LBJ Time Machine

Feb 07

August 31, 1967. The Senate Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee issues a summary report on aerial war against North Vietnam.
 In its report, the Subcommittee discusses the limitation of air bombing target lists and the difficulty involved in getting targets approved. The Subcommittee argues that the “air campaign has been crucial and vital in saving many American and allied lives in South Vietnam.” In addition, the summary report also points a division between opinions of civilian authorities and military authorities regarding air bombing.
In its conclusion, the report states, “It is high time, we believe, to allow the military voice to be heard in connection with the tactical details of military operations.”
The document above is an example of a request for approval of Arc Light Strike Targets dated August 13, 1967.
—Congressional Record, Volume 113, part 19, page 25179-25182. Document: Message, Request for target approval, 8/13/67, #64b, “ 3 I Targets, 7/67 - 3/68,” Vietnam Country File, National Security File, Box 84.

August 31, 1967. The Senate Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee issues a summary report on aerial war against North Vietnam.

In its report, the Subcommittee discusses the limitation of air bombing target lists and the difficulty involved in getting targets approved. The Subcommittee argues that the “air campaign has been crucial and vital in saving many American and allied lives in South Vietnam.” In addition, the summary report also points a division between opinions of civilian authorities and military authorities regarding air bombing.

In its conclusion, the report states, “It is high time, we believe, to allow the military voice to be heard in connection with the tactical details of military operations.”

The document above is an example of a request for approval of Arc Light Strike Targets dated August 13, 1967.

—Congressional Record, Volume 113, part 19, page 25179-25182. Document: Message, Request for target approval, 8/13/67, #64b, “ 3 I Targets, 7/67 - 3/68,” Vietnam Country File, National Security File, Box 84.

Feb 06

August 30, 1967. The Senate confirms the appointment of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. He will serve from 1967 until 1991—a total of 24 years. 
Photo via Library of Congress. 

August 30, 1967. The Senate confirms the appointment of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. He will serve from 1967 until 1991—a total of 24 years. 

Photo via Library of Congress. 

Feb 05

August 26, 1967. 
1 PM. Lady Bird leaves Kerrville, TX, where she has attended the dedication of the Butt-Holdsworth Library. 
1:30 PM. Lunch at the Ranch. Work with decorators. 
10 PM. Leave Austin for Washington, DC, with stopover in Dallas. 
3:30 AM. Land at Friendship Airport (now BWI). Travel to Mt. Vernon, then ferry to the yacht Sequoia, anchored on the Potomac. 
4:30 AM. “And with a few muffled word of greeting, I sank wearily into bed. It was 4:30 AM, and it was the morning of Lyndon’s fifty-ninth birthday.”
-A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 620-621. Photo via Boy Scouts of America, York-Adams Area Council,

August 26, 1967. 

-A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 620-621. Photo via Boy Scouts of America, York-Adams Area Council,

Feb 04

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Feb 03

August 25, 1967. It is two days before LBJ’s birthday, and his staff is trying to select a gift:

“3:30p …Looked at 10 oil paintings by Bob Taylor of Cordell, Oklahoma, that had been selected by the Pres from photographs sent in by Mr. Taylor…. The President expressed great disappointment, thinking that the paintings were not as good as the pictures of the paintings. Thus we will not keep any of them and we are without a birthday gift for the President. He expressed appreciation for staff’s efforts.” 

Above: A photograph by Mr. Bob Taylor taken for Oklahoma Today Magazine, Spring 1964. (Download the whole issue Oklahoma State.) Mr. Taylor appears to have been a photographer as well as a painter, which might help explain LBJ’s disappointment!

August 25, 1967. It is two days before LBJ’s birthday, and his staff is trying to select a gift:

“3:30p …Looked at 10 oil paintings by Bob Taylor of Cordell, Oklahoma, that had been selected by the Pres from photographs sent in by Mr. Taylor…. The President expressed great disappointment, thinking that the paintings were not as good as the pictures of the paintings. Thus we will not keep any of them and we are without a birthday gift for the President. He expressed appreciation for staff’s efforts.” 

Above: A photograph by Mr. Bob Taylor taken for Oklahoma Today Magazine, Spring 1964. (Download the whole issue Oklahoma State.) Mr. Taylor appears to have been a photographer as well as a painter, which might help explain LBJ’s disappointment!

Feb 01

“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.)

Jan 31

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.

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.

Jan 30

“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.)

Jan 29

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. 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.

Jan 27

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Jan 24

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 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.

Jan 23

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.

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.

Jan 22

“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.”…

Statement by President Johnson: Labor Day, August 16, 1967

Jan 21


"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.)

"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.)

Jan 20

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 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.