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According to Donald Gibson, the author of The Kennedy Assassination Cover-up, Eugene Rostow played an important role in the creation of the Warren Commission. He argues that "this Commission would have been more accurately named the Rostow Copmmission or the McCloy-Dulles Commission."

The release of the White House telephone transcripts, thirty years after the assassination, make it possible to now construct a much more complete account of the Warren Commission's origins. Those transcripts tell the story that Katzenbach hinted at in his 1978 testimony, a story LBJ had also hinted at in 1971. Had the appropriate questions been asked of Katzenbach in 1978, it is at least possible that Katzenbach himself would have filled in some of the gaps left in the record for over three decades.

It appears that the idea of a Presidential commission to report on the assassination of President Kennedy was first suggested by Eugene Rostow, Dean of the Yale Law School, in a telephone call to LBJ aide William Moyers during the afternoon of November 24, 1963. Although the time of this call is missing from the White House daily diary, it is possible to identify the period during which the call was made. Rostow refers to the killing of Oswald, so the call had to be after 2:07 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, the time Oswald was pronounced dead. The call appears in the White House daily diary prior to a conversation at 4:40 P.M, between President Johnson and Governor Pat Brown of California." There is a memorandum which clearly indicates that Rostow called the White House well before 4:00 p.m., EST.

Rostow told Moyers that he was calling to make a suggestion that a "Presidential commission be appointed of very distinguished citizens in the very near future." Rostow recommended that such a commission be Bi-partisan and above politics - no Supreme Court justices but people like Tom Dewey and Bill Story from Texas and so on. A commission of seven or nine people, maybe Nixon, I don't know, to look into the whole affair of the murder of the President because world opinion and American opinion is just now so shaken by the behavior of the Dallas Police that they're not believing anything."

Rostow does not explain how he has determined the nature of world or American opinion within minutes or an hour or so of the murder of Oswald. As we saw in the preceding chapter, the Dallas police were a model of objectivity and open mindedness compared to Alan Belmont of the FBI and at least much of the major media.

Rostow also said that he had already spoken "about three times" that day to Nick Katzenbach but he was making his suggestion directly to Moyers because of his uncertainty that Katzenbach would pass it on. Rostow explains that Katzenbach "sounded too groggy so I thought I'd pass this thought along to you".

It is highly probable that it was Rostow's call(s) that Katzenbach was referring to in his 1978 testimony when he said that he was "sure" that he had talked to "people outside the government entirely who called me."

Apparently Rostow was making his suggestion in the context of discussions with at least one other person. He said to Moyers: "Now, I've got a party here. I've [or We've] been pursuing the policy, you know, that people need to come together at this time."

Rostow does not identify the individual or individuals with whom he has been talking.

Moyers briefly interrupted this line of discussion by stating his concern that recent events were undermining the credibility of U.S. institutions. He then returned to Rostow's suggestion, saying: "All right. Now, your suggestion is that he [President Johnson] appoint a Special Commission of distinguished Americans, primarily in the field of law, I presume to look into the whole question of the assassination."

Rostow says "That's right and a report on it" and then the conversation ended with Moyers assuring Rostow that he will discuss this with President Johnson." Rostow acted very quickly on what was a momentous decision and he did so even though he had no obligation or responsibility to do anything.

In Volume III of the Hearings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, there is a copy of a memo written by LBJ aide Walter Jenkins to the President which reports on a phone conversation that Jenkins apparently had with J. Edgar Hoover." According to the memo, Hoover said over the phone that: "The thing I am concerned about, and so is Mr. Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin. Mr. Katzenbach thinks that the President might appoint a Presidential Corrunission of three outstanding citizens to make a determination."

Hoover goes on to state misgivings about the idea of a commission. It is, of course, of interest that Hoover and, apparently, Katzenbach already have Oswald as the assassin. Did Rostow discuss this with the "groggy" and insufficiently active Katzenbach? The timing of this memo is of immediate interest.

The time on the memo is 4:00 P.M., November 24. Hoover has already spoken with Katzenbach and received from him information concerning the idea of a commission. Apparently, Hoover spoke with Katzenbach prior to 4:00 P.M. We now have a considerably shorter time frame.

Oswald died at 2:07 Eastern Standard Time. Before 4:00 Katzenbach had spoken with Hoover about a commission. Katzenbach was acting as a result of his conversation(s) with Rostow. We are now down to something well under one hour and fifty-three minutes for Rostow to hear of Oswald's death, consider all the factors, discuss it with at least one other person, and begin to act. The entire time span for Rostow's actions is almost certainly less than ninety minutes, allowing only twenty or so additional minutes for him to talk to Katzenbach and for Katzenbach to talk to Hoover. We don't know who was with Rostow at the time of Oswald's death. Did Rostow act as an individual or was he representing a collective decision when he moved so rapidly to have a Presidential commission established? This probably cannot be answered in a definite way without a candid statement from Rostow and, perhaps, others. There are, however, indications in the events of November 25 to 29 that Rostow and then Katzenbach were acting on behalf of a group of people.

As we have seen, the idea of a commission was suggested to at least two people close to LBJ, Bill Moyers and Walter Jenkins, on the afternoon of the 24th. The suggestion was relayed to LBJ by someone before 10:30 A.M. the next day, November 25. This is clear from the transcript of Johnson's phone conversation with J. Edgar Hoover at 10:30.

