More War or More Appeasement
In this discussion with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, President Johnson seemed to backtrack from both his public and private statements on Vietnam and to reconsider the wisdom of escalation. In the process, he displayed a level of assertiveness on an issue where heretofore he had deferred to his advisers or avoided discussing the broad outlines of policy. The major issue here was Johnson's criticism of the announced withdrawal of 1,000 troops from South Vietnam, a move that many commentators cite as evidence that President Kennedy would not have escalated the war in Southeast Asia.
Date: Feb 25, 1964
Participants: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara
Conversation Number: WH6402.21 #2191