As James Reston, Jr. put it: "The origin of President John F. Kennedy's  
trip to Texas in November 1963 is a subject which has passed through the 
prism of shame and collective guilt and emerged as a blur."(1)  Did  
Kennedy travel to Texas in order to patch up a political feud between 
the Hatfield/McCoy Democrats in that state?  Was he there in order to 
raise funds?  Even now it isn't absolutely certain what reason or 
reasons moved Kennedy to fly to Texas and to Dallas.  Certainly, one would 
not have predicted, prior to the trip, that Dallas would love President 
To be sure, after the trip was announced by the White House on September 
26 as a two-day tour, the majority sentiment, as expressed in the local 
Dallas newspapers, was generally favorable.  Dallas citizens apparently 
wanted to welcome Kennedy in style.(2)  And yet other, more sinister 
elements lurked in Dallas, as they lurk in all cities.
In 1960, Lyndon B. Johnson himself had been spat upon while visiting 
Dallas. Shortly before the President's trip, on October 24, Adlai 
Stevenson had been hit with placards wielded by hostile followers of 
right-wing Major General (Ret.) Edwin Walker.(3)  The day before Kennedy's 
visit to Dallas, "Wanted for Treason" posters, featuring a picture of 
Kennedy, were circulated on Dallas streets.  And on the very morning of 
Kennedy's last day on earth, the "Dallas Morning News" printed a paid 
advertisement headed "Welcome President Kennedy to Dallas", an 
advertisement featuring a series of questions very critical of Kennedy's 
Kennedy himself was aware of Dallas's reputation; on the morning of 
November 22, after having read the "Dallas Morning News", he handed the 
paper to Jackie, saying: "Can you imagine a newspaper doing that?  We're 
headed into nut country now"(5)  Apparently considering the possible 
implications of this, Kennedy then mused that, when it comes to 
assassinating a President, "Anyone perched above the crowd with a rifle 
could do it."(6)
With two Texas motorcades (in Houston and in San Antonio) behind them, a 
brief one to the Fort Worth airport just ahead of them, and another 
full-scale motorcade in Dallas only a few hours away, the Texas trip 
would certainly afford a would-be sniper or snipers plenty of 
opportunities to murder Jack Kennedy.  
Tragically, the concatenation of events which brought Kennedy to Elm 
Street in Dealey Plaza were the result of the unpredictable outcomes of 
quite ordinary political wrangling, with a dose of Murphey's Law thrown 
in for spite. The Warren Commission, the HSCA, and James Reston, Jr., 
separately investigating the circumstances which brought Kennedy's 
famous "bubble top" limousine to the assassination site all concluded 
that the hands of fate and chance were at work.  Reston wrote of the 
"Three Furies" which combined to bring Kennedy to Elm Street.(7)  The HSCA 
noted that "In the end, ironically, it was the tension and compromise 
between the two views [that is, the Connally/conservative wing and the 
Yarborough/Kennedy liberal wing] that produced the fatal motor
cade route.  If either side had been able to dictate its desires without 
compromise, the assassination might never have occurrred."(8)
Reston's analysis of the "Three Furies" is particularly illuminating.  
According to Connally, Kennedy had been pushing for a Texas trip since 
even before Connally had been elected Governor in 1962.  Kennedy, 
according to Connally, wanted money, plain and simple.(9)  In June of 
1963, meeting in El Paso, Texas, Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson tried to pin 
Connally down to a date; Connally, as Governor of the state, was 
expected to host the visit.  Kennedy suggested four fund-raising affairs 
to celebrate Johnson's birthday on August 28.  Connally demurred, citing 
the fact that, at such a hot time, many of the principal money men would 
be out of state or otherwise unavailable.  Connally promised to think 
about it and come up with a plan.  Apparently, the initial discussions 
focused on a one-day trip, with time militating against any motorcades.
In late September the White House announced a two-day trip to Texas on 
November 21-22.  On October 4, during a visit with Kennedy in 
Washington, Connally formally acquiesed to the trip but suggested that 
one fund-raiser would suffice and would raise as much money as four.  He 
also suggested that it would be good if Jackie could come along as 
well.  She was popular in her own right, and the politicos' wives were 
anxious to see her and be seen with her.
Connally felt he had everything to lose and nothing to gain by Kennedy's 
trip.  He was trying to establish himself as an independent factor, 
neither a Johnson man or a Kennedy man.  And Connally's supporters (and 
by far the ones with money) were conservative and anti-Kennedy.  In 
contrast, Connally's rival Ralph Yarborough was seen as a liberal, a man 
of the people.  Both of these men - and Yarborough suspected that 
Connally and Johnson were in league against him - wanted to advance 
their own interests. As White House advance man Jerry Bruno observed, 
"With John Connally, it was always what was best for Dallas and 
Texas..."(10)  As opposed to what was best for the President.
