The President's News Conference at the LBJ Ranch
THE PRESIDENT. Good morning. You are mighty welcome here. I hope you enjoy your visit to the hill country as much as I anticipate that we will.
I had a very refreshing couple of hours here before the sun went down yesterday. After lunch we plan to take a ride through the ranch to see the cattle, do some horseback riding, and probably go over to the lake later in the afternoon.
[1.] Next week I have asked a group of businessmen to meet with me on Thursday, July 23d, for lunch at the White House; a group of labor leaders to meet with me on July 24th, at a reception later in the afternoon. These meetings will be an exchange of views on the state of the economy and the state of the world. I have carried them on periodically in the 7 months that I have been in the Presidency. I seek the advice and counsel of these leaders in American industry and labor. I think it is important to the future of our economy and to our relations with the other nations in the world.
[2.] As I told you earlier this week, the Budget Bureau has been assembling the data that came in on the fiscal year that ended June 30th. I now have the closing figures on the budget expenditures, receipts, and Federal civilian employment for the fiscal year 1964 which ended last June 30th. As far as I know, none of you are in a hurry this morning, so we will take ample time, we will have our usual 15 or 20 questions, whatever you want, afterwards, and we don't have any deadlines. There are printed copies of this statement, so you don't have to take everything by notes. They will be available to you. We have a chart here. It may be helpful to you in working it out. I am very happy that on every count the news is good this Saturday.
Our expenditures for the fiscal year which just ended June 30th were $97 billion 700 million. President Kennedy estimated those expenditures when he asked the Congress to give him money for that year. He estimated those expenditures at $98.8 billion, so we are down more than $1 billion from the original 1964 budget estimate. We have spent $1 billion less than we estimated we would spend.
When I came in in January and put some new ceilings on and called the Cabinet and independent agencies together and asked them to effect economies and to curtail every possible expenditure, we revised the estimate to $98.4 billion. We placed quarterly ceilings on employment. We asked each department to become cost conscious. We had Secretary McNamara review with others some of the efforts that he had made in that figure, and we revised our estimate in the second quarter, after we placed our ceilings, to $98.3 billion. That is down $700 million from the original January estimate.
We have just concluded expenditures on June 30th. The first few days in July we tabulated them, and we now find that our expenditures were $97-7, from the $98.3 estimate that was made in May. So the net of it is that we are down $1 billion 100 million from our estimate.
That accounts for the spending process during this fiscal year that just ended and this is the first definite, accurate figure that we have on the actual expenditures that were certified to me. These charts were made up yesterday evening. They are the source of the material from the Director of the Budget, Mr. Gordon.
Now we will go over the receipts as estimated and actual. We do not have a chart. The receipts as estimated were $89 billion 400 million.
Q. That was in January?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Up $2.5 billion from the original 1964 budget estimate-$89.4 billion is what we took in. That is up $2.5 billion from the original 1964 budget estimate, up $1 billion from the revised estimate in last January's budget while most of the same is $89.5 billion reestimate that we made 2 months ago.
So, summarizing, we took in $89 billion 400 million. We estimated that we would take in about $87 billion; we are up $2.5 billion over that, $86.9 billion. That gives you a figure for your deficit for the year. The deficit was $8.3 billion actual. We estimated in January that it would be $11.9--
Q. January 1963?
THE PRESIDENT. --when President Kennedy submitted it. You will remember the record budget deficit during the Eisenhower administration was approximately that. We had a $12 billion figure for Mr. Eisenhower, and for President Kennedy--you will recall a great deal of publicity about it--at about $11.9 billion.
From November until January, the 37 days that we all went through in that cost-conscious program and budget preparation, we reduced that estimate, and we announced it at $10 billion. In May, when we got in our reports, again, after meeting with the Cabinet, we cut it to $8.8, and the actual expenditure is $8.3 billion. The details on these receipts and expenditures will be available next week when the Treasury completes its work and issues the June Treasury statement.
