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Robert Kennedy Returns to Work

Dec. 4, 1963 - Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy returned to his desk at the Justice Department today, but he did not say how long he plans to remain there. President Johnson has asked him to stay on. But that is where the certainty ends in perhaps the most delicate matter confronting the new President. It had been thought that Mr. Kennedy might speak of his plans after a few days of rest and conversation with several close associates in Florida. But it was apparent upon his return today that he is not ready to talk about his future. The Attorney General would not see reporters and, despite many requests, would not issue a statement. For almost three years, Robert Kennedy’s influence in Washington was second only to that of his brother. Operating with the complete confidence of the late President, his traces were seen and felt throughout the Government. That level of freedom and responsibility for him is now gone, but he is still a potent figure. Mr. Johnson, seeking to build a political base in the northern industrial states, no doubt feels a continued official association with Mr. Kennedy would help him do just that. Mr. Kennedy, among others, has been mentioned in Washington as a possibility for the Vice Presidential spot on the Johnson ticket next year. If Mr. Kennedy has any interest in the Vice Presidency, it could influence his decision on whether to remain in the Cabinet. Barring some official statement in the meantime, it is certain President Johnson will be asked at his first press conference about the Attorney General’s status. No date has been set for a Presidential press conference.


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