January 27, 1967. 5:15 PM. Hon. Anatoly Dobrynin (Amb. USSR), Sir Patrick Dean (Amb. United Kingdom), Sec. Dean Rusk, and President Lyndon B. Johnson, among others, attend the Signing Ceremony for the Outer Space Treaty. In the bottom photo: LBJ and Dobrynin shake hands. 

LBJ Presidential Library photos #C4349-15 and #C4351-26a, public domain. 

December 24, 1966. LBJ, Lady Bird, and Lynda go to San Antonio to greet wounded soldiers returning home at Kelly Air Force Base. In the First Lady’s words: 

“And they began to file down the steps—twenty evacuees, including two children of servicemen stationed in the Far East—with bandaged arms or legs and silent, stunned faces. There was an utter stillness—never had the war felt so close—a strange war. Suddenly, as the first man approached the bottom of the steps, the small crowd burst into spontaneous applause…
“The last of the twenty came down, and silently they went their ways and the clapping died. Then the three of us boarded the Jetstar. I felt buffeted by emotions, deep respect for those young men and for an organization that could get them all the way from Vietnam to San Antonio within hours of being wounded and sympathy for their families and a shattering sympathy for anybody who has yes’s and no’s to say about this war—McNamara, Westmoreland, Lyndon.”

Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 511-512. Photo via Texas Tech’s Virtual Vietnam Archive. 

December 24, 1966. LBJ, Lady Bird, and Lynda go to San Antonio to greet wounded soldiers returning home at Kelly Air Force Base. In the First Lady’s words: 

“And they began to file down the steps—twenty evacuees, including two children of servicemen stationed in the Far East—with bandaged arms or legs and silent, stunned faces. There was an utter stillness—never had the war felt so close—a strange war. Suddenly, as the first man approached the bottom of the steps, the small crowd burst into spontaneous applause…

“The last of the twenty came down, and silently they went their ways and the clapping died. Then the three of us boarded the Jetstar. I felt buffeted by emotions, deep respect for those young men and for an organization that could get them all the way from Vietnam to San Antonio within hours of being wounded and sympathy for their families and a shattering sympathy for anybody who has yes’s and no’s to say about this war—McNamara, Westmoreland, Lyndon.”

Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 511-512. Photo via Texas Tech’s Virtual Vietnam Archive

December 23, 1966. LBJ speaks with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara briefly about national security matters, then more extensively (at about 2 minutes in) about Sargent Shriver, the head of the Office of Economic Opportunity, or OEO. The OEO manages many of LBJ’s cherished Great Society programs, such as Head Start, the Job Corps, Volunteers in Service to America, the Community Action Program and Legal Services for the Poor. LBJ had chosen Shriver to run the agency in 1964 and refused to take no for an answer, in one the most famous recorded telephone conversations of the Johnson administration. Now, Shriver is threatening to resign over cuts to his budget by Congress. 
McNamara describes his efforts to get Shriver to stay, and they agree that LBJ will call him next week himself. Whatever they do, it works: Shriver stays on until 1968.
Photo #A213-2A, 04/05/1965, LBJ and Shriver in the Oval office. LBJ Presidential Library. 

December 23, 1966. LBJ speaks with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara briefly about national security matters, then more extensively (at about 2 minutes in) about Sargent Shriver, the head of the Office of Economic Opportunity, or OEO. The OEO manages many of LBJ’s cherished Great Society programs, such as Head Start, the Job Corps, Volunteers in Service to America, the Community Action Program and Legal Services for the Poor. LBJ had chosen Shriver to run the agency in 1964 and refused to take no for an answer, in one the most famous recorded telephone conversations of the Johnson administration. Now, Shriver is threatening to resign over cuts to his budget by Congress. 

McNamara describes his efforts to get Shriver to stay, and they agree that LBJ will call him next week himself. Whatever they do, it works: Shriver stays on until 1968.

Photo #A213-2A, 04/05/1965, LBJ and Shriver in the Oval office. LBJ Presidential Library. 

