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LBJ and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 08:19 AM

LBJ and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy: Part 1

In 1964 the historian, James Evetts Haley, published a book called A Texan Looks at Lyndon. (1) It was a best seller and it is claimed that in Texas only the Bible outsold Haley's book in that year. In the book Haley attempted to expose Johnson's corrupt political activities. This included a detailed look at the relationship between Johnson and Billy Sol Estes. Haley pointed out that three men who could have provided evidence in court against Estes, George Krutilek, Harold Orr and Howard Pratt, all died of carbon monoxide poisoning from car engines.

Haley also looked at the case of Doug Kinser, the boyfriend of Johnson’s sister, Josefa Johnson. Haley implies that Kinser had discovered details of Johnson’s political corruption.

At mid-afternoon on October 22, 1951, thirty-year old "Mac" Wallace drove up to the Pitch and Putt course, walked in on "Doug" Kinser at the keeper's house and shot him dead. Wallace fled, but was caught, indicted for murder with "malice aforethought," and released on $30,000 bond. Strangely, no counsel appeared for him at first; only William E. Carroll, "a university friend," who somehow arranged the bond - later reduced to $10,000; while Carroll refused to say who the counsel would be.

Strangely too, District Attorney Bob Long called in a psychiatrist. Wallace, arrogant throughout the hearing, refused to see him. Still with no attorney, but with his "University friend" contending he was being held "without cause," and with bond posted, District Judge Charles A. Betts issued a writ of habeas corpus and released him.

He was brought to trial in the 98th District Court of Travis County before Judge Betts, with John Cofer, Johnson's every ready and able lawyer in times of trouble, and Polk Shelton, as attorneys for the defense. Cofer was not unduly searching hi his examination of jurors, but qualified each on his attitude toward the "suspended sentence law".

The case went to trial. District Attorney Bob Long - notwithstanding the identity of the car, a bloody shirt and a cartridge of the same caliber as used in the shooting, found in Wallace's possession, and witnesses who heard the shots and saw the departure of a man who fit Wallace's description - described it as "a near perfect murder."

Wallace did not take the stand. No evidence was presented to suggest cause or extenuating circumstances. Cofer simply filed a brief, one-page motion for an instructed verdict, pleading that there was no evidence upon which the State could "legally base a judgment of guilt." Long said nothing whatever in rebuttal. After less than two hours of testimony which was shut off so "abruptly" that it "left the packed courtroom with jaws ajar." Long urged the jury to "punish Wallace in whatever degree you can agree upon."

Thus after one of the briefest and most perfunctory trials of a prominent murder case on record, even in Texas, the jury nonetheless found, March 27, 1952, that Wallace was, as charged, guilty "of murder with malice aforethought." Its penalty, a five-year suspended sentence - for murder in the first degree.

Long was on his way out of the courtroom while the verdict was being read. His staff seemed "dumbfounded," but his own comment to the press was no less strange than his action: "You win cases and you lose them... usually everything happens for the best." Somewhat understandable, therefore, was the comment of The Austin Statesman that this case, "marked from the start to finish by the unusual," had left the people of Austin shocked and "quizzical.''
(2)

Haley points out that Johnson had known Wallace since October, 1950, where they worked together at the United States Department of Agriculture in Texas. Haley implies that Wallace carried out the murder on the orders of Johnson. Wallace was also having a relationship with Josefa Johnson. The relationship did not last and Josefa died of a cerebral haemorrhage on 25th December, 1961. (3)

In A Texan Looks At Lyndon, Haley does not actually accuse Johnson of being involved in the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. However, he asks why Johnson agreed to become Kennedy’s running mate:

Johnson wanted power and with all his knowledge of political strategy and his proven control of Congress, he could see wider horizons of power as Vice-president than as Senate Majority Leader. In effect, by presiding over the Senate, he could now conceive himself as virtually filling both high and important positions - and he was not far from wrong. Finally, as Victor Lasky pointed out, Johnson had nursed a lifetime dream to be President. As Majority leader he never could have made it. But as Vice-president fate could always intervene. (4)

Although the book was a bestseller in Texas it had little impact on the rest of the country. However, one person who did read it was the journalist, Joachim Joesten (5). In 1964 Joesten published Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy?. (6) In the book Joesten claimed that the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Dallas Police Department and a group of right-wing Texas oil millionaires conspired to kill Kennedy. Joesten openly accused Police Chief Jesse Curry of being one of the key figures in the assassination.

Joesten was deeply influenced by Haley’s book on LBJ:

Haley's book may not be a masterpiece in the strictly scholarly sense, and it is certainly not a bible of my political creed, but as source material it is invaluable. For the author is not only a fellow-countryman of Lyndon B. Johnson, but an insider of Texas politics and an old political pro in his own right. A self-styled 'Jeffersonian Democrat' and conservative, Haley has been for years active in regional politics and in 1956 he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for Governor.

That this biography of Lyndon B. Johnson is coloured to a considerable extent by bitterness at his own failure in the political game, as well as by an ingrained dislike of the Rooseveltian tradition (which, alas, also produced LBJ) and a generally ultraconservative stance, I do not doubt. Still, even after making generous allowance for possible exaggeration due to these factors, there remains in his book so much well-documented fact that it cannot possibly be bypassed by anyone seeking enlightenment about the dark recesses of the Johnson story.

The principal merit of Haley's A Texan looks at Lyndon lies in exploring those parts of Johnson's past that have been most zealously kept from view by the official biographers. In particular, the author relates in great and obviously authentic detail how Lyndon B. Johnson got started on his long and crooked road to the White House through a fraudulent vote.
(7)

Joesten used some of this material in Oswald: The Truth (8). He linked Kennedy’s death to his plan to increase taxes on oil millionaires. He believed that people like H. L. Hunt (9) arranged for Kennedy to be replaced by Johnson to stop this happening.

In his book Disinformation, Misinformation, and the "Conspiracy" to Kill JFK Exposed (1987) Armand Moss argued:

Instigating the writing of this book - or writing it - was the first covert propaganda undertaken by the Russians in their disinformation campaign, which would subsequently evolve at the same time as the mis- and disinformation circulated in the U.S. and Europe.

Joachim Joesten, a member of the German Communist party before the war, travelled to Russia in 1932–33. He came to the United States from Sweden through the Soviet Union in 1941. He was in charge, or took charge of the disinformation campaign in Germany. Two weeks after the tragedy he spent five days “investigating” in Dallas. He and his wife had a date for dinner on the day of his return, December 11, 1963, but his wife found a note when she got home in the evening telling her that he had left for Europe. One cannot help wondering what caused his unexpected and abrupt departure.
(10)

Despite the claims of his critics, Joesten provided some useful information on Johnson’s early political career. He also established information about those he claimed were involved in this conspiracy. In How Kennedy Was Killed (1968) Joseten quoted an interview he had with Dr. Albert E. Burke, who attending a meeting at Hunt’s home in Dallas in 1961.

I have listened to communists and other groups that can only be called enemies, accuse us of the worst intentions, the most inhuman ways of doing things, as the most dangerous people on earth, to be stopped and destroyed at all costs... But nothing I have heard in or from those places around us compared with the experience I had in the Dallas home of an American, whose hate for this country's leaders, and the way our institutions worked, was the most vicious, venomous and dangerous I have known in my life. No communist ever heard, no enemy of this nation has ever done a better job of degrading or belittling this country. That American was one of this nation's richest and most powerful men!

It was a very special performance by a pillar of the American community, who influences things in his community. It was a very special performance because in that living room during his performance - in which he said things had reached the point where there seemed to be 'no way left to get those traitors out of our government except by shooting them out' during that performance, there were four teenagers in that room to be influenced. His views were shared on November 22, 1963.
(11)

Recently I discovered from Burke’s daughter, Helen Burke, that her father paid a heavy price for talking to Joesten. (12)

In his book, The Dark Side of Lyndon Baines Johnson, Joseten developed the idea that Johnson was involved in the assassination. He believed that the event was directly linked to Johnson’s relationship with Bobby Baker:

The Baker scandal then is truly the hidden key to the assassination, or more exact, the timing of the Baker affair crystallized the more or less vague plans to eliminate Kennedy which had already been in existence… The threat of complete exposure which faced Johnson in the Baker scandal provided that final impulse he was forced to give the go-ahead signal to the plotters who had long been waiting for the right opportunity. (13)

In 1968 Evelyn Lincoln (14) published her book, Kennedy and Johnson. It included the following passage:

As Mr. Kennedy sat in the rocker in my office, his head resting on its back he placed his left leg across his right knee. He rocked slightly as he talked. In a slow pensive voice he said to me, 'You know if I am re-elected in sixty-four, I am going to spend more and more time toward making government service an honorable career. I would like to tailor the executive and legislative branches of government so that they can keep up with the tremendous strides and progress being made in other fields.' 'I am going to advocate changing some of the outmoded rules and regulations in the Congress, such as the seniority rule. To do this I will need as a running mate in sixty-four a man who believes as I do.' Mrs. Lincoln went on to write "I was fascinated by this conversation and wrote it down verbatim in my diary. Now I asked, 'Who is your choice as a running-mate?' 'He looked straight ahead, and without hesitating he replied, 'at this time I am thinking about Governor Terry Sanford of North Carolina. But it will not be Lyndon.' (15)

The following year W. Penn Jones (16) claimed that in 1963 Kennedy decided that Johnson was to be replaced by George Smathers (17):

Bobby Baker was about the first person in Washington to know that Lyndon Johnson was to be dumped as the Vice-Presidential candidate in 1964. Baker knew that President Kennedy had offered the spot on the ticket to Senator George Smathers of Florida... Baker knew because his secretary. Miss Nancy Carole Tyler, roomed with one of George Smathers' secretaries. Miss Mary Jo Kopechne had been another of Smathers' secretaries. Now both Miss Tyler and Miss Kopechne have died strangely. (18)

It has been argued that the possible loss of the vice presidency provided Johnson with a motive to remove Kennedy from power. However, Robert Kennedy rejected the idea that his brother intended to replace Johnson as Vice President. He told John Bartlow Martin in 1964: “There was never any intention of dropping him (Johnson). There was never even any discussion about dropping him.” (19)

In 1975 the Los Angeles detective, Hugh McDonald (20), published his book, Appointment in Dallas. (21) In the book, McDonald argued that the assassination was arranged by the Soviet Union. After the publication of the book, McDonald was contacted by Anatoli Cherenkov of the KGB. Cherenkov claims that Mikhail Tsymbal (KGB chief in Paris) had a meeting with Lyndon B. Johnson in Helsinki, Finland, in the summer of 1963. At this meeting John was told that John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert Kennedy, intended to have him prosecuted over the Bobby Baker (22) affair. In order to save himself from being sent to prison, Johnson is told he will have to cover-up the assassination of Kennedy. According to Cherenkov, Johnson agreed to these demands. An account of this meeting appeared in LBJ and the JFK Conspiracy:

Johnson rose again and walked over to the window in back of the Soviet agent. On this bright, sunny day the conversation seemed unreal to him. Staring out of the window he tried to keep his composure intact. The solid look of the buildings helped. They were real. The azure blue color of the sea surrounding Helsinki reminded him of the Texas gulf in the spring. They were on the second floor. He could see people below, walking rap¬idly, hurrying about their business. He envied them. He, the Vice President of the United States, would have changed placed with the poorest of them. Instinctively, Lyndon Johnson knew the purpose of the meeting. He hunched his huge shoulders, turned around and walked back to his chair. "You're right. Bob Kennedy would get me if I gave him a chance. They both hate me. Give them the information you have, and they will destroy me."

"Much more than destroy you politically, Mr. Johnson. You know, of course, of Mr. Kennedy's investigation into the affairs of a Robert Baker?"

"I know. He'll never make it there."

"You are wrong. He is going to succeed in opening up that affair. We know this, Mr. Johnson, because we're part of the process. When that happens, you not only will be destroyed politically, you will go to prison, which is exactly what Robert Kennedy and the President,, want. There is no escape, sir, if John Kennedy remains President of your country."

Johnson leaned forward, no longer nervous but hard, tough, a fighter. "What do you propose?"

Tsymbal poured tea then pinned the Vice President with his dark eyes. "I propose, sir, to assassinate President dent John F. Kennedy, thereby making you the President. That fact will solve your problems and many of ours."

Johnson never blinked an eye. "Where do I fit in?" The question represented complete surrender to the Russian.

"Your part is simple. The action is planned in every detail. You will not want to know those plans. We understand that the President will be in Dallas, Texas. You must give us the details of that trip. After the assassination we will expect you to arrange an investigation that keeps our government in the clear. For these small things, Mr. Johnson, we offer you the Presidency of the United States and your reputation."

Johnson's voice lowered in resignation. "Who gets that information?" "A Mr. Albert Osborne," the Russian answered triumphantly. "He will be at the Hilton Hotel in Dallas. Send it in a plain envelope so if it falls into the wrong hands, no one can trace it. On the upper left corner of the envelope write the name `Mason,' just that single word. After the action, call us on a secure line at the first possible moment, and we will have a plan for the coverup investigation. At that time, my friend, you will be the President of the United States."

Johnson nodded and stood up. "Mr. Tsymbal, it has been an important and useful meeting."

The Russian walked him to the door and held it open, speaking so that those in the outer office could hear. "Thank you for coming, Mr. Vice President. Please tell President Kennedy that Premier Khrushchev sends his best wishes."
(23)

As you can see, the book is written as a novel. It has no index, notes or references. It is of course a lot of nonsense and is not to be taken seriously. It is never explained what motives Cherenkov had for telling McDonald this story. We are supposed to believe that Nikita Khrushchev plans the assassination of Kennedy because of his humiliation during the Cuban Missile Crisis. As Kennedy is such an effective Cold War leader, he has to be removed and replaced with the far more accommodating Johnson.

On 9th August, 1984, Douglas Caddy, a lawyer employed by Billie Sol Estes (24), wrote to Stephen S. Trott at the U.S. Department of Justice. In the letter Caddy claimed that Estes, Lyndon Johnson, Mac Wallace and Cliff Carter had been involved in the murders of Henry Marshall, George Krutilek, Harold Orr, Ike Rogers, Coleman Wade, Josefa Johnson, John Kinser and John F. Kennedy. Caddy added: "Mr. Estes is willing to testify that LBJ ordered these killings, and that he transmitted his orders through Cliff Carter to Mac Wallace, who executed the murders." (25)

This claim was restated in Estes’ book, JFK, the Last Standing Man (co-written with William Reymond) in France (26) . When interviewed by the American journalist, Pete Kendall, Estes said: “He (Johnson) told me if I wouldn’t talk, I would not go to jail.” Estes has had no contact with Johnson’s other long-ago associates, he said, since the book’s publication. “About all of them are dead, really. I think I’m about the last one standing.” That’s partly why, he said, he wasn’t interested in doing a book sooner. “I’ve been accused of being dumb,” he said, “but I’m not stupid.” (27)

Madeleine Brown (28) has claimed that she was the long-term mistress of Lyndon Johnson. On 24th February, 1992, Brown gave an interview on the television show, A Current Affair. Brown claimed that on the 21st November, 1963, she was at the home of Clint Murchison (29). Others at the meeting included J. Edgar Hoover, Clyde Tolson, John J. McCloy, Richard Nixon and Haroldson L. Hunt. At the end of the evening Johnson arrived:

Tension filled the room upon his arrival. The group immediately went behind closed doors. A short time later Lyndon, anxious and red-faced, re-appeared. I knew how secretly Lyndon operated. Therefore I said nothing... not even that I was happy to see him. Squeezing my hand so hard, it felt crushed from the pressure, he spoke with a grating whisper, a quiet growl, into my ear, not a love message, but one I'll always remember: "After tomorrow those goddamn Kennedys will never embarrass me again - that's no threat - that's a promise." (30)

Brown also made this claim in her book Texas in the Morning: The Love Story of Madeleine Brown and President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Brown used this book to argue that Johnson was involved in the assassination of Kennedy. She also provided more information about her attendance at the Murchison party:

On Thursday night, November 21, 1963, the last evening prior to Camelot's demise, I attended a social at Clint Murchison's home. It was my understanding that the event was scheduled as a tribute honoring his life long friend, J. Edgar Hoover, whom Murchison had met decades earlier through President William Howard Taft, and Hoover's companion and assistant, Clyde Tolson… The impressive guest list included John McCloy, Richard Nixon, George Brown, R.L. Thornton, H.L. Hunt, and a host of others from the 8F group. (31)

Gary Mack has rejected this suggestion that Johnson attended this party:

Madeleine has claimed over the years that she attended a party at Clint Murchison’s house the night before the assassination and LBJ, Hoover and Nixon were there. The party story, without LBJ, first came from Penn Jones in Forgive My Grief III (pages 84-86). In that version, the un-credited source was a black chauffeur whom Jones didn’t identify, and the explanation Jones gave was that it was the last chance to decide whether or not to kill JFK. Of course, Hoover used only top FBI agents for transportation and in the FBI of 1963, none were black. Actually, there is no confirmation for a party at Murchison’s. I asked Peter O’Donnell because Madeleine claimed he was there, too. Peter said there was no party. Madeleine even said there was a story about it in the Dallas Times Herald some months later (which makes no sense), but she had not been able to find it. Val Imm (Society Editor of the Dallas Times Herald) told Bob Porter (of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza staff) recently she had no memory of such an event and even looked through her notes - in vain.

Could LBJ have been at a Murchison party? No. LBJ was seen and photographed in the Houston Coliseum with JFK at a dinner and speech. They flew out around 10pm and arrived at Carswell (Air Force Base in northwest Fort Worth) at 11:07 Thursday night. Their motorcade to the Hotel Texas arrived about 11:50 and LBJ was again photographed. He stayed in the Will Rogers suite on the 13th floor and Manchester (William Manchester - author of The Death of a President) says he was up late. Could Nixon have been at Murchison’s party? No. Tony Zoppi (Entertainment Editor of The Dallas Morning News) and Don Safran (Entertainment Editor of the Dallas Times Herald) saw Nixon at the Empire Room at the Statler-Hilton. He walked in with Joan Crawford (Movie actress). Robert Clary (of Hogan’s Heroes fame) stopped his show to point them out, saying “. . . either you like him or you don’t.” Zoppi thought that was in poor taste, but Safran said.
(32)

On 29th May, 1998, Walt Brown (33) gave a press conference where he claimed that a previously unidentified fingerprint on a box found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository belonged to Malcolm “Mac” Wallace (34):

Brown presented data showing a 14-point match between Wallace's fingerprint card, obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the previously unidentified print, a copy of which was kept in the National Archives. The match was made by A. Nathan Darby, an expert with certification by the International Association of Identifiers.

The Texas researchers forwarded their findings to the Dallas Police Department, who passed it on to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Copies have also gone to Assassination Records Review Board, the federal panel created to oversee the identification and release of records relating to the JFK assassination. [/COLOR[COLOR=red]](35)


Malcolm Wallace was of course the man named by Billy Sol Estes of being responsible for the murders of Henry Marshall, George Krutilek, Harold Orr, Ike Rogers, Coleman Wade, Josefa Johnson, John Kinser and John F. Kennedy. Therefore, it was argued that this evidence linked Johnson to the killing of Kennedy.

#2 John Simkin

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 08:44 AM

LBJ and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy: Part 2

Barr McClellan (36) was the next person to argue that Johnson was involved in the plot to kill Kennedy. In 1966 McClellan joined the legal firm of Clark, Thomas and Winters, based in Austin, Texas. At that time the firm was run by the partners Edward Clark, Sam Winters, Don Thomas and Frank Denius. The company was closely associated with Lyndon B. Johnson and the Democratic Party in Texas. McClellan's work included advising on political strategy, campaign contributions, media issues and labour disputes.

In 1972 McClellan became a full partner in the legal firm. It was only at this stage that he was told about the illegal activities of the firm. John Cofer explained how the partners dealt with criminal activity: "In short, we helped plan crimes and keep the clients out of trouble." Soon afterwards he discovered that one of the partners, Edward Clark, had been involved in planning the assassination of Kennedy.

In 2003 McClellan published Blood, Money & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK. (37) In the book McClellan argues that Lyndon B. Johnson and Edward Clark were involved in the planning and cover-up of the assassination of Kennedy. McClellan also named Malcolm Wallace as one of the assassins. McClellan argues that the killing of Kennedy was paid for by oil millionaires such as Clint Murchison and Haroldson L. Hunt. McClellan claims that Clark got $2 million for this work.

The assassination of Kennedy allowed the oil depletion allowance to be kept at 27.5 per cent. It remained unchanged during the Johnson presidency. According to McClellan this resulted in a saving of over 100 million dollars to the American oil industry. Soon after Johnson left office it dropped to 15 per cent.

McClellan’s book is no more than a re-hash of the claims made by J. Evetts Haley, Joachim Joesten, Hugh McDonald, Billie Sol Estes, Walt Brown and Madeleine Brown. His only real contribution to solving the mystery concerns office gossip about the activities of Edward Clark and John Cofer.

In November, 2003, Nigel Turner (38) produced a television programme entitled The Guilty Men where he argued that Lyndon Johnson was involved in planning the assassination of Kennedy. Turner made use of evidence provided by Billie Sol Estes, Walt Brown, Madeleine Brown and Barr McClellan. Other researchers involved in programme included Ed Tatro, Rick Russo, Glen Sample, and Gregory Burnham.

Turner also found another witness that provided support for the Clint Murchison party on the eve of the assassination. May Newman, a seamstress and companion to Virginia Murchison, claimed:

I remember well the night before the assassination. I worked with a man called Jule Feifer, black man, which was Virginia Murchison's chauffeur. He got a call from her stepson John at the big house. They were having a big party for a very special guest that was coming from Washington to go to the party, by the name of Bulldog, which I found out later was J. Edgar Hoover. And he said he was very excited about doing this going on this trip to the airport to take this very special guest to a very special party, big party. And I asked him when he came back if he got a good tip. And he said no and he was very, very upset. He had to go back that night to take J. Edgar Hoover to the airport to go back to Washington and he still didn't get a tip. (39)

The Guilty Men came under immediate attack from those who do not believe that Johnson was involved in the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. For example, Dave Perry (40) looked at the people providing the evidence against Johnson. He pointed out that Nigel Turner "is the only "documentary" film writer, producer and director I know of to receive a censure from members of British Parliament. Because of his research practices there was also an attempt to remove British Central Television's ITV franchise based upon "penalties (for) inaccurate broadcasters."

Perry goes on to point out that in October, 1982, Barr McClellan was “found guilty of forging a $35,000 deed of trust” and that in September 1988, Madeleine Brown was “convicted of forging a relative's will”. He also highlights Billie Sol Estes’s long criminal history.

Perry goes on to look at the rest of the evidence presented in the programme. He makes use of Gray Mack’s research to show that the party at Clint Muchison’s house never took place. Perry also points out that in November, 1963, Murchison was at his Glad Oaks Ranch near Palestine, Texas, recovering from a stroke.

