Lyndon B. Johnson: No, it is not rough. What is rough about
this? They had a full-scale investigation going, Dick, with the
TV up there. They had the House Un-American Activities Committee
Richard Russell: They shouldn't have done it.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Of course, but how do I stop it? How do I
stop it, Dick? Now don't tell me that I've worked all day and
Richard Russell: I didn't say you'd done wrong. I just said...
it could have been stopped some other way. . . .
Lyndon B. Johnson: What do you think I've done wrong now by
appointing you on a commission?
Richard Russell: Well, I just don't like Warren.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Of course, you don't like Warren, but you'll
like him before it is over with.
Richard Russell: I haven't got any confidence in him.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Well, you can give him some confidence.
Goddamn it! Associate with him now... I'm not afraid to put your
intelligence against Warren's. Now by God, I want a man on that
commission and I've got one!
Richard Russell: I don't know about the intelligence, of course,
and I feel like I'm being kidded, but if you think...
Lyndon B. Johnson: Well, if you think now Dick, do you think I'd
Richard Russell: If it is for the good of the country, you know
damned well I'll do it and I'll do it for you, for that
Lyndon B. Johnson: Dick, do you remember when you met me at the
Carlton Hotel in 1952? When we had breakfast there one morning?
Richard Russell: Yes, I think I do.
Lyndon B. Johnson: All right. Do you think I'm kidding you?
Richard Russell: No, I don't think you're kidding me. But I
think - well, I'm not going to say any more, Mr. President. I'm
at your command and I'll do anything you want me to do.
Lyndon B. Johnson: You damned sure going to be at my command!
You're going to be at my command as long as I'm here.
Richard Russell: I do wish you be a little more deliberate and
considerate next time about it but... if you've done this, I'm
going to... go through with it and say I think it is a wonderful
Lyndon B. Johnson: I'm going to have you on a good goddamned
many things that I have to decide.... I've served under you and
I don't give a damn if you have to serve with a Republican, if
you have to serve with a Communist, if you have to serve with a
Negro, or if you have to serve with a thug - or if you have to
serve with A.W. Moursund.
Richard Russell: I can serve with a Communist and I can serve
with a Negro. I can serve with a Chinaman.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Well, you may have to serve with A.W.
Richard Russell: And if I can serve with A.W. Moursund, I would
say, "Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to serve with you, Judge
Moursund." But - we won't discuss it any further Mr. President.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Okay, Dick, and give Bobby my love and tell
him he'd better get ready to give up that fruitful law practice
Richard Russell: He's been appointed to the Georgia Court of
Appeals. Now, you see, I got him on there. He's making as much
money as I am.
Lyndon B. Johnson: What about Vandiver?
Richard Russell: Well, he's running for Governor next time and
he'll be elected.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Who in the hell is going to help me besides
Richard Russell: Those boys will help you if you need them.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Well, I need 'em.
Richard Russell: Goddamn it, they're harder for you than I was -
Lyndon B. Johnson: No, nobody ever has been more to me than you
have, Dick - except my mother.
Richard Russell: (laughs scoffmgly)
Lyndon B. Johnson: No, no, that's true. I've bothered you more
and made you spend more hours with me telling me what's right
and wrong than anybody except my mother.
Richard Russell: You've made me do more things I didn't want to
Lyndon B. Johnson: No, no, I never made you do anything that was
wrong. I never...
Richard Russell: I didn't say "wrong." I said more things I
didn't want to do. But Bobby and Ernie are two of the most loyal
friends you've got on earth.
Lyndon B. Johnson: I know that.
Richard Russell: They both called me up and said, "You've just
got to do whatever Mr. Johnson says."
Lyndon B. Johnson: No ... I just want to counsel with you and I
just want your judgment and your wisdom.
Richard Russell: For whatever it's worth, you've got it.
Lyndon B. Johnson: I'm going to have it 'cause I haven't got any
daddy and you're going to be it. And don't just forget that.
Richard Russell: Mr. President, you know - I think you know me.
Lyndon B. Johnson: I do. I do. I know you're for your country
and - period. Now you just get ready to do this and you're my
man on there.
