Mr. CONNALLY. Thank you, Mr. Dodd.
Mr. CORNWELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Governor Connally, I would like to begin by asking you if it would be accurate to state that you had a leading role in the decisionmaking process that led to the President's trip to Dallas on November 22, 1963?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, Mr. Cornwell, it certainly would be accurate to say that.
Mr. CORNWELL. When did the possibility of that trip first become a matter of concern to you?
Mr. CONNALLY. Mr. Cornwell, I wouldn't characterize it as a matter of concern, but the possibility of a trip to Texas arose, as I recall, in the spring of 1962.
Mr. CORNWELL. What were you doing during that period of time?
Mr. CONNALLY. In 1962, I was running for Governor of Texas, in the midst of a campaign. Vice President Johnson told me then that President Kennedy wanted to come to Texas, he wanted to come to Texas to raise some money, have some fund raising affairs over the State.
I was not the least bit interested, very frankly, at that point in time, in trying to put together a trip, sponsoring a dinner, for a number of reasons.
First, I was in the midst of a primary battle. I was running against an incumbent Governor, an incumbent attorney general, and a number of other candidates. The first poll that came out after I announced my candidacy indicated that I had 4 percent of the votes. So, I had an uphill climb in the battle.
I fortunately led the primary campaign but went into a runoff with a young man, then the leader of the liberal element of the Democratic Party in Texas, named Don Yarborough. I was successful in the runoff in winning the primary runoff, but then was confronted with very, very determined, well-financed, extremely able opposition in the general election.
So frankly, I kept putting off any proposed trip to Texas, again, for a number of reasons. First, every hour, every bit of energy that any of us had was directed toward my own campaign that year. I didn't think we had the organization, I didn't think we had the time, I didn't think it was the appropriate time to try to bring the President into the State. I didn't think we could do credit to a visit, so I kept delaying it, not with standing the continuous and repeated suggestions from the Vice President who, frankly, was being needled by the President.
The President was making it quite clear to the Vice President, Mr, Johnson, that he wanted to come to Texas and he wanted to raise some money in Texas.
I can pause there, Mr. Cornwell.
Mr. CORNWELL. That answers the question. Let me ask you, if you were just beginning to run in the primaries, why was it that the President's desire to have a trip to Texas was brought to your attention? Why was it that you were asked at that point to take part in the trip?
Mr. CONNALLY. Well, I think first, I had known President Kennedy since the early 1950's. I had been vice chairman of the Texas delegation to the national convention in Chicago in 1956 when we supported Mr. Kennedy then, Senator Kennedy, as Vice Presidential nominee on the national ticket with Mr. Stevenson.
I had, as you know, as Mr. Blakey just recounted, I had been appointed by President Kennedy as Secretary of the Navy and had served in the year 1961 as Secretary of the Navy. I, as a matter of fact, not only talked to Mr. McNamara, but I had gone and talked to President Kennedy before I went home to run for Governor.
So I was certainly, at that point, probably the Texan, outside of Vice President Johnson, who was closest to the Kennedy administration, and I think it was normal and natural that they would expect me to become involved in it.
Mr. CORNWELL. Why, at that point in time, did you understand the President wanted to come to Texas?
Mr. CONNALLY. There was never any doubt in my mind about it. There was never any doubt in the President's mind or Vice President's mind. He wanted to come to Texas for two reasons: First, to raise money; second, to enhance his own political fortunes in Texas. No doubt about it. No other reason. Much has been written, much has been speculated, but I assure you over many, many months, it was very obvious, very clear that that was the purpose.
As a matter of fact, in 1963, after the--let me digress a moment. After the campaign was over in November 1962, and I had been successfully elected Governor, then I had only 60 days between November and January in order to build a staff and to develop a budget, to develop a legislative program to submit to the legislature on approximately January 20. This was my first legislative session of 120 days and, again, I resisted any proposed Presidential trips to Texas because I was totally absorbed and consumed, all of my energies, all of my staff, with the legislative program.
It was obvious, though, that as soon as that was over, we were going to have to have a trip. I was perfectly willing, at this time, to undertake to organize one, but all during this period of time, it was quite clear that the President wanted to come for the purposes for which I have stated; namely, to raise money; second, to enhance his political fortunes in Texas.
I must say that at that point in time, I don't remember the figures exactly, but the President was not extremely popular in Texas, nor was he in the country. He wasn't unpopular. He had had a very bitter campaign in 1960. He carried Texas by 46,000 votes, approximately 46,200-some-odd votes, with Vice President Johnson on the ticket with him. So, it had been an extremely close, extremely hard-fought election.
The President had brought great elan, he had brought great culture, he brought great dignity and excitement to the White House, but in spite of that, his legislative program had not faired all that well. He was not that popular in the country and his popularity had diminished considerably, as a matter of fact.
He was already looking at 1964 and the campaign of 1964. He had been traveling all ,over the country. He made it quite clear that in 1964, if he didn't carry but two States, he wanted to carry Massachusetts and Texas, and he wanted to come to Texas. So, it was obvious to me--again, my reluctance m encouraging the trip, as a matter of fact, it was more than reluctance; I resisted the trip, very frankly; I didn't encourage it, I resisted it for the reasons that I have already explained.
In 1962, I was involved in the campaigning; the first 120 days of 1963, I was involved in legislative session and if he was coming, I wanted him to come to achieve the objectives that he wanted; namely, to raise the money; second, to structure the trip in such a way that he would benefit from it politically.
Mr. CORNWELL. During this approximate 1-year period, from the early part of 1961 through the period of the first part of 1962 when, as you described, you were engaged primarily with trying to put together a staff, being a new Governor, and getting your legislative program through the legislature, the hints continued to come that the President wanted to come to Texas, you continued to stall, why didn't the President just come on his own?
Mr. CONNALLY. He could have, but he obviously didn't want to. I had been elected in a rather, I guess I would have to describe it as a surprising election. I had frankly been elected by the people that President Kennedy needed the most, by the moderates and the conservatives of the State. He obviously had the most liberal wing of the party already for him. They had supported him. In 1960, in the campaign, they were still for him. What he was looking for and what he was really chafed about was the fact
that the moderate and conservative elements of the country, not just Texas, but the whole country, were not supporting him, that he was characterized as being antibusiness, and part of that, I think, was the result of his actions with respect to steel prices.
But, nevertheless, I think this irritated him and he said so, and he
didn't understand it, and he, on one occasion, said to me, that, "If these business people are silly enough to think that I am going to dismantle this free enterprise system, they are crazy."
So, I think it was obvious that he wanted to come on a basis that he could talk to, and hopefully appeal to, the very people that had not supported him, because he was looking at a tough election, at least in our part of the country, in 1964.
Mr. CORNWELL. Well, if, then, he basically needed someone to help with the planning arrangements, to achieve the ends that he sought, which was fund raising and improving his political posture in the State, why didn't he just ask the Vice President, who was also from Texas, to arrange those matters for him?
Mr. CONNALLY. Well, for the simple reason that I had been able to build a pretty successful organization in Texas and the Governor is the titular head of the party of his State, and, frankly, the Governor of any State, regardless of his party, Republican or Democrat, is the titular head of the party and he sets the political tone of the State, and it would be inconceivable and President Kennedy was too good a politician to try to come to Texas without my wholehearted support, or at least tacit approval, and the Vice President certainly would not have done it.
For one of these trips, it is not just as simple as saying, let's go to Texas. This requires an incredible amount of planning, organization, detail, harassment, haranguing. We went through weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks of this. So the idea that they are just going to pick up and come, I don't think was attractive to them at all.
It was obvious that the President never seriously considered that. He obviously could have come any time he wanted to and so could the Vice President, and the Vice President was down during this period of time--1962-63--on a number of occasions. But they didn't want to attempt to arrange the type of affair that they were interested in without my personal involvement and without the involvement of the State party machinery that I had constructed.
Mr. CORNWELL. Did there come a time when you finally couldn't avoid or push back the hints any longer?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes. The President was making a trip out through the West, in the summer, I believe, of 1963. He was going to Colorado, New Mexico, and perhaps other States. In any event, he was in El Paso and I met him in El Paso, and the minute I walked into the room where they were---
Mr. CORNWELL. What kind of room was it?
Mr. CONNALLY. A hotel room. I have forgotten. I believe the Casa Del Norte Hotel. The Vice President was there, President Kennedy was there, and several of the staff people. Kenny O'Donnell, as I recall, was there, and the President made some remark about, "Well, Lyndon, are we ever going to get this trip to Texas worked out?" Obviously he wasn't speaking to me, but he was speaking to me, but he was addressing Vice President Johnson.
Vice President Johnson said, "Well, the Governor is here, Mr. President, let's find out."
Mr. CORNWELL. At this point--
Mr. CONNALLY. I knew at that point my string had run out. I knew we were going to have a trip to Texas, and I was perfectly willing to do it because I had gotten through a legislative session in fairly good order and we had the time, I had been able to rebuild the structure of the Democratic Party, and we were prepared to organize the trip.
So, I said, in effect, "Mr. President, when do you want to come?" Then he said, he said, "Well, I think we ought to have four dinners," and I was in a state of shock. He said, "I think we ought to have four or five fund raising dinners," and he said, "What do you think about having it on Lyndon's birthday, August 27?" This was in June, as I recall.
And again I said, "Mr. President, I would like to think about that. Obviously the Vice President s birthday is always a time for celebration, but August is the worst month of the year to have a fund raising affair in Texas, for anybody. Too many people are gone, it is the dog days, it is the hottest month of the year, people are on vacation, they are not interested in politics, we can't get the support, and I think it would be a serious mistake to come in August."
Well, we didn't decide at that particular meeting in El Paso when the date would be, but I said, "We will think about it" and I said in effect, "Let me do some planning. Let me do some thinking and we will be back in touch with you and I will suggest a trip, a format of a trip that I think will achieve the purposes that you want to achieve."
Mr. CORNWELL. Would I understand your earlier description of the climate in the State of Texas and in the Nation to apply to this period of time? I know you described basically the way you perceived it when the hints first came to your attention in 1962. I take it the climate hadn't changed much by 1963, is that correct?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, they had not. I think the President was concerned about the campaign of 1964, his popularity. Your chief counsel, Mr. Blakey, just said it dropped from 83 percent down to about 60 percent, and was on a descending scale during this period of time, and I don't remember the precise figures the poll showed, but obviously he had lost considerable ground and he was concerned about it.
Mr. CORNWELL. Well, given that climate in the State of Texas and in the Nation, what, if anything, did you expect that you could personally gain or could be gained for your wing of the Democratic Party from the Texas trip?
Mr. CONNALLY. Well, I thought, first, that Texas is always, I think, a considerate and hospitable State to anyone, and most certainly they are to a President, and we were obviously going to be honored by a Presidential visit to Texas, and we wanted one. The President had really not been to Texas since the campaign of 1960 except for the one stop in El Paso. So, he had not been there for any purpose during the intervening years, and we were obviously all going to benefit by his presence. We were all at
that point, we were Democrats, we were officeholders, the fortunes of one obviously affected the fortunes of all, and it was important to all of us that he be understood, that he be accepted, that he be supported, as much as we possibly could, and to that extent I would certainly benefit as an officeholder more than that.
President Kennedy's strongest supporters were not my strongest supporters. I had developed a base of support among the moderates and conservatives in the State in the Democratic Party, whereas the people that had been most enthusiastic about President Kennedy really had supported my opponent, at least in the primary and in the runoff election. Most of them supported me in the general election in 1962.
So, if the President came, and the mere fact that he did come, and my association with him, and the fact that I had helped plan the trip, that I would be with him, Mrs. Connally and I would be with them, obviously was going to inure to my benefit, it seems to me, among the people who most supported President Kennedy. So there was never any question really about--my thinking was not influenced by whether or not I was going to benefit or not going to benefit.
My whole reluctance and resistance up until the summer of 1962 revolved around my fear that we couldn't put on the type of trip that I thought the President deserved and that we wanted him to have.
Mr. CORNWELL. You told us that at the meeting in El Paso, in the hotel suite of the President, in June 1963, you agreed to help him plan the trip, but that no specific agreement was reached as to the details of the trip or as to the date of the trip?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is correct.
Mr. CORNWELL. What happened next?
Mr. CONNALLY. Well, again Vice President Johnson, with whom I talked frequently during that period of time, told me the President was still interested in having four or five fund raising dinners, and I said to the Vice President, I said, "Well, that is a mistake," and he said, "Well, that is what he wants and you had better be prepared to do it or better be prepared to give him a real good reason why you can't do it," and I said, "All right, I will work out something and be back in touch with you."
I came to Washington in early October 1963, and went to see the President. I had an appointment before I came up here to see him to talk to him about this dinner, and at that point he still was talking about four or five fund raising dinners in the principal cities of Texas.