December 21, 1966. Governor Harold Hughes of Iowa takes questions at the press conference after the Democratic Governors’ meeting at the LBJ Ranch:


"Q. Governor, reports from White Sulphur Springs talked of the unpopularity of the Johnson administration being a heavy factor in the 1966 election results. Was that discussed?
GOVERNOR HUGHES. All factors were discussed this morning.
Q. Did that include the President running again in 1968?
GOVERNOR HUGHES. No, ma’am, that was not discussed this morning.” 


LBJ Presidential library photo #4166-31   

December 21, 1966. Governor Harold Hughes of Iowa takes questions at the press conference after the Democratic Governors’ meeting at the LBJ Ranch:

"Q. Governor, reports from White Sulphur Springs talked of the unpopularity of the Johnson administration being a heavy factor in the 1966 election results. Was that discussed?

GOVERNOR HUGHES. All factors were discussed this morning.

Q. Did that include the President running again in 1968?

GOVERNOR HUGHES. No, ma’am, that was not discussed this morning.” 

LBJ Presidential library photo #4166-31   

December 21, 1966. LBJ makes his case to a meeting of Democratic state Governors at the LBJ Ranch. The meeting was by request of the Governors, who had determined at a meeting of their own in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, earlier in December that they needed more input into the creation of federal policies that impact their states, You can read those meeting notes here. As Lady Bird noted on Dec. 16, their unhappiness with some of White House’s policies had become national news, and LBJ hopes to soothe their ruffled feathers. 
From left to right, those facing the camera only) Gov. Richard Hughes (New Jersey), President Lyndon B. Johnson, aide Marvin Watson, (former) Gov. Farris Bryant (Florida). Other governors in attendance today are: Dan K. Moore (North Carolina), Robert E. McNair (South Carolina), Mills E. Godwin, Jr. (Virginia), Hulett Smith (West Virginia), Philip H. Hoff (Vermont), Harold E. Hughes (Iowa), John Connally (Texas), Karl F. Rolvaag (Minnesota), and Warren E. Hearnes (Missouri).
LBJ Presidential Library photo #4164-19.

December 21, 1966. LBJ makes his case to a meeting of Democratic state Governors at the LBJ Ranch. The meeting was by request of the Governors, who had determined at a meeting of their own in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, earlier in December that they needed more input into the creation of federal policies that impact their states, You can read those meeting notes here. As Lady Bird noted on Dec. 16, their unhappiness with some of White House’s policies had become national news, and LBJ hopes to soothe their ruffled feathers. 

From left to right, those facing the camera only) Gov. Richard Hughes (New Jersey), President Lyndon B. Johnson, aide Marvin Watson, (former) Gov. Farris Bryant (Florida). Other governors in attendance today are: Dan K. Moore (North Carolina), Robert E. McNair (South Carolina), Mills E. Godwin, Jr. (Virginia), Hulett Smith (West Virginia), Philip H. Hoff (Vermont), Harold E. Hughes (Iowa), John Connally (Texas), Karl F. Rolvaag (Minnesota), and Warren E. Hearnes (Missouri).

LBJ Presidential Library photo #4164-19.

December 16, 1966. Lady Bird records in her diary:

“Yesterday came the announcement of Bill Moyers’ departure. The Manchester book and the ugly stories about it are dominating the newspapers. Mrs. Kennedy is filing suit to block publication of the book.. The ‘credibility gap’ (that coined phrase) is rapidly gaining acceptance through repetition, and the critical Democratic Governors’ opinions are filling the papers. Nevertheless, life goes on and so does Christmas.”

Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 509.

December 16, 1966. The White House announces the departure of Bill Moyers, who is leaving to take a job at Newsday, The day of his resignation, according to White House Special Assistant John P. Roche, Moyers is photographed having lunch with Sen. Robert Kennedy: ”Of course, after that nothing would ever convince Johnson that Moyers hadn’t been on the Kennedy payroll for years and years.”
In his column of Dec.19, Drew Pearson, friend of the Johnson administration, explains Moyers’ departure as an example of LBJ’s loyalty, implying that LBJ helped both Jack Valenti and Bill Moyers get high-paying jobs outside of the administration. Other observers point to Moyers’ growing disillusionment with the administration. Moyers’ last day will be in February. 
Roche quote via Merle Miller, Lyndon: An Oral Biography. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1980, p. 457.

