LBJ INTELLIGENCE TRANSCRIPTS
March 20. 1964
John McCone, 11:02 AM
President Johnson: Yes?
John McCone: Good morning, Mr. President.
President Johnson: Hi, John.
McCone: I was hoping to get in to see you, but I understand your schedule is very busy.
President Johnson: John, Iíve got a hell of a one today, but Iíll do anything if itís important. If itís not, letísó
McCone: No, it isnít.
President Johnson: Iím just walking in at 11:00 with Dick Russell and old man Vinson and them on a military authorization [bill]. Then Iíve gotóit runs me up on into the late evening.
McCone: Yes. Well, Iím leaving at 1:00, and am going to get away for about 10 days.
President Johnson: Well, if youíve got anything you want to, come by and Iíll step out. Iíve got to see Don Cook, and Jake Potofsky, and Clark Clifford and Abe Fortas, and Boy Scouts that got burned, and Dick Russell . . .
McCone: There isnít a damn thing over here to worry you with.
President Johnson: Good.
McCone: Thereís just a very interesting product of some satellite operations that I want you to see some time.
President Johnson: Well, weíll do it when you get back. How long are you going to be gone?
McCone: Iím coming back on Easter Sunday.
President Johnson: Well, Iíll be back. Iím going home next weekend, and weíll get together and have lunch or something right afterwards.
McCone: Yes, well, I just didnít like to leave without checking out with you first.
President Johnson: Well, youíre wonderful. You justó
McCone: And I know youíre just busy as hell. There isnít anything hereóthereís the usual run of problems [unclear].
President Johnson: [sneezing] I donít ever worry about your shop.
McCone: There isnít anything to worry about.
President Johnson: OK, my friend.
McCone: OK, fine. Bye.
October 31, 1964
LBJ and J. Edgar Hoover, 10:35 AM
President Johnson: What do you know this morning?
Hoover: I havenít heard anything more than that rumor that we got yesterday.
President Johnson: Mm-hmm.
Hoover: I talked to Abe Fortas about it. I think he talked to you in Chicago.
President Johnson: Well, he talked to one of my men. I was speaking. Iím just getting ready to go to New York. Do you have any idea who that might be?
Hoover: No, I havenít any idea. I would surmise it might be down the line, but they always refer to a cabinet officer. But I do know that over in the Defense Department the Navy has had under surveillance this fellow [excised material] who works for an assistant secretary by the name of Ballou.
President Johnson: Mm-hmm. Yes.
Hoover: [continuing] In connection with some deviation.
President Johnson: Yes.
Hoover: Now, Ballouís name, you will recall, was mentioned a number of times in the Billy Sol Estes matter. But this fellow [excised material] has been working in his office, and the Navy have had him under surveillance. We took over that investigation yesterday . . .
President Johnson: Yes.
Hoover: [continuing] Because it involves the overall picture of any penetration into the security ofóhe was never assigned to the White Houseóbut any security of the country.
President Johnson: Yes.
Hoover: That is the nearest one. They said that this particular man had been under surveillance, and that they were going to explode this bomb today. Now, the only person I know of whoís been under surveillance by any agency has been this man over in the Navy Department. Weíve had no one under surveillance, and I donít know of any other intelligence agency that has had one, except the naval intelligence.
President Johnson: No, I read that. What they said wasóthey raised the question of the way he combed his hair, or the way he did something else, but they had no act of his, or he had done nothingó
Hoover: No. It was just the suspicion that his mannerisms and so forth were such that they were suspicious.
President Johnson: Yes. He worked for me for four or five years, but he wasnít even suspicious to me. But I guess youíre going to have to teach me something about this stuff!
Hoover: Well, you know, I often wonder what the next crisis is going to be. [An awkward pause ensues.]
President Johnson: Iíll swear I canít recognize them. I donít know anything about it.
Hoover: Itís a thing that you just canít tell. Sometimes, just like in the case of this poor fellow Jenkins . . .
Hoover: [continuing] There was no indication in any way.
President Johnson: No.
Hoover: [continuing] And I knew him pretty well, and [Deke] DeLoach did also, and there was no suspicion, no indication. There are some people who walk kind of funny and so forth, that you might kind of think are little bit off or maybe queer. But there was no indication of that in the Jenkins case.
