Warren Commission: Conversation with Sen. Richard Russell

Speaker: Lyndon B Johnson
Delivered On: 11/29/1963
Place: Washington, DC
Audio/Video Available:

Description: Second conversation between LBJ and Sen. Richard Russell (Dem.-Ga.), where LBJ reports that he has publicly announced the commission and has appointed Russell and Warren to serve. Russell is upset since he indicated to Johnson that he did not wish to serve. Russell declares that he cannot serve with Warren. Note: This particular clip contains some very weak audio segments. Johnson reports on his ability to persuade Warren to serve (point to 15:30 of the RealAudio file) and then brings Russell into line with all the others on the commission. Here, we offer selected telephone conversations concerning the Special Commission to Investigate the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (the Warren Commission). President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX on November 22, 1963. Shortly thereafter, the House of Representatives and the Senate considered independent investigations of the assassination and the murder of Kennedy's putative assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. To trump these congressional efforts, President Lyndon Johnson decided to form a presidential commission to investigate the assassination and Oswald's death. These conversations document the formation of the commission -- indentified by the popular title "The Warren Commission" -- because the chairman was Chief Justice Earl Warren.

The selected conversations you will hear document Johnson's extraordinary persuasiveness. The matchup of personalities called on all of Johnson's ability. Appeals to patriotism, family, and honor were interspersed in his conversations. Some people were honored, others were reluctant despite the Johnson treatment. In the end, all served. These conversations explain how Johnson cobbled the committee together. (The conversations are in chronological order.)

A comment about the recordings. These recordings vary dramatically in audio quality. The recordings were made on Dictaphone Dictabelt equipment. You will hear many imperfections. Sometimes the audio may be inaudible. This is not the fault of your RealAudio Player. The problem lies in the source material. Do not be discouraged, for there are riches to be found here that will illuminate those sad and frightening days following Kennedy's death.
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