HOOVER LBJ PHONE CALL
to Mssrs. Tolson etc., re: LBJ Telephonic
Follow Ups ] [
Post Followup ] [
Gregory Burnham on October 13, 1998 at
STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
November 29, 1963
1:39 p.m. MEMORANDUM FOR MR. TOLSON
MR. DE LOACH
President called and asked if I am familiar with the proposed group they are
to get to study my report - two from the House, two from the Senate, two from
courts, and a couple of outsiders, I replied that I had not heard of that but
reports from the Senate Investigating Committee,
President stated he wanted to get by just with my file and my report. I told him
thought it would be very bad to have a rash of investigat ions . He then
only way to stop it is to appoint a high-level committee to evaluate my report
the House and Senate not to go ahead with the investigation, I stated that would
President then asked what I think about Allen Dulles, and I replied that he is a
man. He then asked about John McCloy, and I stated I am not as enthusiastic
McCloy, that he is a good man but I am not so certain as to the matter of
might want. The President then mentioned General (Lauris) Norstad, and I said he
good man. He said in the House he might try (Hale) Boggs and (Gerald R.) Ford
the Senate (Richard B.) Russell and (John Sherman) Cooper. I asked him about
and he indicated Cooper of Kentucky whom he described as a judicial man, stating
would not want (Jacob K.) Javits. I agreed on this point. He then reiterated
Michigan, and I indicated I know of him but do not know him and had never seen
except on television the other day and that he handled
on television. I indicated that I do know Boggs.
President Lyndon B.
Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
Presidential Commnission on Assassination
of President John F, Kennedy
Security - Presidential
Presidential Travel Security
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DeLoach, Evens, Rosen, Sullivan
President then mentioned that (Walter) Jenkins had told him that I have
Mr. DeLoach to work with them as he had on the Hill. He indicated they
and just wanted to tell me they consider Mr. DeLoach as high class as I do, and
salute me for knowing how to pick good men;
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
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
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
was in Mexico on the 28th. I related that the police have again arrested Duran,
of the Cuban Embassy; that they will hold her two or three days; will confront
the original informant; and will also try a lie detector test on her.
President then inquired if I pay any attention to the lie detector test. I
I would not pay 100% attention to them; that it was only a psychological asset
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
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
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
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;
has a West Coast lawyer somewhat like the Edward Bennett Williams type and
as much of a shyster.
President asked if we have any relationship between the two (Oswald and
Rubenstein) as yet, I replied that at the present time we have
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DeLoach, Rosen,Belmont, Sullivan
there was a story that the fellow had been in Rubenstein's
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
him up and throw him out; that he did not drink or smoke; that he was an
that he likes to be in the limelight; knew all of the police officers in the
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
even when they saw him approach and he got right up to Oswald and pressed the
against Oswald's stomach; that neither officer on either side made any effort to
Rubenstein - not until after the pistol was fired. I said, secondly, the chief
admits he moved Oswald in the morning as a convenience and at the request of
picture people who wanted daylight, I said insofar as tying Rubenstein and
together, we have not yet done so; that there are a number of stories which tied
to the Civil Liberties Union in New York in which he applied for membership and
Fair Play for Cuba Committee which is pro-Castro, directed by commnunists, and
financed to some extent by the Castro Covernment.
President asked how many shots were fired, and I told him three.
asked if any were fired at him, I said no, that three shots
at the President and we have them, I stated that our
experts were able to prove the shots were fired by this gun
President was bit by the first and third bullets and the second
Governor; that there were three shots; that one complete
rolled out of the President's head; that it tore a large part of
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
and we have that.
asked were they aimed at the President. I replied they were aimed at the
President, no question about that.
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
more than one man to fire several shots but we have proven it could be done by
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
have been hit by the second shot. I said yes.
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
that he had four but didn't fire the fourth; then threw the gun aside; went down
steps; was seen by a police officer; the manager told the officer that Oswald
right, worked there; they let him go; he got on a bus; went to his home and got
then came back downtown, walking; the police officer who was killed stopped him,
knowing who he was; and he fired and killed the police officer.
President asked if we can prove that and I answered yes.
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
the theater - that she notified the police; the police and our man went in and
Oswald. I told him they had quite a struggle with Oswald but that he was subdued
shown out and taken to police headquarters.
the President that apparently Oswald had come down the steps from the fifth
floor; that apparently the elevator was not used.
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
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
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
assassination; that they were dealing with a visa to go back to Russia.
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
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
President asked how Oswald had access to the fifth floor of the building. I
that he had access to all floors. The President asked where was his office was
stated he did not have any particular place; that he was not situated in any
place; that he wee just a general packer of requisitions that came in for books
Dallas schools; that he would have had proper access to the fifth and sixth
whereas usually the employees were down on lower floors. The President then
if anybody saw him on the fifth floor, and I stated he was seen by one of the
before the assassination.
President then asked if we got a picture taken of him shooting the gun and f
He asked what was the picture sold for $25,000,
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
the bulletproof car on them. I explained that it is a limousine which has been
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
with metal plates underneath the car to take care of hand grenades or bombs
on the street. I said this is European; that there have been several such
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
in a bulletproof car; that it certainly would prevent anything like this ever
again; but that I do not mean a sniper could not snipe him from a window if be
President asked if I meant on his ranch he should be in a bulletproof car. f
would think so; that the little car we rode around in when I was at the ranch
bulletproofed; that it ought to be done very quietly. f told him we have four
cars in the Bureau: one on the West Coast, one in New York and two here, I said
could be done quietly without publicity and without pictures taken of it if
properly and I think he should have one on his ranch.
President then asked if I think all the entrances should be Guarded. I replied
means, that he had almost to be in the capacity of a so-called prisoner because
that security anything could be done, I told him lots of phone calls had been
over the last four or five days about threats on his life; that I talked to the
General about the funeral procession from the White House to the Cathedral; that
opposed to it. The President remarked that the Secret Service told them not to
family wanted to do it. I stated that was what the Attorney General told me but
very much opposed to it. I further related that I saw the procession from the
the White House on Pennsylvania and, while they had police standing on the
when the parade came, the police turned around and looked at the parade.
President then stated he is going to take every precaution he can; that he wants
talk to me; and asked if f would put down my thoughts. He stated I was more than
of the PBI - I was his brother and personal friend; that he knew I did not want
happen to his family; that he has more confidence in me than anybody in town;
would not embroil me in a jurisdictional dispute,- but that he did want to have
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.
(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...)
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
Obviously, both Hoover and LBJ were fully aware that multiple snipers
were involved in the attack.
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
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:
The JFK History Page