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John, the timeline is very incriminating. Who were in Rostow's 'party' I wonder? The conspirators of course.

As the person responsible for the WC's birth, he merits a page on Spartacus, imo. Just a suggestion.

See the following:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USArostow.htm

I was pointing out, albeit not very clearly, that Rostow's page should also be in the JFK section of Spartacus, under 'possible conspirators'. He's a major player in the JFK story, imo.

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  • 1 year later...
As we have seen, the idea of a commission was suggested to at least two people close to LBJ, Bill Moyers and Walter Jenkins, on the afternoon of the 24th. The suggestion was relayed to LBJ by someone before 10:30 A.M. the next day, November 25. This is clear from the transcript of Johnson's phone conversation with J. Edgar Hoover at 10:30.

Also Washington Post's Joe Alsop gave Moyers a call on the 25th and suggested the same thing.

It's one I hadn't heard before and quite interesting, imo.

http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk...op_11-25-63.htm

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Guest Tom Scully

John,

Although the 1993 WaPo article excerpt displayed below contains some contradictions as far as whether Katzenbach was "groggy" and "who called who", as far as whether Rostow initiated a call which "roused" Katzenbach....or not.... there is confirmation in the 1993 piece of LBJ's 1971 version of events. Rostow called George Ball before he called Bill Moyers; George Ball worked for Dean Rusk, and LBJ names Rostow, Alsop, and Rusk as the three who first lobbied him for creation of a blue-ribbon commission. Disinfo from Johnson and Katzenbach? Who knows?

Kind of curious that Rostow was "having a party" while most other events of that weekend of national mourning, including the scheduled, steeped in tradition" Yale-Harvard football game being postponed from Nov. 23 to Nov. 30, had been cancelled or postponed. I lived near Yale campus for more than 30 years and sold programs at Yale bowl as a teen....and that

was the only instance when that all important game of the season was ever postponed.

http://news.google.com/archivesearch?q=pre...range=1978,2006

Judge Anderson, Rostow Lead for Circuit Court

Pay-Per-View - Hartford Courant - ProQuest Archiver - Jan 18, 1964

U. S. District Judge Robert Anderson and Eugene Rostow, dean of the Yale Law ... nomination by President Johnson as a judge of the U. S. Circuit Court of ... Related web pages

JOB'S A PHANTOM, BUT RACE IS REAL; Connecticut Democrats Vie for...

$3.95 - New York Times - May 10, 1964

Judge Anderson has not yet been advanced to the Circuit Court, and there is still speculation concerning Dean Rostow for the Circuit Court. ...

http://books.google.com/books?id=Yl2FB7ep_...e%22&pgis=1

The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963-1969‎ - Page 26

by Lyndon Baines Johnson - History - 1971 - 636 pages

The idea of a national commission was first mentioned to me by Eugene Rostow

of the Yale Law School.

He called the White House the day Oswald was shot and suggested that with the

prime suspect now dead, a blue-ribbon commission was needed to ascertain the

facts. Dean Rusk and columnist Joseph Alsop soon made the same recommendation

to me....

Warren Commission Born Out of Fear; Washington Wanted to Stop Speculation Series: THE ASSASSINATION FILES Series Number: 1/3;

Walter Pincus, George Lardner Jr.. The Washington Post . Washington, D.C.: Nov 14, 1993.

There was instant recognition in CIA headquarters here on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, when news wires burning with reports of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas that morning flashed word that Lee Harvey Oswald had been arrested.

The CIA's Western Hemisphere Division already had a file on Oswald, documenting his travel to the Soviet Union and recent contacts with the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City - including an intercepted telephone conversation in which a man identifying himself as Oswald had mentioned meeting with a known KGB operative whose specialties included assassination. The CIA station chief in Mexico had twice cabled information about Oswald's suspicious Soviet contacts there, the first in early October.

The FBI also had a file on Oswald, listing his activities in New Orleans in support of the pro-Castro Fair Play for Cuba Committee. And, shortly after his arrest, Dallas authorities found pro-Soviet, pro-Cuba literature in Oswald's apartment.

As policymakers across the Potomac learned of Oswald's Soviet connections, they were filled with dread. "There was fear that the Soviets could be responsible," then-Deputy Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach said in a recent interview. "And that could be a major problem."

"We were just scared to death that this was something bigger than just the act of a madman," recalled George Ball, the undersecretary then running the State Department in Dean Rusk's absence.

Neither Katzenbach, nor Ball, nor other top foreign policy and defense officials charged with maintaining domestic security and international stability believed the Soviet Union was behind the assassination of the president. The Soviets, they thought, simply had too much to lose from the repercussions of such an act, and were as mindful of the delicate balance of superpower relations as the Americans.

Top-secret intercepts by U.S. and allied eavesdropping agencies reassured them. Communications between Moscow and the Soviet Embassy in Washington and between Moscow and Havana showed surprise and alarm over what had taken place, according to Warren Commission lawyers who were given access to the records.

But the senior policymakers feared that the American public, and the more conspiracy-minded law enforcement community, would be less easily convinced of Soviet innocence once news of Oswald's past came to light. The repercussions for world peace, they felt, could be disastrous.