December 16, 1966. The White House announces the departure of Bill Moyers, who is leaving to take a job at Newsday, The day of his resignation, according to White House Special Assistant John P. Roche, Moyers is photographed having lunch with Sen. Robert Kennedy: ”Of course, after that nothing would ever convince Johnson that Moyers hadn’t been on the Kennedy payroll for years and years.”

In his column of Dec.19, Drew Pearson, friend of the Johnson administration, explains Moyers’ departure as an example of LBJ’s loyalty, implying that LBJ helped both Jack Valenti and Bill Moyers get high-paying jobs outside of the administration. Other observers point to Moyers’ growing disillusionment with the administration. Moyers’ last day will be in February. 

Roche quote via Merle Miller, Lyndon: An Oral Biography. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1980, p. 457.

December 4, 1966. LBJ speaks with John Steinbeck, who is soon to travel to Vietnam. He will stay for five months, until April 1967. As you can tell from this conversation, the President and Steinbeck were very friendly—Lady Bird and Elaine Steinbeck, John’s wife, both attended the University of Texas, and LBJ and John had taken to each other at their first meeting in 1963. The Steinbecks also appear in at least two of Mrs. Johnson’s home movies of the Johnson family and their friends at Camp David, one from 1965 and one from 1967. John Steinbeck, who  won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964.  
Steinbeck was a staunch supporter of LBJ’s Vietnam policies. Both of Steinbeck’s sons served there, Thom and John, pictured above with his father and LBJ in the Oval Office. The Steinbecks visited the White House in May 1966, shortly before John’s deployment. 
While in Vietnam, the elder Steinbeck worked as a war correspondent for Newsday. Some of his columns from 1966-1967 were recently republished by the University of Virginia Press: you can listen to an interview with the book’s editor here. More on Steinbeck and LBJ here, via NARA’s Teaching with Documents. 
LBJ Presidential Library photo #A2439-4, 5/16/1966. Public domain. 

December 4, 1966. LBJ speaks with John Steinbeck, who is soon to travel to Vietnam. He will stay for five months, until April 1967. As you can tell from this conversation, the President and Steinbeck were very friendly—Lady Bird and Elaine Steinbeck, John’s wife, both attended the University of Texas, and LBJ and John had taken to each other at their first meeting in 1963. The Steinbecks also appear in at least two of Mrs. Johnson’s home movies of the Johnson family and their friends at Camp David, one from 1965 and one from 1967. John Steinbeck, who  won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964.  

Steinbeck was a staunch supporter of LBJ’s Vietnam policies. Both of Steinbeck’s sons served there, Thom and John, pictured above with his father and LBJ in the Oval Office. The Steinbecks visited the White House in May 1966, shortly before John’s deployment. 

While in Vietnam, the elder Steinbeck worked as a war correspondent for Newsday. Some of his columns from 1966-1967 were recently republished by the University of Virginia Press: you can listen to an interview with the book’s editor here. More on Steinbeck and LBJ here, via NARA’s Teaching with Documents

LBJ Presidential Library photo #A2439-4, 5/16/1966. Public domain. 

12/2/66. Aubrey James Norvell, who pled guilty

to shooting James Meredith in Mississippi on June 6, begins serving his sentence. His sentence is for 5 years, with 3 years suspended. He had originally plead not guilty on the grounds that his constitutional rights had been violated by the inclusion of black people on the county jury. 

November 24, 1966, Thanksgiving Day. 9:40 AM. From his ranch, LBJ speaks with Vice President Humphrey at length about the federal budget, and the proposed cuts to it, complaining at about 7:42 that: “the demagogues are going to say to cut out [what is] nonessential, but they can’t ever tell you nonessential… nonessential is a Negro in Jackson, Mississippi. Nonessential is cotton in New York.”

This recording (this is the second part of their conversation, the first can be found here) is also notable for LBJ’s telling Humphrey (about 12:47) that he just finished the “Manchester book,”  (The Death of a President, an account of the JFK assassination). LBJ thinks he might have a “spy in our own goddamn Cabinet” and asks Humphrey to ask Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman if he is keeping a diary that might have been uncovered (or turned over) to William Manchester. LBJ does lots of commenting about Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (“Bobby”) throughout the conversation, particularly in the final section of this part.

