Jump to content
The Education Forum

Eugene Rostow's phone call to White House on 11/24/1963


Recommended Posts

The above phone call was posted on Facebook today by Joseph McBride. Here at the comments that followed his posting:

Joseph McBride: As LBJ wrote in his 1971 memoir, THE VANTAGE POINT, “ince I had come to the Presidency not through the collective will of the people but in the wake of tragedy, I had no mandate from the voters,” and when Oswald was killed, “With that single shot the outrage of a nation turned to skepticism and doubt. The atmosphere was poisonous and had to be cleared. I was aware of some of the implications that grew out of that skepticism and doubt. Russia was not immune to them. Neither was Cuba. Neither was the State of Texas. Neither was the new President of the United States.”

Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 3:03am · Edited

..

F.x. Feeney: Thank you for this link, Joe. There is so much to think about, in the wake of listening to it. The recording is listed as "Time Unknown" but internal clues -- Rostow saying "with the bastard killed" and Moyers that he'd just heard the news about the shooting "a few minutes ago" -- narrow it to not long after Oswald's death at 2:07 pm. Eastern Standard Time.

Like · Reply · 1 · 18 hrs

..

Joseph McBride: It was the afternoon of Nov. 24. LBJ was at the Capitol when the death was announced. Here's the transcript of the call, with an interesting note on how it was originally censored: http://www.history-matters.com/.../LBJ_11-24-63_Moyers...

Like · Reply · 1 · 17 hrs · Edited

..

Joseph McBride: Donald Gibson writes in his excellent book THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION COVER-UP, "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."

----------------------------------------------

http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/lbjlib/phone_calls/Nov_1963/pdf/LBJ_11-24-63_Moyers-Rostow.pdf

Edited by Douglas Caddy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

These calls always fascinate me whenever I listen to them.

I like how Rostow recommends Tom Dewey and Richard Nixon as potential commissioners...above politics (!)

Also, regarding LBJ's conversation with Joe Alsop on 11/25/63 that is on the link that David posted, does anything think that Johnson's argument against a federal investigation makes any sense?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rostow's call always has interested me. He wants clearly to affect world opinion as to the assassination. Why? What is his dog in the fight?

Dewey and Nixon are interchangeable with Dulles and McCloy, except in one respect. They are interchangeable as Establishment figures; guys who would go along with the plan. Except Nixon veered off course. That's why Watergate occurred.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the beginning of the idea of having a Blue Ribbon Whitewash committee formed. Made up of Inside the Beltway veterans.

Probe actually printed Donald Gibson's essay on this first, many, many years ago.

Its incredible that the HSCA did not get to the bottom of this back in the seventies. But I guess Blakey did not request the LBJ phone calls.

BTW Rostow was really busy that day. This is not the only phone calls he made. There was one to Katzenbach also.

The thing is, with this call, plus the Rostow call, plus what is in Talbot's book, about the lobbying done for him, this is how Dulles got on the WC.

Edited by James DiEugenio
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the beginning of the idea of having a Blue Ribbon Whitewash committee formed. Made up of Inside the Beltway veterans.

Probe actually printed Donald Gibson's essay on this first, many, many years ago.

Its incredible that the HSCA did not get to thee bottom of this back in the seventies. But I guess Blakey did not request the LBJ phone calls.

BTW Rostow was really busy that day. This is not the only phone calls he made. There was one to Katzenbach also.

The thing is, with this call, plus the Rostow call, plus what is in Talbot's book, about the lobbying done for him, this is how Dulles got on the WC.

Jim, As you know after the ouster of Richard Sprague, the fix was in. Blakey insured a WC re-run.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eugene Rostow's brother was of course Walter Rostow.

He also became a leader of the neocon movement in the 1970's...lobbying for more nuclear arms.

I'd guess he was talking with his brother and Alsop about the commission idea with Katzenbach before or after this phone call. It seems that he is clearly calling on behalf of others.

