISTRATION
Collection of letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, many written during his term as Ambassador to the United States, by Robert F. Kennedy (two, one a jocular note written as Attorney General, attached to an anonymous letter reporting that Joe Junior had not been killed in the war but was in fact still alive and kept as a PoW in an English earl's munitions factory), Edward Kennedy, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (two, one written from The White House on the day of Kennedy's funeral: "Seeing you both at Arlington today was comforting in the general emptiness"), Theodore C. Sorensen, William S. Paley, and others

(iv) MACMILLAN (HAROLD)
One autograph and two typed letters signed, to Sir David Ormsby Gore, the first written a year into Sir David's time as Ambassador: "I think your position is really something unique in the annals of the British Embassy in Washington and we are all really grateful for what you are doing"; the second written after receiving Jacqueline's 'Camelot' letter forwarded by David (see her letter of 1 February 1964 above): "If you happen to see Jacqueline Kennedy would you tell her that I was deeply moved by her letter and that I shall be writing to her very soon... I am much touched by what you say about your work. I can never be sufficiently grateful to you. You have played a role as Ambassador which, as far as I know, is without any parallel, but I fear you must feel things now rather overcast compared with the brilliance of the last two or three years"; the third thanking him for another letter from Jackie and sympathising with her for having to appear on the Telstar programme which "must have been very hard for her, altho' I thought she did it with very great dignity", 2 pages, 4to, Government House, Ottawa, St Martin's Street, and Birch Grove House, 29 April 1962, 4 February 1964 and 6 June 1964

(v) MACMILLAN ADMINISTRATION
Collection of letters to Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, by members of the Macmillan government and successive administrations, by members of the Foreign Office, and others, including: Alec Douglas-Home (two typed letters signed, the first written a week after he succeeded Macmillan as Prime Minister: "This is an unexpected responsibility, but I shall do my best. You know what a great help you are in Washington... British Guiana may prove difficult...I should be interested to know if you have taken up with the president Harold's point about a joint evaluation of what we could say publicly if needs be...", the second written after Harold Wilson had come to power: "I did my best to suggest that we might go for a modified version when we debated the 'deterrent'. But the whole idea is terribly unpopular in our party and I would think even more so in Harold's...There have been fine goings-on here and it is ironic and not un-funny to see Wilson being rescued by the Zurich bankers!..."; Harold Wilson (arranging for his visit to Washington in March 1963); Edward Heath (typed letter signed, cancelling his visit to the US as Iain Macleod has jumped the gun: "a sequence which inevitably caused a certain amount of confusion at this end..."); Philip de Zulueta (as Macmillan's Private Secretary, arranging for Kennedy's visit in May 1963: "The Prime Minister's idea is that he would entertain the President at Birch Grove as being less official than Chequers..."); Earl Mountbatten (typed letter, signed "Dickie", plugging a film that he wants sent to The White House in February 1963 [see Jacqueline Kennedy's response, above]: "As you will know the Royal Ballet with Margot Fonteyn and Nureyev are going to New York in April. Knowing the enormous interest Jackie Kennedy takes in ballet I wondered whether you would like to show these two films to her at the Whitehouse..."; Lord Scarbrough, writing as Lord Chamberlain and censor of British stage plays [about five sketches guying Kennedy and his family that had been staged in July 1962]: "Thank you for explaining the position so accurately to the President. I maintain a rule about ridiculing Heads of State, principally because some of them – Dictators from the Middle East & others – believe that censorship of plays reflects Government policy and get huffy if they are guyed on this rule, & the publicity given to it in the case of President & Mrs Kennedy has strengthened my hand for the future..."; Derek Mitchell, Harold Wilson's Principal Private Secretary (urging Harlech, at Wilson's request, to head off any attempt by George Brown to meet President Johnson); Sir Harold Caccia, head of the Diplomatic Service (8-page 'Treasury-Bank note' entitled 'The International Situation and the Price of Gold' opening: 'The present state of the United States economy is creating a great deal of general uneasiness...' with covering letter of 7 July 1962, plus a draft memorandum by Ormsby Gore, opening: "Our objective must remain the creation of an Atlantic Community with a liberal trading outlook towards the rest of the non-Communist world..."); Selwyn Lloyd (two letters, the first as Foreign Secretary, written in 1959 when Ormsby Gore was Minister of State for Foreign Affairs: "What are your plans? Things are very busy here and I miss your help over all the European matters which are cropping up, and also on nuclear tests and disarmament problems this end...", the second expressing pleasure that Douglas-Home as taken over as Prime Minister); Peter Thorneycroft (reporting on his visit to America as Macmillan's Minister of Defence in September 1962: "So far as the harsh facts of complementarity are concerned, the results, although modest, are probably as good as we could reasonably expect... I was very glad to have been able to have these broad talks with both the President and with McNamara, and I am very grateful for what you did to make them possible..."); Patrick Gordon Walker (as Harold Wilson's Foreign Secretary, February 1964: "I am sure it was right to lose no time in having our initial talks with Rusk and the President..."); together with files of correspondence and working papers on the Kennedy Memorial Trust and the Runnymede Memorial and kindred concerns

