A Scene from the 1976 television miniseries, Texas an American story: Texas President Wright Patman is portrayed by Berry Hagman. US President Thomas Dewey is portrayed by Jack Nicholson. Patman's female secretary, Susan Dalton, is portrayed by Farrah Fawcett. US General Abner Dowling is portrayed by Thomas Bosley. The Director of National Bureau of Investigations, Clyde Tolson, is portrayed by Paul Newman. The White House Chief of Staff, Sherman Adams, is portrayed by Bob Redford. The US Attorney General, Albert Brownell Jr., is portrayed by Christopher Walken. The wooden block calendar on Patman's desk in the Texas Presidential Mansion reads, Thursday, May 6, 1948. Patman is sitting at his desk in a high-backed swivel chair as he reads the afternoon edition of the Austin Herald. It is late in the day, and activity around the President's Mansion is beginning to wind down. "Bunch of damned foolishness", Patman murmurs to himself as he peruses a story on the second page regarding a Louisiana family who was shot to death while trying to ram their car through a barbed wire fence along the Louisiana-Texas border. A photo accompanying the story depicts US soldiers carrying rolls of barbed wire to the damaged section of the barricade in order to repair the gaping hole made by the family sedan. Suddenly the phone rings startling Patman away from the article he is reading. Patman: Yes, Susan darling, what is it? Susan: Sir, the President of the United States is on the line, and he wishes to speak with you. (hushed) Patman looks at the grandfather clock in the corner and sees that it is now a few minutes after 5 PM, meaning that it is now after 6 in Washington DC. Patman: That's fine, Susan, go ahead and put him through, if you please. Susan: Sir, I just wanted to let you know that he...(pauses)... seems very angry and upset, and that he cursed at me four or five times when I first picked up your private line. Patman: Well, you know how those damned Yankees are, always flying off the handle like a cheap thirty-nine cent hammer. Now go ahead and put him through now...if you so please. (fatherly but firm, with emphasis on "now") Susan: Yes, Mr. President, right away. (a hurried whispered tone to her voice) (indistinct clicking and humming as Susan inserts the plug into the correct socket on her switchboard) Dewey: Patman! Is that you on the other end of this goddamn line? If I get put on hold again, someone is going to pay! (over static clicks and pops in the phone line) Patman: Yes, this is Wright Patman. How may I help you, Mr. President? Dewey: Have you seen the front page of today's paper? This fucking horse-shit is an absolute outrage! (Patman folds his paper back to its front page and reads the headline at the top of the page aloud) Patman: Former US First Lady Flora Hamburger Arrested For Aiding Red Revolutionaries. - Well, I'm personally not the least bit surprised, as everyone knows that there is absolutely no such thing as an honest Socialist, and each and every one of them is nothing but a no good two-bit godless flimflammer. (a photo just below the headline shows a very distraught looking Flora Hamburger in handcuffs being led out of Socialist Party headquarters in New York City, flanked on either side by very large men in trench coats.) Dewey: I'm not talking about that, goddamn it, and you know it! I'm talking about the story concerning you opening up negotiations with Presidente Valdés to rejoin Mexico! What the hell is this shit Patman? Are you seriously trying to take Texas back into Mexico? Did you honestly think that you could get away with this garbage without me catching wind of it? I demand answers, Patman, and I demand them now! Patman: Mr. President, I can assure you that I have no intentions of reuniting Texas with Mexico, and this is the first I've heard of such a story. (doing a good job of sounding puzzled) (Patman finds the article at the bottom of the first page, and rapidly surveys it as he is speaking with Dewey. It is a tiny article from the United Press Service, a hundred words or less, stating that an anonymous source within the US State Department has revealed that the republics of Texas and Mexico are currently in the process of holding high level talks regarding possible reunification. The two paragraph article contained no solid facts, and was merely a piece of idle gossip rather than a real news story. - Patman nods to himself as he quickly finishes the article) Dewey: Are you trying to put Adlai Stevenson in the White House to suit your own political needs? Because if you are, you're not the only one who can leak things to the press you know! Your links to those death camps aren't as tenuous as you'd like others to believe, and if certain pieces of information were to find their way out to the press, well then....you might suddenly find yourself the subject of a war-crimes tribunal...and we both know how those things usually end up. (Dewey issues a short sarcastic laugh.) Patman: President Dewey, Sir, I can tell you quite unequivocally that the person who wrote this story (as he swats the paper with the back of his hand) is a goddamn bald face liar, and no one within my administration has had any dialog with the Mexican government regarding this matter. Dewey: Are you absolutely certain about that, Patman, because that's not what Ambassador Kennedy tells me? Patman: With all due respect, Mr. President, I'm not at all aware of what Ambassador Kennedy may have told you, and I'm completely in