I need to read the Gibson book. I got it laying in my pile.

If you read Walter Rostow's oral history interview to the LBJ and JFK libraries he tells a lot of lies about JFK's foreign policy. Well, he either is telling lies or totally delusional. He claims that he was practically JFK's best friend and JFK agreed with everything he thought when it came to Vietnam and the Cold War and would have done everything LBJ did.

Edited by Michael Swanson
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jon:

I think you are on to the root of the issue. What was Walter Rostow's reason for influencing world opinion... his stake in the outcome? I think it was the Middle East, JFK's policy towards aid to Israel (including nuclear weapons), and countering Soviet influence in the region at the time.

Rostow argued that LBJ needed a commission because “world opinion and American opinion is just now so shaken by the behavior of the Dallas Police that they do not believe anything.” This was disingenuous, and not the real reason. if you examine later actions during LBJ's term, the Rostow brothers are front and center, steering foreign policy towards military and economic support for Israel and American oil interests in the Middle East.

In June 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War, one of LBJ's closest advisers was Walter Rostow, a so-called "Zionist zealot"and his Special Assistant for National Security Affairs. Rostow has been described as a "sinister, Svengali-like figure" (see Peter Hounam, "Operation Cyanide"). This related to the June 1967 Liberty ship attack, which was believed to be a set up (e.g. Gulf of Tonkin incident) to blame the Egyptians and a pretext to bring the U.S. into the 1967 Six Day War on Israel's side. Rostow was instrumental in steering LBJ towards which way the U.S. might respond to hostilities in the Middle East. Rostow was known as a hawk who believed in the Vietnam War (see David Milne's "America's Rasputin: Walt Rostow and the Vietnam War"). These following are excerpts on Rostow from Wikipedia:

In August 1954 Rostow and fellow CIA-connected MIT economics professor Max Millikan convinced Eisenhower to massively increase U.S. foreign aid for development as part of a policy of spreading American-style capitalist economic growth in Asia and elsewhere, backed by the military.

While working as national security adviser, Rostow became involved in setting the United States' posture towards Israel. Although he supported military and economic assistance to Israel, Rostow believed that increased public alignment between the two states could run counter to United States’ diplomatic and oil interests in the region.

The followup call to LBJ about setting up a blue ribbon panel by journalist Joseph Alsop is also interesting. During his conversation with LBJ, he name-drops Dean Acheson. Alsop is tied to the ‘Georgetown Set’ that included Acheson, Richard Bissell, Stewart Alsop (his brother), Tracy Barnes, Philip Graham, Clark Clifford, Walt Rostow, Eugene Rostow, Cord Meyer, James Angleton, Averill Harriman, John McCloy, John Sherman Cooper, and Allen W. Dulles. Quite a list of JFK plot suspects. Alsop had also collaborated in 1960 with Philip Graham to persuade Kennedy to make Lyndon Johnson, instead of Stuart Symington, his running-mate.

It is among this group that you will find the dogs in the fight.

Gene

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What was Walter Rostow's reason for influencing world opinion... his stake in the outcome? I think it was the Middle East, JFK's policy towards aid to Israel (including nuclear weapons), and countering Soviet influence in the region at the time

"When Kennedy became president in 1961 he appointed Rostow as deputy to his national security assistant, McGeorge Bundy. Later that year he became chairman of the state department's policy planning council."

Bundy reorganized his role from adviser to policy creator while streamlining the process and bypassing oversight. That Rostow was at the center of Bundy's plans which was heavily hawkish on Vietnam and in turn on anything affecting the dominoes falling toward USSR is a big part of your answer.

What Jim and others help us remember is there was a big world out there... Vietnam was only a small part of Kennedy's foreign policy over which so many were concerned.

And of course it leads back to the Wise Men and in turn the shadows of the sponsors... Alsop's list is both sponsor and false-sponsor filled...

