Hello and welcome. As you may recall I gave a presentation on this topic last year. That presentation was interrupted by Jim Fetzer who had to interview Madeline Brown because of a scheduling conflict with Ms. Brown with either the 6th Floor Museum or The Conspiracy Museum, then I returned to finish. I allowed that though I was irritated by it. I thought it naturally weakened the presentation. To my surprise I heard stories that many of you were impressed with my presentation, though at the time I didn't feel as though many of you were. That's not a slight to the audience, it's naturally jarring to go from one presentation on one topic to as John Cleese might say, "And now for something completely different..."
So, I'm pleased to be back talking on this and hopefully you'll like this presentation as much if not more than last year's.
This is a large topic covering many characters. I was inspired to research this based upon a presentation George Michael Evica gave at an A.S.K. conference, I think, in `93. Several presentations went on at the same time. I went to one with Tom Wilson, and Mr. Evica gave his in another room. Fortunately, it was audiotaped so I got to listen to it later and I was greatly impressed with it, though I knew there was more to it.
Recently more information has been added to this topic. Doug Horne wrote, a memo on this.
There is much more to the story and I do go further. I am hoping to turn this into a book, someday. I've never written a book and am far from completing this or giving it to a publisher so don't anticipate it happening soon.
Due to time I want to focus on a few items of interest relating to this story.
I would advise you to listen to the tape of last years presentation as I really want to start a timeline here starting in October. I'm going to summarize a little bit to get us up to October.
Initially, JFK decides to go to Texas in the fall of 1963 to attend a dinner given in honor of Congressman Albert Thomas. I think there is universal agreement on that. However, it's still unknown exactly when the idea originated to have this dinner for Thomas and when the invitation was given to JFK. I went to the JFK Library and researched the Jerry Bruno papers. Jerry Bruno was JFK's advance man. He wrote a small book called "The Advanceman". That book, Mr. Bruno, and of course his papers at the JFK Library are essential for an understanding of this topic.
We first hear about JFK coming to Texas in an April 23rd announcement by LBJ given in Dallas for the Second Annual NASA Manned Space Flight Conference. "The April 24th, 1963 edition of the Dallas Times Herald is headlined, "LBJ sees Kennedy Dallas Visit - One Day Texas Tour Eyed."
And if you know the Adel Edison's story interesting things are already afoot by April 23.
This LBJ announcement leads me to believe that the Thomas dinner was already discussed, and agreed upon by some before April 23rd. However, I am so far unable to find any material about a Thomas dinner before April 23rd.
In the Jerry Bruno papers at the JFK Library, in the "Correspondence File" there is a written invitation sent to The White House on September 17, 1963 from Jack Valenti, a close LBJ aide, to President Kennedy. The letter states, "More than 1,000 men and women will gather in the Grand Ballroom of the Rice Motel in Houston to express their gratitude for his 26 years of service to this area and to the nation -- and to show their pleasure in Congressman Thomas' decision to stay in office and not retire."
There is another letters of note in this correspondence file. One is from Conway C. Craig. He writes to President Kennedy on June 12, 1963. "In April Lyndon telephoned me and asked what I thought about the two of you visiting San Antonio on a fund raising trip. He went ahead and stated he was afraid you would not be able to come to San Antonio because you were planning on spending only one day in Texas which would include Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston."(emphasis added)
This letter does not specify when in April, and may pre-date the April 23rd announcement.
While preparing this presentation and looking at this Valenti letter again I figured something important out. I'm looking for the wrong thing. I was and still am looking for all the information I can get as to when this dinner was first thought of, discussed, planned etc., right up until the moment it happened without really realizing an important context. The dinner is a celebration, a victory party for getting Thomas to stay in office. The machinations, if you will, are not so much with the dinner, and getting Kennedy to come to it though there is stuff there, but in keeping Thomas in office. This was a victory because another Congressman was also vacating his seat, there was to be a run-off election held in Austin Dec. 17th for the seat being vacated by Rep. Homer Thornberry. So it's Thomas' announcement to retire and the campaign to get him to change his mind that is important. That's why they are having a dinner for him. That's pre-April 23rd, 1963 information. And now once they are having a dinner for him that dinner is used to get JFK to Texas, then that one day-one purpose visit get's extended and we first hear talk of extending the visit with this April 23 announcement of LBJ's in the April 24th edition of the Dallas Times Herald. (See CE 1972. This is really part of an investigation of the false LHO threat to Nixon. But I don't have time to go into that.)
So who is Albert Thomas? He is the head of the Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives. He got Kennedy's Space Program going. Thomas is why the NASA mission control is in Houston. He is a liberal and adored by Kennedy. And the feeling was reciprocated. Thomas was also dying of terminal cancer, by 1963 he had undergone 4 operations. He was thinking of retiring from politics. Kennedy liked him and needed him, badly, especially in the election year of 1964.
The LBJ April 23rd announcement of a "summertime" visit by Kennedy is supposedly to coincide with LBJ's birthday. However, LBJ knows JFK's schedule and knows that JFK cannot make it. So this trick can now make the trip seem as if it is being planned or in the planning stages by Johnson and Connally, when it is already set as a one day, one purpose trip.
I think we can date the start of the changing of the trip from a one day, one visit, one purpose affair into the 2 day multi-function trip it became on or about April 23rd, 1963
Now, let's start to talk about John Connally. Connally used the campaign to become Governor as an excuse to stall the trip. It is important to understand that according to Connally "the trip" already is the 2-day trip and there is some vague conditionality to it all. Once Connally becomes Governor he complains he needs time to create a staff and pass a budget which he uses as an excuse to continue stalling the trip . This takes up the entire Texas legislative session from January to about June, 1963. Keep in mind this is Connally's version of Kennedy's trip. Kennedy is coming. He is going to Houston on November 21, 1963. Connally does nothing to plan the trip until after the legislative session ends. This is really important as October will show.
In an sense, there is no trip for Connally to plan. JFK's coming to Houston for the Thomas dinner is not the trip Connally is talking about. That trip changes into a two day, multi-function trip and it is this metamorphosis that is a cause of misunderstanding and misconception that I hope to set straight.
Connally's story is, "I had continued to ignore as best I could, the barrage of hints coming down from Washington that the President wanted a Texas pilgrimage. I was desperately trying to pay for my campaign and to rally support, and the last thing I wanted was a national foray for votes or money."