Nor is Perry convinced by the fingerprint evidence. He admits that Nathan Darby did a "blind" study comparing a fingerprint found on one of the boxes in the Kennedy assassination "sniper's" nest against Malcolm Wallace's fingerprint card. However, he dismisses this evidence as unreliable as he used a “inked print photocopy and a latent print photocopy”. Perry argues that “Dr. Brown's assertion in The Guilty Men that the fingerprint match is a "slam dunk" belies the fact that photocopies rather than original photographs were used for the comparison.” (41)

It does seem the evidence presented against Johnson so far is not very strong. It is indeed fairly clear that Johnson was a corrupt politician and that he might well have been aware of people like John Kinser being killed on his behalf. However, there appears to be little evidence to show that Johnson was clearly involved in the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Nor should we expect to find such evidence.

Let us imagine that in 1963 Johnson decided that it would be in his best interests to have Kennedy removed from power. How would he have done this? He would almost certainly have used someone else to organize the assassination. If I had to guess who this might be, I would have thought it was someone like Fred Black (42). This person would have used people who had no connection at all with Johnson. The last person that they would have employed would have been Malcolm Wallace, a convicted murderer, who had links to Johnson via Billie Sol Estes.

Does this mean that it is impossible to find evidence that links Johnson to the assassination of Kennedy? No, it just means that the task is far more difficult.
Larry Hancock (43) takes an interesting approach to this problem. In his book, Someone Would Have Talked, he takes a close look at Johnson’s behaviour after the assassination.

Larry points out Johnson’s initial response was to believe the assassination was part of some sort of communist conspiracy. At 1.15 pm Malcolm Kilduff asked Johnson to make a statement on what had happened. Johnson’s response was: “No. Wait. We don’t know whether it’s a Communist conspiracy or not.” Larry adds: “Johnson’s first concern after the shooting appears to be in regard to a conspiracy.” (44)

This is supported by the phone call Johnson made to Robert Kennedy soon after the assassination. According to Arthur M. Schlesinger: “First he (Johnson) expressed his condolences. Then he said… this might be part of a worldwide plot.” (45)

However, despite this view, Johnson does not act as if a communist conspiracy was taking place:

There is not a single record of Johnson’s attempting to contact the National Command Center, the White House Situation Room, the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense or asking about the location of the officer with the missile launch codes. Despite his initial remark, Johnson did not make a single call or contact that would indicate he was worried about a Communist conspiracy or national security. (46)

According to William Manchester, Johnson phoned Hoover at 7.25 pm. However, there is no record of this in Johnson’s official diary. Nor has the tape of this conversation survived. (47)

Larry points out that Cliff Carter (48) phoned Henry Wade (49), Dallas District Attorney, three times that Friday night. According to Wade, Carter said that “any word of a conspiracy – some plot by foreign nations – to kill President Kennedy would shake our nation to its foundation. President Johnson was worried about some conspiracy on the part of the Russians… it would hurt foreign relations if I alleged a conspiracy – whether I could prove it or not… I was to charge Oswald with plain murder.”

Carter also made similar calls to Texas State Attorney Waggoner Carr (50) and Dallas Police Chief Jesse Curry (51).

There seems to be a contradiction between Johnson’s actions following the assassination and what Johnson (and his representatives) were saying about the event. Johnson clearly gave the impression that he thought there was a communist conspiracy but did not behave as if thought this was the case.

We get an insight into this by the recorded conversation (52) that took place between Johnson and Hoover on 23rd November, 1963:

J. Edgar Hoover: I just wanted to let you know of a development which I think is very important in connection with this case - this man in Dallas (Lee Harvey Oswald). We, of course, charged him with the murder of the President. The evidence that they have at the present time is not very, very strong. We have just discovered the place where the gun was purchased and the shipment of the gun from Chicago to Dallas, to a post office box in Dallas, to a man - no, to a woman by the name of "A. Hidell."... We had it flown up last night, and our laboratory here is making an examination of it.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Yes, I told the Secret Service to see that that got taken care of.

J. Edgar Hoover: That's right. We have the gun and we have the bullet. There was only one full bullet that was found. That was on the stretcher that the President was on. It apparently had fallen out when they massaged his heart, and we have that one. We have what we call slivers, which are not very valuable in the identification. As soon as we finish the testing of the gun for fingerprints ... we will then be able to test the one bullet we have with the gun. But the important thing is that this gun was bought in Chicago on a money order. Cost twenty-one dollars, and it seems almost impossible to think that for twenty-one dollars you could kill the President of the United States.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Now, who is A. Hidell?

J. Edgar Hoover: A. Hidell is an alias that this man has used on other occasions, and according to the information we have from the house in which he was living - his mother - he kept a rifle like this wrapped up in a blanket which he kept in the house. On the morning that this incident occurred down there - yesterday - the man who drove him to the building where they work, the building from where the shots came, said that he had a package wrapped up in paper... But the important thing at the time is that the location of the purchase of the gun by a money order apparently to the Klein Gun Company in Chicago - we were able to establish that last night.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Have you established any more about the visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico in September?

J. Edgar Hoover: No, that's one angle that's very confusing, for this reason - we have up here the tape and the photograph of the man who was at the Soviet embassy, using Oswald's name. That picture and the tape do not correspond to this man's voice, nor to his appearance. In other words, it appears that there is a second person who was at the Soviet embassy down there. We do have a copy of a letter which was written by Oswald to the Soviet embassy here in Washington, inquiring as well as complaining about the harassment of his wife and the questioning of his wife by the FBI. Now, of course, that letter information - we process all mail that goes to the Soviet embassy. It's a very secret operation. No mail is delivered to the embassy without being examined and opened by us, so that we know what they receive... The case, as it stands now, isn't strong enough to be able to get a conviction... Now if we can identify this man who was at the... Soviet embassy in Mexico City... This man Oswald has still denied everything. He doesn't know anything about anything, but the gun thing, of course, is a definite trend.

Lyndon B. Johnson: It definitely established that he - the same gun killed the policeman?

J. Edgar Hoover: That is an entirely different gun. We also have that gun...

Lyndon B. Johnson: You think he might have two ?

J. Edgar Hoover: Yes, yes, he had two guns... The one that killed the President was found on the sixth floor in the building from which it had been fired. I think that the bullets were fired from the fifth floor, and the three shells that were found were found on the fifth floor. But he apparently went upstairs to have fired the gun and throw the gun away and then went out. He went down to this theater. There at the theater was where he had the gun battle with the police officer.

Lyndon B. Johnson: I wonder if you will get me a little synopsis and let me have what developments come your way during the day and try to get to me before we close up for the day.
(53)

From this recording we can see that Hoover and Johnson have already been in communication about the assassination. Johnson asks Hoover: “Have you established any more about the visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico in September?”

Hoover’s reply makes it clear that Lee Harvey Oswald (54) was not acting alone. This statement shows that Hoover is aware that there was a conspiracy to Kennedy. He is already aware that someone was impersonating Oswald in Mexico City. It is clear that someone was trying to implicate Oswald in some pro-Castro plot. The idea of a lone gunman is completely undermined. (We will see later that Hoover believed that there were at least two gunman involved in the assassination of Kennedy). Hoover rightly goes on to explain that the evidence from Mexico City has created terrible problems for the investigation. As Hoover says: “The case, as it stands now, isn’t strong enough to be able to get a conviction.”

Johnson does not respond to this information. He must also realize that Oswald has been fitted up for the crime. However, he changes the subject and asks a question (a very silly question) about the gun that killed Tippit.

Johnson and Hoover also had a telephone conversation about the case at 1.40 pm on 29th November. This time it is a long and detailed conversation. The following appears to be relevant in explaining Johnson’s views on the assassination.

Lyndon B. Johnson: … Now Walter tells me - Walter Jenkins - that you've designated Deke (Cartha DeLoach) to work with us, like you did on the Hill, and I tell you I sure appreciate that. I didn't ask for it 'cause ... I know you know how to run your business better than anybody else... We consider him as high-class as you do. And it is a mighty gracious thing to do. And we'll be mighty happy We salute you for knowing how to pick good men.

J. Edgar Hoover: That's mighty nice of you, Mr. President, indeed. We hope to have this thing wrapped up today, but could be we probably won't get it before the first of the week. This angle in Mexico is giving us a great deal of trouble because the story there is of this man Oswald getting $6,500 from the Cuban embassy and then coming back to this country with it. We're not able to prove that fact, but the information was that he was there on the 18th of September in Mexico City and we are able to prove conclusively he was in New Orleans that day. Now then they've changed the dates. The story came in changing the dates to the 28th of September and he was in Mexico City on the 28th. Now the Mexican police have again arrested this woman Duran, who is a member of the Cuban embassy... and we're going to confront her with the original informant, who saw the money pass, so he says, and we're also going to put the lie detector test on
him.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Can you pay any attention to those lie detector tests?

J. Edgar Hoover: I wouldn't want to be a party to sending a man to the chair on a lie detector... We've found many cases where we've used them - in a bank where there's been embezzlement - and a person will confess before the lie detector test is finished. They're more or less fearful of the fact that the lie detector test will show them guilty psychologically... Of course, it is a misnomer to call it a lie detector because what it really is is the evaluation of the chart that is made by this machine and that evaluation is made by a human being.... On the other hand, if this Oswald had lived and had taken the lie detector test and it had shown definitely that he had done these various things together with the evidence that we very definitely have, it would just have added that much more strength to it. There is no question but that he is the man now - with the fingerprints and things we have. This fellow Rubenstein down there - he has offered to take the lie detector test but his lawyer has got to be, of course, consulted first and I doubt whether the lawyer will allow it. He's one of these criminal lawyers from the West Coast and somewhat like an Edward Bennett Williams type - and almost as much of a shyster.

Lyndon B. Johnson: (laughs) Have you got any relationship between the two yet?

J. Edgar Hoover: No, at the present time we have not. There was a story down there...

Lyndon B. Johnson: Was he ever in his bar and stuff like that?

J. Edgar Hoover: There was a story that this fellow had been in this nightclub that is a striptease joint, that he had. But that has not been able to be confirmed. Now this fellow Rubenstein is a very shady character, has a bad record-street brawler tighter, and that sort of thing-and in the place in Dallas, if a fellow came in there and couldn’t pay his bill completely, Rubenstein would beat the very devil out of him and throw him out of the place... He didn't drink, didn't smoke boasted about that. He is what I would put in a category of one of these - egomaniacs. Likes to be in the limelight. He knew all the police in that white-light district... and he also let them come in, see the show, get food, liquor, and so forth. That s how, I think, he got into police headquarters. Because they accepted him as kind of a police character, hanging around police headquarters They never made any moves, as the pictures show, even when they saw him approaching this fellow and got up right to him and pressed his pistol against Oswald s stomach. Neither of the police officers on either side made any move to push him away or grab him. It wasn't until after the gun was fired that they then moved.... The Chief of Police admits that he moved him in the morning as a convenience and at the request of motion-picture people, who wanted to have daylight. He should have moved him at night... But so far as tying Rubenstein and Oswald together we haven't as yet done. So there have been a number of stories come in, we've tied Oswald into the Civil Liberties Union in New York, membership into that and, of course, this Cuban Fair Play Committee which is pro-Castro and dominated by Communism and financed, to some extent, by the Castro government.

Lyndon B. Johnson: How many shots were fired? Three?

J. Edgar Hoover: Three.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Any of them fired at me?

J. Edgar Hoover: No.

Lyndon B. Johnson: All three at the President?

J. Edgar Hoover: All three at the president and we have them. Two of the shots fired at the President were splintered but they had characteristics on them so that our ballistics expert was able to prove that they were fired by this gun. The President-he was hit by the first and third. The second shot hit the Governor the third shot is a complete bullet and that rolled out of the President's head It tore a large part of the President's head off and, in trying to massage his heart at the hospital on the way to the hospital, they apparently loosened that and it fell off onto the stretcher. And we recovered that... And we have the gun here also.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Were they aiming at the President?

J. Edgar Hoover: They were aiming directly at the President. There is no question about that. This telescopic lens, which I've looked through-it brings a person as close to you as if they were sitting right beside you. And we also have tested the fact that you could fire those three shots... within three seconds. There had been some stories going around... that there must have been more than one man because no one man could fire those shots in the time that they were fired...

Lyndon B. Johnson: How did it happen they hit Connally?

J. Edgar Hoover: Connally turned to the President when the first shot was fired and I think in that turning, it was where he got hit.

Lyndon B. Johnson: If he hadn't turned, he probably wouldn't have got hit?

J. Edgar Hoover: I think that is very likely.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Would the President have got hit with the second one?

J. Edgar Hoover: No, the President wasn't hit with the second one.

Lyndon B. Johnson: I say, if Connally hadn't been in his way?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, yes, yes, the President would no doubt have been hit.

Lyndon B. Johnson: He would have been hit three times.

J. Edgar Hoover: He would have been hit three times from the fifth floor of that building where we found the gun and the wrapping paper in which the gun was wrapped... and upon which we found the full fingerprints of this man Oswald. On that floor we found the three empty shells that had been fired and one shell that had not been fired... He then threw the gun aside and came down…

Lyndon B. Johnson: Well your conclusion is: (1) he's the one that did it; (2) the man he was after was the President; (3) he would have hit him three times, except the Governor turned.

J. Edgar Hoover: I think that is correct.

Lyndon B. Johnson: (4) That there is no connection between he and Ruby that you can detect now. And (5) whether he was connected with the Cuban operation with money, you're trying to...

J. Edgar Hoover: That's what we're trying to nail down now, because he was strongly pro-Castro, he was strongly anti-American, and he had been in correspondence, which we have, with the Soviet embassy here in Washington and with the American Civil Liberties Union and with this Committee for Fair Play to Cuba...
(55)

As Ron Ecker has pointed out on the JFK Forum, this conversation shows that both Johnson and Hoover believe that Connally was shot by a gunman in front of the motorcade (56). Both men talk about “they” and appear to accept that there was a conspiracy to kill Kennedy.

Hoover goes further than that. He believes that this is a communist conspiracy. He points out that Oswald is linked to several organizations: Cuban Fair Play Committee, American Civil Liberties Union and the Socialist Worker Party. What we do know is that Hoover had a strong hatred for these three groups. He is on record as believing they were all communist-front organizations.

Lyndon Johnson’s apparent belief in a communist conspiracy is illustrated by a phone call he made to Richard B. Russell (57) on 29th November. Russell is reluctant to be a member of the Warren Commission. Johnson tells him:

Lyndon B. Johnson: It has already been announced and you can serve with anybody for the good of America and this is a question that has a good many more ramifications than on the surface and we've got to take this out of the arena where they're testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and chuck us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour. [/COLOR](58)

Johnson now takes the view that the public must not be allowed to know that Kennedy has been killed as a result of a communist conspiracy. He makes the same point to Charles Halleck, House Minority Leader. This time the inevitable war “could involve our losing thirty-nine million people”. (59)

Johnson tells Russell that: “The Secretary of State came over here this afternoon. He's deeply concerned, Dick, about the idea that they're spreading throughout the Communist world that Khrushchev killed Kennedy. Now he didn't. He didn't have a damned thing to do with it.” (60)

These conversations show that Johnson is gradually developing a strategy to deal with the Kennedy assassination. It is not clear who he believes is really behind the assassination. What he is determined to do is to avoid the public believing that it was a communist conspiracy. Instead, it is important that the public believe that Oswald was the lone assassin.

Although these conversations took place on the 29th November. This strategy had been in operation since at least the 25th November. This is illustrated in Nicholas Katzenbach (Attorney General of the United States) memo:

It is important that all of the facts surrounding President Kennedy's Assassination be made public in a way which will satisfy people in the United States and abroad that all the facts have been told and that a statement to this effect be made now.

1. The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial.

2. Speculation about Oswald's motivation ought to be cut off, and we should have some basis for rebutting thought that this was a Communist conspiracy or (as the Iron Curtain press is saying) a right-wing conspiracy to blame it on the Communists. Unfortunately the facts on Oswald seem about too pat - too obvious (Marxist, Cuba, Russian wife, etc.). The Dallas police have put out statements on the Communist conspiracy theory, and it was they who were in charge when he was shot and thus silenced.

3. The matter has been handled thus far with neither dignity nor conviction. Facts have been mixed with rumour and speculation. We can scarcely let the world see us totally in the image of the Dallas police when our President is murdered.

I think this objective may be satisfied by making public as soon as possible a complete and thorough FBI report on Oswald and the assassination. This may run into the difficulty of pointing to in- consistencies between this report and statements by Dallas police officials. But the reputation of the Bureau is such that it may do the whole job. The only other step would be the appointment of a Presidential Commission of unimpeachable personnel to review and examine the evidence and announce its conclusions. This has both advantages and disadvantages. It think it can await publication of the FBI report and public reaction to it here and abroad.

I think, however, that a statement that all the facts will be made public property in an orderly and responsible way should be made now. We need something to head off public speculation or Congressional hearings of the wrong sort.
[color="red"](61)


Despite the evidence that Hoover has provided linking Oswald with left-wing groups, the KGB, the Soviets, Castro’s Cuban government, etc., Johnson is determined to believe that Oswald was the lone gunman.

Johnson wants people to believe the reason for this is his fear of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Russell and Halleck do not question the logic of this argument. What Johnson appears to be saying is that if the public becomes convinced that Oswald was part of a conspiracy that involved Fidel Castro, he would come under such political pressure he will be forced to order an invasion of Cuba. If he does this, the Soviet Union will order a nuclear attack on the United States. As this will result in the deaths of 40 million Americans in the first hour, he therefore has to cover this conspiracy up and instead convince the world that Oswald was a lone assassin.

Yet the historical evidence suggests that this would never have happened if the United States invaded Cuba. The Soviets would have reacted in the same way as the American did when they invaded Hungary in 1956? The whole of the Cold War shows that both sides were given freedom to control their own geographical area. The argument that unless Oswald is found guilty of being the lone assassin, there will be a nuclear war is ridiculous. Yet, Johnson uses it over and over again.

#3 John Simkin

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 09:02 AM

LBJ and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy: Part 3

Johnson must have been aware that he was taking a terrible risk trying to cover up the assassination. Within minutes of Kennedy being killed, rumours began to circulate that Johnson had organized the assassination. This is not surprising as he had the best motive for wanting Kennedy dead. If he was not involved in the conspiracy, it was in his best interests to insist on a full and open investigation into the assassination. This would have been the best way to have cleared his name. The fact that Johnson did not do this suggests two possibilities: (1) Johnson was involved in the assassination; (2) Johnson was concerned that the investigation of the assassination would uncover information that linked him to other serious crimes.

It could well be true it was the first of these reasons. However, I suspect it was the “other serious crimes” that Johnson was really concerned about.

A close examination of Johnson’s taped telephone conversations in the weeks following the assassination reveal that he spent a large part of his time attempting to cover up another story. This is the story of a man called Don B. Reynolds (62)

Reynolds was a U.S. consular official in Berlin after the war. On his return to the United States he established a company called Don Reynolds Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland. Reynolds was a friend of Bobby Baker (63) , who was at this time working for Johnson. In 1957 Reynolds was asked to arrange Johnson's life insurance policy.

In 1963 Senator John Williams of Delaware began investigating the activities of Bobby Baker. As a result of his work, Baker resigned as the secretary to Johnson on 9th October, 1963. During his investigations Williams met Reynolds and persuaded him to appear before a secret session of the Senate Rules Committee.
Reynolds told B. Everett Jordan and his committee on 22nd November, 1963, that Johnson had demanded that he provided kickbacks in return for him agreeing to this life insurance policy. This included a $585 Magnavox stereo. Reynolds also had to pay for $1,200 worth of advertising on KTBC, Johnson's television station in Austin. Reynolds had paperwork for this transaction including a delivery note that indicated the stereo had been sent to the home of Johnson.

Reynolds also told the Senate Rules Committee of seeing a suitcase full of money which Bobby Baker had described as a "$100,000 payoff to Johnson for his role in securing the Fort Worth TFX contract". His testimony came to an end when news arrived that President Kennedy had been assassinated.

As soon as Johnson returned to Washington he contacted B. Everett Jordan to find out what Reynolds had said about Johnson. It was worse than he thought. He was particularly concerned about Reynolds’ comments about the TFX contract. This story dates back to when Kennedy appointment of Fred Korth (63) as his Navy Secretary. According to insiders, Korth only got the post after intense lobbying by Johnson. Korth had been president of the Continental National Bank of Fort Worth, Texas, and a long time friend of Johnson.

Soon afterwards, Korth awarded a $7 billion contract for a fighter plane, the TFX, to General Dynamics, a company based in Texas. Rumours soon began to circulate that both Johnson and Korth had received kickbacks for this order. Korth was forced to resign and Johnson was expected to go the same way. As Peter Scott points out in his book, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK:

According to President Kennedy's secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, Bobby Kennedy was also investigating Bobby Baker for tax evasion and fraud. This had reached the point where the President himself discussed the Baker investigation with his secretary, and allegedly told her that his running mate in 1964 would not be Lyndon Johnson. The date of this discussion was November 19, 1963, the day before the President left for Texas.

A Senate Rules Committee investigation into the Bobby Baker scandal was indeed moving rapidly to implicate Lyndon Johnson, and on a matter concerning a concurrent scandal and investigation. This was the award of a $7-billion contract for a fighter plane, the TFX, to a General Dynamics plant in Fort Worth. Navy Secretary Fred Korth, a former bank president and a Johnson man, had been forced to resign in October 1963, after reporters discovered that his bank, the Continental National Bank of Fort Worth, was the principal money source for the General Dynamics plant.
(64)

The testimony of Reynolds brought Johnson back to the heart of the scandal. He could only survive if he could stop Reynolds’ testimony from being published. Johnson got his aide, Walter Jenkins, to talk to Jordan. As Bobby Baker reveals in Wheeling and Dealing (65), Jordan was one of those politicians under Johnson’s control. On 6th December, 1963, Jordan told Jenkins “… they ain’t going to get anything out of Everett. I can tell you that… I’m trying to keep the Bobby (Baker) thing from spreading… Because hell, I don’t want to see it spread either. it might spread (to) a place where we don't want it spread… Mighty hard to put out a fire out when it gets out of control."
Understanding what this comment means is crucial in grasping how Lyndon Johnson covered up both his involvement in the TFX scandal and the Kennedy assassination.

The story begins with Robert Kerr (66), the owner of Kerr-McGee Oil Industries. In November, 1948, Kerr was elected to the Senate. Over the next few years he established himself as the most influential men in Congress. According to the journalist, Milton Viorst: "Kerr was a self-made millionaire who freely and publicly expressed the conviction that any man in the Senate who didn't use his position to make money was a sucker. In a body where few of the members are averse to earning a fast buck, Kerr was the chief of the wheelers-and-dealers."

Kerr served on several key committees including the Finance and Public Works committees. He also forged alliances with key senators, such as Lyndon Johnson and George Smathers. Another key recruit was Bobby Baker. Kerr’s major strategy was to get people involved in his corrupt activities. This provided them with money in the short-term. However, once involved, they became under his total control.

