Lyndon Baines Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson was born in Stonewall, Texas, on 27th August, 1908. Although both his father and grandfather had served in the Texas legislature, the family were poor. After leaving school he did a variety of menial jobs before studying at the Texas State Teachers College at San Marcos.

In 1930 Johnson began teaching at the Sam Houston High School. A member of the Democratic Party, Johnson became involved in local politics and in 1932 he went to Washington as legislative assistant to the Congressman, Richard M. Kleberg. A strong supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, in 1935 Johnson was appointed director of the National Youth Administration.

In 1936 Johnson was a candidate for Austin's Tenth Congressional District. Welly Kennon Hopkins met Johnson and told his friend, Charles Edward Marsh, about this passionate "New Dealer". Marsh was also a supporter of the New Deal and ordered the editors of his two newspapers in Austin to back him. Hopkins claimed that Johnson's victory was in "no small part thanks to Marsh's editorial support" and suspected that he helped the young politician "as a way of extending his own influence".

Marsh met Johnson for the first time in May 1937. Marsh's secretary later recalled: "The first thing I noticed about Johnson was his availability. Whenever Marsh would ask Lyndon to come by for a drink, no matter that Lyndon was a busy man, he would always come. He was always available on short notice.... He was very deferential. Very, very deferential. I saw a young man who wanted to be on good terms with an older man, and was absolutely determined to be on good terms with him." Harold Young, one of Johnson's close friends, watched the young politician "play" many an older man. However, he felt that "he had never played one better than he did Charles Marsh".

The author of The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power (1982) has argued: "Marsh liked to pontificate; Johnson drank in what he was saying, and told him how perceptive he was. Marsh liked to give advice; Johnson not only seemed to be accepting it, he asked for more. Marsh had become fascinated by politics; he wanted to feel he was on the inside of that exciting game. Johnson made him feel he was... His real political advisors - Wirtz, Corcoran - laughed at Marsh as an amateur.... He asked Marsh for advice on political strategy, asking him what he should say in speeches - let Marsh write speeches for him, and didn't let Marsh know that these speeches were not delivered."

During this period Johnson met Edward Clark, who worked for the Governor of Texas. The two men became close friends. Later, Clark became a lawyer in Austin and helped to guide Johnson's political career. Clark also introduced Johnson to important figures in the oil industry such as Clint Murchison and Haroldson L. Hunt. These men also helped to finance Johnson's political campaigns.

In July 1937 Charles Edward Marsh and his mistress, Alice Glass, visited the Saltzburg Music Festival. While they were in Europe they heard Adolf Hitler speak and saw the impact his policies were having on liberals and racial minorities. During their trip they met Jews who feared for their life. This included Max Graf, who was a professor at the Vienna Conservatory. Marsh told him he would do what he could to get him out of the country. It has been claimed that on the day when he was leaving the office for the last time, a colleague had given him the Nazi salute and said, "Heil, Hitler!". Graf replied "Heil, Beethoven!"

Marsh and Glass also met Erich Leinsdorf, a twenty-five-year-old musician. Leinsdorf later described how this "immensely rich" couple had offered to help him. In 1938 he arrived in the United States to take up a temporary position as assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. When his term of employment came to an end he went to stay with them at Longlea. "It was a large farm, dominated by a magnificent house... with eighteen servants, over whom a German butler and his wife, a superlative cook, held sway."

Leinsdorf did not want to return to Nazi Germany and asked Marsh if he could help him to stay in the United States. The next day Marsh drove Leinsdorf to Washington where they stayed in his suite at the Mayflower Hotel. Leinsdorf explained in his autobiography, Cadenza: A Musical Career (1976), that Marsh summoned Johnson to the hotel: "A lanky young man appeared. He treated Charles with the informal courtesy behooving a youngster toward an older man to whom he is in debt." Johnson then arranged for Leinsdorf to become a "permanent resident" of the United States.

According to Jennet Conant: "Both Alice and Johnson took great pride in rescuing such a talented young musician. Leinsdorf had opened Johnson's eyes to the plight of refugees, and like Alice, who had been providing money to Jews fleeing Hitler, he began doing more on their behalf, eventually helping hundreds of Jewish refugees to reach safety in Texas through Cuba, Mexico, and other South American countries."

Lady Bird Johnson acknowledged the help that Charles Edward Marsh provided to her husband. She told Philip Kopper, the author of Anonymous Giver: A life of Charles E. Marsh (2000): "Charles Marsh had what I truly believe was an affectionate interest in enlarging Lyndon's life. He exuded what I can only describe as a life force - and even that is insufficient. He did a lot to educate Lyndon, and quite coincidentally me, about the breadth and strength of the rest of the world... This was when the war clouds were gathering in Europe and we did not know how to appraise Hitler - what it meant in the last term to the American people."

Marsh rewarded Johnson by helping him in his campaign to return to Congress. He gave instructions to Charles E. Green, editor of the Austin American-Statesman, to give Johnson help to be re-elected. On 30th January 1938, Green was doing such a good job he "ought... to be unopposed, and thus freed of the burden of a campaign, so as to give him his undivided time to his services in the session that will run almost until primary election day." On 5th May, 1938, the newspaper reported: "Johnson looks tired, but I suppose any man who has done as much for his district in the short time that Johnson has, should be tired. Fortunately, I don't think there's anyone in his district foolish enough to announce against him." During his campaign Johnson had promised that: "If the day ever comes when my vote was cast to send your boy to the trenches, that day Lyndon Johnson will leave his Senate seat and go with him."

Johnson complained that he found it difficult managing on his Congress salary. Marsh arranged for Johnson's wife to buy nineteen acres on Lake Austin for $8,000, which he knew was an area that was likely to be developed and would increase dramatically in value. Lady Bird Johnson later sold the land for $330,000. He also provided the money for Johnson to buy the Fort Worth radio station that he said would be "some day worth $3 million". Marsh also offered Johnson the opportunity to buy some of his oil wells cheaply. Johnson declined the offer as he feared that this "could kill me politically". During the 1938 campaign, Marsh agreed to ask his business friends to contribute to the campaign. He eventually paid Johnson $5,000 a week. Mary Louise Glass, Marsh's private secretary, said it was her job to "keep track of who paid."

Johnson became a regular visitor to Marsh's home at Longlea. Marsh was often on business trips and Johnson developed a close relationship with Alice Glass. She told her sister Mary Louise, that Johnson had limitless potential: "She thought he was a young man who was going to save the world." She decided to help him become a successful politician. According to her sister, Alice taught him how to dress and how to eat food. She recommended the reading of books including the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Alice also advised him on how to be photographed. She told him that his left side was much better than his right. For the rest of his life "he would try to allow only the left side to be seen in photographs".

Frank C. Oltorf was a regular visitor to Longlea. He later recalled: "Alice Glass was the most elegant woman I ever met and Longlea was the most elegant home I ever stayed in." Arnold Genthe, who photographed the world's most attractive women for Vanity Fair, described Alice as the "most beautiful woman" he had ever met. He also considered Longlea as the "most beautiful place" he had ever seen and asked for his ashes to be scattered on the estate. Marsh's eldest daughter by his first marriage, Antoinette Marsh Haskell, did not like Alice: "She (Alice) took on the privileges of a great beauty, and was very self-serving and demanding. She was a real courtesan. She knew what she was doing."

Alice told her cousin, Alice Hopkins, the wife of the politician, Welly Kennon Hopkins, that by the end of 1938 that she and Johnson were lovers. Mrs. Hopkins later recalled: "They were unbelievably discreet and no one could have guessed that they were lovers. Nothing showed. Nothing at all." Alice also told her sister, Mary Louise, who had become one of Marsh's secretaries. Mary Louise claims that "Lyndon was the love of Alice's life. My sister was mad for Lyndon - absolutely mad for him." She later recalled that Marsh spent a lot of time away on business. It was during this time that Alice and Johnson were together at Longlea. When Marsh was at home Johnson often brought his wife, Lady Bird Johnson. She later told Philip Kopper, the author of Anonymous Giver: A life of Charles E. Marsh (2000), that Alice was "so tall and blonde" that she looked "like a Valkyrie". Lady Bird also admitted that "she helped educate Lyndon and me, particularly about music and a more elegant lifestyle than he and I spent our early days enjoying".

Alice Glass gave birth to two children while she was with Charles Edward Marsh but refused to marry him. Alice's sister, Mary Louise Glass, explained her unusual character: "She (Alice) was a free spirit - very independent - in an era when women weren't that way... Above everything else, Alice was an idealist... She had a very particular view of the kind of place the world should be and she was willing to do anything she had to do to make things come out right for people who were in trouble." According to Mary Louise, Alice wanted to marry Johnson. He was in a difficult position as in the 1930s a divorced man would be effectively barred from a political career. Johnson considered taking up a job as a corporate lobbyist in Washington. Alice rejected this idea as she considered he had the potential to become president of the United States.

Alice Glass
Alice Glass

Texas newspapers were overwhelmingly against President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but Marsh's six Texas newspapers, including the influential Austin American-Statesman in the state capital, supported the New Deal. As a result, Roosevelt agreed to Marsh's request to see him. Edwin M. Watson, his appointment secretary, wrote on 14th July, 1939: "Put Mr. Charles Marsh down for an appointment with the President on Wednesday. Mr. Marsh is the owner of a large string of papers supporting the President in Texas." Marsh decided to take this opportunity to introduce Roosevelt to his new protégé, Johnson.

In late 1939 Charles Edward Marsh discovered that Alice Glass was having an affair with Johnson. Marsh's daughter, Antoinette Marsh Haskell, said he knew that she had been unfaithful in the past but her relationship with Johnson infuriated him. After loudly berating Johnson, Marsh threw him out. The next morning Johnson returned and apologized. He also promised to end the relationship with Alice and Marsh forgave him. Antoinette commented: "They didn't let her come between them. Men in power like that don't give a damn about women. They were not that important in the end. The were not that important in the end. They treated women like toys. That's just the way it was." Soon afterwards Alice agreed to marry Marsh. The marriage did not last long and Johnson then resumed his affair with Alice.

On 4th April, 1941, Texas senator, Morris Sheppard died. Tommy Corcoran agreed to help Johnson in his campaign to replace Sheppard. This included helping Johnson obtain approval of a rural electrification project from the Rural Electrification Administration. Corcoran also arranged to Franklin D. Roosevelt to make a speech on the eve of the polls criticizing Johnson's opponent, Wilbert Lee O'Daniel. Despite the efforts of Corcoran, O'Daniel defeated Johnson by 1,311 votes.

On the suggestion of Alvin J. Wirtz, Johnson decided to acquire KTBC, a radio station in Austin. E. G. Kingsberry and Wesley West, agreed to sell KTBC to Johnson (officially it was purchased by his wife, Lady Bird Johnson). However, it needed the approval of the Federal Communications Commission (FCR). Johnson asked Tommy Corcoran for help with this matter. This was not very difficult as the chairman of the FCR, James Fly, was appointed by Frank Murphy as a favour for Corcoran. The FCC eventually approved the deal and Johnson was able to use KTBC to amass a fortune of more than $25 million.

Johnson kept his pledge made during the 1937 election and when the United States entered the Second World War in December, 1941, Johnson immediately joined the United States Navy. Commissioned as a Lieutenant Commander, he served in the South Pacific.

In 1948, Johnson decided to make a second run for the U.S. Senate. His main opponent in the Democratic primary (Texas was virtually a one party state and the most important elections were those that decided who would be the Democratic Party candidate) was Coke Stevenson. Johnson was criticized by Stevenson for supporting the Taft-Hartley Act. The American Federation of Labor was also angry with Johnson for supporting this legislation and at its June convention the AFL broke a 54 year tradition of neutrality and endorsed Stevenson.

Johnson asked Tommy Corcoran to work behind the scenes at convincing union leaders that he was more pro-labor than Coke Stevenson. This he did and on 11th August, 1948, Corcoran told Harold Ickes that he had "a terrible time straightening out labor" in the Johnson campaign but he believed he had sorted the problem out.

On 2nd September, unofficial results had Coke Stevenson winning by 362 votes. However, by the time the results became official, Johnson was declared the winner by 17 votes. Stevenson immediately claimed that he was a victim of election fraud. On 24th September, Judge T. Whitfield Davidson, invalidated the results of the election and set a trial date.

A meeting was held that was attended by Tommy Corcoran, Francis Biddle, Abe Fortas, Joe Rauh, Benjamin Cohen and Jim Rowe. It was decided to take the case directly to the Supreme Court. A motion was drafted and sent to Justice Hugo Black. On 28th September, Justice Black issued an order that put Johnson's name back on the ballot. Later, it was claimed by Rauh that Black made the decision following a meeting with Corcoran.

On 2nd November, 1948, Johnson easily defeated Jack Porter, his Republican Party candidate. Coke Stevenson now appealed to the subcommittee on elections and privileges of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. Corcoran enjoyed a good relationship with Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire. He was able to work behind the scenes to make sure that the ruling did not go against Johnson. Corcoran later told Johnson that he would have to repay Bridges for what he had done for him regarding the election.

The Johnson-Stevenson case was also investigated by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. Johnson was eventually cleared by Hoover of corruption and was allowed to take his seat in the Senate. Johnson soon emerged as an important member of the Senate. Although he had been seen as a progressive with his support for the New Deal, he had conservative views on civil rights. He voted against an anti-lynching bill and during the 1940s and 1950s he opposed all attempts to pass civil rights legislation.

In 1949 Johnson mounted a smear campaign against Leland Olds, chairman of the Federal Power Commission. Olds had managed to lower the prices of electricity. This upset Johnson's friends in the Texas oil industry. As Robert Bryce, the author of Cronies: Oil, The Bushes, and the Rise of Texas, America's Superstate (2004) pointed out: "Johnson saw that the best way to take care of Olds was to brand him a Communist. In the 1920s, Olds had worked for a wire service, and during that time he'd praised some aspects of the system of government in Russia." Olds was forced to resign. Ronnie Dugger pointed out that by joining in the political crucifixion of Leland Olds - driving in the nails himself - Johnson had used most of the tricks of what would come to be known as McCarthyism, and he nauseated some of his colleagues, but he had achieved his purpose - he had convinced the oilmen back in Texas that he was their man."

Johnson was a key member of the Suite 8F Group. The Suite 8F Group was a collection of right-wing political and businessmen. The name comes from the room in the Lamar Hotel in Houston where they held their meetings. Members of the group included George Brown and Herman Brown (Brown & Root), Jesse H. Jones (multi-millionaire investor in a large number of organizations and chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation), Gus Wortham (American General Insurance Company), James Abercrombie (Cameron Iron Works), William Hobby (Governor of Texas and owner of the Houston Post), Albert Thomas (chairman of the House Appropriations Committee) and John Connally (Governor of Texas). Alvin Wirtz and Edward Clark, were also members of the Suite 8F Group.

Johnson was appointed Democratic Party whip in 1951 and over the next four years impressed the leaders of the party with his ability to do deals with people of different political opinions. In 1955 Johnson was rewarded by being elected majority leader of the Senate.

In 1960 the Democratic Party selected John F. Kennedy as its presidential candidate. Aged only 43, Kennedy was politically inexperienced and very unpopular with certain sections of the party. Kennedy's Republican Party opponent was Richard Nixon, had a long-career in politics and had served for eight years as vice president under Dwight Eisenhower. Party managers believed that Johnson would make an ideal running-mate for Kennedy. Although reluctant, Kennedy eventually agreed, telling his aide Kenneth O'Donnell: "I'm forty-three years old, I'm not going to die in office. So the vice presidency doesn't mean anything."

Johnson was also able to persuade conservative Democrats in the Southern states to support Kennedy. Many political commentators believe that without Johnson as his running mate, Kennedy would have lost the election to Richard Nixon. With Johnson's help, Kennedy won by 34,226,925 votes to 34,108,662. It was one of the closest elections in American history with Kennedy's margin of victory less that one fifth of 1% of the total vote.

Johnson did not play a major role in Kennedy's administration. Kennedy was particularly disappointed that his vice president was unable to persuade Congress to accept most of his domestic program. Tax reform, civil rights, and a proposed Medicare system did not get the support he had hoped for and got bogged down in Congress.

In 1963 Johnson got drawn into political scandals involving Fred Korth, Billie Sol Estes and Bobby Baker. According to James Wagenvoord, the editorial business manager and assistant to Life Magazines Executive Editor, the magazine was working on an article that would have revealed Johnson's corrupt activities. "Beginning in later summer 1963 the magazine, based upon information fed from Bobby Kennedy and the Justice Department, had been developing a major newsbreak piece concerning Johnson and Bobby Baker. On publication Johnson would have been finished and off the 1964 ticket (reason the material was fed to us) and would probably have been facing prison time. At the time LIFE magazine was arguably the most important general news source in the US. The top management of Time Inc. was closely allied with the USA's various intelligence agencies and we were used after by the Kennedy Justice Department as a conduit to the public."

The fact that it was Robert Kennedy who was giving this information to Life Magazine suggests that John F. Kennedy intended to drop Johnson as his vice-president. This is supported by Evelyn Lincoln, Kennedy's secretary. In her book, Kennedy and Johnson (1968) she claimed that in November, 1963, Kennedy decided that because of the emerging Bobby Baker scandal he was going to drop Johnson as his running mate in the 1964 election. Kennedy told Lincoln that he was going to replace Johnson with Terry Sanford.

Don B. Reynolds appeared before a secret session of the Senate Rules Committee on 22nd November, 1963. Reynolds told B. Everett Jordan and his committee that Johnson had demanded that he provided kickbacks in return for him agreeing to a life insurance policy arranged by him in 1957. This included a $585 Magnavox stereo. Reynolds also had to pay for $1,200 worth of advertising on KTBC, Johnson's television station in Austin. Reynolds had paperwork for this transaction including a delivery note that indicated the stereo had been sent to the home of Johnson. Reynolds also told of seeing a suitcase full of money which Baker described as a "$100,000 payoff to Johnson for his role in securing the Fort Worth TFX contract".

In the winter of 1963, Johnson invited John F. Kennedy to make a tour of Texas. While in Dallas on on 22nd November, Kennedy was assassinated and Johnson was immediately sworn in as president on on Air Force One while he travelled back to Washington. Johnson was picked up by the presidential limousine at the airport the following day. Johnson asked the driver to stop at the home of Charles Edward Marsh on the way to the White House. Marsh had suffered a series of strokes in the 1950s and was unable to talk. According to his nurse, Johnson attempted to speak to Marsh: "He got no reply, and as the silence lengthened, he blanched." He turned to Marsh's wife and with tears in his eyes, asked, "Where are Sam (Rayburn) and Charles now, when I need them."

The swearing-in of Lyndon Johnson on Air Force One, photographed by Cecil Stoughton.
The swearing-in of Lyndon Johnson on Air Force One, photographed by Cecil Stoughton.

As Johnson was now president Life Magazine decided not to use the story concerning his corrupt activities. James Wagenvoord later recalled: "The LBJ/Baker piece was in the final editing stages and was scheduled to break in the issue of the magazine due out the week of November 24th (the magazine would have made it to the newsstands on November 26th or 27th). It had been prepared in relative secrecy by a small special editorial team. On Kennedy's death research files and all numbered copies of the nearly print-ready draft were gathered up by my boss (he had been the top editor on the team) and shredded. The issue that was to expose LBJ instead featured the Zapruder film."

On 17th January, 1964, the Senate Rules Committee voted to release to the public the secret testimony of Don B. Reynolds. Johnson responded by leaking information from Reynolds' FBI file to Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson. On 5th February, 1964, The Washington Post reported that Reynolds had lied about his academic success at West Point. The article also claimed that Reynolds had been a supporter of Joseph McCarthy and had accused business rivals of being secret members of the American Communist Party. It was also revealed that Reynolds had made anti-Semitic remarks while in Berlin in 1953.

A few weeks later the New York Times reported that Lyndon B. Johnson had used information from secret government documents to smear Don B. Reynolds. It also reported that Johnson's officials had been applying pressure on the editors of newspapers not to print information that had been disclosed by Reynolds in front of the Senate Rules Committee.

In July 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. After a delay of over 100 years this act created federal law in support of the original purpose of the 14th Amendment, equal treatment under the laws for blacks and whites. This act outlawed racial discrimination in employment, voting, education and public accommodation. Johnson also encouraged the passing of the Anti-Poverty Act (1964) that provided $947.5 million dollars for job training centres, loans to poor students and low-income farmers, and basic education programs.

When Johnson signed the 1965 Civil Rights Act he made a prophecy that he was “signing away the south for 50 years”. This proved accurate. In fact, the Democrats have never recovered the vote of the white racists in the Deep South.

Johnson was a strong supporter of the Domino Theory and believed that the prevention of an National Liberation Front (NLF) victory in South Vietnam was vital to the defence of the United States: "If we quit Vietnam, tomorrow we'll be fighting in Hawaii and next week we'll have to fight in San Francisco." Johnson, like Kennedy before him, came under pressure from his military advisers to take more 'forceful' action against North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front. The Joint Chiefs of Staff advised Johnson to send United States combat troops to South Vietnam. The overthrow of President Ngo Dinh Diem had not resulted in preventing the growth of the NLF. The new leader of South Vietnam, General Nguyen Khanh, was doubtful that his own army was strong enough to prevent a communist victory.

Johnson told his Joint Chiefs of Staff that he would do all that was necessary to prevent the NLF winning in South Vietnam but was unwilling to take unpopular measures like sending troops to tight in a foreign war, until after the 1964 Presidential Elections. Just let me get elected," he told his military advisers, "and then you can have your war."

As the election was not due for another eleven months, the Joint Chiefs of Staff feared that this was too long to wait. They therefore suggested another strategy that would be less unpopular with the American public as it would result in fewer of the men being killed.

For sometime, military intelligence officers working in Vietnam had believed that without the support of the Hanoi government, the National Liberation Front would not survive. They therefore advocated the bombing of Hanoi in an attempt to persuade North Vietnam to cut off supplies to the NLF.

Curtis LeMay, the commander of the US air force, argued that by using the latest technology, North Vietnam could be blasted "back to the Stone Age." Others pointed out that "terror" raids on civilian populations during the Second World War had not proved successful and claimed that a better strategy would be to bomb selected targets such as military bases and fuel depots.

Johnson preferred the latter proposal but was aware he would have difficulty convincing the American public and the rest of the world that such action was justified. He therefore gave permission for a plan to be put into operation that he surmised would eventually enable him to carry out the bombing raids on North Vietnam.

Operation Plan 34A involved the sending of Asian mercenaries into North Vietnam to carry out acts of sabotage and the kidnapping or killing of communist officials. As part of this plan, it was decided to send US destroyers into North Vietnamese waters to obtain information on their naval defences. On August 2, 1964, the US destroyer, "Maddox" was fired upon by three North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin. In retaliation, "Maddox" fired back and hit all three, one of which sank. The "Maddox" then retreated into international waters but the next day it was ordered to return to the Gulf of Tonkin.

Soon after entering North Vietnamese waters, Captain Herrick reported that he was under attack. However, later he sent a message that raised doubts about this: "Review of action makes reported contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful. Freak weather reports and over-eager sonar men may have accounted for many reports. No actual sightings by "Maddox". Suggest complete evaluation before further action."

Johnson now had the excuse he had been waiting for and ignored Captain Herrick's second message. He ordered the bombing of four North Vietnamese torpedo-boat bases and an oil-storage depot that had been planned three months previously. President Johnson then went on television and told the American people that: "Repeated acts of violence against the armed forces of the United States must be met not only with alert defence, but with a positive reply. That reply is being given as I speak tonight."

The Congress approved Johnson's decision to bomb North Vietnam and passed what has become known as the Gulf of Tonkin resolution by the Senate by 88 votes to 2 and in the House of Representatives by 416 to 0. This resolution authorised the President to take all necessary measures against Vietnam and the NLF.

Johnson's belief that the bombing raid on North Vietnam in August, 1964, would persuade Ho Chi Minh to cut off all aid to the NLF was unfounded. In the run-up to the November election, the NLF carried out a series of attacks and only two days before the election, the US air base near Saigon was mortared and four Americans were killed.

The Republican Party surprisingly nominated the extreme conservative, Barry Goldwater, in the 1964 presidential election. During the election campaign Goldwater called for an escalation of the war against the North Vietnamese. In comparison to Goldwater, Johnson was seen as the 'peace' candidate. People feared that Goldwater would send troops to fight in Vietnam. Johnson, on the other hand, argued that he was not willing: "to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves."

In the 1964 presidential election. Johnson, who had been a popular leader during his year in office, easily defeated Goldwater by 42,328,350 votes to 26,640,178. Johnson gained 61 per cent of the popular vote, giving him the largest majority ever achieved by an American president. The voters had rejected Goldwater's aggressive policies against communism and Johnson won a landslide victory. What the American public did not know was that Johnson was waiting until the election was over before carrying out the policies that had been advocated by his Republican opponent, Barry Goldwater.

Three months after being elected president, Johnson launched Operation Rolling Thunder. Unlike the single bombing raid in August 1964, this time the raids were to take place on a regular basis. The plan was to destroy the North Vietnam economy and to force her to stop helping the guerrilla fighters in the south. Bombing was also directed against territory controlled by the NLF in South Vietnam. The plan was for Operation Rolling Thunder to last for eight weeks but it lasted for the next three years. In that time, the US dropped 1 million tons of bombs on Vietnam.

Chemicals were also sprayed on crops. Between 1962 and 1969, 688,000 agricultural acres were sprayed with a chemical called 'Agent Blue'. The aim of this exercise was to deny food to the NLF. However, research suggests that it was the civilian population who suffered most from the poor rice harvests that followed the spraying. This action increased opposition to the Vietnam War. According to Robert A. Caro, his relationship with Alice Glass finally ended as a result of their bitter disagreement over the war, which she passionately opposed.

In economic terms, the bombing hurt the economy of the United States more than North Vietnam. By the beginning of 1968, it was estimated that $300 million of damage had been done to North Vietnam. However, in the process, 700 US aircraft, valued at $900 million had been shot down. When all factors were taken into consideration it was argued that it cost the United States "ten dollars for every dollar's worth of damage inflicted."

The response of the National Liberation Front to Operation Rolling Thunder was to concentrate its attacks on the US air bases in South Vietnam. General William Westmoreland, the person in charge of the military advisers in Vietnam, argued that his 23,000 men were unable to defend adequately the US air bases and claimed that without more soldiers, the NLF would take over control of South Vietnam.

On March 8, 3,500 US marines arrived in South Vietnam. They were the first 'official' US combat troops to be sent to the country. This dramatic escalation of the war was presented to the American public as being a short-term measure and did not cause much criticism at the time. A public opinion poll carried out that year indicated that nearly 80% of the American public supported the bombing raids and the sending of combat troops to Vietnam.

Johnson pursued a liberal domestic policy. He stated that he wished to end poverty and racial injustice and hoped to create an America that could be called the Great Society. To help this take place, Johnson persuaded Congress to pass a series of acts including Medicare (1965), the Voting Rights Act (1965) and the Immigration Act (1965).

In September, 1967, the NLF launched a series of attacks on American garrisons. General William Westmoreland, the commander of US troops in Vietnam, was delighted. Now at last the National Liberation Front was engaging in open combat. At the end of 1967, Westmoreland was able to report that the NLF had lost 90,000 men. He told President Lyndon B. Johnson that the NLF would be unable to replace such numbers and that the end of the war was in sight.

Every year on the last day of January, the Vietnamese paid tribute to dead ancestors. In 1968, unknown to the Americans, the NLF celebrated the Tet New Year festival two days early. For on the evening of 31st January, 1968, 70,000 members of the NLF launched a surprise attack on more than a hundred cities and towns in Vietnam. It was now clear that the purpose of the attacks on the US garrisons in September had been to draw out troops from the cities.

The NLF even attacked the US Embassy in Saigon. Although they managed to enter the Embassy grounds and kill five US marines, the NLF was unable to take the building. However, they had more success with Saigon's main radio station. They captured the building and although they only held it for a few hours, the event shocked the self-confidence of the American people. In recent months they had been told that the NLF was close to defeat and now they were strong enough to take important buildings in the capital of South Vietnam. Another disturbing factor was that even with the large losses of 1967, the NLF could still send 70,000 men into battle.

The Tet Offensive proved to be a turning point in the war. In military terms it was a victory for the US forces. An estimated 37,000 NLF soldiers were killed compared to 2,500 Americans. However, it illustrated that the NLF appeared to have inexhaustible supplies of men and women willing to fight for the overthrow of the South Vietnamese government. In March, 1968, President Johnson was told by his Secretary of Defence that in his opinion the US could not win the Vietnam War and recommended a negotiated withdrawal. Later that month, President Johnson told the American people on national television that he was reducing the air-raids on North Vietnam and intended to seek a negotiated peace.

By 1968, the Vietnam War was costing 66 million dollars a day. As a result. President Johnson increased income taxes and cut back on his programme to deal with poverty. The blacks, who suffered from poverty more than most other groups in America, were understandably upset by this decision. Martin Luther King, the Civil Rights leader, argued: "that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor as long as Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube."

Other Civil Rights leaders pointed out that because of the draft deferment enjoyed by college students, it was the poor who were more likely to be sent to Vietnam. What is more, as Eldridge Cleaver, a Civil Rights activist pointed out, in many southern states of America, blacks were being denied the right to vote in elections. Therefore, blacks were fighting in Vietnam "for something they don't have for themselves." As another black leader put it: "If a black man is going to fight anywhere, he ought to be fighting in Mississippi" and other parts of America.

Demonstrations against the war steadily increased in size. In New York, over a million people took part in one demonstration. Organizations such as the Vietnam Veterans Against the War was formed. People watched on television as Vietnam heroes, many of them in wheelchairs or on crutches, threw away the medals they had won fighting in the war.

Public opinion polls suggested that Johnson would have difficulty winning the 1968 presidential election. On 31st March, 1968, Johnson made an announcement on television that he was not a candidate for re-election. He also told the American people that he had ordered major reductions in the bombing of North Vietnam and that he was seeking peace talks with the North Vietnam government.

In January 1969, Johnson retired to his ranch in Texas where he wrote his memoirs, The Vantage Point (1971). Lyndon Baines Johnson died of a heart attack at San Antonio, Texas, on 22nd January, 1973.

In 2006 it was announced that E. Howard Hunt had written his memoirs. This included a claim that Lyndon Baines Johnson might have been involved in ordering the assassination of John F. Kennedy. "Having Kennedy liquidated, thus elevating himself to the presidency without having to work for it himself, could have been a very tempting and logical move on Johnson's part. LBJ had the money and the connections to manipulate the scenario in Dallas and is on record as having convinced JFK to make the appearance in the first place. He further tried unsuccessfully to engineer the passengers of each vehicle, trying to get his good buddy, Gov. (John) Connolly, to ride with him instead of in JFK's car - where... he would have been out of danger."

Paul Szep, Boston Globe (1968)
Paul Szep, Boston Globe (1968)

Hunt suggests that senior CIA official, William K. Harvey could have been involved in the plot to kill Kennedy: "Harvey was a ruthless man who was not satisfied with his position in the CIA and its government salary... He definitely had dreams of becoming (CIA director) and LBJ could do that for him if he were president.... (LBJ) would have used Harvey because he was available and corrupt."

In 2003 the History Channel broadcast The Guilty Men. The film looked at the possibility that Lyndon B. Johnson, Malcolm Wallace and Edward A. Clark were involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The programme used evidence from the book by Blood, Money & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK by Barr McClellan. It also used other sources such as the testimony of Madeleine Brown and Billie Sol Estes and the research of Walt Brown, Ed Tatro, Rick Russo, Glen Sample, and Gregory Burnham.

The family of Lyndon B. Johnson immediately complained about the programme. Gerald Ford also added his concerns and the History Channel took the decision not to repeat the original broadcast.

Primary Sources

(1) Edward A. Clark, interviewed by Robert A. Caro, included in The Path to Power (1982)

He was the hardest worker I ever saw - he couldn't relax.... There was a lot of insecurity in Lyndon. He had some kind of inferiority complex. You could see that right away... I would see him talking to somebody, and I would see what he was doing. He was ingratiating himself. And he could do it so good. I never saw anything like it. He was listening at them. He could start talking to a man at a party, or he could stop a fellow on the street, and in five minutes he could get that man to think, 'I like you, young fellow. I'll be for you.' I considered him a comer. I knew the way he was getting around and meeting the people, getting acquainted. I knew he was figuring on running for office. I didn't know what office he was going to run for, but I knew he was going to run for some office, and I knew he was going to run for a big office. And I was willing to buy a ticket on him.

(2) Barr McClellan, Blood Money and Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K. (2003)

Johnson made a show of serving his country, activating his reserve status in the U.S. Navy and getting sent to the Pacific to develop a progress report for FDR on military organization and supply. In Australia, after convincing General Douglas MacArthur to send him near a combat zone, he flew in a B-25 on a bombing raid to Lae in northeast New Guinea. The fighting was fierce with Japanese Zeroes allegedly attacking the bomber repeatedly. Somehow the plane survived and returned Johnson to safety. Some airmen that flew on the bombing run sharply dispute the account,

(3) Rufus Youngblood, testimony to the Warren Commission Report (September, 1964)

As we were beginning to go down this incline, all of a sudden there was an explosive noise. I quickly observed unnatural movement of crowds, like ducking or scattering, and quick movements in the Presidential follow-up car. So I turned around and hit the Vice President on the shoulder and hollered, get down, and then looked around again and saw more of this movement, and so I proceeded to go to the back seat and get on top of him.

(4) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover (10.01 am, 23rd November, 1963)

J. Edgar Hoover: I just wanted to let you know of a development which I think is very important in connection with this case - this man in Dallas (Lee Harvey Oswald). We, of course, charged him with the murder of the President. The evidence that they have at the present time is not very, very strong. We have just discovered the place where the gun was purchased and the shipment of the gun from Chicago to Dallas, to a post office box in Dallas, to a man - no, to a woman by the name of "A. Hidell."... We had it flown up last night, and our laboratory here is making an examination of it.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Yes, I told the Secret Service to see that that got taken care of.

J. Edgar Hoover: That's right. We have the gun and we have the bullet. There was only one full bullet that was found. That was on the stretcher that the President was on. It apparently had fallen out when they massaged his heart, and we have that one. We have what we call slivers, which are not very valuable in the identification. As soon as we finish the testing of the gun for fingerprints ... we will then be able to test the one bullet we have with the gun. But the important thing is that this gun was bought in Chicago on a money order. Cost twenty-one dollars, and it seems almost impossible to think that for twenty-one dollars you could kill the President of the United States.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Now, who is A. Hidell?

J. Edgar Hoover: A. Hidell is an alias that this man has used on other occasions, and according to the information we have from the house in which he was living - his mother - he kept a rifle like this wrapped up in a blanket which he kept in the house. On the morning that this incident occurred down there - yesterday - the man who drove him to the building where they work, the building from where the shots came, said that he had a package wrapped up in pape... But the important thing at the time is that the location of the purchase of the gun by a money order apparently to the Klein Gun Company in Chicago - we were able to establish that last night.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Have you established any more about the visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico in September?

J. Edgar Hoover: No, that's one angle that's very confusing, for this reason - we have up here the tape and the photograph of the man who was at the Soviet embassy, using Oswald's name. That picture and the tape do not correspond to this man's voice, nor to his appearance. In other words, it appears that there is a second person who was at the Soviet embassy down there. We do have a copy of a letter which was written by Oswald to the Soviet embassy here in Washington, inquiring as well as complaining about the harassment of his wife and the questioning of his wife by the FBI. Now, of course, that letter information - we process all mail that goes to the Soviet embassy. It's a very secret operation. No mail is delivered to the embassy without being examined and opened by us, so that we know what they receive... The case, as it stands now, isn't strong enough to be able to get a conviction... Now if we can identify this man who was at the... Soviet embassy in Mexico City... This man Oswald has still denied everything. He doesn't know anything about anything, but the gun thing, of course, is a definite trend.

Lyndon B. Johnson: It definitely established that he - the same gun killed the policeman?

J. Edgar Hoover: That is an entirely different gun. We also have that gun...

Lyndon B. Johnson: You think he might have two ?

J. Edgar Hoover: Yes, yes, he had two guns... The one that killed the President was found on the sixth floor in the building from which it had been fired. I think that the bullets were fired from the fifth floor, and the three shells that were found were found on the fifth floor. But he apparently went upstairs to have fired the gun and throw the gun away and then went out. He went down to this theater. There at the theater was where he had the gun battle with the police officer.

Lyndon B. Johnson: I wonder if you will get me a little synopsis and let me have what developments come your way during the day and try to get to me before we close up for the day.

(5) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and George Smathers (2.10 pm, 23rd November, 1963)

Lyndon B. Johnson: Tell me, what is the situation on the tax bill? I am going to meet with the Cabinet at two-thirty and...

George Smathers: ... I made a deal, just confidentially . . . that Ribicoff and Long and myself and Fulbright would vote against any motion to take the bill away from the Chairman... He would agree to... close the hearing... Now, I asked them the other day what Byrd was really trying to accomplish. It's to hold up the tax bill until he could prove that Kennedy was going to have the budget... over $100 billion. So he could then argue, you know, that we are financing these tax amendments with debt. So I... told him that... if we, the President would come out and tell him now in December what he thought his budget was going to be, would Byrd cooperate and help them to get the clearance in the Executive Session over with?... He said, "I don't have any problem." . . . Now at the last legislative breakfast - you were not there - I very strongly said that I thought we had enough votes on the floor to pass the tax bill this year. But.. we were going to have to go around Harry Byrd in the committee... I don't know if you want to do it or not, but the smart thing to do, in light of developments, would be for you to get the appropriation bill through real quick and then just...

Lyndon B. Johnson: No, no, I can't do that. That would destroy the party and destroy the election, and destroy everything. We've got to carry on. We can't abandon this fellow's program, because he is a national hero and there are going to be those people want his program passed and we've got to keep this Kennedy aura around us through this election.

George Smathers: Yeah. Well, in that connection... I had a most interesting visit with Hubert last night, after we met with you. He invited me over to his office to have a drin... Hubert and I think that the new President has just got to have a liberal running with him as VP candidate and - I am just speaking for myself - I think, my God, that most of the Southerners would be for Hubert... He was not at .all averse to the idea... He jumps for it... I says, "Can you hold Joe an... Paul and can you keep them lined up?" And he said, "I'm sure I can. This is going to be the problem.... They are going to try to make the new President look immediately like he is an old Texas oilman and... he is now the President of everybody."

(6) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover (10.30 am, 25th November, 1963)

Lyndon B. Johnson: Apparently some lawyer in Justice is lobbying with the (Washington) Post because that's where the suggestion came from for this presidential commission, which we think would be very bad and put it right in the White House. We can't be checking up on every shooting scrape in the country, but they've gone to the Post now to get 'em an editorial, and the Post is calling up and saying they're going to run an editorial if we don't do things. Now we're going to do two things and I wanted you to know about it. One - we believe that the way to handle this, as we said yesterday - your suggestion - that you put every facility at your command, making a full report to the Attorney General and then they make it available to the country in whatever form may seem desirable. Second - it's a state matter, too, and the state Attorney General is young and able and prudent and very cooperative with you. He's going to run a Court of Inquiry, which is provided for by state law, and he's going to have associated with him the most outstanding jurists in the country. But he's a good conservative fella and we don't start invading local jurisdictions that way and he understands what you're doing and he's for it... Now if you get too many cooks messing with the broth, it'll mess it up. ... These two are trained organizations and the Attorney General of the state holds Courts of Inquiry every time a law is violated, and the FBI makes these investigations... You ought to tell your press men that that's what's happening and they can expect Waggoner Carr, the Attorney General of Texas, to make an announcement this morning, to have a state inquiry and that you can offer them your full cooperation and vice versa. . . .

J. Edgar Hoover: We'll both work together on it.

Lyndon B. Johnson: And any influence you got with the Post... point out to them that... just picking out a Tom Dewey lawyer from New York and sending him down on new facts - this commission thing - Mr. Herbert Hoover tried that and some- times a commission that's not trained hurts more than it helps.

J. Edgar Hoover: It's a regular circus then.

Lyndon B. Johnson: That's right.

J. Edgar Hoover: Because it'll be covered by TV and everything like that.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Just like an investigating committee.

J. Edgar Hoover: Exactly. I don't have much influence with the Post because I frankly don't read it. I view it like the Daily Worker.

Lyndon B. Johnson: (laughs) You told me that once before. I just want your people to know the facts, and your people can say that. And that kind of negates it, you see?

(7) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover (1.40 pm, 29th November, 1963)

Lyndon B. Johnson: Are you familiar with this proposed group that they're trying to put together on this study of your report and other things - two from the House, two from the Senate, somebody from the Court, a couple of outsiders?

J. Edgar Hoover: No, I haven't heard of that. ... I think it would be very, very bad to have a rash of investigations on this thing.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Well, the only way we can stop them is probably to appoint a high-level one to evaluate your report and put somebody that's pretty good on it that I can select... and tell the House and the Senate not to go ahead... because they'll get a lot of television going and I thought it would be bad.

J. Edgar Hoover: It would be a three-ring circus.

Lyndon B. Johnson: What do you think about Allen Dulles?

J. Edgar Hoover: I think he would be a good man.

Lyndon B. Johnson: What do you think about John McCloy?

J. Edgar Hoover: I'm not as enthusiastic about McCloy... I'm not so certain as to the matter of the publicity that he might seek on it.

Lyndon B. Johnson: What about General Norstad?

J. Edgar Hoover: Good man.

Lyndon B. Johnson: I thought maybe I might try to get Boggs and Jerry Ford in the House, maybe try to get Dick Russell and maybe Cooper in the Senate.

J. Edgar Hoover: Yes, I think so.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Me and you are just going to talk like brothers. ... I thought Russell could kind of look after the general situation, see that the states and their relations -

J. Edgar Hoover: Russell would be an excellent man.

Lyndon B. Johnson: And I thought Cooper might look after the liberal group.... He's a pretty judicious fellow but he's a pretty liberal fellow. I wouldn't want Javits or some of those on it.

J. Edgar Hoover: No, no, no. Javits plays the front page a lot.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Cooper is kind of border state. It's not the South and it's not the North.

J. Edgar Hoover: That's right.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Do you know Ford from Michigan?

J. Edgar Hoover: I know of him, but I don't know him. I saw him on TV the other night for the first time and he handled himself well on that.

Lyndon B. Johnson: You know Boggs?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, yes, I know Boggs.

Lyndon B. Johnson: He's kind of the author of the resolution. That's why. Now Walter tells me - Walter Jenkins - that you've designated Deke (Cartha DeLoach) to work with us, like you did on the Hill, and I tell you I sure appreciate that. I didn't ask for it 'cause ... I know you know how to run your business better than anybody else... We consider him as high-class as you do. And it is a mighty gracious thing to do. And we'll be mighty happy We salute you for knowing how to pick good men.

J. Edgar Hoover: That's mighty nice of you, Mr. President, indeed. We hope to have this thing wrapped up today, but could be we probably won't get it before the first of the week. This angle in Mexico is giving us a great deal of trouble because the story there is of this man Oswald getting $6,500 from the Cuban embassy and then coming back to this country with it. We're not able to prove that fact, but the information was that he was there on the 18th of September in Mexico City and we are able to prove conclusively he was in New Orleans that day. Now then they've changed the dates. The story came in changing the dates to the 28th of September and he was in Mexico City on the 28th. Now the Mexican police have again arrested this woman Duran, who is a member of the Cuban embassy... and we're going to confront her with the original informant, who saw the money pass, so he says, and we're also going to put the lie detector test on him.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Can you pay any attention to those lie detector tests?

J. Edgar Hoover: I wouldn't want to be a party to sending a man to the chair on a lie detector... We've found many cases where we've used them - in a bank where there's been embezzlement - and a person will confess before the lie detector test is finished. They're more or less fearful of the fact that the lie detector test will show them guilty psychologically... Of course, it is a misnomer to call it a lie detector because what it really is is the evaluation of the chart that is made by this machine and that evaluation is made by a human being.... On the other hand, if this Oswald had lived and had taken the lie detector test and it had shown definitely that he had done these various things together with the evidence that we very definitely have, it would just have added that much more strength to it. There is no question but that he is the man now - with the fingerprints and things we have. This fellow Rubenstein down there - he has offered to take the lie detector test but his lawyer has got to be, of course, consulted first and I doubt whether the lawyer will allow it. He's one of these criminal lawyers from the West Coast and somewhat like an Edward Bennett Williams type - and almost as much of a shyster.

Lyndon B. Johnson: (laughs) Have you got any relationship between the two yet?

J. Edgar Hoover: No, at the present time we have not. There was a story down there...

Lyndon B. Johnson: Was he ever in his bar and stuff like that?

J. Edgar Hoover: There was a story that this fellow had been in this nightclub that is a striptease joint, that he had. But that has not been able to be confirmed. Now this fellow Rubenstein is a very shady character, has a bad record-street brawler tighter, and that sort of thing-and in the place in Dallas, if a fellow came in there and couldn t pay his bill completely, Rubenstein would beat the very devil out of him and throw him out of the place... He didn't drink, didn't smoke boasted about that. He is what I would put in a category of one of these - egomaniacs. Likes to be in the limelight. He knew all the police in that white-light district... and he also let them come in, see the show, get food, liquor, and so forth. That s how, I think, he got into police headquarters. Because they accepted him as kind of a police character, hanging around police headquarters They never made any moves, as the pictures show, even when they saw him approaching this fellow and got up right to him and pressed his pistol against Oswald s stomach. Neither of the police officers on either side made any move to push him away or grab him. It wasn't until after the gun was fired that they then moved.... The Chief of Police admits that he moved him in the morning as a convenience and at the request of morion-picture people, who wanted to have daylight. He should have moved him at night... But so far as tying Rubenstein and Oswald together we haven't as yet done. So there have been a number of stories come in, we've tied Oswald into the Civil Liberties Union in New York, membership into that and, of course, this Cuban Fair Play Committee which is pro-Castro and dominated by Communism and financed, to some extent, by the Castro government.

Lyndon B. Johnson: How many shots were fired? Three?

J. Edgar Hoover: Three.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Any of them fired at me?

J. Edgar Hoover: No.

Lyndon B. Johnson: All three at the President?

J. Edgar Hoover: All three at the president and we have them. Two of the shots fired at the President were splintered but they had characteristics on them so that our ballistics expert was able to prove that they were fired by this gun. The President - he was hit by the first and third. The second shot hit the Governor the third shot is a complete bullet and that rolled out of the President's head It tore a large part of the President's head off and, in trying to massage his heart at the hospital on the way to the hospital, they apparently loosened that and it fell off onto the stretcher. And we recovered that... And we have the gun here also.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Were they aiming at the President?

J. Edgar Hoover: They were aiming directly at the President. There is no question about that. This telescopic lens, which I've looked through-it brings a person as close to you as if they were sitting right beside you. And we also have tested the fact that you could fire those three shots... within three seconds. There had been some stories going around... that there must have been more than one man because no one man could fire those shots in the time that they were fired...

Lyndon B. Johnson: How did it happen they hit Connally?

J. Edgar Hoover: Connally turned to the President when the first shot was fired and I think in that turning, it was where he got hit.

Lyndon B. Johnson: If he hadn't turned, he probably wouldn't have got hit?

J. Edgar Hoover: I think that is very likely.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Would the President've got hit with the second one?

J. Edgar Hoover: No, the President wasn't hit with the second one.

Lyndon B. Johnson: I say, if Connally hadn't been in his way?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, yes, yes, the President would no doubt have been hit.

Lyndon B. Johnson: He would have been hit three times.

J. Edgar Hoover: He would have been hit three times from the fifth floor of that building where we found the gun and the wrapping paper in which the gun was wrapped... and upon which we found the full fingerprints of this man Oswald. On that floor we found the three empty shells that had been fired and one shell that had not been fired... He then threw the gun aside and came down. At the entrance of the building, he was stopped by a police officer and some manager in the building told the police officer, "Well, he's all right. He works there. You needn't hold him." They let him go... And then he got on a bus... He went out to his home and got ahold of a jacket.... and he came back downtown... and the police officer who was killed stopped him, not knowing'who he was and not knowing whether he was the man, but just on suspicion. And he fired, of course, and killed the police officer. Then he walked.

Lyndon B. Johnson: You can prove that?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, yes, oh, yes, we can prove that. Then he walked about another two blocks and went to the theater and the woman at the theater window selling the tickets, she was so suspicious the way he was acting, she said he was carrying a gun... He went into the theater and she notified the police and the police and our man down there went in there and located this particular man. They had quite a struggle with him. He fought like a regular lion and he had to be subdued, of course, and was then brought out and... taken to the police headquarters....

Lyndon B. Johnson: Well your conclusion is: (1) he's the one that did it; (2) the man he was after was the President; (3) he would have hit him three times, except the Governor turned.

J. Edgar Hoover: I think that is correct.

Lyndon B. Johnson: (4) That there is no connection between he and Ruby that you can detect now. And (5) whether he was connected with the Cuban operation with money, you're trying to...

J. Edgar Hoover: That's what we're trying to nail down now, because he was strongly pro-Castro, he was strongly anti-American, and he had been in correspondence, which we have, with the Soviet embassy here in Washington and with the American Civil Liberties Union and with this Committee for Fair Play to Cuba... None of those letters, however, dealt with any indication of violence or contemplated assassination. They were dealing with the matter of a visa for his wife to go back to Russia. Now there is one angle to this thing that I'm hopeful to get some word on today. This woman, his wife, had been very hostile. She would not cooperate, speaks... Russian only. She did say to us yesterday down there that if we could give her assurance that she would be allowed to remain in this country, she might cooperate. I told our agents down there to give her that assurance... and I sent a Russian-speaking agent into Dallas last night to interview her.... Whether she knows anything or talks anything, I, of course, don't know and won't know till -

Lyndon B. Johnson: Where did he work in the building? On this same floor?

J. Edgar Hoover: He had access on all floors.

Lyndon B. Johnson: But where was his office?

J. Edgar Hoover: He didn't have any particular office... Orders came in for certain books and some books would be on the first floor, second floor, third floor, and so forth... He was just a general packer of the requisitions that came in for school books for the Dallas schools there and therefore he had access... to the fifth floor and to the sixth floor. Usually most of the employees were down on a lower floor.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Did anybody hear, did anybody see him on the fifth floor or...

J. Edgar Hoover: Yes, he was seen on the fifth floor by one of the workmen there before the assassination took place. He was seen there so that...

Lyndon B. Johnson: Did you get a picture of him shooting?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, no. There was no picture taken of him shooting.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Well what was this picture that that fellow sold for $25,000?

J. Edgar Hoover: That was a picture taken of the parade and showing Mrs. Kennedy climbing out of the back seat. You see, there was no Secret Service man standing on the back of the car. Usually the presidential car in the past has had steps on the back, next to the bumpers, and there's usually been one on either side standing on those steps. . . . Whether the President asked that that not be done,

Lyndon B. Johnson: Do you have a bulletproof car?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, yes I do.

Lyndon B. Johnson: You think I ought to have one?

J. Edgar Hoover: I think you most certainly should have one.. I have one here... I use it here for myself and if we have any raids to make or have to surround a place where anybody is hidden in, we use the bulletproof car on that because you can bulletproof the entire car, including the glass, but it means that the top has to remain up.... But I do think you ought to have a bulletproof car... I understand that the Secret Service has had two cars with metal plates underneath the car to take care of a hand grenade or bomb that might be thrown out and rolled along the street. Of course, we don't do those things in this country. In Europe, that is the way they assassinate the heads of state.... They've been after General de Gaulle, you know, with that sort of thing. But in this country, all of our assassinations have been with guns... I was very much surprised when I learned that this bubble-top thing was not bulletproof in any respect and that the plastic - the top to it was down. Of course, the President had insisted upon that so that he could stand up and wave to the crowd. Now it seems to me that the President ought to always be in a bulletproof car. It certainly would prevent anything like this ever happening again... You could have a thousand Secret Service men on guard and still a sniper can snipe you from up in the window if you are exposed, like the President was...

Lyndon B. Johnson: You mean, if I ride around my ranch, I ought to be in a bulletproof car?

J. Edgar Hoover: I would certainly think so, Mr. President. It seems to me that that car down at your ranch there, the little car that we rode around in when I was down there, I think that ought to be bulletproof. I think it ought to be done very quietly. There is a concern, I think, out in Cincinnati, where we have our cars bulletproofed. I think we've got four, one on the West Coast, one in New York, and one here and I think it can be done quietly, without any publicity being given to it or any pictures being taken of it if it's handled properly. But I think you ought to have it at the ranch there. It is perfectly easy for somebody to get onto the ranch.

Lyndon B. Johnson: You think those entrances all ought to be guarded though, don't you?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, I think by all means... You've got to really almost be in the capacity of a so-called prisoner because without that security, anything can be done. Now we've gotten a lot of letters and phone calls over the last three or four or five days. We got one about this parade the other day that they were going to try to kill you then and I talked with the Attorney General about it. I was very much opposed to that marching from the White House.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Well, the Secret Service told them not to, but the family felt otherwise.

J. Edgar Hoover: That's what Bobby told me... I was very much opposed to it because it was even worse than down there in Dallas - you know, walking down the center of the street.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Yes, yes, that's right.

J. Edgar Hoover: And somebody on the sidewalk could dash out. I noticed even on Pennsylvania Avenue - I viewed the procession coming back from the Capitol, and while they had police assigned along the curbstone looking at the crowd, when the parade came along, the police turned around and looked at the parade...

Lyndon B. Johnson: (laughs)

J. Edgar Hoover:... which was the worst thing to do. They also had a line of soldiers, but they were looking at the parade.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Well, I'm going to take every precaution I can... and I wish you'd put down your thoughts on that a little bit, because you're more than the head of the Federal Bureau. As far as I'm concerned, you're my brother and personal friend. You have been for twenty-five to thirty years... I know you don't want anything happening to your family.

J. Edgar Hoover: Absolutely not!

Lyndon B. Johnson: I've got more confidence in your judgment than anybody in town. So you just put down some of the things you think ought to happen and I won't involve you or quote you or get you in jurisdictional disputes or anything, but I'd like to at least advocate them as my opinion.

J. Edgar Hoover: I'll be very glad to indeed. I certainly appreciate your confidence.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Thank you, Edgar. Thank you.

(8) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and Charles Halleck, House Minority Leader (6.30 pm, 29th November, 1963)

Lyndon B. Johnson: Charlie, I hate to bother you but. . . I've got to appoint a commission and issue an executive order tonight on investigation of the assassination of the President because this thing is getting pretty serious and our folks are worried about it. It's got some foreign complications - CIA and other things - and I'm going to try to get the Chief Justice to go on it. He declined earlier in the day, but I think I'm going to try to get him to head it....

Charles Halleck: Chief Justice Warren?

Lyndon B. Johnson: Yes.

Charles Halleck: I think that's a mistake....

Lyndon B. Johnson: I'd be glad to hear you, but I want to talk to you about - he thought it was a mistake till I told him everything we knew and we just can't have House and Senate and FBI and other people going around testifying that Khrushchev killed Kennedy or Castro killed him. We've got to have the facts, and you don't have a President assassinated once every fifty years. And this thing is so touchy from an international standpoint that every man we've got over there is concerned about it....

Charles Halleck: I'll cooperate, my friend. I'll tell you one thing, Lyndon - Mr. President - I think that to call on Supreme Court guys to do jobs is kind of a mistake.

Lyndon B. Johnson: It is on all these other things I agree with you on Pearl Harbor and I agree with you on the railroad strike. But this is a question that could involve our losing thirty-nine million people. This is a judicial question.

Charles Halleck: I, of course, don't want that to happen. Of course, I was a little disappointed in the speech the Chief Justice made. I'll talk to you real plainly. He's jumped at the gun and, of course, I don't know whether the right wing was in this or not. You've been very discreet. You have mentioned the left and the right and I am for that.

(9) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard B. Russell (8.55 p.m 29th November, 1963)

Richard Russell: I know I don't have to tell you of my devotion to you but I just can't serve on that Commission. I'm highly honoured you'd think about me in connection with it but I couldn't serve on it with Chief Justice Warren. I don't like that man. I don't have any confidence in him at all.

Lyndon B. Johnson: It has already been announced and you can serve with anybody for the good of America and this is a question that has a good many more ramifications than on the surface and we've got to take this out of the arena where they're testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and chuck us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour....

Richard Russell: I still feel it sort of getting wrapped up...

Lyndon B. Johnson: Dick... do you remember when you met me at the Carlton Hotel in 1952? When we had breakfast there one morning.

Richard Russell: Yes I think so.

Lyndon B. Johnson: All right. Do you think I'm kidding you?

Richard Russell: No... I don't think your kidding me, but I think... well, I'm not going to say anymore, Mr. President... I'm at your command... and I'll do anything you want me to do....

Lyndon B. Johnson: Warren told me he wouldn't do it under any circumstances... I called him and ordered him down here and told me no twice and I just pulled out what Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexico City and I say now, I don't want Mr. Khrushchev to be told tomorrow (censored) and be testifying before a camera that he killed this fellow and that Castro killed him... And he started crying and said, well I won't turn you down... I'll do whatever you say.

(10) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and John McCormack, Speaker of the House of Representatives (29th November, 1963)

Lyndon B. Johnson: We don't want to be testifying, and some fellow comes up from Dallas and says, "I think Khrushchev planned this whole thing and he got our President assassinated." You can see what that'll lead us to, right quick... You take care of the House of Representatives for me.

John McCormack: How am I going to take care of them?

Lyndon B. Johnson: Just keep them from investigating!

John McCormack: Oh that. I've been doing it now.

(11) Lyndon Johnson, testimony to the Warren Commission Report (September, 1964)

I was startled by the sharp report or explosion, but I had no time to speculate as to its origin because Agent Youngblood turned in a flash, immediately after the first explosion, hitting me on the shoulder, and shouted to all of us in the back seat to get down. I was pushed down by Agent Youngblood. Almost in the same moment in which he hit or pushed me, he vaulted over the back seat and sat on me. I was bent over under the weight of Agent Youngblood's body, toward Mrs. Johnson and Senator Yarborough.

(12) Warren Commission Report (September, 1964)

Special Agent Ready, on the right front running board of the Presidential follow-up car, heard noises that sounded like firecrackers and ran toward the President's limousine.

Youngblood was not positive that he was in the rear seat before the second shot, but thought it probable because of President Johnson's statement to that effect immediately after the assassination...

Clifton C. Carter, riding in the Vice President's follow-up car a short distance behind, reported that Youngblood was in the rear seat using his body to shield the Vice President before the second and third shots were fired.

(13) Doris Kearns, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (1976)

In the spring of 1964, only four months after he became president, Lyndon Johnson had spoken at the campus of the University of Michigan, and there he sketched the outline for a program intended to go beyond the "Kennedy legacy". The climate that made it possible for a president to adopt such large ambitions and to succeed in enacting so many of his proposals was the product of converging circumstances. The shock of Kennedy's death, the civil rights movement, an emerging awareness of the extent and existence of poverty, a reduction of threatening tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, all helped Americans to focus public attention and perceptions on the problems of their own country.

(14) Lyndon Baines Johnson, speech on the Voting Rights Act (15th March, 1965)

Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes. Every device of which human ingenuity is capable has been used to deny this rights. The Negro citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is late, or the official in charge is absent. And if he persists and he manages to present himself to register, he may be disqualified because he did not spell out his middle name or because he abbreviated a word on his application. And if he manages to fill out an application he is given a test. The register is the sole judge of whether he passes his test. He may be asked to recite the entire constitution, or explain the most complex provisions of state laws. And even a college degree cannot be used to prove that he can read and write. For the fact is that the only way to pass these barriers is to show a white skin. This bill will strike down restrictions to voting in all elections - federal, State, and local - which have been used to deny Negroes the right to vote.

(15) Lyndon Baines Johnson, speech at Howard University (4th June, 1965)

At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama.

There, long-suffering men and women peacefully protested the denial of their rights as Americans. Many were brutally assaulted. One good man - a man of God - was killed.

This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: "All men are created equal" - "Government by consent of the governed" - "Give me liberty or give me death". And those are not just clever words and not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries.

Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law that we now have on the books can ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it. Wednesday I will send to Congress a law designed to eliminate illegal barriers to the right to vote. This bill will strike down restrictions to voting in all elections - federal, state, and local - which have been used to deny Negroes the right to vote.

(16) Lyndon Baines Johnson, speech (July 28,1965)

Its (National Liberation Front) goal is to conquer the south, to defeat American power and to extend the Asiatic domination of Communism ... Our power, therefore, is a very vital shield. If we are driven from the field in Vietnam, then no nation can ever again have the same confidence in American promise or protection . . We did not choose to be the guardians at the gate, but there is no one else.

(17) Roy Wilkins wrote about the riots in Detroit in 1967 in his autobiography, A Man's Life (1982)

Johnson went around the room and asked everyone for an opinion. I thought we shouldn't send any troops in until we could get some high-level civilians on the ground to see what was really going on. Others thought the President couldn't wait that long for fear of inviting the charge that he had fiddled while Detroit burned. After a little more discussion, the President announced that he was going to send a civilian team in to head the operation. Vance would lead the team, which was to include Christopher, Doar and me, from Justice, and Dan Henkin, a press spokesman, from Defense. He would send the 82nd up to Detroit, but they would be stationed outside the city, at the Michigan State Fair Grounds, until we civilians decided that they were needed.

Then Johnson delivered a fierce monologue about what he didn't want to happen. If the troops were ordered into Detroit, he didn't want them walking around with loaded guns unless their commanders thought there was a sufficient emergency for them to carry them. No bayonets. No bullets.

"I don't want my troops shooting some ni..." he glanced sharply at me and stopped. Then he started again, " - some pregnant woman."

Then he pulled a phone from its cradle by his chair under the cabinet table, handed it to Ramsey and had him call Governor Romney to inform him of the plan.

As we were being dismissed, the President touched my arm, looked at me for a long moment and then said, "Have a safe trip, Roger."

It was his way of saying that he was sorry that he had almost said "nigger" in front of me. I was amused, because I was sure it was one of the mainstays of his uninhibited vocabulary.

(18) Lyndon Johnson, interviewed in 1968.

The trick was to crack the wall of separation enough to give the Congress a feeling of participation in creating my bills while exposing my plans at the same time to advance congressional opposition before they even saw the light of day. My experience in the National Youth Administration (NYA) taught me that when people have a hand in shaping projects, the projects are more likely to be successful than the ones simply handed down from the top. As Majority Leader in the Senate I learned that the best guarantee to legislature success was a process by which the wishes and views of the members are obtained ahead of time and whenever possible, incorporated into the early drafts of the bill.

(19) Townsend Hoopes, Washington Post (17th August, 1971)

The altered alignments in the Communist world were much clearer in 1964 than in 1960, making it, again in theory, easier for Johnson to take a fresh look. But the abrupt and tragic way in which he had come to the White House, the compulsions of the 1964 presidential campaign, and his own lack of a steady compass in foreign affairs (not to mention the powerful and nearly unanimous views of his inherited advisers) effectively ruled out a basic reappraisal of our national interests in Vietnam. Like each predecessor, Johnson decided, as one analyst put it, "that it would be inconvenient for him to lose South Vietnam this year".

(20) Lyndon Johnson, speech to the nation (31st March, 1968)

Fifty-two months and ten days, in a moment of tragedy and trauma, the duties of this office fell upon me. I asked then for your help and God's, that we might continue America on its course, binding up our wounds, healing our history, moving forward in unity, to clear the American agenda and to keep the American commitment for all our people.

United we have kept that commitment. United we have enlarged that commitment. What we won when all our people were united just must not be lost in suspicion, distrust, selfishness, and politics among any of our people.

Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not permit the presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year. With America's sons in the field far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day. I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to my personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office - the presidency of your country.

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept the nomination of my party, for another term as your president.

(21) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing: Confessions of a Capitol Hill Operator (1978)

One Sunday evening I was consulting with Abe Fortas at his home when Lady Bird Johnson called... I hardly heard her. I was thinking: LBJ's right there by her side, but he won't talk to me because he wants to be able to say he hasn't. I knew that Johnson was petrified that he would be dragged down... LBJ was already nervous because of the Billie Sol Estes scandal and the resignation of a Texas friend, Fred Korth, who'd quit as secretary of the navy following conflict-of-interest accusations. So I'd not expected to hear much from him. In fact, from the moment I resigned in October of 1963 until I visited him at his ranch to see a dying man, almost nine years later, we spoke not a word and communicated only through intermediaries.

(22) Jack Anderson, speech at the University of Utah (22nd September, 1999)

It was Lyndon Johnson who first explained to me that George Washington was born in Texas. I hadn't known that before. He said that little George, when he turned 8 years old, was given a shiny red hatchet for a birthday present. He tested out this hatchet on a pecan tree. When his father came home that evening, and found the tree missing from the family landscape he demanded to know who was responsible, and little George stepped forward, and said, "Father, I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down the pecan tree." At that, the old man lifted little George upon his knee, and said "Son, if you can't tell a lie we are going to have to leave Texas." That's how they got to Washington. That was Lyndon Johnson's version.

Lyndon told me he grew up in poverty. This was obviously before he got into politics. He grew up in absolute poverty on the banks of the (Pedernales), one of the Texas rivers. They were so poor they couldn't afford indoor plumbing. They were obliged to use an outhouse that was perched on the banks of the river. Little Lyndon was a mischievous fella, and couldn't resist one day pushing the outhouse in to the river. Not long afterward his father came roaring in to the house full of outrage, demanded to know who was responsible for this deed, and little Lyndon kept his mouth shut. He decided that his best ploy was to keep quiet. When the guilty finger began getting closer and closer to him, at the last minute he changed his mind, he thought his best ploy at that point, was to use the George Washington gimmick. So he spoke up and said, "Father, I cannot tell a lie. I pushed the outhouse in to the river." At that, the old man whipped off his belt and gave little Lyndon a strapping. The whimpering little Lyndon said, "When George Washington told the truth about chopping down the pecan tree, his daddy didn't whip him!" And the old man said, "Yes, but his daddy wasn't in the pecan tree."

(23) Douglas Caddy, letter to Stephen S. Trott at the US Department of Justice (9th August, 1984)

Mr. Estes was a member of a four-member group, headed by Lyndon Johnson, which committed criminal acts in Texas in the 1960's. The other two, besides Mr. Estes and LBJ, were Cliff Carter and Mac Wallace. Mr. Estes is willing to disclose his knowledge concerning the following criminal offenses:

I. Murders

1. The killing of Henry Marshall

2. The killing of George Krutilek

3. The killing of Ike Rogers and his secretary

4. The killing of Harold Orr

5. The killing of Coleman Wade

6. The killing of Josefa Johnson

7. The killing of John Kinser

8. The killing of President J. F. Kennedy.

Mr. Estes is willing to testify that LBJ ordered these killings, and that he transmitted his orders through Cliff Carter to Mac Wallace, who executed the murders. In the cases of murders nos. 1-7, Mr. Estes' knowledge of the precise details concerning the way the murders were executed stems from conversations he had shortly after each event with Cliff Carter and Mac Wallace.

In addition, a short time after Mr. Estes was released from prison in 1971, he met with Cliff Carter and they reminisced about what had occurred in the past, including the murders. During their conversation, Carter orally compiled a list of 17 murders which had been committed, some of which Mr. Estes was unfamiliar. A living witness was present at that meeting and should be willing to testify about it. He is Kyle Brown, recently of Houston and now living in Brady, Texas.

Mr. Estes, states that Mac Wallace, whom he describes as a "stone killer" with a communist background, recruited Jack Ruby, who in turn recruited Lee Harvey Oswald. Mr. Estes says that Cliff Carter told him that Mac Wallace fired a shot from the grassy knoll in Dallas, which hit JFK from the front during the assassination.

Mr. Estes declares that Cliff Carter told him the day Kennedy was killed, Fidel Castro also was supposed to be assassinated and that Robert Kennedy, awaiting word of Castro's death, instead received news of his brother's killing.

Mr. Estes says that the Mafia did not participate in the Kennedy assassination but that its participation was discussed prior to the event, but rejected by LBJ, who believed if the Mafia were involved, he would never be out from under its blackmail....

II. The Illegal Cotton Allotments

Mr. Estes desires to discuss the infamous illegal cotton allotment schemes in great detail. He has recordings made at the time of LBJ, Cliff Carter and himself discussing the scheme. These recordings were made with Cliff Carter's knowledge as a means of Carter and Estes protecting them selves should LBJ order their deaths.

Mr. Estes believes these tape recordings and the rumors of other recordings allegedly in his possession are the reason he has not been murdered.

III. Illegal Payoffs

Mr. Estes is willing to disclose illegal payoff schemes, in which he collected and passed on to Cliff Carter and LBJ millions of dollars. Mr. Estes collected payoff money on more than one occasion from George and Herman Brown of Brown and Root, which was delivered to LBJ.

(24) Stanley I. Kutler, Why the History Channel Had to Apologize (21st April, 2004)

The History Channel recently observed the fortieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination with a series of films, "The Men who Killed Kennedy." The most widely-viewed hour, "The Guilty Men," cast Lyndon Baines Johnson in a starring role for ordering the assassination. The film was offered without fear, and without evidence.

LBJ's family and friends heatedly protested the program. Finally, after former President Gerald Ford weighed in with his objections, the History Channel engaged several of us to evaluate the program, and provided air time to discuss our findings and conclusions. Let us hope that is not the end of the matter.

The Kennedy assassination has been fertile, enduring territory for conspiracy theories. But if such elaborate notions are your cup of tea, put no hope in the scurrilous book by Barr McClellan, a onetime associate who worked in Johnson's personal attorney's office, and British film maker Nigel Turner's farcical film rendering of McClellan's musings, which the History Channel broadcast. Their work is a parody of assassination theories and beliefs; surely, this is history as a joke the living play on the dead. Such programs reflect our desperate desire to embrace a conspiracy rather than the crucial question of truth.

McClellan's wild charges involve characters across the political spectrum, from disgruntled Texas oilmen, to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the CIA, the military, Johnson's crooked Texas cronies, and Texas Governor John Connally - forget he almost was killed himself. The Right has to be pleased with the mugging of LBJ, while the Left can pin more evil-doing on Hoover. A perfect storm. Such are our faded memories that McClellan can afford to omit a Communist plot.

McClellan's background is worth a mention. He is a convicted forger, who then resigned from the bar before disbarment proceedings ran their course. His certitude knows no bounds: "LBJ murdered John F. Kennedy"; Johnson "knew of the assassination"; and he was involved "beyond a reasonable doubt." His "evidence" rests entirely on the alleged utterances of dead people, with the sole exception of that poster child for a con artist, Billie Sol Estes. A McClellan supporter wrote to me, urging that I call Estes to "get the truth." He said "Billie Sol Estes was there when LBJ ordered the killings, 18 of them in all. This includes JFK. Don't take my word for it, get it from the man who was there at the time the killings were ordered. Call Billie Sol Estes..." The FBI has investigated Estes's accusations, and they found his credibility "non-existent." A further cover-up? Then consider how this pitiful figure admitted to his sentencing judge in 1979: "I have a problem. I live in a dream world." In a rare sensible moment, the film maker wisely did without his services - but not without his fabrications.

Assassination conspiracy theories and books expounding them proliferate. But film is special. A conjurer's sleight-of-hand and verbal misdirection are ready ingredients for manipulating a mass audience. Richard Condon, who wrote The Manchurian Candidate, and who managed to spoof every recent American president, gave his own comic twist in Winter Kills, a novel (later a film) naming the perp as Patriarch Joseph Kennedy, distressed because his son had become too liberal. A comic genius, Condon never labeled his work as anything other than fiction. But Oliver Stone, in the new tradition of "docu-dramas,"gave us JFK, which lent an aura of authenticity to Jim Garrison's outlandish, gothic tale. Sadly, many of those under 25 believed him.

The History Channel film takes historical revisionism to unimagined depths. It seems everyone wanted Kennedy dead: he was going to withdraw from Vietnam in December 1963, so the CIA and the military wanted him out of the way; Texans wanted to preserve their oil-depletion allowance; J. Edgar Hoover believed Kennedy was about to replace him; and driving it all, of course, was Lyndon Johnson's insatiable appetite for power. Increasing the improbability of the thesis, it seems, heightens its appeal.

(25) Douglas Caddy, email interview with John Simkin (20th January, 2006 )

John Simkin: I believe in the past you represented Billie Sol Estes. On 9th August, 1984, you wrote to Stephen S. Trott at the U.S. Department of Justice. In the letter you claimed that Billie Sol Estes, Lyndon B. Johnson, Mac Wallace and Cliff Carter had been involved in the murders of Henry Marshall, George Krutilek, Harold Orr, Ike Rogers, Coleman Wade, Josefa Johnson, John Kinser and John F. Kennedy. You added: "Mr. Estes is willing to testify that LBJ ordered these killings, and that he transmitted his orders through Cliff Carter to Mac Wallace, who executed the murders." Did Billie Sol Estes provide you with any evidence that suggested his story was true?

Douglass Caddy: My relationship with Billie Sol Estes began in 1983 when Shearn Moody, a trustee of the Moody Foundation of Galveston, Texas, asked me to visit Billie Sol who was incarcerated in the federal prison at Big Spring, Texas. Billie Sol had telephoned Mr. Moody at the suggestion of a fellow inmate who knew Moody from past days when that inmate had been a lobbyist in the state capital. Billie Sol told Moody that he wanted to tell the story publicly about his long and close relationship with Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) as LBJ's bagman and requested Moody's assistance in getting this done. Moody was happy to oblige.

I met with Billie Sol in prison, who related his desire to tell all. I suggested that he do so in book form and that I would be helpful in any way that I could since I already had two books published.

Moody and I heard nothing more from Billie Sol until soon after his release from prison in early January 1984. At that time he called Moody and Moody again asked me to visit Billie Sol at the latter's home in Abilene, Texas.

There Billie Sol presented me with a copy of the recently released book that his daughter, Pam Estes, had written based on my suggestion to him when he was in prison. Its title was "Billie Sol: King of the Wheeler-Dealers" and it had caused a minor sensation. Based on its limited success, Billie Sol said that he wanted to have his own story published. His daughter's book only told her personal story of the tribulations of the Estes' family in the preceding 20 years.

However, Billie Sol said that before he could tell his full story in book form that he had to get immunity from prosecution by the Texas law authorities and by the U.S. Department of Justice as there is no statute of limitations for murder. A friend of mine, Edward Miller, a former Assistant Director of the FBI, arranged for Miller and myself to meet with Stephen Trott, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, to discuss the question of granting immunity to Billie Sol.

Miller and I met with Trott several times. The Forum has already in its discussions among its members remarked upon the letters exchanged between Trott and myself. In the end the immunity effort came to an abrupt halt when Billie Sol got cold feet at the last moment and backed out of a meeting with three FBI agents sent by Trott to meet with him and myself in Abilene in September 1984.

The contents of the letters between Trott and myself speak for themselves. Billie Sol did not provide me with any evidence that his story, as detailed in the letters, was true. I never heard nor saw the clandestine tape recordings that he claimed that he had in his possession that had been made years earlier, which allegedly supported his contentions.

However, there is quite a bit of supporting evidence from other sources. This is as follows:

(1) In 1964, J. Evetts Haley, a distinguished Texas historian, wrote "A Texan Looks at Lyndon." Millions of copies of this paperback were widely distributed. Haley's book provided concrete evidence concerning most of the murders outlined in my correspondence with Trott.

(2) In attempting to get Billie Sol immunity in 1984, I worked closely with Clint Peoples, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Texas. Peoples had followed the Estes' story for many years, having been assigned to the Estes' pending criminal case in the 1960's when he was a Texas Ranger. Peoples had several large file drawers containing materials about Estes and the murders that he showed me when I visited him in the U.S. Courthouse in Dallas. He was on good terms with Estes and constantly encouraged me to do my best to get Estes' story out. When he retired he became head of the Texas Rangers Museum in Waco, Texas, and in 1992 was killed in an automobile accident. Where Peoples' extensive files on Estes and the murders are today is unknown.

(3) I arranged for Lucianne Goldberg, then a literary agent and now sponsor of http://www.lucianne.com/, to visit Billie Sol in Abilene in 1984 in an effort to get his story published. Lucianne there disclosed to us that she had once met Malcolm (Mac) Wallace, who was the stone-cold killer retained by LBJ, when she had worked in the White House in LBJ's administration.

(4) The Texas Observer, a highly respected journal of opinion, published a thoroughly researched article by Bill Adler in its November 7, 1986 issue titled, "The Killing of Henry Marshall." The article is required reading for anyone interested in the murders.

(5) In 1998, a video titled "LBJ: A Closer Look" was released, having been produced by two Californians, Lyle and Theresa Sardie. The video contains interviews with key persons who knew of the murders and of the LBJ-Billie Sol connection.

(6) In 2003, the book "Blood, Money & Power: How LBJ murdered JFK" was published. Its author is Barr McClellan, father of Bush's current press secretary in the White House, Scott McClellan. Barr McClellan was a lawyer with the law firm in Austin that handled LBJ's secret financial empire before and after he became President.

(7) Also in 2003, the History Channel showed "The Men Who Killed Kennedy: The Final Chapter." Much of this show drew on McClellan's book and my letters to Trott. After it was telecast several times, immense pressure was brought upon the History Channel to withdraw the video from being offered for sale to the public. For the first time in its own history the History Channel succumbed to this outside pressure that was orchestrated by Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Pictures Association of America and former LBJ aide, and reluctantly withdrew the video from public circulation.

(8) Both Barr McClellan and I, among others, have in our possession documents and papers, too numerous and lengthy to detail here, that help to round out the full LBJ-Billie Sol story, including letters from LBJ to Billie Sol.

(26) New York Post (14th January, 2007)

E. Howard Hunt - the shadowy former CIA man who organized the Watergate break-in and was once eyed in the assassination of President Kennedy - bizarrely says that Lyndon Johnson could be seen as a prime suspect in the rubout.

Only the most far-out conspiracy theorists believe in scenarios like Hunt's. But in a new memoir, "American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate & Beyond," due out in April, Hunt, 88, writes: "Having Kennedy liquidated, thus elevating himself to the presidency without having to work for it himself, could have been a very tempting and logical move on Johnson's part.

"LBJ had the money and the connections to manipulate the scenario in Dallas and is on record as having convinced JFK to make the appearance in the first place. He further tried unsuccessfully to engineer the passengers of each vehicle, trying to get his good buddy, Gov. [John] Connolly, to ride with him instead of in JFK's car - where . . . he would have been out of danger."

Hunt says Johnson also had easy access to CIA man William Harvey, who'd been demoted when he tried to have Fidel Castro poisoned in defiance of orders to drop covert operations against Cuba. Harvey was "a ruthless man who was not satisfied with his position in the CIA and its government salary," Hunt writes.

"He definitely had dreams of becoming [CIA director] and LBJ could do that for him if he were president . . . [LBJ] would have used Harvey because he was available and corrupt." Hunt denies any hand in the assassination, insisting he wasn't one of three mysterious hobos who were photographed at the scene.

On Watergate, Hunt says he saved G. Gordon Liddy from gagging on urine-tainted booze as they got ready to break into Democratic National Committee headquarters, telling him, "I know you like your scotch, but don't order it... Last night when we were hiding in the closet, I had to take a leak in the worst way, and when I couldn't bear it any longer, I found a fairly empty bottle of Johnnie Walker Red - and now let's just say it's quite full."

(27) James Wagenvoord, email to John Simkin (3rd November, 2009)

Beginning in later summer 1963 the magazine, based upon information fed from Bobby Kennedy and the Justice Department, had been developing a major newsbreak piece concerning Johnson and Bobby Baker. On publication Johnson would have been finished and off the 1964 ticket (reason the material was fed to us) and would probably have been facing prison time. At the time LIFE magazine was arguably the most important general news source in the US. The top management of Time Inc. was closely allied with the USA's various intelligence agencies and we were used after by the Kennedy Justice Department as a conduit to the public....

The LBJ/Baker piece was in the final editing stages and was scheduled to break in the issue of the magazine due out the week of November 24th (the magazine would have made it to the newsstands on November 26th or 27th). It had been prepared in relative secrecy by a small special editorial team. On Kennedy's death research files and all numbered copies of the nearly print-ready draft were gathered up by my boss (he had been the top editor on the team) and shredded. The issue that was to expose LBJ instead featured the Zapruder film.

(1) Edward A. Clark, interviewed by Robert A. Caro, included in The Path to Power (1982)

He was the hardest worker I ever saw - he couldn't relax.... There was a lot of insecurity in Lyndon. He had some kind of inferiority complex. You could see that right away... I would see him talking to somebody, and I would see what he was doing. He was ingratiating himself. And he could do it so good. I never saw anything like it. He was listening at them. He could start talking to a man at a party, or he could stop a fellow on the street, and in five minutes he could get that man to think, 'I like you, young fellow. I'll be for you.' I considered him a comer. I knew the way he was getting around and meeting the people, getting acquainted. I knew he was figuring on running for office. I didn't know what office he was going to run for, but I knew he was going to run for some office, and I knew he was going to run for a big office. And I was willing to buy a ticket on him.

(2) Barr McClellan, Blood Money and Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K. (2003)

Johnson made a show of serving his country, activating his reserve status in the U.S. Navy and getting sent to the Pacific to develop a progress report for FDR on military organization and supply. In Australia, after convincing General Douglas MacArthur to send him near a combat zone, he flew in a B-25 on a bombing raid to Lae in northeast New Guinea. The fighting was fierce with Japanese Zeroes allegedly attacking the bomber repeatedly. Somehow the plane survived and returned Johnson to safety. Some airmen that flew on the bombing run sharply dispute the account,

(3) Rufus Youngblood, testimony to the Warren Commission Report (September, 1964)

As we were beginning to go down this incline, all of a sudden there was an explosive noise. I quickly observed unnatural movement of crowds, like ducking or scattering, and quick movements in the Presidential follow-up car. So I turned around and hit the Vice President on the shoulder and hollered, get down, and then looked around again and saw more of this movement, and so I proceeded to go to the back seat and get on top of him.

(4) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover (10.01 am, 23rd November, 1963)

J. Edgar Hoover: I just wanted to let you know of a development which I think is very important in connection with this case - this man in Dallas (Lee Harvey Oswald). We, of course, charged him with the murder of the President. The evidence that they have at the present time is not very, very strong. We have just discovered the place where the gun was purchased and the shipment of the gun from Chicago to Dallas, to a post office box in Dallas, to a man - no, to a woman by the name of "A. Hidell."... We had it flown up last night, and our laboratory here is making an examination of it.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Yes, I told the Secret Service to see that that got taken care of.

J. Edgar Hoover: That's right. We have the gun and we have the bullet. There was only one full bullet that was found. That was on the stretcher that the President was on. It apparently had fallen out when they massaged his heart, and we have that one. We have what we call slivers, which are not very valuable in the identification. As soon as we finish the testing of the gun for fingerprints ... we will then be able to test the one bullet we have with the gun. But the important thing is that this gun was bought in Chicago on a money order. Cost twenty-one dollars, and it seems almost impossible to think that for twenty-one dollars you could kill the President of the United States.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Now, who is A. Hidell?

J. Edgar Hoover: A. Hidell is an alias that this man has used on other occasions, and according to the information we have from the house in which he was living - his mother - he kept a rifle like this wrapped up in a blanket which he kept in the house. On the morning that this incident occurred down there - yesterday - the man who drove him to the building where they work, the building from where the shots came, said that he had a package wrapped up in pape... But the important thing at the time is that the location of the purchase of the gun by a money order apparently to the Klein Gun Company in Chicago - we were able to establish that last night.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Have you established any more about the visit to the Soviet embassy in Mexico in September?

J. Edgar Hoover: No, that's one angle that's very confusing, for this reason - we have up here the tape and the photograph of the man who was at the Soviet embassy, using Oswald's name. That picture and the tape do not correspond to this man's voice, nor to his appearance. In other words, it appears that there is a second person who was at the Soviet embassy down there. We do have a copy of a letter which was written by Oswald to the Soviet embassy here in Washington, inquiring as well as complaining about the harassment of his wife and the questioning of his wife by the FBI. Now, of course, that letter information - we process all mail that goes to the Soviet embassy. It's a very secret operation. No mail is delivered to the embassy without being examined and opened by us, so that we know what they receive... The case, as it stands now, isn't strong enough to be able to get a conviction... Now if we can identify this man who was at the... Soviet embassy in Mexico City... This man Oswald has still denied everything. He doesn't know anything about anything, but the gun thing, of course, is a definite trend.

Lyndon B. Johnson: It definitely established that he - the same gun killed the policeman?

J. Edgar Hoover: That is an entirely different gun. We also have that gun...

Lyndon B. Johnson: You think he might have two ?

J. Edgar Hoover: Yes, yes, he had two guns... The one that killed the President was found on the sixth floor in the building from which it had been fired. I think that the bullets were fired from the fifth floor, and the three shells that were found were found on the fifth floor. But he apparently went upstairs to have fired the gun and throw the gun away and then went out. He went down to this theater. There at the theater was where he had the gun battle with the police officer.

Lyndon B. Johnson: I wonder if you will get me a little synopsis and let me have what developments come your way during the day and try to get to me before we close up for the day.

(5) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and George Smathers (2.10 pm, 23rd November, 1963)

Lyndon B. Johnson: Tell me, what is the situation on the tax bill? I am going to meet with the Cabinet at two-thirty and...

George Smathers: ... I made a deal, just confidentially . . . that Ribicoff and Long and myself and Fulbright would vote against any motion to take the bill away from the Chairman... He would agree to... close the hearing... Now, I asked them the other day what Byrd was really trying to accomplish. It's to hold up the tax bill until he could prove that Kennedy was going to have the budget... over $100 billion. So he could then argue, you know, that we are financing these tax amendments with debt. So I... told him that... if we, the President would come out and tell him now in December what he thought his budget was going to be, would Byrd cooperate and help them to get the clearance in the Executive Session over with?... He said, "I don't have any problem." . . . Now at the last legislative breakfast - you were not there - I very strongly said that I thought we had enough votes on the floor to pass the tax bill this year. But.. we were going to have to go around Harry Byrd in the committee... I don't know if you want to do it or not, but the smart thing to do, in light of developments, would be for you to get the appropriation bill through real quick and then just...

Lyndon B. Johnson: No, no, I can't do that. That would destroy the party and destroy the election, and destroy everything. We've got to carry on. We can't abandon this fellow's program, because he is a national hero and there are going to be those people want his program passed and we've got to keep this Kennedy aura around us through this election.

George Smathers: Yeah. Well, in that connection... I had a most interesting visit with Hubert last night, after we met with you. He invited me over to his office to have a drin... Hubert and I think that the new President has just got to have a liberal running with him as VP candidate and - I am just speaking for myself - I think, my God, that most of the Southerners would be for Hubert... He was not at .all averse to the idea... He jumps for it... I says, "Can you hold Joe an... Paul and can you keep them lined up?" And he said, "I'm sure I can. This is going to be the problem.... They are going to try to make the new President look immediately like he is an old Texas oilman and... he is now the President of everybody."

(6) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover (10.30 am, 25th November, 1963)

Lyndon B. Johnson: Apparently some lawyer in Justice is lobbying with the (Washington) Post because that's where the suggestion came from for this presidential commission, which we think would be very bad and put it right in the White House. We can't be checking up on every shooting scrape in the country, but they've gone to the Post now to get 'em an editorial, and the Post is calling up and saying they're going to run an editorial if we don't do things. Now we're going to do two things and I wanted you to know about it. One - we believe that the way to handle this, as we said yesterday - your suggestion - that you put every facility at your command, making a full report to the Attorney General and then they make it available to the country in whatever form may seem desirable. Second - it's a state matter, too, and the state Attorney General is young and able and prudent and very cooperative with you. He's going to run a Court of Inquiry, which is provided for by state law, and he's going to have associated with him the most outstanding jurists in the country. But he's a good conservative fella and we don't start invading local jurisdictions that way and he understands what you're doing and he's for it... Now if you get too many cooks messing with the broth, it'll mess it up. ... These two are trained organizations and the Attorney General of the state holds Courts of Inquiry every time a law is violated, and the FBI makes these investigations... You ought to tell your press men that that's what's happening and they can expect Waggoner Carr, the Attorney General of Texas, to make an announcement this morning, to have a state inquiry and that you can offer them your full cooperation and vice versa. . . .

J. Edgar Hoover: We'll both work together on it.

Lyndon B. Johnson: And any influence you got with the Post... point out to them that... just picking out a Tom Dewey lawyer from New York and sending him down on new facts - this commission thing - Mr. Herbert Hoover tried that and some- times a commission that's not trained hurts more than it helps.

J. Edgar Hoover: It's a regular circus then.

Lyndon B. Johnson: That's right.

J. Edgar Hoover: Because it'll be covered by TV and everything like that.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Just like an investigating committee.

J. Edgar Hoover: Exactly. I don't have much influence with the Post because I frankly don't read it. I view it like the Daily Worker.

Lyndon B. Johnson: (laughs) You told me that once before. I just want your people to know the facts, and your people can say that. And that kind of negates it, you see?

(7) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover (1.40 pm, 29th November, 1963)

Lyndon B. Johnson: Are you familiar with this proposed group that they're trying to put together on this study of your report and other things - two from the House, two from the Senate, somebody from the Court, a couple of outsiders?

J. Edgar Hoover: No, I haven't heard of that. ... I think it would be very, very bad to have a rash of investigations on this thing.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Well, the only way we can stop them is probably to appoint a high-level one to evaluate your report and put somebody that's pretty good on it that I can select... and tell the House and the Senate not to go ahead... because they'll get a lot of television going and I thought it would be bad.

J. Edgar Hoover: It would be a three-ring circus.

Lyndon B. Johnson: What do you think about Allen Dulles?

J. Edgar Hoover: I think he would be a good man.

Lyndon B. Johnson: What do you think about John McCloy?

J. Edgar Hoover: I'm not as enthusiastic about McCloy... I'm not so certain as to the matter of the publicity that he might seek on it.

Lyndon B. Johnson: What about General Norstad?

J. Edgar Hoover: Good man.

Lyndon B. Johnson: I thought maybe I might try to get Boggs and Jerry Ford in the House, maybe try to get Dick Russell and maybe Cooper in the Senate.

J. Edgar Hoover: Yes, I think so.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Me and you are just going to talk like brothers. ... I thought Russell could kind of look after the general situation, see that the states and their relations -

J. Edgar Hoover: Russell would be an excellent man.

Lyndon B. Johnson: And I thought Cooper might look after the liberal group.... He's a pretty judicious fellow but he's a pretty liberal fellow. I wouldn't want Javits or some of those on it.

J. Edgar Hoover: No, no, no. Javits plays the front page a lot.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Cooper is kind of border state. It's not the South and it's not the North.

J. Edgar Hoover: That's right.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Do you know Ford from Michigan?

J. Edgar Hoover: I know of him, but I don't know him. I saw him on TV the other night for the first time and he handled himself well on that.

Lyndon B. Johnson: You know Boggs?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, yes, I know Boggs.

Lyndon B. Johnson: He's kind of the author of the resolution. That's why. Now Walter tells me - Walter Jenkins - that you've designated Deke (Cartha DeLoach) to work with us, like you did on the Hill, and I tell you I sure appreciate that. I didn't ask for it 'cause ... I know you know how to run your business better than anybody else... We consider him as high-class as you do. And it is a mighty gracious thing to do. And we'll be mighty happy We salute you for knowing how to pick good men.

J. Edgar Hoover: That's mighty nice of you, Mr. President, indeed. We hope to have this thing wrapped up today, but could be we probably won't get it before the first of the week. This angle in Mexico is giving us a great deal of trouble because the story there is of this man Oswald getting $6,500 from the Cuban embassy and then coming back to this country with it. We're not able to prove that fact, but the information was that he was there on the 18th of September in Mexico City and we are able to prove conclusively he was in New Orleans that day. Now then they've changed the dates. The story came in changing the dates to the 28th of September and he was in Mexico City on the 28th. Now the Mexican police have again arrested this woman Duran, who is a member of the Cuban embassy... and we're going to confront her with the original informant, who saw the money pass, so he says, and we're also going to put the lie detector test on him.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Can you pay any attention to those lie detector tests?

J. Edgar Hoover: I wouldn't want to be a party to sending a man to the chair on a lie detector... We've found many cases where we've used them - in a bank where there's been embezzlement - and a person will confess before the lie detector test is finished. They're more or less fearful of the fact that the lie detector test will show them guilty psychologically... Of course, it is a misnomer to call it a lie detector because what it really is is the evaluation of the chart that is made by this machine and that evaluation is made by a human being.... On the other hand, if this Oswald had lived and had taken the lie detector test and it had shown definitely that he had done these various things together with the evidence that we very definitely have, it would just have added that much more strength to it. There is no question but that he is the man now - with the fingerprints and things we have. This fellow Rubenstein down there - he has offered to take the lie detector test but his lawyer has got to be, of course, consulted first and I doubt whether the lawyer will allow it. He's one of these criminal lawyers from the West Coast and somewhat like an Edward Bennett Williams type - and almost as much of a shyster.

Lyndon B. Johnson: (laughs) Have you got any relationship between the two yet?

J. Edgar Hoover: No, at the present time we have not. There was a story down there...

Lyndon B. Johnson: Was he ever in his bar and stuff like that?

J. Edgar Hoover: There was a story that this fellow had been in this nightclub that is a striptease joint, that he had. But that has not been able to be confirmed. Now this fellow Rubenstein is a very shady character, has a bad record-street brawler tighter, and that sort of thing-and in the place in Dallas, if a fellow came in there and couldn t pay his bill completely, Rubenstein would beat the very devil out of him and throw him out of the place... He didn't drink, didn't smoke boasted about that. He is what I would put in a category of one of these - egomaniacs. Likes to be in the limelight. He knew all the police in that white-light district... and he also let them come in, see the show, get food, liquor, and so forth. That s how, I think, he got into police headquarters. Because they accepted him as kind of a police character, hanging around police headquarters They never made any moves, as the pictures show, even when they saw him approaching this fellow and got up right to him and pressed his pistol against Oswald s stomach. Neither of the police officers on either side made any move to push him away or grab him. It wasn't until after the gun was fired that they then moved.... The Chief of Police admits that he moved him in the morning as a convenience and at the request of morion-picture people, who wanted to have daylight. He should have moved him at night... But so far as tying Rubenstein and Oswald together we haven't as yet done. So there have been a number of stories come in, we've tied Oswald into the Civil Liberties Union in New York, membership into that and, of course, this Cuban Fair Play Committee which is pro-Castro and dominated by Communism and financed, to some extent, by the Castro government.

Lyndon B. Johnson: How many shots were fired? Three?

J. Edgar Hoover: Three.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Any of them fired at me?

J. Edgar Hoover: No.

Lyndon B. Johnson: All three at the President?

J. Edgar Hoover: All three at the president and we have them. Two of the shots fired at the President were splintered but they had characteristics on them so that our ballistics expert was able to prove that they were fired by this gun. The President - he was hit by the first and third. The second shot hit the Governor the third shot is a complete bullet and that rolled out of the President's head It tore a large part of the President's head off and, in trying to massage his heart at the hospital on the way to the hospital, they apparently loosened that and it fell off onto the stretcher. And we recovered that... And we have the gun here also.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Were they aiming at the President?

J. Edgar Hoover: They were aiming directly at the President. There is no question about that. This telescopic lens, which I've looked through-it brings a person as close to you as if they were sitting right beside you. And we also have tested the fact that you could fire those three shots... within three seconds. There had been some stories going around... that there must have been more than one man because no one man could fire those shots in the time that they were fired...

Lyndon B. Johnson: How did it happen they hit Connally?

J. Edgar Hoover: Connally turned to the President when the first shot was fired and I think in that turning, it was where he got hit.

Lyndon B. Johnson: If he hadn't turned, he probably wouldn't have got hit?

J. Edgar Hoover: I think that is very likely.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Would the President've got hit with the second one?

J. Edgar Hoover: No, the President wasn't hit with the second one.

Lyndon B. Johnson: I say, if Connally hadn't been in his way?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, yes, yes, the President would no doubt have been hit.

Lyndon B. Johnson: He would have been hit three times.

J. Edgar Hoover: He would have been hit three times from the fifth floor of that building where we found the gun and the wrapping paper in which the gun was wrapped... and upon which we found the full fingerprints of this man Oswald. On that floor we found the three empty shells that had been fired and one shell that had not been fired... He then threw the gun aside and came down. At the entrance of the building, he was stopped by a police officer and some manager in the building told the police officer, "Well, he's all right. He works there. You needn't hold him." They let him go... And then he got on a bus... He went out to his home and got ahold of a jacket.... and he came back downtown... and the police officer who was killed stopped him, not knowing'who he was and not knowing whether he was the man, but just on suspicion. And he fired, of course, and killed the police officer. Then he walked.

