President Johnson with Tennessee Governor Buford Ellington. March 18, 1965. 10:00 p.m.
President Johnson: Buford.
Governor Ellington: Yes sir. I'm sorry I left; I thought you were through.
LBJ: I thought so too. You're dealing with a very treacherous guy. You all must not come in even quoting him anymore. Because he's a no-good son of a bitch. And I think you know it. He announced tonight that he would ask Johnson to "Provide sufficient officers to protect the Negroes" He appeared before the joint session and he says that the uh, uh, the uh, "Federal Government has said that our courts are too slow," Wallace said that, "Therefore we must now submit to mob rule. It's a tragedy and a sorrow beyond words but the federal judge compounds the anarchy by ordering the state to protect the army." He said "Tonight that he would ask Johnson to provide protection for Negroes marching from Selma to Montgomery. I intend to call on the President of the United States to provide sufficient officers to guarantee the safety and welfare of the citizens in and around the route. The federal government has created this matter, they can help protect 'em," Wallace told-
[Johnson's secretary Juanita Roberts accidentally picks up the phone and interrupts]
LBJ: He said "It would take 6,171 law enforcement personnel agents working 8-hour shifts to possibly guard the march."
BE: Well, I'm not going to talk to him anymore, now, I'm through with him.
LBJ: Well, now you better tell him that. Tell him you're not, tell him you're not. Tell him you read it on the ticker and I've been leaving messages since 3:30 --messing with that son of a bitch. And he is absolutely treacherous!
BE: Well, you know I told you when you--
LBJ: "Tonight I shoulda asked the people of Alabama for restraint. I ask you to stay away from tension, I ask you not to play in the hands, I ask you to stay home, I hope that when this march takes place you stay there. He did not immediately specify whether he asked Johnson for troops or armed marshals. Wallace began his speech after a fist fight, where they arrested 90 civil rights activists in a counter-march by segregationists. Deepened racial tensions in Montgomery-"
BE: I told Burke and Lee all the way through that I didn't trust him, and everything. So I'm just not going to answer any calls from him or ever talk to him. I--
LBJ: I'd answer one and just tell him, "Now, listen, George, I offered you-I went over to the president today and talked to him and told him that you needed help--
LBJ: "He called and offered to give it to you. You ran like a goddamned rabbit! Then you ran down to the television and told them that we had created." Then you're going to ask, "Now, why in the hell didn't you stand up like a man and say what you were going to do to begin with?"
BE: Well, I tell you, if Its all right with you-I'm not gonna take his call. If he keeps calling me, I'll wait till in the morning where I can record it.
LBJ: Come over here. You can record it anytime.
BE: Well I can record it from here. That's where I been doing it, from my apartment. You know-- if he starts calling me in a few minutes I'm just not going to answer.
LBJ: No, I don't think, I don't think, I think you ought to. I think you might answer him tonight and just say, "Now, let me tell you, George. I just want this for the record. You called me up, asked for help. I offered to give it to you and then you ran like a rabbit-"
BE: That's right, that's right.
LBJ: "Then you went publicly and you said this. Now I want to know whether you mean it or whether you don't and if you do, why, you come out there and put it on the record. Because I've got a record, and I'm not going to be double-crossed this way.-"
LBJ: I'm going to issue a statement here that kind of burns his tail, I'll ask him to call you and give it to you.