Hoover memo to Mssrs. Tolson etc., re: LBJ Telephonic

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Posted by Gregory Burnham on October 13, 1998 at 22:46:40:




November 29, 1963

The President called and asked if I am familiar with the proposed group they are trying
to get to study my report - two from the House, two from the Senate, two from the
courts, and a couple of outsiders, I replied that I had not heard of that but had seen
reports from the Senate Investigating Committee,

The President stated he wanted to get by just with my file and my report. I told him I
thought it would be very bad to have a rash of investigat ions . He then indicated the
only way to stop it is to appoint a high-level committee to evaluate my report and tell
the House and Senate not to go ahead with the investigation, I stated that would be a
three-ring circus.

The President then asked what I think about Allen Dulles, and I replied that he is a good
man. He then asked about John McCloy, and I stated I am not as enthusiastic about
McCloy, that he is a good man but I am not so certain as to the matter of publicity he
might want. The President then mentioned General (Lauris) Norstad, and I said he is a
good man. He said in the House he might try (Hale) Boggs and (Gerald R.) Ford and in
the Senate (Richard B.) Russell and (John Sherman) Cooper. I asked him about Cooper
and he indicated Cooper of Kentucky whom he described as a judicial man, stating he
would not want (Jacob K.) Javits. I agreed on this point. He then reiterated Ford of
Michigan, and I indicated I know of him but do not know him and had never seen him
except on television the other day and that he handled

himself well on television. I indicated that I do know Boggs.

Johnson, President Lyndon B.
Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
Presidential Commnission on Assassination
of President John F, Kennedy
Security - Presidential
Presidential Conferences
Presidential Travel Security

Page - 2 -

Memorandum for Messrs. Tolson, Belmont, Mohr November 29, 1963

Conrad, DeLoach, Evens, Rosen, Sullivan

The President then mentioned that (Walter) Jenkins had told him that I have designated
Mr. DeLoach to work with them as he had on the Hill. He indicated they appreciated that
and just wanted to tell me they consider Mr. DeLoach as high class as I do, and that they
salute me for knowing how to pick good men;

I advised the President that we hope to have the investigation wrapped up today but
probably won't have it before the first of the week as an angle in Mexico is giving
trouble - the matter of Oswald's getting $6500 from the Cuban Embassy and coming
back to this country with it; that we are not able to prove that fact; that we have
information he was there on September 18 and we are able to prove he was in New
Orleans on that date; that a story came in changing the date to September 28 and he
was in Mexico on the 28th. I related that the police have again arrested Duran, a member
of the Cuban Embassy; that they will hold her two or three days; will confront her with
the original informant; and will also try a lie detector test on her.

The President then inquired if I pay any attention to the lie detector test. I answered that
I would not pay 100% attention to them; that it was only a psychological asset in
investigation; that I would not want to be a part of sending a man to the chair on a lie
detector test. I explained that we have used them in bank investigations and a person
will confess before the lie detector test is finished, more or less fearful it will show him
guilty. I said the lie detector test has this psychological advantage. I further stated that it
is a misnomer to call it a lie detector since the evaluation of the chart made by the
machine is made by a human being and any human being is apt to make the wrong

I stated, if Oswald had lived and had take a lie detector test, this with the evidence we
have would have added that much strength to the case; that there is no question he is
the man.

I also told him that Rubenstein down there has offered to take a lie detector test but his
lawyer must be consulted first; that I doubt the lawyer will allow him to do so; that he
has a West Coast lawyer somewhat like the Edward Bennett Williams type and almost
as much of a shyster.

The President asked if we have any relationship between the two (Oswald and
Rubenstein) as yet, I replied that at the present time we have