November 17, 1966. It is LBJ and Lady Bird’s thirty-second wedding anniversary, and they celebrate it in Bethesda Naval Hospital. First, the President presents his wife with six pairs of diamond earrings, telling her to pick the ones she likes the best.

"I only half-protested that they cost too much, and that we really shouldn’t, and then I selected the pair with pear-shaped drops. I put them on, and out we went into the big conference room where on the table was a beautiful cake made by Ferdinand at the White House that said ‘32 happy years,’ and gathered around it was a cluster of the newspaperwomen who most regularly accompany me: Helen Thomas and Frances Lewine, Isabelle Shelton, Wauhillau LeHay, Marie Smith, and Nancy Dickerson—some eight or ten—and a dozen photographers; Marie Fehmer, Marvin Watson, Bill Moyers, Dr. Hurst and Jim Cain, Lynda and Luci and Pat, and the Humphreys.

It exploded into a real happy time….And then the press was gone, but it was only the beginning of the evening. Planning and executing it all, in about two hours’ time, to my complete surprise Lyndon had invited a dozen good friends. We settled down to a good visit with our guests and our children. What a day for a man who was just one day away from surgery, and what a day for any wife to remember as her thirty-second wedding anniversary.” 

Check out their party (at the 21-minute mark), and Lady Bird’s new earrings, in the Navy Film clip above. Lady Bird quote from A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 500-501.

Nov. 15, 1966. LBJ prepares for his surgery, and eats some ice cream:

According to the Daily Diary, LBJ has dinner with Lady Bird before leaving for Bethesda Naval Hospital for his surgery, when suddenly he gets suspicious: 

"At the end of the meal, the President was served a scoop of ice cream and chocolate sauce. As he started to eat it, he looked up and said that up to this point he hadn’t been worried about the operation, but this was like a prisoner’s last meal before his execution. Mrs. Johnson was letting him eat the ice cream and chocolate without chiding remarks!"

The next passage in the Diary is a good reminder of how much more arduous such procedures were in 1966 than they are now, however: 

"The President and Dr. Fox went to the first floor to the dental x-ray unit where the doctors x-rayed his teeth as the cylinder that will be used during his throat operation sometimes breaks teeth off. The dentists were going to make false teeth during the night in case the front two teeth are broken off accidentally during the operation."

November 8, 1966. Election Day. Ronald Reagan is elected Governor of California. He is one of eight new Republican governors—the GOP now controls 25 of the 50 states, and like California, many of these states are big and/or densely populated.
Photo via the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

November 8, 1966. Election Day. Ronald Reagan is elected Governor of California. He is one of eight new Republican governors—the GOP now controls 25 of the 50 states, and like California, many of these states are big and/or densely populated.

Photo via the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

November 8, 1966. The election returns are in. Republicans have captured three seats in the Senate and 47 seats in the House of Representatives: it is now 248/187 in the House and 64/36 in the Senate, with the Democrats still in the majority in both. One of the new Republican Senators is former Massachusetts Attorney General Edward Brooke, who becomes the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction.
The Republican resurgence bodes ill for LBJ in 1968, although in his conversation with the Vice President on Nov. 9, he puts a positive spin on the results. LBJ blames the loss on “fool liberals,” labor—especially the fight over Taft-Hartley 14(b), a right-to-work law—and even Martin Luther King.

November 8, 1966. The election returns are in. Republicans have captured three seats in the Senate and 47 seats in the House of Representatives: it is now 248/187 in the House and 64/36 in the Senate, with the Democrats still in the majority in both. One of the new Republican Senators is former Massachusetts Attorney General Edward Brooke, who becomes the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction.

The Republican resurgence bodes ill for LBJ in 1968, although in his conversation with the Vice President on Nov. 9, he puts a positive spin on the results. LBJ blames the loss on “fool liberals,” labor—especially the fight over Taft-Hartley 14(b), a right-to-work law—and even Martin Luther King.