Bundy, to me, is the key to seeing how the MIC got their agenda forwarded and how the presidency was put directly under the Nat'l Security Apparatus' thumb in the guise of more poser to the executive branch. - yet none of those in this chain of command are elected - they all "advise".

Thanks all, great thread... I had not given the Rostow's enough attention...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eugene Rostow's brother was of course Walter Rostow.

He also became a leader of the neocon movement in the 1970's...lobbying for more nuclear arms.

I'd guess he was talking with his brother and Alsop about the commission idea with Katzenbach before or after this phone call. It seems that he is clearly calling on behalf of others.

I need to read the Gibson book. I got it laying in my pile.

If you read Walter Rostow's oral history interview to the LBJ and JFK libraries he tells a lot of lies about JFK's foreign policy. Well, he either is telling lies or totally delusional. He claims that he was practically JFK's best friend and JFK agreed with everything he thought when it came to Vietnam and the Cold War and would have done everything LBJ did.

If you ask me, Walt Rostow was a little nutty.

JFK realized that after reading his memos and transferred him out of the White House.

In the book Virtual JFK, they have a very interesting chapter on just how goofy this guy was.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry, my bad. I meant to post this on the St. John Hunt thread.

Here's a recording between Colson and Hunt while Hunt was in prison. It's pretty obvious what Hunt wants and just as obvious all Colson wants is to cover his and White House's ass.

.
When Colson means to be discreet, he mutters as if someone may be listening.
Interesting at 7:20, Colson confidently belches out, "Well I always thought when I wrote my memoirs of this campaign, I'm going to say that Watergate was brilliantly conceived as an escapade that, uh,would divert the Democrats from the real issues and therefore would permit us to win a landslide we wouldn't have won otherwise. Those dumb bastards (Democrats) were on an issue that the public couldn't care less about." Ok they did win the landslide, but Colson could hardly be said to be prophetic in the long run. I assume that was a bit of bravado designed for Hunt to keep the faith. But Hunt agreed that there is a more important issue, but I don't think he agreed with Colson on what it was.
"If you were the mastermind of this, it never would have fallen apart". "You're a brilliant operator and brilliant operators just don't get involved in this kind of thing".
Colson keeps harping to Hunt about conversations he had with the Federal authorities, the FBI and the Grand Jury concerning Hunt, saying that if Hunt had run that operation (the break in), he never would have gotten caught. He, of course, claims not to know who ran the operation. Well how did he know Hunt didn't run the operation? Were both these quotes just a veiled way of telling Hunt, "Hey you screwed up, you have to take some responsibility, you can't just put it all on us?"
Edited by Kirk Gallaway
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In May 1987, when James Angleton passed away, his NY Times obit stated the following:

"Mr. Angleton handled one of the agency's most sensitive relationships with an allied intelligence service, its ties to the Israelis. Angleton handled ''the Israeli account'' as it was termed in C.I.A. argot, for more than a decade. Indeed, Colby, the agency director who forced his resignation, earlier insisted that Mr. Angleton relinquish his control over Israeli matters. Beginning in 1951, Angleton was responsible for liaison with Mossad and Shin Bet agencies, "the Israeli desk", crucial relationships that he managed for the remainder of his career. Angleton directed CIA assistance to the Israeli nuclear weapons program."

Angleton was described as a "nut case who should not have been employed by any agency, let alone the CIA". Angleton graduated from Yale; he bred orchids, wore a black homburg, and drank heavily. Angleton propagated the theory that all Soviet defectors were double agents sent to uncover American secrets. His paranoid outlook and his tendency to label as spies those who disagreed with him so intimidated the agency that recruitment of CIA Soviet bloc assets stopped.