There is no evidence of any "barrage of hints". The last sentence is very telling.
Why is Connally against a foray for votes? Hmm.
Now we don't really hear anything about a JFK visit to Texas until June 5th and a meeting in El Paso Texas. The Texas state legislature had just recessed. Connally tells James Reston Jr. that Kennedy proposed a summertime visit.
Wait a minute. Didn't CE 1972, the April 24th, 1963 edition of the Dallas Times Herald have Johnson proposing the summertime visit? Now it's Kennedy? What is going on here? I point this out because the person who initiates the actions of various Texas planning stories changes. You must pay attention to the passive voice and to pronouns in Texas trip planning stories. Connally and LBJ want you to think the visit is to raise funds for the upcoming election.
James Reston Jr. recounts Connally's story, "Maybe Lyndon Johnson's birthday would provide the right pretext for the political fund raising. To the Texans this too was a lousy idea. Johnson said nothing, his eyes hooded and downcast.
"Well, Mr. President, I would like to think about that," Connally stalled. "You know my feelings for the Vice President. His birthday is always a time for celebration, but the very people you want to reach aren't likely to be here. Texas gets mighty hot in August. It's the worst month of the year to have a fund raising affair-for anybody. People are not interested in politics during the dog days, and I think it would be a serious mistake to come then."
This El Paso meeting is kept secret. It is not reported to the media. Kennedy's appointment book records that the President, Johnson and Connally go to the Cortez Hotel arriving at 6:30 P. M. June 5, 1963 There is then the citation, "No further activity this date."
William Manchester writes in his book, "Death of a President" , Connally consented to JFK's Texas trip plans at this June 5th meeting.
Yet, Connally tells LIFE magazine; James Reston Jr. in "Lone Star"; and Micky Hershkowitz, Connally's co-author for his autobiography, "In History's Shadow"; a different story, that both Johnson and he are trying to stall or delay the trip.
Concede, or stall? Which is it?
The Warren Report is almost truthful about this meeting. "The three agreed that the President would come to Texas in late November 1963."
The Report refers you to a deposition by Clifton C. Carter which is in volume 7 p.475. Carter is an aide to LBJ. Carter stated, "That the first tentative date was to have the trip coincide with Vice-President Johnson's birthday on August 27, but that was rejected because it was too close to Labor Day."
A little different.
Carter mentions that he and Fred Korth were present when the three assembled but, "Fred Korth and I left during their discussion of the President's proposed trip."
So, if he leaves the room how can he give a deposition stating what the three agreed to? He doesn't know. He wasn't there. Yet, the Warren Commission uses him as though he was and remembered it in his deposition
The last sentence of Carter's deposition states, "President Kennedy's other commitments prevented him from coming to Texas any sooner than November 21, which was the date finally set." The first part of the sentence is true. This supports the idea that Kennedy is going to the Thomas dinner which was scheduled for November 21, and that that was known before the El Paso meeting June 5th. It also destroys a large chunk of the Connally-Johnson story of a "conditional" trip with an uncertain date. After the comma in the last sentence of Carter's deposition it sounds like there was some input on the decision of when President Kennedy would be coming from Johnson and Connally. Yet, this is impossible if you are aware of and know about the Thomas dinner. Also, since Carter acknowledges that President Kennedy's other commitments prevent him from coming prior to November 21 it does not make sense that President Kennedy would propose the "summertime" visit to coincide with Johnson's birthday.
I have grave doubts that there was ever such a meeting at all, and doubts that if JFK, LBJ and Connally are alone at the Cortez hotel the discussion is not what Connally and LBJ are reporting.
After the El Paso meeting there is no talk or planning for the Texas trip until September. So that's June, July, August with nothing happening.
In September some things happen. There is pressure to bracket the Thomas dinner with other events in other cities. So much is added on that it would be impossible to do in one day. Mr. Evica calls the period September 13-26 crucial for Connally to win his argument for a two day trip, not a one day visit. It is a very intense period where Connally argues the "fatigue factor". Four cities in one day would be too much for JFK. Connally doesn't want Kennedy to be "fatigued" by meeting the liberals in those other cities. Kennedy wants to meet the people. Connally does not want that, Connally only wants JFK to meet certain select business people.
Again there is a Dallas Times Herald newspaper article. This is dated September 13, 1963 This becomes Commission Exhibit 1366. "Still in the talking stage, the presidential trip would be a one day affair, with a breakfast speech in Dallas, a luncheon in Fort Worth, an afternoon coffee in San Antonio and a dinner in Houston."
Now notice how little has changed from the April 23 announcement by Johnson. Notice these are Dallas papers. As in the April 23 announcement Dallas is mentioned first, then in the headline, now as the starting point with a breakfast. Notice please where the breakfast is scheduled to be, and where the luncheon is scheduled to be. They'll switch locations and there's a story in that.
The "Still in the talking stage," is a cover story. The article says, "No date has been set." Obviously, not true. The "talking stage" refers to getting a two day comitment from the White House not in regards to if the trip will happen at all.
Then the article tells us something important, "Reports here, however, indicate that some Texas leaders facing reelection are less than enthusiastic about a presidential visit fearful that it could damage individual races within the state." Now we are starting to get a big clue. Connally is a Texas leader facing reelection.
Why? What's going on in Texas? What's the political climate?
Now let's get to October. Sometime between September 26 and October 4th a two day trip is agreed to.