At that point, I just said to him, "Mr. President, I think that is a mistake; we want the money, yes, but we also need, it seems to me, on your first real visit to Texas, we need to posture you in such a way that you are going to politically benefit from it and it doesn't look like all you are interested in is the money that you are going to get out of the State, and frankly, if you come down and we try to put on five fund raising affairs in the principal cities of Texas, most people down there are going to think that all you are interested in is the financial rape of the State," and I used those words, and he said, "well, all right what do you suggest?" and at that point I said, "I would suggest, we have been giving a lot of thought to it, I talked to the State chairman, I talked to the members of the State legislature, talked to the other political leaders in the State," and I told him that I thought we ought to have a number of nonpolitical events for him to go to, that we ought to try to hit the major cities of Texas--Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio--and that we ought to culminate it with a dinner in Austin.
We didn't go over all the details at this particular visit but that was the general outline of what I had proposed to him. He said all right, you work it out and get in touch with, as I recall, he said Kenny O'Donnell, and he will work this out, and we will pick a date, and obviously we were saying to him that he would have to pick the date of the visit.
He and I were in the Oval Office and he couldn't have been nicer, couldn't have been more friendly, he got up from behind his desk and came around and was extremely warm and cordial, as he always was. He sat in the rocking chair and I sat in one of those little couches there in the Oval Room and I frankly was a bit surprised that the Vice President wasn't there. But he wasn't. And later I heard about it, because after my visit with the President, I went out that evening to "the Elms," to the Vice President's home and he was considerably irritated with me, and he said so, and he said, "I suppose you think I don't have any interest in what is happening in Texas," and I said, "No, Mr. Vice President, I know you are extremely interested in what is happening in Texas.'
He said, "Why didn't you tell me?" I said, "Mr. Vice President, I assumed you knew I was going to see the President,' and I said, trying to alibi any way I could, because I recognized that he was really irritated about it,' and I said, After all, I made this appointment several days ago and it is not my prerogative to say who is in that Oval Office, I assumed if the President wanted you there you would be there."
"Well," he said, "you could have told me beforehand what you had in mind."
I said, "You have known basically what I had in mind. In any event, here is what we said," and I recounted to him that I proposed that we visit the five major cities, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, San Antonio, culminating in a dinner in Austin, and then I apologized to the Vice President and said, "I am sorry, I should have talked to you before I went in to see the President. Frankly, I assumed you would be there. When I got into the Oval Office and I was rather surprised that you weren't, but having the appointment I had no choice but to go ahead and discuss it," and then I said, "But here is what we said." I recounted the conversation as best I could and we proceeded from there.
Mr. CORNWELL. Were there any specific discussions with the President on this occasion early in October 1963, as to the groups or persons that he should meet with on his trip?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, we talked about that, as a matter of fact, as early as El Paso, and I told him I thought we ought to try to schedule the itinerary and plan the trip in such a way that he would be, particularly the nonpolitical events, where he could appear before groups, civic groups, basically nonpolitical groups, but groups composed of the moderate to conservative business leaders, political leaders of the State, who had not supported him, who were not enthusiastic about him, in order to try to give him a chance to convert those people, and he agreed with that. No question about that.
This trip progressed as they always do. This became quite an issue, simply because Senator Yarborough, Ralph Yarborough, was then in the Senate, he was being constantly harangued by his supporters in Texas, they were saying, "well, they are structuring this thing trying to keep us away from the President and the President's supporters are not getting to see him," and Senator Yarborough was relaying those to the White House and to the advance people, and we were arguing about tickets and arguing about everything in the world.
It got to be a major hassle and part of this raised the question that has since been discussed in great length, that the President came to Texas to resolve the differences in the Democratic Party in Texas. Nothing could be further from the truth. The two individuals who were most involved in the split in the party were Senator Yarborough and Vice President Johnson, and both of them were in Washington, D.C. This is where the trouble was.
The trouble arose basically over Federal patronage and Federal appointees and Vice President Johnson was trying to get every Federal appointment he could get, and so was Senator Yarborough. Senator Yarborough was complaining constantly to the White House to President Kennedy, that Johnson was usurping his patronage rights of the Senate with respect to Federal judges, marshals, and so forth. This was the battle here.
And indeed if the President was interested in resolving that difficulty he had Vice President Johnson right across the street in the old Executive Office Building, he had Senator Yarborough right here on the Hill, and he could have gotten them together in 10 minutes. But that wasn't the purpose of his trip to Texas at all, it had nothing to do with it.
In the first place, he couldn't have settled the differences in the Democratic Party. They haven't been settled yet, and they are not going to be settled. As long as it is basically a one-party State you are going to have the division there that you have, and you are going to have the liberals and the conservatives. They have been fighting all my adult life, from the time I first went to a convention in Chicago in 1940, a national convention. We had fist fights on the floor within the delegations, and it hasn't improved a lot since then.
So the idea that he was going to go down and settle all of this is pure hogwash. He didn't intend to do it, he didn't want to do it, he was politician enough to know he couldn't do it, and he wasn't even going to try. That wasn't the point at all. But, nevertheless, that created difficulties, but these things shouldn't be taken out of context.
Any Presidential trip anywhere in the world arouses jealousies, differences. Every politician--and regardless of his title or position-wants to be close to the President; he wants to ride in the car; he wants to have a private meeting; he wants his group to be seen; he wants them to be heard. This is a constant hassle. I don't care where a President goes. So it is not unique to Texas, but we had our share of it, I will say that, and this plagued the Kennedy advance people and it plagued us, and I organized about an eight or nine-man group, some who worked for me in my own Governor's office, others who were in the legislature, others in the State party, to put on this affair, and the President's trip.
As I say, it is not easy. The plans were constantly shifting and changing. We were trying to really get a mix of things, so that people wouldn't feel left out. We had originally planned a l-day trip and it was obvious that we were trying to cram too much into 1 day, because again I wanted to hit the four principal cities plus winding up in Austin. I wanted to see on the evening of the 22d, in Austin, the members of the legislature, all of them.
Mr. CORNWELL. If I might, let me show you an exhibit or two before we get to that explanation.
Mr. Chairman, may we admit into evidence at this time an exhibit which has been marked for identification as JFK exhibit F-17, which is a newspaper article from the Dallas Morning News dated September 26, 1963.
Mr. DODD. Without objection, so ordered. [JFK exhibit F-17 and facsimile follow:]
JFK EXHIBIT F-17
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS
DALLAS, TEXAS, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 1963
KENNEDY TO VISIT TEXAS NOV. 21-22
By Robert E. Baskin
News Staff Writer
JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. - White House sources told The Dallas News exclusively Wednesday night that President Kennedy will visit Texas Nov. 21 and 22.
The visit will embrace major cities of the state, including Dallas.
Kennedy is currently on a tour of the Midwest and West. The White House sources said the Texas trip Would be political, although they did not reveal the particular political mission.
The final White House decision to make the trip to Texas came late Tuesday night, these sources said.
Although specific details have not been worked out, it was considered likely that the President will visit Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Fort Worth.
There has been speculation for some time that the President was contemplating a visit to Texas, but the final decision has just been reached, The News learned. It has been known that numerous Texas Democratic leaders have urged Kennedy to come to the state to repair what they regard as a deteriorating party situation.
The presidential decision may have been prompted by what he has seen on his current tour: a strong trend toward conservation and Republicanism in the Western states. He is believed to feel that he must cope with this situation in preparation for the 1964 campaign.
Earlier Wednesday at Billings, Mont., Kennedy recaptured his old campaign oratory in his best-received appearance in two days of intensive, "nonpolitical" campaigning across the country.
In a straight-forward, rather far-reaching address to some 15,000 persons, Kennedy gave a resounding vote of confidence to Montana's veteran Mike Mansfield, Senate Democratic leader, and won cheers when he explained why he sought the nuclear test ban pact.
And he was obviously in high spirits as a result of the House's approval of the tax cut bill, news of which reached him just before he began his talk.
For the first time since he left Washington. he was applauded in the course of a speech. The subjects that won him applause, however, had nothing to do with conservation --
the announced reason for his il-state tour. Foreign affairs got him his best hand.
Kennedy said Mansfield, up for reelection in 1964, was responsible for ratification of the test ban treaty Tuesday. He added that Senate GOP leader Everett M. Dirksen, Ill., had been helpful.
He recalled his confrontations with Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev in 1961 and 1962 and how war has been avoided.
"What we hope to do," the President said, "is to lessen the chance of a military collision between these two great powers which together have the power to kill 300 million people in a day. That is why I support the test ban treaty."
From Billings the President flew on to Jackson Hole for an overnight stop.
Earlier in the day at Cheyenne, Wyo., Kennedy claimed that his New Frontier administration "has been able to make a start at getting our country moving again."
Mr. CORNWELL. You have described for us, Governor, the meeting you had with the President on October 4. Several days prior to that, the newspaper article, the front page of which is shown in the exhibit, appeared in the Dallas Morning News. The headline on the lower right portion of the page refers to the President's visit to Texas, and because the exhibit is blown up it is relatively small. Let me tell you what the first lines of it read:
White House sources told the Dallas News exclusively Wednesday night that President Kennedy will visit Texas November 21 and 22. The visit will embrace major cities of the State including Dallas. Kennedy is currently on a tour of the Midwest and West. The White House sources said the Texas trip would be political, although they did not reveal the particular political mission.
Were you aware of either that article or similar publicity prior to your trip to see the President on October 47
Mr. CONNALLY. Well, I don't have any specific memory of it but I am sure I knew it.
Mr. CORNWELL. Do you know, apart from what the implication is in the article, who released that report?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, but it made no impact on me. I don't have any memory of this particular article at all, but it would not be surprising because we had made it clear to the President that he was going to have to pick the date for the trip, and I just assumed that is the date that probably they had chosen. We were constantly in touch back and forth during this period of time in the fall with the Vice President and with Kenny O'Donnell and others trying to plan the type of trip and without getting down to specific details, and we hadn't yet had the date, but I am sure I knew about this, yes.
Mr. CORNWELL. You have told us that after the October 4 trip, you went back to Texas and began the process of planning for the trip. Who all was involved in that process?
Mr. CONNALLY. Oh, gosh, a great many people. Everyone in my office was. My Executive Assistant, Howard Rose, certainly was. Eugene Lock, who I believe, from Dallas, still was Chairman of the State Democratic Party was. Pat O'Keefe, who was Executive Director of the State party was involved. Carol Abbott, who worked at the State party, was certainly involved. Bill Stenson, who was on my Governor's staff, was certainly involved. Representative Ben Barnes was involved; Frank Irwin was involved; Julian Reed was involved. There were 8 or 10 of us who spent a great deal of time on it.
Mr. CORNWELL. Let me ask Mrs. Connally, were you involved in that process, too?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes, I certainly was.
Mr. CORNWELL. What was your role?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I was shining that mansion up like you never saw. [Laughter.]
We were trying to get everything ready at the Governor's mansion for our first visit from a President and his Lady, so I had all the hassles of any housewife trying to get her house in order so it would be just right for the very special guests.
Mr. CONNALLY. I think, to put it in a little different context, I think the first thing we agreed on, and Nellie certainly was involved in intimate detail with the trip, because the one thing we had agreed on we were going to try to wind up with the fund raising affair in Austin, Tex.
Because of the nature of the State, unless you do have four or five fund raising affairs you cannot choose another city in Texas and have as successful a fund-raising dinner as you can if you have it in Austin. Dallas doesn't want to support Houston; Houston doesn't want to go to Dallas; Dallas won't go to Fort Worth; Fort Worth doesn't want to go to Dallas. None of them will go to San Antonio, but all of them will go to Austin. So we decided that it was the capital, that what the President needed to do was to come to Austin.
This was the news center of the State, just like Washington is for the Nation. All the news media were there. We wanted him to meet the members of the legislature because they, in effect, were the thought leaders, the political thought leaders of the Democratic Party throughout the State. We thought that this would be like any politician. Any politician wants to know the President of the United States; he wants to say I know him, I shook his hand, I saw him; he wants to go home and tell his constituents that he saw them.
We planned--the one thing we had done, which we had agreed on early, was to have the dinner in Austin--a $100-a-plate affair, because we had to start selling tickets. Then, Nellie and I agreed that probably the best place for a reception was to ask President and Mrs. Kennedy to come to the mansion, and to invite the entire legislature, 150 members of the house, 31 members of the senate, to come to the mansion to meet the President, and at that time we weren't sure Mrs. Kennedy was coming. In my visit with him I had expressed the hope that she would come, and he said well, I am not sure, but I will talk to her about it and I will ask her to come with me. And as I recall, he said, at the time I saw him, I believe he said she was in Europe. He said when she gets back I will ask her if she won't come with me.
I told him I thought that in all of these events there were going to be men and women; I thought it would contribute enormously if she came. The women wanted to see her; they read a great deal about her; they want to see her; they want to see what her hairdo looks like and what her clothes look like, and it is important to them. So he said, I agree with you, and I will talk to her about it when she gets back.
So in any event, we thought if we could have the President and Mrs. Kennedy at the mansion to meet all of the members of the State party machinery, the representatives and the senators, it would probably be as effective a thing as we could do to help him on his trip. Then from there we would go directly to the dinner at the Coliseum, where we planned to have 3,000 people at $100 a plate.
Mr. CORNWELL. What were the other basic elements in your initial proposal to the President as to how the trip should be organized?
Mr. CONNALLY. Well, basically, we had to get a nonpolitical sponsorship and a nonpolitical activity in the four other major cities to give him a forum, to attract the type of audience, to give him some identity.
As I recall early on, we, in Fort Worth, we considered the idea of having Texas Christian University in Fort Worth confer an honorary degree on him and let him speak on the campus of Texas Christian University. That was thought of early.
In Houston, he really came up, I think, or the White House did, with the idea of going to the Albert Thomas dinner and this helped us because we were trying to cram everything into the day of the 22d, on Friday.
Well, just before the trip, as I recall, we didn't have but about 48 hours notice, not more than 72, he decided he would go to Houston. So, we restructured the whole thing. I had planned to, or had suggested that we go to San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, and Austin, all in one day, but then, the Albert Thomas dinner-Albert Thomas was then chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives. He was one of the really powerful members of the Texas delegation.
He had been chairman of the Appropriations Committee since 1940. He was extremely well regarded in Houston, Tex. He was one of the strange--not strange--he was one of the unusual and unique politicians. Albert Thomas had the support of all the business community in Houston. He also had all the support of labor and most of the liberals in Houston. He was sick. He had a terminal illness and they were having this appreciation dinner for him the night of the 21st of November. And the President decided that he ought to go there and be there and obviously, Albert Thomas really wanted him to come and really put the arm on him to come.
No President, in his right mind, completely disregards the chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Since he was ill and since they were good friends, the President, I think, graciously said, "I'd like to come." So, this changed our whole format. Then, we were able to get him for a day and a half.
So, we moved the San Antonio affair to Thursday afternoon and then we decided to go on to Fort Worth that night, the night of the 21st, after the Albert Thomas dinner in Houston.
In the meantime, in trying to work out the itinerary and talking about an honorary degree from Texas Christian University, frankly, some of the trustees of Texas Christian University took a dim view of it and weren't enthusiastic about it, and we dropped the idea completely because the last thing we wanted to do was to get into any kind of dispute or hassle because we wanted his trip to be smooth; we wanted everything acceptable.
I personally went to Dallas. I talked to the leaders of the civic groups in Dallas, Citizens' Council, which is a group that for 40 years dominated the political leadership of Dallas. We got the Assembly, which is a group of young people; we got the Educational Research Center, Science Research Center, we got four or five groups in Dallas to cosponsor this luncheon, again, to give it a nonpolitical flavor so that he could go and make a speech.
We had done that in each of the places. The White House came up with the idea, or somebody did, that they would dedicate the Aerospace Medical Center in San Antonio, and it was a nonpolitical affair. The breakfast in Fort Worth was a nonpolitical affair. It was also sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations.
But in working it all out, we had a motorcade in San Antonio. Again, over the period of time because the great tragedy occurred in Dallas, everybody talks about the President's trip to Dallas. The President made a trip to Texas. And we had been to San Antonio where we met the President. We had a motorcade through San Antonio and, again, this was an effort to be sure that he wasn't shielded from anybody, that he was out seeing people.
We had a motorcade right through the center of San Antonio; the reception was wonderful; the crowds were huge; the response was enthusiastic. We went from there--we spent about 30 minutes or 45 minutes at the Aerospace Medical Center, and he dedicated that building on the site of the old Brooks Army Air Force Base.
We left San Antonio, went to Houston, arriving there about 5 o'clock. We planned this simply because, again, we wanted every detail of the trip to be as perfect as we could make it.
Mr. CORNWELL. Your basic plan of meeting with various citizens groups and the representatives of the business community, did that meet any stiff resistance and, if so, from what area?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, I don't think it met any stiff resistance. I think the complaints came, as I said a moment ago, largely voiced by Senator Yarborough and some of the labor groups and some of the liberal groups on the grounds that not enough of their people were being included.
Now, the leadership among the labor, among the blacks, everybody else, they were being included in these affairs, even though they were not formally members of these organizations; they were being invited; they were being given tickets, but they were not being invited in mass numbers to the various affairs; they were there at the breakfast; they were there at the Albert Thomas dinner; they were there at the luncheon at the Trade Mart in Dallas; they certainly were there at the affair, or to be there at the affair in Austin that night, the $100-a-plate dinner.
As a matter of fact, we sent all of them tickets. We said, "Please help us."
Mr. CORNWELL. Who did the conversations occur with where there were disagreements as to, at least, the emphasis that should be placed on various aspects?
Mr. CONNALLY. Very few of them with me. I was meeting intermittently with these eight or nine people that I had working on this trip, but-
Mr. CORNWELL. Who were your people meeting with?
Mr. CONNALLY. They were meeting with Hal [sic] (1) Bruno the President's advance man. We were getting information from all kinds of sources. We were getting direct calls from the top labor leaders in the State, and others. You know, we were getting a considerable feedback and frankly, considerable differences developed between the President's advance men and the people I had working on the trip and to the point where it got a bit testy.
Mr. CORNWELL. What were the main areas of disagreement?
Mr. CONNALLY. Just minutia details. Inevitably, these things happen about who is going to sit at the table, who's going to do this, who is going to do that. One of the biggest controversies arose over whether or not we were going to have a motorcade in Dallas. That was one of the big ones. And we lost that one.
Finally, frankly, it got so bad with Hal Bruno and the President's advance people, that real differences developed between the people I had working on the trip and the President's advance people where Hal Bruno, I think, was pulled off, completely off of the trip and Bill Moyers came down as kind of a peacemaker.
Mr. CORNWELL. What was your view in opposing the motorcade in Dallas? You said there was a severe disagreement with the advance men on that subject.
Mr. CONNALLY. Basically, my reason for opposing the motorcade in Dallas were two. We were working the President very hard, I thought. Most people think that riding in a motorcade is easy. It's not. It's very tiring. It's exhausting. You assume that a person is just riding along so there shouldn't be any difficulty. But nevertheless, in a motorcade, the President of the United States is there, he is tense, he is smiling, he is exuding enthusiasm, he is trying to make, even in a fleeting second, he is trying to make contact with the thousands and tens of thousands of people along this parade route. He is looking one side and then the other.
Even if he just catches a human's eye for one fleeting second, there is a communication, and this is why in the car, Nelly and I had very little conversation with the President and Mrs. Kennedy. The conversations were extremely brief and desolatory because he was, in effect, working the crowd from the car and to a lesser extent, so was I.
You have to be in one. You have to experience it to understand precisely what I am saying. But I am telling you, it's a strain on him. We had him getting up early in the morning to attend a breakfast in Fort Worth. He made a speech on the parking lot in front of the Texas Hotel in Fort Worth. Then, we flew to Dallas. He had a speech there. We were going to take him to Austin where he had two receptions at the mansion for 181 members of the house and senate. Then, he had a speech that night. We were crowding him into about a 15-hour day.
What I wanted him to do--you know--you can work anybody to death. Ask any of these members of this committee. They will tell you when they go into a town or a county, the local campaign chairman--or into a precinct or a ward--he wants to work him from 7 in the morning to midnight. He doesn't care what happens tomorrow because he is going to be gone.
This local politician, he will go to sleep, he will sleep all the next day. But, unfortunately, the officeholder has to get up and go again on another 15-hour day.
And I was extremely conscious of that because I started in State politics in 1938. I managed President Johnson's campaign in 1941 and 1948 when he ran for 'the Senate, and I had been through enough of this. I had caught enough hell about over scheduling, so I didn't want to do the President that way and I wanted him to be sharp.
No human being can be up for 15 hours a day and all we were trying to do was allow him enough time in between events to where when he really got in front of an audience, when the cameras were on him, when the newsmen were watching him, that he could look good, he would look fresh, his voice would be strong, he could really be able to exude warmth and enthusiasm. And, this is the whole reason; now---
There was one other reason, and that was simply that I thought, no more so really in Dallas than most places in Texas, but I thought we ran the risk of having some embarrassing placards or signs or a few pickets along the way. I frankly never had any fear of physical harm or violence. That never entered my mind, but the idea that we probably would encounter a sign or two did enter my mind and the thought we might have some pickets entered my mind because, again, President Johnson and Mrs. Johnson had had the difficulty down in front of the Baker Hotel in the campaign of 1960.
Then, as you recounted a moment ago, Ambassador Stevenson, Adlai Stevenson, came to Texas and had been hit over the head with a picket sign about a month before the President's trip. So, these things were not--I was not unconscious of them at the time, and we didn't want any of it. Well, the only thing we saw on any of the trips, Dallas did have one sign, there was a fellow up on an old house, like a turn of the century house, badly needing paint, I recall very well, he had a sign up on this balcony that said, "Kennedy, go home." But, it was on the left side of the car as we were traveling in the motorcade and the President was on the right side in the back seat, and I hoped he didn't see it, but he finally turned to Nelly and me and said, "Did you all see that sign? I said, "Yes, Mr. President, but we were hoping you didn't." He said, "Well, I saw it. Don't you imagine he's a nice fellow?"
And, I said, "Yes, I imagine he's a nice fellow." But that was about the only thing we saw, and frankly, there was less of that than I thought. The crowds were larger than I anticipated. They were more enthusiastic than I could even have hoped for. All the way through, in San Antonio, in Houston, in Fort Worth, it was drizzling rain; at 8:30 in the morning when the President went out--approximately 8:30--when he went out on a parking lot there across from the Texas Hotel and spoke to people in the rain, and there was a huge crowd there.
So, the trip had been absolutely wonderful, and we were heaving a sigh of relief because once we got through the motorcade at Dallas and through the Dallas luncheon, then everything else was pretty much routine.
Mr. CORNWELL. Let me ask you to go through the details of that trip perhaps more precisely. After the elaborate planning and the arguments over the details, I suppose there must have been some relief when the day finally came.
Mr. CONNALLY. Oh, yes.
Mr. CORNWELL. Let me ask, Mrs. Connally, you had an opportunity to meet the President and his wife at the airport; is that correct?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes.
Mr. CORNWELL. Where did you come from just immediately prior to that?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I came from Austin to San Antonio.
Mr. CORNWELL. What had you been doing in the immediate hours or day or two right before the arrival?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Well, the entrance hall in the Governor's mansion had sort of gold carpet, and since this house is open to the public, it gets a lot of traffic. So, I had had the carpet cleaned, but 2 days before the visit, I decided they didn't clean it well enough and I was having it cleaned again. So, I was having a talk with the carpet cleaners and I left the house in Austin and joined them in San Antonio.
Mr. CORNWELL. The Governor, as I understand, was in Houston that day and had to fly to San Antonio to meet the President's plane, so you both arrived in advance and were together; is that correct?
Mrs. CONNALLY. From different directions.
Mr. CORNWELL. Would you describe for us what your feelings were as the event took place and the President arrived into Texas for the first time?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Me?
Mr. CORNWELL. Yes, maam.
Mrs. CONNALLY. It was very exciting. It was the first time that we had been host to a President and his lady. Everybody was excited. We were excited and nervous--I tell you, I felt exactly like the mother of everybody. I wanted all the Texans to be so wonderful to them when they came and I wanted them to react in a good way, too. I just was nervous and excited and could hardly wait.
Mr. CORNWELL. Were the reactions from the people in Texas as you had hoped?
Mrs. CONNALLY. There was a tremendous roar when the plane put down and the door opened and out stepped Mrs. Kennedy, who looked beautiful, just like everybody expected, and then the handsome young President coming out behind her. I get goose pimples now thinking about it. It really was an exciting moment in our life.
Mr. CORNWELL. You went from the airport in a motorcade to
downtown San Antonio?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes.
Mr. CORNWELL. Was the reception there as great?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes. Tell them about the reception. Everybody was excited. It just made you feel good.
Mr. CONNALLY. You couldn't have asked for more. The crowds were large, they were extremely warm, extremely enthusiastic. Just could not have been better.
Mr. CORNWELL. Did the activities in San Antonio, and for the rest of that day, go just as well? Was there anything about them which was disappointing?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Nothing that I know.
Mr. CONNALLY. NO, it all went extremely well. We left San Antonio and went to Houston--got into Houston right at the-there were several thousand people at the airport to meet us. We went downtown right at the rush-hour traffic. Of course, cars were bumper to bumper almost four lanes wide, and they all stopped for just miles. As they were leaving town, we were going into town. As this motorcade passed, people were out, they were stopped, they
were standing up, cardoors open, they were waving--Mrs. CONNALLY. Cheering.
Mr. CONNALLY. Cheering. We got to the hotel. The President met that evening with a group of Mexican-American leaders, the LULAC organization was having a big dance in the Rice Hotel where they were staying, and he and Mrs. Kennedy, Vice President and Mrs. Johnson went by there before they went to the Thomas dinner. The Thomas dinner was a complete sellout in the Coliseum. I guess they had 3,500 people there, and I watched because I knew these people and I knew the crowds. Frankly, I don't remember what the President said. I must confess, I didn't listen to him because I was concentrating almost totally on the crowd reaction.
I was looking and watching all through the crowd during his entire speech. He was indeed reaching these people; he was communicating with them. It just could not have been a better day in both San Antonio and Houston.
Mr. CORNWELL. After the Albert Thomas dinner and the meeting with the Mexican-American leaders had concluded, you flew, again,
in Air Force One, this time to Fort Worth; is that correct?
Mr. CONNALLY. That's correct.
Mr. CORNWELL. Up until this point of the trip, had you had any opportunity, really, to speak to the President and to learn what his reaction was to the reception he had received in Texas?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes, don't you remember how excited he was about how everyone--they talked in the airplane, from San Antonio to Houston, and--the President seemed very pleased with how he had been received in San Antonio and said, "Well, that was a good one, John, do you think we will do as well at the next stop?"
Mr. CONNALLY. Unlike, I suppose, the often-repeated verbosity of some of us from Texas, the President was not given to extravagant statements, and I think he generally was known for the fairly terse comments of a New Englander and a Bostonian.
So, his praise would be couched in a different language then from my own. It is obvious that he was extremely pleased. I think Nelly can probably explain this better than I, but I think one of the significant things that occurred was the change that we saw in Mrs. Kennedy and her reaction to the trip.
In San Antonio, she was rather stiff, I thought, rather unused to this. She had not been traveling much and campaigning much with the President and she was not noticeably ill at ease at all, but nevertheless, reserved, quiet and perhaps a little bit--frightened is too strong a word--but apprehensive about this whole thing. Not apprehensive in the sense of being fearful of violence, but just not being used to it. She was a bit concerned about what she did. For instance, one time, in San Antonio, she was worried about her hair and her hat and she traded seats with me. We were all over that car. Normally, the President sits in the right-rear and his wife sits on his left. I was sitting in front of the President most of the time. Nelly was sitting in front of Mrs. Kennedy most of the time.
Particularly, in San Antonio, we changed seats because the wind was blowing, we were driving fairly fast at times, 30 and 40 miles an hour. She traded seats and got up on the jumpseat and I sat in the back seat with the President. The two ladies were in front.
Mrs. CONNALLY. The back seat was raised, so she would get more wind there.
Mr. CONNALLY. The President knew that really wasn't the right way to do it and he made her get back in the back seat, and I got back on the jump seat.
Mrs. CONNALLY. Where you belong.
Mr. CONNALLY. Where I belong. The next day, it was obvious that after the San Antonio and the Houston motorcades, the next day she was much, much more relaxed, wouldn't you say?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes, happily responding to the crowds.
Mr. CONNALLY. Marked difference in her reactions and her appearance between the afternoon of the 21st and the day of the 22d. Noticeably in Dallas.
Mrs. CONNALLY. And they were enjoying seeing her as much as they were the President. They were calling out their names and I think she really got in the spirit of it.
Mr. CORNWELL. You told us about the dispute which was long standing between Senator Yarborough and first Senator Johnson and then continuing into Vice President Johnson. Did that particular dispute come up at all? You said that it wasn't the reason the President came to Texas. Did it come up at all during the trip?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, oh, it was ever with us. It came up, I didn't know it. Everything had gone beautifully. We had gotten into Fort Worth about 11 o'clock at night at Carswell Air Force Base and drove into town in a light drizzle, and the President and Mrs. Kennedy and Vice President and Mrs. Johnson went up to their suites. When they were safely ensconced, I was so relieved that everything had gone well that I went down to the Texas Hotel coffeeshop to have some bacon and eggs and a glass of milk about
midnight. That was the first then that I heard they had had quite a hassle in Houston, that Senator Yarborough refused to ride in the car with Vice President Johnson. So, I said well, you know, I don't care who rides in which car.
I didn't worry much about it, but nevertheless, it had happened and it was by that time the talk of the motorcade, the talk of the press and so I didn't think any more about it until the next morning.
And, the President, when he came back from his speech, the first thing he did when he got up--Mrs. Kennedy was not with him-Jim Wright, Congressman Jim Wright, who is now the majority leader of this Congress of the House, took him across the street from the Texas Hotel into this parking lot where he spoke to the crowds there, and then he came back into the Long Horn Room of the Texas Hotel and sat down and he motioned for me to come over.
I went over there and he said, "John, did you know Yarborough refused to ride with Lyndon yesterday?"
I said, "Yes, sir; I heard that last night."
And he said, "By God, he'll ride with him today or he'll walk." So, I said OK. I did nothing about it. But then later, I saw him talking to Senator Yarborough, and indeed, that day Senator Yarborough rode in the car with Vice President Johnson in the Dallas motorcade. This is one of those things that is really, in the overall planning and the execution of this trip, was of no great consequence.
Mr. CORNWELL. So, that was the only part of what we might call the Yarborough-Johnson feud that was even taken up by the President on his trip; is that correct?
Mr. CONNALLY. Right.
In deference to my old home town of Fort Worth, Mr. Cornwell, and also to set the record straight, at least one publication in Fort Worth talked about a drab, sordid hotel room, the Presidential suite in which the President stayed. Well, it turned out it so happened that the Texas Hotel was, at that point, controlled by the Ammon Carter estate and C.D. Richardson estate. They had gone to great pains to do everything they could, once it was certain he was coming to Fort 'Worth, was going to stay at the Texas Hotel, to refurbish this suite and, as a matter of fact, Mrs. J. Lee Johnson III, Miss Ruth Carter Johnson, Mr. Ammon Carter's daughter had gone to the trouble to go to private homes around town and had borrowed paintings and Nelly helped me, but there was a Picasso in the suite, there was a Monet in the suite, a Van Gogh in the suite, and two or three more, so they probably had a couple million dollars worth of paintings just on the walls and I assure you they had done everything they could--the President was obviously impressed, and so was Mrs. Kennedy.
The first thing he did the next day was to call Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. J. Lee Johnson III, who lived in Fort Worth, and thank her for her kindness and for her trouble and for her consideration and to tell her how delighted they were with the accommodations in the hotel, all of which means nothing except to kind of clear the air and set the record straight because things get told and then they get repeated, and I think, in all fairness, we ought not to describe that suite as a rundown, sordid suite.
Mrs. CONNALLY. It makes me mad.
Mr. CORNWELL. The next morning, the one you have just been describing, of course, was November 22, 1963. The President had a breakfast and then a meeting with the chamber of commerce.
Mr. CONNALLY. A what?
Mr. CORNWELL. A breakfast scheduled; is that correct?
Mr. Connally. Yes.
Mr. CORNWELL. And thereafter, he had a speech in the parking lot; is that correct?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, I believe he spoke in the parking lot first and
then he came back into the hotel, then, Mrs. Kennedy joined him. She did not go across the street to the parking lot, but she did join him and then they came into the breakfast together. I would guess this is now 9:25, 9:30, something like that.
JFK EXHIBIT F-11
Mrs. CONNALLY. He came first and made the statement that Jackie was pulling herself together and then turned to Vice President Johnson and said, "Lyndon, nobody pays any attention to what we wear," which I thought was funny, didn't you?
Mr. CORNWELL. The morning, then, I take it, started off well; is that correct?
Mr. CONNALLY. Extremely well.
Mr. CORNWELL. The weather was somewhat drizzly, but apart from that, the schedule went well, the receptions, again, were as you described them on the previous day. Is that right?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, and there were 2,500 people in the breakfast that morning. So, the idea that he was meeting with a few exclusive, handpicked people is hardly true. That breakfast meeting alone, I think, had 2,500 people there.
Mr. CORNWELL. Thereafter, you all again boarded Air Force One and flew to Dallas?
Mr. CONNALLY. That's right.
Mr. CORNWELL. You told us previously what types of concerns you had had about the motorcade in Dallas, the incident with Adlai Stevenson. Is there anything else that you can recall for us that went through your mind during that period of time as you were approaching Dallas and preparing to enter the motorcade?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, not really. There had been an ad, I have forgotten what it said, in the morning paper that morning about the trip. It was a somewhat derogatory ad, but I really was not apprehensive about anything except, as I said, that we might see an embarrassing sign or some rude statement or a few pickets here or there. But I must say, as Air Force One landed at the airport in Dallas, the Sun broke through, it was absolutely marvelous weather, could not have been better.
JFK EXHIBIT F-12
The crowd at the airport was several thousand people. It was, again, an extremely receptive group of people who were out there, enthusiastic group of people. I recall that after President and Mrs. Kennedy shook hands with those in the receiving line, they went over and Vice President and Mrs. Johnson accompanied them, and they went over for 5 minutes or so, walked up and down the fence where there were thousands of people gathered and shaking hands and greeting people who came to the airport to see them.
Mr. CORNWELL. Tell us then, if you would, in more detail, what happened as you all entered the limousine and began the motorcade.
Mr. CONNALLY. Well, as these things are normally done, it was timed fairly well and we immediately got into the cars, the motorcade started.
One thing I do recall, I said a moment ago that Mrs. Kennedy appeared to be much more relaxed, much more in the spirit of things. She was smiling more, obviously more at ease, but one little thing, the Sun was bright. It had come out bright and beautiful. The sky was beautiful, the clouds had dispersed and she put on her dark glasses. What did he say?
Mrs. CONNALLY. He said, "Take your glasses off, Jackie."
JFK EXHIBIT F-13
Mr. CONNALLY. "Take your glasses off, Jackie." She kept them off for awhile and she just unconsciously put them back on.
Mrs. CONNALLY. You could hear him again saying, "Take your glasses off, Jackie."
Mr. CONNALLY. This happened a third time. Then, I think she finally left them off. But on the way down in the motorcade-again, the crowds were large--were enthusiastic. We stopped two or three times. I remember twice--in particular, there was a little girl, I guess she was 8 years old, who had a placard that said, "President Kennedy," something like, "will you shake hands with me?" and held up this sign. Well, he immediately stopped the car and shook hands with this little girl, and of course, the car
was mobbed. The minute the car stopped, here came the Secret Service. They got between the car, the limousine in which he was riding, and the mass of people who immediately surrounded the car. We extricated ourselves from this group and then went on.
The other stop, we were halfway downtown, I suppose, when there was a nun, a sister, with a bunch of school children, obviously from a parochial school there, right by the car. And he stopped and spoke to them, and to the sister and to the children. We stopped a third time, I believe, along the route. But, uh----
Mr. CORNWELL. What was the route, incidentally? Will you describe that for us? How did the motorcade go from the airport' to its destination site, which is the Trade Mart?
JFK EXHIBIT F-9
Mr. CONNALLY. I think we went down Lemon Avenue to Turtle Creek and from Turtle Creek to Main and from Main to Houston, Houston to Elm, I believe.
Mr. CORNWELL. So, at least the idea was it was basically a route which took you down through the heart of downtown Dallas?
Mr. CONNALLY. Right through the heart of Dallas; no question about it. The further we got toward town, the denser became the crowds, and when we got down on Main Street, the crowds were extremely thick. They were pushed off of curbs; they were out in the street, and they were backed all the way up against the walls of the buildings. They were just as thick as they could be. I don't know how many. But, there were at least a quarter of a million people on the parade route that day and everywhere the reception was good. I told you a moment ago about the only sign we saw that was in the least bit unpleasant.
JFK EXHIBIT F-10A and 10B
JFK EXHIBIT F-15
Mr. CORNWELL. Mrs. Connally, at any point in the motorcade, did you have a chance to speak to the President?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes, we were having such a wonderful reception, and we were all so excited, and we had had through all these other cities, and I had restrained myself up to that point from saying anything, but I could no longer stand it, so I turned around to the President and I said, "Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you."
Mr. CORNWELL. And, where was that in the motorcade? At what point?
Mrs. CONNALLY. That was just as we were right approaching the book depository.
Mr. CONNALLY. Just before we turned.
Mrs. CONNALLY. Just before we turned.
Mr. CORNWELL. Mr. Chairman, at this time, I think I might suggest to you we take a brief break and set up a projector and then show a film of the motorcade, which has been marked "JFK F-8."
