Lyndon B. Johnson photo

The President's News Conference

June 18, 1966

THE PRESIDENT. I have some announcements and appointments, and some statements that I will review with you. The Press Office will have copies of these announcements available as soon after the meeting as possible. When I conclude, I will be glad to attempt to answer any questions that you may have.

HOUSING FOR THE POOR

[1.] Fifteen months ago, I urged the Congress to adopt a new concept in housing for our poor.1 I urged a program to make it economically possible for private enterprise for the first time to take a direct hand in meeting the housing needs of 7 million American families that are living now in substandard dwellings.

1 See 1965 volume, this series, Book I, Item 90 (P. 237).

Last year the Congress enacted the rent supplement program into law. Last month it appropriated the money to put that program into action.2

2The rent supplement program was enacted as part of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965 (Public Law 89-117, 79 Stat. 451). Legislation appropriating funds for the program was approved by the President on May 13, 1966, and September 6, 1966 (see Items 223, 439).

Today we are ready to begin assigning the funds to the first projects. Secretary Weaver has set aside over $600,000 to provide for more than 1,000 units of modest but decent housing.

These projects are located in Boston, in Cleveland, in the Delta area of Mississippi, in New Orleans, in New York, in Omaha, in Pasco, Washington, in Philadelphia, in Providence, in Saginaw, Michigan, in San Antonio, and in the Watts area of Los Angeles.

The project in Providence climaxes a dream begun nearly a century ago. In 1883 a Dr. Chase Wiggins set up a trust to found the Building, Sanitary and Educational Association to build housing for the laboring classes. He stipulated, however, that the money could not be used until the trust reached $500,000.

That event has coincided with the inauguration of the rent supplement pro, gram--and the association will now sponsor its first housing.

In Omaha, Nebraska, an association for the blind was formed in 1946. Through contributions made to its White Cane Drive, it accumulated enough money to buy some land. Now, with the rent supplements, it can build on that land low cost housing for blind people with low incomes.

These examples are just a beginning. They should be a spur to further action.

All that remains is for the Senate to approve the regular appropriation bill to carry this program forward. Today I urge them once again to do so. This promise to our poor must be fulfilled and I believe it will be.

THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

NOMINATION OF JOHN HUGH CRIMMINS AS

AMBASSADOR

[2.] I want to announce that I intend to nominate John Hugh Crimmins of Maryland as United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. He will succeed W. Tapley Bennett, who has been assigned as Ambassador to Portugal.

Secretary Rusk, Assistant Secretary Gordon--he's Assistant Secretary for Latin America--and Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker3 each recommend Mr. Crimmins for this important post.

3 Dean Rusk, Secretary of State, Lincoln Gordon, Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs and U.S. Coordinator, Alliance for Progress, and Ellsworth Bunker, U.S. Representative to the Council of the Organization of American States.

Mr. Crimmins is one of our outstanding career Foreign Service officers. He has had wide experience in Latin American affairs, particularly in the Caribbean area and in the economic field.

His recent assignments include duty in our Embassy in Rio de Janeiro. From late 1961 to February 1963 he served as Director of the Office of Caribbean and Mexican Affairs and then as Coordinator of Cuban Affairs until 1965.

Since January, Mr. Crimmins has served with distinction as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d'Affaires in Santo Domingo. He is proficient in Spanish and Portuguese. His demonstrated competence, experience, and language ability make him very well qualified for this special assignment.

This appointment continues our policy of rewarding those in our career service who have demonstrated their merit and their capacity to handle posts of the highest responsibility.

U.S. REPRESENTATION AT INAUGURATION

[3.] We have received a note from the Provisional Government of the Dominican Republic inviting the United States to send a special mission to the inauguration of President-elect Joaquin Balaguer on July 1. I have asked Vice President Humphrey to represent the United States on this important occasion--as it was my privilege to do at the inauguration of President Bosch4 in 1963.

