Oct. 20, 1967. Lady Bird records in her Diary:

"Lyndon said, as he often has, that he would give a piece of his life if Speaker Sam Rayburn would be back with the gavel and he (Lyndon himself) were over in the Senate for just one week. In discussing President Eisenhower, he said: ‘He has paid me back one hundred percent for what I did for him when I was Majority Leader by just trying to be decent.’”

—Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 643. Photos: Ike and LBJ in 1955 and LBJ and Rayburn in 1956. 
Zoom Info
  • Camera
  • Epson Exp10000XL10000

Oct. 20, 1967. Lady Bird records in her Diary:

"Lyndon said, as he often has, that he would give a piece of his life if Speaker Sam Rayburn would be back with the gavel and he (Lyndon himself) were over in the Senate for just one week. In discussing President Eisenhower, he said: ‘He has paid me back one hundred percent for what I did for him when I was Majority Leader by just trying to be decent.’”

—Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, New York: Dell Books, 1971, pg 643. Photos: Ike and LBJ in 1955 and LBJ and Rayburn in 1956

Sept. 28, 1967. 9:54 AM. On a phone call with Republican Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, LBJ complains about public criticism about Vietnam from Senators Thruston MortonWilliam Fulbright, and Clifford Case

At about 8:38, the President says: 

"Now, we don’t have a single military man or a single civilian man who thinks that these people are ready to talk now. We think they’re relying on the Senate—these speeches up there. And I think somebody’s just got to tell these Senators, ‘If you want to have some influence, come down here and we’ll expose you and debate with you right in the Cabinet Room. But for God’s sake, don’t tell Ho Chi Minh that if he holds out another month we may stop hitting him, because that what he’s hoping he can do.’”

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

April 28, 1967. LBJ referees a meeting with Congressional Leadership on the ongoing railroad labor dispute. Members present include Democratic and Republican leadership plus  ranking members of both the Senate Labor Committee and the House Commerce Committee. 
LBJ Library photo 5221-5a, public domain. 

April 28, 1967. LBJ referees a meeting with Congressional Leadership on the ongoing railroad labor dispute. Members present include Democratic and Republican leadership plus  ranking members of both the Senate Labor Committee and the House Commerce Committee. 

LBJ Library photo 5221-5a, public domain. 

March 2, 1966. An amendment to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin resolution is defeated in the Senate, 95-5. The amendment had been submitted by Wayne Morse, a Democrat from Oregon  who (along with Alaska senator Ernest Gruening) had been one of two No votes on the Resolution in 1964. According to Vice President Humphrey, LBJ didn’t hold his Vietnam position against Morse: 

"…But every Thursday Morse would get up in the Senate and say he was going to impeach Johnson over the weekend. And Johnson would still call him up and ask him to come over to the White House. he never mentioned his attacks.
"Because he knew that after Wayne’s attack on Thursdays, and this went on for months, years, Wayne would be back the next Monday and give a rip-roaring speech on the Senate floor about Johnson’s great domestic programs.
"Then it would come Thursday again, and Wayne would want to impeach him again. "

— Hubert Humphrey, in Merle Miller, Lyndon: An Oral Biography. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1980, p. 460. More on Wayne Morse here. Photo from Senate.gov.

March 2, 1966. An amendment to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin resolution is defeated in the Senate, 95-5. The amendment had been submitted by Wayne Morse, a Democrat from Oregon  who (along with Alaska senator Ernest Gruening) had been one of two No votes on the Resolution in 1964. According to Vice President Humphrey, LBJ didn’t hold his Vietnam position against Morse: 

"…But every Thursday Morse would get up in the Senate and say he was going to impeach Johnson over the weekend. And Johnson would still call him up and ask him to come over to the White House. he never mentioned his attacks.

"Because he knew that after Wayne’s attack on Thursdays, and this went on for months, years, Wayne would be back the next Monday and give a rip-roaring speech on the Senate floor about Johnson’s great domestic programs.

"Then it would come Thursday again, and Wayne would want to impeach him again. "

— Hubert Humphrey, in Merle Miller, Lyndon: An Oral Biography. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1980, p. 460. More on Wayne Morse here. Photo from Senate.gov.

