“Monday, Sept. 25, 1967. Last night was one of those bleak nights when the shadows take over. We both woke up about 3:30 AM and talked and talked and talked about when and how to make the statement that Lyndon is not going to be a candidate again.”—Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 627.
September 16, 1967. Marcovich and Aubrac deliver the US response to the previous communication from Hanoi on September 11th. The response had actually been ready since September 13th, but Kissinger had been holding onto the message in hopes of delivering it to Mai Van Bo, the Delegate General and Commercial Representative in France of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, personally.
The message reiterates the message from August 25th and claims that the US proposal did not contain conditions and that the US has since ceased the bombing of Hanoi, while waiting for a response from the DRV. In addition, the message leaves the proposal from August 25th open.
—Read a draft of the text of the September 13th message here.
Q. Mr. President, there seems to be, at least in public, some dispute going on within the administration on bombing policy in North Vietnam, with Secretary McNamara’s representatives taking one position and the military another…
THE PRESIDENT. The President is the Commander in Chief under the Constitution. His principal deputy in military matters is the Secretary of Defense. The Joint Chiefs are his military advisers.
The Joint Chiefs are a group of very able men. They are the finest in character and the best trained soldiers and sailors that we have. Their judgment is requested and respected, and certainly always carefully considered.
No two men ever see everything alike. Throughout our history there have been differences among Army leaders and naval leaders, between members of the Joint Chiefs and the civilians, between the civilians and the Congress. That is really the strength of our system….
Very frequently you find that men of strong minds do not always agree. When they do, you have to consider their individual viewpoints and then act in the way you think is in the best interest of the Nation. That is what we have done.
But six out of every seven targets recommended have been authorized. As of now, I think that we are operating effectively, efficiently, and in the national interest.
Q. Has Secretary McNamara recommended to you that the rate of bombing in the North be reduced?
THE PRESIDENT. The recommendations that we get from time to time are to authorize specific targets. When those meetings conclude, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the President have as of now been in agreement with each other.
On September 12, 1967, Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms submitted to President Johnson a report ….[that] dealt with the impact of the failure to sustain the non-Communist state in South Vietnam. This failure would not come as a result of a complete military and political collapse of the U.S. effort in Vietnam, but would evolve from the likely compromise solution that would result from a peace settlement negotiated within a relatively brief period of time and to the advantage of the Vietnamese Communists.
The risks of an unfavorable outcome in Vietnam were considerable. The authors of the report described the permanent damage that would result to the United States in the international arena, the internal dissension that would follow, and the destabilization that would arise in other areas of Southeast Asia.
They mitigated their conclusions, however, by suggesting that “such risks are probably more limited and controllable than most previous argument has indicated.”
“The United States is willing to stop the aerial and naval bombardment of North Viet-Nam with the understanding that this will lead promptly to productive discussions between representatives of the United States and the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam looking toward a resolution of the issues between them.”—Excerpt from a message delivered to North Vietnamese representative in France, Mai Van Bo, through French intermediaries, Marcovich and Aubrac, on 8/25/67. (Summary, Timeline summary of negotiation attempts as presented by Kissinger, 9/8/67, #1a, “Pennsylvania,” Vietnam Country File, NSF, Box 140.)
“With twelve days still remaining in presidential and senate campaign, public interest and candidate activity are mounting, and there is every prospect of high voter turnout in an election which we can fairly regard as a good step forward in the development of democratic institutions in South Viet-Nam.”—Excerpt from a summary report, dated 8/23/67, of Ambassador Bunker’s observations regarding the upcoming elections in South Vietnam. (Memo, Elections in Viet-Nam, #13a, “Vietnam, Memos to the President, 8/3-27/67,” Vietnam Country File, National Security File, Box 56.)
“The history of the labor movement in America is a lesson in responsibility."
“The movement began at a time when workers were treated more as commodities than as human beings, when most men and women were without power to affect the conditions and wages of their working lives, and when the laws offered no protection for collective action.
“In another country, or in different hands, the workers’ protest against these conditions might have degenerated into sustained violence. There are always some who glorify violence as the midwife of progress. There are always some who mistakenly equate hatred with determination, force with justice.
“But the American labor movement learned early that violence is the sure road to disaster. Labor in this country organized not to destroy, but to demand a part of the American dream. As a result, the American worker today enjoys a prosperity and a security unknown to any other workingman in the history of the world.
“Now, on this 73d Labor Day, America and her labor movement have much to celebrate.
“More Americans—76.2 million of us, 1.6 million more than on last Labor Day—are at work than ever before. The unemployment rate, now 3.9 percent, has been below 4 percent during all but one month in the past year and a half. This is the longest period of sustained low unemployment since the early 1950s. Our per capita disposable personal income has reached $2,717—a 3.6 percent increase in purchasing power over the past year. American workingmen have mightily contributed to, and benefited from, these achievements.
“But our work is not done, if we only magnify our own affluence. Years ago labor fought to awaken the social conscience of those who owned and managed property and production. Today our common challenge is to extend the promise of America to those who are as unfamiliar with it as the railroad workers and coal miners were 70 years ago.
“In a land of plenty, one out of every seven persons lives in poverty.
“Some are the victims of discrimination because of their race, their religion, their sex, or their age.
“We must cure these ills. We must create more jobs, and train the men and women to fill them. We must guarantee the right of every citizen to become the best that there is within him to be.
“In the 1930s, the labor movement spoke on behalf of the forgotten many to the privileged few. Today, it must continue to speak—more firmly than ever-on behalf of the disadvantaged minority.”…
“It’s strange. You feel soothed and happy by the companionship of your daughter and your son-in-law, and the fine young people who are their friends and the members of your staff. And the cool, brisk, shiny beauty of the day. But simultaneously, you are way down and grieved, emotionally wearied by the troubles that you must try to solve—the growing virus of the riots, the rising list of Vietnam casualties, criticism from your own friends, or former friends, in Congress—and most of the complaining is coming from the Democrats.”—August 13, 1967. Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 611.
“Most of your grandmothers can remember when women did not even have the right in this country to vote. One of the arguments against extending this suffrage, believe it or not, was that wives would simply vote the way their husband voted, and this would give husbands an unfair advantage over bachelors at the polls.
“I am one who has lived in a family with very strong-minded women. I know better. The democratic principle in our house has often left me on the short end of a three to one vote. …
“I remember one occasion when I was trying to exercise my right that I thought belonged to all people, the right of free speech. I tried for weeks to convince my ladies of the wisdom of a project that I had in mind and they wouldn’t buy it. They wouldn’t go along with me. They wouldn’t get with it.
“I became a bit annoyed and, rather exasperated, one day said to Luci, ‘There is a conspiracy of silence against me.’ She looked at me very calmly and said, ‘Daddy, why don’t you join it?’”