4 Juan Bosch, former President of the Dominican Republic.

He will carry the best wishes of this country to the President-elect and the Dominican nation as they resume constitutional government and launch a new effort to seek economic prosperity and social justice under the Alliance for Progress.

The Dominican Republic deserves the salute of us all for the free and fair elections and the massive participation of the Dominican people in them.

The victory belongs to the Dominican people for making the electoral process an effective instrument for expressing their will. But it belongs also to the leaders of the Dominican Republic--to Provisional President Garcia-Godoy, Dr. Balaguer, Professor Bosch, Dr. Bonnelly5--for their leadership and their high sense of responsibility.

5 Rafael Bonnelly, former President of the Dominican Republic.

The Organization of American States can take great satisfaction over its helpful contribution. For the victory of the Dominican people is shared by all the peoples of this hemisphere.

The Dominican Government and the people know that they can count on the continued support of the Organization of American States. The United States, for its part, stands ready to cooperate in mutual efforts under the Alliance for Progress to advance the economic and social well-being of the Dominican people.

TRIBUTE TO AMBASSADOR ELLSWORTH BUNKER

[4.] Finally, I wish to say a few words about Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker. He belongs not only to the United States but to the hemisphere. He has rendered great service to both.

Wise in the ways of statecraft, unvacillating in his faith in the democratic process, tenacious in the pursuit of fair solutions, firm and patient in the face of adversity, respected by all for his integrity and impartiality-he has brought high honor to himself and his country and the Organization of American States which he represented.

OTHER PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENTS AND

NOMINATIONS

[5.] I have spent some time yesterday and today and preceding days on appointments. I am delighted to announce today that I expect to nominate for reappointment Gerald F. Tape of New York to be a member of the Atomic Energy Commission for a term of 5 years, expiring June 30, 1971.

I expect to nominate Dr. Samuel M. Nabrit, president of Texas Southern University, as a member of the Atomic Energy Commission, to succeed Mrs. Mary I. Bunting, for a term expiring June 30, 1970.

I expect to reappoint Rosel H. Hyde as a member of the Federal Communications Commission and to designate him as Commission Chairman. He is now a Republican appointee to that Commission.

I also intend to nominate Nicholas Johnson, present Federal Maritime Administrator, to fill the existing vacancy on the Federal Communications Commission created by the resignation of E. William Henry.

I intend to nominate Winthrop Knowlton to be Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs to replace Merlyn Trued, who has recently resigned.

I have today accepted with regret the resignation of Adm. William F. Raborn as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

To replace Admiral Raborn, I am naming Richard McGarrah Helms, who is currently serving as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

I also intend to appoint Mr. Henry D. Owen as the new Chairman of the Policy Planning Council replacing Mr. Rostow. Mr. Owen is currently Acting Chairman of the Policy Planning Council at the State Department.

U.S. REPRESENTATION AT GUATEMALAN

INAUGURATION

[6.] I have asked Governor John Connally6 to head our delegation to the inauguration of President-elect Mendez Montenegro June 28 to July 2.

6 Of Texas.

President-elect Montenegro has been the distinguished dean of the law school at San Carlos University. He leaves the classroom to assume the highest office of his country. The Guatemalan people, in reaffirming their faith in constitutional government through free and peaceful elections, have picked one of their most distinguished educators to guide their destiny for the next 4 years. I have asked Governor Connally and the delegation accompanying him to carry the best wishes of the United States Government and people to the Guatemalan nation for this historic occasion.

STATEMENT ON VIETNAM

[7.] In the past few weeks the battle in Vietnam has become more intense. The large forces infiltrated from the North into South Vietnam in recent months are now being engaged--sometimes at their initiative, sometime at ours. The forces of South Vietnam, the United States, and our allies have responded with skill, courage, and effectiveness.

During this period my advisers and I have--almost on a daily basis--continued closely to examine and to scrutinize what the aggressor has been doing and our own course of action.