(vi) PHOTOGRAPHS
Photograph of Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States, in discussion with Lord Harlech, British Ambassador at Washington, inscribed on the mount: "For Lord Harlech – with the high esteem and best wishes of Lyndon B Johnson", mount roughly trimmed (just touching signature), framed and glazed, overall 250 x 300mm.; two colour photographs mounted together of The White House School, December 1963, and the School as relocated at the British Embassy (with Jacqueline holding John), inscribed on the mount by Jacqueline: "For dearest Sissie – who gave shelter to our little school out of love for Jack – and made it possible for Caroline and all her classmates to finish in happiness their first grade – With my deepest gratitude and love/ Jackie", mount water-stained, framed and glazed, overall 360 x 325mm.; plus two press photographs, one showing Ormsby Gore presenting his credentials as Ambassador to Kennedy, the other showing Macmillan, Kennedy, Ormsby Gore, Jacqueline and Sissie on The White House lawn, each c.200 x 250mm.

(vii) PASSPORT
Passport carried by Sir David Ormsby Gore while serving as British Ambassador at Washington, issued by the Foreign Office on 9 September 1959 and expiring on 9 September 1964, the description of his profession altered (with Foreign Office over-stamp) from "Member of Parliament" to "H.M. Ambassador at Washington", with a wealth of visa stamps from U.S. Department of State (Diplomatic) and others, later stamped as cancelled and top right-hand corner of cover clipped as usual

(viii) WHITE HOUSE AND KENNEDY EPHEMERA
Collection formed by Sir David Ormsby Gore, Lord Harlech, as British Ambassador at Washington, comprising four White House passes issued to him as Ambassador, one on the day after Kennedy's assassination (19 February 1962 at one o'clock, 12 June 1962 at 6:45pm, 23 November 1963 at 5 o'clock, and 13 February 1964 at 8 o'clock); printed black-bordered notice for 'Funeral Services of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Late President of the United States at St Matthew's Cathedral, 25 November 1963 at twelve noon, with accompanying black-bordered envelope inscribed "His Excellency The British Ambassador" and yellow card pass 'Present at Entrance/ St. Matthew's Cathedral/ St. Joseph Chapel' inscribed "H.E. The British Ambassador", some light spotting from the card onto the funeral notice; two printed passes, for Kennedy's arrival and departure at Gatwick Airport and for his visit to Birch Grove House, both signed on the back by Ormsby Gore, 29-30 June 1963; place card for Lady Ormsby Gore as Ambassadress, inscribed on the reverse in pencil [by Denis Healey about Mountbatten]: "The Sec of State would like to know if Dickie is planning any toasts or anything. He hopes not"; plus sundry other cards and passes issued to Harlech at other times in his career, including a cyclostyled 'Note to Pallbearers' issued to him as Pallbearer at Robert F. Kennedy's funeral

ix) DESPATCH BOXES
Two ministerial red-leather despatch cases issued to David Ormsby Gore, both stamped in gilt with the royal 'EIIR' cypher and his name below, the first as 'Mr W.D. Ormsby-Gore/ Foreign Office' [on his appointment as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in November 1956], the second as 'Rt. Hon. D. Ormsby-Gore/ Foreign Office' [being admitted to the Privy Council on his appointment as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in January 1957]; with gilt brass carrying handles at upper edge; maker's stamp inside of Barrow, Hepburn & Gale, Ltd., red morocco over boards, the hasps of both locks cut, usual scuffing and signs of wear, c.420 x 300 x 80mm., [1956 and 1957]


