August 25, 1967. Robert McNamara delivers a statement as part of the Stennis hearings in the Senate Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee. On August 30th, McNamara’s statement is then read into the Congressional Record.
As part of his statement, McNamara lists the three primary objectives of the bombing in North Vietnam: to reduce the flow and/or increase the cost of infiltration of men and supplies from North to South Vietnam; to raise the morale of the South Vietnamese people, who have been under severe military pressure; and to make clear to the North Vietnamese leadership that the bombings are the result of their continued aggression against the South.
To those arguing for increased bombing, McNamara states that the limited bombing objectives “…were and are entirely consistent with our limited purposes in Southeast Asia. We are not fighting for territorial conquests or to destroy existing governments. We are fighting there only to assure the people of South Vietnam the freedom to choose their own political and economic institutions.”
—Congressional Record, Volume 113, part 18, page 24533. Photo: LBJ Library, C7636-15A; image is in the public domain.
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.)
August 22, 1967. His Imperial Majesty, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Shahanshah of Iran, arrives for a State Visit. LBJ and the Shah exchange remarks in the arrival ceremony. According to Lady Bird:
“Lyndon, in his speech of welcome, spoke of our several meetings with the Shah and of Iran’s economy which has been growing at about 10 percent a year and its gains against illiteracy: ‘You are winning progress without violence and without any bloodshed—a lesson that others have still to learn.’ Then the Shah, speaking without notes, in perfect English but rather hesitantly, made a brief, earnest talk, disarming in its simplicity and its complete difference from the trite lines that are often read in a monotone voice at an arrival ceremony.”
After dinner that night, the Johnsons and their guests watched The American Ballet Theater perform “Rodeo,” featuring “cowgirls and square dancers….delightfully incongruous under the East Room chandeliers.”
—Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 616-8.
August 22, 1967. In this memo, Rostow informs the President that Hanoi has rejected visa applications for Marcovich and Aubrac.
—Memo, Rostow to LBJ, 8/22/67, #1a, “Kissinger—Peace Contact,” Files of Walt Rostow, National Security File, Box 9.
August 18, 1967. Herbert Marcovich and Raymond Aubrac, two Frenchmen, send a request for travel visas to Hanoi.
In The Vantage Point, President Johnson explains that during the summer a group of scientists and intellectuals had met in Paris and selected Marcovich and Aubrac as two intermediaries who could possibly be successful at negotiating peace between the United States and North Vietnam.
As a result, the United States attempts to send word through these unofficial channels about an upcoming, temporary bombing halt that they are hoping will result in prompt and productive discussions with the North Vietnamese.
—French flag under the Arc de Triomphe. Photo by r.g-s.
“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.”…
—Statement by President Johnson: Labor Day, August 16, 1967
"Man’s greatest hope for world peace lies in understanding his fellow man. Nations, like individuals, fear that which is strange and unfamiliar. The more we see and hear of those things which are common to all people, the less likely we are to fight over those issues which set us apart.
"So the challenge is to communicate.
"No technological advance offers a greater opportunity for meeting this challenge than the alliance of space exploration and communications. Since the advent of the communications satellite, the linking of one nation to another is no longer dependent on telephone lines, microwaves or cables under the sea. Just as man has orbited the earth to explore the universe beyond, we can orbit satellites to send our voices or televise our activities to all peoples of this globe."
President Johnson’s Special Message to the Congress on Communications Policy, August 14, 1967. The satellites pictured are replicas of those used to broadcast the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City to the U.S and Japan. (Via NASA.)
August 11, 1967. In this memo to the President, Walt Rostow provides a summary result of a recent air strike against North Vietnam.
—Memo, Rostow to LBJ, 8/11/67, #57, “Vietnam, memos to the President, 8/3-27/67,” Vietnam Country File, National Security File, Box 56.
August 9, 1967. Senator John Stennis, as head of the Senate Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee, begins hearings regarding the conduct and effectiveness of the bombing campaign over North Vietnam. Unlike Senator Fulbright, Stennis believes that the bombing of North Vietnam has been too limited and needs to be escalated in order to ensure a more decisive victory in the Vietnam War.
—(left to right) Senator John Stennis, President Johnson, Senator Herman Talmadge. LBJ Library photo A3037-21; image is in the public domain.
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.
August 23, 1967. NSC staff member Nathaniel Davis sends this memo to President Johnson updating him on a Soviet espionage case involving two Americans who were “conspiring to deliver national defense information to the Russians.”
Memo, Davis to LBJ, 8/23/67, #13, “Non-Vietnam: July - September 1967,” Files of Walt Rostow, NSF, Box 16, LBJ Presidential Library.
August 15, 1967. Alfred Jenkins, a Foreign Service Officer detailed to the National Security Council staff, prepares a memo describing the violence that is taking place in Canton (now Guangzhou) as a result of the Chinese Cultural Revolution:
“…official broadcasts continue to describe incidents of violence and disorder in many parts of China, but the situation in Canton is especially chaotic.
…Other debriefings indicate that individual acts of violence, robbery and looting are increasing, largely as a consequence of the presence in Canton of Red Guards from the outside, who are no longer provided free food, housing and transportation.
…There has been a substantial influx of Red Guards, peasant and worker activists and refugees into Canton from the troubled countryside. Many of these reportedly hope to proceed to Hong Kong, either to demonstrate against the British or to escape the mainland turbulence.”
—memo, Jenkins to Jorden, 8/15/67, #43, “CHICOM - Cultural Revolution, July-December 1967,” Files of Alfred Jenkins, National Security FIle, Box 2, LBJ Presidential Library.
1984 Map from the Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection.