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Remarks by Telephone to Astronauts Cooper and Conrad Following Completion of the Gemini 5 Mission.

August 29, 1965

THE PRESIDENT. Good morning, gentlemen. For myself and all of your countrymen, I want to say congratulations and well done.

I am sure that all people in all lands are greatly thrilled by what you have shown that man can do. And we are all so thankful for your safe return.

After listening to you and your wives all week, I feel somewhat out of step this morning, not having a poem to read to you. If Luci were here, I'd borrow one of hers, but she has gone to church.

I do want to salute you both for the very calm and cool courage that you have shown throughout these last 8 days. In the face of disappointment and discouragement you have conducted yourselves nobly. You have certainly proved, I think, once and for all that man has a place in the exploration of the great frontier of space.

Gordon, when are you going to be ready to go up again?

ASTRONAUT COOPER. I think it will be a day or two again, sir--

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that is fine. Astronaut Conrad, after you see that family of yours, would you like to see some of the world at ground level for a change?

ASTRONAUT CONRAD. I'm sorry, sir, I couldn't hear you.

THE PRESIDENT. I say, after you see that family of yours, how would you like to see some of the world at the ground level for a change?

ASTRONAUT CONRAD. Oh, I'd like to very much, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, you are going to get the chance. We want you to take a good rest and work with your doctors and follow out Mr. Webb's and Dr. Seamans' instructions. But afterwards, we hope that both of you, along with the other astronauts, can accept some of the invitations to share your achievements with the peoples of other lands because the one thing that we are all working for, and really our only purpose in space, is peace in the world.

We want all mankind to be the beneficiary of what you have done and I know that you can continue to communicate America's message on earth as in the skies.

We spent a good part of last evening working out some plans for you. Now Gemini 5 will long be remembered and long honored for the courage of the crew, the competence of the team on the ground, and the vision of all who dared conceive this great enterprise. We can only hope that your achievement will encourage all other nations to accept more fully what great accomplishments can be wrought by cooperating together in these new realms of infinity.

So I just want to say, God bless you both. We are glad you are back. We shall be everlastingly proud of you, and we are so thankful for all the blessings that are ours.

Do either of you have any observations you want to make?

ASTRONAUT COOPER. Well, sir, it was certainly a wonderful trip and we saw a lot of the whole world and a lot of countries, and a lot of places that were extremely interesting, and it makes one really realize how small and insignificant ... country or world and how we all should work together to further peace in the whole world.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, Gordon, I wish you could be out here with us this morning.

ASTRONAUT COOPER. (Response inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT. Gordon, do you read me?

ASTRONAUT COOPER. Yes, sir, I read you.

THE PRESIDENT. Are you just reluctant or did you not hear me?

ASTRONAUT COOPER. We're reading you; are you reading us?

THE PRESIDENT. I sure am. I wish you could go to the Scharnhorst with me this morning as we did, not long ago.

ASTRONAUT COOPER. That would be nice.

THE PRESIDENT. So we will be looking forward to seeing you, and congratulations again. I know your families are going to be mighty happy to see you again.

ASTRONAUT COOPER. Thank you very much for calling us.

THE PRESIDENT. Over and out.

ASTRONAUT CONRAD. We'll see you. Bye.

Note: The President spoke with Lt. Col. L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., and Lt. Comdr. Charles Conrad, Jr., at 9 a.m. from the LBJ Ranch at Johnson City, Tex. During his remarks he referred to James E. Webb, Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and R. C. Seamans, Jr., Associate Administrator.

The astronauts had landed in the North Atlantic that morning just 1 1/2 hours short of completing their original 121-orbit, 8-day mission.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks by Telephone to Astronauts Cooper and Conrad Following Completion of the Gemini 5 Mission. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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