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Benefits Provided to Mrs. Kennedy

Dec. 2, 1963 - The House of Representatives rushed through a bill today to provide temporary secretarial help, free mailing privileges, and Secret Service protection for Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy (pictured Nov. 27 at President Kennedy’s grave site). The bill, still to be acted upon by the Senate, also authorizes payment of expenses for President Kennedy’s funeral, the cost of which has not yet been determined. The voice vote apparently was unanimous, but the Republicans’ minority leader, Rep. Charles Halleck of Indiana, said he wanted the record to show that there was no precedent for providing protection for widows of Presidents. In urging Secret Service protection for Mrs. Kennedy and her children, Caroline, 6 years old, and John Jr., 3, Rep. James Morrison, (D-La.) said it was the “unanimous judgment” of security agents that “there remains an element of danger to his widow and children.” The bill would provide for two agents to be assigned to Mrs. Kennedy and the children at all times for a period of up to a year. Meanwhile, Mrs. Kennedy continued packing family belongings today. Later this week, she and her children will move from the White House to the elegant Georgetown home that Under Secretary of State and Mrs. W. Averell Harriman have lent her. The packing was begun last week, before Mrs. Kennedy and the children flew to Hyannis Port, Mass., to spend the Thanksgiving holidays with her husband’s family. Mrs. Kennedy and the children returned to Washington last night aboard an Air Force jet. Tonight, in a statement issued by the White House, Mrs. Kennedy “expressed her great appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of compassionate messages which she and her family had received from persons throughout the world.” These expressions of sympathy, she said, had not only been a source of comfort to her, but had renewed her strength with a knowledge of how many Americans and people abroad shared her pride in the President and all he stood for.

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