President Johnson: Thatís right.
Hoover: Iíve never seen this fellow [unclear] but we heard so much of these thingsóthese stories, opinions and such . . . I think [Drew] Pearson had the information for you. We got an affidavit from that source saying it was absolutely untrue; it was just said as a gag. Got that yesterday.
President Johnson: What was that?
Hoover: That was the story of this man being planted in the Republican National Committee and the frame-up of Jenkins.
President Johnson: Yes.
February 27, 1964
President Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover, 8:53 PM
President Johnson: Edgar, I donít hear you well. Whatís the matter? You got this phone tapped?
Hoover: [Chuckles nervously.] No. I should say not. I can hear you perfectly, sir.
President Johnson: All right. Did they talk to you about this statement down here tonight?
Hoover: No, they have not.
President Johnson: Well, they talked to somebody over in your shop.
Hoover: I think they talked to [Nicholas] Katzenbach.
President Johnson: I wanted to talk to you before I say it. Hereís what I was going to say. They had this bombing this afternoon. Have you got any leads on that at all?
Hoover: No. We have been working on that case very intensively ever since these bombings got started down there. Weíve had special men. We have three offices in Floridaóin Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miamióand I ordered this afternoon one of the inspectors of the Bureau to proceed to Florida and coordinate the entire operation.
President Johnson: One of who?
Hoover: One of my chief inspectors, to coordinate the entire operation of the three offices. In other words, we have been going all out on it.
President Johnson: How much can I say about that?
Hoover: You can certainly say that the FBI is giving top priority to these various bombings that have taken place.
President Johnson: Why canít I say that I talked to Mr. Hoover, and he tells me that the FBI has its full force investigating the bombing, and some of his top men are on the spot now?
Hoover: Thatís correct. You can say that.
President Johnson: OK. All right. Thatís all I wanted to know. I didnít want to get into your Bureau without talking to you.
Hereís what Iím going to say. You listen to this now. Forget the FBI, and just listen to it as my adviser.
President Johnson: I donít want to say anything wrong that hurts the decent union movement, and I donít want to say anything that does that, but at the same time Iím not going to tolerate blowing up people with bombsówhether itís the business people or the unions or who. And I donít think a good union ought to want to.
Hoover: No, they ought not to.
President Johnson: And it may be business. We donít know whoís doing it.
"The continued violence against the Florida East Coast Railroad is appalling."
Hoover: It certainly is.
President Johnson: [continuing] "Without regard to who is right and who is wrong in this labor dispute, this criminal action has got to stop"ó
Hoover: Exactly right.
President Johnson: [continuing] "We donít settle things in this way in this country."
President Johnson: [continuing] "I talked to Mr. Hoover tonight, and he informed me that one of his chief men is en route to Florida now, and the FBI has thrown its full force into investigating this bombing. In the meantime, I urge the parties to renew their efforts to find a way of settling this dispute. Iím asking the Secretary of Labor to confer with Governor [Farris] Bryant immediately, and give me their recommendations promptly."
President Johnson: Is that all right?
Hoover: Thatís all right with me, Mr. President.
President Johnson: OK.
President Johnson and Robert McNamara, 11:45 AM
President Johnson: Bob, I hate to modify your speech any, because itís been a good one, but I just wondered if we shouldnít tonight still give our relative strengths and still give a very brief summary. I wouldnít go into the anti-defense and stuff.
President Johnson: But a very brief summary of what youíve cut in the budget. Iíd go into that a good deal. You could say that weíre notóthey asked for $10 billion more than we gave them, so whenever anybody says that weíre giving something to everybody, why, weíre giving them a billion less than theyíd like to use. But find two minutes in there for Vietnam.
McNamara: [Pauses.] Yeah, but the problem is what to say about it.
President Johnson: All rightóIíll tell you what I would say about it. I would say that we have a commitment to Vietnamese freedom. Now, we could pull out of there, the dominoes would fall, and that part of the world would go to the Communists. We could send our Marines in there, and we could get tied down in a third world war or another Korean action.