Thus was born the idea of creating a prestigious presidential commission to control the release of information about the assassination and choke off speculation about an international conspiracy to kill Kennedy. Conceived by Katzenbach within hours of Kennedy's death, the idea was put into effect as the Warren Commission - headed by the chief justice of the United States - just one week later.

As the 30th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination approaches next week, the conclusions of the Warren Commission - that Oswald alone conceived and carried out the killing - remain the subject of hot dispute and disbelief by a wide range of Americans. And the passage of time makes it increasingly unlikely that the whole truth about the events of Nov. 22, 1963, ever will be known.

But newly released government documents, including the transcripts of telephone conversations recorded by President Lyndon B. Johnson in November and December 1963, provide for the first time a detailed, behind-the-scenes look at why and how the seven-member Warren panel was put together. Those documents, along with a review of previously released material and interviews with dozens of individuals, describe a process designed more to control information than to elicit and expose it.

Friday and Saturday, Nov. 22-23

In the hours following the assassination - even after Oswald's arrest - fears were rampant that other gunmen might be roaming the city, and that then-Vice President Johnson also was at risk. As the Secret Service sped Johnson to the airport from Parkland Hospital, after Kennedy was pronounced dead, the president-to-be crouched on the floor of the car.

Takeoff was delayed until Jacqueline Kennedy arrived with her husband's body, and for the swearing-in ceremony on Texas soil that Johnson wanted.

On arrival at Andrews Air Force Base, Johnson was joined for the helicopter ride to the White House by Ball, national security adviser McGeorge Bundy, and Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara. Johnson seemed in "a near state of shock," Ball recalled. Ball used the 10- minute flight to emphasize what he regarded as most important: the need to reassure other nations that the assassination would not disrupt the U.S. government.

Later that night, at Johnson's private residence in Northwest Washington, an aide rushed in to warn him that prosecutors in Dallas were planning to charge Oswald with killing Kennedy "in furtherance of a communist conspiracy."

Bill Alexander, the assistant district attorney who was drawing up the complaint, said in a recent interview that he had been struck by "all this communist literature, Oswald's correspondence with Russians, his diary in Russian" that police had found in Oswald's apartment.

Johnson told the aide, Cliff Carter, to call District Attorney Henry Wade in Dallas. He instructed Horace Busby, an old friend also present that night, to call Texas Attorney General Waggoner Carr about convening a state "court of inquiry" that would supersede Dallas authorities.

Wade remembers that Carter told him to go down to the police station and make sure no "plot" was mentioned in the charges against Oswald. Alexander also remembers Wade calling him. "He {Wade} said, `Knock off this communist {expletive}! What are you trying to do? Start World War III?' "

Although local authorities clearly had responsibility for the criminal investigation under existing law, Washington had moved quickly to ensure that the FBI would take over the Dallas police operation. Not only would that give Washington control of information of possible international consequence, it also would reassure a jittery and uncertain nation that the investigation was being done right by impartial authorities from outside the state where the killing had occurred.

In Moscow the next morning, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev paid his respects at the U.S. Embassy, and asked Ambassador Foy Kohler about the identity of the assassin. Kohler, according to his cable to Washington on the meeting, said a suspect was under arrest, but a verdict would have to await a trial. "In my view, any person who could commit such a reprehensible act must be a madman," he said he told Khrushchev.

Khrushchev, Kohler said, then recited "the traditional opposition of the Communist Party to terrorist acts."

In his cable, Kohler expressed concern "at political repercussions which may develop if undue emphasis is placed on the alleged `Marxism' of Oswald. While we clearly must be factual and objective in our output, I would hope, if facts permit, we could deal with the assassin as `madman' with long record of acts reflecting mental unbalance rather than dwell on his professed political convictions."

In Washington, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover called Johnson at 9:50 a.m. to report on the progress of the bureau's investigation of the assassination. "Have you established any more about {Oswald's} visit to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico in September?" Johnson asked. Hoover was troubled. "That's one angle that's very confusing," he said.

Meanwhile, a package was delivered for Johnson from the State Department. Busby, sitting in Johnson's vice presidential suite in the Old Executive Office Building at the time, recalled that the documents inside were handed to Johnson, who was talking on the telephone. The president looked at the papers and slid them across his desk to Busby. "Me, no Alamo," Johnson said.

It was classic Texas sarcasm, a reference to the "Who, me?" disclaimer legend has it was uttered by captured Mexican troops after they had laid waste to the Alamo in the historic 1836 battle.

The package, Busby said, had come from the Soviet Foreign Ministry. "It was the KGB's complete history of every movement Oswald made in Russia," he recalled. "Johnson's characterization was really very apt. I read it. They had somebody on {Oswald} all the time."

That same morning, Johnson learned that Sen. Roman Hruska (R- Neb.) was planning to make a speech on Monday "denouncing the Russian conspiracy, of which Oswald was an agent," Busby recalled. Johnson called Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.) to try to head off Hruska.

"That would be very bad," the president told Dirksen. Hruska "has no proof of that. We mustn't get the country on edge." Dirksen, Busby said, agreed. Hruska never made the speech.