Federal civilian employment in the executive branch on June 30th totaled 2,468,700 employees. This is a subject on which you get reports from Senator Byrd's committee from time to time. All of us are interested in it, and we have attempted to make every department head very conscious of it. That means that we are down actually from the January estimate submitted to the Congress for the budget to 101,800 employees. We are down 43,700 from the revision carried in the budget last January. I believe this is 59 that was cut out from January ('63) to January ('64) and 43 from January to now. We are down 28,500 from our latest employment ceiling. We are down from the actual number on the rolls 1 year ago. We are down 15,900 by actual number on the rolls 2 years ago.
That is a very interesting chart, but the net of it is from the day we sent our budget until we completed it, we are down 101,800 from what we estimated, and we are actually 15,900 lower than the actual number that we had on the payroll 2 years ago, notwithstanding the fact that this budget was about $5 billion over the preceding budget and up until this year, the last 3 years our budgets have been increasing at the rate of about $5 billion a year because of increased schools and roads and health and unfilled needs that an increased population requires from time to time.
The dollar outflow abroad resulted in Federal programs--was reduced in fiscal '64 as a result of vigorous action taken by the executive branch. The estimated '64 overseas payments by the Federal Government dropped $380 million, and regular receipts rose by $16 million, compared with the previous year. This means that the net dollar outflow from Federal programs decreased in fiscal year 1964 by $500 million, about 18 percent. This is a net improvement of $300 million since I sent the budget to Congress last January.
I thought maybe you would be interested in some of the productivity gains in some of the Government agencies and how we have helped to reduce Government employment since last year, and I have some specific illustrations.
The Treasury's Division of Disbursement improved employee output by more than 14 percent over 1963 due to electronic data processing improvements, consolidation of many field offices, streamlining procedures, elimination of red tape. This is the equivalent of the work of over 200 employees.
The Veterans Administration insurance program increased the productivity of its manpower by 24 percent. That is the equivalent of 600 employees.
The Federal Aviation Agency's Systems Maintenance Service achieved a 6 percent increase which results in a saving of about 600 man-years.
The decisions to close or reduce field installations were taken by the Tennessee Valley Authority--52 installations.
Department of Interior closed 6.
Treasury Department closed 35 throughout the country.
The Post Office Department closed 469 post offices.
The Treasury Department closed 20 local operations.
Federal Aviation Agency closed 3 manned facilities and eliminated intermediate airfields and consolidated air traffic control.
The Department of State closed 13 unheeded consulates.
We will continue the drive to close down or curtail any installation which is not necessary to perform essential functions, much as we have done in the closing down of the obsolete military installations throughout the country.
We have inaugurated a drive to lessen the burden placed on private industry by Government requests for reports. The annual number of responses will be reduced by 2,851,000. One hundred and ninety-five forms involving almost two million responses were eliminated entirely. Ninety five new reports were started in this period so that the net result of this drive has been either to discontinue or to simplify 320 reports representing a net reduction in annual responses of 2.5 million.
Small savings are not being neglected either. A review of Government publications has produced savings of nearly $2 million. Two hundred and forty existing publications were eliminated; 130 proposed publications were canceled; 50 were consolidated.
In our foreign aid program we have effected substantial economies and improved the administration.
As you will recall, the Executive asked the Congress for $4.9 billion for foreign aid in last year's budget. We reduced that request by $1.4 billion to $3.5, although in fairness General Clay1 reduced it from $4.9 to $4.5 billion after his review.
1 General Lucius D. Clay, Chairman of the Committee to Strengthen the Security of the Free World.
We have insisted on rigorous self-help standards, saving, in two cases alone, $30 million.
By diligent efforts to maximize the participation of other free-world lenders, in one case we required other donors to contribute $21 million more than the plans submitted to us..
By strong efforts to use local currency instead of dollars, we have saved $16.5 million on another program.
By improving AID procurement practices, including use of excess U.S. Government property instead of buying new equipment, we have saved $32 million.
This cost reduction has the priority concern of every department and agency, and it will continue to be. Each one of them will have delivered to them today a copy of this report.
