An excerpt from the book In Retrospect The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam by Robert S. McNamara
Times Books, 1995 hard cover, 1st edition
from pages 257 - 258
Antiwar sentiment continued to be directed at me from many sources. Sometimes it came from those I cared about most. Marg and I had remained very close to both Jackie and Bobby Kennedy, talking to them on the phone frequently and visiting whenever I had time. Bobby had grown to be one of my best friends. When I first met him, he had seemed a rough, tough character who believed that in politics the end justifies the means. But during the eight years I knew him, he grew thirty years in terms of his values and his understanding of the world.
Some people inside and outside the administration were surprised that I remained so close to the Kennedys, given President Johnson's mistrust of them. The tension between LBJ and Bobby was well-known and reciprocal. But just as Henry Ford II had not cared whether I lived in Ann Arbor or refused to donate to the Republicans as long as I produced profits, Lyndon Johnson accepted my closeness to the Kennedys because he understood my loyalty to the presidency and to him. This was true even when he and I split irreconcilably over Vietnam.
Jackie, of course, did not represent the same political threat to the president as Bobby, but she thought no less deeply than her brother-in-law about the issues of the day. At one point during my long process of growing doubt about the wisdom of our course, Jackiethis dear friend whom I admired enormouslyerupted in fury and tears and directed her wrath at me. I was so overwhelmed by her feelings that I still remember every detail of the incident. Marg was traveling, so I had gone to New York to dine with Jackie. After dinner, we sat on a couch in the small library of her Manhattan apartment discussing the work of Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral. Both of us were especially fond of her poem "Prayer." It is a plea to God to grant forgiveness to the man Mistral loved, who had committed suicide. She writes, "You say he was cruel? You forget I loved him ever . . . To love (as YOU well understand) is a bitter task."
Jackie was indeed a glamorous woman. But she was also extremely sensitive. Whether her emotions were triggered by the poem or by something I said, I do not know. She had grown very depressed by, and very critical of, the war. In any event, she became so tense that she could hardly speak. She suddenly exploded. She turned and began, literally, to beat on my chest, demanding that I "do something to stop the slaughter!"