The Mayor Daley-LBJ recordings are among 42 hours of tapes from the final months of the Johnson presidency that his library Thursday released. This last batch of the secret recordings was made between may of 1968 and January of '69, one of the most raucous periods in Chicago history.
But mayor Richard J. Daley was calling to say more than just hello on Saturday morning September 7, 1968.
A week earlier, the whole world was watching violent anti-war demonstrations during the Democratic National Convention. On the secret tapes made public by the LBJ library, Mayor Daley is heard lobbying President Johnson to have the U.S. attorney general prosecute protest instigators.
"These fellas have been harassing you for a year and a half, I think we have something on them for once and all for the conspiracy to riot if the attorney general goes along with us," said Johnson. "There's been a great revulsion in the country as a result of your calling the hand, and I think the country is for the first time has seen what the networks been done and what these revolutionaries have been doing."
"Isn't it an amazing thing Mr. President, no medium carried a picture had they had it, of them lowering the American flag and burning it, and you see what happened there," Daley said. "Some of our fellows that are policemen have sons in Vietnam. Some of them lost their boys. So anyone with any American blood, when he saw that, I'd stand behind them until the end and they whacked the hell out of them and they raised the Vietcong flag. Our fellas tore it down and raised the American flag. Believe it or not, Mr. President, that only lasted 18 minutes, and they marched down the street, linked arms and there was never a picture. There was a marching on the street all the way across Michigan Avenue. And then they sat in the center of the stage and at one picture, police brutality. The policeman was hitting a fellow with a baton and the fellow was biting his leg, bit a big chunk of flesh out of the poor policeman's leg."
Eventually, the justice department indicted eight people on conspiracy charges. The so-called Chicago Eight included Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden and Jerry Rubin. Their convictions were reversed on appeal.
The last of LBJ's secret tapes also include numerous conversations with the late Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen; Richard Nixon and Ted Kennedy.
In one Mayor Daley phone conversation, he is sharply critical of Dan Walker, who investigated the clash of 1968 and later became Illinois' governor.