The year was 1960 and the US Presidential election campaign was in full swing between Senator John F.Kennedy and Vice-President Richard Nixon. John F.Kennedy had captured the Democratic nomination in 1960 and he was only 43 years old. According to the JFK Library, ‘the 1960 election campaign was dominated by rising cold war tensions between the United States and Russia.’
They say he had a lack of experience in foreign affairs. In 1960 the young Senator John F.Kennedy paid a visit to the New York apartment of the Ambassador for Ceylon to the United Nations, Sir Claude Corea and Lady Lilie Corea. The meeting was private, Senator John F.Kennedy was consulting Sir Claude Corea who was also the President of the United Nations Security Council. This was the first time that Ceylon had held such an important position. Sir Claude Corea was an uncle of Vernon Corea and cousin to his father Reverend Canon Ivan Corea – they all hailed from the western seaboard coastal town of Chilaw. Sir Claude Corea was a skillful Sri Lankan diplomat and held in high respect around the world. Nothing has been released about that private meeting between Senator John F.Kennedy and Sir Claude Corea. However it was a very high level meeting and John F.Kennedy went on to become the President of the United States of America.
Watch the historic television debate between John F.Kennedy and Richard Nixon – the first debate took place on 26th September 1960:
The second debate on 7th October 1960:
The third debate on October 13th 1960:
View the photograoh of President John F.Kennedy meeting William Gopallawa, the new Ambassador for Ceylon at the White House at 10 a.m. on 7th September 1961:
As President of the United States John F.Kennedy met with a delegation from Ceylon:
President John F. Kennedy meets with members of the Parliament of Ceylon. President Kennedy sits in a rocking chair and the President’s Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs Walt W. Rostow stands fourth from the left (behind two men). Also included in the President’s schedule: Leader of the Ceylonese House of Representatives, Charles Percival de Silva; Clerk of the House, Ralph St. L. P. Deraniyagala; Members of the House, Sir Razik Fareed, Dr. N. M. Perera, Jinadasa Don Weerasekera; Ambassador of Ceylon, R. S. S. Gunewardene; Director of the United States Operations Mission to Ceylon, James C. Baird, Jr. Oval Office, White House, Washington, D.C.
When John F.Kennedy was assassinated it was Vernon Corea who produced the tribute from Radio Ceylon: