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David Talbot : Evelyn Lincoln


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I'm wondering if Talbot concluded that Bobby, much as Kennedy's secretary Evelyn Lincoln, came to suspect that JFK was killed by Johnson and Hoover. I came across something that makes me think that the Johnson/RFK rift was over this very issue. Bobby suspected LBJ and LBJ knew it and resented him for it.

The other day I was listening to a Johnson/Katzenbach 1-25-67 phone call. They are discussing William Manchester's book. Johnson is deeply upset by his portrayal in the book. He is appealing to Katzenbach--whom he sees as a go-between--to get Bobby to issue a statement or something saying he disavows the book. While I haven't yet double-checked his words against Holland's transcripts, or searched out any other transcripts, it seems clear that at one point Johnson says "or get him over here with a bolt rifle." I interpret this to mean "I'm sick and tired of his bad-mouthing me behind my back and in the press, and if he thinks I killed his brother then tell him to get his ass over here and kill me in the same fashion he thinks I killed his brother, and be done with it." To this suggestion, Katzenbach goes quiet and then laughs nervously. Like I said, I haven't double-checked this against any of the transcripts, or searched this out in any of Johnson's biographies, but to me it said it all. LBJ believed that Bobby suspected him. Now this could be his guilty conscience at work or merely his assessment of Bobby's behavior. Presumably, Talbot gets into this.

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  • 1 month later...
I think your book is great, and want to commend you for taking a courageous stance on this issue. I tend to agree with Myra's view that LBJ had advance knowledge of the assassination. I think that there was an undercurrent of belief among several Kennedy loyalists that LBJ was behind the whole thing. If you read "Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye," by O'Donnell and Powers, there are several hints at this during their recounting of the events afer the assassination. I believe Evelyn Lincoln was the most outspoken Kennedy loyalist about this. Don't know if she ever directly accused LBJ of anything, but she was bitter about the way he acted after the assassination, and claimed that the last thing JFK told her was that LBJ was going to be replaced on the ticket in 1964.

Two relevant quotes from Evelyn Lincoln:

(1) Kennedy and Johnson (1968)

"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.'"

(2) Letter to Richard Duncan, a teacher at Northside Middle School in Roanoke (7th October, 1994)

"As for (sic) the assassination is concerned it is my belief that there was a conspiracy because there were those that disliked him and felt the only way to get rid of him was to assassinate him. These five conspirators, in my opinion, were Lyndon B. Johnson, J. Edgar Hoover, the Mafia, the CIA, and the Cubans in Florida."

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