JFK Murder Part 10
Sat Jan 27, 2007 18:02
(6) Richard Russell, speech in the Senate on his opposition
to the Civil Rights Act (18th June, 1964)
I am proud to have been a member of that small group of
determined senators that since the 9th of March has given
... the last iota of physical strength in the effort to hold
back the overwhelming combination of forces supporting this
bill until its manifold evils could be laid bare before the
people of the country.
The depth of our conviction is evidenced by the intensity of
our opposition. There is little room for honorable men to
compromise where the inalienable rights of future
generations are at stake. . . .
Mr. President, the people of the South are citizens of this
Republic. They are entitled to some consideration. It seems
to me that fair men should recognize that the people of the
South, too, have some rights which should be respected. And
though, Mr. President, we have failed in this fight to
protect them from a burgeoning bureaucracy that is already
planning and organizing invasion after invasion of the
South... our failure cannot be ascribed to lack of effort.
Our ranks were too thin, our resources too scanty, but we
did our best. I say to my comrades in arms in this long
fight that there will never come a time when it will be
necessary for any one of us to apologize for his conduct or
(7) Recorded telephone conversation between Lyndon B.
Johnson and Richard Russell (18th September, 1964)
Richard Russell: That danged Warren Commission business, it
whupped me down so. We got through today. You know what I
did? I... got on the plane and came home. I didn't even have
a toothbrush. I didn't bring a shirt.... Didn't even have my
pills-antihistamine pills to take care of my em-fy-see-ma.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Why did you get in such a rush?
Richard Russell: I'm just worn out, fighting over that
Lyndon B. Johnson: Well, you ought to have taken another
hour and gone get your clothes.
Richard Russell: No, no. They're trying to prove that the
same bullet that hit Kennedy first was the one that hit
Connally, went through him and through his hand, his bone,
and into his leg... I couldn't hear all the evidence and
cross examine all of them. But I did read the record.... I
was the only fellow there that ... suggested any change
whatever in what the staff got up.' This staff business
always scares me. I like to put my own views down. But we
got you a pretty good report.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Well, what difference does it make which
bullet got Connally?
Richard Russell: Well, it don't make much difference. But
they said that... the commission believes that the same
bullet that hit Kennedy hit Connally. Well, I don't believe
Lyndon B. Johnson: I don't either.
Richard Russell: And so I couldn't sign it. And I said that
Governor Connally testified directly to the contrary and I'm
not gonna approve of that. So I finally made them say there
was a difference in the commission, in that part of them
believed that that wasn't so. And of course if a fellow was
accurate enough to hit Kennedy right in the neck on one shot
and knock his head off in the next one - and he's leaning up
against his wife's head - and not even wound her - why, he
didn't miss completely with that third shot. But according
to their theory, he not only missed the whole automobile,
but he missed the street! Well, a man that's a good enough
shot to put two bullets right into Kennedy, he didn't miss
that whole automobile... But anyhow, that's just a little
Lyndon B. Johnson: What's the net of the whole thing? What's
it say? Oswald did it? And he did it for any reason?
Richard Russell: Just that he was a general misanthropic
fellow, that he had never been satisfied anywhere he was on
earth - in Russia or here. And that he had a desire to get
his name in history.... I don't think you'll be displeased
with the report. It's too long.... Four volumes.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Unanimous?
Richard Russell: Yes, sir. I tried my best to get in a
dissent, but they'd come round and trade me out of it by
giving me a little old threat. "
Member John S. Cooper is under
" John Sherman Cooper was born in Somerset, Kentucky, on
23rd August, 1901. After graduating from Yale College in
attended Harvard Law School. He was admitted to bar in 1928
and worked as a lawyer in Somerset, Kentucky.
A member of the Republican Party, Cooper was elected to the
House of Representatives in Kentucky in 1928 and served as
judge of Pulaski County (1930-38).
During the Second World War Cooper served in the United
States Army where he he attained the rank of captain. In
1946 Cooper was elected to the Senate.
Cooper lived in Washington where he associated with a group
of journalists, politicians and government officials that
became known as the Georgetown Set. This included Frank
Wisner, George Kennan, Dean Acheson, Richard Bissell,
Desmond FitzGerald, Joseph Alsop, Stewart Alsop, Tracy
Barnes, Thomas Braden, Philip Graham, David Bruce, Clark
Clifford, Walt Rostow, Eugene Rostow, Chip Bohlen, Cord
Meyer, James Angleton, William Averill Harriman, John McCloy,
Felix Frankfurter, James Reston, Allen W. Dulles and Paul
Most men brought their wives to these gatherings. Members of
what was later called the Georgetown Ladies' Social Club
included Katharine Graham, Mary Pinchot Meyer, Sally Reston,
Polly Wisner, Joan Braden, Lorraine Cooper, Evangeline
Bruce, Avis Bohlen, Janet Barnes, Tish Alsop, Cynthia Helms,
Marietta FitzGerald, Phyllis Nitze and Annie Bissell.
After losing his seat in 1949 he returned to his legal
practice. Later that year he was appointed delegate to the
General Assembly of the United Nations and in as adviser to
the Council of Ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization in 1950.
In 1952 Cooper was again elected to the Senate. A strong
opponent of McCarthyism Copper was one of the first senators
to attack the tactics of Joseph McCarthy. After losing his
seat he was appointed Ambassador to India (1955-56).
Cooper was elected to the Senate for the third time in 1956.
Cooper was a critic of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. In 1969,
he joined with Senator Frank Church to sponsor an amendment
prohibiting the use of ground troops in Laos and Thailand.
The two men also joined forces in 1970 to limit the power of
the president during a war.
After leaving Senate in 1973, Cooper was appointed
Ambassador to the German Democratic Republic (1974-76). John
Sherman Cooper died in Washington on 21st February, 1991.
(1) I. F. Stone, I. F. Stone's Weekly (15th March, 1954)
When Ralph Flanders of Vermont attacked McCarthy, the Senate
was as silent as it was some weeks earlier when Ellender of
Louisiana made a lone onslaught and Fulbright of Arkansas
cast the sole vote against his appropriation. Only Lehman of
New York and John Sherman Cooper (R.) of Kentucky rose to
congratulate Flanders. Nobody defended McCarthy, but nobody
joined in with those helpful interjections which usually
mark a Senate speech. When the Democratic caucus met in
closed session, the Stevenson speech was ignored. Lyndon
Johnson of Texas, the Democratic floor leader, is frightened
of McCarthy's Texas backers.
(2) C. David Heymann, The Georgetown Ladies' Social Club
The assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy on
November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, brought to an abrupt
halt one of Georgetown's most fertile periods of social
activity. "There were so many parties during the thousand
days of Camelot," said Kennedy White House press secretary
Pierre Salinger, who lived in Georgetown, "that they all
blend into one. Camelot was one big, endless party."
Referring to the encroachment of the Vietnam War, Ambassador
Charles Whitehouse called Camelot "a beautiful sunset before
an endlessly bitter night." Of JFK's many friends and
admirers none was more anguished by his death than John
Sherman Cooper. The Kentucky senator subsequently served on
both the Warren Commission and on the committee selected by
Jacqueline and Robert Kennedy to select a site and raise
funds for the John F. Kennedy Library. Regarding his service
on the Warren Commission, Senator Cooper publicly expressed
dissatisfaction with the commission's findings, terming the
group's 1964 report "premature and inconclusive." In no
uncertain terms he informed Jack's surviving brothers,
Robert and Teddy, that, having personally examined thousands
of shreds of documentation, he felt strongly that Lee Harvey
Oswald had not acted alone. When he expressed these same
sentiments to Jackie, she responded: "What difference does
it make? Knowing who killed him won't bring Jack back." "No,
it won't," responded Cooper. "But it's important for this
nation that we bring the true murderers to justice."
(3) Gerald D. McKnight, Breach of Trust: How the Warren
Commission Failed the Nation and Why (2005)
In May 1964, about the midway point in the Warren
Commission's investigation, Director J. Edgar Hoover
appeared before the commissioners to provide them with his
special insights into the Kennedy assassination and the
benefit of his forty years as head of the nation's most
prestigious and revered law enforcement agency. Hoover was
probably America's most renowned and best-recognized public
figure, and the Commission wanted to trade on his eclat.
Hoover was scheduled to give his testimony when the
Commission was still working under Warren and Rankin's
initial time frame and expected to finish up its work by the
end of June. Ford and Dulles did most of the early
questioning. What they wanted from America's iconic hero was
his assurance that the assassination had been the act of a
lone nut. Hoover was quick to oblige, assuring the
commissioners that there was not "a scintilla of evidence
showing any foreign conspiracy or domestic conspiracy that
culminated in the assassination of President Kennedy."
Hoover told the commissioners they could expect to be
second-guessed and violently disagreed with, whatever their
ultimate findings were. He pointed out that the FBI was
already inundated with crank letters and calls from kooks,
weirdos, crazies, and self-anointed psychics, all alleging a
monstrous conspiracy behind Kennedy's violent death. Whether
orchestrated or not, his testimony before the Commission
provided the director an opportunity to launch a preemptive
strike against future dissenters and critics of the Warren
Commission and, by extension, Hoover's FBI, the Commission's
Whatever the merits, if any, of Hoover's profiling of future
Commission dissenters and critics, its first test was a
hands-down failure. The Commission's first dissenter was
Senator Richard Brevard Russell, Jr., one of the most
conservative as well as respected and admired members of the
U.S. Senate. Russell wielded great power in the upper
chamber and had earned the title "dean of the Senate."
