Oral history transcript, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, interview 1 (I), undated, by Paige E. Mulhollan


Oral history transcript, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, interview 1 (I), undated, by Paige E. Mulhollan

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Meeting LBJ in the 1950’s; contacts with Vice-President Johnson regarding his executive authority; a president’s influence over the Department of Justice; where a president obtains legal advice; LBJ inheriting JFK’s Department of Defense members; cooperation between federal agencies; Oxford, Mississippi riots; George Wallace and the University of Alabama incident; Civil Rights Act of 1964; Representative William M. McCulloch; need for voting rights to be legislated in 1965; open housing legislation in 1966-1967; reorganization of the Dept. of Justice in 1966; how the Dept. of Justice handled politically charged cases, like Bobby Baker and Jimmy Hoffa; disagreement between the FBI and Justice Dept. over usage of electronic surveillance in organized crime investigations; 1961-1962 negotiations for a communications satellite under joint public/private control, federal intervention into law and order issues; deterring crime; National Crime Commission Report, 1967; Safe Streets Act of 1967; LBJ’s opinion of wiretapping. Katzenbach’s move from Attorney General to Under Secretary of State; management and reorganization of Dept. of State; SIG (Senior Inter-Departmental Group); national security advisors in the White House/National Security Council/ State Dept.; overlapping responsibilities and influence with president; presidential decision-making methods; optimism regarding Vietnam; the need to publicly support decisions of South Vietnam’s officials; State Dept. assessment of Vietnam compared to that of national security advisors (Walt Rostow’s group); leaks in peace negotiations; misunderstanding between LBJ and Senator Robert Kennedy. events that brought about 1968 peace negotiations; LBJ’s March 31 statement that he would not run for re-election; agreement that South Vietnamese would be part of the negotiations; the Pueblo incident; African problems and U.S. options; Middle East problems; historical tendency for State Dept. to be more pro-Arab and White House to be pro-Israeli; 6-Day War; Kosygin’s letter; LBJ’s interest in Europe; Katzenbach’s belief that SEATO will be unnecessary after the Vietnam problem is solved; LBJ stockpiling basic commodities for economic purposes.


Katzenbach, Nicholas deB. (Nicholas deBelleville), 1922-


LBJ Library Oral Histories

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Nicholas deB. Katzenbach


Paige E. Mulhollan

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Oral history