Lyndon B. Johnson: You can prove that?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, yes, oh, yes, we can prove that. Then he walked about another two blocks and went to the theater and the woman at the theater window selling the tickets, she was so suspicious the way he was acting, she said he was carrying a gun... He went into the theater and she notified the police and the police and our man down there went in there and located this particular man. They had quite a struggle with him. He fought like a regular lion and he had to be subdued, of course, and was then brought out and... taken to the police headquarters....

Lyndon B. Johnson: Well your conclusion is: (1) he's the one that did it; (2) the man he was after was the President; (3) he would have hit him three times, except the Governor turned.

J. Edgar Hoover: I think that is correct.

Lyndon B. Johnson: (4) That there is no connection between he and Ruby that you can detect now. And (5) whether he was connected with the Cuban operation with money, you're trying to...

J. Edgar Hoover: That's what we're trying to nail down now, because he was strongly pro-Castro, he was strongly anti-American, and he had been in correspondence, which we have, with the Soviet embassy here in Washington and with the American Civil Liberties Union and with this Committee for Fair Play to Cuba... None of those letters, however, dealt with any indication of violence or contemplated assassination. They were dealing with the matter of a visa for his wife to go back to Russia. Now there is one angle to this thing that I'm hopeful to get some word on today. This woman, his wife, had been very hostile. She would not cooperate, speaks... Russian only. She did say to us yesterday down there that if we could give her assurance that she would be allowed to remain in this country, she might cooperate. I told our agents down there to give her that assurance... and I sent a Russian-speaking agent into Dallas last night to interview her.... Whether she knows anything or talks anything, I, of course, don't know and won't know till -

Lyndon B. Johnson: Where did he work in the building? On this same floor?

J. Edgar Hoover: He had access on all floors.

Lyndon B. Johnson: But where was his office?

J. Edgar Hoover: He didn't have any particular office... Orders came in for certain books and some books would be on the first floor, second floor, third floor, and so forth... He was just a general packer of the requisitions that came in for school books for the Dallas schools there and therefore he had access... to the fifth floor and to the sixth floor. Usually most of the employees were down on a lower floor.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Did anybody hear, did anybody see him on the fifth floor or...

J. Edgar Hoover: Yes, he was seen on the fifth floor by one of the workmen there before the assassination took place. He was seen there so that...

Lyndon B. Johnson: Did you get a picture of him shooting?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, no. There was no picture taken of him shooting.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Well what was this picture that that fellow sold for $25,000?

J. Edgar Hoover: That was a picture taken of the parade and showing Mrs. Kennedy climbing out of the back seat. You see, there was no Secret Service man standing on the back of the car. Usually the presidential car in the past has had steps on the back, next to the bumpers, and there's usually been one on either side standing on those steps. . . . Whether the President asked that that not be done,

Lyndon B. Johnson: Do you have a bulletproof car?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, yes I do.

Lyndon B. Johnson: You think I ought to have one?

J. Edgar Hoover: I think you most certainly should have one.. I have one here... I use it here for myself and if we have any raids to make or have to surround a place where anybody is hidden in, we use the bulletproof car on that because you can bulletproof the entire car, including the glass, but it means that the top has to remain up.... But I do think you ought to have a bulletproof car... I understand that the Secret Service has had two cars with metal plates underneath the car to take care of a hand grenade or bomb that might be thrown out and rolled along the street. Of course, we don't do those things in this country. In Europe, that is the way they assassinate the heads of state.... They've been after General de Gaulle, you know, with that sort of thing. But in this country, all of our assassinations have been with guns... I was very much surprised when I learned that this bubble-top thing was not bulletproof in any respect and that the plastic - the top to it was down. Of course, the President had insisted upon that so that he could stand up and wave to the crowd. Now it seems to me that the President ought to always be in a bulletproof car. It certainly would prevent anything like this ever happening again... You could have a thousand Secret Service men on guard and still a sniper can snipe you from up in the window if you are exposed, like the President was...

Lyndon B. Johnson: You mean, if I ride around my ranch, I ought to be in a bulletproof car?

J. Edgar Hoover: I would certainly think so, Mr. President. It seems to me that that car down at your ranch there, the little car that we rode around in when I was down there, I think that ought to be bulletproof. I think it ought to be done very quietly. There is a concern, I think, out in Cincinnati, where we have our cars bulletproofed. I think we've got four, one on the West Coast, one in New York, and one here and I think it can be done quietly, without any publicity being given to it or any pictures being taken of it if it's handled properly. But I think you ought to have it at the ranch there. It is perfectly easy for somebody to get onto the ranch.

Lyndon B. Johnson: You think those entrances all ought to be guarded though, don't you?

J. Edgar Hoover: Oh, I think by all means... You've got to really almost be in the capacity of a so-called prisoner because without that security, anything can be done. Now we've gotten a lot of letters and phone calls over the last three or four or five days. We got one about this parade the other day that they were going to try to kill you then and I talked with the Attorney General about it. I was very much opposed to that marching from the White House.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Well, the Secret Service told them not to, but the family felt otherwise.

J. Edgar Hoover: That's what Bobby told me... I was very much opposed to it because it was even worse than down there in Dallas - you know, walking down the center of the street.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Yes, yes, that's right.

J. Edgar Hoover: And somebody on the sidewalk could dash out. I noticed even on Pennsylvania Avenue - I viewed the procession coming back from the Capitol, and while they had police assigned along the curbstone looking at the crowd, when the parade came along, the police turned around and looked at the parade...

Lyndon B. Johnson: (laughs)

J. Edgar Hoover:... which was the worst thing to do. They also had a line of soldiers, but they were looking at the parade.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Well, I'm going to take every precaution I can... and I wish you'd put down your thoughts on that a little bit, because you're more than the head of the Federal Bureau. As far as I'm concerned, you're my brother and personal friend. You have been for twenty-five to thirty years... I know you don't want anything happening to your family.

J. Edgar Hoover: Absolutely not!

Lyndon B. Johnson: I've got more confidence in your judgment than anybody in town. So you just put down some of the things you think ought to happen and I won't involve you or quote you or get you in jurisdictional disputes or anything, but I'd like to at least advocate them as my opinion.

J. Edgar Hoover: I'll be very glad to indeed. I certainly appreciate your confidence.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Thank you, Edgar. Thank you.

(8) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and Charles Halleck, House Minority Leader (6.30 pm, 29th November, 1963)

Lyndon B. Johnson: Charlie, I hate to bother you but. . . I've got to appoint a commission and issue an executive order tonight on investigation of the assassination of the President because this thing is getting pretty serious and our folks are worried about it. It's got some foreign complications - CIA and other things - and I'm going to try to get the Chief Justice to go on it. He declined earlier in the day, but I think I'm going to try to get him to head it....

Charles Halleck: Chief Justice Warren?

Lyndon B. Johnson: Yes.

Charles Halleck: I think that's a mistake....

Lyndon B. Johnson: I'd be glad to hear you, but I want to talk to you about - he thought it was a mistake till I told him everything we knew and we just can't have House and Senate and FBI and other people going around testifying that Khrushchev killed Kennedy or Castro killed him. We've got to have the facts, and you don't have a President assassinated once every fifty years. And this thing is so touchy from an international standpoint that every man we've got over there is concerned about it....

Charles Halleck: I'll cooperate, my friend. I'll tell you one thing, Lyndon - Mr. President - I think that to call on Supreme Court guys to do jobs is kind of a mistake.

Lyndon B. Johnson: It is on all these other things I agree with you on Pearl Harbor and I agree with you on the railroad strike. But this is a question that could involve our losing thirty-nine million people. This is a judicial question.

Charles Halleck: I, of course, don't want that to happen. Of course, I was a little disappointed in the speech the Chief Justice made. I'll talk to you real plainly. He's jumped at the gun and, of course, I don't know whether the right wing was in this or not. You've been very discreet. You have mentioned the left and the right and I am for that.

(9) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard B. Russell (8.55 p.m 29th November, 1963)

Richard Russell: I know I don't have to tell you of my devotion to you but I just can't serve on that Commission. I'm highly honoured you'd think about me in connection with it but I couldn't serve on it with Chief Justice Warren. I don't like that man. I don't have any confidence in him at all.

Lyndon B. Johnson: It has already been announced and you can serve with anybody for the good of America and this is a question that has a good many more ramifications than on the surface and we've got to take this out of the arena where they're testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and chuck us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour....

Richard Russell: I still feel it sort of getting wrapped up...

Lyndon B. Johnson: Dick... do you remember when you met me at the Carlton Hotel in 1952? When we had breakfast there one morning.

Richard Russell: Yes I think so.

Lyndon B. Johnson: All right. Do you think I'm kidding you?

Richard Russell: No... I don't think your kidding me, but I think... well, I'm not going to say anymore, Mr. President... I'm at your command... and I'll do anything you want me to do....

Lyndon B. Johnson: Warren told me he wouldn't do it under any circumstances... I called him and ordered him down here and told me no twice and I just pulled out what Hoover told me about a little incident in Mexico City and I say now, I don't want Mr. Khrushchev to be told tomorrow (censored) and be testifying before a camera that he killed this fellow and that Castro killed him... And he started crying and said, well I won't turn you down... I'll do whatever you say.

(10) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and John McCormack, Speaker of the House of Representatives (29th November, 1963)

Lyndon B. Johnson: We don't want to be testifying, and some fellow comes up from Dallas and says, "I think Khrushchev planned this whole thing and he got our President assassinated." You can see what that'll lead us to, right quick... You take care of the House of Representatives for me.

John McCormack: How am I going to take care of them?

Lyndon B. Johnson: Just keep them from investigating!

John McCormack: Oh that. I've been doing it now.

(11) Lyndon Johnson, testimony to the Warren Commission Report (September, 1964)

I was startled by the sharp report or explosion, but I had no time to speculate as to its origin because Agent Youngblood turned in a flash, immediately after the first explosion, hitting me on the shoulder, and shouted to all of us in the back seat to get down. I was pushed down by Agent Youngblood. Almost in the same moment in which he hit or pushed me, he vaulted over the back seat and sat on me. I was bent over under the weight of Agent Youngblood's body, toward Mrs. Johnson and Senator Yarborough.

(12) Warren Commission Report (September, 1964)

Special Agent Ready, on the right front running board of the Presidential follow-up car, heard noises that sounded like firecrackers and ran toward the President's limousine.

Youngblood was not positive that he was in the rear seat before the second shot, but thought it probable because of President Johnson's statement to that effect immediately after the assassination...

Clifton C. Carter, riding in the Vice President's follow-up car a short distance behind, reported that Youngblood was in the rear seat using his body to shield the Vice President before the second and third shots were fired.

(13) Doris Kearns, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream (1976)

In the spring of 1964, only four months after he became president, Lyndon Johnson had spoken at the campus of the University of Michigan, and there he sketched the outline for a program intended to go beyond the "Kennedy legacy". The climate that made it possible for a president to adopt such large ambitions and to succeed in enacting so many of his proposals was the product of converging circumstances. The shock of Kennedy's death, the civil rights movement, an emerging awareness of the extent and existence of poverty, a reduction of threatening tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, all helped Americans to focus public attention and perceptions on the problems of their own country.

(14) Lyndon Baines Johnson, speech on the Voting Rights Act (15th March, 1965)

Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes. Every device of which human ingenuity is capable has been used to deny this rights. The Negro citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is late, or the official in charge is absent. And if he persists and he manages to present himself to register, he may be disqualified because he did not spell out his middle name or because he abbreviated a word on his application. And if he manages to fill out an application he is given a test. The register is the sole judge of whether he passes his test. He may be asked to recite the entire constitution, or explain the most complex provisions of state laws. And even a college degree cannot be used to prove that he can read and write. For the fact is that the only way to pass these barriers is to show a white skin. This bill will strike down restrictions to voting in all elections - federal, State, and local - which have been used to deny Negroes the right to vote.

(15) Lyndon Baines Johnson, speech at Howard University (4th June, 1965)

At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama.

There, long-suffering men and women peacefully protested the denial of their rights as Americans. Many were brutally assaulted. One good man - a man of God - was killed.

This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: "All men are created equal" - "Government by consent of the governed" - "Give me liberty or give me death". And those are not just clever words and not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries.

Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law that we now have on the books can ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it. Wednesday I will send to Congress a law designed to eliminate illegal barriers to the right to vote. This bill will strike down restrictions to voting in all elections - federal, state, and local - which have been used to deny Negroes the right to vote.

(16) Lyndon Baines Johnson, speech (July 28,1965)

Its (National Liberation Front) goal is to conquer the south, to defeat American power and to extend the Asiatic domination of Communism ... Our power, therefore, is a very vital shield. If we are driven from the field in Vietnam, then no nation can ever again have the same confidence in American promise or protection . . We did not choose to be the guardians at the gate, but there is no one else.

(17) Roy Wilkins wrote about the riots in Detroit in 1967 in his autobiography, A Man's Life (1982)

Johnson went around the room and asked everyone for an opinion. I thought we shouldn't send any troops in until we could get some high-level civilians on the ground to see what was really going on. Others thought the President couldn't wait that long for fear of inviting the charge that he had fiddled while Detroit burned. After a little more discussion, the President announced that he was going to send a civilian team in to head the operation. Vance would lead the team, which was to include Christopher, Doar and me, from Justice, and Dan Henkin, a press spokesman, from Defense. He would send the 82nd up to Detroit, but they would be stationed outside the city, at the Michigan State Fair Grounds, until we civilians decided that they were needed.

Then Johnson delivered a fierce monologue about what he didn't want to happen. If the troops were ordered into Detroit, he didn't want them walking around with loaded guns unless their commanders thought there was a sufficient emergency for them to carry them. No bayonets. No bullets.

"I don't want my troops shooting some ni..." he glanced sharply at me and stopped. Then he started again, " - some pregnant woman."

Then he pulled a phone from its cradle by his chair under the cabinet table, handed it to Ramsey and had him call Governor Romney to inform him of the plan.

As we were being dismissed, the President touched my arm, looked at me for a long moment and then said, "Have a safe trip, Roger."

It was his way of saying that he was sorry that he had almost said "nigger" in front of me. I was amused, because I was sure it was one of the mainstays of his uninhibited vocabulary.

(18) Lyndon Johnson, interviewed in 1968.

The trick was to crack the wall of separation enough to give the Congress a feeling of participation in creating my bills while exposing my plans at the same time to advance congressional opposition before they even saw the light of day. My experience in the National Youth Administration (NYA) taught me that when people have a hand in shaping projects, the projects are more likely to be successful than the ones simply handed down from the top. As Majority Leader in the Senate I learned that the best guarantee to legislature success was a process by which the wishes and views of the members are obtained ahead of time and whenever possible, incorporated into the early drafts of the bill.

(19) Townsend Hoopes, Washington Post (17th August, 1971)

The altered alignments in the Communist world were much clearer in 1964 than in 1960, making it, again in theory, easier for Johnson to take a fresh look. But the abrupt and tragic way in which he had come to the White House, the compulsions of the 1964 presidential campaign, and his own lack of a steady compass in foreign affairs (not to mention the powerful and nearly unanimous views of his inherited advisers) effectively ruled out a basic reappraisal of our national interests in Vietnam. Like each predecessor, Johnson decided, as one analyst put it, "that it would be inconvenient for him to lose South Vietnam this year".

(20) Lyndon Johnson, speech to the nation (31st March, 1968)

Fifty-two months and ten days, in a moment of tragedy and trauma, the duties of this office fell upon me. I asked then for your help and God's, that we might continue America on its course, binding up our wounds, healing our history, moving forward in unity, to clear the American agenda and to keep the American commitment for all our people.

United we have kept that commitment. United we have enlarged that commitment. What we won when all our people were united just must not be lost in suspicion, distrust, selfishness, and politics among any of our people.

Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not permit the presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year. With America's sons in the field far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day. I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to my personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office - the presidency of your country.

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept the nomination of my party, for another term as your president.

(21) Bobby Baker, Wheeling and Dealing: Confessions of a Capitol Hill Operator (1978)

One Sunday evening I was consulting with Abe Fortas at his home when Lady Bird Johnson called... I hardly heard her. I was thinking: LBJ's right there by her side, but he won't talk to me because he wants to be able to say he hasn't. I knew that Johnson was petrified that he would be dragged down... LBJ was already nervous because of the Billie Sol Estes scandal and the resignation of a Texas friend, Fred Korth, who'd quit as secretary of the navy following conflict-of-interest accusations. So I'd not expected to hear much from him. In fact, from the moment I resigned in October of 1963 until I visited him at his ranch to see a dying man, almost nine years later, we spoke not a word and communicated only through intermediaries.

