(1) Richard Russell, public letter to Eugene Talmadge (9th
As one who was born and reared in the atmosphere of the Old
South, with six generations of my forebears now resting beneath
Southern soil, I am willing to go as far and make as great a
sacrifice to preserve and insure white supremacy in the social,
economic, and political life of our state as any man who lives
within her borders.
(2) St Louis Post-Dispatch (December 1994)
Congressional leaders privately urged President John F. Kennedy
to invade Cuba at the outset of the Cuban missile crisis, newly
released White House tapes show.
"We've got to take a chance somewhere, sometime, if we're going
to retain our position as a great world power," Sen. Richard
Russell, D-Ga., chairman of the Armed Services Committee,
advised Kennedy as the world came to the brink of nuclear war in
Kennedy deflected Russell by reassuring him that troops were
being massed for an invasion but would not be ready for at least
Minutes later, the president went on television to announce a
different tactic: a blockade against ships bound for Cuba with
The president had learned only hours earlier that a U.S.
airstrike would be less than 100 percent effective against the
missiles and that a ground invasion could take months.
Four days later, on Oct. 26 - after the United States secretly
had pledged to remove NATO missiles in Turkey - the Soviets
agreed to remove any offensive weapons in Cuba, and the crisis
The tapes, released after being kept secret for more than 32
years, cover two meetings held Oct. 22, 1962, about a week after
aerial reconnaissance photos first revealed a Soviet
medium-range missile site under construction in Cuba.
More than 500 tactical fighter planes already were massed in
Florida by Oct. 22.
Kennedy had learned in a separate meeting with his National
Security Council earlier the same day that some Cuban missiles
could survive a US airstrike and be used against American
Kennedy shared this news with Russell and other congressional
committee chairmen hours later. They insisted it was time to
"Seems to me, we're either a first-class power or we're not,"
But Kennedy argued that the Soviets would not stand by as an
American invasion force was built up with designs on Cuba. "We
can't invade Cuba," Kennedy said. "It takes us some while to
assemble our force to invade Cuba. That's one of the problems
(3) Telephone conversation between Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard
Russell (4.05 pm, 29th November, 1963)
Lyndon B. Johnson: I talked to the leadership on trying to
have... about a seven-man board to evaluate Hoover's report... I
think it would be better than.. having four or five going in the
Richard Russell: I agree with that, but I don't think that
Hoover ought to make his report too soon.
Lyndon B. Johnson: He's ready with it now and he wants to get it
off just as quick as he can.
Richard Russell: Oh-oh.
Lyndon B. Johnson: And he'll probably have it out today. At
most, on Monday.
Richard Russell: Well, but he ain't going to publish the damned
thing, is he?
Lyndon B. Johnson: He's going to turn it over to this group and
there's some things about it I can't talk about.
Richard Russell: Yeah, I understand that, but I think it be
mighty well if that thing was kept quiet another week or ten
days. I just do.
Lyndon B. Johnson: They're taking this Court of Inquiry in Texas
and I think the results of that Court of Inquiry, Hoover's
report, and all of them would go to this group.... Now here's
who I'm going to try to get on it... I don't think I can get any
member of the Court. I'm going to try to get Allen Dulles. I'm
going to try Senator Russell and Senator Cooper from the
Richard Russell: Oh no, no, no, get somebody else now.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Now wait a minute, now I want to try to
Richard Russell: I haven't got time.
Lyndon B. Johnson: Jerry Ford. It is not going to take much time
but we've got to get a states' rights man in there1 and somebody
that the country has confidence in. And I'm going to have Boggs
in... I think that Ford and Boggs would be pretty good. They're
both pretty young men.
Richard Russell: They're both solid citizens.
Lyndon B. Johnson: And I think that Cooper as a Republican and
you're a good states rights' man. I think we might get John
McCloy . . . and maybe somebody from the Court.... Who would be
the best then if I didn't get the Chief?
Richard Russell: I know you wouldn't want Clark hardly.
Lyndon B. Johnson: No, I can't have a Texan.
Richard Russell: Really, Mr. President, unless you really think
it would be of some benefit, it would really save my life. I
declare I don't want to serve.
Lyndon B. Johnson: I know you don't want to do anything, but I
want you to. And I think that this is important enough and
you'll see why. Now, the next thing: I know how you feel about
this CIA, but they're worried about having to go into a lot of
this stuff with the Foreign Relations Committee. How much of a
problem would it give you to just quietly let Fulbright and
Hickenlooper come into your CIA committee?
Richard Russell: As long as it is confined to those two, it
wouldn't present any problem at all. (Gap in the transcript.)
Richard Russell: Now you're going to let the Attorney General
nominate someone, aren't you?
Lyndon B. Johnson: No. Uh-uh.
Richard Russell: Well, you going to have Hoover on there?
Lyndon B. Johnson: No, it is his report.
Richard Russell: Oh, that's right, that's right. It wouldn't do.
... Let me see, if I think of a judge in the next thirty or
Lyndon B. Johnson: What do you think about a Justice sitting on
it? You don't have a President assassinated but every fifty
Richard Russell: They put them on the Pearl Harbor inquiry, you
Lyndon B. Johnson: I know. That's why he's against it now.
Richard Russell: Afraid it might get into the courts?
Lyndon B. Johnson: I guess so, I don't know.
Richard Russell: That's probably the theory of it....
Lyndon B. Johnson: Give me the arguments why they ought to.