Connally meets with the Dallas Citizens Council on October 2nd. According to Reston, "Now at the Adolphus Hotel, Connally virtually apologized to the Dallas leadership for the President's insistence on coming to Texas and to Dallas. Since he could not prevent it altogether, he could prevent it from being a liberal love feast. `I don't intend to default to the liberals,' Connally told the group. `I've got to have a non-political body to represent Dallas, and you gentlemen are it by your associations.' "
He has got to be kidding. By 1963 the Dallas Citizen's Council has been controlling the city for 40 years. The Dallas Citizens Council has not supported the Democratic ticket for President since F.D.R., and that was FDR's first bid for the White House in 1932! They did not support FDR in '36, '40 or '44. They did not support Kennedy in 1960. Little has happened to them to change their minds to support him now. And what a perverse corupt use of the language too, "Citizen's Council" indeed. They are made up of the head of the Mercantile Bank, the oldest bank in Dallas, and the executives from the two Dallas newspapers. Manchester lists those in attendance of this meeting as J. Eric Jonsson, chairman of the powerful Citizen's Council, Robert Collum, president of the Chamber of Commerce, R. L. Thornton, chairman of the Mercantile National Bank, Joe Dealey, son of Ted Dealey, publisher of the Dallas Morning News and Albert Jackson of the Dallas Times Herald.14
Connally meets with the Texas Congressional delegation on October 3rd where there is a classic confrontation between Connally and Henry Gonzalez. Connally, "Fellows, the reason I'm here is that I'm meeting with the President in a few hours about his trip to Texas. I don't know what to say. They are going to want me to tell them where and when and how to get money in Texas for the party. Now I've made a few calls around and, frankly, the people who are supporting John Kennedy in Texas are not the ones with money."
Connally continues, "I think [the trip] is a mistake. You know the people who are for Kennedy are the people without money. I've checked with businessmen, and they aren't about to contribute-"
Gonzalez was already mad that San Antonio was only going to get a few hours of Kennedy's time when it was the only major Texas city that went for Kennedy in `60. Gonzalez was a true liberal and hated John Connally's guts. It was mutual between them. Upon hearing this story from Connally he rises to the occasion and says, "Just a minute, Governor, whom did you call in San Antonio because I know some people in San Antonio who support the President. If you've called the one you have been appointing, Governor, they're all Republicans! I'll get you businessmen. You may not like them, though, because they won't support you."
Democratic governor John Connally, appointing Republicans? What's this?
Governor Connally meets with JFK in Washington, D.C. on October 4th 1963.
There are several different versions of this October 4th meeting. Most of these differing version come from Connally.
First, the Warren Commission version. "Finally in the fall of 1963 it was decided that he definitely should come, or should come in the fall of last year (`63) as opposed to waiting until this year, (`64) when his appearance might have more political overtones.
"So I came up, I have forgotten the exact date (October 4th) around the middle of October and talked to him about it, discussed the details, asked him what he would like to do.
"He said he would like to do whatever he could do that was agreeable with me: it was agreeable with me that he more or less trust me to plan the trip for him, to tell him where he would like to go. About that time some thought was being given to having four fund raising dinners. His attitude on that was that he wouldn't prefer that. He felt that the appearance would not be too good, that he would much prefer to have one if we are going to have any. I told him this was entirely consistent with my own thoughts. We ought not to have more than one fund raising dinner. If we did it ought to be in Austin. If we could do it, I would like for him to see and get into as many areas of the state as possible while he was there."
Now there are some problems here. Mr. Evica correctly points out that if you know anything about the language when you hear the passive voice begin to suspect what is going on. Notice how Connally is vague about who proposed the fund raising, there is just "some thought" being given to it. Notice how this story is told. Notice how first JFK rejects the four fund raising dinners idea and Connally agrees with JFK's rejection.
On the same page Connally admits, "He on his own, had made a commitment to go to the dinner for Congressman Thomas, which was being given the night of the 21st in Houston."
There it is! So Connally finally acknowledges that JFK on his own, was coming to Texas on Nov. 21 and it was planed long ago.
Now there is no mention of the Albert Thomas dinner in the Warren Commission Report on pages 28-29 under the heading "Planning the Texas trip"
as there should be.
Second version, LIFE magazine November 24, 1967 where Connally is prominently displayed on the cover. The headline, "A Contribution To History, Governor Connally sets the record straight on the fateful visit, WHY KENNEDY WENT TO TEXAS."
"How about those fund raising affairs in Texas, John?"
"Mr. President, I said, we can have four separate affairs, but I think it would be a very serious mistake." He didn't answer immediately and I went right on. "In the first place I don't think four will raise appreciably more money than one properly organized affair-certainly not enough for the political cost to you. You haven't made a real visit to Texas-except El Paso-since you became President. You've made no speeches and no appearances. If you come down there and try to have fund raising affairs in four cities in one trip, they are going to think that you are trying to rape the state." I used just those words
"I'm inclined to agree with you, " the President said.
Notice again the passive voice.
"Mr. President," I said, "what really do you want to do on this trip?"
Connally goes on to say that Kennedy wanted to meet the people that had opposed him so sharply."
Now we have a change from Connally's Warren Commission version of the October 4th meeting. Now it is JFK who wants the fund raising, Connally who first objects, then JFK agrees with Connally's objection. Notice the reversal? Connally cleverly alters the story of Kennedy's desire to meet the people to Kennedy wants to meet the people who opposed him, who coincidentally would be the people voting for Connally.
Connally tells LIFE magazine, "I had a strong conviction that if the business community of Texas could see President Kennedy in the flesh and talk to him, it would find quickly enough that he was no extremist"
This version, as well as most of the whole article, is repeated nearly verbatim in Connally's autobiography "In History's Shadow".
3rd version, this time to James Reston jr. in "Lone Star".
"The president still had his heart set on four or five fund raisers. Apparently, Lyndon Johnson had made no effort to dissuade him. Connally was prepared.
"Mr. President, I think that is a mistake," he said emphatically. "We want the money, yes, but we also need to position you in such a way that you are going to politically benefit from it, and it doesn't look like all you're interested in is the money of the state. Frankly, if you come down and we try to get on five fund raising events in the principal cities of Texas, people are going to think that all you are interested in is the financial rape of the state."
Again, Kennedy is in the passive voice.
The dates are set, yet Connally uses the phrase, "if you come down". There is no iffyness about it.
Connally also takes great pleasure in using the word "rape" in recounting this story.
Johnson is mentioned although in passing. LBJ is now given the role of having to dissuade JFK from the fund raising idea. Does Connally think Johnson is going to take orders from him? Who gave Johnson this role? Connally is getting a little carried away with the passive voice.
Connally also uses this false fund raising story to make Kennedy sound like a complete idiot incapable of organizing, hosting, or even showing up at a political event without Connally's expert , professional, political judgment to guide him.
Makes you wonder how JFK ever became President in the first place.
4th version, The Connally story of the October 4th meeting changes again in the book "Death of a President" by William Manchester. Remember, according to the last version LBJ was to "dissuade" JFK against the fund raising. "At first the Vice President was an enthusiastic advocate of fund-raising. Recently a Massachusetts banquet had raised $680,000 for the party. His pride in Texas has been challenged, and despite emphatic denials from the White House the rumor persisted that Kennedy would cut him from the `64 ticket. Johnson's own radar had picked up a few alarming blips. Determined to prove that his determination was still strong, he had proposed four Texas banquets where the faithful would demonstrate their loyalty to Kennedy and Johnson by emptying their pockets into next year's war chest."
So finally we have someone who proposed the fund raising, Johnson, though we were told it was Kennedy, but Kennedy's "attitude" was against it, according to Connally's original Warren Commission testimony and Connally agreed with JFK's "attitude", but Lyndon at Connally's request was to "dissuade" Kennedy who was for it, so Connally at LBJ's urging had to meet Kennedy on October 4th, after meeting with the Dallas Citizen's Council on the 2nd, and the Texas Congressional delegation in Washington on the 3rd to object to the fund raising plans and Kennedy agreed while Connally was there to originate the idea that Kennedy should come to Texas in the first place.
Confused yet? Wait it gets better. Let's give LBJ a chance.
According to LBJ in his book, "President Kennedy came to Texas to raise money for the Democratic campaign coffers and to pave the way for a Democratic victory in Texas in 1964. The President hoped to raise several thousand dollars in Texas. President Kennedy also came to Texas to try to shore up our (emphasis added; notice those pesky pronouns) slipping popularity there. A Texas poll, taken a few weeks before his trip, showed that only 38 per cent of the people approved of what he was doing as President. (Notice how our becomes he.) The same poll showed Governor Connally with an 81 per cent approval. The fact is that Governor Connally was more in tune with the prevailing political thinking in Texas."
Don't believe it. The liberal wing of the Texas Democratic party was rising in strength. So if anyone was prevailing it was them. Johnson doesn't tell you if the Democratic victory Kennedy is paving the way for is meant to include Johnson and Connally. You are just supposed to believe that the Democrats are one big happy family and a victory for the party is a victory for all.
However, wasn't there a feud within the Texas Democratic party? Wasn't this one of the reasons given by Johnson and Connally about why Kennedy had to go to Texas?
Johnson continues, "He wanted to come to large Texas cities. The President had originally wanted to come on my birthday August 27. He suggested this date to Governor Connally and me in June 1963 at the Cortez Hotel in El Paso, where we met following a visit to the missile range at White Sands, New Mexico. He suggested...we hold a series of four fund raising dinners. Connally opposed that plan. `You won't be able to get a crowd. They will think you only came here to get their money.' Connally suggested a single fund raising dinner in Austin and a series of non-political appearances in the other four cities- `at the proper time' President Kennedy reluctantly agreed to this suggestion and postponed the trip."
Bull. The Houston dinner for Congressman Albert Thomas was set for November 21. Cliff Carter has told us that Kennedy cannot come until then. So the second day of a two day trip would have to be November 22. All the talk of postponement is a cover story. Johnson and Connally know that JFK cannot have a two day trip until Nov. 22. This is what they want. Talk of postponement is placed on Connally's shoulders which masks Johnson's involvement in the trip planning. Now it is made to look like Kennedy postponed the trip awaiting Johnson and Connally clearance for "the proper time". The proper time becomes the only time it can be November 22. The whole point of this charade is to get Kennedy to commit to a two day trip.
Johnson also wrote, "The following October President Kennedy met with Governor Connally in Washington and they agreed on the November date."
The problem with that is they already agreed to it.
Didn't anyone in the Kennedy camp say anything about this October 4th meeting? Yes, Evelyn Lincoln did.
"Connally came to Washington to see Mr. Kennedy just three days before Bobby Baker resigned. His main purpose was to urge the President to come to Texas to help bring the feuding factions together.
"After he left I remember what Mr. Kennedy said, `He sure seemed anxious for me to go to Texas. He attracts some people-money people who would never vote for me, but I have many supporters down there who are bitterly opposed to him. I think in the long run it would be more advantageous to him than for me. The one thing I noticed above everything else was his concern about Lyndon being on the ticket."
Governor Connally says repeatedly that the trip dates are still not set as of October 4th, 1963.
The House Select Committee on Assassinations was somewhat on the ball here. Buried in volume 11 in an appendix called "Politics and Presidential Protection: the Motorcade" on page 510 is the following, "The specific dates of the trip had been resolved prior to this October meeting." This is very important because Connally said otherwise to the Warren Commission and to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. In fact, the HSCA acknowledged that Connally lied under oath to them! "Although in testimony Connally stated he had no specific recollection of having known prior to October that November 21 and 22 were the selected dates for the Texas visit, he did acknowledge that he must have known."
Neat way to get away with perjury, don't you think? And for the HSCA to acknowledge that someone lied to them under oath.
The October 4th meeting is where "officially" Connally originates the idea for JFK to come to Texas. Anyone have a problem with that? Remember the dates, April 23 LBJ's announcement, which appears in The Dallas Times Herald newspaper on April 24th, which is written up in an FBI report which becomes CE 1972, the June 5th El Paso meeting, September 13 and 26, more newspaper accounts which become CE 1367 and CE 1368, Connally's meeting with the Dallas citizens council on October 1, 1963, and with the Texas congressional delegation on October 2nd, 1963, yet, Connally would have the world believe that he originated the idea for JFK to come to Texas on October 4th, 1963 and since the date/dates, is/are tentative to please come to Texas, Mr. President.
Now something that has to be stressed is that LBJ throughout this whole history of the "official" story of why JFK came to Texas acts like he is left out of the Texas trip planning. Reston writes, "When his (Connally's) meeting with the President was scheduled two weeks before, the White House had specifically requested Connally to keep it confidential from Lyndon Johnson. That had surprised the Governor, and he was doubly surprised when Johnson was absent from the Oval office.
"That evening, Connally went out to the Elms in northwest Washington to have dinner with the Johnson's, bracing himself.
"I suppose you think I don't have any interest in what happens in Texas?"
"No, Lyndon," Connally replied stiffly. "I know you are extremely interested in what is happening in Texas."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Johnson demanded.
"I assumed you knew I was going to see the president,"Connally replied.
"After all, its not my prerogative to say who is in that Oval Office. I assumed that if the president wanted you there, you would be there."
The same story is told from Kenny O'Donnell's viewpoint in "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye". "Johnson was furious because Connally had not bothered to invite him to that White House meeting with the President."
However, there is no mention by O'Donnell that President Kennedy expressly told Connally not to invite Johnson.
There is an interesting bit of information in CE 2960. After Connally visits with JFK at the White House, he goes to the Pentagon. I think that is very interesting. This is never mentioned with regard to what happened on October 4th despite the many different versions of the meeting between Connally and JFK on this date. Connally meets with Secretary of Defense McNamara and Deputy Secretary Roswell Gilpatric Even Evica did not catch this. The Dallas Morning News article says Connally, "carried with him data showing a decline in prime military contracts in Texas from 1958 to 1962."
Did this actually happen? Did these three actually meet? Could someone else or others have been there? Did they talk about anything else?
Is it not damn interesting that after this meeting with JFK, the context of which is heavily lied about after the fact, Connally then goes to the Pentagon and meets with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and Under Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric and ends the evening meeting with LBJ?
I think there is another way of looking at Connally's meeting with LBJ the night of October 4th. I think Connally reported to LBJ. I think it's more of "Everything is going according to plan, sir." I think LBJ is being briefed.
I want to explain that. I do not believe this is a assassination conspiracy talk Connally and LBJ have the night of October 4th. It's definitely a political talk about controling JFK for this Texas trip. I think that is obvious and provable.
Connally and LBJ's political lives are at stake. It could be an assassination plot discussion, in fact most of these machinations could be seen that way. However, I cannot prove that is the reason for any of the manipulative actions Connally, LBJ and others take. I can prove and reintroduce politics to the story of the Texas trip. The political differences between JFK, LBJ and Connally have been totally whitewashed out of the picture. It is well past the time politics was put back in.
The idea that President Kennedy conspired to keep LBJ out of the White House and ignorant of a meeting between himself and Governor Connally is ludicrous. If Connally is originating the idea of JFK coming to Texas at this meeting, and President Kennedy is ignorant of that prior to the meeting, then why are they meeting? And how could JFK think to exclude Johnson if Connally requested the meeting and he (Connally) is there to "originate" the idea of the trip in the first place? It doesn't make sense. It implies JFK requested the meeting. That's highly improbable given Evlyn Lincoln's account of this meeting.
Of note is the fact that LBJ meets with Kennedy on October 4th between 6:50 and 7:10 p.m according to Kennedy's appointment book. I hardly think it was anything like, "Oh by the way Lyndon, Connally was here and we discussed the trip." I hardly think LBJ is so out of the loop as he pretends to be.
Another take on this is even if JFK really wanted Connally to keep LBJ ignorant of whatever happened at this meeting Connally could certainly tell LBJ at dinner. Also, LBJ is close to Valenti who's the chair of the Thomas dinner committee. So LBJ's got it covered. Both "trips" are created by people damn close to LBJ. The "exclusion" of LBJ is a fiction. LBJ wasn't at the meeting because he didn't want to be.
At this time in October there are major concerns by Johnson about staying on the ticket. According to Evelyn Lincoln, that's what JFK and Connally really discussed.
There are five scandals going on at the same time, all being investigated concurrently, any one of which threaten to engulf Johnson, Bobby Baker; Billy Sole Estes; The TFX fighter jet defense contract which involves Fred Korth, Secretary of the Navy, who was Connally's successor to that post, Korth resigned because of this scandal; Jack Halfen a mafia bag man working for Carlos Marcello, who gave huge sums to certain Texas politicians, notably Albert Thomas and Senator Lyndon Johnson; and Don Reynolds' knolwedge of judges being bought in Texas and how that directly relates to LBJ All were heating up in October.
Bobby Baker resigned on October 1st.
Billy Sol Estes amassed a $200 million dollar empire on grain storage contracts and cotton payments. In the early 1960's cotton production was strictly controlled by the Agriculture Dept. in order to reduce surplus crops. Billy Sol used the Agriculture Dept's own regulations against them. There were investigaitons and an Agriculture official, Henry Wallace was killed.
The TFX scandal is a major investigation. There are several large volumes on this investigation in any good federal depository library.
Jack Halfen, from John Davis' "Mafia Kingfish", "The growth of the Marcello's power in Texas during the late forties and throughout the fifties would not have been possible without the cooperation of important Texas politicians. This cooperation had been secured by Carlos Marcellos' Texas bag man John Halfen whose special job it had been to funnel a percentage of the Marcellos' illegal Texas profits to the political campaigns of such Texas politicios as Houston congressman Albert Thomas...and U.S. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson." Davis comments that there was a thick file on Attorney General RFK's desk detailing the Marcello-Halfen-Johnson connections, as well as Bobby Baker's dealings with organized crime
Now remember Connally did nothing to plan the visit while the Texas state legislature was in session? Well, there's a reason for that, something interesting was going on in Texas politics. George H.W. Bush, yes, the former President, filed suit against Crawford Martin, the Secretary of State of the state of Texas, John Connally, and Waggoner Carr, Attorney General of the state of Texas accusing the statute apportioning congressional districts as being unconstitutional.
Guess when this suit was filled? April 23rd, 1963.
On October 19th a Federal district court found that all of Texas' Congressional Districts were unconstitutional. This changes things dramatically in Texas. All elections were to be held at large.
In Federal Supplement 224 on page 499 is George H. W. Bush et. al., Plaintiffs vs. Crawford Martin, Secretary of State of the State of Texas, Waggoner Carr, Attorney General of the State of Texas, John Connally, Governor of the State of Texas et. al., Defendants. Civ. A. No. 63-H-226 United States District Court S.D. Texas Houston Division October 19th, 1963.
A three judge panel found "that Texas statute apportioning congressional districts was invidiously discriminatory and unconstitutional and its enforcement would be enjoined," but that was to be postponed to allow defendants to apply for a state of decree from a circuit justice, the Supreme Court, or another justice as other apportionment cases were pending.
I want to stress that. "Other apportionment cases were pending," in the federal courts. Keep that in mind as we look at this case.
