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This is a place for continued discussion of an issue that came up on the Walker thread - if anyone wishes to continue it. The issue was about specific remarks and even a quote attributed to George McBundy. The remarks were reportedly made directly to LBJ in the early hours following the shooting in Dallas - made during a radio telephone call to Air Force One. As I said in that thread, I needed to go back and do some fact checking and I'll start with what I think I've learned so far, unfortunately the whole thing quickly dissolves into material that was apparently edited off the original tape of the AF One radio calls.

The currently available tapes contain no information about the arrest of a suspect in Dallas or further information about Oswald. In writing about those matters, William Manchester, who was eventually allowed to listen to an edited version of the taped radio calls, states that nobody on the aircraft knew about the arrest and identity other than those who were watching broadcast television. We do know that Johnson reportedly watched television a good deal while on the aircraft but we have no idea what he might have heard about the arrest or Oswald from that source.

Journalist/author Theodore White wrote that the President's assassin was identified to Air Force One via radio. The currently available tapes contain nothing that records such a communication from the Situation Room or radio telephone call from anyone which with that information. The speculation has been that McGeorge Bundy told Johnson on a radio call about Oswald and described him as the lone assassin. Manchester describes a single call - made from Johnson to Bundy and focused on the return to Washington and the issue of oath taking.

In addition to White, Assistant Secretary of State Robert Manning is cited as stating that information was passed via radio about the assassin. Manning was not on board AF One but rather on the Cabinet plane. The available transcript notes that the Cabinet plane was monitoring the news wires and also requested updates from the Situation Room. The tape/transcript of the calls to the Cabinet plane record a good deal of information relayed directly off the wires but I found no mention of the arrest - I might have missed that though.

For context, Manchester states that Johnson's first three calls were to RFK, to Rose Kennedy and to McGeorge Bundy. The available tape transcript does contain the Rose Kennedy call but neither the RFK nor Bundy calls. Given the major disagreements over the issue of the oath, its easy to understand how Johnson would want that off the record, especially since he has been accused of lies in regard to the RFK call. The transcript also does not contain other calls which have been anecdotally mentioned, including a call to Johnson's lawyer and a call which included the discussion of stock sales. Again, its easy to imagine why he would not want those on the record. Calls from Johnson staff to Bundy also appear to have had content edited from the tape/transcript.

Manchester describes the Johnson/Bundy call based on notes in Bundy's notebook and also on Johnson's later testimony. Per Johnson, the Johnson/RFK conversation included of the subject that the assassination might be some sort of world wide plot and that RFK had agreed - another possible reason for tape editing. Given that as early as Parkland, Johnson had delayed Kilduff in the public announcement of JFK's death due to concern about the assassination being part of a Communist plot it seems we need to cite Johnson as one of the very early believers in conspiracy.

So, we know that the tape/transcript has been edited and there is information missing. That should include exactly what Bundy said during Johnson's call to him. At the moment the wording in that dialog remains an open issue. Recent research of my own strongly suggests that there were secure voice circuits available on the aircraft but that as part of seeming avoiding all his true Commander in Chief duties, Johnson did not ask about or attempt to use them. That however is also anecdotal and speculative.

That's the best I can do at the moment, if anyone can add some concrete information to this part of the story I'd love to see it.

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I had heard that Manchester had access to the full unedited AF 1 tapes. Larry - do we know for certain what he had access to?

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We know Manchester requested the original and was initially denied....it was not until May 1965 that he was allowed to "read" an edited transcript of the tapes at the White House. He states that the version was edited - page 371 - and that is confirmed by the fact that the extant tape discovered in 2012 (a copy was kept by Johnson's military aide (Clifton) and put up for auction following his death) contains material that is not on the version of the tape officially held by the Johnson library. We don't know that the library version is what Manchester was given a transcript of but it seems the odds seem pretty good.

It should be noted that because of the way the phone phone patches were recorded on multiple tapes, that it would have taken some time to convert the tapes into a workable written transcript in the first place.

Its a guess but it seems the Clifton tape was a construct, possibly recorded off the original master reels. But if that is so then there was tape editing as that was being done - since the Clifton tape does not contain several of the missing conversations I mentioned above. So....possibly an edited tape was given to Clifton who in turn supervised a further edited version of the transcript which Manchester was allowed to read. That's just speculation at present.