Footnotes

  • 'YOU ARE LIKE MY BELOVED BELOVED BROTHER – AND MENTOR – AND THE ONLY ORIGINAL SPIRIT I KNOW – AS YOU WERE TO JACK': A NEWLY-DISCOVERED TROVE OF PAPERS FROM THE MAN AT THE HEART OF THE KENNEDY LEGEND

    Sir David Ormsby Gore (1918-1985), from 1964 fifth Baron Harlech, was appointed British Ambassador to Washington soon after the election of John F. Kennedy as 35th President of the United States in November 1960, taking up his position in May 1961. Harold Macmillan, the British Prime Minister, had decided before the election that had Richard M. Nixon won he would have sent a professional diplomat to fill the post, but that if Kennedy won he would send David Ormsby Gore (Barbara Leaming, Jack Kennedy: The Making of a President, 2006, p. 217).

    The new ambassador's position was wholly exceptional. As Roy Jenkins was to write: 'Ormsby Gore, two years his junior, had been his close friend since Kennedy's pre-war years in London during his father's embassy. Macmillan was anxious to achieve the closest relations with the new president... [Ormsby Gore] was almost perfectly attuned to the new American administration. His friendship with the president strengthened rather than wilted under the strains of office and official intercourse. It was buttressed by the fact that Ormsby Gore was also on close terms with Jacqueline Kennedy, as were the Kennedys with Lady Ormsby Gore (Sylvia, or Sissy...), whose shy but elegant charm made her an addition to the embassy and easily at home in the Kennedy White House. President Kennedy much liked to have small dinner parties organized at short notice. The Ormsby Gores were probably more frequently invited on this basis than was anybody else, including even the president's brother and the attorney-general. It was a wholly exceptional social position for any ambassador. It made Ormsby Gore almost as much an unofficial adviser to the president as an envoy of the British government – although there was never any suggestion that British interests were not firmly represented in Washington during these years. His position was particularly influential during the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962' (Dictionary of National Biography)
    .
    In the words of another friend, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.: 'The Kennedys (to the irritation of the rest of the diplomatic corps) enjoyed no couple more than they did the Ormsby Gores. The President found the ambassador a companion for every mood, whether he wanted to sail in Nantucket Sound or brood over the prospects of nuclear annihilation. Like Kennedy and like Macmillan, Ormsby Gore believed in the realistic pursuit of a détente with the Soviet Union, and he steadily reinforced Kennedy's scepticism about the clichés of the Cold War. He possessed not only great personal charm but exceptional intelligence and integrity. Indeed, only two men of notable character could have so delicately mingled personal and official relations, for each remained at all times the firm and candid advocate of the policies of his own nation. Their long, relaxed, confidential talks together, whether at Hyannis Port or Palm Beach or on quiet evenings in the White House gave Kennedy probably his best opportunity to clarify his own purposes in world affairs' (A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House, 1965, p. 379).

    Robert Kennedy described Ormsby Gore as being 'almost a part of the government', recalling that his brother the President 'would rather have his judgment than that of almost anybody else... He'd rather have... his ideas, his suggestions and recommendations than even anybody in our own government'; Kennedy himself telling his speechwriter and special counsel, Ted Soresen, that he trusted David 'as I would my own Cabinet' (Leaming, p. 304).