Page - 3 -

Memorandum for Messrs. Tolson, Conrad, , Mobr November 29, 1963

Evans, DeLoach, Rosen,Belmont, Sullivan

not; that there was a story that the fellow had been in Rubenstein's

nightclub but it bas not been confirmed. I told the President that Rubenstein is a very
seedy character, had a bad record - street brawls, fights, etc.; that in Dallas, if a fellow
came into his nightclub and could not pay his bill completely, Rubenstein would beat
him up and throw him out; that he did not drink or smoke; that he was an egomaniac;
that he likes to be in the limelight; knew all of the police officers in the white light
district; let them come in and get food and liquor, etc.; and that is how I think he got into
police headquarters. I said if they ever made any move, the pictures did not show it
even when they saw him approach and he got right up to Oswald and pressed the pistol
against Oswald's stomach; that neither officer on either side made any effort to grab
Rubenstein - not until after the pistol was fired. I said, secondly, the chief of police
admits he moved Oswald in the morning as a convenience and at the request of motion
picture people who wanted daylight, I said insofar as tying Rubenstein and Oswald
together, we have not yet done so; that there are a number of stories which tied Oswald
to the Civil Liberties Union in New York in which he applied for membership and to the
Fair Play for Cuba Committee which is pro-Castro, directed by commnunists, and
financed to some extent by the Castro Covernment.

The President asked how many shots were fired, and I told him three.

He then asked if any were fired at him, I said no, that three shots

were fired at the President and we have them, I stated that our

ballistic experts were able to prove the shots were fired by this gun

that the President was bit by the first and third bullets and the second

hit the Governor; that there were three shots; that one complete

bullet rolled out of the President's head; that it tore a large part of

the President's head off; that in trying to massage his heart on the

way into the hospital they loosened the bullet which fell on the

stretcher and we have that.

He then asked were they aimed at the President. I replied they were aimed at the
President, no question about that.

I further advised him that we have also tested the fact that you could Fire those three
shots in three seconds. I explained that there is a story out that there must have been
more than one man to fire several shots but we have proven it could be done by one

The President then asked how it happened that Connally was hit. I explained that
Connally turned to the President when the first shot was fired and in that turning he got
hit. The President then asked, if Connally had not been in his seat, would the President
have been hit by the second shot. I said yes.

I related that on the fifth floor of the building where we found the gun and the wrapping
paper we found three empty shells that had been fired and one that had not been fired.
that he had four but didn't fire the fourth; then threw the gun aside; went down the
steps; was seen by a police officer; the manager told the officer that Oswald was all
right, worked there; they let him go; he got on a bus; went to his home and got a jacket;
then came back downtown, walking; the police officer who was killed stopped him, not
knowing who he was; and he fired and killed the police officer.

The President asked if we can prove that and I answered yes.

I further related that Oswald then walked another two blocks; went to the theater; the
woman selling tickets was so suspicious - said he was carrying a gun when he went into
the theater - that she notified the police; the police and our man went in and located
Oswald. I told him they had quite a struggle with Oswald but that he was subdued and
shown out and taken to police headquarters.

I advised the President that apparently Oswald had come down the steps from the fifth
floor; that apparently the elevator was not used.

The President then indicated our conclusions are:
(1) he is the one who did it;
(2) after the President was hit, Governor Connally was hit;
(3) the President would have been bit three times except for the fact that Governor
Connally turned after the first shot and was hit by the second;
(4) whether he was connected with the Cuban operation with money we are trying to
nail down. I told him that is what we are trying to nail down; that we have copies of the
correspondence; that none of the letters dealt with any indication of violence or
assassination; that they were dealing with a visa to go back to Russia.

I advised the President that his wife had been very hostile, would not cooperate and
speaks only Russian; that yesterday she said if we could give assurance she would be
allowed to remain in the country, she would cooperate; and that I told our agents to give
that assurance and sent a Russian-speaking agent to Dallas last night to interview her. I
said I do not know whether or not she has any information but we would learn what we

The President asked how Oswald had access to the fifth floor of the building. I replied
that he had access to all floors. The President asked where was his office was and I
stated he did not have any particular place; that he was not situated in any particular
place; that he wee just a general packer of requisitions that came in for books from
Dallas schools; that he would have had proper access to the fifth and sixth floors
whereas usually the employees were down on lower floors. The President then inquired
if anybody saw him on the fifth floor, and I stated he was seen by one of the workmen
before the assassination.