Its interesting to note that a good deal of time was spent checking out radio hams who often monitor the clear channels on Air Force One, but supposedly they never found anyone who had done that. Clearly there was stuff on the clear channels that somebody worried about after the fact. Was it more than the lies Johnson was telling about his oath taking and his call with RFK, was it more than the dubious personal calls he had made, was it the exchange with Bundy, was it something on a national security level? Johnson was woefully equipped to take on the role of CIC and others on the plane should have known how to use secure voice or secure teletype circuits....

Anyway, that's the story as I understand it, am going though further review with Bill and he has promised to send me some additional material for the Dallas conference - interpreting even what we do have is still a work in progress.

Edited by Larry Hancock
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Angel is Airborne,part 1 and two is a interesting read Larry,quite a lot of info on the flight.Here is a quote.

LBJ also talked to McGeorge Bundy directly throughout the flight, attending to what seemed to be a growing list of matters of state. Johnson was hungry for details of the unfolding assassination investigation. Half an hour after takeoff, word had come that a Dallas policeman, J.D. Tippitt, was dead. Then word that the suspected assassin was in custody, some guy named Lee Harvey Oswald. Who was he? The FBI implied he had ties to Russia. Was this a larger plot?

Source:

http://www.washingtonian.com/projects/JFK-AF1/layout2.html#story

You may well have already read this,but it might be useful to others.Part 1 is pre flight,part 2 is what happened when airborne.

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Interesting about checking out ham radio operators. The existence of two versions of edited tapes in addition makes clear that they were worried about something. One thing I took from the Clifton version was that Curtis LeMay was informed of the change in autopsy location, even though I don't believe that can be proved. It is clear that the autopsy location was changed, and that there was disagreement about that. And I think it likely though again not provable that LeMay was at the autopsy. He sure made an effort to get to DC in a hurry.

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Malcolm, thanks for posting the Angel piece. I had read it but I need to caution readers that to me this is largely a "theater" piece, the sort of thing that would have been written by a Johnson publicist - or apologist in earlier times. To be clear on this point, it represents Johnson as being efficient, effective and in full control in his new role - which he was not - and totally avoids all the issues of national command authority and exercise of Commander in Chief responsibilities which should have been his first responsibility but which he totally ignored. Its a good example of how writing can be accurate in regard to what is discussed but woefully inaccurate related to what is left out.

I would also challenge his statement that "LBJ also talked to McGeorge Bundy directly throughout the flight, attending to what seemed to be a growing list of matters of state. Johnson was hungry for details of the unfolding assassination investigation. Half an hour after takeoff, word had come that a Dallas policeman, J.D. Tippitt, was dead. Then word that the suspected assassin was in custody, some guy named Lee Harvey Oswald. Who was he? The FBI implied he had ties to Russia. Was this a larger plot?"

While several points in the article are based on factual information from the tape/transcript, this is not - unless he has something nobody else has - and indeed it contradicts Manchester's research and writing. There is no evidence of more than one Johnson/Bundy phone conversation and no concrete proof of what was discussed in that other than what Manchester relates from his discussion with Bundy and Bundy's notes. Certainly Johnson was initially interested in information about what was going on and spent a good deal of time watching the TV news broadcast. The rest of the author's comment is pure speculation, again unless he has a new source which he does not cite.

So, interesting background but it needs to be read along with Manchester's much more detailed discussion of the flight and with an understanding that it is a very nice but incomplete piece of writing.

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Paul, indeed somebody was worried about what might have been caught on the clear transmissions....and since there is nothing especially significant from a national security standpoint in the transcript we have, it certainly raises some questions.

I will say this though, as part of a new book coming out next year, I spent a great deal of time researching Air Force One communications and protocols during several national security emergencies from 1963 to the present. I've talked and communicated with people who were involved with communications on 1963 and there is an understandable caution in giving out details about certain aspects of the planes communications - which proved to be very ineffective on a number of occasions. But there is no sign that in the other incidents anybody was concerned about what hams or others might have intercepted - including the fact that military radio hobbyists monitored AF1 on 9/11 and came up with some extremely embarrassing observations from traffic off that flight.