Baker explains in Wheeling and Dealing how he was recruited by Kerr:

In 1949, Senator Kerr offered me the opportunity to buy one hundred shares in Kerr-McGee Oil Company. "It's a growing company, Bobby," he told me. "Nothing's a sure shot unless you've got a gun, but this is the next thing to it." That was good enough for me. Though I was going to George Washington University at night, and then to law school classes; though my salary was only about $6,500, and my net worth, including furniture, could not have been more than $5,000; I rushed home to Pickens to borrow the necessary $3,800 from an attorney named Julian Wyatt. He let me have it on my signature. Before long, I'd made about a $10,000 profit on Senator Kerr's advice. (67)

The first investment was legal. It is only with later investments did Baker and the other senators get involved in companies that they had to keep quiet about. Once part of this network, these politicians lost their freedom and had to obey Kerr’s orders. Baker played an important role in these entrapments. The other key figure of the team was Lyndon Johnson (68). In 1955 Johnson was elected majority leader of the Senate. He was now in a position to control who became chairman of the Senate committees. This he did with great success over the next five years.

In 1960 Johnson made a bid to become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. Johnson used smear tactics against his main opponent John Kennedy. This included stories about all the Kennedy family. During the campaign the offices of two of Kennedy’s doctors, Eugene Cohen and Janet Travell were broken into and ransacked for medical records. (69) Baker describes a meeting he had with Robert Kennedy (70) in Los Angeles. When Baker tried to make a friendly comment Kennedy reacted badly:

Bobby Kennedy immediately grew so red in the face I thought he might have a stroke. “You’ve got your nerve,” he snapped. “Lyndon Johnson has compared my father to the Nazis and John Connally and India Edwards lied in saying my brother is dying of Addison’s disease. You Johnson people are running a stinking damned campaign, and you’re gonna get yours when the time comes!” (71)

Kennedy eventually won 806 votes. Johnson came second with 409 and Stuart Symington with 86. As a result of the bad feeling between the two men, Kennedy’s advisers believed that Johnson would not be offered the opportunity to be his running-mate in the forthcoming presidential election. According to Pierre Salinger, the post was going to go to Stuart Symington. (72)

Ted Sorenson claims that Kennedy did consider Johnson for the job. He pointed out that the Harris Public Opinion Polls had shown that Johnson, along with Hubert Humphrey, would both win votes for the Democrats in the election. (73) However, Sorenson, like other Kennedy advisers, did not believe he would accept the post. Nor did Kennedy who told Sorenson, “frankly, I don’t see why he should take a demotion”.

It was Philip Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, who urged Kennedy to ask Johnson to become his running mate. Graham did this knowing that Johnson would say yes. Baker describes a meeting that took place on 14th July, 1960. At the meeting were Johnson, John Connolly, Bill Moyers and Lady Bird. For the first time Baker discovered that Johnson was considering accepting the post. However, Johnson had a problem because his two closest political friends, Sam Rayburn and Robert Kerr, were completely against the idea. Rayburn told Johnson what a former Vice-President, John Nance Garner had said after four wasted years: “The office ain’t worth a pitcher of warm spit.”

While this discussion was going on Robert Kerr entered Johnson’s hotel suite:

Kerr literally was livid. There were angry red splotches on his face. He glared at me, at LBJ, and at Lady Bird. "Get me my .38," he yelled. "I'm gonna kill every damn one of you. I can't believe that my three best friends would betray me." Senator Kerr did not seem to be joking. As I attempted to calm him he kept shouting that we'd combined to ruin the Senate, ruin ourselves, and ruin him personally. Lyndon Johnson, no slouch as a tantrum tosser himself, had little stomach for dealing with fits thrown by others; he motioned me to take Senator Kerr into the bathroom and mumbled something about explaining things to him.

Senator Kerr was a huge man-six feet four inches, and about 250 pounds-and as I turned to face him in the bathroom he slammed me in the face with his open palm. It sounded like a dynamite cap exploding in my head. I literally saw stars. My ears rang. Tears were streaming down Kerr's face as he shouted, "Bobby, you betrayed me! You betrayed me! I can't believe it!"
(74)

Baker then goes on to explain how he convinces Kerr that it would be in all their interests if Johnson becomes Kennedy’s running-mate. This includes the claim that (i) Johnson and Kennedy offer a well-balanced ticket and therefore will win the election; (ii) Johnson will lose support in the Democratic Party if he turns him down; (iii) Kennedy will take revenge on Johnson if turns him down and will “cut off Senator Johnson’s political pecker”; (iv) as Vice President Johnson will be “an excellent conduit between the White House and the Hill”.

According to Baker, on hearing this, Kerr puts his arm around him and said: “Son, you are right and I was wrong. I’m sorry I mistreated you.” We are supposed to believe that Kerr was incapable of working out these four points for himself and that it took Baker’s words of wisdom to convince him. This is of course all baloney.

This might well have been the scene where Baker convinces Kerr that this was a sensible strategy. However, it is unlikely that the above four arguments were used. I suspect that Baker informed Kerr that despite losing his job as Senate Majority Leader, Johnson would retain his political power. How was this? There could be only one answer. Johnson had drawn Kennedy into their corrupt network. Not with money, but with sex. Baker had been supplying Kennedy with women. That would not normally be a problem for Kennedy. However, Baker had ensured that the future president had become involved with women who could do him a great deal of harm.

Baker reassures Kerr that his main concerns would be dealt with by having Johnson as Vice President. This includes his fears that he will lose control over the important Senate Committees. He was also reassured about another matter. While Kennedy was in the White House, the oil depletion allowance would be kept at 27.5 per cent.

Kennedy had his own story of what happened. He told his advisers that he was determined to get Johnson removed as leader of the Democrats in the Senate. Kennedy was convinced that Johnson would use his power to block his legislation. Therefore, he was paving the way for Mike Mansfield, to become leader in the Senate. Johnson was made vice president because it would remove his power (this was of course the very reason why his friends said he would turn the job down).

Pierre Salinger, Kennedy’s press secretary, gives another version of events in his book, With Kennedy (75) . Salinger was strongly opposed to the decision. So was Kenneth O’Donnell, who described it as a “double-cross” and the “worst decision that JFK ever made”.

Salinger recalls a conversation with Kennedy a few days after the convention. He asked him again why he had made this strange decision. Kennedy repeated the argument that it enabled him to get Mike Mansfield as leader of the Democrats in the Senate. When Salinger questioned the logic of these arguments, Kennedy admitted: “The whole story will never be known. And it’s just as well that it won’t be.”

Salinger claims that he did not know what Kennedy was on about. However, there seems to be only one explanation. Kennedy was blackmailed into having Johnson as his vice president.

Robert Kerr found that Bobby Baker’s promises about a Kennedy presidency came true. Baker was amply rewarded and when he faced possible bankruptcy during the building the Carousel Motel, Kerr bailed him out. It is probably relevant that Kerr was not willing to come up with the money until Baker’s business partner, Alfred Novak, committed suicide.

In 1961 Kerr came up with another money making scheme. His chosen partner was Johnson’s buddy, Fred Black. They established a vending machine company called Ser-U Corporation.

There was big money to be made, Kerr said, by gaining a near monopoly on soft drink, candy, and cigarette machines to be installed at sites where companies were performing defense-related work that depended on government contracts. I've heard that Clark Clifford, the Washington lawyer-lobbyist who's been close to every Democratic administration beginning with Harry Truman's, talked Senator Kerr out of investing in the scheme because it clearly would constitute a conflict of interest on Kerr's part.

Senator Kerr then told Fred Black, "I want to help Bobby Baker. I'll get you the financing if you guys want to go into the vending machine business. There's a fortune to be made." True to his word, Senator Kerr obtained a $400,000 loan for us from the Fidelity National Bank and Trust Company of Oklahoma City, in which he owned stock. We spent the money for vending machines, installing them - among other places - at North American Aviation and at several subsidiary sites. Within a couple of years the Serv-U Corporation we founded-along with my law partner, Ernest Tucker; a Las Vegas hotel-casino man, Eddie Levinson; and a Miami investor and gambler, Benjamin B. Siegelbaum - was grossing $3 million annually. I owned 28.5 percent of the Ser-U Corporation in those days…
(76)

According to William Torbitt (77) there was others involved in Ser-U Corporation. This included Grant Stockdale (78) , George Smathers and Clifford Jones:

Grant Stockdale, ex-United States Ambassador to Ireland and former George Smathers Administrative Assistant and a stock holder and officer in Bobby Baker's vending machine and Florida land transactions, knew and was closely associated with almost all of the top figures in the cabal. Shortly after President Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963, Grant Stockdale was pushed, shoved or fell from the fourteenth story of a Miami building and was killed immediately in the fall. As an officer in the Bobby Baker enterprises, Grant Stockdale had particular knowledge of a good part of the workings of the cabal and his death was one of a series made necessary to protect the group from public exposure...

Fred Black of Washington, D.C. was a lobbyist for North American Aircraft and business associate with Bobby Baker and Clifford Jones. Black has confirmed the connection between Jones, McWillie, Baker, Ruby and ex-Cuban President, Prio…
Of all the enterprises, none could compare with the controversial Serv-U Corp., a Baker-Black controlled vending-machine firm. Ed Levinson, president of the Fremont Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, was also a partner. Grant Stockdale, President of Serv-U and his money is covered later. Formed late in 1961, Serve-U Corporation provided vending machines for the automatic dispensing of food and drink in companies working on government contracts. In the next two years, Serv-U was awarded the lion-share of the vending business at three major aerospace firms - North American Aviation, Northrop Corporation and Thompson Ramo Wooldridge's Space Technology Laboratories. Baker and Black each bought stock in the company for $1 a share, while the others paid approximately $16 a share.
(79)

This passage is not completely accurate. Grant Stockdale was not President of Serv-U Corp. This post was held by Eugene Hancock, one of Stockdale’s business partners.

Robert Kerr died suddenly on 1st January, 1963. Black and Baker continued to run Serv-U Corp but during the summer of 1963 the men became involved in a dispute with Ralph Hill, the owner of the Capitol Vending Company. Hill filed a suit against Baker and Serv-U Corporation for $300,000. This story was picked up by a reporter and details appeared in the Washington Post (80)

This news story worried Lyndon Johnson and he sent Walter Jenkins to talk to Baker. According to Baker, Jenkins said: “Reporters have been around asking questions and he’s afraid Bobby Kennedy’s putting them up to hanging something on you so as to embarrass him.” Later, Jenkins again contacted Baker and urged him to settle the lawsuit in order to stop the case reaching the courts. Baker refuses to do this claiming he is convinced that Ralph Hill will back down. (81)

The Hill suit against Baker came to the attention of John J. Williams (82) of Delaware. Williams had been elected to the Senate in 1946. He was determined to bring an end to political corruption and became known as the "Sherlock Holmes of Capitol Hill". During a 15 year period his investigations resulted in over 200 indictments and 125 convictions. (83)

Williams began investigating the activities of Sev-U Corporation and was probably responsible for a series of stories that started appearing in the press about Baker’s business activities. This included a story about how Baker was using the home of Carole Tyler to provide parties where “Washington’s powerful and mighty” met attractive women.

Hugh Scott (84) of Pennsylvania joined Williams in his campaign. Johnson attempted to stop Scott by threatening disclosures about his relationship with lobbyist, Claude Wilde. Johnson also told Scott that he would use his influence to “close down the Philadelphia Navy Yard unless Senator Scott closed his critical mouth”. (85) Scott refused to back down and when Barry Goldwater (86) began calling for a full-scale Senate investigation, senior members of the Democratic Party decided they had to take action and on 7th October, 1963, Baker was forced to resign as Johnson’s political secretary.

By this time both Baker and Johnson had another problem as Don B. Reynolds now contacted Williams about his story. It was Reynolds’s evidence before the Senate Rules Committee that gave Johnson so much concerns during the weeks following the assassination.

Johnson had a two-pronged strategy. He used his considerable political influence to keep the story from becoming public. This included threats against those like Williams and Scott who were attempting to reveal the full details of the story. This ended in failure and on 17th January, 1964, the Senate Rules Committee voted to release to the public Reynolds' secret testimony. Johnson was forced to talk about the issue at a press conference on 23rd January, 1964.

