KC Johnson

LBJ & James Rowe, 6 Aug. 1964

At this point in 1964, LBJ remained undecided on the V-P nod, in part because of Humphrey’s tendency to talk to the press. Johnson explained his concerns to James Rowe:

President Johnson: This boy, our friend—Hubert—is just destroying himself with his big mouth.

James Rowe: Is he talking again?

President Johnson: Yeah, all the time. You just can’t stop it. He’s just got hydrophobia. And every responsible person gets frightened when they see him.

[Break; mentions with Rusk and McNamara said about the Tonkin Gulf attacks military briefing.]

President Johnson: Humphrey said, “Well, we have been carrying on some operations in that area. And we’ve been having some covert operations where we have been going in and knocking out roads and petroleum, and so forth.

Rowe: Lord.

President Johnson: And that’s exactly what we have been doing. But the damn fool got it up, and now he’s got [Oregon senator Wayne] Morse talking about it, who wasn’t in on the briefing.

And he’s just got to understand that you can’t talk about war plans. You just can’t talk about it. And he just ought to keep his goddamned big mouth shut on foreign affairs, at least until the election’s over.

Rowe: [Unclear.]

President Johnson: And just say that this has just got people running wild, and they’re running in every moment to me—and for him not to be speculating on why the Communists would be doing something.

Rowe: Yeah.

President Johnson: Just say, “I’ve got all I can do speculating on why I do something.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: