64. Editorial Note

On February 4, 1966, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held the first of five televised hearings on President Johnsonʼs request for $400 million in supplemental foreign aid funds for Vietnam for fiscal year [Page 205] 1966. Earlier, on January 28, at an untelevised preliminary hearing on the supplemental appropriation, the Committee questioned Secretary of State Rusk about the war. Following its decision on February 3 to hold public hearings, the Committee heard testimony about U.S. involvement in Vietnam from the following witnesses: Agency for International Development Administrator David Bell on February 4; General James Gavin on February 8; former Ambassador George Kennan on February 10; General Maxwell Taylor on February 17; and Secretary of State Rusk on February 18. Transcripts of the hearings are printed in U.S. Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Supplemental Foreign Assistance, Fiscal Year 1966—Vietnam (Washington, DC, 1966). Extensive excerpts are printed in The Vietnam Hearings (New York, 1966). For background information on the hearings, see William C. Gibbons, The U.S. Government and the Vietnam War: Executive and Legislative Roles and Relationships, Part IV: July 1965–January 1968 (Princeton, NJ, 1995), pages 222–230 and 239–251.

At 8:27 a.m. on February 5, the morning after the first day of televised hearings, President Johnson telephoned Larry F. OʼBrien and expressed his extreme displeasure at the hearings, calling them “a very, very disastrous break.” A recording of the conversation is in the Johnson Library, Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of a Telephone Conversation between Johnson and OʼBrien, Tape 66.04, PNO 1.