JOSEPH KENNEDY, the patriarch of the American political dynasty, muscled in on a secret deal with Scottish distillers to import whisky into America after Prohibition.
Kennedy s Prohibition dealings may have helped provide the family fortune Kennedy's Prohibition dealings may have helped provide the family fortune
The arrangement, which reportedly earned Kennedy one million dollars a year, may have been the real reason he was sent to London as US Ambassador in 1938.
The intriguing claims are contained within papers stored in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's vast online vault, which is now accessible to the public.
Kennedy, a brash Irish - American industrialist, movie-maker and stock trader with rumoured ties to bootlegging and gangsters, was seen as an unlikely ambassador.
He enjoyed mixing with London high society and his daughter even married the heir to the Duke of Devonshire.
However, he repeatedly claimed that Germany would inevitably defeat Great Britain, arguing against American military and economic aid after the war began.
But he was disparaged for fleeing the Blitz when Royal Family members stayed behind.
Many observers regarded his efforts to keep the USA out of the war as an attempt to protect his three eldest sons. Kennedy resigned in November 1940 after he said the Battle of Britain was not about fighting for democracy. But the FBI files suggest his disastrous tenure as Ambassador may have been the result of the whisky deal.
A typed memo reveals that in April 1942, a "confidential source of unknown reliability" told the Bureau about an arrangement involving Kennedy and associates whose names are redacted. One may be James Roosevelt, the son of President Franklin D Roosevelt, with whom Kennedy had founded a liquor distribution company.
They enjoyed exclusive US distribution rights from Distillers Company Limited, then the world's largest spirits company which made Johnnie Walker, Haig & Haig, Dewar's and also Gordon's Gin.
The Battle of Britain was "not about fighting for democracy" Joseph Kennedy However, the informant claimed that another unknown individual had previously travelled to Britain and secured these same rights "just prior" to the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.
The memo adds: "American liquor interests were said to have objected strenuously to the above procedure and caused their presidential and congressional contacts to bring pressure against it."
According to the files, Kennedy then took over the contract, "suggesting that the latter assume the interest previously secured".
The memo states: 'To avoid any objections that might have been imposed by Distillers Limited, regarding the continuation of these contracts by Kennedy, it was considered a good idea to have Kennedy go to Great Britain as Ambassador.
"Kennedy reportedly carried on with the agreements entered into by name redacted and allegedly received an annual income from that source of over one million dollars."
That sum - equal to $16million today - may have provided the family fortune that helped put John F. Kennedy in the White House.