News broadcast shortly after the Kennedy
assassination: 23 Nov 1963, Home Service

On Saturday 23 Nov 1963, the BBC broadcast a play, "The Enemy Below" by D.A.Rayner, a wartime tale of a Naval destroyer and its battle with U-boats. Following the play, BBC Announcer says that at 10:10 p.m. that evening on the Home Service, they will be broadcasting a tribute to the late President Kennedy, replacing their usual Saturday evening literary programme, "The World of Books". The audience will hear appreciations and opinions from people in the U.K. of the man whose tragic death yesterday shocked the world. The programme is called "The Man We Mourn".

Following this announcement is a partial reading of the 10pm News on the Home Service, read by Bryan Martin, which is transcribed below:

"- Among those who are going to Washington for President Kennedy's funeral are the Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Alec Douglas Home, and Mr. Wilson.

- Family mourners and members of the United States government have been filing past the body now lying in state in the White House.

- Mr. Khrushchev has said the assassination is a heavy blow to peace-lovers everywhere.

- After the news, there will be a programme of tribute to the late President.

- Aldous Huxley has died in California, aged 69.

Heads of State and national leaders from all over the world will be flying to Washington during the weekend for the funeral service for President Kennedy on Monday. Britain will be represented by the Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Alec Douglas Home, and Mr. Harold Wilson. They will leave London Airport together tomorrow afternoon. The Duke will return to London immediately after the service, but the Prime Minister, who will be accompanied by his wife, will stay on in Washington until Tuesday or Wednesday. Mr. Khrushchev is sending his First Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Mikoyan. President De Gaulle and the new West German Chancellor, Dr. Erhard, will be there and so will King Baudouin of the Belgians, Queen Frederica of Greece, President de Valera of the Irish Republic, who is over eighty, and the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Lester Pearson.

Throughout the day, under gloomy skies and pouring rain, a procession has been filing into the White House where the body of Mr. Kennedy now rests. Among the family mourners was Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy with her two young children, Caroline and John, clutching at her skirt. President Johnson led members of Mr. Kennedy's Cabinet and other mourners included the former President Eisenhower, members of both Houses of Congress, and Supreme Court judges.

The coffin, draped with the American flag, lies in the white and gold East Room of the White House. It is on the catafalque used after President Lincoln's assassination in 1865. At each corner is a lighted candle and behind each candle stands a member of a guarded honour drawn from the three services and the Marine Corps.

Tomorrow, Mr. Kennedy's body will be taken to the Congressional Building on Capital Hill where it will lie in state under the dome. There, the public will be allowed to file past and pay their last respects. On Monday, it will be taken to St. Matthew's Cathedral for the funeral. It is expected that the body will be buried in the family vault in Boston.

President Johnson, in his first official act, has declared Monday a day of national mourning and has invited the people of the world to observe it.

The police at Dallas, in Texas, say that 24-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald, who has been charged with the murder of Mr. Kennedy and a policeman, is maintaining his innocence, but, they said, he had freely admitted being a member of the Communist Party. In Washington, the Defense Department revealed that Oswald, who was a former marine, wrote in 1961 to Mr. Connally, the Governor of Texas who was wounded when Mr. Kennedy was assassinated. At the time, Mr. Connally was Secretary of the Navy. Oswald was protesting against what he called a dishonourable discharge from the marines. The protest was rejected by a marine review board after Mr. Connally had left the Navy's Navy Secretary's post.

Moscow radio has broadcast a report from the New York correspondent of the Russian news agency, TASS, accusing the American police of trying to implicate the communist party in Mr. Kennedy's death. The State Department in Washington said they had no evidence indicating that Russia, Cuba, or any foreign power was involved.

A man who worked with Oswald in the warehouse in Dallas, the building from which the shots were fired, has been questioned by the police. They said he was on the list of subversive people because of his left-wing connections. Our correspondent in Dallas says it is not been suggested he has been involved in the murder.

The Prime Minister was among three thousand people who attended a requiem mass in Westminster Cathedral this morning. Tomorrow morning at half past ten he's going to a service in Westminster Abbey. Tributes to Mr. Kennedy were paid during services in many British synagogues.

Both Houses of Parliament will meet on Monday afternoon to pay their respects and will adjourn shortly afterwards. Mr. Butler will speak in the Commons on behalf of the Government and Mr. Macmillan hopes to be well enough to be there. The Queen has ordered court mourning for a week.

Crowds at this afternoon's football league matches observed a minute's silence.

One of the warmest tributes to Mr. Kennedy has come from Mr. Khrushchev. In a message to President Johnson, he speaks of the assassination as a heavy blow to all who want peace and says the Russian people are indignant at this foul murder at a time when international tension has been easing. And to Mrs. Kennedy he has said he will always remember his meetings with her husband. Mrs. Khrushchev has also sent a message of sympathy to Mrs. Kennedy. Mr. Khrushchev and Mr. Gromyko called on the American ambassador this morning to tell him of their sorrow. Soviet newspapers praised the President's work for peace and our Moscow correspondent says ordinary Russians have shown genuine grief and concern.

In a special programme this afternoon, Russian television showed Mr. Kennedy's coffin being carried into the White House. The first pictures to be relayed directly from America to Russia by space satellite. "

.............News broadcast transcribed by Jim, from an old recording.


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