Saturday, August 27, 1966
Lyndon Johnson, Warren Magnuson
LBJ Ranch

President Johnson: Hello.

Warren "Maggie" Magnuson: Hello.

President Johnson: Hi, Maggie.

Magnuson: Happy birthday.

President Johnson: Thank you.

Magnuson: I just got through about two hours with [Paul] Hall, and we've made some progress. I'll tell you about it Monday.

President Johnson: Good.

Magnuson: And he's got to save a little face, you know, about--because [AFL-CIO President George] Meany and the AFL [American Federation of Labor] put that resolution through on Thursday over there about being independent, and he's got to save [face]. You know, he can't just say, "Well, we're going to abandon this thing." But they're working. I think they'll be willing to work over the weekend on other language that'll give some measure of independence [unclear].

President Johnson: [To someone in the office] Get me that [unclear] wire.

Magnuson: Huh? Well, anyway, I think it was well worthwhile.

President Johnson: Here's what we can do, Maggie. Have they told you how far we could, what we could say?

Magnuson: No. Well, Gerry's [Ford] been talking to [Jim] Reynolds and Joe about it, Joe Califano.

President Johnson: Well, I guess he knows. Here's what we think we ought to say and we think if we go less or further, we [will] get in trouble. [Reading] "The administration re-affirms the objectives stated in the Maritime Act of '36."1 Now, that's the identical language the AF of L submitted. [Reading again] "And will ask as a matter of high priority the Secretary of Transportation and the Maritime Administrator to give sympathetic consideration to the report of the new Maritime Advisory Committee as a basis for developing a new maritime program."

Magnuson: That's when you talk about the '36 act?

President Johnson: That's right.

Magnuson: Now--

President Johnson: Now--

Magnuson: They are going to--I think that they'll want to insist, and I think there's something to it, that within the department, this board would be within the department.

President Johnson: Yeah. That's all right.

Magnuson: Yeah. But that when they rule on a subsidy, for instance, under the '36 act, within the act, or make a ruling following out the law, there's got to be some measure of finality about their ruling. Now, I think [if] we get over that point, we're all right. Same as we do in the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration].

President Johnson: Well, I don't want to make this Secretary [of Transportation] a eunuch or an impotent fellow  where he gets a war all the time with the administrator or the board. I'm willing--because if it did, all I'd do is just fire the administrator and the board when they didn't agree with the Secretary.

Magnuson: Well, we understand that but let us work on the weekend here and see what we can find out.

President Johnson: OK, Maggie.

Magnuson: All right. Have a good birthday.

President Johnson: Thank you.

Magnuson: All right.

  • 1. President Johnson is referring to the Merchant Marine Act of 1936.

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