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Lyndon Johnson George Smathers November 23 1968

italkyoubored Oct 16th, 2014 (edited) 212 Never
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  1. An excerpt from a conversation on the afternoon of November 23, 1968, dealing with the transition to the Nixon administration and trying to secure peace talks as soon as possible. Conversation is notable because it makes clear that Johnson's priority with his bombing halt was not to bring about the election of Humphrey, but to secure peace talks. The election is over, and he is still trying to bring about the talks, and wishes the Nixon administration could take over sooner, so that no chances for peace are lost in the interim period. Also notable for the mention of the successful by the Nixon campaign to scotch the peace talks through their intermediary, Anna Chennault.
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  3. Audio file can be found at the following URL:
  4. http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/archives.hom/Dictabelt.hom/highlights/janapril1968/smathersA7244-14/13763.mp3
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  6. Audio with transcript can be found on youtube:
  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEcEXl3RZE8
  8.  
  9. JOHNSON
  10. I do think, that as his friend...that you ought to insist as quickly as he can...that he get a man here for Rostow's [Walt Rostow, National Security Advisor] place whoever's going to be his top man in the White House, and whoever's going to be his top man at State and Defense. Because I just don't believe a man in thirty days can possibly take it and run with it. I don't think you can fly a 707 in thirty days. And if you're gonna fly it, you better get in there. And he'll have men with experience, but he doesn't know all these things that are coming up. I'm meeting now in a kinda emergency meeting, with Fowler [Henry Fowler], Rusk [Dean Rusk], Clifford [Clark Clifford], Bill Martin, and all of them, on the devaluation of the franc. In addition to that, I've got a dozen new cables in on South Vietnam, and North Vietnam shot down a reconnaissance plane this morning, and ten Israelis were killed yesterday in the Middle East, the Soviets are talking about going into Romania. If they go in there like Czechoslovakia, the question is, what do we do, when they go in there in Yugoslavia. Do we sit here and let them take all of Eastern Europe? (unintelligible) or what? Now all those things are happening, every second. And those three men oughta be known in the field. If he selects men of competence, we'll turn them over everything to help them. Matter of fact, you remember Woodrow Wilson wrote Lansing [Robert Lansing, Wilson's Secretary of State]...said if Hughes [Charles Evans Hughes, Republican candidate in 1916] is elected, he thought he might very well be, that he believed he talked to the vice president, and get him to resign, and he and the vice president would resign, instead of waiting till March. Appoint, Hughes [as] Secretary of State, and then the Secretary of State would become President, so the country wouldn't be in that danger during that period. It was during the World War I. That didn't happen, because Wilson carried California, and we've moved up March to January the 20th [date of presidential inauguration]. But it would be wiser if he took over November the sixth, because this is very difficult, this period, and you know, when I made the decision on Vietnam, I had a treaty that they had signed 82-1, telling me to do it. And I got a Tonkin Gulf resolution saying you're directed to deter aggression, I got it five hundred and forty two, and even [with] that, they turned on me. Now, fella gets in over there now, and in any of these things, the Middle East treaty, you got nothing. If you don't get in, it's too late. So, it's a very precarious and dangerous situation. And these boys always take advantage of it. And I think every time he can, my mail shows universal approval, I haven't received one criticism, I've had more compliments of the President-elect and myself than I've ever had before, on his statement out here, saying that we were going to be united, and I think every time he can say that Murphy [Under Secretary of State Robert Murphy] is following everything, and he is aware of [it], and he is keeping right up with everything, that there is no division on these things, and gonna be none till January the 20th, the better it is, because that doesn't give the Russians any encouragement.
  11.  
  12. They moved in to Cuba...the Cuban missile crisis came October 22nd, just a few days before our election. They do everything.
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  14. This bunch of fools moved in, got South Vietnam not to go to the conference, because of Nixon, they just screwed up everything, and it's taken us three or four weeks, and I didn't expose it because I just couldn't use those sources, and I didn't want to make it impossible for him to govern. I think if I had said to the country: that this is an- and exposed, just brought it out, I think it'll shock the country so, that he would have been seriously hurt. And so, I just told you, and he told Dirksen, and got it kinda back on the track again. But that damn woman is still messing around, causing trouble. That Ms. Chennault.
  15.  
  16. SMATHERS
  17. Madame Chennault. Yeah. Alright, that's very informative. And I'll pass it on to the fellow in New York, and tell him what you've said...
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