The President then asked if we got a picture taken of him shooting the gun and f said no.
He asked what was the picture sold for $25,000,

The President asked if I have a bulletproof car and I told him I most certainly have, I told
him we use it here for my own use and, whenever we have any raids, we make use of
the bulletproof car on them. I explained that it is a limousine which has been armor
plated and that it looks exactly like any other car. I states I think the President ought to
have a bulletproof car; that from all I understand the Secret Service has had two cars
with metal plates underneath the car to take care of hand grenades or bombs thrown out
on the street. I said this is European; that there have been several such attempts on
DeGaulle's life; but they do not do that in this country; that all assassinations have been
with guns; and for that reason I think very definitely the President ought to always ride
in a bulletproof car; that it certainly would prevent anything like this ever happening
again; but that I do not mean a sniper could not snipe him from a window if be were

The President asked if I meant on his ranch he should be in a bulletproof car. f said f
would think so; that the little car we rode around in when I was at the ranch should be
bulletproofed; that it ought to be done very quietly. f told him we have four bulletproof
cars in the Bureau: one on the West Coast, one in New York and two here, I said this
could be done quietly without publicity and without pictures taken of it if handled
properly and I think he should have one on his ranch.

The President then asked if I think all the entrances should be Guarded. I replied by all
means, that he had almost to be in the capacity of a so-called prisoner because without
that security anything could be done, I told him lots of phone calls had been received
over the last four or five days about threats on his life; that I talked to the Attorney
General about the funeral procession from the White House to the Cathedral; that I was
opposed to it. The President remarked that the Secret Service told them not to but the
family wanted to do it. I stated that was what the Attorney General told me but I was
very much opposed to it. I further related that I saw the procession from the Capitol to
the White House on Pennsylvania and, while they had police standing on the curbs,
when the parade came, the police turned around and looked at the parade.

The President then stated he is going to take every precaution he can; that he wants to
talk to me; and asked if f would put down my thoughts. He stated I was more than head
of the PBI - I was his brother and personal friend; that he knew I did not want anything to
happen to his family; that he has more confidence in me than anybody in town; that he
would not embroil me in a jurisdictional dispute,- but that he did want to have my
thoughts on the matter to advocate his own opinion.

I stated I would be glad to do this for him and that I would do anything I can. The
President expressed his appreciation.

Very truly yours,

[signed J. E. H.]

John Edger Hoover


(For a copy of the actual audio recording of both sides of this Hoover/LBJ conversation e-mail me. The date of the actual recording was 11-25-63 and it says even more than this memo...)

Ooops, forgot, we were talking about McLain... never mind.



From a phone transcript of 11/29/63, long after Hoover declared that
the American people must be "convinced" that Oswald was the lone
assassin (parenthetical comment, mine:-)

LBJ: How did it happen they ("they"?) hit Connally?

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

LBJ: If he hadn't turned he probably wouldn't have gotten hit?

JEH: I think that is very likely.

LBJ: Would the President've gotten hit by the second one?

JEH: No, the President wasn't hit with the second one.

LBJ: I say, if Connally hadn't been in his way?

JEH: Oh, yes, yes. The President would no doubt have been hit!

LBJ: He would have been hit three times?

JEH: He would have been hit three times...


Hoover knew very well of course, as did the whole world, that JFK was
sitting behind Connally. So, Connally could only have "been in his
way" if a shot was fired from the front. That was also the belief of
Chief Currey.

Obviously, both Hoover and LBJ were fully aware that multiple snipers
were involved in the attack.



A New Wrinkle in the JFK Assassination Story 

This month will mark the 46th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A recently declassified oral history by Brigadier General Godfrey McHugh, President Kennedy's military aide on the Dallas trip, sheds new light on the critical hours after the shooting. McHugh makes startling claims about Lyndon Johnson's behavior in the wake of the assassination.

The interview with McHugh, originally conducted for the John F. Kennedy Library in 1978, remained closed for 31 years. It was finally declassified in the spring of 2009. I just happened to be working at the Kennedy Library on the day the interview was opened to the public and have used it for the first time in my new book, The Kennedy Assassination -- 24 Hours After.

After being informed at Parkland Hospital that Kennedy was dead, Johnson raced back to Air Force One, where he waited for Mrs. Kennedy and the body of the slain president, and made preparations to take the Oath of Office. Back at the hospital, the Kennedy group loaded the body into a coffin, forced their way past a local justice of the peace, and hurried back to Love Field for the long ride back to Washington.

