Federal Bureau of Investigation. "Transcript of Conference Call with Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Harry Wachtel, Andrew J. Young, Harry Belafonte, and Cleveland Robinson." April 12, 1967.
Date Issued: April 12, 1967
Date Declassified: [1983?]
Length: 3 pages
Time Initial IC
OG Activity Recorded
SA Orange 5587-1
6:28 pm IC
The conference operator tells LEVISON to hold the line for
a seven-party conference call. LEVISON, while waiting for
the other parties to get on the line, can be heard saying
to someone in his apartment: That KING's peace position
is so far advanced that is has isolated him the same way
PAUL ROBBSON's pro-Soviet position isolated him.
The following persons talked on a conference call:
KING, LEVISON, WACHTEL, ANDY YOUNG, HARRY BELAFONTE, CLEVE-
LAND ROBINSON. Each person said, in substance, as follows:
KING: A campaign is developing to undermine my leadership
in the Negro community and saying that I am hurting both
the peace movement and the civil rights movement. I was
shocked by RALPH BUNCHE's statement.
LEVISON: BUNCHE said that you had no right to speak on peace
if you are in civil rights work.
ANDY: YOUNG: I talked with DELLINGER and he said that BUNCHE
had agreed to meet with you (KING) and SPOCK Saturday after
the march. He thinks that GOLDBERG put a lot of pressure
on BUNCHE.....HUNTLEY BRINKLEY had four minutes of STOKELY
and I know that scared Hell out of the White folks.
BELAFONTE:....We must realize what the NAACP is. Recently
ROY WILKINS received the humanitarian award from DEAN RUSK.
We understand that bedfellow. RALPH BUNCHE has never made
a contribution to the civil rights struggle in this country.
However, the people in SANE and in the peace movement have
had a very affirmative reaction to MLK's position. This is
the time for KING to reaffirm his principles. I talked to
a fairly impressive list of prominent people who will support
an ad in "The Times".
CLEVELAND ROBINSON: A deliberate effort has been made by
the press to suppress the reaction of Negroes to the Viet Nam
situation. Speeches by myself and ADAM CLAYTON POWELL on
Vietnam which were very well received by Negroes were supp-
ressed by the press--or at least the reaction of Negroes to
these speeches was suppressed. They are afraid of a Negro
people's uprising. Time should be spent mobilizing Harlem,
Bedford Stuyvesant, the South Bronx, the Furrier's joint
council, and 1199 for the 15th.
LEVISON: I don't agree that Saturday is the answer. The
press will handle Saturday the way it handled other Negro
reactions. This group Saturday is not MARTIN's only chance.
JONES tried to get some middle class Negroes to
endorse a statement at Riverside: Such people as WINGATE,
TYLER, PUGH, HUDGENS, and PATTERSON. Nine out of ten of them
refused. Saturday may be 90% White. We must show important
Negro community support for MARTIN.
BELAFONTE: I agree with STANLEY. The 15th is not MARTIN's
mobilization but I do think we should take advantage of the
15th so that MARTIN can outline his position morally and
ANDY YOUNG: The best friend we have right now is STOKELY.
(asks CLEVELAND ROBINSON to get the unions involved in the
mobilization for the 15th. ROBINSON is already doing that)
BELAFONTE: Let's meet at my home after the march to evaluate
the day and plan what to do.
LEVISON: We should take an ad after the 15th. The issue is
whether a Negro civil rights leader can be active in peace.
The ad should be carefully thought out by MARTIN clarifying
his position and then signers should endorse his statement.
KING: I don't agree that the 15th is not important. If it
is going to be the largest peace march ever in this country
it can't be dismissed. A special effort must be made.
ROBINSON: Mobilization has been done in the trade union
division of SANE, in 1199, the Furrier's joint council,
the furniture workers.
WACHTEL: But don't make the 15th the test because people
may not respond in this red baiting atmosphere.
YOUNG: I talked to a conservative CBS executive who is
coming in by plane to join the march.
KING: I agree that the 15th shouldn't be made a test of my
strength because if it is mainly White, they'll say that I
don't have Negro support. People are influenced by the pre
RUSTIN and WILKINS backed up when I was attacked by "The
Times" and "The Post".
(CLEVELAND ROBINSON has to leave to go to a meeting.)
WACHTEL: I think that MARTIN should call BUNCHE personally
KING: I am going to be on "Face the Nation" on the 16th.
(Accepts BELAFONTE's suggestion that they meet at his house
at 6:00 p.m. on the 15th.)
KING: PHIL RANDOLPH tries to maintain unity. Maybe I can
meet with RANDOLPH, BAYARD, WILKINS, WHITNEY, and outline
my position so they can say that they misunderstood
my position. This is an attempt to undermine my leadership.
Negroes have attacked me who wouldn't attack POWELL and he
doesn't have my integrity. Even Negro ministers are afraid.
BELAFONTE: They are just confused. We must explain to them
ANDY YOUNG: Go to WATTS and have dinner and you'll see that
people support you.
KING: They are going to take this opportunity to say that I
failed in Chicago.....
WACHTEL: They may even pull J. EDGAR HOOVER's old stuff out
of the bottom of the bag. But if you are near WATTS take a
LEVISON: You should talk to RANDOLPH and RALPH BUNCHE.
YOUNG: BUNCHE should realize that since neither he nor
Chief LATULLY (PH), the only other Negro Nobel prize winner
can speak out on peace, that you must.
WACHTEL: They won't oppose the war.
BELAFONTE: The people must give the verdict on your peace
posture. The black people here and in Africa will respond
to you but don't expect a miraculous change in WILKINS and
LEVISON: JAMES WECHSLER defended a praised MARTIN in his
column today. LEVISON reads excerpts from WECHSLER's column.
(It is mentioned that KING is speaking at Stanford
Friday night before coming to New York.)
They agree to meet at HARRY BELAFONTE's home Satur-
day at 6:00 p.m; they agree on a letter campaign to RALPH
BUNCHE, and agree that KING should call BUNCHE and RANDOLPH.
(It is noted that KING was cut off 4 or 5 times
during the call. LEVISON told YOUNG not to pay
for the call.)