the dark here. Dewey: Kennedy said that you sent a diplomatic cable down to your guy in Mexico City, instructing him to enter into negotiations regarding Texas being readmitted back into Mexico! (Menacing anger in his voice) Patman: Well now, we both know that your intelligence services are capable of continuously monitor my diplomatic cables, so all you have to do is check with them to find out that I'm telling you the complete truth. (a syrupy tone creeps into Patman's Texas accent.) Dewey: Uh-huh. (gruffly, as is if writing something down) Patman: Why, earlier I had set up an appointment for Ambassador Kennedy to come into my office, so that the two of us could sit down and politely discuss the size our Texas Self-Defense Force. As I tried to explain to Ambassador Kennedy, a display of superior military force would go a long ways towards discouraging border incidents along the Rio Grand, and would also help in deterring attacks emanating from the Cherokee Homeland in Sequoyah. However, Ambassador Kennedy simply refused to listen to my side of the argument, and his behavior was most irrational....if I may say so. Dewey: How so? (sounding more concerned than angry) Patman: Well, I do believe that I detected a strong odor of liquor coming from his breath, and at one point I became deeply concerned that he might actually try to take a swing at me.......My Attorney General, Lyndon Johnson, was also here in my office at the time, and I believe that Lyndon can also attest to the atrocious state of Ambassador Kennedy's demeanor...if need be. In fact, now that I recollect, it was Ambassador Kennedy who accused us of wanting to rejoin Mexico, but how such a crazy notion came into his head, I'll never know. Dewey: Alright! - Alright! I'll replace Kennedy with someone else, goddamn it, but you'll have to give me you solemn word that you aren't colluding with Adlai Stevenson Jr. to swing our election, and if I find out that your lying to me, I'll literally have your head, and I do mean literally! (Real menace) Patman: As God is my witness, Mr. President, you have my absolute word on it. Also, if it will make you any happier, I'll issue a press release first thing tomorrow morning stating that we are not negotiating with the Mexican government to rejoin their godforsaken shit-hole of a country. Dewey: That would be absolutely perfect, but please leave out the part about the Republic of Mexico being a shit-hole, godforsaken or otherwise. (Now sounding somewhat relieved but still edgy) Patman: You've got it, Mr. President. (Patman inwardly patting himself on the back) Dewey: Now, let me explain to you precisely why....at this point in time....a Republican administration in the White House would represent such an unprecedented risk to the continued peace and security of both of our countries. Patman: Yes, Mr. President, you have my full attention. (doing his best to sound sincere) Dewey: Stevenson is running on a platform calling for drastic cuts to our military budget. We came out the victors in the last go around, so now the Republicans are busy trying to confuse our voters by floating meaningless rhetorical questions such as --Oh why do we need to keep so many men in uniform, if all the bad guys have already been defeated? Boo-hoo-hoo!....(Dewey's voice takes on a mocking sarcastic effeminate tone as he imitates a Republican questioning the need for continuously high military spending. However, suddenly his voice switches to an almost hushed conspiratorial tone as he continues).... The Republicans are counting on the naiveté├⌐ of the US voter in order to trick the country into letting its guard down, but do you know what will happen, Patman, if we let our guard down...for even one minute? (maniacal) Patman: I don't know....Mr. President...(sounding caught off guard)...but I presume that it wouldn't be good for anyone involved? Dewey: if we let our guard down and loosen our grip, then rebellions could break out in scattered pockets all across North America! (muffled sound of Dewey's fist thumping his desktop) Governments which have come into existence since the end of the war, your's included, could fall, creating all sorts of chaos and political dislocation across the entire fucking continent! How would a re-emergent Confederate States view you, or your so called Republic of Texas, Patman? Or better yet, consider what could happen if Valdés is deposed down in Mexico? Why you might end up with hundreds of thousands of Mexican refugees on the march towards a better life in Texas, and when they show up, how are you going to take care of them? Patman: I agree, we are indeed living in perilous times, and it is probably best that the status-quo be maintained well into the foreseeable future. (hopeful) Dewey: The Republicans are working to destroy everything we've achieved, and they want to set us back to where we were in 1914, by turning us into a weak nation. We simply cannot allow the situation to keep repeating itself, we must move forward. It's what's best for everyone! (another blow to the desk, shades of Jake Featherston in his voice) Patman: I understand completely, Mr. President, and it is also my understanding that your Republicans are only about two or three steps away from being just like those damned black Marxist guerrillas who used to raise cane all across our own countryside. (Patman grimaces as he immediately regrets the critical remark he's just made about black guerrillas, whom the US supported during the war) Dewey: One other thing...