We have examined the alternatives open to us--including all suggestions from those who have not shared our views.

In the light of the full information available to the President of the United States, we sincerely feel that the national interest requires that we persist in our present policy. That policy is to bring to bear the ground, naval, and air strength required to achieve our objective.

I must observe that this does not mean that we shall not increase our forces or our operations. It is not good national policy publicly to declare to those conducting aggression that there are particular limits on how we shall act to defeat that aggression.

But our objectives remain what they have been:

--to guarantee that infiltration, subversion, and terror mounted and infiltrated from North Vietnam cannot swallow or conquer South Vietnam;

--to permit the people of South Vietnam to select their own government and to build a way of life which conforms to their own traditions and desires.

In meeting this objective, we must also reassure the world that America's agreements, once they are made, are not broken.

We are not fighting to remain in South Vietnam, not to hold bases there, not to control the affairs of that people.

We are there to defeat aggression, to permit a young nation to develop its own destiny, to help its people rebuild and create a modern nation even before the guns go silent.

But to these limited objectives we are fully committed.

What are our prospects?

I must frankly tell you that our intelligence indicates that the aggressor presently bases his hopes, we think, more on political differences in Saigon and Washington than on his military capacity in South Vietnam. While we have differences and divisions, I want our men in the field and our people at home to know that our course is resolute, that our conviction is firm, and we shall not be diverted from doing what is necessary in the Nation's interest and the cause of freedom.

By every evidence available to us, the majority of the people of South Vietnam seem determined to fight for the right to work out their own affairs. They want to go forward with economic reform, with greater social justice, and a constitutional government.

They must do this in the midst of a bitter and ugly war. Since January 1, 1966, we have lost 2,200 of our men; the South Vietnamese have lost 4,300 of their men; our allies have lost 250 of their men.

But the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese have lost three times our combined losses. They have lost 22,500 of their men.

Our attacks on military targets in North Vietnam have imposed a growing burden on those who support the insurgency in the South. We must continue to raise the cost of aggression at its source. And that is the sole purpose of our use of air strength against selected military targets.

In the South, I am encouraged that the Vietnamese are carrying forward the first steps in building a constitutional process. I discussed that at some length this week with Ambassador Porter, who was here in company with Mr. Komer.7

7William J. Porter, Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Vietnam, and Robert W. Komer, Special Assistant to the President for Peaceful Reconstruction in Vietnam.

The rules for electing a constituent assembly on September 11 have now been formulated. We can expect continued ferment even after the elections are held. Rival political forces are contending for power. This is natural and this is inevitable at this point in the political life of a developing nation.

We shall continue to back the Vietnamese effort to achieve government by the consent of the people, even as they fight the war.

Economically, important steps are underway to control inflation. You will see announcements about them on the tickers today-to expand the flow of supplies to the people, to carry forward the Vietnamese program of revolutionary development.

Here in the United States I believe our people are determined to see this through. In recent primaries, not one candidate for Congress was able to make opposition to the resistance of aggression in South Vietnam a successful position. And more than 125 have now been passed upon by their constituencies. A minority of our people are willing to pull out. Another minority are prepared to see us use our total power. The rest of us, while we may debate this or that dimension of policy, are determined that this Nation honor its responsibility, and its commitment, to help Vietnam turn back aggression from the North.

We must go forward as nations and men have always gone forward in dark moments, confident that when they are right they will prevail. I am confident that we shall gain an honorable peace in South Vietnam.

There are, I believe, very few governments among the more than 120 in the world who do not wish to see an honorable peace at the earliest possible moment. To those few I would say this:

There is honor for all in making peace. Let the killing stop.

As the Government of Vietnam said in the Declaration of Honolulu,8 "stop killing your brothers, sisters, their elders and their children --come and work through constitutional democracy to build together . . . a life of dignity, freedom and peace .... "

8 See Item 55.

Look about us in Asia.

Look at the vitality, the economic and social progress of the nine Asian and Pacific nations meeting in Korea.

Look at the new resolve in Indonesia to come to grips with their problems of economic and social development.

Look at the new determination of India and Pakistan to work for their people and to live in peace. Look at the new efforts of the people of Asia to come together and work together in peace.

Ask yourselves: What is the wave of the future?

Is it aggression?

Is it for one nation to conquer another?

Or is it for us all to work together as brothers in growing more food, building more schools, providing better health to all of our people?

I genuinely and sincerely believe it is the latter.

I will be glad now to take questions from you for whatever period of time you feel desirable

QUESTIONS

POSSIBILITY OF TAX INCREASE

[8.] Q. Mr. President, there have been some varying forecasts from members of the Cabinet, Secretary Fowler and Secretary Connor,9 as to the prospects of a tax increase. I am wondering if you could clear the situation up as of now?

9 Henry H. Fowler, Secretary of the Treasury, and John T. Connor, Secretary of Commerce.

THE PRESIDENT. Twenty-five years ago I would have been concerned about what I have seen about the quotations from the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of the Treasury. But when I read their statements, I seem to detect that they are expressing in response to inquiries made of them their views about what may develop in this particular field.

I don't think any of us are in a position to state at this time, nor do I desire to speculate on what a decision might be. We are watching all the factors that must be considered, primarily the appropriations measures that are being guided through the Congress, the Government budget itself, and our expenditures in Vietnam, as well as the private factors in the economy.

When we have gone further along with our appropriation bills, and when we have seen evidences that we think justify a decision, I will announce one.

I have not interpreted what the Secretary of Commerce or the Secretary of the Treasury has said as being a positive statement of policy of this administration, but rather as their personal feelings, and perhaps a speculation.

As for me, I do not care to speculate and am not in a position to do so now, because the interpretation that would be placed on it might bring about some misunderstandings and misapprehensions. I think it is best to just wait until a decision is made--then announce it.

ON BOMBING HANOI

[9.] Q. Mr. President, would you please explain for us why it is wrong for us to bomb the capital in North Vietnam, and who has ordered this theory into the policy?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think I would want to comment on the tactics or strategy at this point.

Q. Don't you think the people would understand better if you did?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I have to be guided by my best judgment in the matter. I will have to do that.

STATEMENTS OF CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS

[10.] Q. Mr. President, on the march from Memphis to Jackson,10 some of the present leaders of that march have made statements that are considered quite inflammatory and alarming by a lot of people-such as seizing power and burning down courthouses. I wonder what your reaction is to that march?

THE PRESIDENT. I have not seen the statements that you refer to. I will take a look at them.

10Civil rights march through the State of Mississippi, conducted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, for the purpose of encouraging Negroes to register to vote. The marchers reached Jackson, Miss., on June 26 and held a rally of 15,000 persons before the State Capitol.

WILLINGNESS OF HANOI TO NEGOTIATE

[11.] Q. Mr. President, there is a Canadian envoy now in Hanoi, and a French envoy is going there presumably to probe the North Vietnamese position on negotiations. Do you see anything in the situation now which would lend any credence to any disposition on the part of North Vietnam to negotiate?

THE PRESIDENT. I have no information that I could make available that would give you any encouragement.

POSSIBILITY OF A MEETING WITH GENERAL

DE GAULLE

[12.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Mansfield,11 among others, proposes that a meeting between you and President de Gaulle12 might now be useful. Do you think such a meeting would be useful at this time?

THE PRESIDENT. I would of course be very happy to see General de Gaulle if he felt a visit would be useful. I am not familiar with any suggestion Senator Mansfield has made in that regard.

11Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana, majority leader of the Senate.

12Gen. Charles de Gaulle, President of France. 13 On December 8, 1966, the President announced that an agreement had been reached between the United States and other member nations of the United Nations Outer Space Committee on a draft treaty to govern space exploration (see Item 643).