Johnson’s strategy now had to change. His main concern now was to discredit Reynolds as a witness. To help him do this J. Edgar Hoover (87) passed to Johnson the FBI file on Reynolds. A tape recording of a meeting that took place on 27th January, 1964, between Johnson, Walter Jenkins, Bill Moyers, Abe Fortas and Jack Valenti has survived. (88) At one point Johnson tells his men to leak these stories to journalists Drew Pearson (89) and Bill White. Abe Fortas boasts that he will be able to convince “Drew to do it”. He was wrong, Pearson refused to use these smear stories and instead, it was left to his colleague, Jack Anderson (88) to break the story.

On 5th February, 1964, the Washington Post reported that Reynolds had lied about his academic success at West Point. The article also claimed that Reynolds had been a supporter of Joseph McCarthy and had accused business rivals of being secret members of the American Communist Party. It was also revealed that Reynolds had made anti-Semitic remarks while in Berlin in 1953.

This story created more problems for Johnson than for Reynolds. The New York Times reported that Johnson had used information from secret government documents to smear Reynolds. It also reported that Johnson's officials had been applying pressure on the editors of newspapers not to print information that had been disclosed by Reynolds in front of the Senate Rules Committee.

Larry Hancock has pointed out that at this stage Johnson thought that he might be “the first United States President to end his term in prison.” (90) Robert Winter-Berger later reported that on the 4th February, 1964, he was discussing public relations with John McCormack in his Senate office. Johnson barged into the office and not aware of Winter-Berger’s presence told McCormack: “John, that son of a bitch (Bobby Baker) is going to ruin me. If that cocksucker talks, I’m gonna land in jail.”

Johnson became embarrassed when he realised Winter-Berger was in the room. However, Winter-Berger reassured him by saying he could help Johnson with this problem. The following day he was meeting Nathan Voloshen, an experienced fixer for organized crime. Johnson then said to Winter-Berger: “Tell Nat that I want him to get in touch with Bobby Baker as soon as possible – tomorrow if he can. Tell Nat to tell Bobby that I will give him a million dollars if he takes this rap. I’ll see to it that he gets a million-dollar settlement.” (91)

As David E. Scheim has pointed out: “Given a subsequent scandal involving intercessions for Mobsters from McCormack’s office at Voloshen’s behest, the recounted tirade would hardly have been exceptional in that office. And the Baker case did indeed involve some close friends of LBJ, including Texas oil magnate Clint Murchison.” (92)

When questioned about the testimony of Don Reynolds, Johnson always concentrated on the issue of the stereo. He admitted that Baker had given the Johnson family the stereo. As Merle Miller pointed out:

He (Johnson) said the families frequently exchanged gifts; he said further that he and Lady Bird had used the stereo for a period. What happened after that was rather vague; apparently the set had been given to some other friendly family. Who, why, and whether or not the Baker family often sent such expensive gifts to the Johnson family would forever remain a mystery. (93)

What Johnson was unwilling to talk about was the $100,000 payoff for his role in securing the Fort Worth TFX contract. This was political dynamite and if proved, would have resulted in Johnson going to prison.

John McClellan (94), the chairman of the McClellan was also chairman of the Permanent Investigations Committee, and the person responsible for investigating the TFX contract, said that he wanted to interview Don Reynolds about this matter. However, for some reason the committee did not resume its investigation until 1969, after Johnson had left office.

The reason why Johnson survived this crisis was partly a result of the pressure he applied on the key figures in the investigation. However, the truth of the matter was that the political elite had no desire to remove another president. It was bad enough losing one by assassination, to lose another soon afterwards for corruption, would have severely damaged the democratic system.

Is there any evidence that links the assassination to the Bobby Baker scandal? I think there is. It is now clear that the FBI was involved in investigating the business activities of Bobby Baker and Fred Black in 1963. As Baker pointed out in Wheeling and Dealing:

He (Fred Black) kept a hotel suite at the Sheraton-Carlton in Washington where he and his friends - and I was among them-repaired to conduct business, drink, play cards, or entertain ladies. Though we did not then know it, that suite was bugged by the FBI. They must have heard some interesting doings. (95)

Baker also points out that a large number of politicians, including Gerald Ford, visited Black’s hotel suite at the Sheraton-Carlton. If Baker and Black were involved in the assassination of Kennedy, Hoover would have known about it. If so, Hoover would have told Johnson. Although it is unlikely Johnson would have been involved in the assassination, he might well have known it was going to take place. This would partly explain why his actions after the assassination suggested that he knew it was not part of a communist conspiracy to undermine the American government.

The other link concerns the Serv-U Corporation. This was a scam that involved a lot of politicians. After the death of Kennedy, all these political figures, did what they could to cover up the events surrounding the assassination. That is, except one, Grant Stockdale.

Stockdale was a close friend of George Smathers. In 1949 Smathers introduced Stockdale to his friend, John Kennedy. The three men remained close for the next twelve years. In 1959 Stockdale was director of the Florida State committee to elect Kennedy. After Kennedy won the nomination, Stockdale actively campaigned for him in West Virginia, Oregon, and New York. He was also a member of the Democratic Party's National Finance Committee.

Stockdale also formed a close business partnership with Smathers. Their company, Automatic Vending, was involved in providing vending machines to government institutions.

In March, 1961, President Kennedy appointed Stockdale as Ambassador to Ireland. Later that year Automatic Vending was sued for improper actions in getting a contract at Aerodex but the suit was eventually dismissed. However, Stockdale resigned. He remained involved with vending machines and both Smathers and himself were financially linked with Serv-U Corporation.

Smathers fell out with Kennedy over his policy towards Cuba, but Stockdale remained close and on 26th November, 1963, he flew to Washington and talked with Robert Kennedy and Edward Kennedy. On his return Stockdale told several of his friends that "the world was closing in." On 1st December, he spoke to his attorney, William Frates who later recalled: "He started talking. It didn't make much sense. He said something about 'those guys' trying to get him. Then about the assassination."

Edward Grant Stockdale died on 2nd December, 1963 when he fell (or was pushed) from his office on the thirteenth story of the Dupont Building in Miami. Stockdale did not leave a suicide note but Smathers claimed that he had become depressed as a result of the death of Kennedy.

Stockdale’s wife said similar things about her husband’s death. We now know that is not true. When I raised the issue on the JFK Forum (95) I received an email from Grant Stockdale’s daughter, Anne Stockdale:

Yes I guess that is factual (my posting), except I thought that when he came home from Ireland, that he no longer had any $ interest in Vending Machines. One thing I do know is that Kennedy asked Daddy to go to the Air Force Base South of Miami to see if (against Kennedy's orders) bombs were being loaded on the planes. Bombs were being loaded on the planes!! I believe one of the reasons Daddy was killed was because he knew that the Government was being run by the Military Complex.

The Military Complex didn't want the American People to realize (and still don't ) that they were calling the shots. Daddy knew he was being followed... & he told Mom that they were going to get him... and they did. There was an attempt on my life also several days after Daddy's funeral . I realize now that this was a scare tactic to silence my Mother... i.e. if you speak about anything, Your kids are dead. It worked!!
(96)

Did Stockdale know about the plot to kill Kennedy? Did he tell Robert and Edward Kennedy (97) what he knew? If so, why did they refuse to take action? Was it anything to do with the fact that Johnson had entrapped the Kennedys into a scandal that they knew would ruin their political careers?

Bobby Baker reveals in Wheeling and Dealing that Johnson cut off all communication with him after he resigned in October, 1963. However, in September, 1972, Walter Jenkins telephones him and arranges for Baker to visit Johnson at his home in Texas.

After dinner Johnson goes for a walk with Baker. He tells Baker that he wanted to come to his aid: “But Bobby Kennedy would have crucified me… If there was any way in the world I could have turned off the investigation when I became president, I’d have gladly done it. But I knew it would be politically disastrous, and perhaps even legally disastrous.” (98)

It was not until the next day that Johnson raised the subject that most interested him. “LBJ gave me a sideways look and said, “Bobby, what’s gonna be in that book I hear you’re writing? Is it gonna be one of those kiss-and-tell books?”

According to Baker, he replied that he was “still in the outline and research stage, that the book hadn’t yet been fully formed in my mind.”

One can assume that Baker told Johnson he was safe. As he writes in the book, if he had told the full story at the time he would have caused serious trouble for several of his political friends:

Might I not have been better off, years earlier, had I indicated a willingness to talk before the Senate investigating committee rather than take the fifth amendment? Wouldn't the good senators have been eager to shut down the hearings and sweep everything under the rug had I begun to name names and tell all I knew of loose campaign money, outright bribes, conflict-of-interest investments, sex habits, and so on?

Once I had started it, however, it's doubtful if the press or a few self-advertised reformers would have permitted the corruption issue to die. I'm certain that some senators might have chosen not to run for re-election or might have been defeated had I originally named them even as marginal business partners. Certainly many senators would have found themselves in highly embarrassing circumstances, to say the least. Lyndon B. Johnson might have incurred a mortal wound by these revelations. They could have denied him the presidency, or driven him from office as later happened to Richard Nixon.
(99)

Baker adds the reason he decided not to “chirp like a canary” was because he would not “have liked myself very much had I turned informer.” Baker does not mention the million dollars negotiated by Nat Voloshen. (100)

#4 John Simkin

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 09:05 AM

LBJ and the Assassination of JFK: Notes and REferences

(1) J. Evetts Haley: http://www.spartacus...k/JFKhaleyE.htm

(2) J. Evetts Haley, A Texan Looks at Lyndon (1964) pages 107-109.

(3) Josefa Johnson: http://www.spartacus...JFKjohnsonJ.htm

(4) J. Evetts Haley, A Texan Looks at Lyndon (1964) page 199.

(5) Joachim Joesten: http://www.spartacus.../JFKjoesten.htm

(6) Joachim Joesten, Oswald, Assassin or Fall Guy? (1964)

(7) Joachim Joesten, The Dark Side of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1968)

(8) Joachim Joesten, Oswald: The Truth (1967)

(9) Haroldson L. Hunt: http://www.spartacus...k/JFKhuntHL.htm

(10) Joachim Joesten, How Kennedy Was Killed (1968) page 58.

(11) Armand Moss, Disinformation, Misinformation, and the "Conspiracy" to Kill JFK Exposed (1987) page 93.

(12) Email from Albert Burke’s daughter (30th August, 2004)

(13) Joachim Joesten, The Dark Side of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1968)

(14) Evelyn Lincoln : http://www.spartacus.../JFKlincoln.htm

(15) Evelyn Lincoln, Kennedy and Johnson (1968)

(16) W. Penn Jones: http://www.spartacus...k/JFKjonesP.htm

(17) George Smathers: http://www.spartacus...JFKsmathers.htm

(18) W. Penn Jones Jr, Texas Midlothian Mirror (31st July, 1969)

(19) Robert Kennedy, In His Own Words (1988) page 336

(20) Hugh McDonald: http://www.spartacus...FKmcdonaldH.htm

(21) Hugh McDonald, Appointment in Dallas (1975)

(22) Bobby Baker: http://www.spartacus...k/JFKbakerB.htm

(23) Hugh McDonald, LBJ and the JFK Conspiracy (1979), pages 146-47.