(22) Jack Anderson, speech at the University of Utah (22nd September, 1999)

It was Lyndon Johnson who first explained to me that George Washington was born in Texas. I hadn't known that before. He said that little George, when he turned 8 years old, was given a shiny red hatchet for a birthday present. He tested out this hatchet on a pecan tree. When his father came home that evening, and found the tree missing from the family landscape he demanded to know who was responsible, and little George stepped forward, and said, "Father, I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down the pecan tree." At that, the old man lifted little George upon his knee, and said "Son, if you can't tell a lie we are going to have to leave Texas." That's how they got to Washington. That was Lyndon Johnson's version.

Lyndon told me he grew up in poverty. This was obviously before he got into politics. He grew up in absolute poverty on the banks of the (Pedernales), one of the Texas rivers. They were so poor they couldn't afford indoor plumbing. They were obliged to use an outhouse that was perched on the banks of the river. Little Lyndon was a mischievous fella, and couldn't resist one day pushing the outhouse in to the river. Not long afterward his father came roaring in to the house full of outrage, demanded to know who was responsible for this deed, and little Lyndon kept his mouth shut. He decided that his best ploy was to keep quiet. When the guilty finger began getting closer and closer to him, at the last minute he changed his mind, he thought his best ploy at that point, was to use the George Washington gimmick. So he spoke up and said, "Father, I cannot tell a lie. I pushed the outhouse in to the river." At that, the old man whipped off his belt and gave little Lyndon a strapping. The whimpering little Lyndon said, "When George Washington told the truth about chopping down the pecan tree, his daddy didn't whip him!" And the old man said, "Yes, but his daddy wasn't in the pecan tree."

(23) Douglas Caddy, letter to Stephen S. Trott at the US Department of Justice (9th August, 1984)

Mr. Estes was a member of a four-member group, headed by Lyndon Johnson, which committed criminal acts in Texas in the 1960's. The other two, besides Mr. Estes and LBJ, were Cliff Carter and Mac Wallace. Mr. Estes is willing to disclose his knowledge concerning the following criminal offenses:

I. Murders

1. The killing of Henry Marshall

2. The killing of George Krutilek

3. The killing of Ike Rogers and his secretary

4. The killing of Harold Orr

5. The killing of Coleman Wade

6. The killing of Josefa Johnson

7. The killing of John Kinser

8. The killing of President J. F. Kennedy.

Mr. Estes is willing to testify that LBJ ordered these killings, and that he transmitted his orders through Cliff Carter to Mac Wallace, who executed the murders. In the cases of murders nos. 1-7, Mr. Estes' knowledge of the precise details concerning the way the murders were executed stems from conversations he had shortly after each event with Cliff Carter and Mac Wallace.

In addition, a short time after Mr. Estes was released from prison in 1971, he met with Cliff Carter and they reminisced about what had occurred in the past, including the murders. During their conversation, Carter orally compiled a list of 17 murders which had been committed, some of which Mr. Estes was unfamiliar. A living witness was present at that meeting and should be willing to testify about it. He is Kyle Brown, recently of Houston and now living in Brady, Texas.

Mr. Estes, states that Mac Wallace, whom he describes as a "stone killer" with a communist background, recruited Jack Ruby, who in turn recruited Lee Harvey Oswald. Mr. Estes says that Cliff Carter told him that Mac Wallace fired a shot from the grassy knoll in Dallas, which hit JFK from the front during the assassination.

Mr. Estes declares that Cliff Carter told him the day Kennedy was killed, Fidel Castro also was supposed to be assassinated and that Robert Kennedy, awaiting word of Castro's death, instead received news of his brother's killing.

Mr. Estes says that the Mafia did not participate in the Kennedy assassination but that its participation was discussed prior to the event, but rejected by LBJ, who believed if the Mafia were involved, he would never be out from under its blackmail....

II. The Illegal Cotton Allotments

Mr. Estes desires to discuss the infamous illegal cotton allotment schemes in great detail. He has recordings made at the time of LBJ, Cliff Carter and himself discussing the scheme. These recordings were made with Cliff Carter's knowledge as a means of Carter and Estes protecting them selves should LBJ order their deaths.

Mr. Estes believes these tape recordings and the rumors of other recordings allegedly in his possession are the reason he has not been murdered.

III. Illegal Payoffs

Mr. Estes is willing to disclose illegal payoff schemes, in which he collected and passed on to Cliff Carter and LBJ millions of dollars. Mr. Estes collected payoff money on more than one occasion from George and Herman Brown of Brown and Root, which was delivered to LBJ.

(24) Stanley I. Kutler, Why the History Channel Had to Apologize (21st April, 2004)

The History Channel recently observed the fortieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination with a series of films, "The Men who Killed Kennedy." The most widely-viewed hour, "The Guilty Men," cast Lyndon Baines Johnson in a starring role for ordering the assassination. The film was offered without fear, and without evidence.

LBJ's family and friends heatedly protested the program. Finally, after former President Gerald Ford weighed in with his objections, the History Channel engaged several of us to evaluate the program, and provided air time to discuss our findings and conclusions. Let us hope that is not the end of the matter.

The Kennedy assassination has been fertile, enduring territory for conspiracy theories. But if such elaborate notions are your cup of tea, put no hope in the scurrilous book by Barr McClellan, a onetime associate who worked in Johnson's personal attorney's office, and British film maker Nigel Turner's farcical film rendering of McClellan's musings, which the History Channel broadcast. Their work is a parody of assassination theories and beliefs; surely, this is history as a joke the living play on the dead. Such programs reflect our desperate desire to embrace a conspiracy rather than the crucial question of truth.

McClellan's wild charges involve characters across the political spectrum, from disgruntled Texas oilmen, to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the CIA, the military, Johnson's crooked Texas cronies, and Texas Governor John Connally - forget he almost was killed himself. The Right has to be pleased with the mugging of LBJ, while the Left can pin more evil-doing on Hoover. A perfect storm. Such are our faded memories that McClellan can afford to omit a Communist plot.

McClellan's background is worth a mention. He is a convicted forger, who then resigned from the bar before disbarment proceedings ran their course. His certitude knows no bounds: "LBJ murdered John F. Kennedy"; Johnson "knew of the assassination"; and he was involved "beyond a reasonable doubt." His "evidence" rests entirely on the alleged utterances of dead people, with the sole exception of that poster child for a con artist, Billie Sol Estes. A McClellan supporter wrote to me, urging that I call Estes to "get the truth." He said "Billie Sol Estes was there when LBJ ordered the killings, 18 of them in all. This includes JFK. Don't take my word for it, get it from the man who was there at the time the killings were ordered. Call Billie Sol Estes..." The FBI has investigated Estes's accusations, and they found his credibility "non-existent." A further cover-up? Then consider how this pitiful figure admitted to his sentencing judge in 1979: "I have a problem. I live in a dream world." In a rare sensible moment, the film maker wisely did without his services - but not without his fabrications.

Assassination conspiracy theories and books expounding them proliferate. But film is special. A conjurer's sleight-of-hand and verbal misdirection are ready ingredients for manipulating a mass audience. Richard Condon, who wrote The Manchurian Candidate, and who managed to spoof every recent American president, gave his own comic twist in Winter Kills, a novel (later a film) naming the perp as Patriarch Joseph Kennedy, distressed because his son had become too liberal. A comic genius, Condon never labeled his work as anything other than fiction. But Oliver Stone, in the new tradition of "docu-dramas,"gave us JFK, which lent an aura of authenticity to Jim Garrison's outlandish, gothic tale. Sadly, many of those under 25 believed him.

The History Channel film takes historical revisionism to unimagined depths. It seems everyone wanted Kennedy dead: he was going to withdraw from Vietnam in December 1963, so the CIA and the military wanted him out of the way; Texans wanted to preserve their oil-depletion allowance; J. Edgar Hoover believed Kennedy was about to replace him; and driving it all, of course, was Lyndon Johnson's insatiable appetite for power. Increasing the improbability of the thesis, it seems, heightens its appeal.

(25) Douglas Caddy, email interview with John Simkin (20th January, 2006 )

John Simkin: I believe in the past you represented Billie Sol Estes. On 9th August, 1984, you wrote to Stephen S. Trott at the U.S. Department of Justice. In the letter you claimed that Billie Sol Estes, Lyndon B. Johnson, Mac Wallace and Cliff Carter had been involved in the murders of Henry Marshall, George Krutilek, Harold Orr, Ike Rogers, Coleman Wade, Josefa Johnson, John Kinser and John F. Kennedy. You added: "Mr. Estes is willing to testify that LBJ ordered these killings, and that he transmitted his orders through Cliff Carter to Mac Wallace, who executed the murders." Did Billie Sol Estes provide you with any evidence that suggested his story was true?

Douglass Caddy: My relationship with Billie Sol Estes began in 1983 when Shearn Moody, a trustee of the Moody Foundation of Galveston, Texas, asked me to visit Billie Sol who was incarcerated in the federal prison at Big Spring, Texas. Billie Sol had telephoned Mr. Moody at the suggestion of a fellow inmate who knew Moody from past days when that inmate had been a lobbyist in the state capital. Billie Sol told Moody that he wanted to tell the story publicly about his long and close relationship with Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) as LBJ's bagman and requested Moody's assistance in getting this done. Moody was happy to oblige.

I met with Billie Sol in prison, who related his desire to tell all. I suggested that he do so in book form and that I would be helpful in any way that I could since I already had two books published.

Moody and I heard nothing more from Billie Sol until soon after his release from prison in early January 1984. At that time he called Moody and Moody again asked me to visit Billie Sol at the latter's home in Abilene, Texas.

There Billie Sol presented me with a copy of the recently released book that his daughter, Pam Estes, had written based on my suggestion to him when he was in prison. Its title was "Billie Sol: King of the Wheeler-Dealers" and it had caused a minor sensation. Based on its limited success, Billie Sol said that he wanted to have his own story published. His daughter's book only told her personal story of the tribulations of the Estes' family in the preceding 20 years.

However, Billie Sol said that before he could tell his full story in book form that he had to get immunity from prosecution by the Texas law authorities and by the U.S. Department of Justice as there is no statute of limitations for murder. A friend of mine, Edward Miller, a former Assistant Director of the FBI, arranged for Miller and myself to meet with Stephen Trott, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, to discuss the question of granting immunity to Billie Sol.

Miller and I met with Trott several times. The Forum has already in its discussions among its members remarked upon the letters exchanged between Trott and myself. In the end the immunity effort came to an abrupt halt when Billie Sol got cold feet at the last moment and backed out of a meeting with three FBI agents sent by Trott to meet with him and myself in Abilene in September 1984.

The contents of the letters between Trott and myself speak for themselves. Billie Sol did not provide me with any evidence that his story, as detailed in the letters, was true. I never heard nor saw the clandestine tape recordings that he claimed that he had in his possession that had been made years earlier, which allegedly supported his contentions.

However, there is quite a bit of supporting evidence from other sources. This is as follows:

(1) In 1964, J. Evetts Haley, a distinguished Texas historian, wrote "A Texan Looks at Lyndon." Millions of copies of this paperback were widely distributed. Haley's book provided concrete evidence concerning most of the murders outlined in my correspondence with Trott.

(2) In attempting to get Billie Sol immunity in 1984, I worked closely with Clint Peoples, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Texas. Peoples had followed the Estes' story for many years, having been assigned to the Estes' pending criminal case in the 1960's when he was a Texas Ranger. Peoples had several large file drawers containing materials about Estes and the murders that he showed me when I visited him in the U.S. Courthouse in Dallas. He was on good terms with Estes and constantly encouraged me to do my best to get Estes' story out. When he retired he became head of the Texas Rangers Museum in Waco, Texas, and in 1992 was killed in an automobile accident. Where Peoples' extensive files on Estes and the murders are today is unknown.

(3) I arranged for Lucianne Goldberg, then a literary agent and now sponsor of http://www.lucianne.com/, to visit Billie Sol in Abilene in 1984 in an effort to get his story published. Lucianne there disclosed to us that she had once met Malcolm (Mac) Wallace, who was the stone-cold killer retained by LBJ, when she had worked in the White House in LBJ's administration.

(4) The Texas Observer, a highly respected journal of opinion, published a thoroughly researched article by Bill Adler in its November 7, 1986 issue titled, "The Killing of Henry Marshall." The article is required reading for anyone interested in the murders.

(5) In 1998, a video titled "LBJ: A Closer Look" was released, having been produced by two Californians, Lyle and Theresa Sardie. The video contains interviews with key persons who knew of the murders and of the LBJ-Billie Sol connection.

(6) In 2003, the book "Blood, Money & Power: How LBJ murdered JFK" was published. Its author is Barr McClellan, father of Bush's current press secretary in the White House, Scott McClellan. Barr McClellan was a lawyer with the law firm in Austin that handled LBJ's secret financial empire before and after he became President.

(7) Also in 2003, the History Channel showed "The Men Who Killed Kennedy: The Final Chapter." Much of this show drew on McClellan's book and my letters to Trott. After it was telecast several times, immense pressure was brought upon the History Channel to withdraw the video from being offered for sale to the public. For the first time in its own history the History Channel succumbed to this outside pressure that was orchestrated by Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Pictures Association of America and former LBJ aide, and reluctantly withdrew the video from public circulation.

(8) Both Barr McClellan and I, among others, have in our possession documents and papers, too numerous and lengthy to detail here, that help to round out the full LBJ-Billie Sol story, including letters from LBJ to Billie Sol.

(26) New York Post (14th January, 2007)

E. Howard Hunt - the shadowy former CIA man who organized the Watergate break-in and was once eyed in the assassination of President Kennedy - bizarrely says that Lyndon Johnson could be seen as a prime suspect in the rubout.

Only the most far-out conspiracy theorists believe in scenarios like Hunt's. But in a new memoir, "American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate & Beyond," due out in April, Hunt, 88, writes: "Having Kennedy liquidated, thus elevating himself to the presidency without having to work for it himself, could have been a very tempting and logical move on Johnson's part.

"LBJ had the money and the connections to manipulate the scenario in Dallas and is on record as having convinced JFK to make the appearance in the first place. He further tried unsuccessfully to engineer the passengers of each vehicle, trying to get his good buddy, Gov. [John] Connolly, to ride with him instead of in JFK's car - where . . . he would have been out of danger."

Hunt says Johnson also had easy access to CIA man William Harvey, who'd been demoted when he tried to have Fidel Castro poisoned in defiance of orders to drop covert operations against Cuba. Harvey was "a ruthless man who was not satisfied with his position in the CIA and its government salary," Hunt writes.

"He definitely had dreams of becoming [CIA director] and LBJ could do that for him if he were president . . . [LBJ] would have used Harvey because he was available and corrupt." Hunt denies any hand in the assassination, insisting he wasn't one of three mysterious hobos who were photographed at the scene.

On Watergate, Hunt says he saved G. Gordon Liddy from gagging on urine-tainted booze as they got ready to break into Democratic National Committee headquarters, telling him, "I know you like your scotch, but don't order it... Last night when we were hiding in the closet, I had to take a leak in the worst way, and when I couldn't bear it any longer, I found a fairly empty bottle of Johnnie Walker Red - and now let's just say it's quite full."

(27) James Wagenvoord, email to John Simkin (3rd November, 2009)

Beginning in later summer 1963 the magazine, based upon information fed from Bobby Kennedy and the Justice Department, had been developing a major newsbreak piece concerning Johnson and Bobby Baker. On publication Johnson would have been finished and off the 1964 ticket (reason the material was fed to us) and would probably have been facing prison time. At the time LIFE magazine was arguably the most important general news source in the US. The top management of Time Inc. was closely allied with the USA's various intelligence agencies and we were used after by the Kennedy Justice Department as a conduit to the public....

The LBJ/Baker piece was in the final editing stages and was scheduled to break in the issue of the magazine due out the week of November 24th (the magazine would have made it to the newsstands on November 26th or 27th). It had been prepared in relative secrecy by a small special editorial team. On Kennedy's death research files and all numbered copies of the nearly print-ready draft were gathered up by my boss (he had been the top editor on the team) and shredded. The issue that was to expose LBJ instead featured the Zapruder film.