Description

    John F. Kennedy Inscribed Russian Fable. Seven pages, 8" x 10.5". The inscription reads: "For Walter Besterman - this won the argument! With our thanks and best wishes - John F. Kennedy." A collection of Russian Fables by Ivan Krylov, published in Moscow in 1947 and includes two translations into English by J. Henry Harrison (1883) and C. Fillingham Coxwell (1920), sketched by A. Kanevski.

    According to Kenneth O'Donnell, Ted Reardon had brought a copy of the book to Kennedy at the suggestion of Walter Besterman during United Nations negotiations during the Congo Crisis. The Soviet Union was demanding that Dag Hammarskjöld be removed as Secretary General of the United Nations, and be replaced with a troika, to equally represent the interests of the three groups of countries (capitalist, socialist, and recently independent). Besterman remembered the fable of a swan, crab, and a fish attempting to pull a wagon from his childhood in Poland. Kennedy immediately saw the parallels to the crisis they currently faced and had copies of the fable printed and handsomely bound, and later presented a copy to the Soviet Ambassador Andrei Gromyko. It was a simple and profound gesture that helped pave the way for the complex negotiations that were to come.

    The Harrison translation reads:

    When partners with each other don't agree
    Each project must failure be,
    And out of it no profit come, but sheer vexation.

    A Swan, a Pike, and Crab once took their station
    In harness, and would drag a loaded cart;
    But, when the moment came for them to start,
    They sweat, they strain, and yet the cart stands still; what's lacking?
    The load must, as it seemed, have been but light;
    The Swan, though, to the clouds takes flight,
    The Pike into the water pulls, the Crab keeps backing.
    Now which of them was right, which wrong, concerns us not:
    The cart is still upon the selfsame spot

    Ex. Norman Cousins Estate.

    Condition: Lightly toned, very small holes at top left corner where papers were held together, else good.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2017
    19th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
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