Connally, nominally in charge of the trip, had arranged for what came to 
be the first Fury of the trip, the awarding to Kennedy of an honorary 
degree by Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.  Kennedy was highly  
pleased with this. His Catholicism was still an issue with many people.  
TCU was a Protestant school.  Such an honor from such a school might 
help Kennedy's image with some Protestants.  Advance man Jerry Bruno, 
when he visited Connally and Dallas on October 28, was given to 
understand that the TCU honorary degree was a done deal.(11)  
The plan at this point was for a mid-morning ceremony followed by a 
liesurely drive to a luncheon in Dallas.  No motorcade was planned.  But 
apparently Kennedy's religion was even more of a question to some than 
they had thought.  TCU decided against the degree and the schedule was 
thrown into disarray.  Kennedy had planned, after having participated in 
a testimonial dinner for veteran Congressman Albert Thomas in Houston, 
to spend the night, saving time and energy.
But the TCU cancellation left dead space in the schedule.  Hastily, a 
breakfast event was planned in Fort Worth, requiring a late-night entry 
into that city.  Still, two hours were left unplanned so it was decided 
that Kennedy would fly to Dallas and drive from Dallas's Love Field 
airport to the luncheon site - a site as yet undetermined.
Kennedy, meanwhile, through his aide Kenneth O'Donnell, had expressed 
interest in a motorcade.  Connally was opposed, citing reasons of 
overworking the President - he felt that Kennedy would make the best 
impression if he was fresh.  Connally ultimately gave in on this issue 
and tentative planning was begun.  However, the motorcade route was 
dependent upon the location of the luncheon; that decision was not made 
until November 15, only one week before the visit.
Connally, for reasons that are still in dispute, was absolutely 
insistent upon holding the luncheon at the new Trade Mart, near the 
airport along the Stemmons Freeway.  Kennedy and O'Donnell wanted to 
hold it at the Women's Building, near the Fairgrounds.  The Secret 
Service concurred, believing that the Women's Building would be easier 
to secure.  Connally perhaps wanted to limit the size of the crowd, 
excluding as many of Yarborough's supporters as he could.  Yarborough 
pushed for the larger Women's Building. In the event, Connally got his 
way, threatening to pull his support if the Trade Mart was not chosen
O'Donnell felt he had no choice but to go along.(12)
And so the third Fury - after the TCU cancellation and the decision to 
hold a motorcade - roared into play.  Had the luncheon been held at the 
Women's Building, the plans called for the motorcade to proceed from 
Love Field directly to the Stemmons Freeway, exit at Main Street in 
Dealy Plaza, and proceed at an approximate speed of forty miles per hour 
to the corner of Houston and Main, where it would slow to the customary 
motorcade speed.(13)  Had this happened, locations along Elm Street, such 
as the Texas School Book Depository or the grassy knoll would have been 
effectively neutralized as likely places from which to fire at the 
Aside from the fact that Kennedy would have been much farther away, and 
aside from the fact that the target would have represented a fast-moving 
cross shot rather than a slowly-moving enfilade shot, the view of 
Kennedy would have been partially obscured by his wife, sitting to his 
left.  Those who believe that the assassination was a long-planned 
conspiracy, involving setting up Oswald as a patsy or otherwise 
communicating with or about Lee Harvey Oswald would do well to note that 
had Connally not insisted on the Trade Mart as a luncheon site, all that 
conspiratorial planning would have been for nought.  And since Oswald's 
presence in the Texas School Book Depository on November 22 was also the 
result of non-suspicious, happenstance circumstances, (the subject of 
another article) one can only wonder just how Conspiracy Central managed 
to pull it all off.
But whatever the implications for potential assassins, when Connally got 
his way and the luncheon was planned for the Trade Mart a week before 
the trip, the stage was set for the people in Dealey Plaza to become 
extraordinary witnesses, whose recollections have been subjected to the 
most intense scrutiny, rather than "mere" spectators who might, from 
time to time, pull out the old pictures of Kennedy driving by them in 
Dallas for bored grandchildren.
1 Reston, James Jr. TheLone Star: The Life of John Connally New York: 
Harper & Row, 1989 p. 237 2 WCR, p.55 
3 Reston, p. 242 
4 WCR, p. 56 
5 Reston, p. 273 
6 Bishop, Jim The Day Kennedy Was Shot New York: Harper Perennial 
edition, 1992, p. 29 (first published in 1968 by Funk & Wagnalls) 
7 Reston, p. 255 
8 11 HSCA 507 
9 Reston, p. 240.  See also "Life" magazine, 11/25/66 and Connally's 
testimony to the HSCA, HSCA 1 11+ 
10 Reston, p. 259 
11 Reston, p. 255
12 Reston, p. 642 (excerpt from Jerry Bruno's diary)
13 11 HSCA 508
 There were rumors about a rift between conservatice/libeal wings of the state democratic party in an article in the Dallas tTmes Herald on November 18th.