    There were also strong personal and family links. Kennedy had accompanied his father to London in 1938 when he was appointed Ambassador to St James's. With him, along with his brothers, was his younger sister, Kathleen, or Kick, to whom he was especially close. Kathleen was to marry David's first cousin the Marquess of Hartington in 1944, with David standing as best man. This close-knit group encouraged the future president's admiration of Winston Churchill, somebody for whom his pro-appeasement father never had much time. As Robert Kennedy put it, Ormsby Gore was seen by the Kennedys as 'part of the family' (Leaming, p. 232). Such ties would have been further reinforced had the Kennedy's son Patrick, born in August 1963, survived – for Sissie Ormsby Gore had been asked to be the child's godmother.

    Macmillan, the British prime minister with whom President Kennedy famously established a close rapport, was also part of the Cavendish family circle, his wife, Lady Dorothy, being aunt to both Ormsby Gore and Kathleen Kennedy's husband, Lord Hartington. He was also, as this archive demonstrates so eloquently, to become an important figure in the life of Kennedy's grieving widow and to play his part in the evolution of the myth – or ideal – of 'Camelot'.

    These letters reveal most probably all that will ever be known about the relations between two remarkable people, Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow, and Lord Harlech, the widower. But there is little by way of salacious gossip here. Rather, a deeper nobler theme. Extracts from one letter must suffice to illustrate this; a letter first read, since having been locked away by Lord Harlech in his despatch box over thirty years ago, on the evening of 20 January 2017; just at the time when, across the Atlantic, the 45th President was being sworn in. The letter comes with an envelope bearing the return address on its flap: "Mrs John F Kennedy/ 1040 5th Avenue/ New York City/ USA" and was written from Hyannis Port on 13 September 1968, at the end of the summer that had seen the murder of Robert Kennedy and Soviet suppression of the Prague Spring: "I thought your speech about Czechoslovakia so beautiful – it brought tears to my eyes – Reading it you cant believe that the same things are being said – or rather done – all over again – and that as before, it is England who is the bravest... If you are brave – you can even turn back tanks – or make President Johnson stop trying to have his fake summit meeting to end his term on a note of peace & hope – Ones private despair is so trivial now – because wherever you look there is nothing to not despair over – I keep thinking of what Jack used to say – 'that every man can make a difference & that every man should try' – (it was Bobby who said it about what Jack believed) – and I hear it now with that terrible twist of horror – like the end of 'The Monkeys Paw' – Lyndon Johnson has made a difference all right – and he is still trying. The only thing I have heard – to fill me with rage and energy and fight and hope – is in your speech – that maybe it is the beginning of a new era – and that if we fight to make it one maybe we can – Anyway we must go down fighting – Dont laugh – but I am going to fight for the Negroes – Bobby fought for all Jack's things – but they were too big for me to fight for – But that is what he left undone – and I can do something about that in so many little ways... Now this whole summer is over -- & it doesnt seem as if it ever started – Just yesterday you were saying goodbye in my library after Bobby's funeral – Up here you can imagine what it was – The person who broke my heart was Teddy – He was doing everything for everyone – taking every child of Ethels off to some summer school or trip – taking John sailing – helping Ethel – having memorial meetings for Bobby – asking me if I was all right – even taking on that burden which had no priority then & he would go sailing & laugh this mirthless laugh & you realised he was the only brother who now had no brother to talk to...".

    "You and I have shared so many lives and deaths and hopes and pain – we will share them forever and be forever bound together by them..."

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  • For amended catalogue text, please click on the following link and see page 99: Download PDF.
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Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:
A successful bidder at this sale will be required to pay Bonhams 1793 Limited ("Bonhams") a premium calculated as follows:
25% on the first £100,000 of the hammer price
20% on the excess of £100,001 and up to £2,000,000 of the hammer price
12% on the excess of £2,000,001 of the hammer price

VAT at 20% will be payable on the amount of the premium.

The premium is payable for the services to be provided by Bonhams in the Buyer's Agreement which is contained in the catalogue for this Sale and for the opportunity to bid for the Lot at the Sale.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, cheque with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveller's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. Charlie Thomas
    Specialist - Valuations
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8358
    FaxFax: +44 20 8963 2803
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