February 1966. Senator J. William Fulbright, a Democrat from Arkansas, begins hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which he is Chairman. Fulbright had voted in favor of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, as had all but two Senators, but he has since declared doubts. Listen here to LBJ speaking to Larry O’Brien about Fulbright on February 5. 
Above: Fulbright and LBJ  look at art together in happier times, at the White House Arts Festival in 1965. They are looking at (Squaring the Circle) by Richard Anuszkiewicz.

February 1966. Senator J. William Fulbright, a Democrat from Arkansas, begins hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which he is Chairman. Fulbright had voted in favor of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, as had all but two Senators, but he has since declared doubts. Listen here to LBJ speaking to Larry O’Brien about Fulbright on February 5. 

Above: Fulbright and LBJ  look at art together in happier times, at the White House Arts Festival in 1965. They are looking at (Squaring the Circle) by Richard Anuszkiewicz.

January 1966. As Congress reconvenes for the second half of its session, most Americans have a favorable view of their legislators and of the federal government in general. According to a Harris poll, the approval rating for Congress is at 71 percent:

“‘It is evident that many of last year’s most controversial measures [including laws on immigration, voting rights, higher education, elementary and secondary education, and Medicare]  have been accepted and even become popular….In fact, Congress has impressed the people so much that it is more popular than the president—four points higher than the chief executive’s last recorded positive rating of 67 percent.’

Lyndon frequently read that poll aloud to anyone who could not escape, leaving out the paragraph comparing his popularity and that of Congress, unless, of course, he was reading the poll to a member of Congress.”

—Merle Miller, Lyndon: An Oral Biography. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1980, p. 453

October 15, 1964. LBJ campaigns with RFK across New York. The former Attorney General is campaigning to be elected Senator from New York against Kenneth Keating.

According to his memoir The Vantage Point, LBJ encouraged and assisted Kennedy both out of loyalty to JFK and because he though Bobby would make a good Senator. Adlai Stevenson had also decided to try for the nomination, but when LBJ threw his weight behind RFK, Stevenson dropped out. 

LBJ Library photos 415-181-WH64 and 415-139-WH64. Public domain. 

March 5, 1960. Aide George Reedy writes a memo on strategy for the presidential nomination. LBJ cannot beat JFK in the primaries, but if JFK comes to the convention with not quite enough delegates, the convention might turn to someone else —LBJ!— if he maintains his status as a national leader, not a sectional candidate.
Therefore LBJ’s performance in Congress, solving national issues, is of utmost importance. Above, LBJ views the interior of a TIROS satellite with William G. Stroud of NASA. LBJ worked hard to obtain funds for space exploration, including the creation of NASA.
LBJ Library photo 60-4-3. Use free with a credit to Frank Muto.

March 5, 1960. Aide George Reedy writes a memo on strategy for the presidential nomination. LBJ cannot beat JFK in the primaries, but if JFK comes to the convention with not quite enough delegates, the convention might turn to someone else —LBJ!— if he maintains his status as a national leader, not a sectional candidate.

Therefore LBJ’s performance in Congress, solving national issues, is of utmost importance. Above, LBJ views the interior of a TIROS satellite with William G. Stroud of NASA. LBJ worked hard to obtain funds for space exploration, including the creation of NASA.

LBJ Library photo 60-4-3. Use free with a credit to Frank Muto.

August 7, 1957: landmark Civil Rights bill passes Senate

August 7, 1957. The Senate passes the first civil rights bill in 82 years (Civil Rights Act of 1957), under the direction of LBJ. Five southerners break tradition and vote for the bill: LBJ, Yarborough, Kefauver, Gore and Smathers.

Sixteen civil rights groups issued a statement saying, “Disappointing as the Senate version is, the bill does contain some potential good.” They urged passage of the bill in hopes that it will be improved in conference with the House.

December, 1956. Senators John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey both announce their support for LBJ as Democratic floor leader. Kennedy says,

“We can achieve more progressive legislation united behind our present congressional leader than under any alternative choice.”

His words are interpreted as a slap at the Americans for Democratic Action, which suggested LBJ resign his leadership position because Texas had “dragged its feet” in supporting Stevenson and Kefauver in the previous election.

Above: JFK in his Senate office, in 1959 (via the Kennedy Library); Humphrey (2nd from right) at the State DFL Convention, Brainerd, MN (via the Minnesota Historical Society).