Lyndon B. Johnson photo

The President's News Conference

April 25, 1964

[1.] Q. Mr. President, Mr. Truman has been quoted as expressing concern about your safety in crowds.1 I wondered how you felt about that?

THE PRESIDENT. Let's wait until the boys2 get through here and we will start.

1 Mr. Truman, who was attending the President's news conference, had met earlier with the newsmen at which time he had remarked that he hoped President Johnson would "protect himself."

2 The photographers.

[2.] As you know, yesterday was spent seeing firsthand and hearing directly from those people in the Appalachian region who unfortunately have not shared in the recent general economic growth this country has experienced. The reports that have been submitted and the discussions that we have had in the White House convinced me long ago that there was a serious problem in this region that needed the attention of the Government at all levels and of private citizens and organizations as well.

However, the full impact was truly brought home in conversations with the people of the area yesterday--first at South Bend, then Pittsburgh, eastern Kentucky, and Huntington, W. Va.--and I believe we must secure congressional action without delay.

I shall send to the Congress early next week my legislative proposal for the Appalachian region based on the recommendations of the Commission, made up of the Governors of the area and top Federal officials. Basically, this legislation rests on the following:

1. Appalachia is a relatively isolated region which requires vastly improved access and communication. It is a relatively isolated region.

2. The abundant rainfall of the area must be made to benefit rather than injure its people through improved flood control and by providing recreational and industrial water supplies.

3. The area's great natural resources of coal, timber, and tillable land must be better adapted to the needs of the 1960's and the decades to come.

4. The human resources must be better developed through appropriate social and economic programs.

The interest of the State governments and local governments demonstrated in our visit yesterday convinced me that together we can--and must--make tremendous strides in bringing the development of Appalachia up to that of the rest of the Nation.

I am certain, too, that if those members of Congress who are questioning our antipoverty program were to have been on the tour yesterday they would today be bending their every effort to pass our program. It is "must" legislation.

The principal elements of the legislation are 2,150 miles of highways, at a cost of $840 million; acceleration of water resources facilities at a cost of $35 million, in FY 1965; $10 million for sewage and water treatment; a pasture improvement program with Federal grants of 80 percent, maximum of 25 acres per farm, $22 million; initiation of technical assistance program, $6.7 million for fiscal 1965; expanded research in promoting uses of coal and land restoration after mining, $3 million in fiscal 1965.

We will take another look at that and see if, in accordance with the suggestions from some of the Governors, that appropriately can be expended, and, if so, when.

Stepped-up human resources, $71 million extra for fiscal 1965. That is to be administered by the poverty program under Sargent Shriver.

Establishment of Federal-State Appalachian Commission for comprehensive planning, recommendations to be made by the Federal, State, and local bodies.

The total fiscal year 1965 cost is approximately $220 million, which was included in the item in the budget submitted in January under "Contingencies." The total cost of proposals cannot be accurately calculated today throughout the period of the program.

The specific points that I gained from the Appalachia trip yesterday, and the impressions, are these:

I think we have a demand that we act on this bill immediately and that is why I worked through the night and the morning with other officials, and it will go to Congress on Monday.3

I am now announcing it today.

3 See Item 300.

We have need for early action on the poverty program. We have delayed our hearings, and there are some delays that have occurred that I think have not been particularly helpful, and we hope that we can get action on that at an early date.

Everything I saw justified our speeding up action on the poverty bill yesterday. There is need for careful scrutiny of the development of power resources, looking toward action. That would mean specifically the possibility of steamplants, TVA, in some of that area.

Need for the food stamp program, which has already passed the House, but which will be of great value in that area.

Need for work projects to take care of people who are only working a few days a week, which some of this Appalachia program could cover.

Need for retraining projects in addition to what they have now. We have talked that over with the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Commerce. We will talk to others that are involved and try to build some other public projects there.

Need for basic educational projects.

Need for Medicare bill.

Need for careful scrutiny of coal problems.

On the Medicare bill, one of the men that I talked to, whose home I visited yesterday, the man that had the eight children, told me he had stayed up to 3 or 4 o'clock the morning before with a neighbor who was 85 years old, who couldn't go to the hospital. He was sitting up with him. That was at the home of Mr. Fletcher we went to yesterday. That brings home to us the need of Medicare, because if he had had hospital insurance, he could be taken to the hospital.

