Friday, February 3, 1967
Lyndon Johnson, John Macy

The conversation has already begun when the recording starts.

President Johnson: --making some enemies on our appointments, and we've really got to watch it. Your poor old boss over here can't hire people to hurt him and--

John Macy: [Unclear.]

President Johnson: --we do sometime[s]. I don't know who you've got working for you but--

Macy: Who's hurting us?

President Johnson: I don't know. Some damn fools over there. The . . . Charlie Bartlett's had two or three columns. He [has] got another one now. He's the [Robert] Kennedy structure. He gets his leaks, he and [Joseph] Alsop and Rowland Evans, about five of them, from Bobby's office. They put him on to something against the administration every day. And the last one was that the Bill Moyers group--Bobby's hiring one or two of them, so they kind of have some spies in that thing. Now, he [Bartlett] says that [John] Macy called him and his office and told [former Congressman John] Gilligan that he was the only man that [Secretary of Transportation Alan] Boyd wanted and that Gilligan hasn't been employed. Therefore, I ought to be shot for not doing it. Now, I don't know why I have to do this or why we're not smarter than that, but I guess we're not. First, I doubt we ought to be calling congressmen until we know that they're people to be employed. I don't want you calling [Senator Barry] Goldwater if you happen to think about it tomorrow and say, "Would you be interested in being Secretary of [the] Treasury?" I think, first thing, we ought to find out whether we're interested in signing them or not, and if we are interested, then we might say in a nice way that "We're going to consider you along with a good many others," and so on and so forth. So if we don't employ them, we don't have to take the rap.

Macy: No, I agree.

President Johnson: And it's awfully hard on me and I don't know how I can ever get up the vote if I got people I hired doing it to me. But he says that's what Macy's office told him, that's what Gilligan says, and that's what Bobby's group says, and that's what Bartlett says. So, here's what I've told them, is that we had 50 congressmen. We don't to hire them all, that we're going to hire 15 or 20 of them. Three or four of them have to be confirmed, and that we don't--we didn't want any congressmen, really, or senators, ex-senators, either, on the Undersecretary or Assistant Secretary level [who] have to be confirmed, because we got a board over there, where we can take care of two or three congressmen on the board appropriately, and so forth. Well, he comes back and says I'm told by Macy's office that you are the only one Boyd wants. Well, now, you ought to fire that boy whoever did that or whoever--

Macy: Well, I'm--

President Johnson: We just--

Macy: --sure that's not it.

President Johnson: I'm afraid it's not so, either.

Macy: [Unclear] not so.

President Johnson: But we did talk to Gilligan, and I'd rather you talk to Goldwater. I don't know how to avoid it but I--

Macy: Well, my problem, of course, is that these guys are calling me all the time, and I try to put them off and try to keep, serve as the shield so I'm not--

President Johnson: Yeah.

Macy: --implicating you at all on this.

President Johnson: That's right. Well, they do, though.

Macy: I'm sure that I'm not--

President Johnson: I would do--

Macy: --scoring every time on it.

President Johnson: Well, I know--what--are you personally been the one talking to Gilligan?

Macy: I talked to him a long time back about . . . he called me.

President Johnson: Yeah. Yeah.

Macy: He came to see me. He wanted to know what the situation was.

President Johnson: Yeah.

Macy: And I was very, very evasive and general and said that there were a lot of people that were--a lot of former congressmen that were interested. He had already talked with Boyd about it and apparently had been led to believe that there was some encouragement there. Boyd wanted him and I included his name in the original paper on transportation, but I had not had any indication [unclear]--

President Johnson: Well, you and Boyd figure out how to keep from unloading your commitments on me. You can see that's not going to help me any [unclear]  with him, can't you?

Macy: Oh, I agree.

President Johnson: So, don't you think you and Boyd are [unclear: grown / growing] up to really avoid that?

Macy: I was certainly--

President Johnson: You talk to Boyd about it and see how you can prevent it in the future. Now, what do we say about this? I've had to spend two meetings this morning on it and I'm trying to get cleaned up with you, and then I'll go on to with more difficult things. But what do we do about this one? Do you know what Boyd told him?

Macy: I'll have to--I'll check what [unclear]--

I'll have to-- I'll check with Boyd.

President Johnson: You find out what Boyd told him and then get back to me and tell Boyd that we've got these problems and I wish that we wouldn't tell anybody you're gonna be for them until I approve them. I wish that you wouldn't emanate that you want them until I tell you that it's all right. Tell Boyd that if he feels a hard-on coming on to select [former Senator] Bill Knowland [R-CA] or Barry Goldwater or Arthur Schlesinger to please, if it's gonna be my appointment, let me know. If I got to live with the goddamn woman all the rest of life, let me know before we go to the wedding.

Macy: Okay. I'll get him.

President Johnson: Okay.President Johnson: You find out what Boyd told him and then get back to me, and tell Boyd that these problems and I wish we wouldn't tell anybody we're going to be for them until I approve them. I wish you wouldn't intimate that you want them until I tell you it's all right. Tell Boyd if he feels a hard on coming on to select Bill Nolan or Barry Goldwater or Arthur Schlesinger to please, if it's going to be my appointment, let me know. If I've got to live with a goddamn woman all the rest of life, let me know before we go to the wedding. 

Macy: OK, I'll get him.

President Johnson: OK, and then call me back so I can tell him what to tell him--

Macy: All right.

President Johnson: --before they write this column. I want to tell the truth. I want to give as far as I can. And I think the best thing to tell him is [that] we're going put two or three in the Department of Transportation on the board, but we're not going name any of them to the secretarial level.

Macy: All right, sir.

President Johnson: So that we don't have it loaded with congressmen.

Macy: No, we've got to be sure that doesn't happen.

President Johnson: And let's get that board up today and see who we do want on it and see if there are any others.

Macy: All right.

President Johnson: Thank you.

Macy: Thank you.

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