The John F. Kennedy Assassination Homepage


  » Introduction
  » The Report
  » The Hearings


  » Testimony Index
  » Volume I
  » Volume II
  » Volume III
  » Volume IV
  » Volume V
  » Volume VI
  » Volume VII
  » Volume VIII
  » Volume IX
  » Volume X
  » Volume XI
  » Volume XII
  » Volume XIII
  » Volume XIV
  » Volume XV
Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. VII - Page 470« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Lawrence F. O'brien)

Mr. Adams.
Had he arrived at Love Field by the time you got out there?
Mr. O'BRIEN. Yes.
Mr. Adams.
And what happened when you arrived at Love Field?
Mr. O'BRIEN. Well, again the Secret Service and those of us in the official party that had arrived at the field--I guess specifically again the three of us-- helped to move the coffin up the steps of the plane. It was a difficult job because the steps, of course, were the normal set of stairs for a plane, and, therefore, it was too narrow to accomplish this without some difficulty. But it was brought onto the plane.
At that point I noticed that seats to the left of the door had been removed, leaving a floor space in the plane to place the coffin. We placed the coffin on the floor. Then I looked up, and the President and Mrs. Johnson were at the corridor that would go into the compartment from that area of the plane.
Mrs. Kennedy came aboard and was seated in the remaining two seats at a table to the left in the rear compartment, and Mrs. Johnson and the President went over to her.
Mr. Adams.
Do you know how it came to pass that the President was sworn in at that time?
Mr. O'BRIEN. The President and Mrs. Johnson, after a brief discussion with Mrs. Kennedy, went into the Presidential compartment--I guess that is the best way to describe that section of the plane this would be where the President's chair and desk are located. He asked Mr. O'Donnell to join him.
During the course of these few minutes, it was my understanding that we were going to immediately depart. There was some confusion for a couple of minutes about departure. I was not privy to that. And the President asked the two of us to sit with him, at which point he said that he was awaiting a judge who was en route to swear him in--that he had secured the advice of the Attorney General, which, as I understood it, was a preference in his view to have a swearing in ceremony immediately. And that this would be accomplished within a matter of minutes.
So while we awaited the arrival of the judge, the President, Mr. O'Donnell and I, joined by Mrs. Johnson, after a couple of minutes, sat at this table with the four seats, and just discussed the fact that the departure would take place immediately following the swearing in ceremony. And during that period we briefly discussed the first step of the President to insure continuity, and either just before the swearing-in or immediately following it, the President discussed with Mr. O'Donnell and me his desire that we stay, as he put it, shoulder to shoulder with him.
The judge arrived----
Mr. Adams.
During that interval, who was staying with Mrs. Kennedy?
Mr. O'BRIEN. Mrs. Kennedy had at that point gone into the restroom adjacent to the bedroom in the compartment.
The judge arrived in minutes. And it was suggested that those in the---I guess the best way to describe it--the front of the plane, those who could move into the compartment, including those representing the press, a single photographer was brought aboard. The wording of the oath was available. The judge took her position. The President said that he certainly wanted Mrs. Kennedy with him at this moment. I went to the bedroom. The door to the adjoining rest-room was closed. I went out and asked Mrs. Lincoln if she would see if Mrs. Kennedy was available. She went in and came out with Mrs. Kennedy, and she took her place to the President's left, Mrs. Johnson to the President's right, the others grouped around. I stood behind the judge, and just as the judge was to start the ceremony, a member of the crew handed me a small Bible in a white box. I took the Bible from the box, interrupted the judge just momentarily, and handed her the Bible. She completed the ceremony.
Then everyone immediately settled down. The judge departed from the plane, the photographer from the plane. Everyone settled down, and we took off without further delay.
Mr. Adams.
As a matter of detail, do you happen to know what happened to the Bible?
Mr. O'BRIEN. I do not know.
Mr. Adams.
The plane then departed immediately?
« Previous | Next »

Found a Typo?

Click here
Copyright by www.jfk-assassination.comLast Update: Wed, 3 Aug 2016 21:56:34 CET