It was standard practice for the plane to take off as soon as the commander-in-chief was onboard. Even after McHugh had ordered the pilot to take off, however, "nothing happened." According to the newly declassified transcript, Mrs. Kennedy was becoming desperate to leave. "Mrs. Kennedy was getting very warm, she had blood all over her hat, her coat...his brains were sticking on her hat. It was dreadful," McHugh said. She pleaded with him to get the plane off the ground. "Please, let's leave," she said. McHugh jumped up and used the phone near the rear compartment to call Captain James Swindal. "Let's leave," he said. Swindal responded: "I can't do it. I have orders to wait." Not wanting to make a scene in front of Mrs. Kennedy, McHugh rushed to the front of the plane. "Swindal, what on earth is going on?" The pilot told him that "the President wants to remain in this area."

McHugh, like most members of the Kennedy entourage, did not know that Johnson was onboard. They believed that the new president was on his own plane flying back to Washington. If LBJ was on the plane, McHugh wanted to see for himself. Since he had not seen Johnson in the aisle -- and at 6'4" Johnson would be tough to miss -- McHugh assumed that he must then be in the bedroom. When he checked there Johnson was nowhere to be seen. The only place on the plane he had not inspected was the bathroom in the presidential bedroom.

What McHugh claimed to have witnessed next was shocking. "I walked in the toilet, in the powder room, and there he was hiding, with the curtain closed," McHugh recalled. He claimed that LBJ was crying, "They're going to get us all. It's a plot. It's a plot. It's going to get us all.'" According to the General, Johnson "was hysterical, sitting down on the john there alone in this thing."

I soon discovered that McHugh had told a similar story when he spoke by phone with Mark Flanagan, an investigator with the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA). Ironically, McHugh gave the interview to the HSCA a week before he sat down with the Kennedy Library in May 1978. "McHugh had encountered difficulty in locating Johnson but finally discovered him alone," Flanagan wrote in his summary to the Committee. Quoting McHugh, the investigator noted that the General found Johnson "hiding in the toilet in the bedroom compartment and muttering, 'Conspiracy, conspiracy, they're after all of us.'"

Author Christopher Anderson claimed that McHugh shared a similar, although slightly more dramatic, version of this story when he interviewed the General for his book Jackie after Jack, published in 1998.

If true, the story is explosive and reveals a completely different side of Johnson than the collected, calm presence he otherwise managed to convey throughout the hours and days following Kennedy's death.

But how credible is McHugh's account?

It is, of course, impossible to confirm or deny whether a private encounter took place between the two men, both of whom are now dead. There are a number of reasons to doubt McHugh's claim. The General intensely disliked Johnson and was fiercely loyal to JFK, and therefore had some reason to invent such a story. Most glaring, McHugh made no mention of what was surely a very memorable encounter in his long interview with William Manchester in 1964. It also stands to reason that if McHugh had witnessed Johnson in a state of utter breakdown, he would have told the story to others within the Kennedy camp. Surely, given how potentially damaging the story would be to LBJ, Kennedy partisans would have leaked it to the media at some point.

Although it is impossible to prove, my gut reaction is that McHugh is telling the truth. We know that Johnson was a man capable of dramatic mood swings, and occasional fits of hysteria were not unusual. McHugh's account of LBJ's behavior is similar to RFK's description of a trembling and tearful Johnson at the 1960 Democratic Convention when it appeared that JFK might renege on his promise to include him on the ticket. It was not surprising behavior to those who knew him best.

We also know from some eyewitnesses that LBJ's secret service agent, Rufus Youngblood, stood outside the door to the bedroom and controlled the traffic into the room. Aides went in and out, but it is possible that McHugh could have found LBJ alone in the bedroom suite.

If true, though, why did McHugh wait until 1978 to tell this story? When Manchester interviewed him in May 1964, McHugh was still in the military, although only a few months away from retirement. Is it possible that he worried the story would be too damaging to his commander-in-chief?

We will never know for sure, but McHugh's account is sure to add to the controversy surrounding that tragic November day in Dallas.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-m-gillon/a-new-wrinkle-in-the-jfk_b_339026.html



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