According to Donald Gibson, the author of The Kennedy Assassination Cover-up, Eugene Rostow played an important role in the creation of the Warren Commission. He argues that "this Commission would have been more accurately named the Rostow Copmmission or the McCloy-Dulles Commission."

....Rostow also said that he had already spoken "about three times" that day to Nick Katzenbach but he was making his suggestion directly to Moyers because of his uncertainty that Katzenbach would pass it on. Rostow explains that Katzenbach "sounded too groggy so I thought I'd pass this thought along to you".

It is highly probable that it was Rostow's call(s) that Katzenbach was referring to in his 1978 testimony when he said that he was "sure" that he had talked to "people outside the government entirely who called me."

Apparently Rostow was making his suggestion in the context of discussions with at least one other person. He said to Moyers: "Now, I've got a party here. I've [or We've] been pursuing the policy, you know, that people need to come together at this time."

Rostow does not identify the individual or individuals with whom he has been talking.

Moyers briefly interrupted this line of discussion by stating his concern that recent events were undermining the credibility of U.S. institutions. He then returned to Rostow's suggestion, saying: "All right. Now, your suggestion is that he [President Johnson] appoint a Special Commission of distinguished Americans, primarily in the field of law, I presume to look into the whole question of the assassination."

Rostow says "That's right and a report on it" and then the conversation ended with Moyers assuring Rostow that he will discuss this with President Johnson." Rostow acted very quickly on what was a momentous decision and he did so even though he had no obligation or responsibility to do anything.

In Volume III of the Hearings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, there is a copy of a memo written by LBJ aide Walter Jenkins to the President which reports on a phone conversation that Jenkins apparently had with J. Edgar Hoover." According to the memo, Hoover said over the phone that: "The thing I am concerned about, and so is Mr. Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin. Mr. Katzenbach thinks that the President might appoint a Presidential Corrunission of three outstanding citizens to make a determination."

Hoover goes on to state misgivings about the idea of a commission. It is, of course, of interest that Hoover and, apparently, Katzenbach already have Oswald as the assassin. Did Rostow discuss this with the "groggy" and insufficiently active Katzenbach? The timing of this memo is of immediate interest.....

......Did Rostow act as an individual or was he representing a collective decision when he moved so rapidly to have a Presidential commission established? This probably cannot be answered in a definite way without a candid statement from Rostow and, perhaps, others. There are, however, indications in the events of November 25 to 29 that Rostow and then Katzenbach were acting on behalf of a group of people........

Sunday, Nov. 24

Shortly after noon, Katzenbach was watching television at home with a friend when Jack Ruby stepped out of the crowd in the basement of the Dallas police headquarters and shot Lee Harvey Oswald dead, an act that guaranteed that the truth about the Kennedy assassination never would be established beyond a reasonable doubt.

"Oh, ____," Katzenbach recalled saying. He telephoned FBI headquarters to ask "how the hell could this happen?"

To Katzenbach, the killing - the fact that Oswald would never be brought to trial - made it all the more important to find a way of validating the FBI investigation of the president's death. Here it was, 100 years after Abraham Lincoln's assassination, and people were still writing books about Lincoln conspiracies.

The acting attorney general began calling friends and colleagues he hoped would share his belief that a blue-ribbon commission was needed. One call interrupted Katzenbach's friend, Yale Law School Dean Eugene Rostow, in the midst of a party at his house. Rostow called Ball to talk it over, and then called the White House to talk with Johnson aide Bill D. Moyers.

According to a transcript of the conversation, Rostow mentioned Katzenbach's phone call, then told Moyers, "In this situation, with the bastard killed, my suggestion is that a presidential commission be appointed of very distinguished citizens in the very near future." It should have seven or nine members, he said, including "maybe Nixon," the Republican former vice president Kennedy defeated in 1960 for the presidency.

The commission's job, Rostow suggested, would be "to look into the whole affair of the murder of the president, because world opinion and American opinion is just now so shaken by the behavior of the Dallas police that they're not believing anything."

Moyers said he would pass the idea on to President Johnson.

Katzenbach, increasingly alarmed by the skepticism being expressed in television reports because of Ruby's shooting of Oswald, also called Rep. Homer Thornberry (D-Tex.), a lifelong friend of Johnson's. Thornberry called Johnson aide Walter Jenkins.

In a memo later that day, Jenkins told Johnson that Katzenbach "is very concerned that everyone know that Oswald was guilty of the president's assassination. Oswald's dead and the newspapers are wanting to know if he was really the one who killed the president. Katzenbach recommended that consideration be given to appointing of a presidential commission . . . {that} would then study the evidence and make a finding."

Johnson, who shuddered at the thought of Washington-based "carpetbaggers" going down to sit in judgment on Texas, still was toying with the idea of a Texas court of inquiry that he had broached the night of the assassination. After Texas Attorney General Waggoner Carr arrived in Washington that afternoon as part of a delegation to the Kennedy funeral the next day, Carr called the White House.

That evening, Johnson aide Carter sent a note to the president recording Carr's willingness, "if desired," to arrange for a court of inquiry that "could be used to clear up any question about the Oswald case in Dallas. He {Carr} said the FBI could conduct this hearing through him in any manner they cared to to complete the record on Oswald."

