- What is the purpose of the Attorney General's call to General Abrams?
- How much of a delay does there seem to be in getting troops to Oxford?
- What is the Attorney General's response to the delay?
Questions for further discussion:
- How does this situation differ from the deployment of troops in wartime?
- Why wouldn't the President have ordered federal troops to Oxford sooner?
- What are the potential risks to the Kennedy administration in sending in troops?
Abrams: Mr. Geoghegan reports to me that there are [more] than enough trucks at the strip, with a hundred and eighty men in the helicopters.
RFK: You got a hundred and eighty men? Where, where are the rest of them?
Abrams: Moving on the road.
RFK: The, when will they be there?
Abrams: Uh, 'bout two hours and three quarters. That would be, uh, quarter of three in the morning our time.
RFK: Quarter of five our time? How, how, how many, how many of them are there?
Speaker?: [Off the phone in the room.] Quarter of five.
RFK: How many of them are there?
Abrams: Uh, the, uh, five hundred.
RFK: And when do the rest of...
Abrams: Behind that, behind that's another battalion, with a, marching right behind them, of six hundred and eighty.
RFK: They're MPs?
RFK: What was the delay in getting them out of Memphis?
Abrams: They, uh, this , uh, I don't know the details of it, uh, Mr. Kennedy. They, uh, this is the best response they could make, apparently, under the circumstances.
RFK: Well, who's in charge of that?
Abrams: Each, uh, each of those battalions have a, has a battalion commander, and, uh, the, uh, the, uh, both battalions are under the command of General Billingslea. Uh, they had a meeting over here this afternoon, which I did not attend. But they had a meeting in which they discussed all these plans.
[Unintelligible conversation in the background in the room.]
RFK: Well, didn't they say that they could get off with, and down there within an hour?
Abrams: Yes, they, uh, they, uh, expected a much more rapid response than has occurred. I know General Billingslea did.
RFK: What happened then?
Abrams: I don't know.
RFK: Is somebody gonna find out?
Abrams: Yes, sir.
RFK: [Lets his breath out.] What about the battle group?
Abrams: Uh, we have gotten a hold of the battle group and, uh, have diverted them. We got a hold of them at [Selmer?]...
RFK: When will they be down there?
Abrams:... Tennessee. I don't have a new, uh, estimate on that, sir. We've, uh, it's only been within the last fifteen or twenty minutes that we got a hold of 'em, and it hasn't been recast. But, uh, I can get it very shortly.
RFK: Yeah. Will you call me back at the White House?
Speaker?: [Words unintelligible.]
RFK: Okay. Thank you, General. [Continued on Belt 4G.]