A Conversation between LBJ and Gerald Ford

11/29/1963 - 6:52 p.m.

LBJ: Yes?

Sec.: Congressman Ford, two-one-nine-one.

F: Yes, Mr. President, how are you, sir?

LBJ: Happy Thanksgiving.  Where are you?

F: I'm home, sir.

LBJ: You mean Michigan?

F: No, no, I'm here in Washington--

LBJ: In Washington?  Well, thank God I have somebody in town.

F: (Laughter)

LBJ: I was getting ready to tell MacGregor Burns he's right about the Congress; they couldn't function.

F: I thought your speech was excellent the other day.

LBJ: Well, thank you, Jerry.  Jerry, I've got something I want you to do for me.

F: Well, we'll do the best we can, sir.

LBJ: I've got to have a top, blue-ribbon, presidential commission to investigate the assassination.  I'm going to ask the Chief Justice to head it, and then I'm going to ask John McCloy and Allen Dulles.

F: Right.

LBJ: And I want it non-partisan.  I'm not going to point out, "I’ve got five Republicans and two Democrats," but I'm going to do that, then you forget what party you belong to and just serve as an American.  And I want Dick Russell and Sherman Cooper, John Cooper, in the Senate.  Dick's on Armed Services over there, and I want somebody on Appropriations [that] knows CIA over in your shop from Appropriations angle because I'm covering the Armed Services angle with Russell.

F: Right.

LBJ: I'm going to ask Hale Boggs and you to serve from the House and--may as well be McCloy and Dulles and Ford and Boggs and Cooper and Russell and Chief Justice Warren as chairman.

F: Well, you know very well I would be honored to do it, and I'll do the very best I can, Sir.

LBJ: You do that, and keep me up to date, and I'll be seeing you.

F: Alright.  Thank you very much.

LBJ: Thank you.

F: I'm delighted to help out.

LBJ: Thank you, Jerry.

F: Thank you.