Johnson scribbled on top of Carter's memo: "Good idea, but purely a state matter. Can't say President asked for it."Monday, Nov. 25

Before the midday funeral at St. Matthew's Cathedral, the White House called Carr and told him to hold a news conference to announce he would convene a court of inquiry, but to say nothing more about it until he returned to Texas.

Johnson knew Katzenbach was pushing for a presidential commission. That morning, he called Hoover to say the idea was "very bad," but that "apparently some lawyer in Justice is lobbying with The {Washington} Post," which Johnson had been told was about to call for a commission in an editorial.

Johnson believed that a federal investigation into a murder - even the murder of a president - had ominous implications for southerners bent on preserving states' rights. He told Hoover he wanted the FBI to conduct a full investigation, but to submit its findings to the Texas panel for its approval.

He urged Hoover to try to dissuade The Post. Hoover agreed any investigation by a presidential commission would be "a regular circus . . . because it'll be covered by TV and everything like that." He added, however, that he did not have much clout with The Post because "I frankly don't read it. I view it like the Daily Worker."

Minutes after Johnson finished with Hoover, syndicated newspaper columnist Joseph Alsop, a senior member of the Washington Establishment, telephoned to discuss the matter of a presidential commission, and begin the process of changing Johnson's mind.

Johnson said he did not want anybody from outside Texas - "a bunch of carpetbaggers" - to oversee the inquiry. "We can't haul off people from New York and try them in Jackson, Mississippi, and we can't haul off people from Dallas and try them in New York," he told Alsop.

Why not add "non-Texas jurists" to the panel Johnson had proposed, Alsop suggested. They could "review all the evidence by the FBI and produce a report to the nation . . . so the country will have the story judicially reviewed, outside Texas."

"You've made a marvelous start," Alsop said soothingly. "You haven't put a damned foot one quarter of an inch wrong . . . and I've never seen anything like it. . . . And I'm sure that if Moyers calls {Washington Post managing editor Al} Friendly, you {will} have a terrific support from The Washington Post and the whole rest of the press instantly."

Why not just make the FBI report public, Johnson asked. "Because no one . . . on the left, they won't believe the FBI," Alsop replied. "And the FBI doesn't write very well."

Katzenbach decided to take more direct action in his campaign, writing a memo to Moyers that critics years later would describe as the blueprint for a "whitewash."

"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," Katzenbach wrote.

But then he added: "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. . . . Speculation about Oswald's motives ought to be cut off, and we should have some basis for rebutting the 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."

He closed the memo with a direct pitch for a presidential commission of "unimpeachable personnel to review and examine the evidence and announce its conclusion."

That afternoon, Hoover sent Johnson a 1 1/2-page memo laying out the latest results of the investigation, and saying they all pointed to Oswald as the killer. Later that day, Johnson publicly announced that the Justice Department and the FBI had been ordered to conduct "a thorough investigation of all circumstances" of the Kennedy assassination and "the murder of his alleged assassin."

Before he went to bed that evening, Johnson was read a CIA rundown of what the agency had learned about Oswald's stay in Mexico City. Among the unanswered questions it posed: "Was the assassination . . . planned by Fidel Castro?" If so, "did the Soviets have any knowledge of those plans? Or were the Soviets merely being asked to give Oswald a visa?"Tuesday, Nov. 26

Katzenbach, in effective charge of the Justice Department in place of the grief-stricken Robert F. Kennedy, had told the FBI he wanted the bureau's report by the end of the week. "We should cover the angle of Oswald going down to Mexico City and his contacts down there," said an internal FBI memo summing up a conversation between Hoover and Katzenbach. "In other words, this report is to settle the dust insofar as Oswald and his activities are concerned. . . . "

Courtney Evans, then FBI assistant director in charge of liaison with the Justice Department, had sent Hoover a copy of Katzenbach's memo to Moyers. Late Tuesday, Evans spoke with Katzenbach and reported to his superiors that President Johnson wanted the FBI report to assure "the American public and the world as to what the facts are . . . and setting to rest the many, many rumors that have been circulating and speculations in the United States and abroad."

Katzenbach, Evans reported, knew that it was "more difficult to prove that something did not occur than to prove what actually happened." Therefore, he said Katzenbach advised, the report might have to include "some so-called editorial interpretation."

As the White House, the Justice Department and the FBI were trying to wind up the investigation and get out a final report by the end of the week to soothe the public, a flash from CIA Director John A. McCone landed on the desk of national security adviser Bundy.

"Eyes Only," it said, reporting that an interview was then in progress in Mexico City with a Nicaraguan named Gilberto Alvarado, who alleged that he had seen Oswald taking $6,500 from someone inside the Cuban Embassy there on Sept. 18.

"Let me stress," McCone said in the memo, "that this information is as yet completely unevaluated and that the FBI has been notified."Wednesday, Nov. 27

The complete report on Gilberto Alvarado's interrogation arrived in Washington, in which the Nicaraguan said he had seen a tall, thin black man with dyed red hair give Oswald the money during a discussion about killing someone. The report described Alvarado as "a well-known communist underground member who is also a regular informant of the Nicaraguan security service. We consider his reliability to be questionable, although he has not been wholly discredited."

