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been following, I am sure, the efforts of the attorney general of Texas to get elected governor. I don’t know what is behind all of it, but he is giving some of our boys trouble.” Freeman outlined some of the allegations against his “boys,” including Jim Ralph: “Wilson told him to come down and appear and he plans to go Friday, but frankly he is scared stiff . . . but he feels he should go.” Then Freeman asked, “Lyndon, are you alone?” “Yes,” Johnson said. “I need a little advice,” said Freeman. “What kind of fellow is Wilson? I don’t want them to go down there fully unprepared and I thought maybe you could give me some advice as to what should be done.’ “I am not a lawyer,” the vice president said. “I would gather that Wilson has the authority to hold these courts of inquiry, and I gather he is going to do it from now until May 5 in the hope that he can reflect any way he can on Washington, although he was the manager for the Kennedy-Johnson ticket from Los Angeles [the Democratic convention site] through the November election. . . . He ran for the Senate and a lot of people thought he would do pretty good and he had a miserable following. As a consequence, he was very bitter. He calls everybody in Washington stooges.” “Call me at any time,” Johnson said at the end of the conversation. “I want you to know I appreciate very much what you and that sweet wife of yours are doing for this administration.” ON FRIDAY, April 20, Jim Ralph testified in Dallas that he’d never received any clothing from Billie Sol, though he conceded he had been measured for a suit he tried on. But several weeks later, he too was gone, fired by Freeman when the FBI discovered he had used Billie Sol’s telephone credit card. Ralph’s assistant, William E. Morris, was also dismissed after he refused to make himself available for questioning about his dealings with Billie Sol. It seemed Morris’s wife, Alice, was on Billie Sol’s payroll as “Washington columnist” for the Pecos Daily News. Then there were the gushing letters Morris sent Billie Sol in 1961, urging him to expand his West Texas “success” by creating a worldwide empire to sell or trade surplus grain. In a March 27 letter, Morris suggested that Billie Sol might obtain government surplus ships to carry the surplus grain and that the first one be named, in his honor, the “S.S. Pecos Trader.” And in a handwritten note, dated May 4, Morris wrote to thank Billie Sol for his self-published autobio graphical pamphlet, “SUCCESS,” which Morris said he would distribute to a few writers and publishers. “No one has ever come close to writing the Billie Sol Estes story that I feel so strongly must be written before your material successes completely overshadow the true beauty of your philosophy of life. . . .” The letters were released by Will Wilson on May 1, 1962, the day after the Agriculture Department declared that its record in the Estes case was “clean.” Wrote William E. Morris of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture: “No one has ever come close to writing the Billie Sol Estes story that I feel must be written before your [Estes’s] material successes completely over shadow the true beauty of your philosophy of life . .” Even after Red Jacobs, Jim Ralph, and Bill Morris were removed from their jobs, the tussle between Wilson and Freeman continued to be played out in the media spotlight. Freeman denied all allegations of departmental favoritism toward Billie Sol Estes and pledged “full cooperation” with investigators. Wilson asked pointed questions about Freeman’s appointment of Estes to the prestigious National Cotton Advisory Board in November of 1961 an appointment that came two months after the department had fined him $42,000 for illegal cotton allotments and less than a month after department investigators filed a critical 175-page report on the Estes case. \(The investigation was requested by I. H. Lloyd, Henry Marshall’s successor, four weeks after MarON FRIDAY, May 25, the government filed a motion to quash a subpoena issued by the Rob ertson County grand jury requiring Agriculture Department officials to turn over the 175-page report on Billie Sol’s cotton allotments. The report, dated October 27, 1961, and titled simply, “Billie Sol Estes Pecos, Texas,” was known to make reference to Henry Marshall. On Saturday morning, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy announced that the government would instead offer 22 pages of excerpts “all possible relevant parts” of the report. “In order to be of maximum possible assistance we are offering to the grand jury verbatim excerpts of each reference to Mr. Marshall, together with the complete context for each reference,” the attorney general said. That afternoon, Robert J. Rosthal, an attorney in the Justice Department’s criminal division, flew from Washington to Dallas with the excerpted material, which he handed over to Barefoot Sanders, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas. After further deliberations, the state and federal lawyers reached a compromise: the judge presiding over the grand jury, John M. Barron, would be permitted to read the entire report and furnish to the jury anything he considered pertinent provided he first clear it with Sanders. The grand jury recessed from May 30 to June 4 while Barron studied the hefty document and the government planned its next move. Barefoot Sanders was a close associate of Lyndon Johnson’s, having known him since his days in the late forties when Sanders was president of the University of Texas student body. After directing the Kennedy-Johnson campaign in Dallas County, Sanders had been named U.S. attorney in the summer of 1961 on the recommendation of Johnson. Currently he is a federal district judge in Dallas. It was Sanders who filed the court motion to quash the grand jury’s subpoena, stating: “The public interest would not be served by production of a document concerned with matters not pertinent to the purpose of the jury.” Wilson, as might be expected, had a different opinion. He said the federal government should be eager to bring before the jury every shred of evidence that might throw light on Marshall’s death. “But we are in a situation where we have to drag from them the report of his activities as if we were pulling teeth.” Others were no more impressed. “Why did you not submit the whole and entire . . . file to the state grand jury?” John Lee Smith, a former Texas lieutenant governor, wrote to Bobby Kennedy on May 28. “Perhaps because of your limited courtroom experience, you did not know that a grand jury . . . conducts its investigations in the strictest secrecy, and that any irrelevant testimony would have remained under the cloak of secrecy. .. . There are some that are inclined to think that the complete file was withheld to shield certain Prominent Personages in the Kennedy Administration!” The Houston Press, a close follower THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13