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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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June 2, 1964 - New York City - Interview No. 30


Since last we met, Mrs. Lasker, the President named this new Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke, and you were very largely instrumental in pushing this to the point where it was set up officially. I wonder then if today you would talk about the background of the establishment of this commission and indicate clearly your role in that development.


Mr. Mason, we discussed the fact that from the time 1960 of the Convention in 1961 David Lloyd and Mike Gorman, who were working for me, got a section into the Democratic platform recommending a Presidential-White House conference on Cancer, Heart Disease and Stroke. I had been working to make this an actual accomplishment.

A meeting with President Kennedy was set up for the 15th or the 16th, the day of the Bay of Pigs, in 1961, a day in April. A group of doctors had been selected by Beau Jones and me by me and they had an appointment with President Kennedy on this day. They were going to make recommendations on the needs in the field of cancer, heart disease and stroke. The agitation in the White House on that day was so great that the President never met with them, although they waited for him for several hours. Ribicoff, who was not really interested in this idea was there, and their recommendations were totally disregarded. However, I was determined to persist in trying

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