5. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson1

SUBJECT

  • Comment from Bob McNamara on the State of the Union
1.
Bob McNamara called this morning on other matters, and I asked him what he thought of the State of the Union.2 He said he liked it, but had one worry. He wonders whether the statements on Vietnam on pages 6 and 7 are too strong in the light of our current policy. I said that they were no stronger than things we had said a dozen times before, but I gathered from Bob that he thought they were stronger than our actions. I get the implication that he fears that if we do not intend stronger action, we may regret these sentences.
2.
My own view is that, whatever we may decide to do on particular matters in the coming months, it is absolutely essential to maintain a [Page 8]posture of firmness today. I believe that without firm U.S. language, the danger of further erosion in Saigon is bound to grow. I therefore not only approve, but strongly recommend, the language on pages 6 and 7. Nevertheless, I think you should know Bob’s worry.
McG. B.3
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. VIII. No classification marking.
  2. President Johnson delivered his Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union at 9:04 p.m. on January 4, 1965. For text of the address, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, Book I, pp. 1–9.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.