Remarks to Members of the Press at the LBJ Ranch
Ww're delighted you could come by. Joe 1 thought that you might enjoy stopping by for a few moments before you go back to Austin, and before we go back to Washington.
We plan to leave tomorrow evening late, unless something changes our plans, and we anticipate there will be no changes--some time after the sun goes down tommorrow, so we have a chance to have a ride in a boat.
APPOINTMENT OF DEPUTY DIRECTOR, USIA [1.] I have with me today, Bob Akers, who is being appointed Deputy Director of the USIA to succeed Don Wilson. It has been about a week trying to locate him in Europe. We traced him through Spain and finally located him in Greece, and brought him back Saturday. He's been interviewed by Mr. Macy 2 and the other appropriate people in Washington.
He's had 40 years in the newspaper business and 10 or more years as a commentator. He's traveled extensively and lectured at the USIA, on the Asian Continent, also in Europe. He's most recently been the managing editor of the Beaumont Enterprise and the Beaumont Journal, a commentator on KRIC-TV.
I had Mr. Laitin come down and he's going to give you some announcements a little later on in the day.
EFFECTIVE USE OF MILITARY PERSONNEL [2.] I won't take your time now, but Joe Califano 3 and I have drafted a memorandum to Secretary McNamara,4 which we have reviewed with him in the last few days following the appointment of our task forces on effecting economies.
The substance of the memorandum is that I asked him to set up some special people to recognize the need for deployment of additional military personnel in Viet-Nam, and to ask that they review the functions now being performed by all military personnel with the view to eliminating any unnecessary functions, or where functions are necessary but do not have to be performed by military personnel and can be accomplished in some other way.
I want him to be absolutely certain there is no waste or misapplication of American manpower in the Department of Defense effort. In other words, if we can save a few at this installation, and a few hundred at another, and a few thousand in another theater, we won't have such a serious drain on our manpower through the draft and other facilities.
We're getting some of our task forces reports back. I think maybe Joe told you yesterday some that we reviewed here. One bureau alone finds that they can reduce functions they had last year, this year by something like $300 million. So, we are making intensive reviews by these task forces.
The effect of this suggestion is to ask the Secretary of Defense to concentrate on personnel as he has done on contracts and as he has on other conscientious elements on his program.
MEETINGS WITH AMBASSADOR GOLDBERG [3.] Mr. Goldberg5 and I have reviewed the reaction that we have received from several dozen countries--some 40, and one group of about 30-odd in another--to our announcement on Viet-Nam. He has talked to me about conversations he's had at the United Nations. We talked about our plans in the days ahead, both in Washington and New York and other places in the world.
We had a delightful, restful weekend, and he's returning to Washington this afternoon.
I think that is all we have to say. Mr. Peter Hurd6 and Mrs. Hurd are here from New Mexico spending the weekend with us. They'll be going back when they have had enough of it.
As I said, we'll be leaving by dark tomorrow. If you have any questions--I don't want to get into a regular conference, but I don't mind answering anything that needs clearing up.
THE UNITED NATIONS [4.] Q. Would you say, Mr. President, whether you went into the question of the financial crisis with Mr. Goldberg and what might be done to get the General Assembly back in operation?
THE PRESIDENT. We have talked about the problems of the General Assembly. We don't ever get into any crisis that we can avoid.
BREACH OF CONFIDENCE; VIET-NAM [5.] Q. Mr. President, there is a story in some of the papers that you were dissuaded from taking a stronger line in Viet-Nam because of something that Senator Mike Mansfield said. Can you comment about that? 7
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. That was the result of a man who broke my confidence, and not only broke it but distorted it. I read Senator Mansfield's statement very carefully, following a backgrounder held by one of the prominent members of another party, and I found nothing to justify that statement. And I would brand it untrue and perhaps malicious. Fortunately it is untrue in writing. Senator Mansfield never mentioned Reserves, and it was not in any of his discussion, and the discussion did not have anything to do with the Reserves--and his paper will show it.
Most of the people you deal with--and we dealt with several dozen, .perhaps a couple hundred, including the Governors--all of them respect the confidence, but once in a while an inexperienced man, or a new one, or a bitter partisan has to play a little politics. I think they keep it to a minimum, generally speaking, but one or two of them will do it--and boys will be boys.
Q. Is this, Mr. President, going to throw a shadow on future bipartisan consultation?
THE PRESIDENT. No. I'm not going to provoke any fight. No bloody noses. We're just going to answer your questions and give you the facts. Nothing to alarm and get your blood pressure up.
Reporter: Thank you, sir.
1 Joseph Laitin, an assistant press secretary.
2 John W. Macy, Jr., Chairman of the Civil Service Commission.
3 Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Special Assistant to the President.
4 See Item 396.
5 Arthur J. Goldberg, U.S. Representative to the United Nations.
6 New Mexico artist who was painting a portrait of the President.
7 On July 27, preceding his news conference of July 28, the President held a meeting with Democratic and Republican leaders. Reports circulated to the effect that Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana, majority leader of the Senate, had read a statement at the meeting dealing with the views of Congress on the Viet-Nam conflict, and that this statement had dissuaded the President from calling up the Reserves.
Note: The President met with the members of the press at the LBJ Ranch, Johnson City, Tex., at 1 :05 p.m. on Sunday, August 1, 1965.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks to Members of the Press at the LBJ Ranch Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241305