President Kennedy was well aware of how he was short changed in votes across the country and how Rayburn-Johnson-Connally controlled the state of Texas. O'Donnell writes in "Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye" on page 2, "That morning when he came aboard Air Force One, he tucked into the edge of the mirror in his dressing room a card with three figures that he would use to needle the Democratic leaders in Texas. The figures reminded him that in 1960 the Kennedy-Johnson margin in Texas over Nixon-Lodge was only 46,233 votes, but Johnson, also running alone in another slot on the ticket for U.S. Senator against Republican John G. Tower, had a plurality of 379,972, while Price Daniel, the Democratic candidate for governor in the same election, won by 1,024,792. The President was going to do some sharp talking in Texas about the big difference between his own vote and those of the other Democratic candidates."
Connally did get a stay from Justice Hugo Black of the Supreme court until the Supreme Court could hear the case.
The court further found, "invidious discrimination in congressional or legislative apportionments is something more than numerical disparity and the problem is more profound than that of arithmetic."
- "Injunctive relief against only portions of unconstitutional Texas statute apportioning state into congressional districts would be unworkable and unjust to alleviate startling discrimination it was necessary to reapportion state as whole."
- "There was no basis for courts staying hand of equity to enjoin enforcement of unconstitutional congressional apportionment statute on ground that relief could be obtained elsewhere, but having known from April to October that attack was being made and being aware of failure of legislature to take any effective action towards its correction, state-official defendants were not in position to advance as basis for positioning judicial relief appealing defense : Let Us Work This Out."
-"...unless state were reapportioned congressional candidates would be elected at large."
- "testimony from defendants, "does not reflect any historic, geographic, economic or sociological justifications for the disparity in the population of the respective congressional districts. The disparity is indeed spectacular."
- "...simple constitutional fact is that so far as standard of composition of Congress is concerned,...members of Congress are to be elected on basis of population and nothing else."
Now according to statistical information stipulated as true and accurate by both parties the disparity, "runs from a low of 216,371 for District 4 to 951,527 for adjoining District 5. Not surprisingly, the marked excesses over the state average (between 415,000 to 435,000) are found primarily in the ever expanding metropolitan areas of (can you guess?) Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Ft. Worth."
What a coincidence, those are the cities mentioned by LBJ in his April 23, 1963 announcement and April 23, 1963 is also the day this case was brought to court by George Bush.
Charts on p. 505 clearly show the willful dilution and suppression of the people.
District County Metropolitan Area Population
5 Dallas Dallas 951,527
8 Harris Houston 568,193
22 Harris Houston 674,965
12 Tarrant Fort Worth 538,495
20 Bexar San Antonio 687,151
- In this malapportionment, Texas, with its District No. 5 (Dallas metropolitan area), has the distinction of the largest single Congressional District in the Nation.
Now, remember, District 4 with a population of only 216,371 is given 1 Congressman. Let's do some math. If we are to use 216,371 as a standard to equal 1 Congressman, giving Connally a dose of his own medicine, then there should be an additional 15 Congressmen from Texas from these 4 major metropolitan areas alone. (3,420, 331 divided by 216,371 = 15.8) If we use the low end of the state average, 415,000 then we get 8 Congressmen. If we use the higher end number, 435,000, then we get 7.
There should have been anywhere from 7 to 15 additional congressmen representing the state of Texas in 1960!
The apportionment Act under attack by this suit was Art. 197a, Tex. Civ. Stat. Ann,. This Act split former district 8 into district 8 and district 22. This was noted by the court as the only significant change in apportionment addressed by the Act.
- "This left Dallas county the target of greatest discrimination, the effect of which has only gotten worse as time, tide, population explosions and shifts go on."
"But the disparity is not confined to the cities. Districts 14, 15, and 16 are aggregations of large areas and large numbers of people."
So, there are is suppressed vote and possible extra congressmen from the country areas too.
Now who would these new congressmen be loyal to? To which political party would they come from? Not the conservative Democrats! The conservative Democrats are Connally people who have been repressing the vote Republicans? Maybe. They brought the lawsuit Mostly likely liberal Democrats, they were the ones who were rising in strength. They were the ones whose numbers were denied. They were the ones who could have taken over the state legislature and thus redrawn the districts and their hero JFK was coming to Texas, and they knew JFK was coming to Texas since the day the suit was filled!
If the liberal Democrats took control of the state legislature they would not be beholden to the extant congressional districts. They could make as many as they wanted.
Another factor was the poll tax. A liberal-labor coalition was working hard to repeal it. "Poll tax repeal had been indorsed by all major political figures of both parties, by most Texas newspapers, by the League of Women voters and other civic groups. Yet, it lost by a margin of almost 3 to 2.
"In characteristic fashion, coalition leaders blamed the Connally conservatives for sabotaging poll tax repeals while the conservatives claimed the liberals unwittingly defeated it by advertising it as the key to a liberal takeover.
"Now the Democrats have only until the end of January to persuade thousands of potential Kennedy supporters among the Negroes and Mexicans to pay their poll taxes."
October brought even more bad news to Connally. Kennedy had given the go ahead to a full investigation into the Bobby Baker affair until it reached its ultimate end.
Also on October 19th, the same day a three panel Federal court ruled all Texas Congressional districts were unconstitutional, there was a major dinner for Senator Ralph Yarborough. Those present at this dinner and saluting Yarborough were, Congressman Jack Brooks, Congressman Henry Gonzalez, Senator Olin D. Johnston from South Carolina, Senator Lee Matcalf from Montana, Senator Ernest Gruening from Alaska, Senator Daniel K. Inouye from Hawaii, and Senator Frank Church from Idaho. Letters of appreciation, reproduced in the program, were sent by, Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana, Senator Hubert Humphrey the Senate's Majority Whip, Senator Warren G. Magnuson, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Lester Hill, Chairman of the Labor and Public Welfare Committee, and a letter from Senator Edward Kennedy.
Highlighting the bill was a filmed message from President Kennedy, part of which said, "My fellow Democrats, this is a time when all of us who believe in government for the people, who believe in progress for our country, who believe in a fair chance for all of our citizens, who believe in the growth of Texas, who believe in the development of the United States, who believe in a strong United States as a great bulwark for freedom, who believe in a United States which is second to none in space, on the sea, on the land, a United States that stands for progress-all of those-I think Ralph Yarborough stands with them."