(sound of paper shuffling in the background)... Patman: What's that, Sir? (trying to sound congenial) Dewey: I've contacted Valdés directly and I've told him to knock off his horse-shit along the Rio Grand, and if anyone so much as fires a .22 squirrel gun into Texas from Mexico, I'm going to jump in the middle of his shit like there is no more tomorrow! From now on I want your officers to immediately report any and all border incidents directly to you, and you will in turn then report them immediately to me. Do I make myself clear? Patman: Yes, Mr. President, you've made you're self perfectly clear, and I do sincerely appreciate your assistance in this matter. Dewey: Also, under no circumstances are your men to cross the Rio Grand and to enter into Mexico, even if they do happen to be in hot pursuit of Mexican bandits. Again, do I make myself clear? Patman: Yes Sir, crystal clear. Dewey: Good...(more paper shuffling indistinct sound of someone else murmuring into Dewey's other ear)...Now, regarding this other matter of.....incursions coming from the Cherokee Homeland in Sequoya, I'm going to have US Army Lieutenant General Abner Dowling join us in a three-way-conversation, just as soon as my aide can patch him in with us. As you may already know, General Dowling heads up our 8th Mechanized Infantry Division headquartered out there in your city of.....Tyler, Texas. Patman: Yes, I know General Dowling quite well...(A slightly unhappy look appears on Patman's face) Dewey: Good, I'm told that we are about ready. Here we go. (indistinct sound of clicks and chirps as unsophisticated telecommunication circuits are connected together) Dewey: Do we have you on the line, General Dowling? Dowling: Good evening, Mr. President, it is an honor to speak with you...and good evening to you also...President Patman. (An almost imperceptible tone of sarcasm in Dowling's voice as he enunciates Patman's name) Dewey: I take it that the two of you know each other then? Dowling: The two of us met and spoke briefly in January of last year at President Patman's second presidential inauguration. Dewey: Good....Now Dowling, I've looked over your battle plans in regards to this.....situation in the Cherokee Homeland...Now just how confident are you that this won't spin out of control and cause me a headache? Sequoyah is outside the control of the US Occupation Authority, so if things turn sideways on us, I'm gonna have a hard time sitting on the press! Dowling: I do not anticipate too much heavy resistance, Mr. President, and our best intelligence indicates that the enemy doesn't have any heavy artillery, no mechanized armor to speak of, and no air support. However, recently they have been laying mines like crazy, and they may also have enough ammunition for their Tredegar rifles to last several weeks, or possibly months. Also, totally enemy strength is estimated to be between ten to twelve thousand men, Mostly Cherokee, but with a few former Confederate military mixed in...Plus there is the factor that we will be fighting them in their own backyard, Sir. Dewey: How long do you anticipate that it will take you to wrap up this entire ball of wax, and what will our casualty rates look like? (Gravely) Dowling: Unless the enemy has some sort of nasty surprise which we don't know about, losses should remain acceptable and should not exceed more than five percent of our ground forces. The enemy on the other hand may experience losses approaching thirty-five to forty percent. Dewey: Good, now how long will it take to bring about the quickest possible conclusion to the fighting? Dowling: To obtain the quickest possible conclusion, we could form a perimeter and have the Air Corps drop incendiary bombs and high explosives on some of the more densely populated areas. Once the fires go out we can then go in with our infantry and simply mop up what little resistance remains. I estimate completion in as little as seventy-two hours. Dewey: No! (thoughtfully) No aerial bombardments, goddamn won't look good if the New York Times decides that it wants to publish photos of bombed-out Cherokee families on the front page. Dowling: I'm assuming, Sir, that your order against aerial bombardment does not apply to regular air-to-ground attack vehicles which are normally used on the battle field? Dewey: You can use our latest dive-bombing jets til your heart's content, but no large scale air-raids outside the official occupation zone...(almost as an afterthought)...this close to an election. Dowling: Understood sir. Dewey: Since we can't use bombing alone to bring them into submission, what then is your estimate for completion? Dowling: Well, Sir, that all depends on how many men our Texas friends can lend to the fight. As I said, the enemy may have as many as twelve thousand men on their side. I'd like to go in with superior numbers just to be safe, but the 8th Division is now down to a troop strength of only thirteen thousand, due too so many reassignments into the Confederate Occupation Zones. Also, I need to keep at least three thousand men along the Louisiana and Arkansas borders, or someone might attempt a major breakout there. If the Texans can lend us between five or six thousand men, then we should be able to mop this operation up in less than ten days...Sir! Dewey: What do you say, Patman, can your Self Defense Force field five thousand men within the next few days? Patman: Why....I don't think there should be any problems. (with a slight tightness in his voice) Dowling: My plan calls for US and Texan forces to converge just north of Fort Worth. From there we will fan out as we travel north and cross the Red River. Once we are on the other side of the river, we will use our superior firepower and artillery to intimidate the enemy into an overpowering state of panic, and from there we will crush them with a series of wide sweeping pincer movements. Dewey: Good. General Dowling, I want you to get a copy of your battle plans into the hands of President Patman, and also....the head of the Texas Self-Defense Force....General Maxwell as soon as possible. Dowling: Sir, I've already taken the liberty of sending the plans out via armed military couriers. They should both have their plans in hand by 0800 tomorrow morning. Dewey: Very good, General. Patman, please have your General Maxwell look over Dowling's plans and contact him directly, and as quickly as possible. Patman: Yes, I will make certain that it happens promptly, Mr. President. Dewey: General Dowling, How is it that this situation in the Cherokee Homeland was allowed to get this far out of hand? Dowling: Mr. President, you'd have to address that particular question directly to the senior staff at the War Department, who allocates resources. However, I believe that the consensus was that the Freedom Party extremists hiding out in Sequoya represented a very minor threat, and that they could easily be bottled up with a relatively small number of men, perhaps to be dealt with at a more convenient time. It was also felt that if the extremists tried to move south into Texas, then the Texan Self-Defense Force should be able to easily handle them. Dewey: Patman? Patman: Why, we have had to shuffle almost all of our entire infantry into new positions along our southern border, just to deal with the constant incursions we are experiencing from Mexican forces. Dewey: Alright. (A pause as if writing something down again) Dowling, I'm going to be given President Patman limited authority to move some of our troops around within the Republic of Texas, during a declared state of emergency, do you have a problem with that? Dowling: Sir, I'm a solider of the United States Army, and I will faithfully execute any and all orders given to me by the Commander in Chief, including any orders instructing me to obey the President of Texas, Sir! (like a military cadet) Dewey: Good.......the official order will be coming down soon. (somewhat absently) Dewey: Now if either of you two experiences any difficulties, please contact the Secretary of the War Department directly. He has the authority to give you anything you need. Anything within reason that is. If he cannot help you, then you may contact me, but please try the Secretary of the War Department first. Also, under no conditions is either one of you to speak to the press until after the entire operation has been completed..... Oh and by the way, the War Department as assigned this little policing action in Sequoya the codename of.......Chickenhawk......Now, are there any questions? Patman and Dowling in near unison: No Sir. Dewey: General Dowling, you may now hang up your line. Dowling: Thank you Mr. President. (A sharp click as the connection is terminated) Dewey: Now, is there anything else which the two of us need to talk about? Patman: I think that it is high time that you and I talk about Texas rejoining the Union! Dewey: My dear President Patman, you most certainly have a way of keeping on my toes. I assume that you have conditions? Patman: Why of course I have conditions, and my conditions are as follows: Number one, I want the US state of Houston abolished, and I want all of its territory returned to Texas. Number two, I want to serve as the first US governor of Texas, and I wish to remain in the governor's chair until my four year presidential term expires. Thirdly, I wish to keep my own standing army on Texas soil, nothing big you know, maybe only thirty-forty thousand men. Dewey: That's quite a list of demands you've got there, your majesty. What's in it for me besides adding another star to my flag? Patman: Once the two of us reach an agreement, and a public announcement has been made, then I'll go out and tour the Old Confederacy and I will convince other former Confederate politicians that the Unites States of America is the only game in town, and if they can't handle that, then perhaps they should consider moving to Australia....(Then almost as an afterthought) I know a lot of big people in the eastern parts of the Old Confederacy, and as you know, my name carries a lot of weight in many circles...... Dewey: To be correct, you know a lot of formerly big people, Patman, but still.....that's a very tempting offer. However if your goal is to become the very first Confederate state to be readmitted back into the Union, then perhaps you may have to become more flexible, as Florida is getting ready to drop, and they may beat you to the finish line. Patman: Let the good people of Florida do as they please. My goal is to do what is best for the people of Texas, and the way I see it we are all Americans, we just need to put our own house back in order, that's all. Dewey: Alright, I'm going to be campaigning out west in about a month. Why don't I quietly sneak into Austin around that time so that the two of us can discuss this matter face to face? By that time this situation in Sequoya should be all wrapped up, and we should both have an extra feather in our caps. Patman: Why