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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. VII - Page 458« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Lawrence F. O'brien)

Mr. Adams.
of trips. He would engage in discussions with the President and projections of possible trips of one sort or another. In his role as Appointments Secretary, of course, he was constantly discussing with the President invitation of all kinds that came across his desk.
The Vice President had expressed an interest for some time in a possible trip to Texas.
Mr. Adams.
Had he expressed that interest to you?
Mr. O'BRIEN. I don't recall specifically. It became generally understood in our discussions that he was interested, the President was interested, Mr. O'Donnell was charged with the responsibility of maintaining a day to day relationship in this area.
Mr. Adams.
At that time, what was your official title?
Mr. O'BRIEN. Special Assistant to the President for Congressional Relations.
Mr. Adams.
Mr. O'BRIEN. A trip of this nature, as many trips within the United States would involve the inclusion of Members of Congress, appropriate members of the delegation, and what-have-you. So that would be pretty much my involvement in any arrangements for a trip of this nature.
Mr. Adams.
To put it another way, you did not yourself have the responsibility for the specific planning?
Mr. O'BRIEN. Not at all.
Mr. Adams.
And were you involved in making--in the discussions which led to the final decision about this Texas trip?
Mr. O'BRIEN. There were some discussions that involved me as to the specific stops on the trip, because there immediately you would have the matter of the congressional districts that would be involved in the stops, and matters of that nature.
Mr. Adams.
Do you happen to know how it came to pass that Mrs. Kennedy went along on that trip?
Mr. O'BRIEN. No; I do not. I think Mr. O'Donnell would be the proper person to direct that to.
Mr. Adams.
Did you have anything to do with the security or protection arrangements for the President?
Mr. O'BRIEN. No.
Mr. Adams.
Neither on that trip nor at any time?
Mr. O'BRIEN. No.
Mr. Adams.
This didn't come within your duties at all?
Mr. Adams.
Now, is it fair to say that the substantial purpose of this trip was political?
Mr. O'BRIEN. I would not say--in my belief it was not the substantial purpose. An invitation that had been extended by the Congressman Albert Thomas dinner committee, and I assume arrangements that were appropriate for that time for a dinner in Austin contributed to the decision on that particular time for this trip. This would be typical of the situation, as I recall it, where you knew there would be an occasion when the President would visit Texas.
He was interested in visiting Texas, as he was other sections of the country. And this sort of fell into line. It presented to some degree an opportunity to make the trip at that time.
He was particularly fond of Congressman Thomas. And he had had a close working relationship with him in the Congress.
I, of course, became very well acquainted with Congressman Thomas, because of my role representing the White House with the Congress. And I am sure that was a contributing factor. He was most interested in attending this dinner to honor him.
Mr. Adams.
I suppose it would be fair to say that almost any activity of the President is in some measure political.
Mr. O'BRIEN. I would say that is perhaps true.
But he had been interested, also, in having an opportunity to visit the Space Center particularly. And he had watched the development of the space activity in Texas with great interest.
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