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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Curtis LeMay on the Kennedys and the assassination-WOW!!


Frantz : Where were you at the time of the assassination?

LeMay : I was in Washington at the time--the Chief of Staff of the Air Force .

Frantz : You were at work on that particular day?

LeMay : No, I was off some place, at the actual time of the assassination, I was

called back .

Frantz: Yes, what was the situation that you found when you got back to Washington?

Was there a little bit of tenseness or was it pretty well decided that Lee

Harvey Oswald was just after one man?

LeMay: Well there wasn't much of a flap . Everybody was a little concerned that they

didn't know what made the attack, the assassination, so they wanted

everybody present for duty . That's the reason they were called back.

Frantz: Was there any great difference between working on the Joint Chiefs under

Johnson than it had been with Kennedy or did the fact that you had the same

Secretary of Defense insure the continuity?

LeMay : No, I didn't understand exactly what was going on . For several months

before the President was assassinated they were rumors, and then they

got to be a little more than rumors, Vice President Johnson was going to

be dropped for the coming election . And all the Kennedy team was finally

got to openly to giving to the Vice President to the back of their hands,

and it was rather embarrassing for the country around Washington because

it was so apparent . Then bang, all at once he is President .

Frantz : Yes.

LeMay : And I believe all of this hard feeling grew up around the flight from Fort

Worth back was brought on by these people who had really been vulgar in

my opinion and snubbing the Vice President who expected to be stepped on

like the cockroaches they were, and he didn't do it . As a matter of fact

quite the contrary . From all I got the President was extremely polite to

Mrs . Kennedy and the family and bent over backwards to do everything he

could to soften the blow if that is possible . It isn't, but he certainly

was a Southern gentleman in every respect during this period . And I think

this rather surprised these people because they expected the same kind of

treatment that they had given him and he didn't give it to him . Why, I don't

know : I really don't know because well I can understand in having to face

an election and I can understand him being a smart enough politician to

know if he threw out all of the Kennedy crowd and put his in, this might

split the Democratic party at the time in the next election and so forth .

So I can understand him keeping these people around until the election was

over, but then he won the election--he won it with the greatest majority

that any President has ever had, but he still kept these people around .

The same people that had treated him so miserably during this period just

before President Kennedy's assassination .

Frantz : This is curious .

LeMay : Yes . I could never understand, never could figure it out yet . The only

answer I could come up with is that knowing the vindictiveness of these

people, knowing the moral standards of these people, how ruthless that

they were, they must have had some threat over the President that he

knew that they would carry out .

Frantz: Did you get the feeling that he was satisfied with Secretary McNamara's

performance as Defense Secretary?

LeMay : I don't know that I can answer that question . It would seem that if he

wasn't satisfied, why he would have gotten a new one early in the period .

Afterwards I think he was actually dismissed finally . Things got so bad

that he had to get rid of him, but he did it in such a way to make it look

like it was a normal progression .

Frantz: Did you ever get any idea where he stood on this manned-bomber vs . missile


LeMay: Well I don't know that there was a manned-bomber vs . missile controversy,

one being "either," "or ." We never believed that in the Air Force or any

place else . We thought we needed both . We needed both . As a matter of

fact, I get credit for being the big bomber General . Can't see anything

beyond the blinders . When I was in the research and development business

after the war started all in the big missile programs, the Atlas and the

Navaho and the basic facilities that gave us the missiles, we had to have

them, still like we have to have them and that we need both, we need both .

Frantz: There was it seemed to me at this time an outbreak of increased emphasis on

missiles and loss of flexibility of the manned equipment .

LeMay : It became apparent to me that McNamara's goal was to try to build a strategic

force that was equal to the Russian force . Sort of dragged his feet until

the Russians built up to what we were equal . These men believed that if

we were equal in strength then there wouldn't be any war . Well this is

an indication of how impractical these type of people are . To me this is

the best way of guaranteeing a war because you can only have peace if you

have a mutual respect between people, and if you don't have that and one

is plotting against the other, then eventually when he thinks he can get

away with it, he will come attack you . This has always been true in

history in the past . If they have got something you want and if he thinks

he can get it, he goes and gets it . This is just a human history . Even

if by some miracle you could design these two forces where they would be

equal, will everybody think they are equal? You can't control men's

minds . Then, if by some miracle you can design these tLwo forces, how long

are they going to stay equal? One is an opened society ; the other a closed

society . When is the closed society going to come up with a breakthrough

on some weapon system that will give them a tremendous advantage that you

don't know anything about? You're handicapping the open society by such

an arrangement . So I believe this is what Mr . McNamara was aiming at,

although he would never admit it any place along the line . He wouldn't

admit it now, I am sure, but that was what it was aimed at, and I honestly

believe that he thought about 1000 minuteman missiles would be enough for

this .

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