Need for careful scrutiny of our coal problems, to be sure that we find any new uses for coal and that we try to revive the coal industry in any way possible that we can.

Need for development of an adequate road system.

Therefore, I have sent the nine Governors concerned the following telegram this morning:

"This is to inform you that I will submit my legislative proposals implementing the major recommendations of the President's Appalachian Regional Commission report to the Congress early next week."

That means Monday if the House or Senate is in session.

"The program should be considered by Congress without delay, and I hope that you and the other area Governors will be able to assist in explaining the program to the Congress.

"The opportunity to visit with families in Appalachia and to see at first-hand the magnitude of the difficulties in the region has convinced me of the need for prompt action."

There is basically one difference between their recommendations and our program. They recommend $1.2 billion for roads over a period of time that we recommend $840 million for. Instead of four lanes, some of them may be two lanes. It amounts to the same mileage of road but we estimate that they will cost less than the Governors estimate they will cost, after we have taken it over to our roads department.

If you care to have copies of the telegram and copies of the 10 specific points that I gained yesterday, and a copy of this statement, that will all be available. The Appalachia report is available, and here is a copy of the bill that is available.

[3.] Another new note: corporate profits. We have a report this morning. For the first 311 corporate profits [sic], Federal Reserve tabulated for the January-March quarter show after-tax profits in manufacturing to be 23 percent above a year ago.

For wholesale prices, April weekly figures thus far suggest there will be no increase in April from March in the overall price index nor in the index for industrial products, which we believe to be very good news.

[4.] Administrator Batt has made a report to me today in reducing unemployment in depressed areas. He says 73 major labor markets approved in 1961 for ARA assistance had achieved the following gains by 1963: Unemployment in these 73 major markets fell about 32 percent compared to the decline of 13 percent for the Nation as a whole.

The unemployment rate fell from 11 to 7.6 percent while the national rate fell 6.7 to 5.7 percent.

The civilian work force, which rose 2 percent nationally, declined 1.7 in ARA areas as people moved to other areas with better job opportunities.

Total employment in these ARA areas rose about 2 percent compared with the 3 percent increase in the national total. We are pressing ahead throughout Government for any savings, however small, that can be put into effect by improving efficiency. The Division of Disbursement in Treasury reports to me this morning that it is now able to put into effect immediately a saving of $700,000 in the current year through the installation of electronic checkwriting. We had not expected to be able to do that until fiscal year 1965. But we have speeded up that item and hope it is a good example for other agencies.

In addition, I have received a report on Federal civilian employment in the executive branch at the end of March which should interest you. Total employment was 2,461,134. While there has been a small increase in March over February, due primarily to seasonal work in national parks and national forests, I am happy to announce that there are now 13,743 fewer workers than were reported in March a year ago. Most of the departments and agencies reported the same or smaller employment totals in March than a year ago, including a decrease of over 9oo employees in the Department of Defense.

I have taken pleasure in making that information available to Senator Byrd and his committee on reduction of expenditures.

[5.] I have today asked Gen. Paul Harkins to remain on active duty beyond normal retirement age of 60 until his mandatory retirement date of August 1, 1964. General Harkins has rendered distinguished and outstanding service to our country throughout his long career, particularly for the last 2 years as Commander, U.S. Forces, VietNam. Our country is fortunate, indeed, to have the benefit of his dedicated service. Lt. Gen. William C. Westmoreland, former Commandant at West Point, currently Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces, Viet-Nam, will succeed General Harkins.

[6.] I have sent a memorandum to Mr. Halaby of the Federal Aviation Agency that states:

"I realize that you had hoped to select the contractors to proceed with the development of a supersonic transport by May 1 of this year, as a result of the preliminary design competition conducted over the past several months among a number of airframe and engine manufacturers.

"As you have reported to me, however, the 210-member Government Evaluation Group, after analyzing the proposals in depth, found that none of the proposed airframe designs met the minimum range-payload requirements of the FAA Request for Proposals of carrying a 30,000-pound payload for a distance of 4,000 statute miles. Moreover, none of these designs met what you properly emphasized as a basic requirement, namely, that the aircraft be capable of economic operation.

"As you have also emphasized, it has been the objective that the development stage of the Supersonic Transport be financed 75 percent by the Government and 25 percent by manufacturers. The FAA Request for Proposals pointed out that 'the Government's decision to proceed with the supersonic transport program is based on manufacturers' participation in an amount equivalent to 25 percent of the total cost of the development through certification of the transport.'