Angleton was known for his bias and support of Israeli policy. One writer who attended a memorial service for Angleton in Israel, when he passed away, described two monuments dedicated, huge stones with engraved bronze plaques. One on a hillside, a few miles from Jerusalem and the scene of a major ballet in the early days; the other in a park near the Kind David Hotel in Jerusalem. The various ceremonies were attended by the surviving chiefs of Israeli intelligence, and various public figures. A future prime minister dedicated one of the monuments. It is believed that Angleton played a decisive role in the quick and overwhelming victory of Israel in its 1967 Six-Day war by providing Mossad chief Meir Amit with photos taken from satellites and spy planes, which enabled Israel to precisely locate the Egyptian armaments and destroy them within six days.

Connect the dots with Rostow and Angleton, and a theme develops.

Israel is part of a second-tier relationship known by another informal name, “Friends on Friends.” It comes from the phrase “Friends don’t spy on friends,” and the arrangement dates back decades. But Israel’s foreign intelligence service, the Mossad, and its FBI equivalent, the Shin Bet, both considered among the best in the world, have been suspected of recruiting U.S. officials and trying to steal American secret - See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/cia-considers-israel-the-largest-counterintelligence-threat-in-the-middle-east#sthash.1ADNSCWk.dpuf
Israel is part of a second-tier relationship known by another informal name, “Friends on Friends.” It comes from the phrase “Friends don’t spy on friends,” and the arrangement dates back decades. But Israel’s foreign intelligence service, the Mossad, and its FBI equivalent, the Shin Bet, both considered among the best in the world, have been suspected of recruiting U.S. officials and trying to steal American secret - See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/cia-considers-israel-the-largest-counterintelligence-threat-in-the-middle-east#sthash.1ADNSCWk.dpuf
Israel is part of a second-tier relationship known by another informal name, “Friends on Friends.” It comes from the phrase “Friends don’t spy on friends,” and the arrangement dates back decades. But Israel’s foreign intelligence service, the Mossad, and its FBI equivalent, the Shin Bet, both considered among the best in the world, have been suspected of recruiting U.S. officials and trying to steal American secret - See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/cia-considers-israel-the-largest-counterintelligence-threat-in-the-middle-east#sthash.1ADNSCWk.dpuf
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is an essay on JFK and Israel written by Jerome Chanes in 2013 when he was a fellow at the Graduate Center in City University of New York ...

Fifty years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Jews in America have little memory of JFK’s Jewish relationships. “JFK and the Jews” had little to do with the Jews, and everything to do with Israel. Looking back at his legacy, as the Nov. 22 anniversary nears, American Jews have good reasons, therefore, to mourn.

The story of JFK and Israel begins with Kennedy’s predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower: during the Eisenhower years there was no Israel-U.S. relationship. It was the coldest period in the history of the countries’ ties — and that includes the Carter presidency.

Under Eisenhower, nothing of the full-blown alliance that Israel and the United States have enjoyed for decades — massive foreign aid, arms subsidies, security guarantees, coordination on regional strategy, political support, protective vetoes in the Security Council, positive rhetoric, congressional ardor, respect for the pro-Israel lobby — would develop. The exception, in terms of support for Israel, was congressional support — and Ike didn’t need Congress.

The Eisenhower foreign policy (in fact crafted by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles) — “The New Look,” as it was called — was based on maximum deterrence of Communism. The idea of bolstering friendly conservative Arab states, part of the “Eisenhower Doctrine” of regional pacts to combat Communism, a Dulles favorite, did not include Israel.

Further, Israel’s government was socialist, and it was not clear to anyone that Israel would not tilt in the Soviet direction. (Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion in fact bucked his own socialist majority in the Knesset (63 seats out of 120) to align Israel with the West rather than remain “unaligned.”) And there was wariness about Israeli regional motives: Expansionism? Revanchism? Drive the Arabs out?

Eisenhower’s problem was Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser more than it was Israel. Nasser recognized Mao’s China and accepted Soviet arms, a major “no-no” for a Republican administration that had to protect its right political flank. But Ike protected Nasser, not because he loved him, but because he wanted to advance “containment” of the Soviet Union.