Chairman STOKES. So ordered.
At this time, we will take a brief break to set up the film portion.
[A brief recess was taken.]
Chairman STOKES. If everyone would take their seats again, the committee is ready to resume its sitting.
I also ask that the lights be dimmed at this time.
The Chair recognizes Professor Blakey for a narration and presentation of the film.
Mr. BLAKEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would note initially that this is a copyrighted film.
[At this point, a film began to be shown as Mr. Blakey described the events portrayed in it.]
Mr. BLAKEY. November 22, 1963, 11:40 a.m., central standard time.
President and Mrs. Kennedy arrive at Love Field, Dallas, on Air Force One after a brief flight from Fort Worth.
It is a bright, sunshiny day, though it had been raining earlier. The President and First Lady greet well-wishers at Love Field.
Then, they join Gov. John B. Connally of Texas, and his wife Nelly.
The Kennedys and Connallys get into the open Presidential limousine for the trip to the city. Plans to have the Presidential party enclosed in the limousine's bubble-top were abandoned when the rain stopped.
There is no need for top coats or hats; the temperature is 68 . Destination the International Trade Mart where the President is to deliver a luncheon address to an audience of businessmen. This is the last leg of the swing through Texas.
Yesterday, the Presidential party visited San Antonio and Houston.
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson is riding in the limousine
behind the President, along with Texas Senator Ralph Yarborough. The motorcade left Love Field shortly after 11:50 a.m.
The crowds that line the route get thicker as it reaches the business district of the city.
Main Street: The motorcade is approaching Dealey Plaza, an area where open lawns are surrounded by express highways and tall buildings.
At the corner of Main and Houston, the motorcade makes a sharp 90 turn to the right and heads north for one block.
The Texas School Book Depository is directly in front of the Presidential limousine.
The book depository isn't shown. It is located to the immediate left of the picture.
As the limousine approaches the intersection of Houston and Elm Streets, Mrs. Connally, as she indicated, elated by the reception, says, "Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you." The President replies, "That's obvious."
At Elm Street, the limousine makes a hairpin turn to the left and heads west passing the book depository.
The film shows police motorcycles leading the limousine as it goes by the depository. The building in the background is the book depository. The window at the extreme right at the top of the picture is the one where earlier investigations have concluded Lee Harvey Oswald is located at this moment. It is about 12:30 p.m.
As the President waves to the crowds, shots ring out, the President and Governor Connally are wounded. The President is struck in the head. The limousine speeds up heading for the Stemmons Freeway. Its destination is now Parkland Memorial Hospital.
At approximately 1 p.m., the President will be pronounced dead.
Chairman STOKES. May we have the lights back, please.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Cornwell, counsel for the committee.
Mr. CORNWELL. At this point, Mrs. Connally, I would like to ask you some questions about what your memory is of what happened on Elm Street after the limousine passed underneath the Texas School Book Depository.
What distance, after turning the corner, do you recall the car going before you noticed something was wrong?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Not very far. I don't really know how far. Do
you want me to just tell you everything I remember?
Mr. CORNWELL. That will be fine.
Mrs. CONNALLY. I heard--you know how we were seated in the car, the President and Mrs. Kennedy, John was in front of the President and I was seated in front of Mrs. Kennedy--I heard a noise that I didn't think of as a gunshot. I just heard a disturbing noise and turned to my right from where I thought the noise had come and looked in the back and saw the President clutch his neck with both hands.
He said nothing. He just sort of slumped down in the seat. John had turned to his right also when we heard that first noise and shouted, "no, no, no," and in the process of turning back around so that he could look back and see the President--I don't think he could see him when he turned to his right--the second shot was fired and hit him. He was in the process of turning, so it hit him through this shoulder, came out right about here. His hand was either right in front of him or on his knee as he turned to look so that the bullet went through him, crushed his wrist and lodged in his leg. And then he just recoiled and just sort of slumped in his seat.
I thought he was dead. When you see a big man totally defenseless like that, then you do whatever you think you can do to help most and the only thing I could think of to do was to pull him down out of the line of fire, or whatever was happening to us and I thought if I could get him down, maybe they wouldn't hurt him anymore. So, I pulled him down in my lap.
We learned later--I read a lot of stories that upset me later because they said we slipped down into the floor, that John slid off, fell over into my lap. Those little jump seats were not very big and there was no way that he could have slid to the floor, there is no way either of us could have got to the floor.
The only thing I could do was pull him down and by leaning over him, I hoped if anything else happened, they wouldn't hurt him anymore. I never looked back after John was hit. I heard Mrs. Kennedy say, "they have shot my husband."
Then, I heard a third shot and felt matter cover us and she said, "They have killed my husband, I have his brains in my hand". I thought was John was dead, and I heard the Secret Service man say, "Let's get out of here quick." So, we pulled out of the motorcade and we must have been a horrible sight flying down that freeway with those dying men in our arms and going to no telling where. We just see the crowds flashing by.
John said nothing. I said only to him from the time I saw one little movement, that maybe he is still alive, and, I kept whispering to him, "Be still, it is going to be all right, be still, it is going to be all right."
I have read stories where I screamed and he screamed and all these things. There was no screaming in that horrible car. It was just a silent, terrible drive. We got to the hospital, I guess it was the hospital, the car stopped and John was still in my lap, but I knew he was alive and people were swarming all around the car.
They were trying to get Mrs. Kennedy to get out so they could get the President out and she didn't seem to want to get out of the car. I sat there for what seemed to me an awfully long time, but probably was just a few minutes, wondering how long I had to sit there with this man dying in my arms before I could ask somebody to do something.
At that moment, John just sort of heaved himself up out of my arms and then just kind of collapsed in front of the door. And at that moment, the door opened and somebody picked him up and just ran off down the corridor and I ran along behind them.
We got into what later I found was trauma room 1 and trauma room 2. The President was on a stretcher right behind us, I guess. I still had never looked back. John was in the room on the right-well, as we approached, the President was on the right and John was on the left and I stood there, so alone. I never have felt so alone in my life, and there was much commotion racing around us.
I saw all sorts of artillery and weapons. I assume it was Secret Service or security, I don't know, racing up and down around the corridor. Finally, somebody brought two chairs and sat them outside these two doors, and I sat in one and Mrs. Kennedy sat in the other. I kept seeing all this commotion in the President's room, and I wondered if--I knew the President was dead, but I wondered if they weren't all over there and nobody taking care of John. The only thing that would calm me a little was I would get up now and then and just push open the door in the room where he was, and if I could see any movement or hear them saying anything, then I was content to wait.
They sent me out one cuff link. Then they came out and took him down the corridor to the operating room and I just ran along behind the stretcher, not knowing what I was running to or what I was running from, but run I knew I must.
And all during the surgery, which was 3 1/2 hours, I was in some little waiting room and the doctors were just wonderful.
They kept sending messages out to me to say John would be alright, that the bullet had missed all the vital organs and where
he was in bad shape, he would be all right. What else?
Mr. CORNWELL. Thank you, very much.
Governor, let me ask you the same question. What is your memory of the events? What did you see and hear? What happened after the limousine started down Elm Street and passed underneath the Texas School Book Depository?
Mr. CONNALLY. Mr. Cornwell, we had just turned to Elm. We had gone, I suspect, oh, 150, 200 feet when I heard what I thought was a rifle shot and I thought it came from--I was seated right, as you know, the jump seat right in front of the President, and they have a fairly straight back on them so I was sitting up fairly erect. I thought the shot came from back over my right shoulder, so I turned to see if I could catch a sight of the President out of the corner of my eye because I immediately had, frankly, had fear of an assassination because I thought it was a rifle shot.
I didn't think it was a blowout or explosion of any kind. I didn't see the President out of the corner of my eye, so I was in the process of, at least I was turning to look over my left shoulder into the back seat to see if I could see him. I never looked, I never made the full turn. About the time I turned back where I was facing more or less straight ahead, the way the car was moving, I was hit. I was knocked over, just doubled over by the force of the bullet. It went in my back and came out my chest about 2 inches below and the left of my right nipple. The force of the bullet drove my body over almost double and when I looked, immediately I could see I was just drenched with blood. So, I knew I had been badly hit and I more or less straightened up. At about this time, Nelly reached over and pulled me down into her lap.
I was in her lap facing forward when another shot was fired. I only heard two shots. I did not hear the shot that hit me. I wasn't conscious of it. I am sure I heard it, but I was not conscious of it at all. I heard another shot. I heard it hit. It hit with a very pronounced impact, just [slap of hands] almost like that. Almost that loud a sound; it made a very, very strong sound.
Immediately, I could see blood and brain tissue all over the interior of the car and all over our clothes. We were both covered with brain tissue, and there were pieces of brain tissue as big as your little finger. It was something that was unmistakable. There was no question in my mind about what it was.
About this moment in time, Roy Kellerman, who was the Secret Service agent sitting in the right-front seat, pushed, apparently was pushing some buttons on the panel, doing what, I don't know. I heard him say, "Let's get out of here fast," and the car lurched forward then. Bill Greer was the driver. He accelerated it tremendously.
When I was hit, or shortly before I was hit--no, I guess it was after I was hit--I said first, just almost in despair, I said, "no, no, no, just thinking how tragic it was that we had gone through this 24 hours, it had all been so wonderful and so beautifully executed. The President had been so marvelously received and then here, at the last moment this great tragedy. I just said, "no, no, no, no".
Then I said right after I was hit, I said, "My God, they are going to kill us all." ....
The shots came, in my judgment, the two shots I heard came from the same direction, back over my right shoulder, came from behind us. Very clear to me where they came from. I don't think any shots came from any other direction. I was conscious until we hit the Stemmons Freeway and then I faded into unconsciousness.
I revived when the car came to a stop at what was Parkland Hospital. Apparently, the braking of the car--we must have been traveling at an enormous rate of speed--the braking of the car brought me back to consciousness and you know it is strange what thoughts run through your mind.
The first thought that occurred to me was that I was in the jump seat, that the right door of the car was opposite my seat and that they couldn't reach the President. Well, I got out of the way and that is when I tried to raise myself up out of Nelly's lap and actually tried to get out of the car myself, so that they could get to him in the back seat.
I knew he was hit. I knew their first concern would be for the President. So, that was the reason why I lurched up, or tried to get up out of a reclining position. Of course, I couldn't. I wasn't able to. I got halfway up and just slumped again, as Nelly just told you. Then, someone did pick me up and put me on a stretcher and took me into an emergency room or trauma room, whatever it was.
I obviously didn't know what it was. At that point, I felt the first pain, really, that I had experienced and when I was on the stretcher, I was laid out. Then, there was excruciating pain in my chest.
At the time I was hit, strangely enough, I felt no sharp pain. It was as if someone had come up behind me with a doubled up fist and just hit me in the back right between the shoulder blades. It was that kind of a sensation.
I would have to volunteer the very, very strong opinion, I know much has been written, much has been discussed, I was being a participant, I can only give you my impressions, but I must say you, as I said to the Warren Commission, I do not believe, nor will I ever believe, that I was hit with the first bullet. I don't believe that. I heard the first shot. I reacted to the first shot and I was not hit with that bullet: Now, there's a great deal of speculation that the President and I were hit with the same bullet that might well, be, but it surely wasn't the first bullet and Nelly doesn't think it's the second bullet. I don't know, I didn't hear the second bullet. I felt the second bullet. We obviously weren't hit by the third bullet. I was down reclining in her lap at the time the third bullet hit.
Mr. CORNWELL. I am sorry, I didn't understand one statement. You said Mrs. Connally doesn't agree it was the second bullet or the same bullet?
Mr. CONNALLY. The second bullet.
Mrs. CONNALLY. That what?
Mr. CONNALLY. That hit me. That hit him and me--
Mrs. CONNALLY. No; I heard three shots, I had three reactions, three separate reactions. The first shot, then I looked and saw the President, the second shot, John, and third, all this matter all over us.
Mr. CORNWELL. So you agree that your recollection is it was the second shot that hit the Governor?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I know it was the second shot that hit the Governor.
Mr. CORNWELL. And, where you disagree is as to the possibility or the question of whether or not it was the same bullet that hit, is that accurate, in other words, the Governor has no knowledge on that subject matter, would that be accurate, since you didn't turn around to see the President, after the first noise, you don't know whether he was hit and Mrs. Connally's recollection is that she did turn and saw him hold his throat before you were hit, is that accurate?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I did.
Mr. CONNALLY. That is correct. I never saw him. I never saw Mrs. Kennedy after the shots were fired. I never saw either one of them, and I don't know when he was hit.
Mr. CORNWELL. And you have testified that of the two shots that you have a memory of hearing, they both, your immediate impression was they came from the right rear?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is correct.
