Interview with Nicholas Katzenbach


Nicholas Katzenbach:

The army was embarrassed that night at Old Miss because they had no decent communication system at all, we had a very good communication system. About two weeks later I was taking a plane from, up from uh, uh, Birmingham I guess, or Jackson and uh, uh, uh, taking an air, an air force plane, and uh, a signal core Major General got on the plane with me and I said, "What you doing down here General?" He said, "Well I've been trying to figure out why your communication system was so much better than mine." He said, "How did you do it?" And I says very simply, "You put a dime in a payphone and call the White House collect." When we got later to the integration of the University of Alabama, the Signal Core had set up a communication system there, if you picked up the phone you could get Germany directly. If the AT&T phone lines went out, it made no difference. They had a back up emergency system, which you could call anywheres in the world.