All of which makes me suspect that back in 1963 it was Johnson himself, clearly technically and communications clueless, who became very concerned about some to the calls he had made and things he had said when he came to realize that there were records of them. Unlike JFK, Johnson was not a man who wanted his true actions visible to history....

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Thanks for the input Larry.I have Manchester,s book,perhaps better to rely on that then.Johnson is hard to fathom.A lot of evidence points to him being involved.But when he speaks to hoover,and others,seems a bit unsure of what is going on himself.

I suspect he became involved after the fact.And being grateful for not going to jail for the Billie Sol Estes incident,was only to happy to help the cover up now he was the President.A job he always wanted.

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Malcolm, I agree that Johnson's behavior during the first 24 hours is indeed hard to fathom; I felt suspicious enough to present an argument in SWHT that he at least had some minimal foreknowledge of something targeted against JFK. Beyond that there is literally no doubt that he was the prime driver in suppressing a broad based conspiracy investigation and in supporting the cover up of actual evidence suggesting conspiracy. Others have made those arguments, Doug Horne does a good job of that and I offer evidence for that in SWHT.

I do have to admit at this point - after doing several years of research and just finishing a new book on the subject - that Johnson's incredible failures to assume his role as Commander in Chief during a National Security crisis are far from unique. I examine that in considerable detail in my upcoming book and it perhaps minimizes one the areas I thought suspicious. The others remain.

Manchester is probably the best reference on the flight back, I'd also refer you to the Air Force One articles on Bill Kelley's counterpoint blog

-- Larry

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Larry, Thanks for starting this thread:

Here's the Deep Background - the links to the blog posts I've made on the AF1 Radio Tapes over the past few years:

JFKcountercoup: The Air Force One Radio Tapes Update - The Story Thus Far

JFKcountercoup: The Watchman at Dealey Plaza

JFKcountercoup: Air Force One Radio Tapes Get Media Play

50 Reasons For 50 Years - Episode 47 - YouTube

JFKcountercoup: Combined Air Force One Radio Tapes Transcript (Annotated) D7

JFKcountercoup: Air Force One Radio Transmissions Combined Transcript /Annotated

JFKcountercoup: Synopsis - Wecht Conference Presentation on AF1 Radio Tapes

JFKcountercoup: AF1 Tapes - Estimated Time Excised - Trimble AAR

JFKcountercoup: Andrews Log 11/22/63 Salvaged from Trash

JFKCountercoup2: Index to JFKCC Blog Entries on AF1 Radio Tapes

JFKCountercoup2: Air Force One Radio Communications Links

JFKcountercoup: The Air Force One Radio Tapes Update - The Story Thus Far

JFKCountercoup2: AF1 Radio Tapes Combined P-Hi-Fi Version Parts 1-8

JFKCountercoup2: The Swearing In on AF1 - Re-evaluated

JFKCountercoup2: Interview with Gen. Curtis LeMay

JFKCountercoup2: James P. Sawa visits Air Force One

JFKCountercoup2: General LeMay and Arthur Collins of Collins Radio

JFKCountercoup2: The Final Report of the ARRB on WHCA

JFKCountercoup2: Watchman - Gen. Chester Clifton

JFKCountercoup2: DOD Response to Manchester's Book

JFKCountercoup2: Oliver Hallet USN

JFKCountercoup2: Oliver Sawyer Hallet

JFKCountercoup2: Salinger on CSPAN w/Lamb

JFKCountercoup2: Robert Manning on 86972

JFKCountercoup2: Aboard the Cabinet Plane 86972

JFKCountercoup2: Raab on Clifton Tape

JFKCountercoup2: Salandria's Tale of the Tapes II

JFKCountercoup2: Charlie Channel Tape Missing

JFKCountercoup2: Press Reports on Discovery of Clifton Air Force One Tapes

JFKCountercoup2: THE AF1 TAPES AND SUBSEQUENT EVENTS

JFKCountercoup2: Castro Says CIA Uses Raider Ship

JFKCountercoup2: Official Air Force One radio traffic transcript

JFKCountercoup2: Combined Air Force One Radio Transcript - Annotated

JFKCountercoup2: Notes Re: Combined AF1 Radio Tape Transcripts

JFKCountercoup2: A 1 - Air Force One Transcript Codes, Characters

JFKCountercoup2: A 2 - Notes on Gen. Clifton

JFKCountercoup2: A4a - Zulu Grenwich Mean Time

JFKCountercoup2: A4-b AF1 Chronology

JFKCountercoup2: A5 White House Situation Room

JFKcountercoup: WHCA Comm Center After Action Reports

JFKcountercoup: Off the Tapes - What's Missing from AF1 Radio Tapes

JFKcountercoup: White House Phone Call Records 11/22/63

JFKcountercoup: Coup d'etat - Basic Elements - Were they followed on 11/22/63?