Lyndon Johnson did not attend this dinner. Neither did Connally.
October 20, 1963 Jerry Bruno learns the President is going to Texas. On October 24, 1963 Jerry Bruno meets with Walter Jenkins, at the request of Kenny O'Donnell. Jenkins is LBJ's administrative assistant. Jenkins was to brief Bruno on the politics of the trip. Bruno writes, "It was like listening to somebody talking all about an incurable disease. What we had was a governor, John Connally, who was the leader of the conservative Texas Democrats: oil money, corporate leaders, some rural "redneck" strength. On the other side was Senator Ralph Yarborough, a Southern liberal, supported by labor (which was liberal in Texas), blacks, Latin Americans, and intellectuals.
"They hated each other."
O'Donnell described Connally to Bruno, "You're dealing with an arrogant guy here."
Bruno went to see Yarborough on October 28, 1963. Yarborough, "described how Connally and Johnson were screwing him; worse, he said, they'd be after John Kennedy in a minute if they thought they could get away with it politically."46
Bruno then goes to Texas. He had arranged to meet with Connally's people that night and with Yarborough's people the next morning. However, word of this leaked and both factions showed up to meet Bruno at the airport. Chuck Caldwell, Yarborough's man, is there to meet Bruno. Cliff Carter, Johnson's man, is there to meet Bruno. Bruno rides into town with Carter. According to Bruno's diary, "I got into Carter's car and we drove to the Driskill Hotel in Austin and we were invited up to Johnson's suite for a drink."
One of the problems Connally was facing was a gubernatorial primary against Don Yarborough. This Yarborough was a friend of Senator Ralph Yarborough but not related. Connally wanted President Kennedy to stop Don Yarborough from running against him.
The next morning the fun really started.
October 29, Bruno meets with Hank Brown, president of the AFL/CIO, obviously not a Connally supporter. Brown promised a labor contact in each city and warned that Connally would try to run the show.
Bruno meets with people from the State Democratic Committee. These people are, "-solid Connally people- and the proposed schedule they showed me was as if all of Yarborough's supporter's had moved to Alaska.
"There were meetings with nobody but the Connally wing. If there was a black spokesman, it was Connally's house black. The same with labor. The same with Latin Americans. And when I said something about that, I got a really heartening answer.
`You're coming into Texas,' the spokesman said, `and Connally is the governor.'
`Yes,' I said, `but there's somebody above even the governor, and that's the President of the United States.'"
Connally was trying to, as Evica noted, present himself as the man for all the people, and Bruno saw right through it.
Immediately afterwards Bruno meets with Yarborough's people. Bruno admits he was mostly on their side as the Yarborough people did not want to control events just to get a piece of the action. Bruno ponders, "I think it must have been that meeting, and my sense that I didn't like what the Connally people were going to do, that put my back up for the meeting I then had with Governor Connally."
This meeting takes place at the Forty Acres Club in Austin. "It was a really friendly atmosphere. Connally was at the head of a long conference table. He's a tall handsome guy, and he was wearing cowboy boots. He really looked the part. All around him on either side of the table were his aides. And I was sitting there, by myself, bootless, about eight feet shorter than he was. At one point they brought in lunch: a juicy steak for Connally, a sandwich for me. And I'll tell you, if you've spend most of your life working with your hands, you know what they are trying to do with a move like that."
Bruno continues, "As we sat there, Connally began outlining the schedule for Kennedy's trip. It was firm, he kept insisting; it was his state and if the President didn't like it, he could stay home. That really made me feel good."
In his diary Bruno writes that Connally said, "Either we select the stops and run the trips or the President can stay home. We don't want him."
Reston, in "The Lone Star" corroborates, "In their private dinning room, only a few bites into the appetizer, Connally made it manifestly clear that he and only he was going to run this show. He presented Bruno with the president's itinerary as a fait accompli . `It's going to be my way or no way,' Connally announced. `This is it or he can stay home."
Bruno replied with his standard answer for dealing with difficult people, "I just want to tell you one thing, Governor, he's the President. I'm here to get everyone's recommendations, and I'll forward them to the White House. But they'll decide."
Reston writes that, "Bruno wasn't prepared for quite this level of high-handedness, and he grew more unsettled as he looked over the schedule Connally gave him. It was not well worked out."
And Bruno's response, "unhinged Connally. Leaping out of his chair, the governor strode to a telephone in the corner of the room, picked it up, and in a loud voice demanded to be connected with the White House." (emphasis added)
Bruno's version; (Connally speaking) "Get me the White House.' Then we all waited. `Get me Kenny O'Donnell.' Then he started talking about the entire schedule: here's what's going to happen in Houston, here's what we'll do in San Antonio. Then we wait. `Fine, fine, I'll get back to you,' Connally said. And he came back to the table and started in, saying, This is what we want him to do."
According to Reston, Connally said, "It's all confirmed," he said. "This is the itinerary" Bruno wondered why he had come at all.
Bruno writes in his diary that Connally never told O'Donnell that he was in the room at any point during the phone conversation. O'Donnell's response to Connally was, "Wait until Bruno gets there and work out the details."
Evica points out that the conversation was faked. It was. Initially, I thought Connally is not really talking to anyone, that the only thing he is hearing is dial tone, that the call itself was faked. I wanted to know if the phone call took place at all. I went to the JFK Library and looked up the Telephone Memorandum File for October 29, 1963. Sure enough at 3:20 P.M. EST Washington, D.C. time, 2:20 P.M. CST Austin, Texas time, there is logged a phone call from Gov. John Connally, Austin, Texas opr21-Gr23191. It is logged as answered at 3:36 P.M., a mere 16 minutes later. Someone moved quickly.
It was not the call that was faked. It is the conversation that Connally would make you believe he is having with O'Donnell that is faked. The call was made as I found the documentation for it. What Connally says happened between himself and O'Donnell, namely that O'Donnell confirmed Connally's schedule for President Kennedy, is total bull.
Bruno, tragically, writes, "I learned only later-a lot later, when it didn't make any difference-that Kenny had told him the same thing I had, that it was the White House that would make any final decision."