Meanwhile, a telephone conversation had been intercepted the day before, Nov. 26, between Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticos in Havana and Cuban Ambassador to Mexico Joaquin Hernandez. Dorticos asked about Silvia Duran, a Mexican employee at the Cuban consulate who had dealt with Oswald and who had been picked up by Mexican authorities for questioning after the Kennedy assassination. Twice, Dorticos asked whether Duran had been questioned about money given to Oswald. Hernandez assured him she had not been asked that question.

In a cable to the State Department immediately passed on to the White House and FBI, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Thomas Mann recommended Duran be rearrested and confronted by Alvarado to determine whether the story about Oswald and the money was true. While recognizing "the danger of reaching hasty conclusions," Mann cabled, "there appears to be a strong possibility that a down payment was made to Oswald in the Cuban Embassy here, presumably with promise of a subsequent payment after the assassination."

At the bottom of a report on the cable, Hoover scribbled that Mann "is acting like a Sherlock Holmes. . . . " Later, however, Hoover wrote in a staff memo that Mann's statements, "if true, throw an entirely different light on the whole picture." In any case, he said, "If we haven't gone into {the allegations} and exploded them, the ambassador may someday decide to write a book and show what he notified this government of and that no action was taken."

He ordered another Spanish-speaking agent to Mexico City to work on the case.

In a written comment on Katzenbach's pressure, Hoover noted, "We can give no timetable for the report. . . . Katzenbach should understand that completeness and thoroughness must come first. Already today, the Mexican angle has mushroomed into charges of a proportion which was never anticipated."Thursday, Nov. 28

It was Thanksgiving, but Johnson spent the afternoon at work, partly on his speech scheduled to be televised to the nation that evening. But he also was wrestling with what to do about growing calls for both House and Senate investigations of the assassination.

Earlier in the week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman James O. Eastland (D-Miss.) announced he would hold hearings. His purpose, Eastland told Johnson in a Thanksgiving afternoon telephone conversation, was "to make a record of what the proof is . . . that is all. Show that this man was the assassin." He said there were a lot of senators who wanted it, but if Johnson wanted him to drop the idea, he would.

Voicing concern about "a bunch of congressional inquiries," Johnson picked up the theme of possible international complications that Katzenbach had been warning the White House about. "This is a very explosive thing," he told Eastland, "and it would be a very dangerous thing for the country. . . . And a little publicity could just fan the flames."

Johnson began talking about the idea of a commission, "a real high- level judiciary study of all the facts" by two congressmen, two senators "and maybe a justice of the Supreme Court." Their job, he suggested, would be "to take the FBI report and review it and write a report . . . and do anything they felt needed to be done."

"It would suit me all right," Eastland said.Friday, Nov. 29

As it turned out, Johnson was forced to decide, and to cobble the commission together, in great haste. He told House Majority Whip Hale Boggs (D-La.) that morning what he was thinking about and before he knew it, Boggs had announced it on the House floor.....

Edited by Tom Scully
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re NK, is 50 odd hours ''days'' or ''some hours'' after Kennedys death?

(quoting (edited) myself) IMO:

''Katzenbach quite correctly (not in a few hours) called for an open investigation that needed to produce a result that it was indeed a lone assassin sans Confederates ... and that it would stand up in court.

This was not achieved, hence logically the inference follows:

>> If the public, with full disclosure of the facts (as Katzenbach asked for), is NOT satisfied then Conspiracy is on the agenda. <<

A faulty, non-full disclosure, 'conclusion' was presented and the public is NOT satisfied!

The Memo stands as a testament to proper procedure, a calm and measured response that has helped provide proof (or at least a strong indication) that there indeed was a conspiracy.

The fact that subsequent administrations continue to ignore the memo, and a series of investigations, (just such as Katzenbach cautioned against), have further muddied the water is not his (or his superior at that time, RFK) fault. (However it is in the interest of certain people that he is a turncoat or scapegoat. Who? Hoover and Eastland for example, both rabid segregationists. Eastland in particular as Katzenbach faithfully and successfully in extreme circumstances forced the integration of Ole Miss and the Uni of Alabama)

IOW his memo is just what the doctor ordered, and the ignoring of it condems those who did not follow through, not Katzenbach.

In fact, one can credibly argue that it, and hence Katzenbach, and other remnants of JFK's men, did, in various ways, plant the seeds that keeps the search for the solution on the agenda.

________________

The apparent shuffling of significant film frames in the printing of the WC that appears to have escaped proof reading can be seen as another such example. Who did the setting up, proof reading and approval for printing of that portion? (This question (regularly asked by me) remains unanswered.)''

''Reading the memo in toto one clearly sees that there is a stated need that Oswald be shown to have acted alone and that he had no Confederates and that all evidence showing such be open to public scrutiny, and that the case would stand up in court.

There's nothing improper in that whatsoever.

Quite the contrary.

It is the non-implementation of this directive in full, and the obvious implications from a failure of being able to do that, that lives on in infamy.

Not Katzenbach.

Obviously, one needs no imagination to see that the inference is clear: If such a LN case cannot be made, then the case for a conspiracy is made. This is what has happened.

The Memo stands today, not acted upon, and is a testament to Katzenbach's integrity.''

The actions that led to the memo are revealing, particularly the players, Eastland, and the (likely US trained) Somozista.