General de Gaulle would always be welcome. Our representatives are in constant touch with his government. And we feel no lack of communication.

RUSSIAN INTEREST IN A SPACE TREATY

[13.] Q. Mr. President, would you give us your reaction, sir, to renewed Russian interest in a space treaty, and whether you think that this might lead to other agreements with the Soviet Union?

THE PRESIDENT. I did not hear you.

Q. Could you give us your reaction to this renewed Russian interest in a treaty on space and the moon, and whether you think that might lead to other agreements?

THE PRESIDENT. We welcome any indication from them at any time in matters of this nature. We have made our proposal. We are very hopeful that our proposal and theirs can be carefully considered--and will prove fruitful.13

13On December 8, 1966, the President announced that an agreement had been reached between the United States and other member nations of the United Nations Outer Space committee on a draft treaty to govern space exploration (see Item 643).

ADMIRAL RABORN'S RESIGNATION

[14.] Q. Mr. President, would you care to amplify on your brief announcement of Admiral Raborn's resignation? Is it health or other affairs?

THE PRESIDENT. No. Admiral Raborn had retired. I asked him upon the resignation of Mr. McCone to come here to serve for a period that would be agreeable to him, for such time as he might feel that he could do it. I told him at that time that Mr. Helms would be his Deputy Director and I would hope that Mr. Helms could succeed him at the end of his tour of duty.

He considered my request and although he had no desire to return to Washington, he agreed to come and serve for an indefinite period. He has done that; now he desires to return to California.

Mr. Helms is agreeable to accepting responsibilities heretofore administered by Admiral Raborn.

PROBLEMS OF THE PRESIDENCY

[15.] Q. Mr. President, what is the order of priority of your worries these days? Given the urgent demands of Vietnam, how do you fit in the concerns of NATO, civil rights, the congressional elections, and so forth?

THE PRESIDENT. I think they are all problems in the life of a President. He must try to give whatever time is necessary to each problem and to apply the best judgment that he can to it. That I try to do.

I have a great deal of assistance and a great many helpmates. I am very thankful for the quality of my advisers. I have never worked up any priority of worries.

We do have problems and concerns from day to day. But we have so much more to be grateful for and thankful for, and be encouraged about, than we do to worry about.

When I look about the world, I sometimes feel that conditions may be somewhat depressing to us here in the United States. I look at the problems of other leaders--I don't know of a single one whose situation I would trade for ours. I know of none that is not confronted with somewhat the same types of problems and the same types of worries and sometimes much more aggravating and much more serious than mine have been up to now.

PUBLIC OPINION POLLS

[ 16.] Q. Do the polls worry you?

THE PRESIDENT. No. We always would like to see what we do and what we say approved by our associates and by our constituency-but that is not always the case. When it is not, we regret it and take due notice of it and engage in proper introspection.

But polls vary from week to week and month to month. Those are things that we do not ignore, but they are not one of my burdens.

ON A POSSIBLE MEETING WITH COMMUNIST

CHINA

[17.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Mansfield also suggested--urged a meeting between Secretary Rusk and the Foreign Minister of Communist China. Can you give us your reaction as to whether you think this would be useful?

THE PRESIDENT. I read Senator Mansfield's speech with a great deal of interest and pleasure. I asked Secretary Rusk to give the majority leader's observations very careful consideration. He is doing that.

I have not discussed in detail with Senator Mansfield any information he may have about the willingness of the Chinese Foreign Minister to meet with Secretary Rusk. But I think we have made it very clear that we will be delighted to review the Senator's views, any information he has, and give careful consideration to them.

VIETNAM WAR COSTS

[18.] Q. Mr. President, in January the administration's estimate for the cost of the war in Vietnam in fiscal 1967 was $10.5 billion. I wondered as the beginning of the fiscal year approaches if there has been any revision of that figure up or down?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, the expenditures vary from month to month. You have high months and low months. The first several months they ran about as estimated. We had a month or two where they were high, and we had a month or two where they were less than expected.

