121. Notes of Meeting1


The President watched portions of the Senate Foreign Relations hearings on television. He saw questions and answers given to Senator Dodd, Senator Pell, Senator Gore, and Senator Fulbright.

General Wheeler gave to the President two cables which he had drafted to be sent to General Westmoreland. Those cables are attached as appendixes A and B.2

General Wheeler said that the weather was so bad that there was no need to consider targeting.

The President asked the group to look at the financing of the troop build-up very carefully. “We must have $1.8 billion without the build-up. With it we will need more than that—you have to have about $4 billion. Look into that.”

All of you should also consider whether the President should make a statement. Give some thought on what we should say on the matter.

I want Clark and General Wheeler to talk to Congressman Rivers and Senator Russell as well as Congressman Mahon as soon as he returns from Texas. Have Russell get any of the people from the Appropriations Committee for this meeting.

All of you moderated my judgment in that Monday meeting after I returned from Puerto Rico.3 I was ready then to say that we should call up the reserves to strengthen the strategic reserves; to ask Congress for authority to call up selected reservists; to use this as a basis for a new position on the tax bill; and to ask for authority to extend enlistments. That Monday session did moderate my judgment some. I do think we should evaluate our strategy. It is a good idea from time to time to have a good, sound review. I only hope we don’t get over-run in the meantime.

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I want to get the judgment of Senator Russell and Congressmen Rivers and Mahon and others about how we deal with Fulbright on this.

Since Secretary Rusk undoubtedly would like a little rest after that hearing, I don’t think we really have much more we need to cover here. There is nothing we can do on anything else, is there?

Walt Rostow: No sir, not that I know of.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Tom Johnson’s Notes of Meetings. Top Secret. The meeting was held in the White House. Those attending were the President, Clifford, Helms, Wheeler, Rostow, Christian, and Tom Johnson. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary)
  2. Not attached. One telegram is printed as Document 122, and the other is cited in footnote 2 thereto.
  3. See Document 105.