Richard Russell: If you hadn't announced it, I would absolutely
Lyndon B. Johnson: No you wouldn't. No, you wouldn't.
Richard Russell: Yes, I would. Yes, I would.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Warren told me he wouldn't do it under any
circumstances. Didn't think a Supreme Court Justice ought to go
on... He said a man that criticized this fellow that went on the
Nuremberg trial - Jackson. And I said, "Let me read you one
report." And I just picked up one report and read it to him, and
I said, "Okay, now, forty million Americans involved here."
Richard Russell: I may be wholly wrong. But I think Mr. Warren
would serve on anything that would give him any publicity.
Lyndon B. Johnson: You want me to tell you the truth? You know
what happened? Bobby and them went up to see him today and he
turned them down cold and said, "No." Two hours later, I called
him and ordered him down here and he didn't want to come. I
insisted he come. He came down here and told me no - twice. And
I just pulled out what Hoover told me about a little incident in
Mexico City and I said, "Now I don't want Mr. Khrushchev to be
told tomorrow - and be testifying before a camera that he killed
this fellow and that Castro killed him and all I want you to do
is look at the facts and bring in any other facts you want in
here and determine who killed the President. And I think you put
on your uniform in World War I, fat as you are, and would do
anything you could to save one American life. And I'm surprised
that you, the Chief Justice of the United States, would turn me
down." And he started crying and he said, "I won't turn you
down. I'll just do whatever you say." But he turned the Attorney
Richard Russell: You ought not to be so persuasive.
Lyndon B. Johnson: I think I ought to.
Richard Russell: I think you did wrong in getting Warren, and I
know damned well you did wrong in getting me. But we'll both do
the best we can.
Lyndon B. Johnson: I think that's what you'll do. That's the
kind of Americans both of you are. Good night.
(5) Recorded telephone conversation between Richard Russell,
Lyndon B. Johnson and B. Everett Jordan (13th May, 1964)
Richard Russell: I'm mighty sorry I couldn't go to Georgia with
you but you had a fine reception down there.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Aw, couldn't have been better. I missed you.
That was the only thing wrong with the trip.
Richard Russell: I had to talk to the junior chamber of
commerce.. I'm all right with the old ones. I'll never get back
in with the young women, but I'm trying to get back in with the
Richard Russell: Now listen, I'm down here with Everett Jordan
and he's sweating blood about this danged Bobby Baker thing.
They had a hell of a big revival of it up here today. ... It
looks to me like they're just trying to keep the damned thing
open. . . . Everett is greatly bothered about it. ... He asked
me to come down here, said he had to have some help. I don't
know how to help him.
B. Everett Jordan: I'm worried. They made a hell of a fight on
this thing on the floor today.... They've already said they're
going to drag Walter Jenkins down here. Of course, I know they
can't, but you'd have to stop it. That'd be embarrassing... They
want to get into campaign expenses. Baker putting out money to
Senators, controlling who was going on committees.... It's the
damnedest mess you ever saw. The press just eats it up. ... I
need some help and I need it bad... If you'd call Mike...
Lyndon B. Johnson: I'm not the one to call Mike. ... If I had
any influence with Mike, he never would have fired Bobby.
B. Everett Jordan: What about Hubert?
Lyndon B. Johnson: I'm afraid to say I'll talk to anybody 'cause
they'll say the White House is calling. . . . But I'll do what I
Richard Russell: Dirksen... of course, if it looks like there's
going to be an investigation, he's going to run like hell 'cause
he's one of the last fellows up here that wants an
Lyndon B. Johnson: You ought to tell Dirksen that too, Dick. . .
Richard Russell: I'm doing the best I can, Mr. President, but
God knows, I've got a hell of a lot to do. I sat up last night
till eleven-thirty reading the FBI reports on some son of a
bitch - this fellow Rankin on the Warren Commission. Everybody's
raising hell about him being a Communist and all, a left-winger.
The FBI was investigating. Eight thousand pages of raw material.
There ain't but twenty-four hours a day. 'Course, I know I'm
talking to a man that's got a hell of a lot more to do than I
have. You's the only man in Washington that does.