Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman, Arthur Goldberg

Truman's side of the conversation is difficult to hear.

President Johnson: Mr. President?

Harry Truman: Yes, Mr. President.

President Johnson: How you feeling?

Truman: Well, I’m feeling pretty good, and I hope you are.

President Johnson: Oh, I’m just catching hell, you know, from daylight to dark, and I can’t find anybody that ever says anything good about me. But I guess that’s what's—that goes with the job. Doesn’t that go with the job?

Truman: You’re talking to [unclear].

President Johnson: [laughs] How early do you get up in the morning?

Truman: Oh, about 5:00 [A.M.].

President Johnson: I thought I might invite myself out to see you. I’ve got to make a Democratic speech here Thursday and go to San Francisco to the United Nations, and I remembered how much you did for them and how you saved them in Korea and everything else.1 And I thought that I would, after I get through that Democratic speech Thursday night, that I would just fly out to Kansas City and stay all night, get a little tourist [motor] court there close to the airport. And if you would and could and felt like it, and it didn’t get you up too early, [unclear comment by Truman] come down and have breakfast with me about 7:00 [A.M.]. They want me to take off about 8:30 [A.M.].

Truman: I’ll be there at 7:00 [A.M.] [unclear].

President Johnson: All right. Now, that’s Friday morning. And I’ll have my secretary call your secretary.

Truman: That's at the Meuhlbach Hotel?

President Johnson: Well, I thought I would try to get a place as close to the airport as I could. They—

Truman: That's about the closest that you can get.

President Johnson: All right.

Truman: It's the best hotel. 

President Johnson: All right. Is there—there’s a motor court there that’s pretty good close to the airport, but I’ll check it, and I’ll have them call you back.2

Truman: I think you'd be better at the Meuhlbach Hotel. 

President Johnson: OK. All right.

Truman: That’s my honest opinion.

President Johnson: All right. We’ll see you there at 7:00 [A.M.].

Truman: 7:00 on Friday.

President Johnson: OK.

Truman: I’ll be there.

President Johnson: Thank you.

Truman: [Unclear.]

President Johnson: Give my love to Mrs. Truman.

Truman: All right.

President Johnson: Here’s a friend of yours that wants to say hello to you, the Supreme Court Justice.

Truman: Oh, all right.

Arthur Goldberg: Mr. President?

Truman: Yes.

Goldberg: This is Arthur Goldberg.

Truman: Well, how are you?

Goldberg: How are you, Mr. President?

Truman: Well, I’m all right.

Goldberg: Well, you sound fine.

Truman: Good job.

Goldberg: Do you feel peppy enough to seize the steel industry again if they act up against the President here?3

Truman: I’ll do anything that the President wants me to do.

Goldberg: OK. Stay well, and say hello to Mrs. Truman, will you?

Truman: I’ll sure do it.

Goldberg: Yes nice to talk to you. Bye.

  • 1. The United Nations was founded during Truman's presidency in San Francisco; the gathering in San Francisco at which President Johnson intended to speech was to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the United Nations' founding. When Truman ordered United States intervention in the Korean War in June 1950, he did so under the auspices of the United Nations.
  • 2. Motor court was an old name for a motel. It was distinct from a hotel, which was usually a large building with mulitple rooms, in that it was usually small, low-lying buildings on the edge of a parking lot so that guests could park their cars adjacent to their rooms.
  • 3. In a controversial move during the Korean War, Truman ordered the U.S. Department of Commerce to nationalize the steel industry to put down a widespread union dispute that threatened the supply of steel to the United States military. The move failed when the Supreme Court ruled that Truman's order was unconstitutional.

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