"I remain convinced that it will be possible to develop an American supersonic transport which will be economic to operate, will find a substantial market among the airlines of the world, and will help to maintain American leadership in the air.

"In view of the current situation, however, I recognize that it is no longer appropriate for me to hope for a recommendation by May 1. Difficult and complex issues are now presented for resolution so that I can determine how best to proceed. I have asked the members of the President's Advisory Committee on Supersonic Transport, of which you are a member, to study this program thoroughly, after which I will expect recommendations from the Committee and from you."4 So the call for bids on May 1 is off, and we cannot expect a recommendation by then.

4For the President's statement in response to a report on the supersonic transport program, see Item 355.

[7.] Senator Anderson heads the Federal Reconstruction and Development Planning Commission, and he is leaving Sunday for an onsite inspection of earthquake damage in Alaska, taking other Alaskan officials with him.

I have a brief statement. I don't want to take time to read it to you now, but you can get it from George5 if you want to, and get copies of the Halaby memorandum if you want to.

5George Reedy, Press Secretary to the President.

[8.] Frank, you had a question about President Truman?

Q. Yes. I wondered how you feel about your safety in crowds?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I am unfamiliar with what President Truman had to say about it, but I am glad that both you and the President are concerned with my safety. That is the first reaction I have to it.

PRESIDENT TRUMAN. Very much concerned, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. It heartens me that people care that much. I try to exercise reasonable precautions, and I have never been unduly concerned, nor do I think those responsible for accompanying me are unduly concerned, about meeting American citizens either on the streets or in the buildings where you speak, or visiting with the people who come out to hear you. They can harm you if they want to, while you are talking, just as easy as they can while you are shaking hands, if they are disposed to do so.

I don't think it does any good for us to play up all the time the great concern that people feel when they actually don't feel it. I am exercising all the precautions that prudent men, responsible for my safety, recommend.

I think that the American people, and those of you that particularly had this question raised with you, don't need to feel any more danger than you would under normal operating circumstances. Of course, if I stayed in this room all the time, and it was guarded around by a section of guards, there would be less danger than there is if you go out and address a public meeting. But the President is still going to speak to the people of this country and necessarily is going to associate with them.

I was not in any more danger yesterday, in my judgment, than I am here now.

President Truman says he heartily agrees with me.

Q. Thank you, Mr. President.

Q. Mr. President, specifically, is it your intention to continue to ride in open convertibles in huge crowds, as you did on your tour yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. Specifically, my intentions are to see the people, to talk to them, and I will be on open platforms. I will be on an open stage. I will be at an open desk. I will be in an open car on occasions, depending on the circumstances. I see no difference in sitting in a seat in an open car or standing on an open platform.

[9.] Q. Mr. President, two of your guests this morning, sir, were Governor Brown and Mr. Reuther, and both feel that perhaps your antipoverty program should be larger, that you are not going to do very much for people with its present size. Do you have any idea on extending it after what you saw yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I think this poverty program is adequate under the circumstances, and neither of the gentlemen made such representations to me. I think it would be wonderful if we could do all the things in the world that need to be done yesterday, but you have to take these things with gradual realism. You have to build your organization. You have to have the cooperation of local and State authorities. We are getting that.

Governor Brown told me what he was planning to do in California, as Mayor Wagner told me earlier what he was planning to do in New York. One of the fine byproducts in this poverty message is the progress that has been going on in almost every State in the Union. We have State people who have taken notice of the poverty program and are doing something about it.

I reviewed with Governor Brown some figures I got this morning on the people that are coming out of the poverty classification. They are very important statistics. From 1937 to 1947, 5 percent came out. From 1947 to 1953, only 3 percent came out. From 1953 to 1963, only 1 percent came out. So it is much fewer than it used to be that are actually leaving the poverty classification.

Roosevelt talked about one-third ill clad, ill housed and ill fed. Roosevelt and Truman, and down through Kennedy, got it down from one-third to one-fifth. But, as you can see, only i percent is coming out in a io-year period, and it will take a long time at that rate to get them out. We hope we can accelerate that.

We plan in this program to handle some 500,000 young people. I commented to Dr. Dobie about it. He is one of the wise men of our State. He was not one of those Rhodes scholars that I talked about being with the San Marcos Teachers College the other day, but he did spend some time at Oxford. I asked him how he accounted for this, and he said, "Well, a few years ago you could go out and get a 40-acre poor patch and put you in some okra, tomatoes, and roasting ears and raise your own food. But that is pretty difficult to do on concrete."