We do not have any recent figures. We are trying to get as much information as we can as fast as we can this month. We would like to see the expenditure figure go up some because it would mean that we would get earlier deliveries and increase our effort.

But I am not in a position today to give you with any degree of accuracy what it will be. We have ample funds to take care of our needs. The Congress has provided generously for us, even more than I have asked in certain fields.

Perhaps early in July, the first 10 days, I can give you a little better figure on the fiscal year. It is not a great deal different, in my judgment, from what I have said before. We expect the deficit to be considerably less than we anticipated in January. That will be largely due to an increase in revenues. I would hope that some small part of it, a few hundred millions, could be the result of reduction in domestic expenditures or stretch-out in them.

My Budget Director constantly admonishes me not to give any hard and fast figure. In a budget of over $100 billion, with a 1 percent variance, it is very easy to be off a billion dollars. But I would say within that range that our deficit would probably be, instead of $6.4 billion as we predicted last January-it will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 billion to $4 billion deficit.

That estimate could be off a few hundred million. But the deficit will be much less than we predicted in January, and we think, much less than we predicted 18 months ago. We are very pleased with the administrators of this administration for having always had less deficit than they predicted--which is quite unusual they tell me in budget history. In our 3 Johnson administration years we have had less deficit each year than we promised.

We could have some unusual emergency come up, but I don't think we will miss it much in the next 12 days of this month.

COMMENTS OF U.S. SENATORS ABROAD

[19.] Q. Mr. President, can you give us your thinking, sir, on the propriety of a United States Senator going abroad and making critical comments about the internal policy of another nation?

THE PRESIDENT. I think that it would be a better policy to let the Senators judge the propriety of their own actions. It is not for the executive branch to be passing upon statements of Senators.

There are a great many statements made by the Senate that an Executive will approve of, and some maybe that he will disapprove of. But I don't think, as a general policy, it is wise for us to set up any censorship down here. I just have to leave it up to their judgment.

QUESTIONS ON THE VIETNAM STATEMENT

[20.] Q. Mr. President, you have today restated your determination to see the Vietnam war through. How can this point be made more clearly to Hanoi and the Vietcong? Isn't that the central problem?

THE PRESIDENT. I would hope that they take notice of our actions from time to time and I believe they do--of which the statement today is a part.

Q. Mr. President, in that connection, does the statement imply or mean that there may be a step-up in air strikes in North Vietnam?

THE PRESIDENT. I think you just have to take the statement and read it. We will stand on it. I would not want to get boxed in by a commitment to the New York Times that I would do this or that. I would want to feel at liberty to do whatever the national policy required, as I said in the statement.

And I think it is very clear on that, when you have a chance to read it. I know you would want your country to have some flexibility in case our national interests required it. If it does, I assure you we will exercise it.

FUTURE MEETINGS WITH SOUTH VIETNAMESE LEADERS

[21.] Q. Mr. President, do you still hope to meet Premier Ky14 in Honolulu this summer?

THE PRESIDENT. We would like to have further meetings between representatives of this Government and the South Vietnamese Government as the civil program develops, as we step up our education and health and election methods--the general things we discussed at Honolulu.

14 Nguyen Cao Ky, Prime Minister of South Viet-Nam.

Just when that will be, and just who will be there will have to be determined by the events. But we do expect periodically to check on what advancements have been made and try to improve our efforts and expedite them as much as possible.

Mr. Komer will be going out there Sunday to meet with the leaders of the South Vietnamese Government and our own staff in this general field. As a result of his meetings with Mr. Porter, we have made a number of decisions and approved some of the suggestions of the Government of Vietnam. We will be cooperating in them.

