Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Announcing Resignation of George W. Ball and Intention To Nominate J. Russell Wiggins as U.S. Representative to the United Nations

September 26, 1968

I have asked you to come here to make a brief announcement to you.

I have accepted, with reluctance, the resignation of Ambassador George Ball as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

I understand that he will be issuing a statement covering the reasons for his resignation shortly at a press conference at the State Department, which we agreed on last evening.

As you will see from his announcement, it has nothing to do with public policy but does have something to do with domestic politics.

As my letter to Mr. Ball indicates, I feel most grateful for his dedicated and his distinguished contribution to the public service which has covered many years and many different capacities in my administration as well as in the administrations of the other Presidents.

As Ambassador Ball's successor to this position of great responsibility and opportunity, I have asked one of America's most respected citizens to cap his long career of public service by becoming his country's Ambassador to the United Nations. I intend to send to the Senate this afternoon the name of Mr. James Russell Wiggins, the editor of the Washington Post, as United States Representative to the United Nations.

I consider this appointment of the highest distinction. The name Russell Wiggins stands for integrity in American journalism. He is a past president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. He is a distinguished author. He is a man of broad learning in international affairs. He has had my confidence and my acquaintance and my respect for many, many years.

He began his distinguished career with the Rock County Star in Luverne, Minnesota, back in 1922. From that time until today he has been concerned--deeply concerned-with bringing the truth to the American public through the medium of the free press.

I believe that there are few men in public life who command such universal respect as does Russell Wiggins. I believe, and my associates in the Government believe, that he will bring to the United Nations, in a critical hour, the qualities of understanding, good judgment, and compassion---deep compassion-that have marked his life and his work to this hour.

I am very proud that Russell Wiggins has consented to join our official family to serve his country in a most vital and important post after so many years as a very wise and constructive, objective observer of public affairs.

As he enters the arena of policy-making, I am confident that America and the world have gained a great advocate for peace and for justice in the affairs of man.

I might add that Secretary Rusk, and my associates in international affairs, Mr. Rostow, Mr. George Ball, and others, feel as I do, that this is an appointment of the highest distinction.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 4:11 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. During his remarks he referred to George W. Ball, outgoing U.S.. Representative to the United Nations, who was sworn in on June 24, 1968 (see Item 335), Dean Rusk, Secretary of State, and Walt W. Rostow, Special Assistant to the President.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Announcing Resignation of George W. Ball and Intention To Nominate J. Russell Wiggins as U.S. Representative to the United Nations Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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