The other alternative is to advise them and hope that they stand up and fight. Now, we think that by training them and advising them in the period of three years, we can have them trained. And we removed some there who were guarding the establishments that didnít need to be guarded any more, absolutely no need. Weíd put in 10,000 more if they could be useful and if we needed them for training, but this 1,000 we didnít need, because they were guarding whatever they were guarding, and thatís why we pulled them out.
Now, we estimate that with the 15,000 weíve got left, that all the rest of this year and a large part of next year, that we can just train anybody in that period of time, and for that reason, weíve said that we can reduce that number after theyíre trained. Now, this nation has made no commitment to go in there to fight, as yet. Weíre in there to train them and advise them. And thatís what weíre doing.
Nobody really understands what it is out there. They donít know, and theyíre getting to where theyíre confused, and theyíre asking questions, and theyíre saying why donít we do more. Well, I think this: you can have more war or you can have more appeasement. We donít want more of either. And itís their war and itís their men, and weíre willing to train them. We have found that over a period of time that we kept the Communists from spreading.
We did it in Greece and Turkey with the Truman Doctrine, by sending them men. We did it in Western Europe by NATO. Weíve done it there by advice. We havenít done it by going out and dropping bombs, and we havenít done it by going out and sending men to fight. We have no such commitment there.
But we do have a commitment to help the Vietnamese defend themselves. Weíre there for training and thatís what weíre doing. They say that the war is not going good. Well, there are days when we win, and there are days when we lose, but our purpose is to train these people. Our training is going good, and weíre trying to train them.
McNamara: All right, sir. Iíll get right onó
President Johnson: I donít know if Iíve said anything there that I shouldnít say.
McNamara: No, no. I think thatísó
President Johnson: But thatís the way you said it to me, and it appealed to me when I say why in the hell . . . I always thought it was foolish for you to make any statements about withdrawing. I thought it was bad psychologically. But you and the President thought otherwise, and I just sat silent. Now, youíve made them, and I asked you for your explanation, and you give me a good explanation. Thereís not a damn bit of use of having 1,000 people sitting around guarding something that they donít need to guard.
McNamara: No question about that, Mr. President. The problem isó
President Johnson: All right, then the next question that comes is how in the hell does McNamara think that when heís losing the war that he can pull men out of it? Well, McNamaraís not fighting a war. Heís training men to fight a war. When heís got them through high school, they will have graduated from high school, and will have 12 grades behind them next year, and he hasnít taken on any agreement to keep them for the rest of their life. Heís just made a commitment to train them to fight. And if he trains them to fight and they wonít fight, he canít do anything about it. Then heís got to choose whether he wants to fight, or let them have it.
McNamara: This is the problem exactly. And what I fear is that weíre right at that point. Well, anyhow, Iíll get this out to you.
President Johnson: Now, weíve got to decide who goes with you, because they tell me that everybody in town is wanting to go, and I sure wouldnít haul anybody out there that I just didnít have to have.
McNamara: I feel exactly that way.
President Johnson: One man that I want to suggestóand Iím sure you can cut him right back, right quick, and I wonít hesitate and if you donít mention him any more Iíll just know that you havenít used himóbut from the psychological standpoint, and from a political standpoint, thereís one man that I would have on that plane with meóand thatís [David] Shoup. I would put a stop to [Mike] Mansfieldís speaking up there on it every day, and Shoup would put a stop to it.
Iíd have Shoup just go out there, and sit in on these meetings with [Maxwell] Taylor, just kind of ex officio. Heís out, he hasnít got anything to do, and heís got that medal on his breast, and Mansfield is just worshipping the Marines, and the rest of them that are raising hell do the same thing. Then Iíd use Shoup to go up and tell these boys some things. Heís worth a dozen Averell Harrimans to you.
Thatís my judgment, but Iím not any expert on it. I think that heís quiet enough and humble enough that heís not going to be bossing around and threatening any. He can sit in the back row. You donít have to mess with him. But when he gets back here, he can take the McNamara line and sit down with Mansfield and sit down with the rest of them, and say, "Now, hereís the story." We can get him invited to come and see them. You give a little thought to that.
McNamara: I sure will.
President Johnson: All right.
McNamara: All right, sir. Thank you.