JFK delivering his famous moon speech.
JFK delivering his famous moon speech.

The final recordings John F Kennedy made at the Oval Office have been released and include one eerie conversation in which he describes what would become the day of his funeral as a "tough day".

The newly released tapes, made available by the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, feature 45 hours of recordings of the former US president during the last few months of his life.

The recorded meetings reveal Kennedy discussing upcoming schedules, the war in Vietnam, his re-election strategy, relationship with the Soviet Union and the space race. He also talks about the use of emerging technology - colour TV - in the 1964 Democratic conference.

In all, Kennedy recorded over 248 hours of meeting conversations and 12 hours of telephone conversations.

In one spooky recording, dated 19 November 1963, Kennedy has a conversation with staff about whether he is free to see General Nasution of Indonesia in what would become the week of his death. He described the date chosen for the meeting - 25 November - as a tough day. As it turned out, Kennedy was buried on that day.

"I will see him, when is he here? Monday? Well that's a tough day," he says on the tape.

"It's a hell of a day, Mr President," an unknown staff member replies.

"I'm going to be up at the Cape on Friday - so I'll see him Tuesday."

Kennedy was assassinated on 22 November 1963 and was buried on Monday, 25 November, the day before he agreed to meet General Nasution.

In other tapes, Kennedy can be heard talking to his children, John Jr and Caroline, in the Oval Office and introduces them to the then Soviet foreign minister, Andrei Gromyk.

"You can just open the door there. Just have you say hello to my daughter and son. Come in a minute and say hello. Want to say hello to the minister? Do you want to say hello to John?" Kennedy asks.

In another recording, Kennedy can be heard losing his temper while speaking to a military adviser and a diplomatic adviser as they give conflicting reports on the war in Vietnam.

"You both went to the same country?" asks Kennedy sarcastically.

"Well, I mean how is that you get such different ... this is not a new thing, this is what we've been dealing with for three weeks. On the one hand you get the military saying the war is going better and on the other hand you get the political [opinion] with its 'deterioration is affecting the military'.

"You two gentlemen are both ... have a lot of experience, I have a lot of confidence in both of you. What is the reason for the difference? I'd like to have an explanation what the reason is for the difference."

The president can also be heard discussing the use of colour TV instead of black and white in an upcoming Democratic convention:

"Should they be made in colour?" he asked. "Probably a million watching it in colour and it would have an effect. I don't know how much more expensive it is. Be quite an effect on the convention. The colour is so damn good. If you do it right."

Kennedy can also be heard speaking to his ambassador to Moscow, Foy Kohler, that he wanted to dampen down the space race with the USSR.

"I would like to have an agreement on when we both try to go to the moon," he says. "Then we wouldn't have this intensive race. I don't know whether they are going to the moon."

The last meeting taped was on 20 November, when Kennedy can be heard commenting on a briefing book he would need to take with him to Texas.

JFK on Meeting with Nasution by Ewan Palmer