Most of these folks have moved into the urban areas and it is pretty difficult for them to feed themselves and provide their own income on concrete when they are out of jobs. So this program needs to be accelerated, and we need to put it in action quicker.

There is a good deal more, of course, that we could do, but within our budget limitations, this represents a substantial start. If the people who are fighting it would quit saying it does not go far enough, and go this far with us-I have no reference in your question, that is, to the Hill, where some said they were against it-if they would go just this far, we will get it up to the proportions that would satisfy them a little later on as programs develop, and communities participate and States take more interest.

[10.] Q. Although you have ordered a cut of 40 percent in the production of enriched uranium, it is my understanding that the Federal Government has contracts to buy raw uranium for the stockpile still in effect. Will we honor these contracts and, if so, how much will it cost us, and what will we use this raw uranium for?

THE PRESIDENT. That is a matter the details of which you should talk to the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission about. We have contracts we are taking action to dispose of, and exercising clauses under the contracts, particularly in the power contracts, to give them certain notification. That is one reason for the imminence of the announcement.

But the details of it would be better handled and you would have a lot more material for a story if you talked to the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission on the details of it. We do know that we had to make the announcement so we could give notice on certain substantial contracts we had entered into, to exercise the clause that provided for that.

[11.] Q. Mr. President, sir, did you make any commitments definite or implied to the railroads or to the Brotherhoods to achieve a settlement in the railroad dispute? Specifically, there was a report, sir, about you telling the railroads that the administration would be sympathetic concerning a request for tax relief.

THE PRESIDENT. No, I made no commitments of any kind. It was not up to me to make any commitments. I said to the railroads and to the Brotherhoods, if they did not know more about how to operate the railroads and how to settle their problems than I did, or the Congress, that they had been overpaid for a good many years.

It was kind of like Mr. Rayburn said one time when General Marshall asked him his suggestions on the war, and he said, "General, if you don't know any more on how to run this war than I do, we have wasted a lot of money in West Point all these years." That is what I said to them.


THE PRESIDENT. I made no commitment of any kind other than to ask them to stay here and work out these points at issue. Both sides during that period of time frequently commented on injustices and unfair advantages that one had taken of the other, or that the Government had taken of both.

In reply to all of those statements, I always said, "Your Government will give anyone, big or little, railroad worker or railroad president or railroad company, a fair and just hearing." That will be done on any problems, involving legislation, involving taxes, involving work rules, regarding cases in the courts, and so forth. This must always be in the position of giving a person a fair and just hearing. We have made no commitments of any kind beyond that point.

[12.] Q. Mr. President, with respect to your visit with Governor Brown, did you make any suggestions of your own about solving the critical water problem of the Southwest, and bringing peace between California and Arizona, and perhaps sending your own message to Congress on that proposition out there that has been hanging fire for so many years?


Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.

[13.] THE PRESIDENT. Wait a minute. Come back here. I took longer than I thought I would on the announcements. I will be glad to answer a few more questions. If you want to, after it is over with--and I have not asked him--if you have a question or two for my beloved friend who has come in to give me counsel and eat lunch with me, who came down from New York at my request when I heard he was up there the other day, I am sure he will be glad to answer questions. Let us run another 10 minutes.

I apologize to whoever said that, but in the light of my long answers-go ahead.

[14.] Q. In the light of the agreement with Russia for a cutback in nuclear war materials, I wonder if you would comment on the general state of relations with Russia and whether you would see any prospect for other early agreements on other matters?

THE PRESIDENT. We are constantly searching for any agreements that can be effected that will ease tensions and promote our national interest and promote better relations. We have several of those in the discussion stage.

We are hopeful, although it would be premature to predict just what the results will be. I did not know what the results would be on the latest proposal that I announced. I did not know what their reaction would be, in fact, until I was being introduced at the Associated Press luncheon. So I think any prediction on what would flow from the suggestions we have made on several subjects would be premature.

I do hope always for better relations. I am searching for them. I am doing everything I can to promote them.

Q. Mr. President--

THE PRESIDENT. Wait a minute. I will get around to all of you once if I can.

