Listen to President Kennedy via recordings on Podcast speak about and to the Peace Corps

Hear President Kennedy speak at the University of Michigan in the Fall of 1960 and then in the Rose Garden sending off Ghana I.

The National Archives administers the Presidential Libraries.  It has made available online podcasts of the Presidents speaking on historic issues. I have read the transcripts of President Kennedy speaking, but I have not listened to the Podcasts.  There are instructions on the website on how to connect to the Podcasts.  I can only link to the Home page of the National Archives and Records Administration,  It is not possible to hyperlink to a specific page from outside the web.  The steps I outline should take you to these valuable public records.

Please note:  On January 31, 2013, I learned that the page with these podcasts was no longer operative.  I contacted the JFK Library and spoke with an archivist who was not aware that the podcasts were not available.  The JFK Library is working to restore these important podcasts.

To find the following podcasts, (the option of reading the transcript is also included), follow this path:


2) Choose “Research our Records”

3) Choose “Try our new Online Public Access” (left hand side menu box)

4) In the “Search Online Public Access” box, type: Presidential Libraries Podcast

Here you will find these relevant podcasts:

Kennedy Speaks at the University of Michigan

Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy arrived on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan in the early morning of October 14, 1960. In historic impromptu remarks on the steps of the Student Union he asked the assembled students, who had been waiting for hours, if they would be willing to volunteer in assisting underdeveloped foreign countries. This is now widely regarded as the beginning of what was to become one of President Kennedy’s most enduring legacies, the Peace Corps.

Establishing the Peace Corps

Kennedy asked his brother-in-law, R. Sargent Shriver, to direct a Peace Corps Task Force. Shriver, known for his ability to identify and motivate creative, visionary leaders, led the group to quickly shape the organization. After only a month of intense dialogue and debate among task force members, Shriver outlined “seven steps” to forming the Peace Corps in a February 22, 1961, memorandum to Kennedy. Avoiding a drawn out legislative process, Kennedy launched the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order.

Peace Corps

President Kennedy launched the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Four months later, he spoke in the White House Rose Garden to the first group of Peace Corps volunteers.

Peace Corps, CIA, and the Foreign Service

In the following telephone conversation between President Kennedy and R. Sargent Shriver, the two men discuss possible CIA penetration of the Peace Corps. They also discuss returning Peace Corps volunteers entering the Foreign Service.

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  • Thank you. If you follow the instructions above, you should be able to access the National Archives and see if there are further podcasts.

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