John F Kennedy and the Sussex Summit
BBC Inside Out speaks to the Secret Service Agent responsible for the advance security in Dallas the day President John F Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago.
For the first time on British television former Secret Service Agent David Grant speaks about the events leading up to, and chaotic moments after, the assassination of President John F Kennedy (JFK).
In June 1963, JKF visited Sussex to stay with Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, just months before he was assassinated.
David Grant was in charge of the security for the Sussex visit, and was also part of the operation to protect the President in Dallas on the day he was assassinated.
During his interview with BBC Inside Out, David Grant discusses JFK and the day he was assassinated:
“It should never have happened […] anyone that was there has got a degree of guilt that they feel but I don’t feel responsible for him being assassinated. I regret deeply him being assassinated and wish that it never happened. And I wish that I could have done something to prevent it, but I couldn’t.”
He discussed coming face to face with Lee Harvey Oswald, who was arrested for killing the President: “Arrogant… sneer on his face. As far as whether he or said anything in my presence, he was asked why did you shoot the President? Point blank, and he just shook his head.”
When asked about that fateful day in Dallas and why he didn’t have the bubble top down on the car. He said they wanted it off for ‘exposure’: “The President’s staff wanted it off for exposure… you can’t argue with them unless you’ve got a good argument.”
Also as part of the documentary, BBC Inside Out has been given access to previously secret files by the Sussex Police Authority, outlining the President’s visit to England.
The programme tells the story of how JFK held cold war talks at Harold Macmillan’s country estate on the Sussex Weald.
Included in the programme are contributions from Harold Macmillan’s grandson, the Earl of Stockton; former Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP and eye witnesses who were there when Kennedy visited Sussex in the summer of 1963.
JFK's final UK visit
Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F Kennedy.
Inside Out's Glen Campbell tracks down the former American secret service agent David Grant who was responsible for arranging security for the Sussex Summit.
Watch the video feature on the BBC News website.
- Natalie Graham
- Glenn Campbell
- Series Editor
- Linda Bell