[15.] Q. Mr. President, have you or Secretary Rusk heard from any of the Republican candidates to whom you offered to give briefings?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not talked to the Secretary this morning. I was away yesterday. I think he got his communication out. I am informed that at least two of them indicated that they would welcome any information that was available in this field, that would help them know what our national interest was, and what our policy was, and our reasons for pursuing it. At least one of them indicated that he did not care to receive this information. Other than that, I don't know.

[16.] Q. Mr. President, the government, the coalition government, in Laos seems to be having trouble staying coalesced. Could you tell us our position on whether we favor expanding that coalition government?

THE PRESIDENT. Over the last several days we thought the events in Laos were moving in the desired direction of full restoration of the authority of the Government of the National Union of Prince Souvanna. However, we are still disturbed about the situation.

The latest reports received from Ambassador Unger indicate that authority may not really have been returned to the government and that there is still a serious risk of efforts to upset the Geneva Accords, and the earlier agreements on which they rest, and which we strongly favor. We recognize that those participating in these efforts may be inspired by patriotic motives and that the Communist side has been largely responsible for the continuing difficulties and dangers in Laos. Nonetheless, as I said, as a signatory of the Geneva Accords, we continue to believe firmly that these accords must be observed, and we think they must be preserved in both spirit and letter. Our Ambassador has instructions to do all that he can to see that that is brought about.

Our reports on the subject are fragmentary, but that is the policy of our Government.

[17.] Q. Mr. President, some of us have been accused of trying to operate a little boom for your Defense Secretary, to try to talk him up as being a political animal. Do you think he would be good in elective office, or do you wish we would stop talking about him?

THE PRESIDENT. I have never applied the elective yardstick to any of my Secretaries, or anyone else for that matter, including myself, although I have crossed that bridge a few times in past years in various offices. As I have frequently stated, and I don't mind repeating if you missed it —

Q. No, I followed it, but I hoped you would say it a little differently.

THE PRESIDENT. --I do not plan to make any evaluations or make any recommendations or make or conduct any studies or make any reports on the vice presidential prospects until we meet at the national convention in Atlantic City in the latter part of August, at which time I will give a great deal of thought to the subject, and make known my views.

[18.] Q. Mr. President, will this Appalachian program result in an increase in your 1965 budget?

THE PRESIDENT. The answer is no. I stated in the original statement, which I probably read too fast, that we have money in the 1965 budget under the contingent item of $250 million, and that is what we are asking.

[19.] Sir, you said you did not know the upshot of the uranium agreement, or mutual example, until you were about to make the speech before the AP in New York.

THE PRESIDENT. I did not know the extent of the Soviet reaction to what we were doing until they released their statement through TASS, shortly prior to the 2 o'clock New York talk.

Q. In other words, there had been no private communications between you and Mr. Khrushchev.

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, there have been a good many communications. I did not say there had been no communications. I said I did not know what their reaction would be, the extent of it, the definiteness of it, what it covered, how much, and what they were going to do.

Q. Sir, on that point, is it possible for you to tell us some of these other areas in general terms, without saying what might happen, how you can identify--

THE PRESIDENT. Well, we have the consular agreements, we have--I don't think any purpose would be served by talking about them. We have talked about exchanges of various kinds, and our allies, with all of whom I have talked--including the British, Germans, the Canadians, Mexicans, and many dozens of others that I have seen--one of the first subjects on all of our minds and in all of our conversations is, how can we secure peace in our time, in this world; what can we do about it? We are searching for ways and means to reach agreements that will lessen tensions and promote peace.

[20.] Q. How about trade, Mr. President? If some of our allies go ahead with long-term credits, are we ready to go into business with some of the Communist countries?

THE PRESIDENT. Our Foreign Relations Committee, I am glad to say, is now exploring the subject of increasing our trade, the extent of our trade, and the exchanges with the Soviet Union and Communist countries. I think it is a very helpful thing to have the committee do that. We are following their activity with a great deal of interest. We welcome any proposals. We will consider them as we did the wheat proposal and act upon them in accordance with what we believe to be the national interest, depending on the proposal and the time.

[21.] Q. Mr. President, I understand that your Status of Women Program is about to go under water, that you are about to name some submarines after women. I wonder if you consulted with the Navy officers about this to get their reaction?

THE PRESIDENT. No. I would have no objection, but I made no recommendation. My impression reading the story was that the wish was father to the thought. I have no objection to it, and probably would, but the last time I requested a recommendation, I made the recommendation to be named after the great Secretary of State and Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson.