Mr. CORNWELL. And I don't believe we heard what Mrs. Connally's recollection is on that. What was your impression as to the
direction from which the three shots you heard came?
Mrs. CONNALLY. All from the right rear.
Mr. CORNWELL. Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions at this time.
Chairman STOKES. At this time, the Chair will recognize the gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Devine, for extensive questioning, after which the committee will go under the 5 minute rule for other members of the committee who have questions of the witnesses. Mr. Devine.
Mr. DEVINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Governor and Mrs. Connally, I know this is very difficult for you to have to relive this situation again and again. I know that you, Governor, testified before the Warren Commission and I am not sure whether you did also.
[Mrs. Connally nods affirmatively.]
Mr. DEVINE. We appreciate the fact that we are trying to refresh your recollection on something that happened nearly 15 years ago, although it appears to be quite vivid in your mind, and the responsibility of this committee, as you know, on the mandate from the House is to see whether or not there are any unturned stones or any evidence that has not been presented to the Warren Commission or that any different conclusions may result from the testimony of persons on the scene.
Relating specifically to your testimony, Mrs. Connally, you heard one shot and you turned to your right and witnessed the President grasping his throat with both hands. Was anything said by anyone at that time?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Nothing.
Mr. DEVINE. Then what is the next sound you heard? You were
still looking back at the President. Did you hear another sound?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I heard the second shot; yes.
Mr. DEVINE. The second shot. Were you looking back at that
time or were you looking forward again?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I don't know.
Mr. DEVINE. You don't recall.
That second shot is the one that you said hit your husband?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I was horror stricken when I looked back, and I may have still been just looking.
Mr. DEVINE. But at that time you heard the second shot?
Mrs. CONNALLY. A difficult thing to believe.
Mr. DEVINE. The second shot that you heard is the one that you believe hit Governor Connally?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I know it hit Governor Connally.
Mr. DEVINE. And then after you knew that he was hit, and you
pulled him over in your lap, you then heard the third shot?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes.
Mr. DEVINE. And again from over your right shoulder?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes.
Mr. DEVINE. Did you look back at that time?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I never looked back after John was hit.
Mr. DEVINE. Have you had any experience at all with fire arms---
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes.
Mr. DEVINE [continuing]. Over the years?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes.
Mr. DEVINE. Would you say in your judgment that shot you
heard, or the shots that you hear, were from a rifle or hand gun?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Oh, no, I am not that much of an---
Mr. DEVINE. You don't know?
Mrs. CONNALLY. And, I'm not expert at all.
Mr. DEVINE. All right.
Mrs. CONNALLY [continuing]. In shooting.
Mr. DEVINE. Governor, I think you testified that you heard but two shots and that you don't think that you heard the shot that struck you; is that accurate?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is correct.
Mr. DEVINE. Both of these came from over your right shoulder?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, sir, from behind me and over my--back behind me over my right shoulder, that is correct.
Mr. DEVINE. The first shot that you hear which caused you to look to your right, I think you said you didn't get far enough around to see the President, is that accurate?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is correct.
Mr. DEVINE. Did you recognize any of the sound as being a rifle shot or hand gun shot?
Mr. CONNALLY. I thought it was a rifle shot.
Mr. DEVINE. Then you turned around and started to turn back around to look over your left shoulder to see what?
Mr. CONNALLY. To see if the President was all right, because immediately the thought flashed through my mind that if this was a rifle shot, which I believed it to be, that it was probably an assassination attempt and I was trying to see if anything had happened in the automobile.
Mr. DEVINE. Is that the time that you exclaimed, no, no, or was it later?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, it was a bit later, because I wasn't sure at that point in time that anything had happened, so it was a bit later when I said oh, no, no, no. This was after I realized I had been hit and, then I said my God, they are going to kill us all.
Mr. DEVINE. As you turned from looking over you right shoulder, you are about facing forward, in the process of turning to look over
your left shoulder, when you were hit?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, sir.
Mr. DEVINE. But you heard no shot?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, sir, I did not.
Mr. DEVINE. That caused you to pitch forward?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, sir.
Mr. DEVINE. And you said you saw a great deal of blood?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, sir.
Mr. DEVINE. Were you aware at that time that you were hit in the hand and leg also?
Mr. CONNALLY. NO, sir, I was not.
Mr. DEVINE. When did you first become aware of that, in the emergency room or elsewhere?
Mr. CONNALLY. NO, I became aware of that when I regained consciousness on Sunday, I guess. On Sunday morning I woke up and regained consciousness to see my arm tied up in a sling and leg bandaged and I said what happened to my arm, and that is when I first learned that the bullet had gone through my chest and through my wrist and had broken all the bones in my wrist.
Mr. DEVINE. Reflecting back, do you have an opinion that you would have been able to physically remove your body from your position on the jumpseat to a different position in the limousine during the time lapse between the first sound and the impact that hit you?
Mr. CONNALLY. I am sorry, Congressman, do you mind--
Mr. DEVINE. To put it this way, I think either you or Ms. Connally said that the jumpseats were so close to the back of the front seat that there was no way that you could have slumped to the floor?
Mr. CONNALLY. Right.
Mr. DEVINE. And that the only position you could have ultimately moved into was to be over on Mrs. Connally's lap, is that accurate?
Mr. CONNALLY. I think that is a correct statement.
Mr. DEVINE. I believe you testified in response to Mr. Cornwell that you heard only two shots, they came from behind, there was not any from any other direction, is that accurate?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is correct.
Mr. DEVINE. Mrs. Connally, would you also make the same statement?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Except that I heard all three.
Mr. DEVINE. Is it possible that there could have been more than three shots, as far as you recollection is concerned?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I guess anything is possible, but I heard three shots.
Mr. DEVINE. You heard three definitely, no less, and probably no more, is that right?
Mrs. CONNALLY. That is all I heard.
Mr. DEVINE. Governor Connally, you said you heard two shots?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is right.
Mr. DEVINE. The one that hit you you apparently did not hear?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is correct.
Mr. DEVINE. I would take it then by negative implication that
you heard no shots coming from your right front?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, sir, I did not.
Mr. DEVINE. In the area that has often been described as the grassy knoll?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, sir. And I don't believe any came from there.
Mrs. CONNALLY. We responded to all these shots, so if something came from the front we certainly would have responded to it, a noise from the front, I would think.
Mr. DEVINE. All right, getting back prior to the time of the actual shooting, I think you indicated earlier, Governor, that you had been in, or your people had been in, somewhat of a dispute with Mr. Bruno and others relative to even having a motorcade?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, sir. May I, Congressman Devine, at that point ask that the record be corrected. In testifying here you reach for times and events and names and unfortunately I have confused the situation, I suspect, to the bewilderment of one and the embarrassment of the other, and I said Mr. Hal Bruno. Mr. Hal Bruno is with Newsweek and now I understand with ABC, and it wasn't Hal Bruno at all, it was Jerry Bruno, who came down as advance man for President Kennedy, so I would hope the record would be clarified and corrected, because earlier I testified in response to Mr. Cornwell that Mr. Hal Bruno did so and so, it was not Mr. Hal Bruno, it was Mr. Jerry Bruno.
Mr. DEVINE. Fine. I am sure the record will be so corrected. Governor, I think you testified earlier that you thought perhaps it would be well to avoid the motorcade because of the very trying day that the President was going through, the number of appearances he had to make, the number of speeches he had to make, and the pressures. Did you have any reason to believe that there might have been some incident on a motorcade route?
Mr. CONNALLY. None at all, Congressman Devine.
Mr. DEVINE. You had no prior information that would suggest that there may have been problems?
Mr. CONNALLY. None at all.
Mr. DEVINE. I think there was some testimony that there were, I don't think they used the word kooks, but some extremist that might display signs or make remarks that might be embarrassing to the President.
Mr. CONNALLY. When I said not at all, I was speaking in terms I had no indication, no knowledge, no reason to suspect that there would be any acts of violence. I assumed from the very beginning when the President came that somewhere along the route, San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, somewhere that there might be pickets, there might be some embarrassing signs or something of that kind. Yes; I did assume we would encounter that and frankly we encountered only one that I remember, and that is far less than I anticipated.
Mr. DEVINE. I suppose you were also, at least in the back of your mind, aware of the incidents that had occurred to Ambassador
Stevenson as well as General Walker?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, sir.
Mr. DEVINE. And these were matters of concern to you, but you still had no anticipation that anything of violence might occur, is that correct?
Mr. CONNALLY. NO, sir, and my objection to the motorcade really was not based on any apprehension of violence, Congressman Devine, it was as I have testified earlier, in order to try to save the President the wear and tear of a motorcade and to basically conserve time.
Mr. DEVINE. At any juncture during the planning and scheduling did you specifically discuss with the Secret Service what possible harm might come to the President, and, if so, from what source? Either you or your people?
Mr. CONNALLY. Congressman, I don't think so. Some of our people might have raised that point with the Secret Service but I doubt it, because in none of our discussions or planning sessions did we dwell on that subject or make any point of it. It really was not a matter that we were fearful of, frankly.
Mr. DEVINE. But if you had had your way there would have been no motorcade through the downtown area, you would have gone directly to the---
Mr. CONNALLY. Trade Mart.
Mr. DEVINE. Trade Mart, right.
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes. As a matter of fact, it was quite a point of dispute, as I say, and we never did agree to it, and finally they not only said we are going to have a motorcade but we are going to publish the route of it, and I said, well, that is crazy, I said, because here again I was thinking only in terms of pickets or embarrassing signs or things of that sort, but indeed they did, they ran a map of the parade route 3 or 4 days, I think it was Tuesday before the Friday, in the Dallas papers. Full route of the motorcade.
Mr. DEVINE. Did the newspaper publish the exact route of the motorcade?
Mr. CONNALLY. I think it did. They might have altered the route a bit from that published map but I think it was a map, precise map of the motorcade.
Mr. DEVINE. That was published in sufficient time for someone with perhaps a sinister motive to have placed themselves in the book depository or elsewhere? Is that so?
Mr. CONNALLY. I think it was published on Tuesday and, of course, the event occurred on Friday, so they had that much time.
Mr. DEVINE. Mr. Cornwell has pretty well covered all other elements of the situation, Governor, and I again thank you for your
cooperation, and you, Mrs. Connally, for being here.
Mr. CONNALLY. Thank you, Congressman.
Chairman STOKES. Time of the gentleman has expired. The Chair
recognizes the gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Preyer.
Mr. PREYER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Governor Connally and Mrs. Connally, I know, as Mr. Devine said, that reliving this experience must be an emotional matter for you and all who have watched you cannot help but admire your courage in the way you have done that.
I don't know what the stories are that you refer to, Mrs. Connally, about your conduct after this, but anyone who heard you today certainly could have no questions about your courage and the character with which you faced this. I also think you brought back to us in a dramatic way the warmth and excitement of the Dallas reception, something that we have lost sight of through the years because of the way it ended in tragedy.
I only had one question following up what Mr. Devine asked, and it is along the line of what information and how early the information would have been known as to the President's route.
Lee Harvey Oswald went to work for the Dallas Book Depository on October 15, 1963. How soon after that, if you recall, Governor Connally, would he have known that the President was coming to Dallas?
Mr. CONNALLY. He could have known it before that time, I suspect. I believe the time of the publication of the Baskin story in the Dallas paper was September 26, when the story first appeared that November 21-22 had been chosen as the dates of the President's visit.
Mr. PREYER. So he would have known he was coming to Dallas perhaps even earlier than his employment date, but he would not have known the parade route until Tuesday?
Mr. CONNALLY. I don't think he could have, Congressman Preyer, because up until the very last, frankly, of that week, we were still arguing about it. We were still arguing, one, whether or not there would be a motorcade at all, two, if there was a motorcade, whether or not the route of the motorcade would be published. And frankly, those who were proponents of the motorcade and of the route wanted to get the maximum public exposure for the President, and that was the basic reason for the motorcade, but that issue was not settled until that week, the week of the visit, so I am sure he couldn't have known precisely prior to that time because I don't think anyone knew.
Mr. PREYER. Well, from your experience in Texas and national politics wasn't that the normal parade route through Dallas that was taken? Have you been involved in other parades?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, it is a normal and logical route to take, down Lemon to Turtle Creek. You can go down either Main or Commerce depending on what your ultimate destination was. But since we were going to the Trade Mart, it was a logical way to go, although we could have chosen one of the other streets that runs parallel to Main and Commerce just as well, but probably we saw more people on the streets that we traveled.
Mr. PREYER. Thank you once again for your testimony.
Mr. CONNALLY. Thank you, Congressman Preyer.
Chairman STOKES. Time of the gentleman has expired. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from the District of Columbia, Mr. Fauntroy.
Mr. FAUNTROY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you also, Governor and Mrs. Connally. We do appreciate you recalling the events in Dallas with such great detail.