Reston writes parenthetically, "In fact, O'Donnell had not confirmed the Connally schedule at all." Why Reston puts that in parenthesis escapes me. It is very important to acknowledge Connally's chicanery.
This luncheon episode is crucially important. It proves Governor Connally is calling the shots, placing great political and personal pressure on anyone who wants President Kennedy to plan his own trip. It shows Connally lies.
At this luncheon Bruno is led to believe that President Kennedy is to receive an honorary degree at Texas Christian University. This is the most crucial aspect of Connally's manipulation. Reston writes that Connally broached the idea with the TCU president who liked the idea. "It provided a dignified event for Connally's hometown, and it became the raison d' etre for the Ft. Worth stop. Connally had promised the honor to Kennedy at the White House, [on October 4th perhaps?] and Kennedy was pleased, since the conferring of a degree by a bedrock Protestant university would further bury the fears of the South over a Catholic president. To Bruno at lunch, the event was presented as a done deal. As a scheduling matter, this would work well. The degree ceremony was to be in midmorning, and the presidential caravan would motor the thirty miles to Dallas for the President's speech to Dallas businessmen. It was unlikely, under this plan, that there would be time for a motorcade through downtown Dallas, but if there was, it would follow a fairly direct course."
Bruno writes in his diary on October 29, 1963, "That the only difference between Connally's proposed stops and the actual schedule was that the President would not be given an honorary degree by Texas Christian University at 9:30 A.M. Nov. 22," and thus the "travel by car from Fort Worth to Dallas" had to be canceled.
Do you see how important the planned honorary degree would have been?
"As the planning went forward, Bruno got a call from Connally. He's sorry but TCU had decided against conferring the degree." Connally then gives a phony story about university rules and regulations, claiming that the faculty and student senate would have to approve the degree and that there was not enough time for such deliberations. Connally also claimed that the elders and the sticklers within the university administration were concerned that a bad precedent might be set if the rules were skirted just for the President of the United States.
Bruno knew better. Connally himself said it was a done deal and offered the degree a month earlier. In his HSCA executive session testimony Bruno states that Walter Jenkins' list of proposed stops included Fort Worth, Texas Christian University.
What was the real reason?
"Well, he's a Catholic, you know,' Connally told Bruno."
Bruno is pissed. There is now no reason to go to Ft. Worth. Connally calls back to announce that the Ft. Worth Chamber of Commerce would like to give the President a breakfast.
"Instead of a leisurely sleep over in Houston after a testimonial dinner for Congressman Albert Thomas, the President would now have to fly to Ft. Worth near midnight so he could be ready for the hastily pasted-up breakfast. More important, there were now two hours in the late morning that needed to be filled. To kill time rather than save it, it was decided that Kennedy would fly from Ft. Worth to Dallas all the motion to and from airports would consume the dead space in the schedule. From the Dallas airport to the luncheon speech, the motorcade route was redrawn-and lengthened - through Dealey Plaza." (emphasis added)
I believe the TCU honorary degree was never meant to be. I believe it's sole purpose was to have it in the schedule only so that it could be yanked and thus creating a hole in the itinerary. This creates a last minute change in the president's schedule and thus nearly guaranteeing a motorcade through downtown Dallas. To me this is the most sinister aspect to Connally's manipulation of the travel plans.
The House Select Committee on Assassination in volume 11, in the aptly named "Politics and Presidential Protection: The Motorcade" p. 513-4 writes about the planned Texas Christian University Appearance. This is an appendix staff report called "Politics and Presidential Protection: The Motorcade". In his testimony to the HSCA Governor Connally, "did not specify whose idea it was to have the President appear at Texas Christian University."
Connally is lying, again. He is the one who originated the idea.
Bruno first learned of the TCU award from Walter Jenkins on October 24.
The minutes of the meeting of the Board of Trustees of TCU reference something, "Concerning a special item presented by Chancellor Sadler on the recommendation of the University council, ...that TCU tender its facilities to the governor of Texas and the City of Ft. Worth, either the stadium or the Coliseum as weather might dictate, for the purpose of extending a warm invitation to the President of the United States to speak on the TCU campus during his visit to Texas in November. Motion passed."
The HSCA surmised that the minutes suggest Chancellor Sadler originated the idea, "but no specific identification of the original proponents of the TCU appearance is made."
Sam P. Woodson jr., who was present at the Nov. 1, 1963 meeting told the HSCA that Governor Connally proposed the idea to Chancellor Sadler.
Sadler repeats Connally's excuse about normal procedures, but adds a special twist, "because of the belief that the governor was trying to manipulate the Board at the expense of democratic university procedures it was decided that normal procedures should be maintained...," and thus the honorary degree idea was rejected.
Don't you love this? Connally's manipulation of democratic procedures is the reason why the award was canceled? Connally wanted the award canceled, it's not much of a problem as there is no documentation from TCU that there ever was going to be one anyway, merely a request that "TCU tender its facilities".
Connally's whole political career is a study in the manipulation of democratic procedures.
Oddly, the same document records that the TCU Board of Trustees holds a special meeting at 3:00 P.M November 22, 1963 wherein there is not one mention that the President of the United States has been assassinated less than 3 hours ago, less than 50 miles away, a President who was supposedly invited to speak on their campus that day. It's just business as usual.
The HSCA also saw the importance of the TCU non-event, "It is ironic that if the honorary degree ceremony at TCU had been held, especially with a subsequent reception of some kind, logistical complications might have delayed the President's arrival in Dallas and thereby interfered with the scheduled occurrence of the motorcade. If such a delay had occurred, the opportunity might have been lost for an assassin to take advantage of certain conditions that promoted Kennedy's assassination." (emphasis added)
The "certain conditions" were created by John Connally, and LBJ to make themselves look strong and JFK weak to the voters of Texas.
I will go much further into this in the book I'm writing. I go much more into detail on Jerry Bruno. I go much further into detail just getting us to October. There is a great deal going on as we get into November, and the machinations over how the Trade mart is selected over objections from Bruno and a Secret Service report. I go into how Bruno is removed, how the Secret Service is manipulated by John Connally as noted by the HSCA and Jerry Bruno and how certain key people are shuffled out of doing their normal responsibilities. I go into Floyd Boring, who is a very interesting figure in regards to what the Secret Service does and does not do.
Hopefully, I'll get it finished and published soon.
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