Q. I wondered how the Navy men felt about it.

THE PRESIDENT. I have made no recommendation since, and I was totally unaware of what I was about to do until I saw that. As I must say, I frequently am.

[22.] Q. Mr. President, if we are able to expand our trade with Russia or any of the other members of the Communist bloc, will this make it more difficult for us to persuade our allies to keep the economic squeeze on Cuba?

THE PRESIDENT. I can answer the second part of your question after we get the answer to the first one, and that is being studied, as I said. We have reached no conclusion.

[23.] Q. Mr. President, you said last week that your Council of Economic Advisers is keeping in contact with both labor and management about holding the wageprice line. In Detroit, Henry Ford II said that no price cuts were anticipated in the auto industry. I wondered if you had any indication from any industry at this time that they were agreed to cutting prices?

THE PRESIDENT. We are urging wherever profits will permit that the price line be held or be reduced to the extent they can be. I would not want to get in a name-calling con test of companies. I have talked to some specific companies and congratulated some on their failure to increase prices and congratulated others on the small price increases that they put into effect. I would not want to get into the specific name calling.

I am going to meet on April 28th with some leaders of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, some Business Advisory Council men, the Committee on Economic Development, and I am going to talk about price stability and what inflation can do to the business movement in this country. I am subsequently meeting with labor people. Our people have been in touch with the auto folks. We have not made a specific suggestion in autos.

We had not made any specific request on any companies, although some of them do have rather sizable profits. That is a matter for them to determine. We are suggesting that they not increase prices, and where they can, reduce them, so that we can keep our wholesale price index down, as we did last month, and hope to this month, until we use up our extra capacity and reduce our unemployment. We don't believe that there will be a price increase spiral touched off.

I talked to Mr. Reuther this morning about that. We will meet with the labor people and their wives at the White House dinner in the early part of May, just as we met with the business people. I already have planned what I am going to say. I worked on it yesterday. I had it here early in the morning. I guess I sent it back in there. But I am going to say the same thing to the labor people that I said to the business people.

The meat of what I say to both of them is that the soft-money policy would be dangerous; we want to protect the value of the dollar; that we must realize that the first people to be hurt by inflation are the old people that are living off retirement, and the aged people that are living off frozen income, on old-age assistance; that the workers themselves who have contracts can't afford to stand the inflation and increased prices; that in the long run it would not do business any good.

A house built in 1946 almost costs twice as much to build today, and that means fewer houses being built. It is to the business interest to protect against the inflation as well as labor, and I am calling them in to talk this problem over with them, and to urge them to give me their cooperation in trying to hold the line of wages and prices, something like our guideposts.

In 1946 it cost $10,000 to build the same house it costs us $22,000 to build today. In 1946, with a reasonable down payment and a reasonable mortgage, the house could be bought under FHA for $50 a month. Now it costs $125 a month. So you see what it does to the worker who is buying a house, where his payments have gone up from $50 to $125. A big part of that is inflation, rising costs and rising prices.

If these houses did not cost so much today, if monthly payments were not such a strain, a lot more houses could be built and sold. This means a lot more people could be at work. But the inflation since 1946 is water under the bridge. We know most of it is caused--and so forth.

Reporter: Thank you, again, Mr. President.

[24.] Q. Could we ask those questions that you referred to?

THE PRESIDENT. Would you be willing to answer questions?

PRESIDENT TRUMAN. If you want me to.

Q. You said Mr. Truman had given you some counsel.

THE PRESIDENT. I said I asked him to come down here to counsel with me.

PRESIDENT TRUMAN. Let me tell you something. I want to compliment you birds. You have found out who runs the foreign policy of this country, and I have been trying for 4 years to tell you. Damn it, you have found it out!

[25.] Q. Mr. President, I want to know if the great Missouri political warrior will take the stump for the Democratic ticket?

PRESIDENT TRUMAN. The Democratic ticket will be nominated by the Democratic Convention. The head of the Democratic Party is sitting right here. If he thinks I can do anything to get him extra votes, I will be glad to do it, sir. Does that answer your question?

[26.] THE PRESIDENT. If you have no more questions, I will introduce my daughter Lynda Bird. Maybe you will want to ask her some. I hope it is all right with, you that I let her come in with Jack Valenti this morning.

Hugh S. Sidey, Time and Life magazines: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Johnson's sixteenth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 1:35 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, 1964.

Lyndon B. Johnson, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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