Secretary McNamara's cost reduction program in the Department of Defense actually realized savings of $2.5 billion compared with the initial forecast of $1.5.
The Space Agency reduction goal of $81 million, which was established in the fiscal year 1964, has been exceeded by $128 million.
In the Post Office, June 1964, the goal was 3,164 less than June 1962, while mail volume was 3,760,000 pieces more than in 1962. So with 3, 164 less people they handled 3.7 billion more pieces of mail. If output per postal worker today were the same as 1961, the cost of operating the Post Office would have had to be $140 million more.
In concluding, I want to say that few if any of these accomplishments were easy to come by. It took hard work and in many cases courage, and was due a great deal to the thinking, initiative, and the imagination of a good many of our career employees, led by people in the Budget Bureau and in the departments themselves who are determined to get these expenditures under control and to save everything possible, primarily to get a dollar's worth of value out of every dollar spent. Saving money is always hard. Spending it is always easy.
[3.] I have a statement here on economic facts which I will distribute to you.2 It has some new information which I think will be of great interest considering what is happening in the automobile field in Detroit and their employment gains.
2 See Item 463.
Their unemployment was 15.5 percent in 1961. That has been reduced to 4.6 in May of this year.
The retail sales figures, the after-tax income, as revised, will be available to you and you can say that I used it, and if you want it for sound, I will be glad to repeat it, but I won't take your time to go over it now.
[4.] I have a brief announcement that the United States and the United Kingdom tested a low-yield British nuclear device underground at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission's test site in Nevada yesterday.
The test was requested by the British Government and was conducted under the Agreement for Cooperation on the Uses of Atomic Energy for Mutual Defense Purposes.
Both governments were satisfied that substantial technical and military benefits could be obtained. The test was carried out within the framework of the limited nuclear test ban treaty of August 1963.
I will have that statement distributed to you so you don't need to copy it.3
3 The statement, dated July 18, reads as follows:
The United States and the United Kingdom tested a low-yield British nuclear device underground at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission's test site in Nevada yesterday (July 17).
The test was requested by the British Government and was conducted under the Agreement for Cooperation on the Uses of Atomic Energy for Mutual Defense Purposes, which has been in effect between the two countries since August 4, 1958-
Both governments were satisfied that substantial technical and military benefits could be obtained by testing a British nuclear device underground as part of a continuing nuclear research program. The test was carried out within the framework of the limited nuclear test ban treaty of August 1963.
[5.] Some of the factual reports which I read daily have recently given me cause for concern regarding organized violence by small groups who mask their identity. I condemn as do most Americans the use of violence and terror by clandestine hate organizations. Savagery of this or any other kind is completely alien to the entire moral and political tradition of the United States.
The effort to force, bully, and intimidate American citizens--to prevent them from claiming their rights under the Constitution-must be stopped. State and local governments have been working to halt such terrorism. I urge them to continue this work and I assure them and all Americans that if local enforcement is inadequate, the Federal Government will always promptly assist local authorities to maintain order as long as the lives and security of our fellow citizens are in danger.
In fact, I would like to say something about the entire subject of effective political action to secure human rights.
To those seeking to secure their rights, the Constitution provides a hallowed and an effective path. That is the path of peaceful petition and legal recourse; that, of course, is free speech and free election. Along that road have come, throughout our entire history, the great warriors in the battle to extend human freedom. Where their cause was just, they have prevailed. As long as that road is open to those who wage daily struggles for civil rights, they have an obligation to follow it. And most of them, I believe, are following it. Any other course will place in question the entire, centuries-old tradition of peaceful settlement of man's just claims to liberty. Once we have destroyed the fabric of this tradition, then the liberties of all of us are in danger.
And where we have had reports of violence such as we have had in Philadelphia, Miss., and such as we have had of the killing of a lieutenant colonel on Federal travel returning from his training course this summer,4 the Federal Government has immediately sent to the scene investigative forces to cooperate with the bureau of investigation of the State and the local officials, and we are going to leave no stone unturned until we find the answers to those heinous crimes. I am now ready for questions.
