August 4, 1967. Aerial photos are taken showing the results of bombing in North Vietnam, in Operation Rolling Thunder.
Photo, bomb damage assessment, 8/4/67, #31a, “Rolling Thunder BDA’s (II),” Vietnam, Country File, NSF, Box 215, LBJ Presidential Library.
“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?’”
President Johnson, Remarks to the Delegates to Girls Nation, August 4, 1967
August 3, 1967. LBJ’s frequent companion, Yuki the dog, accompanies him on his walk around the grounds with the press.
LBJ Library photo A4554-23, public domain. L-R: George Christian, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Yuki, Hon. Cyrus Vance, Lt. Gen. John Throckmorton.
August 2, 1967. A doting grandma (Lady Bird) pushes her grandchild (Lyn Nugent) in front of the White House. As peaceful as this image is, Lady Bird was never far from constant concerns of her family’s public position:
“They [Luci and Pat Nugent] will go to the Bahamas sometime this week, just when I don’t really want to know. I understand Luci’s reasoning for not wanting to give out this information. In the climate of the day, with bitterness and riots, as carefree a little soul as she is, she does not want to advertise the time when both she and Pat will be on a plane.”
Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 606. Photo c6157-6a, public domain.
August 1, 1967. Tuesday Luncheon. President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with advisors, sometimes called “the Wise Men,” regarding Vietnam. Clockwise from left: McGeorge Bundy, Sec. Dean Rusk, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Sec. Paul Nitze, George Christian, Walt Rostow.
Image #C6151-12, public domain.
QUESTION. Mr. President, 51 former Democratic National Convention delegates are said to be urging you to retire for the good of the party and their criticism seems to be mainly on foreign policy. What is your comment on that?
— LBJ’s press conference, July 31, 1967.
THE PRESIDENT. None.
A subject that had been very much on my mind over the weekend was our ‘coming down off the mountain’—our departure from this place. On Sunday there was a poll that showed a distinct downward trend in the number of people who approved of Lyndon’s handling of the war in Vietnam. Our own decision, our hope, our determination, is to leave when this term ends. but how to tell it to the world, and when—in the fall, as John Connally suggested? Or not until March 1968—my own idea? Nevertheless, it does seem the leaves of autumn are falling rather early, since there are eighteen months left of this term. — Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 605. July 31, 1967.
It’s over. The President is just not going to do anything more. That’s it. He’s through with domestic problems, with the cities… He’s not going to do anything. And he’s the only man who can. — Robert F. Kennedy to Frank Makiewicz, in response to LBJ’s statement about the Detroit riots, quoted in Robert F. Kennedy and his Times, by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., New York, Houghton Mifflin, 1978, p. 797.
July 26, 1967. LBJ honors J. Edgar Hoover’s 50th year in the Department of Justice. Also present, L-R: Clyde Tolson, Fred Vinson, Walter Yeagley, Deke DeLoach, Ramsey Clark, and Thurgood Marshall.
LBJ Presidential Library photo #C6090-20A, public domain.
The catastrophe which has struck the City of Detroit is a ‘disaster’ by any reasonable definition of that term. Entire blocks have been leveled by fire and pockets of destruction exist throughout the city. Losses due to fire and looting have been estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars and these estimates may very well prove to be conservative. However, we have been advised by Governor Farris Bryant and Deputy United States Attorney General Christopher that the provisions of the Federal Disaster Assistance Act have not in the past been applied to disasters other than those resulting from natural causes. Last week part of the Detroit metropolitan area was declared a disaster area following a five-inch rainfall. It simply does not make sense not to commit Federal assistance to the City of Detroit in view of what has happened there in recent days. We urgently request that this policy be reevaluted, in view of the fact that the statute covers natural disasters, “or other catastrophe which in the determination of the president” warrants special Federal assistance and that such assistance be approved for the City of Detroit.
GOVERNOR GEORGE ROMNEY
JEROME P. CAVANAGN, Mayor — July 27, 1967. Telegram to President Lyndon B. Johnson, regarding riots in Detroit. LBJ’s response here.
Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh offers a slightly different interpretation of the issues around of sending federal troops to his city:
Cavanagh: “By the time really that the Army came in, which was a day or two later, it naturally was starting to burn down. These things all are the same. They’re like a fire. They slowly will extinguish themselves even if you leave them alone, which you can’t do obviously. I’m not derogating the Army’s role in it; they were very vital. It continued for many more nights. But it was mainly their presence, and their professionalism I think, that helped.”
Interviewer: “This matter of the delay in sending in the federal troops because of almost the semantic argument over whether or not you had an insurrection, was this a political maneuver in your feeling either on the part of Governor Romney or of the administration in Washington? Is this real and legal?”
Cavanagh: “I thought there was a genuine concern on the part of the federal officials, the President, the Attorney General, and others, a genuine legal concern about the commitment of federal troops for this kind of a domestic outbreak. On the other hand I’m not so naive as to assume that politics didn’t play a part. I don’t think though that politics was the paramount consideration. I think, as I believe I mentioned, that the President probably saw some slight political advantage in the whole situation and proceeded to use it. And I’m not saying that the Governor didn’t use what political advantages he might have, or that I would not have . After all, we are political people . That’s not to say though that politics was the paramount consideration and we were making decisions on the basis of what would be good politics.”