Writings reveal mother at heart of Kennedy dynasty

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Rose Kennedy, for one brief shining moment the most powerful mother in America, went over President Kennedy's head in 1962 to write directly to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. For that, she got a playful scolding from her son.

She wrote a letter asking the Russian leader to autograph photographs of his meeting with her son, and Khrushchev complied.

"Would you be sure to let me know in the future any contacts you have with heads of state. ..." John Kennedy wrote to his mother on White House stationery on November 3, 1962, just days after the Cuban missile crisis ended. "Requests of this nature are subject to interpretations and therefore I would like to have you clear them before they are sent."

Unfazed, Rose Kennedy wrote back: "Dear Jack: I am so glad you warned me about contacting heads of state as I was just about to write to Castro."

The exchange was contained in Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy's papers -- 250 boxes of letters, photographs, notes -- that became available to the public Thursday at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Boston.

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