Telephone Conversation Between the President and Astronauts James McDivitt and Edward White
THE PRESIDENT. Major McDivitt?
MAYOR McDIVITT. Yes, sir, Mr. President, this is Major McDivitt.
THE PRESIDENT. I just wanted to say to you and Major White, "Well done." We are all in this country very proud of you and, I think, the entire world is grateful for what you have done and, particularly, for your safe return. You have both written your names in history and in our hearts. God bless you both and your very fine families.
MAJOR MCDIVITT. Mr. President, you certainly make me proud saying something like that. As you know, this is one of the happiest days of my life.
THE PRESIDENT. Major White, there are several million people in this country that have been wondering for 3 days what you were doing to Jim's windshield when he called you a dirty dog.
MAJOR WHITE. Mr. President, this is Major White.
THE PRESIDENT. Major, there are several million people in this country that have been wondering for 3 days what you were doing to Jim's windshield when he called you a dirty dog.
MAJOR WHITE. There wasn't too much I could do. We were pretty close, but there wasn't much I could do about it.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, we're mighty glad that you have had a safe return. We're all very proud of you, and we are looking forward to seeing you.
Major McDivitt, you had a little trouble talking Ed back in from his walk the other day, do you think you might be able to persuade him to come to see us this weekend down in Texas if I can get down there?
MAJOR WHITE. This is Major White on here still, sir. I'll get Major McDivitt on it. But I think that will be very fine. Just a moment.
MAJOR McDIVITT. Mr. President, this is Major McDivitt again.
THE PRESIDENT. I said you had a little trouble talking Ed back in from his walk the other day, do you think you might be able to persuade him to come up to see me this week if I can get down to Texas?
MAJOR McDIVITT. Well, I don't think there will be any trouble whatsoever.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, you talk to your families and we'll see if we can't get together down at the ranch about Friday or Saturday. I've been saving a little something for you.
MAYOR McDIVITT. Yes, sir. It would make me the happiest man in the world. I'm sure this will make Ed equally happy.
THE PRESIDENT. I heard Major White's wife say she wanted to go to Colorado, but you tell her to just hold off that trip until you get up to the ranch. I'll have my military aide get in touch with you in a day or two and I hope we can make it probably Saturday morning.
MAJOR McDIVITT. Yes, sir, we certainly would love that.
THE PRESIDENT. Now, I just want to say this finally to the two of you. What you have done will never be forgotten. We can hope and we do pray that the time will come when all men of all nations will join together to explore space together, and walk side by side toward peace. And you two outstanding men have taken a long stride forward in mankind's progress. And everyone in this Nation and, I think, in the free world feels in your debt.
MAJOR McDIVITT. Thank you very much, sir, we appreciate that.
THE PRESIDENT. I'll see you Friday or Saturday, and we'll be in touch with you through Mr. Webb.
MAJOR McDIVITT. Yes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT. Goodby.
MAJOR McDIVITT. Goodby, Mr. President.
NOTE: The President spoke at 5:46 p.m. from the Fish Room at the White House to the astronauts, Maj. James A. McDivitt and Maj. Edward H. White 2d, who were resting on board the carrier Wasp following the successful completion of the Gemini 4 flight on June 6.
The 62-orbit, 1,609,684-mile voyage around the earth lasted 97 hours, 56 minutes, and 30 seconds, and set a new space endurance record.
At the end of the third orbit Major White left the spacecraft, took a 23-minute walk in space, and looked through the windshield at Major McDivitt who was inside the craft.
See also Items 310, 318, 320.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Telephone Conversation Between the President and Astronauts James McDivitt and Edward White Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241300