I simply have a couple of questions dealing with the timing of the publication of the trip: Who knew what and when. I wonder, Governor Connally, can you tell us who could have been aware of your talks with the President on June 5 in El Paso?
Mr. CONNALLY. Well, namely, I would say there were only four of us, maybe five. The President, the Vice President, was there as I recall, well, I am sure Kenny O'Donnell was there, I was there. After that time, I am sure they talked about it, the White House, I am sure the Vice President talked to members of his staff about it. I certainly went home and talked to various members of my staff and the State Democratic Party machinery, because we were at that point in effect committed to a Presidential visit some time that fall, but the details certainly were not known then.
Mr. FAUNTROY. Do you recall whether you released publicity at that time about the President's desire to come to Texas?
Mr. CONNALLY. I don't believe there was any but I could be wrong about that, I don't recall any.
Mr. FAUNTROY. You set no tentative schedule at that time?
Mr. CONNALLY. No.
Mr. FAUNTROY. Was there any information at that time that a motorcade would or would not be used?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, I don't think so, Congressman; no.
Mr. FAUNTROY. Was Dallas listed as one of the cities that might
Mr. CONNALLY. I think from the very outset, from the time of the first announcement, which I don't think occurred that early, I think Dallas was listed as one of the cities; yes, as probably one of the cities that would be visited.
Mr. FAUNTROY. You had a visit to the White House on October 4?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, sir.
Mr. FAUNTROY. Do you recall now how much information had been disclosed to the public by that time?
Mr. CONNALLY. I think very little because it hadn't jelled really
at that point, the details had not been worked out at that point.
Mr. FAUNTROY. On October 3 you met with members of the Texas delegation to the Congress here--and, do you recall what details about the Presidential visit were discussed with them?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, I don't, but I suspect no details other than
the fact that there probably was going to be a Presidential visit, because when I went in on October 4, really the President was still talking about the four or five fund raising dinners and we really had not made the ultimate decision about the visit.
Mr. FAUNTROY. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the gentleman and Mrs. Connally, and I will yield back the balance of my time at this time.
Chairman STOKES. Time of the gentleman has expired.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. McKinney.
Mr. MCKINNEY. Governor, nice to see you again. I want to thank both you and Mrs. Connally for coming and helping us.
When was the final decision made or when did you finally get your way that the speech would be made at the Trade Mart instead of the Women's Building?
Mr. CONNALLY. I don't remember, Congressman, the precise date, but I would guess it was a couple of weeks before the visit.
Mr. MCKINNEY. Basically, that was a decision on your part so that the President could appeal to the conservative faction of the party in Texas?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, well basically, the Women's Building is in the fairground part of the city. The Trade Mart at that time was a new, exciting building, out on the Stemmons Freeway, it is a magnificent facility, it is a beautiful facility. I thought it was the type of thing that particularly reflected the flare and the style of both President and Mrs. Kennedy. It was a new building, it is a tremendous thing with an enormous vaulted ceiling.
The Secret Service had some doubts about it because it had balconies around, but we filled all those balconies with tables. And it was just a better facility, better parking, easier to get to for everyone, because you get to it off the Stemmons Freeway, and I thought it just frankly was a much better facility in order to accommodate the crowd that we wanted to have, 1,800, 2,000 people there, to hear the President.
I didn't know at the time there was a big argument about whether we go to the Women's Building or the Trade Mart. I didn't go to either of them at the time. Most of these arguments arose at the staff level and those that they couldn't settle I would finally hear about and get a hold of and sometimes I would just make a decision we are going to do thus and so and sometimes I would call somebody at the White House and get it worked out, but this went on constantly.
Mr. McKINNEY. In any event, at either building, the motorcade would have had to go through some part of Dealey Plaza?
Mr. CONNALLY. Well, in any event the motorcade certainly would have gone through downtown. It would not necessarily have had to go through Dealey Plaza, no, sir. If the Women's Building had been chosen, it could have gone another route, and probably would have gone another route.
Mr. McKINNEY. I see. If you had gone through Dealey Plaza to the Women's Building, Mrs. Kennedy would have been literally in the line of fire, rather than the President. Is that correct?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, if you had gone by the school book depository, that is correct.
Mr. McKINNEY. Thank you very much.
Chairman STOKES. Time of the gentleman has expired. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Dodd.
Mr. DODD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Governor and Mrs. Connally, to repeat what my colleagues have said, we do appreciate your being here this morning, particularly in recounting what must have been one of the most agonizing if not the most agonizing moments of your lives.
I would like to just go back over, if I could, those seconds at the time that the shots rang out. Let me try and repeat what I understood to be your testimony, you correct me if I am wrong anywhere in terms of my understanding of the sequence of events as they occurred.
First, you, Mrs. Connally, because there is a bit of a difference as I heard both of your responses.
You heard a shot, what appeared or sounded like a shot, a sharp
noise, to you? You turned to your left or your right?
Mrs. CONNALLY. My right.
Mr. DODD. You turned to your right. As you turned around and
saw the President, you saw him clutching his throat?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I saw him reach up to his throat.
Mr. DODD. Both hands were on his throat?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes, sir.
Mr. DODD. Did you see any blood at all?
Mrs. CONNALLY. No.
Mr. DODD. Then did you turn back or did you hear the second shot?
Mrs. CONNALLY. See, I don't know, I don't know.
Mr. DODD. You don't know which you did first?
Mrs. CONNALLY. What do you mean?
Mr. DODD. Well, you saw him clutch.
Mrs. CONNALLY. I looked back and I guess I just stayed looking back until I heard the second shot.
Mr. DODD. So, you are still looking at the President and it is your
recollection that you then heard what sounded like a second shot?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes.
Mr. DODD. Is that correct?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes. What was a second shot.
Mr. DODD. At that point your husband, Governor Connally, slumped over in your direction?
Mrs. CONNALLY. No, he lunged forward and then just kind of collapsed
Mr. DODD. And, then collapsed.
Mrs. CONNALLY. But not just straight up.
Mr. DODD. And then you heard a third shot or what appeared to be a third shot?
Mrs. CONNALLY. After I pulled him down.
Mr. DODD. You did hear--
Mrs. CONNALLY. I did hear a third shot.
Mr. DODD. At that point you then noticed the material?
Mrs. CONNALLY. All over.
Mr. DODD. The blood and so forth?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes.
Mr. DODD. When you turned and saw the President holding his throat, as I understood your testimony, the President didn't utter any sound or any word at all, to your recollection?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Nothing.
Mr. DODD. Now. Governor, as I understood it from what your
testimony was, you heard what sounded like a shot?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is correct.
Mr. DODD. And you turned to your right?
Mr. CONNALLY. Right.
Mr. DODD. But you did not see the President when you turned around?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is correct, I didn't turn all the way around, I was sitting, basically facing forward. I heard the shot, I looked over my right shoulder, I did not see the President out of the corner of my eye, and I mentally said I will turn to my left and see if I can see him, and I never made that full turn, I got halfway back facing forward when I was hit.
Mr. DODD. And did I understand your testimony correctly when you stated that you didn't actually hear a second shot but rather you felt the impact as if someone had punched you almost in the back, a sharp blow to your back?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is absolutely correct.
Mr. DODD. But you did not hear that?
Mr. CONNALLY. I was not conscious of hearing the second shot.
Mr. DODD. Did you hear what could have been a second or a third shot? That was the only shot you heard, was the one that caused you to turn to your right?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, I heard another shot which was the shot that was fired after Nellie had pulled me down into her lap. It was the second shot I heard, the third shot she heard.
The second shot I heard was the one that hit the President in the head.
Mr. DODD. OK. You did not immediately go unconscious?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, I did not. I knew exactly what was happening in the car and I didn't testify to a moment ago but I should because I remember precisely what my wife remembers. I heard Mrs. Kennedy say "they have killed my husband," and then she said, in just an incredulous voice, I have got his brains in my hand. I heard that. I was still conscious. I heard Roy Kellerman say to Bill Green, the driver, and perhaps to others, get out of here fast. Those things, that is all that was said in that car.
Mr. DODD. Recognizing, of course, we are now asking you to recall something that occurred this many years ago, but if I could ask you to quantify in a frame of time, how long a period would it have been between the time you heard that first noise, that sounded to you as if it were a shot, you turned right, and the period in which you felt the impact in your back?
Mr. CONNALLY. Congressman, you know, I think it is impossible for me to say with precision, but obviously a very short period of time, a matter of seconds, because it was, you know, I think undoubtedly a fairly fluid movement. I heard the shot, I reacted by looking, I saw nothing, and I was in the process of turning when I felt the impact. I guess 6, 8, or 10 seconds, in that range, but I certainly couldn't be more precise than that, but it wasn't long.
Mr. DODD. Could it have been a second? What you are telling me it is more like 2, 3, 4 seconds. It wasn't something that happened almost instantaneously?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, it was not. It could not have been 1 second.
Mr. DODD. Thank you both.
Mr. Chairman, I have no further questions.
Chairman STOKES. Time of the gentleman has expired.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Fithian.
Mr. FITHIAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Governor and Mrs. Connally, welcome; under the circumstances, we deeply appreciate your help.
Governor, the two shots you heard, did they sound exactly alike, as nearly as you can remember?
Mr. CONNALLY. Did they sound exactly--
Mr. FITHIAN. Exactly alike?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes. I found, I remember no distinction, Congressman Fithian, between the two shots.
Mr. FITHIAN. And the shot that struck you, just in that split second, before you heard that or felt that impact, did you hear any other impact like the third shot made? Was there any sound in the split second before impact somewhere else before it hit you?
Mr. CONNALLY. No.
Mr. FITHIAN. Now, if I understand your summary, Mrs. Connally, the first shot would have come through the President's throat, and that was, you said---
Mrs. CONNALLY. I assumed when I saw him.
Mr. FITHIAN. And it was the second shot that hit the Governor?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes.
Mr. FITHIAN. And it wasn't until after the third shot that you saw the brain matter, and so forth?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Instantly, the shot, the car was covered, it was like buckshot falling all over us.
Mr. FITHIAN. So your clear recollection is that you can account for something happening with each of the three shots that you heard fired?
Mrs. CONNALLY. Yes, sir.
Mr. FITHIAN. Governor, you testified earlier, I believe, that you thought that both shots fired were rifle shots. You feel that you are able to distinguish between a rifle and pistol shot?
Mr. CONNALLY. I guess you could simulate circumstances under which I would probably fail the test, Congressman, but I think I can distinguish the difference. At least at that point in time I thought it was a rifle shot to me, and I haven't in all the intervening years, have not run any tests, I have not listened to any tests, but to me a pistol shot has a flatter, louder kind of a bang type of sound to it. A rifle shot has a rather singing crack to it. It is more like a crack and then you get a kind of singing sound with a rifle shot, and it is an entirely different sound from a pistol, from a shotgun, from a rifle.
Mr. FITHIAN. One last question, Mr. Chairman. When you heard any of the two shots that you heard, Governor, or any of the three that you heard, Mrs. Connally, was there any echo; did you hear any echo from the building, or was there any sort of a sound effect along with it?
Mrs. CONNALLY. No.
Mr. CONNALLY. Congressman, I wasn't conscious of any echoes. I am sure there probably were some but I certainly was not aware of them.
Mr. FITHIAN. What you heard was a very clear distinct shot, period; that is your recollection?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, sir, absolutely.
Mr. FITHIAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman STOKES. The time of the gentleman has expired.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Sawyer.
Mr. SAWYER. Governor and Mrs. Connally I recognize that you probably don't view yourselves as a ballistics expert, by any means, but I assume you have done some hunting and you are familiar with firearms, from the way you talk?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes, I have done a great deal.
Mr. SAWYER. So we are not talking to someone totally inexperienced when we are talking about whether or not you can identify a rifle shot?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, sir, I have shot a rifle all my life and have done a great deal of hunting.
