There is a stunning paper trail, beginning with the November 25, 1963, memo from Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach (reprinted in its entirety below) to LBJ aide Bill Moyers, which documents the Johnson administration's desperation to cover up the truth of JFK's assassination. LBJ was fearful that any honest investigation would lead right back to him and his co-conspirators, so he consulted with his great pal J. Edgar Hoover on the best way to proceed. The first move was to draft a memo advising his underlings on how to squelch rumors, disseminate disinformation, and answer glaring holes in the official story.
Katzenbach, who served the Kennedys well and seemed to be a capable assistant AG, easily caved into Johnson's demands. In all likelihood, Johnson presented Katzenbach with some cover story like, "If the public finds out that it was the Communists behind this, we're going to have nuclear war where millions are killed." At that early date, three days after the assassination, no one knew the full story of Kennedy's death, so the memo cannot be interpreted in any other way than to say it was an attempt to conceal the truth at all costs. Here is the full text of the memo:
Memo from Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, Deputy Attorney General
November 25, 1963
MEMORANDUM FOR MR. MOYERS
It is important that all of the facts surrounding President Kennedy's Assassination be made public in a way which will satisfy people in the United States and abroad that all the facts have been told and that a statement to this effect be made now.
1. The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial.
2. Speculation about Oswald's motivation ought to be cut off, and we should have some basis for rebutting thought that this was a Communist conspiracy or (as the Iron Curtain press is saying) a right-wing conspiracy to blame it on the Communists. Unfortunately the facts on Oswald seem about too pat-- too obvious (Marxist, Cuba, Russian wife, etc.). The Dallas police have put out statements on the Communist conspiracy theory, and it was they who were in charge when he was shot and thus silenced.
3. The matter has been handled thus far with neither dignity nor conviction. Facts have been mixed with rumour and speculation. We can scarcely let the world see us totally in the image of the Dallas police when our President is murdered.
I think this objective may be satisfied by making public as soon as possible a complete and thorough FBI report on Oswald and the assassination. This may run into the difficulty of pointing to in- consistencies between this report and statements by Dallas police officials. But the reputation of the Bureau is such that it may do the whole job. The only other step would be the appointment of a Presidential Commission of unimpeachable personnel to review and examine the evidence and announce its conclusions. This has both advantages and disadvantages. It think it can await publication of the FBI report and public reaction to it here and abroad.
I think, however, that a statement that all the facts will be made public property in an orderly and responsible way should be made now. We need something to head off public speculation or Congressional hearings of the wrong sort.
Nicholas deB. Katzenbach
Deputy Attorney General