Said Middle East affairs analyst Steven Spiegel: “To Eisenhower, the Arabs offered assets — the Arab states were useful for ‘containment’ — while Israel constituted a liability to American interests.”

Further, Ike was a Republican, and Jews had been very visible in the New Deal, and in any case voted Democrat. (Eisenhower’s famous memo to Dulles: “We conduct our policy as if there were not one Jew in the country. They don’t vote for us anyway.” Ike wasn’t wrong.)

JFK in 1960 inherited a mess. He took over from the least sympathetic presidency in American history. The Middle East was a shambles: Britain was useless, Iraq was lost to the West, Egypt and Syria were in the Soviet orbit, conservative monarchs felt exposed and were nervous, Israel was jittery, there were threats of nuclear war — and Egypt and Israel were both in Washington’s bad graces.

With respect to Israel, Kennedy turned it around.

First, at bottom, he was not his father, Joseph Kennedy, around whom always wafted the odor of anti-Semitism. (My mom used to say about Joe Kennedy: “Anybody who was disliked by both the Zionists and the NAACP must have been doing something!”) Second, there was JFK’s brother, Bobby, one of Kennedy’s closest advisers, who had a true affinity for Israel, and who exercised a profound influence on JFK in Middle East affairs. The Kennedy brothers forged more than a relationship with Israel — they forged an alliance.

Once again, it was the State Department, this time under Dean Rusk, which was the problem, a most formidable bureaucratic opponent of rapprochement with Israel, and the most enthusiastic bureaucratic advocate of Egypt. The Middle East issues during Kennedy’s brief administration, 1961-1963, were Nasser, Nasser and Nasser, whom Kennedy detested. Nasser did everyone a favor by getting involved in an absurd war in Yemen — Nasser’s “Vietnam” — which led to a regional war involving the Saudis, and which enabled the U.S. to move closer to an all-out alliance with Israel, an alliance that was marked (to take but one example) by the first major arms sale to Israel.

Finally, and most important in shaping an administration stance on Israel, was a virtuosic analysis of Israeli policy done by the very able Walworth Barbour, Kennedy’s ambassador to Israel. Barbour concluded that Israel was not pursuing a revanchist policy with respect to the West Bank, whatever dreams they might harbor; that the only way there would be a West Bank problem that might trigger Israeli intervention — the West Bank was still part of Jordan in 1963 — would be the arrival of a Nasserite government in Jordan (there was no PLO in 1963); finally, there would be little the United States could do to prevent an Israeli strike if Israel felt that its existence was at stake. (This was in 1963, four years before the Six-Day War.)

The Barbour analysis became the backbone of U.S. policy. While it is true that there were limits to JFK’s friendliness toward Israel — indeed, no U.S. weapons went to Israel in substantial numbers until the Johnson presidency; it was France that was the major supplier to Israel weapons before LBJ — the Kennedy/Barbour construct became the paradigm for U.S. policy.

In sum, four features marked the stance of the Kennedy administration toward Israel:

♦ First, there was a completely new policy with respect to Israel, one that was poles apart from that of Eisenhower/Dulles. The policy had less to do with international geopolitical realities than with personal likes and dislikes, preferences and prejudices.

♦ Second, there were new, informal, decision-making structures in place, with protocols that did not rely on a hostile, “Arabist”-populated State Department.

♦ Third, no new Arab policy was put in place by JFK — other than the abomination of Nasser and the embrace of conservative Arab regimes.

♦ Finally, there was the continued inability to craft an approach toward settling the Arab-Israeli conflict.

But John Kennedy did more than just reach out to Israel; he crafted the first Arab-Israel policy, which entailed a balancing of regional rivalries and American ambitions. It was in this that JFK created the foundations of a U.S.-Israel relationship, which we remember 50 years after his passing.

Jerome A. Chanes is a fellow at the Center for Jewish Studies of the CUNY Graduate Center

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...