September 30, 1962
Belt 4F4, Portion of Telephone Conversation between President Kennedy and Governor Barnett and Governor Barnett
  1. What does the President state as his main concern?
  2. Is this Governor Barnett's main concern? What other concerns does he reveal?

audio recording of phone conversation

JFK: Yeah.

Barnett: . . . and I, he, uh, he said that what we were talking about we wouldn't have any trouble. Do it, uh, tonight, you know.

JFK: Yeah. Well, the, uh, our people say that it's still a very, uh, [strained?] situation They wouldn't, uh, feel that, uh, they could, uh, take a chance on taking him outside that building. Now if we, can we get these fellows? I hear they got some high powered rifles up there that have been shooting sp , sporadically. Can we get that stopped? How many people have you got there? We hear you only got fifty.

Barnett: Well, I have approximately two hundred there now, Mr. President. That's not that . . .

JFK: You got two hundred?

Barnett: Sir, about two hundred.

JFK: 'Cau . . . . Yeah.

Barnett: Uh . . .

JFK: Well, now let me get in touch with my people.

Barnett: . . . and we don't have but, uh, two hundred and ten of twelve, uh, patrolmen, you see.

JFK: I see. Well, now, let me get my people back again.

Barnett: I'm doing everything in the world I can.

JFK: That's right. Well, we've got to get this situation under control. That's much more important than anything else.

Barnett: Yes. Well, that's right. I . . .

JFK: Now, let me, uh, let me talk to my people, and let me tell, find out what the situation is there.

Barnett: Yes.

JFK: They called me a few minutes ago and said they had some high powered rifles there. So we don't wanta, uh, start moving . . .

Barnett: Mr. President .

JFK: . . anybody around.

Barnett: . . . peop, people are wiring me and calling me saying, "Well, you've given up." I said, I had to say, "No, I'm not giving up, not giving up any fight."

JFK: Yeah, but we don't want to . . .

Barnett: "I never give up. I, I have courage and faith, and, and we'll win this fight." You understand. That's just to Mississippi people.

JFK: I understand. But I don't think anybody, either in Mississippi or any place else wants a lot of people killed.

Barnett: Oh, no. No. I . . .

JFK: And that's what, Governor, that's the most important thing. We want . . .

Barnett: . . . I'll iss , I'll issue any statement, any time about peace and violence.

JFK: Well, now here's what we could do. Let's get the maximum number of your state police to get that situation so we don't have sporadic firing. I will then be in touch with my people and then you and I'll be talking again in a few minutes about, see what we got there then.

Barnett: All right.

JFK: Thank you, Governor.

Barnett: All right now.

JFK: I'll be back.