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Warren Commission Report: Page 59« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER II - THE ASSASSINATION)

THE END OF THE TRIP

Swearing in of the New President

From the Presidential airplane, the Vice President telephoned Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who advised that Mr. Johnson take the Presidential oath of office before the plane left Dallas.263 Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes hastened to the plane to administer the oath.264 Members of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential parties filled the central compartment of the plane to witness the swearing in. At 2:38 p.m., e.s.t., Lyndon Baines Johnson took the oath of office as the 36th President of the United States.265 Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Johnson stood at the side of the new President as he took the oath of office.266 Nine minutes later, the Presidential airplane departed for Washington, D.C.267

Return to Washington, D.C.

On the return flight, Mrs. Kennedy sat with David Powers, Kenneth O'Donnell, and Lawrence O'Brien.268 At 5:58 p.m., e.s.t., Air Force One landed at Andrews AFB, where President Kennedy had begun his last trip only 31 hours before.269 Detailed security arrangements had been made by radio from the President's plane on tile return flight.270 The public had been excluded from the base, and only Government officials and the press were permitted near the landing area. Upon arrival, President Johnson made a brief statement over television and radio. President and Mrs. Johnson were flown by helicopter to the White House, from where Mrs. Johnson was driven to her residence under Secret Service escort. The President then walked to the Executive Office Building, where he worked until 9 p.m.271

The Autopsy

Given a choice between the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md., and the Army's Walter Reed Hospital, Mrs. Kennedy chose the hospital in Bethesda for the autopsy because the President had served in the Navy.272 Mrs. Kennedy and the Attorney General, with three Secret Service agents, accompanied President Kennedy's body on the 45-minute automobile trip from Andrews AFB to the Hospital.273 On the 17th floor of the Hospital, Mrs. Kennedy and the Attorney General joined other members of the Kennedy family to await the conclusion of the autopsy.274 Mrs. Kennedy was guarded by Secret Service agents in quarters assigned to her in the naval hospital.275 The Secret Service established a communication system with the White House and screened all telephone calls and visitors.276


The hospital received the President's body for autopsy at approximately 7:58 p.m.277 X-rays and photographs were taken preliminarily and the pathological examination began at about 8 p.m.278 The autopsy report noted that President Kennedy was 46 years of

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