what the public wants to believe. One could argue that President Kennedy wanted
to adopt the style of the novels into the working operations of the agency. That
seems quite apparent when you examine operations after the Bay of Pigs."
Richard M. Bissell, deputy director and chief of clandestine operations for the
CIA under Eisenhower and Kennedy
March 13, 1960, Ian Fleming met his most important fan...
Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a good friend of Mrs. Marion "Oatsie" Leiter,
and had invited her over for a dinner party that evening. By a lucky coincidence,
Mrs. Leiter was driving with Fleming through Georgetown when they saw Senator
Kennedy and his wife walking along the street. Mrs. Leiter stopped the car to
say hello, and asked if she could bring her friend to dinner. She introduced Kennedy
to Fleming, and the Senator immediately recognized him, shaking his hand and gushing,
"James Bond? But of course, by all means -- do please come."
Fleming had dinner
with the Kennedys that evening, regaling them in how 007 would handle the communists
in Cuba. He would attack through "ridicule." Sex, money and religion were what
mattered most to the Cubans, Fleming said. He recommended showering Havana with
money and leaflets from American planes, creating the illusion of a "heavenly
cross in the sky" for the superstitious Cubans. Next, he would drop leaflets from
a Soviet plane, warning that radioactivity from American nuclear tests reacted
with facial hair to render men impotent. Castro and the other Cubans would shave
off their beards, thus taking away their identity and demoralizing the entire
nation. An intrigued Kennedy later had the idea explored by the CIA, and asked
Fleming for more ideas.
The CIA did in fact try some Bond-like assassinations
on Castro, like poisoning his cigars, poisoning his wet suit, and planting an
exploding conch shell. Fidel escaped these attempts with the aplomb of the most
indestructible Bond villain.
One year to the day after the dinner, Kennedy listed From Russia With Love
as one of his ten favorite books, alongside biographies of Lord Melbourne, Marlborough,
and Byron. Later Kennedy's brother-in-law Peter Lawford revealed that Dr. No
was Kennedy's favorite movie.
Fleming became a good friend of Kennedy's, and
with Robert Kennedy and Eunice Kennedy Shriver as well. He always made it a point
to send them all signed copies of his books.
O.F. Snelling wrote in his 007 James Bond: A Report that during police
investigations, it was discovered that Lee Harvey Oswald borrowed several Bond
books from the Dallas Public Library in the days before he shot the President.
Richard Gant reports in The Man With the Golden Pen that it's likely that
both Kennedy and Oswald read Bond books the night before the assassination (Kennedy
a hardback, Oswald a paperback).
"(Bond) got his eye to
the eyepiece of the sniperscope, and gently lifted the bottom edge of the curtain
back and over his shoulders. Now the dusk was approaching, but otherwise the scene
was like a well-remembered photograph....Bond scanned it all slowly, moving the
sniperscope, with the rifle, by means of the precision screws on the wooden base....
Bond's face began to sweat and his eye socket was slippery against the rubber
of the eyepiece. That didn't matter. It was only his hands, his trigger finger,
that must stay bone dry."
- From "The Living Daylights," where Bond must
assassinate a target from a sixth floor window.
"Without Fleming, we would have no OSS, hence no CIA. Sir
Anthony Eden would not have embarked on his mad Suez adventure. President John
F. Kennedy would in all likelihood be alive today. The Cold War would have ended
in the early '60's. We would have had no Vietnam, no Ronald Reagan and no Star
- Alexander Cockburn, "American Film"
to COMEDY ON TAP