JFKcountercoup: Arthur A. Collins & Collins Radio

JFKcountercoup: James Douglas & Wes Wise

JFKcountercoup: Carl Mather & Collins Radio

JFKcountercoup: Mystic Star Communications Network

JFKcountercoup: The Collins Radio Connections

JFKcountercoup: Air Force One Radio Timeline 11/22/63

JFKcountercoup: Col. George Stanton Dorman

JFKcountercoup: The Andrews AFB Log Book 11/22/63

JFKcountercoup: "Liberty" Station at Collins Radio

JFKcountercoup: Deep Background LeMay & JFK

JFKcountercoup: JFK & General LeMay

JFKcountercoup: "Watchman"

JFKcountercoup: Air Force One Codes & Passenger List

JFKcountercoup: ARRB Search for AF1 Radio Tapes

JFKcountercoup: "Pentagon taking its own steps..." - Bundy

JFKcountercoup: Significance of AF1 Radio Transmissions

JFKcountercoup: Andrews Air Force Base - Radio Codes

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That's the best I can do at the moment, if anyone can add some concrete information to this part of the story I'd love to see it.

Will do.

'Robert Morrow', on 07 Dec 2012 - 12:19 PM, said:snapback.png

Ron Ecker: It's from the book The President Has Been Shot. Charles Roberts of Newsweek was on AF1 as it returned to Washington with the president's body. He wrote this about the arrival at Andrews and the unloading of the casket (p. 141):

"I remember looking at (McGeorge) Bundy because I was wondering if he had any word of what had happened in the world while we were in transit, whether this assassination was part of a plot. And he told me later that what he reported to the president during that flight back was that the whole world was stunned, but there was no evidence of a conspiracy at all."

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Cliff, I'm aware of that source but we simply cannot confirm that from the actual tape of the calls, nor do we have a time stamp for such a discussion with Johnson. Nothing like that was in Bundy's notes on the call nor his description to Manchester of what Johnson talked about in the one call we know of....that certainly doesn't mean the remarks were not made but we cannot corroborate it. I've talked this over with Bill Kelly this morning and he agrees that based on the factual information we just can't absolutely confirm the Bundy "lone assassin, no conspiracy" call story based what is currently known. He agrees with my other comments on the additional sources in that they really just confirm that a) there was a tape made and B) in regard to the Cabinet plane the two sources on that are clearly referring to wire service info coming over the radio to the plane and wire service information being read to it from the Situation Room. (since Bill is monitoring this he can of course comment if I misunderstood).

I'm more than eager to know what Johnson did talk about to Bundy, in a number of areas including the discussion of the oath of office....which Johnson pretty clearly lied about. But at this point I'm just not comfortable with basing any large scale theory on what Bundy told Johnson on the one call we know of...and of course it was Johnson calling Bundy, not any special call from Bundy to Johnson. I realize that my relatively hard nosed view of such matters is not shared by everyone but my inclination is to document what we do know and let everyone take it for just that. That's one reason I contacted Bill this morning and asked him to slap me around if he thought there was stronger support for the Bundy lone assassin call than I was representing - he agreed that my analysis was correct based on what factual information is available now - but we also both agreed that there seems to be plenty on that original tape that Johnson very much wanted to disappear from the historical record and that is very suspicious on many levels. Just as much as the tape erasure of the Hoover call to Johnson the following morning, which has been factually confirmed. In that regard it should be noted that on Saturday morning Hoover was evidently providing Johnson with evidence of a conspiracy in and around Oswald and Johnson simply made no response - well actually he probably did but the rest of the conversation has been erased and the extant transcript is way short of the actual call.

I should also note that both Bill and I (he much more than I actually) have been pursuing this story for some time including talking with individuals involved with the actual Air Force One communications; I had one such dialog myself for about two hours a week or so ago. I certainly still consider it an open issue.

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Cliff, I'm aware of that source but we simply cannot confirm that from the actual tape of the calls, nor do we have a time stamp for such a discussion with Johnson. Nothing like that was in Bundy's notes on the call nor his description to Manchester of what Johnson talked about in the one call we know of....that certainly doesn't mean the remarks were not made but we cannot corroborate it. I've talked this over with Bill Kelly this morning and he agrees that based on the factual information we just can't absolutely confirm the Bundy "lone assassin, no conspiracy" call story based what is currently known.

Seems to me that the Roberts' quote is corroboration of the suspicion that Bundy told both AF1 and the cabinet plane the lone assassin was in custody.

Bundy was the senior official in the Situation Room. It was his show.

And what's this about absolute confirmation?

What, we're going to put Bundy on trial for treason and accessory to murder?

Of course not.

The burden of proof on the street is...if it walks and quacks like a duck -- study ducks.

He agrees with my other comments on the additional sources in that they really just confirm that a) there was a tape made and B) in regard to the Cabinet plane the two sources on that are clearly referring to wire service info coming over the radio to the plane and wire service information being read to it from the Situation Room. (since Bill is monitoring this he can of course comment if I misunderstood).

There was nothing in those early reports about any "lone assassin." That wasn't read off the wire from the SR.

That frame didn't appear in the media until Jock Whitney wrote an urgent Friday night editorial for his New York Herald Tribune.

I'm more than eager to know what Johnson did talk about to Bundy, in a number of areas including the discussion of the oath of office....which Johnson pretty clearly lied about. But at this point I'm just not comfortable with basing any large scale theory on what Bundy told Johnson on the one call we know of...and of course it was Johnson calling Bundy, not any special call from Bundy to Johnson. I realize that my relatively hard nosed view of such matters is not shared by everyone but my inclination is to document what we do know and let everyone take it for just that.

I applaud your hard-nosed view.

But to wander away from what is obviously a serious lead involving serious Persons of Interest is not hard-nosed.

I know this scenario is contrary to what Bill Kelly views as to what happened at the WH that Fri. night.

I caution against taking an attitude of -- "No confirmation here...move along...nothing to see..."

That's one reason I contacted Bill this morning and asked him to slap me around if he thought there was stronger support for the Bundy lone assassin call than I was representing - he agreed that my analysis was correct based on what factual information is available now - but we also both agreed that there seems to be plenty on that original tape that Johnson very much wanted to disappear from the historical record and that is very suspicious on many levels. Just as much as the tape erasure of the Hoover call to Johnson the following morning, which has been factually confirmed. In that regard it should be noted that on Saturday morning Hoover was evidently providing Johnson with evidence of a conspiracy in and around Oswald and Johnson simply made no response - well actually he probably did but the rest of the conversation has been erased and the extant transcript is way short of the actual call.

Hoover was highly reluctant to take on the Lone Nut scenario.

I should also note that both Bill and I (he much more than I actually) have been pursuing this story for some time including talking with individuals involved with the actual Air Force One communications; I had one such dialog myself for about two hours a week or so ago. I certainly still consider it an open issue.

Edited by Cliff Varnell
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I think ya'all could use a little Philly street-smarts.

"Notes on Lunch with Arlen Specter," by Vincent Salandria.

http://politicalassassinations.com/2012/11/1560/


I explained that the day after the Kennedy assassination I met with my then brother-in-law, Harold Feldman.
We decided that if Oswald was the killer, and if the U.S. government were innocent of any complicity in the
assassination, Oswald would live through the weekend. But if he was killed, then we would know that the
assassination was a consequence of a high level U.S. government plot.

Harold Feldman and I also concluded that if Oswald was killed by a Jew, it would indicate a high level WASP plot.
We further decided that the killing of Oswald would signal that no government investigation could upturn the truth.
In that event we as private citizens would have to investigate the assassination to arrive at the historical truth.

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I applaud your hard-nosed view.

But to wander away from what is obviously a serious lead involving serious Persons of Interest is not hard-nosed.

I know this scenario is contrary to what Bill Kelly views as to what happened at the WH that Fri. night.

I caution against taking an attitude of -- "No confirmation here...move along...nothing to see..."

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=19771&p=263881

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