(24) Billie Sol Estes: http://www.spartacus...uk/JFKestes.htm

(25) Douglas Caddy, letter to Stephen S. Trott at the US Department of Justice (9th August, 1984)

(26) Billie Sol Estes and William Reymond, Le Dernier Temoin (2003)

(27) Pete Kendall, Hood County News (21st November, 2003)

(28) Madeleine Brown: http://www.spartacus...k/JFKbrownM.htm

(29) Clint Murchison: http://www.spartacus...FKmurchison.htm

(30) A Current Affair (24th February, 1992)

(31) Madeleine Brown, Texas in the Morning: The Love Story of Madeleine Brown and President Lyndon Baines Johnson (1997) pages 1966-67

(32) Gary Mack, memo, 14th May, 1997

(33) Walt Brown: http://www.spartacus...k/JFKbrownW.htm

(34) Malcolm Brown: http://www.spartacus...JFKwallaceM.htm

(35) John Kelin, Fair Play Magazine (1998)

http://spot.acorn.ne.../breakthru.html

(36) Barr McClellan: http://www.spartacus...FKmcclellan.htm

(37) Barr McClellan, Blood, Money & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK (2003)

(38) Nigel Turner: http://www.spartacus.../JFKturnerN.htm

(39) May Newman, The Guilty Men (November, 2003)

(40) Dave Perry: http://home.comcast....943/guilty.html

(41) Walt Brown replied by email to a question on the latest state in the confirmation of the Malcolm Wallace fingerprint evidence: Interested parties who did not want to get the typical "Oswald did it alone and don't bother" answer took the print issue to experts at Interpol, and, I'm told, hearsay-wise, that a match was confirmed. I can't prove that, but that is what I was told. Nathan worked or worked/is working on that one print for several years, and he just turned 90.” (18th November, 2004)

(42) Fred Black: http://www.spartacus...k/JFKbakerF.htm

(43) Larry Hancock: http://www.spartacus.../JFKhancock.htm

(44) Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked, (2003) page 256

(45) Arthur M. Schlesinger, Robert Kennedy and His Times (1978) page 609

(46) Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked, (2003) pages 256-57

(47) William Manchester, The Death of a President (1967)

(48) Cliff Carter: http://www.spartacus...k/JFKcarter.htm

(49) Henry Wade: http://www.spartacus...uk/JFKwadeH.htm

(50) Waggoner Carr: http://www.spartacus...uk/JFKcarrW.htm

(51) Jesse Curry: http://www.spartacus...k/JFKcurryJ.htm

(52) While LBJ was Vice President used an Edison Voicewriter to record his telephone conversations. After he became President he began to use a Dictaphone Dictabelt. The dictating equipment used to record the conversations was attached to the telephone line. Johnson signalled to the secretary when he wanted a conversation recorded, and she pressed a switch located at her desk to activate the machine. It appears from the content and nature of the recordings that the secretaries often left the machine running and recorded many conversations inadvertently.

(53) Taped telephone conversation between J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon Baines Johnson (10.01 on 23rd November, 1963).

(54): Lee Harvey Oswald: http://www.spartacus...k/JFKoswald.htm

(55) Taped telephone conversation between J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon Baines Johnson (1.40 pm on 29th November, 1963).

(56) http://educationforu...?showtopic=1740

(57) Richard B. Russell: http://www.spartacus.../JFKrussell.htm

(58) Taped telephone conversation between Richard B. Russell and Lyndon Baines Johnson (8.55 pm on 29th November, 1963).

(59) Taped telephone conversation between Charles Halleck and Lyndon Baines Johnson (6.30 pm on 29th November, 1963).

(60) Taped telephone conversation between Richard B. Russell and Lyndon Baines Johnson (8.55 pm on 29th November, 1963).

(61) Nicholas Katzenbach, memo (25th November, 1963)

(62) Don B. Reynolds: http://www.spartacus...FKreynoldsD.htm

(63) Fred Korth: http://www.spartacus...uk/JFKkorth.htm

(64) Peter Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993) page 220

(65) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing (1978) page 184

(66) Robert Kerr: http://www.spartacus...uk/JFKkerrR.htm

(67) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing (1978) page 56

(68) Lyndon Johnson: http://www.spartacus...SAjohnsonLB.htm

(69) Richard D. Mahoney, Sons & Brothers: The Days of Jack and Bobby Kennedy (1999)

(70) Robert Kennedy: http://www.spartacus...USAkennedyR.htm

(71) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing (1978) page 118

(72) Pierre Salinger, With Kennedy (1966) page 46

(73) Ted Sorenson, Kennedy (1965) pages 162-63

(74) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing (1978) page 126

(75) Pierre Salinger, With Kennedy (1966) page 46

(76) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing (1978) page 170

(77) William Torbitt: http://www.spartacus.../JFKtorbitt.htm

(78) Grant Stockdale: http://www.spartacus...FKstockdale.htm

(79) http://scribblguy.50...om/torbitt3.htm

(80) Washington Post (12th September, 1963)

(81) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing (1978) pages 175-76

(82) John J. Williams: http://www.spartacus...FKwilliamsJ.htm

(83) G. R. Schreiber, The Bobby Baker Affair (1964)

(84) Hugh Scott: http://www.spartacus...k/JFKscottH.htm

(85) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing (1978) page 195

(86) A full transcript of this meeting can be found in Michael R. Beschloss’s book, Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964 (1997 pages 186-189)

(87) J. Edgar Hoover: http://www.spartacus.../USAhooverE.htm

(88) Drew Pearson: http://www.spartacus...USApearsonD.htm

(89) Jack Anderson: http://www.spartacus...SAandersonJ.htm

(90) Larry Hancock, Someone Would Have Talked, (2003) page 196

(91) Robert Winter-Berger, The Washington Payoff: An Insider’s View of Corruption in Government (1972) pages 65 and 66

(92) David E. Scheim, The Mafia Killed President Kennedy (1988) page 224

(93) Merle Miller, Lyndon: An Oral Biography (1980)

(94) John McClellan: http://www.spartacus...KmcclellanJ.htm

(95) http://educationforu...p?showtopic=943

(96) Email from Anne Stockdale (16th June, 2004)

(97) Edward Kennedy: http://www.spartacus...USAkennedyE.htm

(98) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing (1978) page 267

(99) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing (1978) pages 271-72

(100) http://www.spartacus...uk/JFKindex.htm

#5 Guest_Tim Carroll_*

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 05:20 PM

In 1964 the historian, James Evetts Haley, published a book called A Texan Looks at Lyndon. (1) In A Texan Looks At Lyndon, Haley does not actually accuse Johnson of being involved in the conspiracy to kill Kennedy. However, he asks why Johnson agreed to become Kennedy’s running mate:

Johnson wanted power and with all his knowledge of political strategy and his proven control of Congress, he could see wider horizons of power as Vice-president than as Senate Majority Leader. In effect, by presiding over the Senate, he could now conceive himself as virtually filling both high and important positions - and he was not far from wrong. Finally, as Victor Lasky pointed out, Johnson had nursed a lifetime dream to be President. As Majority leader he never could have made it. But as Vice-president fate could always intervene. (4)


It seems to me that the calculations behind LBJ becoming vice president are crucial to understanding how he thought this position would better serve his ravenous appetite for the presidency itself. Victor Lasky's point that "fate could always intervene" (meaning JFK's death) seems far more likely to be the relevant consideration than that noted by James Haley regarding greater Senatorial power as V.P. (contrasted with the JFK motive to remove LBJ from his Majority Leader status in favor of a far more reasonable Mike Mansfield). We know that it was the Texas contingent that was most stridently encouraging Lyndon's decision to accept the V.P. nomination, most publicly, Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. These are the same people who would have been most aware of a previous Texan who had accepted that position, John Nance Garner, and his conclusion that the vice presidency is "not worth a warm bucket of piss."

Tim

#6 Greg Parker

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 09:22 AM

We have just discovered the place where the gun was purchased and the shipment of the gun from Chicago to Dallas, to a post office box in Dallas, to a man - no, to a woman by the name of "A. Hidell."... We had it flown up last night, and our laboratory here is making an examination of it.



John, the above reference to Hidell being a woman, is curious to say the least for two reasons: firstly, the HSCA asked Col Robert Jones if MI had a file on a "Ana Hidell"; secondly, because Hoover goes on to explain in answer to who "A Hidell" by responding that it was an alias that Oswald used.

How that could have been known is not reflected in any of the records. According to Martello, the NOPD did no investigation after Oswald's arrest, and the report on FBI investigation shows no reference to do doing any investigation of "A Hidell.

For this, and other compelling reasons, I conclude that Oswald never had any Hidell ID him as claimed.

Do you have a description of Wallace and his age in '63?

#7 John Simkin

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 03:28 PM

It seems to me that the calculations behind LBJ becoming vice president are crucial to understanding how he thought this position would better serve his ravenous appetite for the presidency itself.  Victor Lasky's point that "fate could always intervene" (meaning JFK's death) seems far more likely to be the relevant consideration than that noted by James Haley regarding greater Senatorial power as V.P. (contrasted with the JFK motive to remove LBJ from his Majority Leader status in favor of a far more reasonable Mike Mansfield).  We know that it was the Texas contingent that was most stridently encouraging Lyndon's decision to accept the V.P. nomination, most publicly, Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn.  These are the same people who would have been most aware of a previous Texan who had accepted that position, John Nance Garner, and his conclusion that the vice presidency is "not worth a warm bucket of piss."

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I agree that the decision by Johnson to accept the offer of the vice presidency is a key issue in understanding the events surrounding the assassination in 1963.

It is important to examine the thinking of both Kennedy and Johnson when it became clear who would win the nomination. Kennedy’s key advisers admit there were good reasons to invite Johnson to be his running mate. For example, Ted Sorenson believed that Kennedy needed a Southern Democrat in order to placate the anti-civil rights power base. (1) Robert Kennedy agreed, but pointed out he had already had negotiations with senior figures such as James Eastland and Herman Talmadge and convinced them that a JFK administration posed no threat to their interests. (2)

Kenneth O'Donnell (3), Pierre Salinger (4), Walter Reuther (5), Ralph Dungan, Arthur Goldberg, Jack Conway, and Alex Rose agreed with Robert Kennedy. They thought any attempt to get Johnson would upset the civil rights movement and trade unionists. They all had meetings with Kennedy and came away convinced Johnson would not be on the ticket. This is why O’Donnell later called it the “great betrayal”. He felt this way because he had told important figures on the left of the party that Kennedy would never select Johnson.

These advisers were not only opposed to Johnson for political reasons. They had been appalled by Johnson’s smear tactics in the final weeks of the campaign. As Paul Conkin has pointed out: “Johnson’s last-minute effort to stop Kennedy produced reckless charges and innuendos had infuriated Kennedy’s staff.” (6)

As a result of these discussions, John Kennedy asked Clark Clifford to sound out Stuart Symington of Missouri for the post. (7, Unger, 243) As Arthur Schlesinger has argued, no one in the Kennedy camp was opposed to Symington. However, Kennedy himself favoured Orville Freeman of Minnesota for the job (8)

However, the one thing that all his advisers were in agreement about was that Johnson would never accept the post. In doing so, he would lose his political power-base. All Johnson’s senior advisers were against him becoming Kennedy’s running-mate. This includes Sam Rayburn who phoned him when he heard rumours that Johnson would be offered the job. He said: “They are going to try to get you to go on the ticket. You mustn’t do it. It would be a terrible thing to do.” Johnson agreed, but claimed he would not be asked anyway. Homer Thornberry, also heard this rumour and phoned Johnson and “emphatically advised him not to touch the Vice Presidency” (9) . John Connally agreed and was “vehemently opposed” to the idea.

The most important opponent was Robert Kerr. It was Kerr who had used Johnson to get control of the powerful Senate committees. Without this, Kerr and his network would face the prospect of senate investigations into their corrupt business activities.

According to Bobby Baker it was Graham who was working behind the scenes on his behalf. He had been promoting the idea of George Smathers as Kennedy’s running-mate. Philip Graham argued that he would help him win Florida. However, Kennedy had felt Smathers had betrayed him during the campaign (after making a bid for the nomination himself, he had switched his support to Johnson).

