WH6408-42-5270

Date: 
Sunday, August 30, 1964 - 11:19pm - 11:27pm
Participants: 
Lyndon Johnson, George Reedy
Location: 
LBJ Ranch
Listen: 


The Houston Post and Oceanside Daily Blade-Tribune, a local California newspaper, had both published stories that Reedy had resigned after a disagreement with Johnson over whether the President should go to Atlantic City Wednesday night for the Democratic National Convention. Reedy had denied the reports, claiming to be "puzzled." The story in the Oceanside Daily Blade-Tribune had been written by its publisher, Thomas Braden, who had attended the Convention and claimed that it came from an "unimpeachable source."1

The operator connects the call.2

President Johnson: George?

George Reedy: Yes, sir?

President Johnson: I think that you and Willie Day [Taylor] ought to stay on right there. We're going on back tomorrow afternoon and talk to Albert Jackson in the morning about his [Dallas Times-Herald] editorial and so forth. Come on down on one of those flights and go back routinely with us when we go instead of going out tonight. I think that a night's sleep would do you some good and I think it won't attract a lot of attention and--

Reedy: I'm sorry, sir, I can just barely hear you.

President Johnson: I say that a night's sleep will do you some good, and I think that it won't attract a lot of attention, and I think it'd be better. We're going to back tomorrow afternoon anyway and you can just come on down. We'll leave there about sundown or--and you can catch whatever plane you can get out in the morning. And if there's not any plane out, well, Dale can pick you up.

Reedy: I'm in Dallas now, Mr. President.

President Johnson: Yeah, I know it.

Reedy: Then I'm--

President Johnson: I say talk to Albert Jackson there in the morning, if you can; stay all night. I don't guess there's any plane back tonight--instead of riding all night going to Washington. And then go up tomorrow afternoon in the regular plane when all the rest of us go. I don't--there's not much you can do up there except create a lot of discussion with them, and I think it'd be better for us to talk first.

Reedy: Well, I wasn't going to talk to anybody, sir. I've really been just shaky. I just wanted to go on home to my family.

President Johnson: Well, can't you do that as tomorrow afternoon as well as tonight, and then with all of us going back?

Reedy: Frankly, Mr. President, I don't trust myself.

President Johnson: Well, if you think this is better--

Reedy: What I want to do is just go home and get a day's rest.

President Johnson: Well, why don't you get a night's rest there in Dallas, come on down tomorrow and ride back with us and then take whatever--all the time off you want to? I think that going out this way, it'll take you two or three days that you won't get rest that you'll be explaining, which I think you can take off when you get back up there and you wouldn't have to [explain].

Reedy: Right.

President Johnson: I'd just go on down to the hotel and get me a room and go to sleep tonight. Take a sleeping pill and go to sleep. Get up tomorrow and come down in time to catch the plane back with us. Or if you want to Dale can pick up you up there in the morning and you can fly down here for this broadcast and just tell them you came out here. And then we'll go in tomorrow afternoon and go back on the plane tomorrow evening. I think that'll be better because my guess is they'll be calling you and they'll be wondering. They'll be inquiring. And they'll be calling out here and we'll have to be taking the calls. And I think that if you can get by another 18 hours . . . you can stay there tonight. They won't be bothering you or missing you. And in the morning you can come on down here and put this broadcast off the [unclear: plasters] and we'll go on in and take the plane back to Washington. Then you can take off whatever time you want to after you get up there.

Reedy: Well, I don't want to be causing any difficulty, sir.

President Johnson: Well, I think that's the best way to avoid it. I believe that if you go back early you will, in the light of the Houston Post story, I think you'll just create a lot of doubts. What I'd do is just go up to Dallas and talk to Albert Jackson about the [Dallas] Times-Herald editorial and ask him to thank them for it and tell him to go on and try to get us some more help during the campaign. And then I'd see if I could catch a plane back to Austin in the morning. If I couldn't I'd call me and I'll get Dale to come pick you up, bring you directly to the [LBJ] Ranch, and you can--we can put on this [unclear: plasters?] broadcast and we'll then all go in and go back to Washington.

Reedy: OK, sir. I don't want to--I'll [unclear].

President Johnson: What hotel will you go to?

Reedy: I don't know, sir--probably Adolphus or--

President Johnson: All right. Go to the Adolphus and I'll--see what time you can go down in the morning, and then give me a ring in the morning when you wake up.

Reedy: OK, sir.

President Johnson: OK. If there's a plane back tonight you might want to fly on back there, but I don't know whether there is one back, because I'm sure they'll be calling and talking. They're already raising questions. And I think it'd be a lot easier on you, on me, on the country if we just go on back normally and then work out whatever you want to.

Reedy: OK, sir.

President Johnson: All right. If you can come back, come back tonight. If you don't, why, come back in the morning. If you don't get a plane back in the morning call me and I'll have Dale pick you up.

Reedy: OK.

President Johnson: Bye.

In his first post-Convention public appearance, Johnson spoke later that evening at an informal campaign rally and barbecue at the Stonewall Rodeo Arena in Gillespie County, the country in which the LBJ Ranch was situated. The event was billed as a belated birthday party for Johnson, whose 56th birthday had been the previous week. His vice presidential running mate, Hubert Humphrey, also attended, as was Texas Senator Ralk Yarborough. Johnson's remarks were informal and focused on foreign policy, especially Vietnam. He told the crowd of about 4,000 that in ordering military action in retaliation for the attacks on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin earlier in the month "I gave an order I didn't want to give" but that the action was necessary to bolster U.S. credibility and deter further attacks on U.S. forces.3 The event caused a minor controversy when photographs appeared that showed National Guard members serving barbecued steaks at the event.4

  • 1. "Reedy Denies Resigning After Tiff With Johnson," New York Times, 29 August 1964, p.6.
  • 2. Johnson called Reedy. As noted in the LBJ Library finding aid, the filing notes for this conversation are: ""RANCH"; DICTABELT PREVIOUSLY MISFILED; "DOROTHY, NOT TO BE TRANSCRIBED, F IN GER, PERSONNEL" WRITTEN ON ENVELOPE CONTAINING DICTABELT."
  • 3. Fendall Yerxa, "Johnson Defends Policy on Saigon to Texas Crowd," New York Times, 30 August 1964, p.1.
  • 4. "Captain Backs Use of Guard Waiters at Johnson's Rally," New York Times, 2 September 1964, p.27.

Original tape courtesy of LBJ Library. This transcript is a working draft. Please let us know if you find important errors.