The State Visit to France, May 31–June 2, 1961

President and Mrs. Kennedy made their first transatlantic State visit in May-June, 1961. Six months after heralding a new generation of leadership in his inaugural address, President Kennedy met face-to-face with the leaders of France, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom, all of whom were more than twenty years his senior. While international headlines portrayed a young President wrestling with the Bay of Pigs debacle in Cuba and incidents of racial violence in the southern states, JFK conducted a form of personal diplomacy. The first stop was Paris. The President conferred with French President Charles de Gaulle for two days in a series of substantive meetings covering a range of international questions. But the great success of the trip came not in the private discussions of the leaders, but in the public appearances of the President and First Lady.

De Gaulle respected Jack... "I mean, I don't know what his opinion was, but obviously, everyone thought, who is this young President?" - Jacqueline Kennedy

President and Mrs. Kennedy return to the Quai d'Orsay after the State dinner hosted by President and Mrs. de Gaulle at the Elysée Palace, May 31, 1961

Mrs. Kennedy wore this pink and white raffia lace dress and matching stole designed by Oleg Cassini.
© Associated Press

President and Mrs. Kennedy return to the Quai d'Orsay following a State dinner hosted by President Charles de Gaulle