Miller Center

LBJ and Richard Russell on Vietnam

Though Johnson had awoke on May 27 to news that Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had died of a heart attack, the bulk of his day would be dominated by the problems of Southeast Asia.

Just prior to 11 a.m., the President placed a call to his friend, mentor, and sometime antagonist, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia. In this conversation, Johnson reveals his deeply conflicted thinking on Vietnam, a profound sense of anxiety absent from his public remarks on the subject. The exchange offers an intimate and revealing portrait of Johnson weighing perhaps the most difficult decision he ever had to make.

Date:  May 27, 1964
Time:  10:55
Participants:  Lyndon Johnson, Richard Russell
Conversation Number:  WH6405.10 #3519, #3520, #3521

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