During 1963-1964, when the Warren Commission was conducting
its business, no U.S. legislator was at the White House as
frequently as the senior senator from Georgia.
On September 18, 1964, a Friday evening, President Johnson
phoned Russell, his old political mentor and longtime
friend, to find out what was in the Commission's report
scheduled for release within the week. Johnson was surprised
that Russell had suddenly bolted from Washington for a
weekend retreat to his Winder, Georgia, home. Russell was
quick to clear up the mystery as to why he needed to get out
of the nation's capital. For the past nine months the
Georgia lawmaker had been trying to balance his heavy
senatorial duties with his responsibilities as a member of
the Warren Commission, a perfect drudgery that Johnson had
imposed upon him despite Russell's strenuous objections. No
longer a young man and suffering from debilitating
emphysema, Russell was simply played out. But it was the
Warren Commission's last piece of business that had prompted
his sudden Friday decision to escape Washington.
That Friday, September 18, Russell forced a special
executive session of the Commission. It was not a placid
meeting. In brief, Russell intended to use this session to
explain to his Commission colleagues why he could not sign a
report stating that the same bullet had struck both
President Kennedy and Governor Connally. Russell was
convinced that the missile that had struck Connally was a
separate bullet. Senator Cooper was in strong agreement with
Russell, and Boggs, to a lesser extent, had his own serious
reservations about the single-bullet explanation. The
Commission's findings were already in page proofs and ready
for printing when Russell balked at signing the report.
Commissioners Ford, Dulles, and McCloy were satisfied that
the one-bullet scenario was the most reasonable explanation
because it was essential to the report's single-assassin
conclusion. With the Commission divided almost down the
middle, Chairman Warren insisted on nothing less than a
unanimous report. The stalemate was resolved, superficially
at least, when Commissioner McCloy fashioned some compromise
language that satisfied both camps.'
The tension-ridden Friday-morning executive session had worn
Russell out. He told Johnson that the "damn Commission
business whupped me down." Russell was in such haste to get
away that he had forgotten to pack his toothbrush, extra
shirts, and the medicine he used to ease his respiratory
illness. Although Russell had support from Cooper and Boggs,
he was the only one who actively dug in his heels against
Rankin and the staff's contention that Kennedy and Connally
had been hit by the same nonfatal bullet. Because of
Russell's chronic Commission absenteeism he never fully
comprehended that the final report's no-conspiracy
conclusion was inextricably tied to the validity of what
would later be referred to as the "single-bullet" theory.
But he had read most of the testimony and was convinced that
the staff's contention that the same missile had hit Kennedy
and Connally was, at best, "credible" but not persuasive. "I
don't believe it," he frankly told the president. Johnson's
response -whether patronizing or genuine remains guesswork -
was "I don't either." In summing up their Friday-night
exchange, Russell and Johnson agreed that the question of
the Connally bullet did not jeopardize the credibility of
the report. Neither questioned the official version that
Oswald had shot President Kennedy. "
Member Thomas Hale Boggs under
" Thomas Hale Boggs was born in Long Beach, Mississippi, on
15th February, 1914. He graduated from the law department of
Tulane University in 1935 and soon afterwards started work
as a lawyer in New Orleans.
A member of the Democratic Party he was elected to Congress
and served from January 1941 to January 1943. He left
politics in 1943 to enlist in the United States Naval
Reserve and served in the Potomac River Naval Command during
the rest of the Second World War.
After the war Boggs returned to politics and in January 1946
was once again elected to the Senate. He held several posts
including majority whip, chairman of the Special Committee
on Campaign Expenditures and majority leader.
On the death of John F. Kennedy in 1963 his deputy, Lyndon
B. Johnson, was appointed president. He immediately set up a
commission to "ascertain, evaluate and report upon the facts
relating to the assassination of the late President John F.
Kennedy." Boggs was invited to join the commission under the
chairmanship of Earl Warren. Other members of the commission
included Richard B. Russell, Gerald Ford, Allen W. Dulles,
John J. McCloy and John S. Cooper.
The Warren Commission reported to President Johnson ten
months later. It reached the following conclusions:
(1) The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded
Governor Connally were fired from the sixth floor window at
the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository.
(2) The weight of the evidence indicates that there were
three shots fired.
(3) Although it is not necessary to any es
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