Graham now tried to convince Johnson to accept the post. He told Johnson that this would free him from his Texas base and turn him into a national leader. That Johnson could use the post to become president at a later stage of his career. However, this argument is not very convincing. Johnson was nine years older than Kennedy. The earliest he could run for the presidency was in 1968. He would then be over 60 whereas Robert Kennedy would have been 43. It is therefore highly unlikely that Johnson could have used this post to become president, unless John Kennedy died in office. As Johnson told Clare Boothe Luce: “One out of every four presidents has died in office. I’m a gambling man darling, and this is the only chance I got.” (10)

As Baker recounts in Wheeling and Dealing, once Johnson changes his mind, the others followed. As I pointed out earlier, while this discussion was going on Robert Kerr entered Johnson’s hotel suite:

Kerr literally was livid. There were angry red splotches on his face. He glared at me, at LBJ, and at Lady Bird. "Get me my .38," he yelled. "I'm gonna kill every damn one of you. I can't believe that my three best friends would betray me." Senator Kerr did not seem to be joking. As I attempted to calm him he kept shouting that we'd combined to ruin the Senate, ruin ourselves, and ruin him personally. Lyndon Johnson, no slouch as a tantrum tosser himself, had little stomach for dealing with fits thrown by others; he motioned me to take Senator Kerr into the bathroom and mumbled something about explaining things to him.
Senator Kerr was a huge man-six feet four inches, and about 250 pounds-and as I turned to face him in the bathroom he slammed me in the face with his open palm. It sounded like a dynamite cap exploding in my head. I literally saw stars. My ears rang. Tears were streaming down Kerr's face as he shouted, "Bobby, you betrayed me! You betrayed me! I can't believe it!"
(11)

Baker then goes on to explain how he convinces Kerr that it would be in all their interests if Johnson becomes Kennedy’s running-mate. This includes the claim that (i) Johnson and Kennedy offer a well-balanced ticket and therefore will win the election; (ii) Johnson will lose support in the Democratic Party if he turns him down; (iii) Kennedy will take revenge on Johnson if turns him down and will “cut off Senator Johnson’s political pecker”; (iv) as Vice President Johnson will be “an excellent conduit between the White House and the Hill”.

According to Baker, on hearing this, Kerr puts his arm around him and said: “Son, you are right and I was wrong. I’m sorry I mistreated you.” Later he tells Johnson that if he does not accept the post: “I’ll shoot you right between the eyes.”

Baker reassures Kerr that his main concerns would be dealt with by having Johnson as Vice President. This includes his fears that he will lose control over the important Senate Committees. He was also reassured about another matter. While Kennedy was in the White House, the oil depletion allowance would be kept at 27.5 per cent.

Rayburn was also convinced by arguments put forward by Texas congressman, Wright Patman. However, it is not recorded what those reasons were. All we know is that Rayburn phoned Johnson with the words: “I am a damn sight smarter than I was last night.” As Dalleck points out: “It is inconceivable that as astute a politician as Rayburn needed instruction on what Johnson’s presence on the ticket would mean. (12)

Robert Kennedy remained opposed to Johnson right up to the end and even tried to intervene after his brother had offered him the post. According to John Connally, Robert insisted: “Lyndon has got to get off this ticket… He’s got to withdraw”. Graham phoned up John Kennedy to ask what was happening. Kennedy replied: “Oh, that’s all right. Bobby’s been out of touch and doesn’t know what’s been happening.” (13)

Kennedy had his own story of what happened. He told his advisers that he was determined to get Johnson removed as leader of the Democrats in the Senate. Kennedy was convinced that Johnson would use his power to block his legislation. Therefore, he was paving the way for Mike Mansfield, to become leader in the Senate. Johnson was made vice president because it would remove his power (this was of course the very reason why his friends said he would turn the job down).

Pierre Salinger, Kennedy’s press secretary, gives another version of events in his book, 'With Kennedy'. (14) Salinger was strongly opposed to the decision. So was Kenneth O’Donnell, who described it as a “double-cross” and the “worst decision that JFK ever made”.

Salinger recalls a conversation with Kennedy a few days after the convention. He asked him again why he had made this strange decision. Kennedy repeated the argument that it enabled him to get Mike Mansfield as leader of the Democrats in the Senate. When Salinger questioned the logic of these arguments, Kennedy admitted: “The whole story will never be known. And it’s just as well that it won’t be.”

Salinger claims that he did not know what Kennedy was on about. However, there seems to be only one explanation. Kennedy was blackmailed into having Johnson as his vice president.

Notes

1. Ted Sorenson, Kennedy (1965) pages 162-63

2. Robert Kennedy: In His Own Words (1988)

3. Kenneth O'Donnell, Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye (1972)

4. Pierre Salinger, With Kennedy (1966)

5. Walter Reuther: http://www.spartacus.../USAreuther.htm

6. Paul Conkin, Big Daddy From the Pedernales (1986) page 152

7. Irwin Unger, Debi Unger, LBJ: A Biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1999) page 243

8. Arthur Steinberg, Sam Johnson's Boy (1968) page 529

9. Arthur Schlesinger, A Thousand Days (1965) page 42

10. Irwin Unger, Debi Unger, LBJ: A Biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson (1999) page 244

11. Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing (1978) page 126

12. Robert Dallek, Lone Star Rising (1991) 576

13. Arthur Steinberg, Sam Johnson's Boy (1968) page 532

14. Pierre Salinger, With Kennedy (1966) page 46



#8 Nic Martin

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 10:21 PM

CE Exhibit 1141:


LANCE A . GARCIA, Assistant Manager, Retailers' Commercial Company, Room 212 Delta Building, 348 Baroone Street, advised that this credit agency was a subsidiary of the Retail Credit Company of New Orleans, Louisiana, and further advised that his agency handled credit investigations only and explained that they dealt with nationally affiliated companies as well as some local companies in New Orleans on credit matters.

GARCIA examined his files for the following listed names and explained that he thoroughly checked on conceivable variations in spellings, as well as in pronunciations' of these ones and stated that he could find no listings identifiable with these persons contained within the files:

LEE HARVEY OSWALD
A.J. HIDELL:
ALEX HIDELL,
ANA HIDELL

Edited by John Simkin, 23 November 2004 - 11:07 AM.


#9 Dawn Meredith

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 01:02 AM

CE Exhibit 1141:


LANCE A . GARCIA, Assistant Manager, Retailers' Commercial Company, Room 212 Delta Building, 348 Baroone Street, advised that this credit agency was a subsidiary
of the Retail Credit Company of New Orleans, Louisiana, and further advised that his agency handled credit investigations only and explained that they dealt with nationally affiliated companies as well as some local companies in New Orleans on credit matters.

GARCIA examined his files for the following listed names and explained that he  thoroughly checked on conceivable variations in spellings, as well as in pronunciations' of these ones and stated that he could find no listings identifiable with these persons contained within the files:

LEE HARVEY OSWALD
A.J. HIDELL:
ALEX HIDELL,
ANA HIDELL

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

____________________________________________


John

Stockdale clearly knew something about the assassination. To be "suicided" so soon after the assassination tells us two things: he knew something and 2. It was feared he'd go public. Brings to mind thae story of CIA guy Gary Underhill who claimed CIA killed JFk, then "committed suicide" in May of '64. I think Penn Jones first wrote about him, later Garrison , and he's in JIm Marrs' list of deaths in "Crossfire".

Good research on LBJ.

Dawn

#10 Tim Gratz

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 09:16 AM

LBJ and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy: Part 3

... [T]he men became involved in a dispute with Ralph Hill, the owner of the Capitol Vending Company.  Hill filed a suit against Baker and Serv-U Corporation for $300,000. This story was picked up by a reporter and details appeared in the Washington Post (80)

This news story worried Lyndon Johnson and he sent Walter Jenkins to talk to Baker. According to Baker, Jenkins said: “Reporters have been around asking questions and he’s afraid Bobby Kennedy’s putting them up to hanging something on you so as to embarrass him.” Later, Jenkins again contacted Baker and urged him to settle the lawsuit in order to stop the case reaching the courts. Baker refuses to do this claiming he is convinced that Ralph Hill will back down. (81)

The Hill suit against Baker came to the attention of John J. Williams (82) of Delaware. Williams had been elected to the Senate in 1946. He was determined to bring an end to political corruption and became known as the "Sherlock Holmes of Capitol Hill". During a 15 year period his investigations resulted in over 200 indictments and 125 convictions. (83)


Excellent article with astute analysis! Have you seen an aticle by Phil Brennan, a GOP House aide? He states that Hill came to him in literal fear for his life becauseof pressure from Bobby Baker. Brennan advised Hill that his only way out was to go public by filing suit against Baker. Later Brennan introduced Hill to Sen. Williams.

Brennan:
Sometimes I wonder: if I had not met Hill and convinced him to go public with the story, and the Bobby Baker case and Lyndon's part in it had not come out as a result, would Dallas not have happened? I don't like to think about that.


Here is the cite to the Brennen article:

http://home.earthlin...oor/brennen.htm

#11 John Simkin

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 11:05 AM

Do you have a description of Wallace and his age in '63?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Mac Wallace was 42 years one month when JFK was assassinated. For more details see:

http://www.spartacus...JFKwallaceM.htm

This is the best picture I have of Mac Wallace. Maybe James Richards has a better photograph?

#12 Greg Parker

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 02:04 PM

CE Exhibit 1141:


LANCE A . GARCIA, Assistant Manager, Retailers' Commercial Company, Room 212 Delta Building, 348 Baroone Street, advised that this credit agency was a subsidiary of the Retail Credit Company of New Orleans, Louisiana, and further advised that his agency handled credit investigations only and explained that they dealt with nationally affiliated companies as well as some local companies in New Orleans on credit matters.

GARCIA examined his files for the following listed names and explained that he  thoroughly checked on conceivable variations in spellings, as well as in pronunciations' of these ones and stated that he could find no listings identifiable with these persons contained within the files:

LEE HARVEY OSWALD
A.J. HIDELL:
ALEX HIDELL,
ANA HIDELL

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hi Nic, if this was in response to me... thanks.

But Garcia was interviewed on 23nov63. There was no investigation of Hidell by NOPD or FBI after the August arrest. If Oswald was truly carrying FPCC cards signed by "A Hidell", they would have looked into this person.

#13 Nic Martin

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 06:58 PM

CE Exhibit 1141:


LANCE A . GARCIA, Assistant Manager, Retailers' Commercial Company, Room 212 Delta Building, 348 Baroone Street, advised that this credit agency was a subsidiary of the Retail Credit Company of New Orleans, Louisiana, and further advised that his agency handled credit investigations only and explained that they dealt with nationally affiliated companies as well as some local companies in New Orleans on credit matters.

GARCIA examined his files for the following listed names and explained that he  thoroughly checked on conceivable variations in spellings, as well as in pronunciations' of these ones and stated that he could find no listings identifiable with these persons contained within the files:

LEE HARVEY OSWALD
A.J. HIDELL:
ALEX HIDELL,
ANA HIDELL

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hi Nic, if this was in response to me... thanks.

But Garcia was interviewed on 23nov63. There was no investigation of Hidell by NOPD or FBI after the August arrest. If Oswald was truly carrying FPCC cards signed by "A Hidell", they would have looked into this person.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I knew he'd been interviewed, but I figured I'd throw that in there anyway. :D

#14 James Richards

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 09:54 PM

Maybe James Richards has a better photograph? (John Simkin)

Meet Malcolm Wallace.

James

#15 John Simkin

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 10:52 AM

Meet Malcolm Wallace.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I knew you would not let me down. The one I uploaded is only a photocopy of Wallace and appears in all the books. These are new to me. Where do they come from?



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