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RFK and the Warren Commission


John Simkin
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Hosty said in "Assignment: Oswald" that he was told RFK wanted Dulles & McCloy appointed, so maybe that's a slight backup of LBJ's story.

Maybe RFK suggested McCloy because he knew McCloy & Hoover hated each other? ( According to several sources, anyway - correct me if I'm wrong ).

Also, JFK described McCloy as "a diplomat and public servant, banker to the world, and Godfather to German freedom" - so maybe it was just another nod to his brother's memory?

On top of that, wasn't McCloy formerly big on Wall Street? Maybe he & Joe Sr had something.

Edited by Nic Martin
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I think Allen Dulles as Kennedy Hater is a myth. Yes he was fired after the Bay of Pigs, but JFK also awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom later on. Russo argues that Dulles was actually a close friend of the Kennedy family. It may make a lot of sense that RFK wanted Dulles on the WC, especially if RFK was concerned about the exposure of covert activities that RFK sponsored.

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Of course I reject "The Assassination Tapes" view that LHO was a lone shooter (if not a lone nut). But the book otherwise seems well-written and its anyalysis of many things astute. That book also states that it was RFK who suggested Dulles for the WC.

One obvious reason, mentioned above, is to prevent the disclosure of the CIA plots against Castro. John, you have argued that JFK and RFK were probably witting of the plots. That is the consensus of most historians. Clearly RFK would not want it revealed that his brother had countenanced murder. I suggest that RFK would have wanted the plots covered up even if he had not known about them until May 7, 1962 and had thought they were terminated. The plots still had continued under his brother's administration (from January 20, 1960 to whatever date Edwards told RFK they had stopped) and JFK could be held responsible for not having the CIA under control. There is also some evidence that RFK and JFK were aware of the Cubela plot ongoing at the time of the assassination. Being aware of the plots, RFK could also have been concerned about possible Cuban involvement and concerned about a possible war. LBJ said he was concerned about a possible was, and Earl Warren was, and neither were aware of the plots. So it is natural that RFK would be even more concerned.

Moreover, RFK had every reason to be concerned that an open-ended investigation would lead to the revelation of his brother's affair with Campbell (and others) which would have destroyed his image.

RFK was more concerned with JFK's historical image (and his own potential political future) than he was with finding his brother's killers. From RFK's perspective that was clearly a rational decision, IMO.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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John, from Johnson's call log and tapes we have a very good timeline of who he talked to prior to the point of actually working through proposed members....which he did first with Fortas on the phone. Check my Chapter 15 on that. I think you will be hard pressed to find any contact with RFK before the WC list is pretty well set.

-- Larry

In his autobiography, The Vantage Point, Lyndon Johnson claims that RFK asked him to put Allen Dulles and John McCloy on the Warren Commission. Is there any supporting evidence for this claim? Why would RFK want Dulles and McCloy on the Warren Commission?

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I agree with what Larry is implying. From what I've read about LBJ, most of his recorded historical legacy was designed to protect his rear end. In another example of duplicity, LBJ told others at Love Field that RFK wanted him sworn in--pronto. This was not entirely true as LBJ, in his telephone conversation with RFK shortly after the assassination, used clever name-dropping to get RFK to agree to a swift swearing-in.

I don't believe Bobby would have asked for McCloy and Dulles to be put on the WC. It's very convenient that LBJ's autobio was written after RFK's death. It makes a subsequent denial by RFK highly unlikely.

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Mark, you may very well be correction that as far as standards of personal morality, LBJ was amoral. That does not prove, of course, that he lied about RFK's recoomendation of Allen Dulles. If in fact RFK did make the Dulles recommendation, LBJ had no reason to lie about it since the assertion also fit his purpose.

So calling LBJ gets us exactly nowhere fast.

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Based upon LBJ's personality, I find it highly unlikely he allowed Bobby to pick anyone for the Commission. He and Fortas picked the Commission, and then had Fortas or someone run them by Bobby. When Bobby voiced no objections, LBJ had the go ahead to tell everyone that Bobby picked them. This was LBJ's MO--he NEVER wanted to take responsibility for anything. I think it was Dean Acheson who wrote about how LBJ would call him periodically and tell him that he was thinking about escalating the war in Vietnam. Acheson said that if you disagreed with LBJ when he said this, he'd say "but then the right-wingers will eat me up", and then blubber on about how he "can't win for losing etc woe is me etc etc etc" until Acheson would finally say "well, then, do what you have to do." Acheson wrote that a week later he'd find out that LBJ immediately called McNamara and demanded that the war be escalated, and insisted that it was ACHESON'S IDEA. The man was as slippery as they come and nothing he said can be taken at face value.

Based on the way HE ordered Warren and Russell to be on the Commission, it's clear he had a design for the Commission. No way would he have placed a liberal Northerner on the Commission. No way would he have placed any close political ally of the Kennedy family on the Commission. That said, there is reason to believe the Kennedys respected both Dulles and McCloy and were comfortable with their appointment.

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Based upon LBJ's personality, I find it highly unlikely he allowed Bobby to pick anyone for the Commission.  He and Fortas picked the Commission, and then had Fortas or someone run them by Bobby.  When Bobby voiced no objections, LBJ had the go ahead to tell everyone that Bobby picked them.  This was LBJ's MO--he NEVER wanted to take responsibility for anything.  I think it was Dean Acheson who wrote about how LBJ would call him periodically and tell him that he was thinking about escalating the war in Vietnam.  Acheson said that if you disagreed with LBJ when he said this, he'd say "but then the right-wingers will eat me up", and then blubber on about how he "can't win for losing etc woe is me etc etc etc" until Acheson would finally say "well, then, do what you have to do."  Acheson wrote that a week later he'd find out that LBJ immediately called McNamara and demanded that the war be escalated, and insisted that it was ACHESON'S IDEA.  The man was as slippery as they come and nothing he said can be taken at face value.

Based on the way HE ordered Warren and Russell to be on the Commission, it's clear he had a design for the Commission.  No way would he have placed a liberal Northerner on the Commission.  No way would he have placed any close political ally of the Kennedy family on the Commission.  That said, there is reason to believe the Kennedys respected both Dulles and McCloy and were comfortable with their appointment.

Pat,

I agree with your summation of LBJ's MO. That's what I meant in my post, namely it's possible RFK okayed Dulles and McCloy but (in answer to John's original question) it's unlikely that RFK specifically asked for their inclusion. Just one of many examples of LBJ being fast and loose with the truth.

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Pat,

I agree with your summation of LBJ's MO. That's what I meant in my post, namely it's possible RFK okayed Dulles and McCloy but (in answer to John's original question) it's unlikely that RFK specifically asked for their inclusion. Just one of many examples of LBJ being fast and loose with the truth.

You're right, Mark, in that the sweariing in was a perfect example of LBJ in action. He asked Bobby to find him the oath and whether or not he oughta be sworn in in Dallas before the plane took off. When Bobby didn't raise a fuss--after all he was sorta depressed--LBJ took this as Bobby giving his consent. (Of course, in reality Bobby had no say one way or the other.) LBJ then proceeded to tell people it was Bobby's idea he be sworn in in Dallas. The man was a weasel.

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LBJ was the most crooked politician in recent memory, this is true. There's no reason to believe anything he ever said. However, JFK did say a few nice words about McCloy, however, I could say a few nice words about just about anyone, and it doesn't mean I'll mean it.

I agree with the general consensus of this thread, there's no reason to believe LBJ's autobiography, or what he spread around. Considering Hosty's quote isn't that much more reliable as to what he was told, the only person that'd really know was shot in a hotel pantry in 1968.

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