Miller Center

LBJ and Sen. Richard Russell on Vietnam

LBJ and Sen. 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 and intimate and revealing portrait of Johnson weighing perhaps the most difficult decision he ever had to make.

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Audio Transcript President Lyndon B. Johnson, thirty-sixth President of the United States, 1963-1969.

Biographical sketch from American President.

Newspaper Article Richard B. Russell was Democratic senator of Georgia from 1933-1971.

Biographical sketch from the Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress.

Audio Robert S. McNamara was secretary of defense from 1961-1968.

Biographical sketch from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Audio TranscriptLBJ Daily Diary, May 27, 1964.

Newspaper ArticleTape citation number WH6405.10, Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum. Raw audio file available at the Miller Center's Scripps Library portal.

AudioCIA Special Intelligence Estimate on possible North Vietnamese responses to U.S. actions, May 1964, The National Security Archives.

DocumentSouth Vietnam, Enemy Situation, Early 1964. Source: ehistory @ OSU United States Military Academy.
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