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    John F. Kennedy Typed Letter Signed "John Kennedy" as Senator from Massachusetts. One page, 8" x 10.5", Washington, D.C.; June 14, 1955. Addressed to Richard L. England, editor of The Quincy Patriot Ledger, in part: "Many thanks for your thoughtfulness in sending me your very kind article. I am enclosing a page from the Congressional Record of Tuesday, June 7, when I took the liberty of having your fine editorial, 'Is Russia Ahead?' inserted in the Record. I talked with Senator Symington regarding inquiry on the Defense Department's sudden decision to increase B-52 production. We agree that the Defense Department was certainly aware of the new Soviet advances in long-range bomber production - but they, as long as they thought Congress and the public was unaware of this, intended to emphasize budgetary economy more than essential security. Thus, although it might not be fair to say that the Department acted without their own realistic assessment of our needs, nevertheless, its decision to act on the basis of that assessment was apparently stimulated by Senator Symington's talk and the public discussion which followed it."

    This letter was written shortly after Kennedy was discharged from the hospital (he had been admitted for a week after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism). The references Kennedy makes to B-52s and Senator Symington allude to the growing tensions between the US and Russia during the Cold War. In February 1955, the US unveiled the new Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, a long-range jet bomber, used to patrol Russian borders and act as a nuclear deterrent. Then, on May Day in Russia, American intelligence witnessed the introduction of the Soviet's new bombers. The CIA went on to report at least twenty bombers in total, which led to the fear that the Russians were building their own long-range bomber force. Senator Symington of Missouri, who had served as the Secretary of the Air Force, was a strong advocate for strong national defense and had criticized the Department of Defense for their outdated weaponry. Because of the concern over Russia's growing militarization, the House and the Senate passed a $31.8 billion defense appropriation bill on July 1, 1955; $356 million of that budget would go to the Air Force for the rapid production of the B-52.

    Condition: Usual mail folds and lightly toned throughout. Multiple areas of tape residue along edges and top section, do not affect Kennedy's signature or the text of the letter. Staple present at top left corner.

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    April, 2018
    18th Wednesday
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