that would be just dandy, Mr. President! Dewey: In the meanwhile don't go near the press with this one, because we need to announce this after I've won reelection, and we also need to think about how we are going to sell the notion that Texans are really just misunderstood Americans to the people of the United States. If we botch this, then we could set back Texas statehood by ten or fifteen years. Don't you agree? Patman: Why I agree completely, Mr. President! Dewey: Good, now I have a matter I must attend to, but my chief of staff will be in contact with your secretary regarding our meeting. In the meanwhile, I hope that you have a very pleasant evening, and it was a pleasure speaking with you, President Patman. Patman: Likewise, President Dewey, and you have a good evening yourself. (A loud audible click as the connection is terminated) (Patman hangs up his desk phone) Patman: And the squeaky wheel gets the grease! (Patman goes back to reading his newspaper) (Patman's desk phone suddenly rings again) Patman: Yes Susan? Susan: Can you tell me what the President of the United States said to you? Is he angry with us for some reason? (very worried) Patman: Now Susan, don't you go worrying your pretty little head over Dewey's foulmouth. At this point all I can tell you is that the future of Texas has suddenly started looking much much brighter than it has in many years, and that we all have a lot to look forward to. Susan: Okay, Mr. President, you've really put my mind at ease. Patman: Goodnight, Susan, I'll see you in the morning. Susan: Goodnight Mr. President. In the Oval Office of the White House President Dewey returns the handset of his phone to its cradle. There are a number of men and women hovering about the president's elbow. A trio of female transcribers wearing headphones suddenly stop typing. A very large reel-to-reel tape-recorder sitting on a nearby antique conference table suddenly clicks off. The Sky outside the windows is beginning to darken. Dewey swivels in his chair to face his Director of the National Bureau Investigations, Clyde Tolson, who is standing near Dewey's left elbow. Dewey: Well, what did you think? Tolson: Sounds like he's not fibbing to us anymore than usual, but did you catch that crack he made about the black freedom fighters that helped us during the war? Dewey: Oh will you let that go already? Half of those people have run off to join the Reds in Russia, and I'm afraid we just aren't going to get any more mileage out of that one. Tolson: For whatever it is worth, I find it highly doubtful that he's in secret negotiations with Valdés to rejoin Mexico. We haven't detected any usual activity around the Texas Embassy in Mexico City, and he's only sent one cable to his ambassador down there in the past month, and that cable had to do with an increase in embassy operating expenses. Dewey: What about Adlai Stevenson Jr.? Is he involved in any of this? Tolson: We have had Stevenson under twenty-four hour surveillance since Ambassador Kennedy flew back in from Austin a few days ago, we've got all of his lines tapped, and we've also got the lines of all of his personal assistants and campaign volunteers tapped as well. Dewey: Tap his personal attorney's telephone as well! (Tolson takes out a notepad and writes something down) (Dewey turns to his Attorney General, Albert Brownell, standing who is standing at the far end of the presidential desk) Dewey: What can you do if we find Stevenson's hand in any of this stuff? Brownell: Well, if we catch him, or anyone else within his campaign, communicating with either Patman or Valdés, we can bring him in and charge him with violating the Logan Act. (As Brownell rocks back and forth on his heels with hands in pocket) Dewey: Is that serious enough to put him away for good? Brownell: We'll make sure it's serious enough to put him away for the rest of his life, just like we did with Flora Hamburger. (A few people in the room let out low chuckles) Dewey: And this stuff you managed to dig up on President Patman? Brownell: Well, we know that his brother-in-law owned a plumbing supply company which profited from the sale of pipes and pipe fittings which were sold to Camp Determination. Those same materials were then used in the construction of the gas chambers used to reduce the black population of the CSA...So..(Brownell shrugs) Also, at around the same time Patman received several large deposits into his private bank account from his brother-in-law's plumbing supply company. (Brownell gives another all-knowing shrug) I'd say that if you turned his bank records over to the US Occupation Authority, and threw that recording in as well, then there would be a very good chance that Patman could be facing a war-crimes tribunal. Dewey: Save that recording! (To the technician who is busily packing the huge tape recorder back into its case.) Brownell: However...... Dewey: However what? Brownell: Pretty much everyone in Texas is going to have a cousin who was a member of the Freedom Party, or a brother-in-law who sold plumbing fittings to one of those death camps. (Pause) Plus Patman is pretty popular with the locals, how are they going to react if we march in there and arrest him? Dewey: You're right, he's an SOB, but he's our SOB! Still, I want his communications closely monitored until further notice. (Just then an innocuous female staff member stops in front of the president's desk) Staffer: Mr. President, Sir, your six-thirty dinner with the President of Mexico?