Mr. SAWYER. I suppose, too, that--I have just been thinking since I heard your testimony and I am sure you have thought about it, many, many more times, and without either being a medical expert or a ballistic expert, I presume it is reasonable to assume that with a Mannlicher/Carcano traveling at least twice the speed of sound, the projectile must be 2,200 feet per second, or more, I assume, that the bullet would reach you before the sound would reach you, and with that kind of an impact on your nervous system, whether conscious or not, you probably wouldn't have registered the sound, if there was one, of the bullet that hit you?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I think that is precisely what happened, Congressman, no question about it. That is why I don't think there is anyway the first bullet hit me. I heard that sound. And I had not been hit, I heard the first rifle shot, and I did not hear, was not conscious of the shot that hit me, and obviously the bullet reached me before the sound did. So the shock of the hit that I took, I was just totally unconscious of the sound, yet by the third shot, when Mrs. Connally pulled me down in her lap, I was awake, my eyes were open, I heard the shot fired, I heard it hit, and I saw the results, very clearly and you know--you have a lot of expert testimony, and I am delighted with the work of this committee, because hopefully we can clear up some of the speculation and the questions that have been asked over the years, but let me assure you that we may be wrong in what we say, we may be wrong in our impression, we may be wrong when asked precise questions about time, whether it is 2 seconds or 10 seconds under those circumstances I can't say with certainty the precise second that things happen, but the things that we do remember, and the things that we are testifying to here today, Congressman, are as indelibly etched in our minds as anything could ever be, and I will merely ask you to give yourselves the test, ask any adult person, over the age of 30, in this country, or over the age of 35 we will say, where they were when they first heard the news of the assassination. They can tell you where they were, what they were doing, and who they were with. I have not asked one human being in the world, not anywhere in the world, that hasn't been able to tell me where they were, what they were doing, and who they were with at the time they first heard the news.
The only point I am making is that there are certain impacts on human consciousness, on the human mind, that are indelibly etched there, now, and these things are engraved in our minds, beyond any doubt.
I can't, I am not going to argue with a ballistic expert or acoustics expert about the precise time or the frame of the Zapruder films, I can't tell you precisely whether it is frame 231 or 234, when the first evidence shows that I am reacting to the shot, but what we are saying to you, the things that we say to you with certain definiteness, it is because we are absolutely sure, at least in our own minds, that that is what happened and that is what we remember.
Mr. SAWYER. I want to join the rest of my colleagues in expressing our appreciation to you, Governor and Mrs. Connally, for coming up, and I want to compliment you on the obvious frankness touched with a little humor, as best you can in this kind of situation, and your warmth coming across, I appreciate it very much. It kind of gave me a perspective on this that somebody there can only give. You got across as good a communication of it, at least to me, as I have heard.
Chairman STOKES. Mr. Edgar.
Mr. EDGAR. Thank you, Governor and Mrs. Connally. I, too, want to welcome you here and to compliment you on your frankness in sharing your firsthand knowledge of this tragic event.
I just have two lines of questioning, which will be very brief. I noted in the schedule that on November 21 there was a motorcade through Houston; is that correct?
Mr. CONNALLY. Well, there was a motorcade; yes, in a sense. We went from the airport, Havre Airport, where the plane landed, down the Gulf Freeway to downtown Houston and we had, as I say, we rather planned it this way because it was a way to automatically assure yourself of a crowd.
Mr. EDGAR. Were the crowds similar in Houston as they were in Dallas?
Mr. CONNALLY. No; they were not because it was not the same type of event. We didn't plan a motorcade of that type. What occurred in Houston was we were going against the grain of the traffic, the Gulf Freeway was four lanes wide bumper to bumper leaving Houston going out past Havre Airport. We were going into town so there were literally thousands of cars on the freeway and all the traffic just stopped when they saw the motorcade, they knew who it was, they knew the President was coming.
So people were standing on their fenders, if they had fenders, if not, they opened the door, stood inside the car, they were in the pickups, shouting and waving and that sort of thing. There was not the mass number of people that we saw at either San Antonio or Dallas.
Mr. EDGAR. And the speed of the motorcade was different?
Mr. CONNALLY. Was entirely different. I would say in Houston we were traveling at least probably 50 miles an hour.
Mr. EDGAR. The motorcade in Dallas on the 22d was for a slightly different purpose, it was not just to arouse the crowds but was in
fact to be worked by the President in a slow moving motorcade?
Mr. CONNALLY. That is correct.
Mr. EDGAR. Were the automobiles in both motorcades identical?
Mr. CONNALLY. I think so. I think the President's car was flown from one place to another. I think we were riding in the same car.
Mr. EDGAR. Do you know if the President's car was equipped with any kind of facility to have visual sighting of the President even with the top down?
Mr. CONNALLY. Yes; I think we had a bubble top but it was never used.
Mr. EDGAR. Do you know whose decision it was not to use the bubble top?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, sir.
Mr. EDGAR. And the bubble top was not used in Houston either?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, sir.
Mr. EDGAR. Were there any different security procedures that you know of for the Dallas motorcade?
Mr. CONNALLY. I don't think so, Congressman. If there were any there were probably more people involved simply because of the nature of the visit to Dallas, we were going to have the motorcade, it was going to be a motorcade where we were traveling at 25 miles an hour, as opposed to 50 miles an hour on the Gulf Freeway in Houston, for instance, so I think there were a great many more security people involved up and down the parade route in Dallas than there were in Houston.
That was a normal thing, I don't think it was unusual because of any anticipated difficulties.
Mr. EDGAR. But you were not approached by the Secret Service to do anything special?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, the Secret Service were working with department of public safety and the Dallas Police Department and I don't
recall any real difficulties with respect to security.
Mr. EDGAR. Thank you. Just one final question.
I was wondering about the injuries that you have received, the shot through the right shoulder and the wrist injury and the leg injury, are they recurring problems for you at this time?
Mr. CONNALLY. No, sir. The shoulder injury, the back injury, was healed fairly well. The bullet split my right lung and as I recall, the doctor told me it was like it had been cut with a knife, they took out, I believe, the fifth and sixth ribs, but I learned something new, the ribs grew back, which I didn't realize they would do.
So the only thing I have had over the years, and that is my fault, not any medical problem, my right shoulder and arm have been a bit weaker than the left simply because I think I didn't do enough exercising with it after the injury to rebuild the muscles and at least one muscle was cut in the process by either the shot or the operation.
The wrist is fine. Dr. Gregory, when he set the wrist, told me that he thought it would not heal properly because he had no bone to tie to, and he would do his best, that we would probably have to rebreak the wrist and reset it after some of the bones healed because it broke every bone in the wrist, but after about 90 days, when they finally took the cast off, the wrist had healed sufficiently to where we weren't about to break that wrist, and I have substantially all the use of it, the only thing I can't do is to turn my wrist over.
Mrs. CONNALLY. He can't take change but I can pick it up for him.
Mr. CONNALLY. It is strange, little things like that. This is where you recognize it. To take change I have to do this kind of thing, to flatten my hand, because normally you can hold your elbow on the table and flip your hand over. I can't do it. There is a stiffness in the wrist but there is no pain associated with it, no disability at all, and the leg has caused me no trouble. So I am in fine shape.
Mr. EDGAR. There is absolutely no doubt in your mind that all of the injuries that occurred to you occurred by one bullet passing through your body.?
Mr. CONNALLY. I think beyond any question it did. Congressman, probably I should add in response to your question that one of the reasons I may have had the wrist injury, I had a hat that day, and sometimes I had the hat on and sometimes I didn't, and when I didn't have it on I was holding the thing, and, of course, the President never wore one.
When I held it, I normally held it in pretty much this position. I held it in front of me and I suspect that one of two things happened, and I don't remember precisely, that I was either holding my hat, so that when that bullet came out of my chest right here and went right into my arm and down into my leg, or that is one explanation of why my wrist was broken, or in the process of turning perhaps I had put my right arm on my left leg to make it turn to my left, as I testified, I would not have done that to look over my right shoulder, it would have been the reverse type of movement, my right arm would have been to my right, looking over my right shoulder, but in the process of turning to look over my left shoulder, it is a logical thing to move your arm, and maybe I put it on my wrist, and maybe I had my hat in my hand, but in any event, the wrist happened to be right in front of the place where the bullet came out.
Mr. EDGAR. Thank you.
I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman STOKES. The time of the gentleman has expired.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from the District of Columbia, Mr. Fauntroy, for additional questions.
Mr. FAUNTROY. Yes sir, Mr. Chairman, thank you.
I just have one question on the firing. Governor, and Mrs. Connally, both of you are familiar with the single bullet theory, are you not? My question, Governor Connally, is, given Mrs. Connally's recollection that there were three shots: The first of which hit the President, the second of which hit you, and the third of which hit the President; I wonder if it is your impression that the first shot that you heard missed, or whether it is your impression that the first shot which you heard was the first
shot which Mrs. Connally heard, which in her view caused the President to grab his throat?
Mr. CONNALLY. Do you want to answer that?
Mrs. CONNALLY. No.
Mr. CONNALLY. I will answer it. I don't know what the first shot did. All I know, all I am certain of in my own mind is that the first shot did not hit me. Now, according to Mrs. Connally's testimony, the first shot did hit the President and that is when she turned around and saw him grasp his throat.
Mrs. CONNALLY. And later, the doctors said that there was a bullet that went through the fleshy part of his neck, that would not have killed the President, had that been the only shot he took.
So obviously that is why he was reaching up for his throat.
Mr. FAUNTROY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman STOKES. The time of the gentleman has expired. The gentleman from Indiana.
Mr. FITHIAN. One quick followup question.
When you turned, Mrs. Connally, and saw the President, do you remember seeing the Governor, seeing where he was looking?
Mrs. CONNALLY. No; I heard the noise, I turned in the direction
of the noise, and I observed the President and I was horrified.
Mr. FITHIAN. Thank you.
Chairman STOKES. The time of the gentleman has expired. Mr. Cornwell, anything further?
Mr. CORNWELL. NO, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman STOKES. Governor Connally and Mrs. Connally, under the rules of our committee, any witness appearing before our committee giving testimony is to be extended 5 minutes at the conclusion of their testimony, for the purpose of explaining or in any way amplifying or expanding upon their testimony before the committee. I wish to extend to both of you at this time 5 minutes in order to make any further comments that you so desire?
Mrs. CONNALLY. I have nothing.
Mr. CONNALLY. Mr. Chairman, let me, for both of us, express our gratitude to you, Chairman Stokes, and to all the members of the committee, to the staff of the committee, for what has been an obvious workman-like approach that staff has used in trying to develop all of the facts relating to this tragic event in the life of this Nation.
Unfortunately, I think for the peace of mind of a great many people, much speculation has arisen, many rumors have flowed, many theories have been advanced. This committee is going to be faced, I think, with the same task that the Warren Commission was faced with; namely, how do you prove a negative, how do you prove there was no conspiracy? I think that is the task that you have.
You have assembled a staff of obviously competent people with a determination to try to adduce all of the evidence that is available in the world, to properly analyze it and to properly present it, and to that extent I think the committee is undertaking a task which I am fearful will not answer all of the problems but, nevertheless, your report will undoubtedly shed a great deal of light on the tragedy that this Nation had and that this Nation will live with.
I wish I could believe that all of the speculation will end, that all the answers will be given, all the rumors dispelled, all the theories dissipated, but I don't believe that, and it won t be the fault of the staff nor the fault of this committee, I think it will be a mere result of circumstances that are incapable of proof.
But for your effort and for your time, for your obvious dedication, we are grateful because we have obviously been a part of this event and we will always be a part of it, and so the more that the American people can understand I think the better the Nation is.
I would make one other comment, Mr. Chairman, that is a gratuitous comment, that I hope is not inappropriate at this moment.
Part of your task is to analyze the effectiveness of the Secret Service, the FBI, the other police agencies in the furtherance of their duties with respect to this tragic occurrence. As Secretary of the Treasury, as you know, I had jurisdiction over the Secret Service. On many occasions, I talked to them about the problem of personal security of a President, of visiting dignitaries, and others. I happen to be of the view very much as your chief counsel, Mr. Blakey, said of President Kennedy, if there is
a determined assassin, that beyond any question he can be successful. I don't think there is enough protection that any man in public life is going to surround himself with that will preclude a determined assassin from carrying out his mission.
I can only say to you that I think the Secret Service was determined and dedicated to protect the life of the President, and unfortunately they failed. Senator Kennedy had security but they were unable to cope with his assassin.
President Ford, if you will recall, also had security, a great amount of security, but they probably would have failed, too, if the young lady had known how to use a gun.
So, that finally, I am simply saying to you I don't know that any political figure in this country can be spared an assassin's bullet if indeed there is a dedicated assassin. So I would hope that the American people would understand that the mere fact that the Secret Service failed was not a failure of desire, not a failure of dedication, not a failure of talent, but rather a failure of an evitable circumstance.
Finally, again, let me express for Mrs. Connally and myself our appreciation for your kindness and for your courtesy and for the tremendous task that you have undertaken.
Chairman STOKES. Governor, if I can just say to both you and Mrs. Connally on behalf of this committee, and the House of Representatives, we are indeed grateful to you for having appeared here today. Both of you in a very articulate way have made a contribution to our work, for which we are indeed grateful, and we thank you for having been here. Thank you very much.
Mrs. CONNALLY. Thank you, sir.
Chairman STOKES. Our hearing is now recessed until 2 p.m. this afternoon.
[Whereupon, at 12:30 p.m., the committee was recessed, to reconvene at 2 p.m., the afternoon of the same day.]