Perhaps one can even say that the Pres. Comm. presided over by Warren successfully did not fulfill what those who blame Warren and Katzenbach of trying to do and therefore has impelled the much needed research to unravel the puzzle. In a way heroes rather than villains. (Villains to the segregationists for sure, well before the assassination.)

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Guest Tom Scully

John,

I was hopng to read some comments from you in response to this in my recent post on thie thread:

...."We were just scared to death that this was something bigger than just the act of a madman," recalled George Ball, the undersecretary then running the State Department in Dean Rusk's absence.....

....The acting attorney general began calling friends and colleagues he hoped would share his belief that a blue-ribbon commission was needed. One call interrupted Katzenbach's friend, Yale Law School Dean Eugene Rostow, in the midst of a party at his house. Rostow called Ball to talk it over, and then called the White House to talk with Johnson aide Bill D. Moyers.......

Do you think that it was Rusk's influence on George Ball, along with Rostow's, as LBJ wrote in 1971 (quoted in my last post), or was George Ball a stronger influence to appoint a "blue ribbon panel", but not admitted as such by LBJ?

I am wondering if WaPo's Walter Pincus misinterpreted the reference to "a party here", by Rostow, as an actual social gathering in progress, on the eve of JFK's funeral, vs. a presence of an individual, alongside Rostow, or recently present, prior to Rostow speaking with Katzenbach on the telephone

Edited by Tom Scully
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John, the timeline is very incriminating. Who were in Rostow's 'party' I wonder? The conspirators of course.

As the person responsible for the WC's birth, he merits a page on Spartacus, imo. Just a suggestion.

See the following:

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USArostow.htm

I was pointing out, albeit not very clearly, that Rostow's page should also be in the JFK section of Spartacus, under 'possible conspirators'. He's a major player in the JFK story, imo.

Does anybody besides Mark, whose prejudices are well known, think this is “incriminating”? Isn’t it reasonable to assume that if LBJ and/or people close to him were behind the assassination they would have planned a cover up well before Nov. 20 let alone the 22nd? And that something like the WC would have been in the works with or without Rostow suggesting it? There was of course the precedent of the Pearl Harbor commission (also headed by a Supreme Court justice) a little over 20 years earlier. Is suggesting such a commission tantamount to proposing it be used to cover up the truth?

Also according to the Wash. Post article cited by Tom the idea started with Katzenbach

“ ...The acting attorney general began calling friends and colleagues he hoped would share his belief that a blue-ribbon commission was needed. One call interrupted Katzenbach's friend, Yale Law School Dean Eugene Rostow, in the midst of a party at his house. Rostow called Ball to talk it over, and then called the White House to talk with Johnson aide Bill D. Moyers...”

“According to a transcript of the conversation, Rostow mentioned Katzenbach's phone call, then told Moyers, "In this situation, with the bastard killed, MY suggestion is that a presidential commission be appointed of very distinguished citizens in the very near future."

Are the WH transcripts in question available online? I’ve learned it’s best to examine source material directly (when possible) rather than depend on someone else’s spin.

Tom asked:

I am wondering if WaPo's Walter Pincus misinterpreted the reference to "a party here", by Rostow, as an actual social gathering in progress, on the eve of JFK's funeral, vs. a presence of an individual, alongside Rostow, or recently present, prior to Rostow speaking with Katzenbach on the telephone.

I was wondering the same thing it sounded more like the latter. But presuming it was the latter if it were a previously scheduled event for some special occasion like a birthday or anniversary should he have called it off?

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Guest Tom Scully
According to Donald Gibson, the author of The Kennedy Assassination Cover-up, Eugene Rostow played an important role in the creation of the Warren Commission. He argues that "this Commission would have been more accurately named the Rostow Copmmission or the McCloy-Dulles Commission."

The release of the White House telephone transcripts, thirty years after the assassination, make it possible to now construct a much more complete account of the Warren Commission's origins. Those transcripts tell the story that Katzenbach hinted at in his 1978 testimony, a story LBJ had also hinted at in 1971. Had the appropriate questions been asked of Katzenbach in 1978, it is at least possible that Katzenbach himself would have filled in some of the gaps left in the record for over three decades.

It appears that the idea of a Presidential commission to report on the assassination of President Kennedy was first suggested by Eugene Rostow, Dean of the Yale Law School, in a telephone call to LBJ aide William Moyers during the afternoon of November 24, 1963. Although the time of this call is missing from the White House daily diary, it is possible to identify the period during which the call was made. Rostow refers to the killing of Oswald, so the call had to be after 2:07 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, the time Oswald was pronounced dead. The call appears in the White House daily diary prior to a conversation at 4:40 P.M, between President Johnson and Governor Pat Brown of California." There is a memorandum which clearly indicates that Rostow called the White House well before 4:00 p.m., EST.

Rostow told Moyers that he was calling to make a suggestion that a "Presidential commission be appointed of very distinguished citizens in the very near future." Rostow recommended that such a commission be Bi-partisan and above politics - no Supreme Court justices but people like Tom Dewey and Bill Story from Texas and so on. A commission of seven or nine people, maybe Nixon, I don't know, to look into the whole affair of the murder of the President because world opinion and American opinion is just now so shaken by the behavior of the Dallas Police that they're not believing anything."