A little later there will be other Cabinet members going out. I would hope that sometime during the year, after sufficient time elapses for our agricultural, education and health, and electoral programs to make headway that we can take a good look at them and see how they can be improved and expedited.

THE NEED FOR MAINTAINING A FLEXIBLE POSITION ON VIETNAM

[22.] Q. Mr. President, on your Vietnamese announcement, sir, would you care to give us your view, as you have at sometimes in the past, as to whether the expanded military activities will increase the risk of widening the war?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I think I will stand on my statement because I don't want to be speculative. I do not see that there is much to be gained by telegraphing your shots to the aggressor.

I tried to anticipate the yearning for particular moves of this kind, and to cover it in my statement. I don't want to get fenced in by a commitment to the Washington Post or any other person, so that I feel we can be flexible when we need to.

THE PRESIDENT'S CAMPAIGN PLANS

[23.] Q. Mr. President, can you tell us how you feel about a President campaigning in off-year elections and whether you intend to do so this fall?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think that the president certainly ought to and has the right to make his views known to his people. That is what I am doing this morning and expect to do so as long as I have these responsibilities.

I have no specific plans at this time. I have no doubt but what I will be expressing my views from time to time. There will be various interpretations placed upon them.

If I plan to go out in the hinterlands, I will be glad to try to give you as much notice as I have myself. I haven't made any decisions on any place at this time.

Q. Mr. President, Congressman Ford15 is quoted this morning as now calling the Vietnam war "President Johnson's War." Do you feel that this or other things that have been said lately are harming the bipartisan approach to the effort?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't--I wouldn't want to comment on that. Let's not provoke any difficulties within the Government.

15 Representative Gerald R. Ford of Michigan, minority leader of the House of Representatives.

THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL

[24.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if you would give us your views on the chances of passing the open housing section of the civil rights bill?

THE PRESIDENT. We have made our recommendations. We see the developments and the problems. I talked to the Attorney General last night about the situation. I talked to some of the Members of Congress today. We do have difficulties. We are trying to resolve them and get a bill that can be approved by a majority of the Congress. We hope we will be successful.

I am not sure at this moment what will be the result of the Attorney General's conferences and his efforts with various individuals. The Members seem to be willing to give consideration to various approaches. They are making some. We are making some. I just have to see how successful we are.

Generally speaking, we are hopeful we will get a good civil rights bill as near our recommendations as possible. We don't always get all we ask for.

We have asked for about 91 bills this session and we expect the House to act on almost 70 of them before they leave on July 4. In the Senate, of the 91 there are about 33 that remain to be acted upon. We expect some of them to be acted on between now and the holidays. We think that the Congress will act very sympathetically on our recommendations as a general matter.

THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

[25.] Q. Mr. President, when the Dominican crisis began last year, there were a lot of predictions of gloom and doom with our policies and those of the OAS with regard to the eventual outcome of events of the situation there. I wonder how you feel now that the thing has worked out pretty well. I wonder if you could give us your thoughts on that?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I did that in my statement. There is very little I can add to that, except that we went through a very difficult and trying period there, as we frequently do with problems in various parts of the world. But under the skilled leadership of the Provisional President, Garcia-Godoy, and Ambassador Bunker and the members of the OAS group, the people-more than a million of them--went to the polls and had a free choice. They selected a government of their own choosing. And very shortly that President will be inaugurated.

The decision was a decisive one. I have paid due recognition to the efforts of all parties involved, Mr. Bonnelly, Professor Bosch, Mr. Balaguer, and Ambassador Bunker. I would say that we are rather glad that the Dominican people had an election and they have made the decision. We look forward to working with them and helping in any way we can in their new efforts with their constitutional government.

Al Spivak, United Press International: Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Johnson's sixty-fifth news conference was held in his office at the White House at 11:40 a.m. on Saturday, June 18, 1966. The President later repeated portions of the conference before cameras in the White House Theater.

Lyndon B. Johnson, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/238721

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