The President’s Day

PrintPrintEmailEmail

Mr. Fowler, who accompanied Secretary Dillon to the 11:15 meeting, is Under Secretary of the Treasury. Mr. McKinney, formerly U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland, 1961–63, is a newspaper publisher from Santa Fe, New Mexico, and (like the President) a cattle breeder. We have no clue as to the reason for the meeting.

The Public Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations is a private group to whom Johnson reaffirmed government support for freer international trade and tariff reductions. He stated firmly, however, that we would not enter into any agreement that did not provide lower foreign tariffs on American agricultural products, as well as on our industrial goods, which the New York Herald Tribune interpreted as a direct warning to France.

The Disciples of Christ, despite their name and the highly appropriate number in the group (twelve), are actually members of an indigenous American religious body more generally known as the Christian Church, which has a large membership in Texas.

Johnson’s remarks to the editors and broadcasters attending a State Department foreign-policy conference made that gathering something like a press conference. He urged the newsmen to mold public opinion to support economic assistance to developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In the course of a question-and-answer period, he discussed Cuba, juvenile delinquency, the number of White House visitors, his press relations, Vietnam, the rail strike, and politics (“I am a fellow that likes small parties, and the Republican party is about the size I like”). It is perhaps safe to assume that Vietnam was discussed at lunch, in view of the presence of Secretaries McNamara and Rusk (the latter had just returned from that troubled country the day before). President Johnson’s old friend Governor Connally had come to Washington to testify before the Warren Commission.

The gap in the schedule from sometime after 2:45 to 5:01 P.M. normally represents a nap and a swim, part of the President’s attempt to maintain a sensible regimen since his 1955 heart attack.

Congressman L. Mendel Rivers represents the First District of South Carolina, including Charleston. He is interested in defense problems and, one assumes, civil rights. There is no report of his talk with the President. Señor Betancourt, here for a six-week visit, discussed inter-American relations with Mr. Johnson. There is no public record of the discussions with Mr. McFarland, a former Arizona senator and governor, or of what brought Secretary McNamara to the White House so late at night.