4 Lt. Col. Lemuel A. Penn of the Army Reserve, a Negro educator, was shot while driving along the highway near Athens, Ga., on July 11, while returning to Washington after 2 weeks' training at Fort Benning, Ga.
[6.] Q. Mr. President, your mention of hate organizations leads to another question. In the wake of the Republican Convention in San Francisco, Governor Rockefeller last night issued a statement in which he took issue with Senator Goldwater's references to extremism and moderation, and Governor Rockefeller said that the extremism of communism, the Ku Klux Klan and the John Birch Society, for example, had always been claimed by these groups to be in the defense of liberty.
When you speak of hate organizations, sir, are you referring, say, specifically to the Ku Klux Klan or the Birch Society, and how did you react to the way this subject was treated in San Francisco?
THE PRESIDENT. I refer to all hate organizations under whatever name they mask and prowl and spread their venom. I am not one who believes that the end justifies the means.
Q. Mr. President, referring back to Mr. Smith's question, Governor Rockefeller and also Governor Brown of California said they were disturbed that the effect of the statement by Senator Goldwater would be to encourage these extremist groups who think of their own cause as in pursuit of liberty as they see it. Are you concerned about such an effect?
THE PRESIDENT. I have stated it as clearly as I know how, my viewpoint in connection with the terror and with hate organizations, and with the theory that the end justifies the means.
I have stated it on the floor of the Senate. I criticized Senator McCarthy 5 for the practices he employed. I voted to censure him, as did every Democrat who was present at that time, for some of the practices along that line. And I have tried to make known my record clearly in the statements I have made this morning.
5 Former Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin.
I condemn, as most Americans do, anyone taking the law in their hands or anyone organizing for the purpose of hate and dividing his fellow man and practicing upon the prejudices and playing upon the prejudices of the people of this country.
I am not going to start passing personal opinions on the expressions of the other party and the other candidate at this point because I think the American people are perfectly careful and prudent people and they can very well judge those matters themselves.
I certainly don't want to get into any argument between the members of the other parties. They have their own problems, as I told you before, and I am not going to spread any hate or any rumor about them.
[7.] Q. Mr. President, even though Senator Goldwater said he would not indulge in personalities in the campaign, you have already been called a phony and a faker and Governor Brown has declared that the stench of Fascism is in the air. Are you looking forward to a real dirty campaign?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't anticipate, so far as the Democratic Party is concerned, that there will be anything about our campaign that is dirty or there'll be any mudslinging. I think we will try to present a positive program to the American people and let them judge the proposals presented to them by the other party and then choose which party they think is best for their country.
[8.] Q. Mr. President, can you give us any indications when the Warren report might be released, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. No. That is a Presidential commission. I asked the Chief Justice and other members to serve on it. They have been at it for a good while. They are very insistent that they pursue every possible lead. When their report is completed, I assume they will submit it to the President and at that time I will be very glad to review it carefully and make such decision as I may feel the national interest requires.
[9.] Q. Mr. President, have you been in further communication with Senator Goldwater about possible intelligence briefings now that he has the nomination?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I have not, but they are available to him, as I stated before, and I think from time to time he has received certain briefings in his capacity as a major general. But I will be very happy for Mr. McCone, the Director of CIA, to brief him at any time that he cares to be briefed.
[10.] Q. Mr. President, Senator Goldwater said the issue of crime and violence in the streets should be a major campaign issue. Do you regard this as a proper area of Federal responsibility?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think that I should remind all of you that the United States is one of the few nations which does not have a national police force. The Constitution provides that responsibility for law and order should be vested in the States and in the local communities, for the protection of the individual.
I would be interested in seeing the other party spell out what some of you seem to feel is a serious takeover of local law enforcement, because I think all of us realize it has the gravest implications. I think it would be of utmost concern to those who believe that the Federal Government's general police power should be limited to interstate matters and situations where the States' ability to maintain law and order has broken down.