Rostow does not explain how he has determined the nature of world or American opinion within minutes or an hour or so of the murder of Oswald. As we saw in the preceding chapter, the Dallas police were a model of objectivity and open mindedness compared to Alan Belmont of the FBI and at least much of the major media.

Rostow also said that he had already spoken "about three times" that day to Nick Katzenbach but he was making his suggestion directly to Moyers because of his uncertainty that Katzenbach would pass it on. Rostow explains that Katzenbach "sounded too groggy so I thought I'd pass this thought along to you".

It is highly probable that it was Rostow's call(s) that Katzenbach was referring to in his 1978 testimony when he said that he was "sure" that he had talked to "people outside the government entirely who called me."

Apparently Rostow was making his suggestion in the context of discussions with at least one other person. He said to Moyers: "Now, I've got a party here. I've [or We've] been pursuing the policy, you know, that people need to come together at this time."

Rostow does not identify the individual or individuals with whom he has been talking.

Moyers briefly interrupted this line of discussion by stating his concern that recent events were undermining the credibility of U.S. institutions. He then returned to Rostow's suggestion, saying: "All right. Now, your suggestion is that he [President Johnson] appoint a Special Commission of distinguished Americans, primarily in the field of law, I presume to look into the whole question of the assassination."

Rostow says "That's right and a report on it" and then the conversation ended with Moyers assuring Rostow that he will discuss this with President Johnson." Rostow acted very quickly on what was a momentous decision and he did so even though he had no obligation or responsibility to do anything.

In Volume III of the Hearings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, there is a copy of a memo written by LBJ aide Walter Jenkins to the President which reports on a phone conversation that Jenkins apparently had with J. Edgar Hoover." According to the memo, Hoover said over the phone that: "The thing I am concerned about, and so is Mr. Katzenbach, is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin. Mr. Katzenbach thinks that the President might appoint a Presidential Corrunission of three outstanding citizens to make a determination."

Hoover goes on to state misgivings about the idea of a commission. It is, of course, of interest that Hoover and, apparently, Katzenbach already have Oswald as the assassin. Did Rostow discuss this with the "groggy" and insufficiently active Katzenbach? The timing of this memo is of immediate interest.

The time on the memo is 4:00 P.M., November 24. Hoover has already spoken with Katzenbach and received from him information concerning the idea of a commission. Apparently, Hoover spoke with Katzenbach prior to 4:00 P.M. We now have a considerably shorter time frame.

Oswald died at 2:07 Eastern Standard Time. Before 4:00 Katzenbach had spoken with Hoover about a commission. Katzenbach was acting as a result of his conversation(s) with Rostow. We are now down to something well under one hour and fifty-three minutes for Rostow to hear of Oswald's death, consider all the factors, discuss it with at least one other person, and begin to act. The entire time span for Rostow's actions is almost certainly less than ninety minutes, allowing only twenty or so additional minutes for him to talk to Katzenbach and for Katzenbach to talk to Hoover. We don't know who was with Rostow at the time of Oswald's death. Did Rostow act as an individual or was he representing a collective decision when he moved so rapidly to have a Presidential commission established? This probably cannot be answered in a definite way without a candid statement from Rostow and, perhaps, others. There are, however, indications in the events of November 25 to 29 that Rostow and then Katzenbach were acting on behalf of a group of people.

As we have seen, the idea of a commission was suggested to at least two people close to LBJ, Bill Moyers and Walter Jenkins, on the afternoon of the 24th. The suggestion was relayed to LBJ by someone before 10:30 A.M. the next day, November 25. This is clear from the transcript of Johnson's phone conversation with J. Edgar Hoover at 10:30.

Again John, (see post #7)

Do you think Walter Pincus and George Lardner Jr. of the Washington Post cleared up in 1993 the question of who the fourth person Rostow talked to on November 24 was?

http://books.google.com/books?id=7n_sF3PSv...rch_s&cad=0

The Kennedy assassination cover-up page 85

By Donald Gibson

...Eugene Rostow was either the originator of the idea or he was the first active promoter, or both.

We don't know the identity of the individual or individuals with whom he was discussing this on the

afternoon of November 24...

...Some potentially important gaps remain. Perhaps most important is the identification of the person

or persons with whom Rostow was conversing on the 24th...

Warren Commission Born Out of Fear; Washington Wanted to Stop Speculation Series: THE ASSASSINATION FILES Series Number: 1/3;

Walter Pincus, George Lardner Jr.. The Washington Post . Washington, D.C.: Nov 14, 1993.

..."We were just scared to death that this was something bigger than just the act of a madman," recalled George Ball, the undersecretary then running the State Department in Dean Rusk's absence.

Neither Katzenbach, nor Ball, nor other top foreign policy and defense officials charged with maintaining domestic security and international stability believed the Soviet Union was behind the assassination of the president. The Soviets, they thought, simply had too much to lose from the repercussions of such an act, and were as mindful of the delicate balance of superpower relations as the Americans....

..Sunday, Nov. 24...

....The acting attorney general began calling friends and colleagues he hoped would share his belief that a blue-ribbon commission was needed. One call interrupted Katzenbach's friend, Yale Law School Dean Eugene Rostow, in the midst of a party at his house. Rostow called Ball to talk it over, and then called the White House to talk with Johnson aide Bill D. Moyers....

Edited by Tom Scully
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