Interview with Harry McPherson

You told me you saw the files, can you tell me about the FBI files that you saw?


The FBI files were about King's, ah, ah, personal behavior in some cases and they were about his friends. They were several people who were advisors to King who had long FBI records, long, the FBI would, would often send over to the White House, ah, a file on a person who was being proposed for some king of federal job or for some, for a meeting with the President even. And it would frequently, those files would frequently include other people, who themselves had ties to other people, who themselves had ties to Communists. And very often, unless you remembered that they were getting further and further away from the subject, reading those files you got the impression that the subject himself, Martin Luther King was a Communist. This was hardly the case and that Johnson knew better and never proposed to make such a finding. But, oh he was, Johnson was, was, bitterly disappointed with Kings' opposition to the war. And he was being told by Hoover, ah, that King had lots of pro-Communist friends who were advising him.** The combination of the disappointment, the fear that King would take large numbers of people that Johnson needed for his support, away from him, ah, caused him to be quite upset.