Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 4, 1967 - April 4, 1968

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Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Transcript of Conversation with Stanley D. Levison." April 13, 1967.

Date Issued: April 13, 1967
Date Declassified: [1983?]
Length: 3 pages
NOT Sanitized


Time Initial IC
OG Activity Recorded
12:55 PM IC White 7080-46- End


K: Hi Stan have you had a chance to get to it yet?

SL: Yes this is sort of a first draft: I will read it to you first; because it is to try to get to the single solution stop the bombing. "Many sincere people argue, that we should withdraw unilatera lly, and I understand the logic of their position. I understand that when France withdrew from Algeria, she benefited not only the Algerians but herself. France earned far more presti ge from withdrawal than she might have gained from total victory; but France was fighting in Algeria for years before her people learned that this way out was honorable The majority of Americans have not yet learned this lesson Realism compels us to look for a program they can support and which can end the fighting. I think there is such a program, I believe the majority of Americans want the bombings ended. Hanoi has let it be known...

King: Do you think that the "Majority" is true? (They discus that King believes that 60% want the bombings to continue and 40 want them to cease. Levison says he thought that over 50 % want the bombings to end. They agree to put in the word Almost a Majority etc". Levison says he will check that

Livison continues: HANOI has let it be known that if the Bombing stopped negotiations will start Washington officially on December 19th. asked Uthant to take whatever steps were necessary for a cease fire. Uthant replied stop the Bombing,. Why have we not done it? We asked for the answer and we were given the answer. What now are we waiting for? Let us demand insistently that our government honor its word. If washington did not hear Uthant let us say it loudly and often enough so that the deaf can hear it, Stop the Bombing, let us save our National honor, stop the bombing. Let us save American lives and vietnamese lives, stop the bombing. Let us take a simple instantaneous step to the peace table, stop the bombing. Let us put an honorable peace on agenda before another day passes, stop the bombing. Let us be able to face the world with a concrete deed of genuine peace stop the bombing Let our voice ring out across the land to say the American people are not vaine glorious conquerors stop the bombing". That's it.

KING: Well I don't think you need change that a bit that is excellent. It really gets everything I need to say and It opens up just right cause it dosn.. It says many persons sincere about it say etc. That last part is beautiful for a speech. I would just check on that thing about a majority and about that thing where you talked about France and where you said "Total Victory" maybe you should say "Total Military Victory"

Levison: Right.

King: Now what I am doing I am going to have Debbie they are going to do it in Chicago and she is going to call you and take it down in shorthand Andy is in Chicago. Now do you have your copy of the whole thing?

Levison: Yes.

King: It seems to me it should start right there at the bottom of page 35.

Levison: Oh I didn't receive a copy.

King: Oh I see where it should go in.

Levison: I would say at the end.

King: Yes instead of the 5 concrete things or the Historical things I would just go right into this thing. COMMENGER did it briefly something like this and I think I could re word this. He said "We quite deliberately sabotage the Geneva agreements, calling for elections in South Vietnam and providing that the 17 parallel was but a temporary military line. We quite deliberately put up DIEM and maintained him as long as we could. Just as we deliberately put up and maintained and endure Priemere KY, endure him even when he reprudiates our own policy. We quite deliberately stepped up the war transformed advisors into soldiers and increased them from 10,000 to a half million, launched bombing raids upon the north one scale as great as that in World War 2 against Germany or Japan

LEVISON: That is a good summary. King: Yah I could reword that and just do the whole thing on a paragraph. I'm taking out the part on dissent, the Un and the Historical part and probably conscious Objectional I just got a call from Dr MARROW (who is the chairman of the Board of Morrhouse college) he is opposed to our policy on Vietnaum, and he is talking about a View Naum Summer where they are going to have students around Harvard to do Community Educations knock on doors and take surveys and talk about the War in Vietnaum. And this may cancel dome of these students into doing something who are against the war.

LEVISON: I would like to get a Private Poll in the Community, Because if we believe is true it would be marvelous to come up with a poll sowing that majority be in the Community wanted the war ended and it would more effectively answer your critics than anything else.

King: They are so expensive.

LEVISON: Yes but maybe I could get a number of people I had the impression that they would be about $10,000

King: I Think so also

Levison: I think it would be worth it.

King: and It would be a private Poll that wouldn't get out if it did not come out.

LEVISON: Exactly that is the value of them.

King: Yes I talked to BUNCHE this morning.

LEVISON: I don't think you made much headway, am I right?

KING: No, it was the other way around, he just felt so guilty that I felt sorry for him. He wasn't telling the truth and he was trembling and all so I just got off of him. He claimed he didn't know that this was going to get out and he misunderstood my position. Before I could say anything he said "I'm so glad you called Martin I have just written but a press statement." He hold me he was getting ready to have a press conference I think what must have happened somebody must have gotten on him or something, somebody must have called him, He didn't say this but he was just backing up too much.

LEVISON: In the Times this morning he claims he was in the board meeting.

King: That he toughened the Resolution..........

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