If we were to give the Federal Government the responsibility for all law enforcement, in the cities and towns, even here in the hill country, I would think that the people would believe that it would do more than anything else to concentrate power in Washington. I read from some of my columnist friends, and some of the front pages of the newspapers, and I see on TV, where some people are very much opposed to concentrating any further power in Washington.
So far as we are concerned, we are going to urge State and local governments to halt terrorism and to continue their law enforcement, and where it is inadequate, the Federal Government will always promptly assist local authorities to maintain order as long as the lives and the security of our fellow citizens are in danger.
[11.] Q. Mr. President, in view of the political campaigns coming up, what future do you foresee for the rest of your legislative program if the Republicans engage in any footdragging ?
THE PRESIDENT. We will have our difficulties ahead, without any doubt. We have had a very good year, however. We have a good deal of our 'program behind us.
When we last met here at the ranch before this session of Congress, we all felt at that time that if we could pass a good tax bill it would help our economy along, and if we could pass the civil rights bill that we would consider that we had a pretty good session.
We have passed the tax bill; we have finally passed the civil rights bill. We have passed the farm bill. We have passed the International Development Act--the idea that had such great difficulty and was defeated on the first go-round.
Before we adjourn, I hope to conclude many other bills that are now in conference. There are some six or eight in conference.
I would hope that we can get action on the food stamp plan, and the pay bill, the poverty bill, the Appalachia bill, and I believe that already we have one of the best records of any Congress.
I am planning to ask the Members of Congress and their wives to come to the White House before the convention just to give a salute to the Congress and honor this Congress for the fine work it has done. I hope by the time we have that meeting we will have some additional measures to tack up on the wall.
[12.] Q. Mr. President, I wonder if you feel, sir, that Senator Goldwater's rather bellicose statements on attitude toward the Communists and our foreign policy in general has increased the difficulties of this Government in its relations with its allies abroad?
THE PRESIDENT. My experience has been that we must be very cautious in formulating the policy of our country in relation to the other some 130 nations in the world. And I think that we are going to have a simple issue this year that the American people can decide which men and which party can best meet the the responsibilities of conducting the Nation's foreign relations. I think you will find that there will be a very different viewpoint expressed in that regard.
I am not in a position to honestly and accurately estimate what reaction other people may have to what some folks say. My experience has been that what men say is always more revealing about themselves than it is about other people. But I have every confidence that the Democratic Party will talk about its record and will explain fully, through the President, the Secretary of State, and all the facilities of this Government, what it proposes to do about meeting the issues that concern our relations with other nations.
I would hope that the other party will campaign in the same spirit, because I want to point out that what Democrats think about Republicans, and what I might think about Senator Goldwater, is of secondary importance and impresses very few people, I think, except the partisans.
What is important, I think, is what each party thinks about America and what the leadership of each party offers to the American people and to the rest of the world. I believe the American people will take the recommendations and the various statements made by both candidates, weigh them carefully, and determine which man they think will be the more responsible, more constructive, more enlightened, and more intelligent in trying to bring peace to this world.
I have not the slightest doubt but what the uppermost problem in the mind of every American and in the mind of most people of the world is how to learn to live with our fellow man and how to achieve peace in this period in which we live. As long as I am permitted to hold the office that I now occupy, no single statement of mine and no single act of mine is going to be in the direction of provoking war. I am going to utilize every resource at the command of the Federal Government and all of its people, and command the intelligence of all the people of both parties to try to find the road to peace.
We have difficulties that appear every day in our relations with 100-odd other nations, just as we do in relations with our neighbors here up the road and down the road and down the river. But I prefer to try to reason out those problems, talk them out be prepared to defend ourselves at all times. But I would hope that no other nation would think that we are a nation of warmongers and that we have any evil designs on conquest or domination.
Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT. Did you get in your full 15 or 20 questions?
Q. If you have some answers that we don't have questions for--
THE PRESIDENT. I don't want any of you to feel left out.
Q. We think you did very well.
Note: President Johnson's twenty-second news conference was held at the LBJ Ranch, Johnson City, Tex., at 10:03 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, 1964.
Lyndon B. Johnson, The President's News Conference at the LBJ Ranch Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/238978